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Archive for the ‘Miles Baker’ Category

L’ Orchestre d’Hommes-Orchestres performs Tom Waits
Presented by The Theatre Centre
March 2-5, 2011. 7:30pm. 1087 Queen Street West.

By Miles Baker

If you’re a Tom Waits fan living in Toronto, it’s time to face a harsh reality—with each passing day it’s less and less likely that we’re going to get the chance to see him live. With that in mind, I suggest you go see L’Orchestre d’Hommes-Orchestres Performs Tom Waits. It’s not the man himself, but it’s his spirit and his songs manifested before you with great joy and imagination.

L’Orchestre d’Hommes-Orchestres are a Quebec-based, self-described multidisciplinary workshop. The group, composed of Bruno Bouchard, Jasmin Cloutier, Simon Drouin and Simon Elmaleh (and joined onstage by the New Cackle Sisters, Gabrielle Bouthiller and Danya Ortman), began as a music ensemble but has gone onto incorporate elements of theatre in their performances.

I’m just going to throw this out there because it will bug Waits purists—four French Canadians sing and talk in the style of Tom Waits. Their accents peak through as they tell Waits-esque stories and jokes. I was skeptical at first, but works for me as a celebration of Waits rather than just a lame imitation. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #94: February 16, 2011

Posted by Comics On February - 18 - 2011

Amazing Spider-Man #654.1
Dan Slott (w), Humberto Ramos (p), Carlos Cuevas (i), Edgar Delgado (c). Marvel Comics.

There’s a problem in mainstream comics — not many people are buying them.

Marvel and DC need more readers. Flat out. So, here we are with yet another halfhearted attempt to gather attention. Instead of trying to gather press attention, or make new characters, or reach out to any kind of person who wasn’t already buying comics, we get another effort that remains entirely in the fan base. I sure didn’t see any articles about this comic that weren’t on a site that’s dedicated to comics, did you? Did they honestly expect someone on the street to hear about this “Point One” project, think “I would like to buy a comic” and then actively seek out a comic that has more complicated numbering than usual?

And, on top of all that, in this issue, if they were looking for a comic about Spider -Man then they would be picking up the wrong comic. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #93: February 9, 2011

Posted by Comics On February - 11 - 2011

Batman and Robin #20
Peter J. Tomasi (w), Patrick Gleason (p), Mick Gray (i), Alex Sinclair (c). DC Comics.

The most recent stuff I can think of to attribute to Tomasi is his work on Green Lantern Corps, and it’s easy to take for granted what a fantastic job he did over there. Since the last million issues or so have been stuck in Blackest Night crossover mode, I forgot how he built on the past of Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, and other fan favourite characters, growing them together in ways that can only please the fan base. I remember (now that I think about it) one story where Bolphunga the Unrelenting (an old Alan Moore character) showed up to duke it out with Guy Gardner. Great stuff.

Now he’s starting up his run on Batman and Robin and there are no real crossovers to deal with. Thanks to hindsight, it’s now obvious that this was going to be an amazing issue. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #92: February 2, 2011

Posted by Comics On February - 4 - 2011

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #1
Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen (w), Keith Giffen (p), John Dell, Scott Koblish (i), Hi-Fi (c). DC Comics.

This whole book chronicles the rise and fall of a new Emerald Empress — wait, a new one? Whatever happened to the old one?

Having only really just gotten into Legion of Super-Heroes during the Mark Waid “Three-boot” or “Earth-Prime” Legion book, I sometimes forget that everything I know is wrong. I think it’s a credit to the creative team on the recent Legion book that I’m only just now thinking about this.

To help us readers they’ve included something pretty fun: Legion History The Board Game! Posted at the back of the book, it’s both chronology and whimsy, hitting the major beats of Legion history. A good one is “Ferro Lad sacrifices life to save Earth from Sun-Eater! His courage propels you one space.”

Here’s one that winks hard at the fandom: “Time Trapper killed by Infinite Man! Lose or gain a turn for this? The debate still rages.” Personally, if I landed on the space, I’d gain a turn. Everyone else can lose it. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #91: January 26, 2011

Posted by Comics On January - 28 - 2011

Captain America #614
Ed Brubaker (w); Butch Guice (p); Stefano Gaudiano with Morales, Palmer, Magyar & Guice (i); Bettie Breitweiser with Sotomayor, Ramos & Martin (c). Marvel Comics.

I got the second omnibus of Brubaker’s Captain America run for Christmas and devoured it before Boxing Day was over. I’d read it all before, but never in a straight read though. Beyond the fantastic characters and exciting action, I was shocked how tight the plotting was. When you read it collected, you see that Brubaker doesn’t forget a single thread. He’s tracking the plot and all the players.

In the last couple years, I feel people taken for granted just how amazing this book is. Couple years ago, people couldn’t stop saying nice things about Brubaker’s Cap run, now, I feel occationally there’s a “yep, still good” review and that’s it. But that’s not enough — this is as good as any iconic run on a superhero. Brubaker’s Daredevil might live in Frank Miller’s run for the rest of time, but every writer to handle Captain America after this will live in Brubaker’s shadow. When he leaves they might as well just retire the character (not that they will). Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #89: January 12, 2011

Posted by Comics On January - 14 - 2011

Daredevil: Reborn #1
Andy Diggle (w), Davide Gianfelice (a), Matt Hollingsworth (c). Marvel Comics.

This book was going to have to impress the shit out of me to make me forget the shit that was Shadowland. There’s a lot of shit going around this book right now and it seems like that’s going to continue. This was an extremely underwealming performance from Diggle and Gianfelice. I’m especially dissapointed in the latter as I’m a fan of his work on DMZ and Northlanders. His work here is fine but it’s not as strong as either of works. It’s servicable, but it’s pretty boring and unispired.

Though, it would be hard to get inspired from this thin, uninteresting story. After the major fuckover of Matt Murdock’s character that Diggle helmed I was inclined to chalk it up to editorial interferance. This story, however, has puddle-deep depth and understanding of Matt. Fucking awful. It’s billed as this rebirth of Matt — okay, I’m down. In an opening scene, Matt takes a beating because he’s rejecting the cycle of violence around his life — cool, progress. Ten pages later he’s going to beat up a bunch of crooked cops. Great. Amazing. I’m glad that he got over all that shit in 10 pages. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #88: January 6, 2011

Posted by Comics On January - 6 - 2011

Superboy #3
Jeff Lemire (w), Pier Gallo (a), Jamie Grant (c). DC Comics.

Man, I love the title to this latest entry — “The New Adventures of Psionic Lad (Part One)”. I realize that I don’t really know what to expect with the Superboy series right now. The last two issues were all Parasite/Poison Ivy/Parasite Frogs/Phantom Stranger… which was revealed waaay back in August during that one Action Comics teaser story. The not knowing has got me charmed.

About the art — there’s something about it… it may just be the extraordinarily tight jeans on Superboy and the glasses, but its got me weirded out. Fortunately, the Lori Luthor character is gorgeously rendered, and when some armoured time cops jump through a portal it looks awesome. So things are balanced out.

I like the way the story skips back and for in the narrative — it’s a tricky thing to try and do, and usually I’m wary of that technique, but I think it was used properly here: it helps the flow of the issue, sprinkling the action and drama throughout the book that would otherwise have been relegated to the back of the story in an unbalanced deluge. It also helps that there’s some time travel involved, that always helps to justify these kinds of things. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics 2010: Best of 2010: Miles’ Book of the Year

Posted by Miles On January - 3 - 2011

Market Day
James Sturm (w + a). Drawn and Quarterly.

I read a lot of good comics this year, but none stuck with me the way Market Day did.  It’s the kind of book that you think about months after you’ve read it. You’ll hear something on the radio or in conversation and it will remind you of Sturm’s poignant look at the past.

The story is simple, but the implications are huge. Mendleman, a Jewish artisan selling rugs at the dawn of the industrial revolution, travels to the market to sell his hand-made rugs. The shopkeeper Mendleman has made his career on, a man who pays Mendleman what he’s worth, has retired and left the store to his son-in-law who has no interest in Mendleman’s rugs. For Mendleman, making a living for his family and making art were the same thing — so what’s he going to do now? It’s the kind of micro and macro storytelling that’s worth writing dozens of essays about. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #86: December 22, 2011

Posted by Comics On December - 25 - 2010

Hey, MONDO readers. We’re keeping up with our new format for MONDOcomics because it’s awesome. In case you missed it, every week the writers of MONDOcomics pick a book or two that they want to talk about that week. It might be a rave, it might be a hit piece, it could even be a giant tangent — writers call. This Miles and Owen love Image Comics and Isaac gets into the Christmas spirit. Enjoy.

Chew #16
John Layman (w), Rob Guillory (a), Image Comics.

Every time an issue of Chew comes out I am reminded of why I love this book so much (I’m also reminded of how happy I am that I switched to issues.) In some ways it reminds me of Preacher: it’s rather dark, can be fairly gross at times and is very, very funny. But, like Preacher, amidst all of this is a great story that keeps the focus on its epic plot and its engaging characters.

This issue gave us a great sense of the scope that this comic is covering. In a fantastic first few pages we’re given our first hints of the tragic past that lead to the world we’re exploring. Guillory’s artwork is on full display and it is spectacular. His attention to detail and top-notch character work make for a rich and expressive comic that is a lot of fun to go back to. I keep looking at his panels again and again noticing something new each time.

Layman’s plotting on this book is meticulous. Seriously, this book is juggling so many plot threads at once while still managing to keep each issue as a rewarding experience in its own right. I don’t know how he does it. This issue alone gives us flashbacks, new characters, new plots and developments on old plots. And it’s great. Extremely great. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #85: December 15, 2010

Posted by Miles On December - 17 - 2010

Hey, MONDO readers. We’re keeping up with our new format for MONDOcomics because it’s awesome. In case you missed it, every week the writers of MONDOcomics pick a book or two that they want to talk about that week. It might be a rave, it might be a hit piece, it could even be a giant tangent — writers call. This week we plug Fear Agent a lot even though no issues of that book were released. Enjoy.

Amazing Spider-Man #650
Dan Slott (w), Humberto Ramos, Neil Edwards (p) Cuevos, Damon, Olazaba, Scott Hanna (i), Edgar Delgado, Morry Hollowell (c). Marvel Comics.

At the conclusion of the last issue Spidey was at the mercy of the Hobgoblin’s sonic attack! A pretty decent cliff-hanger, with a fun resolution for this issue’s start. It’s not often that you can call an escape from certain death “fun.” It can be cool and exciting (and of course that element is present here as well). In this case, the unfortunately named Bella Fishbach blasts out some Lady Gaga that cancels out the sonic attack — if you like Gaga, then it’s an awesome shout out, if you don’t then you get the Spider-Man line “Can I have the nausea-inducing laughter back?” There’s something for everyone!

While it’s pertinent — the “background sound effects”, the laughter attack and the Lady Gaga are really crammed into the panels — I can see someone skimming through and missing those details entirely. I would have preferred an all pervasive background of “HA HA”’s (which, to be fair, they do for one panel, so maybe that’s good enough) to then get cut through by a loud jagged edged sound balloon to house and draw attention to the saving Gaga. It could be this was an aesthetic choice rather than a forgotten detail thrown in after the fact… but still, Ramos needs to include space for his art to be taken over a bit. This is, after all, a fused media of art and words. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #84: December 8, 2010

Posted by Comics On December - 10 - 2010

Booster Gold #39
Giffen, DeMatteis (w), Batista, Perrotta (a), Hi-Fi (c). DC Comics.

I didn’t expect Booster Gold to be my favourite book this week. It’s supposed to be solid; it’s not supposed to tug at my heart strings like my heart is some kind of marionette here to amuse you.

I really like the use of space in this book — there’s a gag near the beginning with the little orphan Rani, a girl from the future, having accidentally trapped herself in a sort of metal cocoon, thanks to some super suits magnetic powers. When that cocoon image is on the page, it’s a huge panel almost two thirds of the page, drawn in a skewed angle. It’s a very dramatic/action packed visual for something that amounts to a bit of domestic humour. That plus the “harmless” explosion two pages later — these are visual perks for the benefit of the spicing up the comic. It’s a sort of pacing “answer” to the question of jazzing up a scene of domesticity. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #83: December 1, 2010

Posted by Comics On December - 3 - 2010

Adventure Comics #521
Paul Levitz, Jeff Lemire (w), Geraldo Borges, Marlo Alquiza, Mahmud Asrar (a), John Dell (i), Hi-Fi, Pete Pantazis (c). DC Comics.

Well, I had a small week, so I picked up Adventure Comics

I’d actually just decided to drop it after the last issue — the issue before they made it tie-in with, and conclude, the story from Legion of Super-Heroes. They suckered me in with promises of a future Green Lantern.

For the most part we follow a crazy little blue alien as it figures out who is going to be that Lantern — every Legionnaire it runs into it stops, considers, and then flies off to someone else. I was getting anxious that we wouldn’t find out who it was going to be until the next issue, but they finally got around to it. The whole premise of the issue was discovering this one fact — so the least they could do was actually deliver on that promise. Read the rest of this entry »

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