And I heard the Schoolhouse Rock theme the whole time

November 7, 2006

Voting is one of those things that just make me feel virtuous. It’s like donating towels to the animal shelter or turning in a car-load of recyclables or, I imagine, giving blood. It just puts a spring in my step, and I can go home and be a lazy slob with a clear conscience.

Today’s voting experience was clearly stacked with extra feel-good elements. Everyone at the polling place obviously was on a similar high of civic engagement. Three generations of one family showed up at the same time we did, and everyone was delighted that they’d brought the new baby to get him or her in the habit early (though I don’t think he or she had time to register).

I had never used an electronic voting machine before. While I’ve heard all of the stories about their unreliability, I can’t say I missed the paper ballot with the Number 02 pencil, as that always invoked uncomfortable memories of standardized tests and the certainty that I hadn’t filled in the bubbles correctly (either too faint or too enthusiastic) and wouldn’t get into the college of my choice. I did wonder why it didn’t ask me if I wanted cash back after casting my ballot, but that’s probably a side effect of spending too much time in the self-check-out at the grocery store.

I’m very anxious about the results of this election, even more at the local level. An out-of-state coal executive has been spending who knows how much cash to ensure a Republican majority in the state legislature, funding advertisements without the apparent participation or approval of the candidates he supports. I’m hoping the transparency of the ploy manages to swing things in the opposite direction. The backlash from Democrats in the state has been vicious but hilarious.

Anyway, go vote.


You’re always a day away

November 7, 2006

Another week, another opportunity to ponder the mysteries of the ComicList. Some weeks I get lucky, and Del Rey titles show up earlier than they do from Diamond (as with the excellent Genshiken vol. 7). Some weeks I’m left to writhe in jealousy as everyone else gets Love Roma vol. 4 before I do. MangaCast has a preview of Del Rey’s shôjo version of Train Man, which I believe is due in bookstores today, if not in comic shops tomorrow.

I’m curious about Project Romantic from AdHouse, but it wasn’t a book that I was confident in buying sight unseen. I’m sure I’ll get the chance when I hit Columbus for the holidays.

The concept for Hero Heel (Juné) tickles me, focusing on unexpected romance among actors in a super-hero TV show. Pick your favorite Heroes actors and play along!

Looking for something in a chic, josei, nouvelle manga style? Fanfare/Ponent Mon is releasing a new printing of Kan Takahama’s Kinderbook.

Mmmm… Greek food. Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey travel to the cradle of democracy for Action Philosophers #7: It’s All Greek To You.

Oni releases the second issue of Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt’s The Damned, a solid fusion of mob drama and supernatural weirdness.

I’m intrigued by 12 Days from Tokyopop, either in spite or because of its faintly nauseating premise. Here’s a preview from editor Lillian Diaz-Pryzbyl.

And of course, there’s always Death Note vol. 8 (Viz – Shonen Jump Advanced). MangaCast notes that the first volume of this series keeps popping up on Japanese best-seller lists.

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It seems that John Jakala is not alone. At Read About Comics, Greg McElhatton looks at the first two volumes of Drifting Classroom (Viz – Signature) and finds them really, really loud:

“With The Drifting Classroom two of its eleven volumes are now translated, and I can’t help but wonder if publishing the other nine books could somehow result in a worldwide shortage of exclamation points thanks to its relentless intensity.”

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And in this week’s Flipped, I take the really ill-advised step of reviewing Osamu Tezuka’s Ode to Kirihito (Vertical), in spite of the fact that tons of people have already done it really well. Here are some more successful examples: