Thursday, July 26, 2007

Harry Potter and the Failed Oracle

Okay, if you've read the book

SPOILER WARNING!! Invisotext on!

you'll realize very few of my predictions came true. In a way, I'm relieved, mostly because they led to a sadder-but-wiser ending I doubt would have pleased many kids... and let's not forget, this is KID'S FICTION. Adults read it but they aren't Rowling's target audience. (If they were, we'd see more grown-ups packing the front rows at her readings.)

Invisotext off

I finished reading the book around midnight last night and was satisfied. Kat might be done today and I hope we'll discuss it on the flight out to San Diego. If nothing else, it provides room for lots of speculation and discussion.

Did you read it? Are you avoiding it like the plague? Write in!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Harry Potter update

Okay, I'm on page 500-something; Kat is a notch ahead of me because she was up until 2am reading.
So far, this book is incredible.
I'm avoiding spoilers as much as possible, even though two mouthy kids in Old Town were busy spouting info about the last chapter and epilogue (thanks!). With this much invested, I'm not interested in some clown blowing the whole thing for me.
Which is to say...
I'm not posting any spoilers here or linking to them or anything.
You want to know how it ends? READ THE BOOK!
I think you'll enjoy it more that way. I know I will.

San Diego Bound

Hey folks!

Kat and I are going to San Diego Comic-Con this Friday. For me, it's a business trip; for her, it's an action-packed thrill ride. (She's never been-- I hope it won't overwhelm her TOO much!) This would not happen without the kindness of John Nee at DC Comics, so a big "THANKS, JOHN!" goes out to him. Can't wait to see the guy in SD.

Seems like every day brings more announcements and news. Jenna Jameson is doing a comic book? Okay. I already know Rosario Dawson will be there touting her book, which is cool (Kevin Smith said she's "the hottest geek on the planet" after talking comics with her).

Mostly I'm looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. Kat and I are going to visit with Mike Carey after the X-Men sign-a-thon Sunday, plus there will be a bunch of "did you see?" moments. Kat has her heart set on the HEROES panel Saturday and on seeing Clive Owen Friday afternoon (she's even skipping a Neil Gaiman panel!).

In short, this is going to be one fabulous trip. If I can, I'll blog from the con. If not, expect a LOT of posts shortly after!

see ya!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter and the End of Reading

We're about two days from knowing what Fate (aka JK Rowling) has in store for Harry Potter and crew... though, if you believe the Internet, you can find all of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows online already for your spoilage pleasure.

For a long while now, I've shared with family and friends-- well, basically, anyone who cares-- my theory about how it will end. It's not a complete narrative, just a handful of things I'm betting will happen, including the outcome:

  • Voldemort dies (big surprise on that prediction, eh?)-- this is permanent, no returning, he is DEAD DEAD DEAD
  • Most likely supporting character death: Severus Snape
  • Second most likely: Ron
  • Who else has a bullseye on their forehead? Ginny (a long shot), Hermione (also a long shot), Prof. McGonagle (even money), Neville (um, pretty good odds, actually), Draco Malfoy (probably not)
  • Kreacher betrays the Order of the Phoenix to the Death Eaters
  • Nearly all of the Death Eaters, especially Malfoy and Bellatrix, die in the last great battle
  • Dumbledore returns briefly through a magical contrivance but does not stay in the land of the living for very long-- his role is pivotal but brief
  • Snape betrays the Death Eaters and is killed by Voldemort, possibly after taking out the next-to-last Horcrux
  • What happens to Harry? Well... Harry is the final Horcrux, the last piece of Voldemort's soul that resides outside his body. The manifestation is Harry's scar. Harry reaches a moment of decision, where he can defeat Voldemort and render him mortal--and thus killable. All he has to do is give up his magic-- permanently. No taking it back, no drinking a potion, no, this is FOR GOOD. No more Quidditch, no more flying on a broomstick, no more Diagon Alley or Hogwarts or hanging around the Weasley household or dragons or anything. HE MUST SACRIFICE EVERYTHING HE LOVES TO DEFEAT VOLDEMORT.
  • He does.
  • He makes the sacrifice, giving up everything that makes him special, and Voldemort is destroyed.
  • Harry finds that he still has his friends (those who survive, anyway) who are astounded by what he's done. He may no longer be a wizard--he's now only a Muggle--but he's a hero.
  • The book flash-forwards to when Harry and his wife (not a wizard, not Ginny) are proud grandparents... and find their latest grand-baby has magic powers. Here we go again.

Just my thoughts. I was intrigued that Keith Olbermann on Countdown came to the same conclusions regarding Harry's fate. I don't think JK Rowling came all that way just to kill Harry-- it's too easy, for one thing, and lacks the poignancy of sacrifice that has been a theme in the last few books especially. No, I think she has something more painful, more tragic and more heroic in mind for Harry.

I guess we'll see on July 21!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund call from Jim Lee

Hey everyone,
Reposting an email from Jim Lee, asking for support for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. It's a great cause-- read why he's making the ask below.

Forgive me for the mass email but time's running out and the SDCC is right around the corner!

To my fellow professionals--
In comics, we're always telling stories about people inlife-threatening situations. That's thrilling in a comic book, but in real life it's the scariest ordeal you can imagine. Right now Gordon Lee, a retailer in Rome, GA, is facing the fight of his life. This August he will finally stand trial against two counts of distributing harmful-to-minors materials.

He faces penalties of up to a year inprison and fines of up to $1,000 on each count if convicted.

Gordon has been fighting to prove his innocence for almost three years.

Fighting through being overcharged with two felonies and five misdemeanors, most of which were later thrown out.

Fighting though the prosecution throwing out and refiling their case because the day before the trial, they discovered that their facts were wrong.

And now, fighting against two remaining charges that are completely meritless.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has taken up the fight for Gordon, and now we need to help them finish that that fight. Right now, I'm asking you to join me in supporting the CBLDF's work on this case. To date, they've spent nearly $80,000 defending Gordon, and they expect the trial to cost another $20,000 on top of that. To ensure that they have the cash on hand for Gordon's August trial, and to shore up their reserves for what could be a very litigious Presidential election year, they need our donations now.

Please join me in supporting the Fund by making a donation of cash, original art, high-grade comics, or even some of your time (like I did in 2003 when I did a signing at Defender of Liberty recipient Chuck Rozanski's Mile High Comics as part of a CBLDF benefit auction).

It's up to those of us who rely on comics for our living to stand behind the Fund in protecting our own. The Fund needs all of our support to win this case-- a conviction won't just harm Gordon, but its precedent could affect all of our livelihoods.

To donate art or collectibles for the Comic-Con auction, please send an email to to let them know what you are contributing.

If you have it available, include a jpg of your donation so they can list it in their auction preview online. You can see my donation--a penciled promo piece of Batman for the upcoming DCUMMO--alongside this message.

To donate money, go to .To make sure that the Fund can include your donation in their Comic-Con auction preview, please be sure to get in touch with them with a jpg no later than Sunday, July 15. You can send the physical piece to their office until July 20th, or deliver it to them onsite at Comic-Con.

Please join me in helping the CBLDF raise the resources it needs to win this important case. If you have questions, or to let the Fund know what you're sending, email Charles Brownstein or Greg Thompson at or call them at the CBLDF office (212-679-7151).

And please send your contributions to CBLDF, 271 Madison Ave, Suite 1400, New York, NY 10016... and tell them that I sent you!

Thanks for joining me in support,
Jim Lee

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Comics: What am I Reading?

Let's see, what's on my list for this week?

  • Countdown #42
  • Exiles #96
  • Gen13 #10
  • Green Lantern #21
  • Justice Society of America #7
  • Omega Flight #4
  • Shadowpact #15
  • StormWatch PHD #9
  • Superman #664
  • Ultimate X-Men #81
  • World War Hulk: Gamma Corps #1

Hm. That's seven DC titles, four Marvel, no independents. Strong week for DC!

I'm looking forward to the Sinestro Corps War-- that's probably the most exciting thing I've seen lately, especially the big reveal of the SC's big guns. I mean, geez. Geoff Johns dug deep for an all-star lineup.

Also looking forward to where Countdown is going. Gotta admit, I'm not as excited as I was by 52, but this seems geared to lead directly into Final Crisis (if the word of mouth is on target)... and who knows what that'll be?

Anyway, some interesting stuff percolating out there. Keep reading!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Monmouth Regional Class of '82 Reunion!

40-Somethings Rampage in Central Jersey- Film at 11!

Just came back yesterday from my 25th high school reunion. We had about 50-60 attendees for the obligatory Friday night stop at Morgan's and the picnic on Saturday afternoon (I have no idea how many showed up for Monmouth Park on Sunday, since Kat and I were already headed home).

It was great seeing so many people. I didn't have the chance to say hi to as many folks as I'd have liked-- some of you were probably ducking me-- but did manage to catch up with a number of classmates I hadn't seen since '82.

A big "great seeing you!" to (alphabetically):
Mary Ellen Abbiati, Bernie Banks, Glen Campbell (and family), Vicky Damrose, Bernie Daniels, Joe Episcopo, Mary Ellen Ferrigno, Ben Forest (and family), Charlton Goodrich, Craig James, Lynn Joshua, Lenzy Kelley, Michelle Levesque, Anna Martinez, Carole McCall, Ken McGee, Adam McInnis, Mary Beth Murphy, Larry Neis (grandmaster of the reunion group and a great guy), Cheryl Persson, Carole and Cindy Redd, Cathy Reinbacher, Sean Smith (and family), Scott Thacke... who am I leaving off this list? And of course, there were a lot of you that I saw but didn't say hi to-- maybe next time.

And thanks to Katie Schondel for her business card-- my wife's family LOVES Marriott!

The 30th reunion is set for July 12, 2012, and I hope we'll see everyone there. In the meantime, check back here soon-- I plan to post (or link to) pix from this reunion, as well as from some recent fun stuff Kat and I have done.

Friday, July 6, 2007

...and Have Fun!

Hey, it was a great Fourth of July this year.

First up for me was seeing "Live Free or Die Hard." Despite being encumbered with the worst, clunkiest title for a movie I've seen in ages, the movie rocks pretty hard. The pitch sounds silly-- John McClane vs. cyberterrorists--but they pull it off. And the premise is not-so-silly when you think about it. Wonder if Roderick Thorp ever thought his character would be taken to this extreme?

Strong points: Bruce Willis still kicking butt in his fifties, Justin Long being *far* less annoying than he is as Mac-guy, Mary Elizabeth Winstead showing she's more than just a pretty face (along with having one of the three or four best lines) and Timothy Olyphant (why can't I get past "Girl Next Door" with this guy?) who makes the mastermind a bundle of frustrated rage and misplaced aggression.

Weak points: the fighter jet chewing up an overpass with rockets and machine gun fire was not exactly, ahem, believable. It was a glaring "what the F?" moment in a movie (in a series) that prides itself on being *somewhat* in the real world.

Then I hiked from the AMC Hoffman to Old Town, where Brooke and Matt found me in a Starbucks, reading Mike Carey's new novel. (It's good, folks.)

We went and met Kat for dinner at O'Connells (located on lovely King Street, near the waterfront), then wandered down to said waterfront and walked. And walked. Heck, we walked up as far as Braddock Metro. We found a good spot with a view of the DC skyline, noticed it was about 8:15, and figured what the heck, we'd watch some fireworks. Kat and Brooke both had to call the restaurant to ask about items they'd forgotten but all was well-- the staff was on the ball.

Cue the fireworks. Kat had her MP3 player with her, so we could listen to the Capitol Fourth broadcast on radio, which was pretty nice. After the show, we wandered back to King Street, sharing tales of Fourths gone awry, and reclaimed our stuff from the restaurant. Then we had ice cream, and Matt gave us a lift home. (Thanks again!)

All in all, a great day. Hope you all had as much fun as we did. Write a comment and let me know!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Go Fourth...

Not sure if I'll be blogging tomorrow-- I'm hoping to get some writing done on my novel (that November deadline isn't nearly as far away as it used to be)-- but I might break long enough to visit the Mall and see the Folklife Festival. Not sure if we'll stay for the fireworks (Kat hates crowds more than I do) but should be a fun day.

Be good, have a great Fourth of July, and see you back here soon!

Monday, July 2, 2007

What th...? Countdown- Second Teaser Image

This is the bomb. "...And Evil Shall Inherit the Earth"? Dynamite!

Give it a good long look, kids-- this has a LOT of hints on DC's next year of stories, I'm betting.

I would draw your attention to what look like the Black Racer's broken skis, as well as the trio of Supermen in the upper right corner. (Notice how the one with his back to us seems to be wearing a Kryptonian "healing" suit like Kal-El did at the end of Reign of the Supermen?) And could that be Darkseid's infamous stony mug half-buried in the dirt? We already suspected Mary Marvel was going to be better-than-close pals with Eclipso, but where does Granny Goodness fit into all this? Hm. Intriguing.

Not to mention how Trickster, DeSaad and *the Penguin* are in a confab stage right. When was the last time that THE FREAKIN' PENGUIN was a serious player, much less a bird-festooned joke?

What is Martian Manhunter doing with the bad guys?

Why is Luthor screaming, his hands covered in blood? And yeah, it really does look like the Crime Bible (I thought it might've been Destiny's book) next to Luthor's knee.

Oooh, this is a good 'un.

Thanks to reader Walking Through Destiny's Garden for pointing out it's DeSaad, not Destiny. D'oh! Now go read Absorbascon, as Scip has a much better post on this than I do.

Okay, *Another* Paris Hilton Post

This article says it all.


What a great movie!

Saw it yesterday with Sherin, Devon and Jon (no name necessary!) B. Probably the best animation Pixar has ever done, with unbelievable rain, water and fur effects, plus dazzing photo-realistic images of Paris. It's a beautiful city but in Pixar's hands, its magic really comes through.

Remy is an amazingly realized character, with some of the most expressive facial features and body language in a CGI movie to date; Patton Oswalt does a terrific job of grounding this blue-gray furred marvel with a matter-of-fact voice that aspires to greatness even as his heritage is garbage dumps and slop.

The supporting cast is fantastic as well. Brad Garrett in particular stood out to me as the voice of deceased master chef Auguste Gusteau--his vocal flexibility is astounding! Janeane Garofalo was likewise great as Collette, the hard-edged girl in a world of overbearing chauvinists, and Lou Romano brought something special to the film as Linguini, the hapless kid who opens the door for Remy to realize his dreams.

The film pulled in $47M this weekend, which is real good. I don't doubt it'll be a creative steamroller and do huge numbers, as well as big DVD sales. Luckily, this is one movie that deserves the great press it's getting.