Tag Archives: Comics

A moment of sentiment

I remember sitting on the couch when I finally turned the last page of The Wake, the last book in The Sandman series and feeling bereft. I had become very emotionally invested in the story and characters, especially Morpheus. So when it all came to end and there was nothing else to read, I really did wonder what I was supposed to do in a world where there was no more Sandman to read. (Imagine my delight when I watched this.)

But this isn’t meant to be an entry about the joy that is The Sandman. No, the little story above is meant to be an illustration of how I’m feeling right now because I’ve seen The Dark Knight Rises.

Once again, I’m feeling rather bereft.

There’s no more Christopher Nolan Batman movies. It’s done. Finished. Concluded. And I once again find myself wondering what I’m going to do now that there’s no more new Batman films to watch.

I know there are plenty of people out there who will think I’m very weird for having such a huge emotional investment in a comic book character. It’s an odd thing for a girl to do. I’m supposed to be obsessed with hand bags and shoes but not this little black duck. Nope, I spend a lot of my disposable income on comic books.

Batman Begins came out about a year after I’d been through a horrible, hideously painful break-up of an eight year relationship. I was kidding myself that I was okay but I really wasn’t. I was stuck doing all the things I’d done before and I really wasn’t moving on from my now very dead relationship. I saw the film at the movies, like it but I didn’t really think about it that much again until it came out on DVD. That’s when the obsession started. I watched the movie repeatedly, sometimes several times a week. Then I watched all the documentaries on the disc and heard Chris Nolan talking about the comics he’d been inspired by. Being an obsessive little fan at this point, I decided I had to read them.

Within the space of about three months I had read all of the major Batman storylines from the last twenty years (and bought them all). And I had started collecting comics.

All because I saw a movie.

The significance of this is that it’s the first thing I did on my own after “the break-up”. For such a long time, I only thought about the wreckage of my relationship. I obsessed about it, wondering what I did wrong. But suddenly there were Batman comics. Stories, writers and artists to discover. Instead of living in the past, I was discovering new things. Because of Batman Begins, I now have friends all over the world, a brilliant art collection and have been to America four times. So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m more than a little sentimental about Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy coming to an end. It gave me life back and helped me move on.

I shall give the final word to Matt Wagner. One of my favourite comics is his story called Trinity. He set it in the early periods of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman’s crime fighting careers. It’s such a great example of everything that’s wonderful about comics and Batman.


Wonder Woman confronts Superman after yet another for her infuriating meeting with Batman (who she’s decided she really doesn’t like).

Wonder Woman: Why?

Superman: What?

Wonder Woman: Why do you allow him to continue like this? Don’t his methods make him little better than the very criminals he pursues?

Superman: I know. I felt that way once. Maybe it’s the fact that we’re both orphans. I had the benefits of a foster family, but Batman had to grow up on his own. But more important… I know his courage. I’ve seen him throw himself in harm’s way time and time again, all to rescue the lives of the innocent.


Superman: And remember, he’s got no extraphysical prowess like you and I.


Superman: I can’t find it in myself to deny the exercise of such bravery. Even if I don’t always agree with his style. In fact, I often wonder if I were an ordinary man, would I show the same valour?

At it again!

Yup, this could be titled dumb things I have done – part two. Doing things that I shouldn’t be doing because I can’t hack it physically.

This time it was the Scody High Country Challenge. Signed up for it ages ago and was feeling pretty positive about it all. The challenge of Mt Buller seemed appropriate after conquering both Mt Buffalo and Mt Donna Buang. But then it happened.

Six weeks ago, I dislocated my right thumb.

This meant two weeks with no bike riding at all. I couldn’t even tie my own shoe laces, let alone get on a bike. It was over two weeks before I started riding again. But I could only do short distances before the pain in my hand got too bad – damn bumpy road surfaces! I knew there was no way I’d be anywhere near prepared enough for the weekend. But I did it anyway, with about 10 hours proper riding time. My longest ride was an 80km pootle around the Bellarine Peninsula the weekend before. (I do ride to work but that doesn’t really count when it’s only 10kms in the morning and 10kms in the evening.)

Not prepared at all!

Still, I lined up with everyone else on what was a very foggy Saturday morning, wondering if the new battery in my garmin’s speed/cadence sensor would stop the auto-pausing problem I’d been having (answer: yes and no – no because it still happened but yes because it didn’t get stuck paused like it had been). And then it began. We left Mansfield behind and made our way to the base of Mt Buller. At first it was okay. Actually, it was okay for about the first ten kms of the climb. I definitely wasn’t going to set any records for a blistering time but I was still turning the cranks over and I didn’t feeling like I was pedaling squares.

Then the nausea began. My stomach was churning and it got worse the further up the climb I got. In the last four or five kms of the climb, I stopped four times. At one point, I simply stopped. My heart was hammering in my chest and I just couldn’t turn the cranks over any more. I had to stop, I just had to. I forced down a bit of an Clif bar and contemplated the fact that I wasn’t even at the hard bit yet. That moment was a tiny bit soul destroying and I contemplated just turning my bike upside down and waiting for the sag wagon. Yet I didn’t. I clipped back in and suffered my way to the top. And my, did I suffer. My partner stayed with me for the final two kms and as we came around the very last corner, he heard a very little voice behind him squeak “Is that it?” in sheer desperation that it be the truth.

I got the blue “You are here!” sign and promptly got off my bike, fighting the desire to puke up my guts up all over the sign that two seconds ago had been a blessed thing to see. I walked for a bit but hopped back on my bike so I could ride across the finish line. Couldn’t be seen walking across the line!! Then we sat in the town square on top of Mt Buller in glorious sunshine as I chugged down a can of coke (rides are the only time I’ll drink it) and burped my head off. Slowly I started to feel better, my stomach unknotted and I relaxed. I acknowledged that fact that I was totally underdone for the climb. I had no clue just how hard it would be and my lack of knowledge of the climb made it even more difficult because I had no clue how far it was to go.

But I am proud of myself for not packing it in. I might’ve been in last group of people who completed the ascent but I bloody well did it!! I wanted to quit, I thought I should but I didn’t.

The descent was quite fun. I really didn’t like the first bit which is incredibly steep with a hair-pin turn. I was working the brakes the whole way down that bit, probably holding some people up but I didn’t care. I’d already seen what could happen if you crashed and I had no desire to put myself in hospital (one guy did – last I heard he has broken ribs and he cracked a vertebra). It was a much quicker trip back to Mansfield than it was going out. Simple fact is that there’s a lot more down than up on the way back!

Unlike when I climbed Mt Buffalo (with a cold no less!), I had a real feeling of achievement when I crossed the finish line in Mansfield. I had suffered but I had prevailed. I conquered Mt Buller on my first go.

Sunday was meant to be the 125km ride to Whitfield but my dislocated thumb put paid to that idea. It would be a 55km jaunt to Tolmie instead (the first water station and turnaround point). And my, what a tricksy little ride that turned out to be! What I didn’t know at the time was that you essentially start climbing as soon as you get out of Mansfield. Sure, it’s nowhere near as steep but it’s just as long as riding up Mt Buffalo! The “Welcome to Tolmie” sign appeared about 2.5kms before the damn water station!! It seemed to go on forever!

As we stood around the water station, I was eternally grateful that we would be turning around and heading back to Mansfield. And it was one of the funnest descents I’ve done it quite awhile. No real need to brake at all, just lots of big sweepers for corners and the feeling that you’re really in control because it’s not that steep. It was a lot of fun.

Will I do it again next year? Yes. I know it sounds like I had a terrible time but I really didn’t. I got to spend a long weekend in a gorgeous part of Victoria with my partner, doing what we love doing – which is riding our bikes.

But next year, I intend on being waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better prepared.

In other news, I’m heading off overseas next week for a grand jaunt. It goes something like this:

Depart Melbourne 12pm 27 March > arrive LAX 8:30am 27 March (love that whole arriving before you left thing) > Santa Monica 27 – 29 March > fly to Seattle 29 March > Seattle 29 March – 2 April > fly to New York (yay!!!) 2 April > New York 2 – 5 April > fly to Paris 5 April (very late at night too) > Paris from 6 – 12 April > fly to Hong Kong 12 April > Hong Kong 13 – 15 April > fly home to Melbourne 15 April. Arrive home 6am (!!) 16 April.

What’s missing for that is a day being bussed around for this year’s Paris-Roubaix. I think there are three stops along the way and then the tour company we’re going with will take us to the Roubaix Velodrome for the finish. It’s going to be very exciting.

Paris! I’m going to Paris! Mmmm… macaroons.

Tree project

Week sixteen

Perhaps it’s time I did a time-lapse thing…

Nah, I’m gonna lie on my couch and watch Batman: Under the Red Hood again. Best of the DC animated movies thus far. I’m trying to remind myself why I’m getting the Batman comics when the return of Bruce Wayne storyline was so crap. Grant Morrison really needs someone to say no to him on occasion. And an editor. The one shots were pretty good though – probably because Morrison didn’t write them.

Sunday – sleep is proving illusive

So I figure I might as well blog about today.

First port of call was a trip to the art store so I could buy some new Itoyla folios so I’ve got somewhere to keep my comic book pages/art. I also picked up a Bristol sketch pad. Art shops are dangerous places for me. There are always so many thing I could buy but I managed to make it out of there with just what I’d gone in for.

Next stop was a spur of the moment visit to a bike store, Cynergy Cycles so I could check out bike shoes. They had an amazing range of Specialized bikes but that’s not surprising seeing their water bottles state they were the number one dealer in 2008. Somehow I managed to come out of the store with a pair of Sidi bike shoes, even though I told myself I wouldn’t buy any bike shoes unlike the end of my trip. I spent more than I should’ve but I did learn one very valuable thing – I’m a 39 in Sidi shoes, not a 38 like I am in Shimanos. Having bought the shoes, I now understand why they’re so popular. They’re a dream to wear and my feet felt supported and comfortable even walking around in the shop. Can’t wait to get them home and try them out!

After spending ages in the bike shop, we went down to Santa Monica pier. It was so windy I think I’m still pulling knots out of my hair even now. But it was really amazing. The pier was packed so I could people-watch to my heart’s content. I really like Santa Monica. There are loads of cyclists around and people are out with their families. It has a great community feel to it that I think is missing from a lot of LA.

We eventually wandered back to the car and to Hi He Ho Comics. I bought myself two t-shirts; a lilac retro Catwoman tee and a grey Barb Gordon Batgirl one. Lilac not a colour choice I’d usually make but Haley assured me that it looked good. I have to get over this thing of only feeling comfortable in mostly black clothing. If I can get about in skin-tight lyrca, I should be able to wear a pale lilac t-shirt!!

Anyhoo… after the trip to the comic book shop, we headed to Quinton and Trisha’s house for dinner. But of course, I didn’t take a single photo. I never seem to manage photos in social settings like this so you’ll just have to take my word that it happened. There weren’t too many of us but that just made it easier to converse and catch up. Much good food was consumed and the mint slices I bought were a hit (think I’m going to be sending a few packets of those over when I get home). I don’t usually eat pork but the pulled pork Jackie and Jake brought with them was so delicious I went back for seconds.

I am so fortunate to have the friends I do here. They’re all so unfaltering in their generosity. When I’m here I feel like I’m the centre of attention and it’s a nice way to feel. Maybe I’m a better version of myself here, a more likable one that encourages people to be good to me. I don’t know. Maybe they do it at home too but I’ve gotten used to it so I don’t notice.

Right now I’m crashed out on a fold out couch at Jackie and Jake’s house, sharing space with a kitten. I don’t know what Jackie, Daniel and I will get up to tomorrow (or rather today when the sun is up) but I’m sure it’ll be fun no matter what. Daniel is such an adorable kid and he actually remembers me from the first visit. Maybe tomorrow will be a trip to Target to stock up on peanut butter M&Ms and other chocolate treats.

Tuesday is going to be a cracker, with a tour of the FlashForward lot. I’m really looking forward to that. Never been on a studio lot before so it’ll be exciting to see all the sets and be able to walk around. Maybe I’ll get to see filming.

Supanova, Sydney

I haven’t been to a Supanova show before. And this was the first time I’d traveled interstate for a ‘pop culture expo’. Not sure I’ll be doing it again any time soon. But really, we all know the only reason I went was because Tim was going to be there.

First of all I’ll say: Karl Urban – phoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw! I got to see him right as the show ended and I was standing outside the green room chatting with the wonderful Mark who’d been Tim’s con helper. He walked past me carrying a full sized Storm Trooper cut-out that was missing its head which had tipped backwards. I didn’t even realise who it was when I piped up with you’ve lost your head. Then he looked at me and I realised who it was. Heh. Definitely hot in real life.

I officially died on Friday night when I shook Dave “Watchmen” Gibbons’ hand. I was standing with Tim when he came over but I didn’t actually realise who he was! We shook hands and he said his name and I quietly died on the inside after realising I was meeting someone who’s work I enormously admire. (Okay, I’m not so keen on the Black Freighter stuff in Watchmen but the rest of it is marvelous.) Tim gave me a gentle ribbing about being the babbling, giggly fan-girl after meeting Mr Gibbons but being all cool when near him.

I spent most of the weekend sitting behind Tim and occasionally taking photographs of the fast passes he was doing. I really missed all my American peeps though. Going to stuff like this should be a group thing, it’s something that’s meant to be shared. I’m not saying I didn’t have a good time because I did. It was wonderful to watch Tim do his thing and I thought all of his fast passes were fantastic. It was also great to have time to talk to him and to Diana who was traveling with him. Still, I missed the experience of being part of a group.

The biggest issue I had with Supanova was the extremely poor organisation when it came to getting people through the door. I arrived at the venue on Saturday morning at 9.30 which I was thought was sufficient time to get in. But no, it took me over two hours to get inside and I was rather cranky as it was cold, occasionally drizzling and there was no signage to explain where we were supposed to line up.

I had thought pre-buying a ticket was a good idea but it really wasn’t. The line for people buying a ticket moved more quickly, which made me really angry. It turned out they had exactly two people managing the pre-paid line: one giving out stamps for the single day tickets and one giving out wrist bans for weekend passes. I’ve never seen this done before and it’s a bloody stupid idea. The simple fact was they needed more people to managed the lines and much better signage. I had no idea which line I was supposed to be in and actually ended up in the wrong one at one point.

The other thing that irks me is the presence of wrestling at these events. Armageddon does the same thing and I loath it. It’s noisy and really irritating. I understand that it bring in larger crowds but do they really have to put the ring in the middle of the venue?

But that’s enough whinging…

Highlights of the weekend were:
1. One girl who was a volunteer managing to wiggle out of her shift because she wanted to meet Tim so badly. Comic book fans can be remarkably gracious and I think everyone of them thanked Tim profusely for coming to Australia.
2. Seeing a folio of Tim’s work. So many pretties. If only I had more money!
3. Talking to Nicola Scott about Secret Six and seeing the original pages.
4. Getting to see all of the fast passes Tim did.
5. R2-D2 coming to visit the table. And then following Diana around. That was adorable.
6. Mark, who was Tim’s con helper. He was so nice to me when he could’ve told me to get out from behind the table. And not forgetting Skye who was also lovely. It was great to have people to talk to when Tim was away from the table or just busy. They made me feel welcome and part of the group.
7. Dinner with Tim and Diana on Sunday night at a tappas bar.
8. Seeing the pencils for my Daredevil piece on Sunday and then having Tim say he was waiting for the “squee!” (which I did, very quietly).
9. Getting myself to and from the venue without getting lost. I think that’s a real accomplishment for someone totally unfamiliar with Sydney’s train system.
10. Getting a sketch from Dave Gibbons when his sign specifically said no sketches.

And finally… a photo I’m pretty pleased with:

I have poor impulse control


Because I just bought…

The last few weeks haven’t been the best for me so I decided I deserved a treat. And it is almost xmas. But it’s not all about pleasing my ID because I’ll be paying it off over the next two months. Two months waiting for my latest Tim Sale pretty. Sigh. Money is going to be unbelievably tight but I’ll just have to be more careful about what I squander, I mean, spend my disposable income on in the next few months.

I wonder if I ask nicely enough if he’ll ink it for me.

More comic book art goodies

The Armageddon pop culture expo was on this weekend and the only reason I went was because Jim Lee was going to be there. After Baltimore, the idea of heading to an pop culture expo really didn’t seem that appealing, especially when it features live wrestling. Bleugh!

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on some exhibitors passes so I didn’t have to pay to get in which was great. This’ll be harsh but it wasn’t anywhere near as good as last year and I found myself able to walk around the entire thing in about 10 minutes flat. A good con should take at least half an hour to navigate around, even if you don’t stop to look at anything. I suppose what I want from this sort of thing is different from other people because I want a proper artists’ alley. There were only a handful of local artists so my idea of getting a stack of Doctor Who sketches went out the window. Maybe next year at Supanova.

As I had an exhibitors’ pass, I decided to check it out on Saturday, even though I was on my own. I took my camera along, hoping to get some shots of artists at work but the light was so crap I couldn’t get decent shot without a tripod. I was most disappointed because I really wanted to see if I could get a photo of Jim Lee in a similar vein to the ones I’ve got of Barry Kitson. I really didn’t want to resort to using a flash, especially as I don’t have proper one and it would’ve been the one in the camera. At least I got to find this out before today. It would’ve killed me to have taken my camera only to discover I couldn’t use it in my normal fashion (ie: without a flash).

Anyhoo… I did get me some goodies…
Chris Bones – Batman.
Chris was great. I had a giggle talking to him and he loves Matt Wagner and Tim Sale so I got to excessively name-drop while I was talking to him. He also had a busted knee and a sign that said Will draw for food (or beer) which I found highly amusing. Great guy and a super artist. Good way to spend $20.

Sarah Milne – zombie Batman.
Sarah was fabulous. She was so funny and her sketches were brilliant. She was doing portraits of people but as zombies. But I didn’t want one of me, I wanted one of Batman. It makes me chuckle every time I look at it.

Joel Gomez – Green Arrow.
Joel was so lovely. He has a real enthusiasm for his work and I really loved talking with him. While queuing for Jim Lee, I saw him with Green Arrow sketch that looked extremely cool. I approached him and asked if he still had it but it turns out it was someone. Then he offered to do one for me. Very cool and I like the fact that Ollie has narrowed eyes. Bargain for $45.

Jim Lee – Batgirl.
I think I would’ve lost it if I’d queued for six hours and not come away with something from Jim Lee. I got this at about 5pm and he’s started timing himself in an effort to get to everyone in the line. He knocked out my Barb Gordon Batgirl in about four minutes. It was amazing watching him work. Best of all, the sketch was free.

For all my complaining at the start of this post, the day was pretty good really. I had good company in the Jim Lee queue and I got something that I wanted. Plus I managed to score a few other really nice pieces so I’d rate today as a success.

Exploring Orange County

We drove around Orange County today looking for comic book shops. There were meant to be four within easy distance but in the end we only found three. MapQuest lead us astray.

The second one we found to was a bit creepy. It’s everything a modern comic shop shouldn’t be. It smelt bad and the people behind the counter were the scary comic book guys I tend to run away from if given a choice. We stayed in there for about five minutes before bailing and moving on.

The final one we went to was Comics Unlimited and it had the rarest of creatures – a chick working behind the counter! I finally bought something – a t-shirt with the yellow elliptical Batman logo and vol. 3 of Runaways (so much cheaper than what I’d pay at home). I’ve got my green Superman t-shirt on and she commented on it so I gave her one of my mini-moo cards. Pity I didn’t have one of my superhero cards – which reminds me I need to find them because I’m sure I put them in my suitcase somewhere.

Tonight I’m flying to Washington. I’m sure there’s a million more things I could’ve done but I’m actually glad I skipped the standard tourist things like Disneyland. The closest I got to it was a visit to downtown Disney for dinner (Cajun food – yum!) and driving past it. The standard tourist fare isn’t something that really appeals to me but I do wish I could’ve managed a visit to Venice Beach. I could’ve gone to MOCA yesterday but it was getting on in the afternoon and we got stuck in traffic as it was. I dread to think what it would’ve been like if we’d left later. Maybe next time.

Today’s photo:

Hoorah :)

The mini-moo cards came out brilliantly and I didn’t mess up the text on the back. Booyah! Man of steel is my favourite I think, followed by Haunted Knight and The Long Halloween. Now all I have to do is make myself give them out when I’m in Baltimore. I’m going to keep a few for myself as well.

Also, there’s a suitcase in my bedroom that’s just waiting to be filled.

And now we have…


I’m still not 100% sure about it. I think I blew out the white too much but the hands look really cool and I like to think I captured a little of why scarecrows are so damn creepy. Not being able to see his face makes you start filling in the details and there could be anything under that big, pointy hat.