Saturday, December 31, 2011

The best thing for comics in 2011

Was the August issues.  Truly, they were fab.  All of them (that I read) were saying goodbye to loved characters and love plots, unknowing where they would be in a months time.  Then August ended with the stupendous Justice League #1.

All in all, Auigust was fab.

Happy new year folks!

Friday, December 30, 2011

At last! A real blog!

So, I has been slack recently.  If by recently you mean several months.   I finally find myself re-energised (a break from work and studying, plus sleeping, boozing and eating tends to do that).  Now, while I'm waiting for dinner to cook, I shall regale you with my thoughts about the latest comic books.  Behold, my not so mighty ramblings....
Spoilers ahead.

Oh how I want to call him Aquaham.  And I'm an Aquaman fan.  I blame Spider-Pig. ANYHOO.  This book started brilliantly.  The things from the trench were terrifying.  Then they got less terrifying and the book now seems to be about Geoff Johns Showing Us How Much Of A Badass Aquaman Is.  Now, I really like Aquaman, I always knew he was a badass, but I'm now a bit tired of this being shoved down my throat every issue.  Now this arc has finished, I'm hoping we can get back to more adventuring and less Badass Proving.  And I hope the dog dies soon.
The splash pages of the trench were pretty awe inspiring though.

This is the surprise hit of the relaunch.  I was prepared to hate it.  I kinda love it.  The art is a bit, well, 90s (angular and swivel waisted and pointy pointy pointy), but the story and the writing is wonderful.  And I even like the exaggerated art.  So there.  New fella, Miguel, wins points for not being a complete raving stereotype too.
This issue was the only one that made me laugh out loud this week. I would like to tell Tim that borrowing a t-shirt because your costume is ripped is not remotely comparable to N.O.W.H.E.R.E. 'stealing' teenagers.  Bart requesting Tim take the shirt off him fuels my slashy mind  Bart then modifying one of Tim's costumes and excusing it by saying 'oh please, it was in the back of your closet' is, well, great.
5 out 5 shiny stars to this series.  Long may it reign (and reign in fun too!  Teen Titans should eb fun, not angst ridden).

The SAVAGE Hawkman
He's savage, he's dangerous, he's got shiny, pretty, shifting, liquid artwork.  Very pulpy.  He hasn't got an engaging story. Sigh.  Another one I wanted to love, but don't yet.  We'll see, I'll hold on for another 4 issues then make my mind up.

I could easily drop this.  I feel nothing for this incarnation of the Kryptonian.  But, I'll hold on for a bit, cos I want to like it.

Now, for the rest of the comics I've been getting but which weren't out this week.

Superman is a cocky lil bugger in this.  I like it.  It's much better than the regular Superman title.  Nerdy Clarkie is lovely.

You should all be reading this.  It's brilliant.  Easily one of the best of the relaunch, in a very un superhero way.  It's very reminiscent of the Vertigo run of Animal Man.  It's mature.  It's probing.  It's a thinker.  As opposed to Justice league which is a brawler.

For the first three issue this was my favourite of the new titles.  Then number 4 seemed to be a little bit too obvious, seemed to be too trendy, too knowing.  Or I could have been drunk when I read it.  Either way, it reminds me of Frank Miller's All Star Batman and Robin, which is just darned amazing, in a terrible way.  Justice League is macho, brazen, cocky, full of testosterone (even the ladeez are full of testosterone).  It's the equivalent of 1980s cock rock or 1980s action flicks - Die Hard, Predator, Demolition Man, Total Recall.  In short, exactly the sort of shit I love.

Pretty much as expected.  The relaunch hadn't changed dear old Kate's history, and J H Williams is still on art.  So, yeah, as expected.  Good.  Oh, except for the lack of Renee, who I now fear is dead. :(

Another surprise hit.  I was dubious about the premise, but it's been carried out with style.  And Rose Wilson.  Rose Wilson (done well) makes everything better.  Fact.  The art is ..round? Soft on the edges?  Hard where it matters?  Slightly cartoony.  Great, anyway.

BIRDS OF PREY rule the roost, yah?
Let's see, Dinah is made of awesome, Katana is delightfully bonkers, Starling has class and Poison Ivy is, Ivy.  Yah.  This is fun, and solid, and lots of other tasty things.  Consider buying it!

As much as I'm grumpy about the need for another relaunch of Kara, I have to admit this is rather good.  Mahmud Asrar's artwork is lovely, and makes even the stupid elements of the suit work.  The story is well handled, it's nothing like the solicit and is definitely one of the better books of the new 52.  Everyone should be buying it (and I say that as a fair judgement, not just as a Supergirl fan).

This is amazeballs.  The reimagining of the Gods is inspired, the artwork is (ignoring a few eschergirl problems) gorgeous and the story so far, works. Mostly.  I'm going to ignore the terrible idea that is Zeus as Di's father.  I mean really.  The made of clay origin is magical and mythical and full of amazingness and Zeus as Di's father is boring.  Beyond boring.  I also dislike Hippolyta being blonde.  I know originally she was blonde, but I don't like it.  So bite me.
Ignoring those big problems, the rest of this book is fab.  Fab fab fab fab.

I'm getting this electronically.  This here is Judd Winick being good, not Judd Winick being crap.  When he's good he's very very good.  When he's bad he sucks.  This is good.  Buy it.

The series I dropped were Hawk and Dove (got 2 issues, got bored), Green Arrow (my favourite character, made rubbish, beardless and boring, boo), Batgirl and Fury of Firestorm (neither were working for me, although I can see they are good).

Other than DC I'm also getting Ultimate Comics Spider-man and Dollhouse. Both are mah-ha-vellous.

I think I may be back in the bloggy spirit. Oooo.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Super Silly Sunday

Streaky resembles a demon cat, dripping acid or something here..
We didn't see enough of Streaky in this series. :(

From Adventure Comics 383.

Friday, December 23, 2011

December bulletin from ASN

Here's December's ASN bulletin.
ASN December eBulletin: Tis the Season to help women

Welcome to your ASN eBulletin. ASN on national TV. We’ve almost hit £1,000! ‘Tis the season to say thank you to those helping women – including our volunteers. And in November, ASN heard from 29 women. Hear some of their stories – and keep in touch!

• ASN on 4Thought
• £163 to go!
• ‘Tis the season to be grateful
• Women we’ve helped
• Keep in touch!

ASN on 4Thought TV
ASN’s Mara Clarke was invited to speak on Channel 4’s 4Thought on the topic of whether or not abortion clinics should be prevented from providing counselling to women seeking abortions. While we wish they hadn’t cut the part about ASN’s providing financial assistance and accommodation (our main purpose) we were glad to have the opportunity to provide our view. Well done Mara on flying the ASN flag and raising awareness among women who might need our help now or in future, as well as potential supporters and the general public. See all 7 4thought pieces on this issue here:

£163 to go
ASN’s campaign to raise £1,000 a month in regular income (standing orders from people in the UK and regular PayPal donations from those abroad), launched in March 2011 is going strong, and our monthly total is now at £837. If 32 of you give £5 a month, or 16 of you give £10 a month, we will reach our goal. Details of how to do this can be found here. Don’t forget to register for Gift Aid. And thanks!

‘Tis the season to be grateful
It is not possible for us to spend enough time thanking the family planning clinics and other organisations who send women our way, help them access the services they need, and fight for the rights of women living in Ireland and Northern Ireland to access safe and legal abortions in their own countries. Please consider donating, supporting or getting involved with one or more of these amazing and important organisations.

The organisations helping women access safe abortions
 bpasadvocates for and provides high quality, affordable services to prevent unwanted pregnancies with contraception or end them by abortion with 19 clinics and 36 consultation centres located throughout the UK.
 South Manchester Private Clinicpromotes the sexual health of men, women and young people. It offers abortion treatments and free pregnancy testing, sexually transmitted infection screening and a fully comprehensive contraceptive service.
 Marie Stopes International is the UK's leading provider of sexual and reproductive healthcare services. They are committed to providing all the help you need to make informed choices about your health.
 The Calthorpe Clinic in Birmingham supports the right for people to limit their family. For 40 years, it has been providing surgical and medical terminations for thousands of women each year.

Women on Webis an online medical abortion service that aims to reduce the number of deaths due to unsafe abortions in countries where abortion is highly restricted or illegal. WoW helps women in these countries gain access to a safe abortion using pills.

The groups fighting for abortion law reform – a partial list of the many, many organisations who are working to make abortion legal in Ireland and Northern Ireland – ASN is cheering you on and we happily wait for the day when your efforts successfully put us out of business!

 The Northern Irish Family Planning Association (nifpa) recently launched a video on abortion in Northern Ireland to highlight the 150th anniversary of the 1861 Offence Against the Person Act that has resulted in 150 years of discrimination and denial for the women of Northern Ireland.
 In addition to providing services to women in Ireland, The Irish Family Planning Association (ifpa) campaigns for law reform, believing that abortion is an intimate aspect of private life, intricately linked with human rights values and principles that protect a woman's sexual and reproductive rights.
 Abortion Rights UK is the UK’s national pro-choice campaign, working to defend and extend women’s rights and access to safe, legal abortion, to all women in the United Kingdom – even if they live in Northern Ireland.
 Safe and Legal (in Ireland) Abortion Rights Campaign
 Alliance for Choice
 Belfast Feminist Network
 Choice Ireland
 Cork Woman’s Right to Choose Group
 Safe and Legal (in Ireland) Abortion Rights Campaign
Abortion Funds
 The National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) is a network of more than 100 grassroots abortion funds and practical support organisations (including ASN, who wouldn’t exist without NNAF’s help and support!) that help to make sure that all women and girls can access abortions.

 Before ASN, there was the Irish Women’s Abortion Support Group (IWASG), a group of Irish women in England who helped women from Ireland and N Ireland travel over for abortions from 1980 to 2000. Their story was told in Ann Rossiter’s book, Ireland’s Hidden Diaspora.

Pro Choice champions
ASN could not exist without our amazing ASN VOLUNTEERS,who answer calls from women between work, family and other commitments, write our materials, design our annual reports and websites, raise our funds, balance our books and get the word out about the work we’re doing. Our without our supporters, who provide the funds to help women access safe and legal abortions.

Thank you thank you thank you!

Women we’ve helped
In November, ASN heard from 29 women. We are immensely grateful to all of you who enable us to help women.

This month, we’d like to let women speak to you in their own words:

i have contacted ye in email and ye rang me back i couldn answer as i was with family i need this uregent as i dnt want a baby as i have a young baby and i had very bad postnatal depression after and was very hard cope i woudn be able deal with anther baby aswell as im jus getting back on my feet d last few mths i need this done asap as its getting me down nd findin it very hard and i have noone to talk too bout this i cant cope with another baby would be to much

I really appreciate how much effort you have gone to in providing me with all of the information. I did not expect so much help at all and it was a great help. I really am very grateful, I had never heard of your organisation before and I'm sure there are probably many others who are in a similar situation to me who would like to know about it too.

I have just found out that I am pregnant and desperately need to have an abortion I need some form of urgent help. Although I am in a stable relationship, my partner is not supportive of me having an abortion, despite the fact that neither of us are ready for a baby. He has told me he will never look at me the same again 'knowing that I have killed it'. But I can't possibly have this baby! I can't tell my parents because they will be so disappointed that I am pregnant in the first place but at the same time I don't think they would support an abortion either. I feel completely alone and trapped. Whatever I do somebody gets hurt or is disappointed in me but I truly feel that abortion is my only option. A baby deserves a good life and right now I can't provide that. Please help me in some way. I'm desperate.

To all at Asn,I would just like to express my deepest gratitude to all at ASN who have helped me in the last two weeks. Words cannot descibe how grateful i am to you all. You have helped me by both providing practical advice and much needed funds to ensure that it would be possible to travel for a abortion. Me and boyfriend will never forget the help and support you provided. The abortion was done and was only possible because of the help we recieved, having a abortion is hard enough emotionaly without the added stress of trying to arange travel and money. You all at ASN made it possible and I only hope that in the future I will be in a postion to help other women and girls the way you have. Thank you so much, Student 18.
ASN thanks these women and men for sharing their stories with us, and for permitting us to share them with you.

Keep in Touch
Want to make sure you have all the ASN news as soon as it happens? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Also, from next month, this eBulletin will have a new look and feel, courtesy of MailChimp and another one of our fabulous volunteers.

Thank you thank you thank you!
ASN is funded almost entirely by the generous donations of individual supporters – like you! Without ASN, the many women we help wouldn’t be able to access vital financial and practical support towards covering the costs of their procedures and their journeys. Donations to ASN are vitally important to the lives of women faced with unplanned pregnancies.

We are entirely volunteer-run, and our small overhead costs are covered by a regular donation. This means that any money you donate goes directly towards the cost of a woman’s abortion or transport to England.

Thank you again for all your support. Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to provide accommodation, financial assistance, and confidential, non-judgemental information to the women in difficult circumstances who have contacted us.

With best regards
Abortion Support Network
+44 (0) 7897 611 593
Charity Number 1142120

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice everyone.  Today is the shortest day of the year, for which I am very glad.  I loathe the cold.  I know the temperature is likely to worsen before Spring, but at least the days start getting longer.  I am a summer person.  I am sure these dark days contribute to my state of lethargy during winter time, they certainly contribute to my difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.

I am not feeling very mentally prepared for today.  Usually, for each holiday, I contemplate it and, well not exactly meditate, but take time out from everything to give myself some headspace and, without trying to sound really wanky, centre myself.  This year, I have been so busy over the last couple of weeks, and so damn tired (due to courses, and work, and family visiting and everything), that I have had bugger all energy to do much but read or occasionaly internet.
So, to celebrate the mid point of winter, I am planning to make this recipe, a vegetable stew with herby dumplings.  It looks warming, substantial and seasonal.  Pretty much what I need at this time of year.  I also get to leave work at 3pm today, hurrah!  So from now, until the 3rd of January I get to rest, eat, drink, see friends, read and forget about courses and work and other tedious things like that.

Happy Solstice everyone!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

State benefits in the UK

I've been following Diary of a Benefit Scrounger for a while now.  It's a campaigning site focusing on the proposed cuts to welfare benefits in the UK.  There's a few posts I think people should read.

The Very Definitions of Irony -the writer of the blog has severe Chron's disease, osteroporisis and malnutrition.  She takes chemo shots every 2 weeks, has had major seizures and a stroke.  Her application for Disability Living Allowance has been turned down.
3 Claimants die after being found for fit for work
An open letter to Iain Duncan Smith
Did you know this about your ESA50 form - Given how strict we are about data protection, why do royal mail sorting officers open the ESA50 applications, and sort them in the post office?  What's it to do with them?

Who is the most deserving? - Since 2008 75% of applicants got gurned down for Employment Support Allowance.  Apparently they weren't sick or disabled enough.
We all know someone who could work but doesn't - don't we? - Hidden, secret disabilities and illnesses.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Illiterate estate agents

I have my house on the market.  It's not really getting any interest (a pox on the current housing market. Or not.  A pox would probably make it worse). Our estate agents sent us an ill-spelt Christmas card.  I was going to upload a picture but I am having problems connecting my phone to the computer.

Anyway, it wishes us a a Prosporous New Year.

Bad spelling winds me up.  First there's the thing about not being able to spell, then there's the thing about not using spellcheck, on a professional communication.  Arg.  I hope their spelling doesn't reflect on their ability to sell houses.

Oh, and I am aware that my posts are full of typos.  I must drive my readers nuts over some of my creative spelling choices.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Super Silly Sunday

For the kick. And Superman booby traping something for his kid cousin. Dick.

From Adventure Comics 382.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Re-reading Wonder Woman comics..

Specifically Gail Simone's run, and specifically Wonder Woman 34 and 35.  The one where Wondy and Diana team up to find the enemy in a meta fight racket.

I came to a realisation.  Black Canary, as written by Gail Simone, is SallyP.  It's true.  Go read the issue.  then go read Green Lantern Butt's Forever, Sally's blog.  They are the same person!

(And in case anyone is wondering, that's a high compliment from me!)

I betcha Di likes checking out green butts too.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Super Silly Sunday

Things that really annoy me: people not knowing the difference between insure and ensure.  And this is meant to come from a university? Sheesh.

From the 1972 Supergirl run, issue 1.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Monday, December 05, 2011

Things I like about Christmas:
Christmas Trees.
Fairy Lights
Sparkles and spangles
Mince pies
Making someone happy by giving them an unexpected yet good gift
Yorkshire puddings
Christmas pudding

Knowing I am loved as evidenced by the stupid amount of gifts I get
The time off work
The fact that everything closes down for one day (It should happen more often)
Delicious food

The days getting longer
My awesome quilted advent calandar, made by my mother:
Seriously, isn't it cool?
The bunting made by my mother (sadly I don't have a picture of it, but each piece has a different fairy on it and one is doing rude things with a mushroom)

Things I don't like about Christmas:
The stress and pressure of gift giving and receiving
The stress of trying to fit in seeing all family and friends (this never works out as well as I want)
The business of the streets and the shops
The anxiousness of trying to get Christmas dinner ready
The feeling of being not good enough or worthy of familial affection
Other people
Crap Christmas Music
Do they know it's Christmas/Feed the world.  Whatever the bloody thing is called.

At the moment the good things are outweighing the bad things, which is a turn up for the books.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Wonder Woman Wednesday

From Wonder Woman v3. The great Dodson's are on art duties.  Ok, so it';s not Diana, it's Donna, but with armour as beautiful as that who cares?