Monthly Archives: November 2004

Why Aren’t You Reading This?

PLANETARY

Written By Warren Ellis
Art By John Cassaday

Have you ever wondered what strange things are out there? I don’t mean the strange things folks normally wonder about. I’m not talking about lights flashing in the sky or aliens landing just outside of Roswell.

I’m talking about Stranger Things.

I’m talking about the first launch of a capsule to the moon. In 1851.

I’m talking about an atomic woman with a half-life of fifty years.

I’m talking about the secret society run by Sherlock Holmes, Victor Frankenstein, and Dracula.

You know, Stranger Things.

These Stranger Things are the subject of Planetary, one of the greatest comics on the stands today. Planetary isn’t a super-group or an odd assemblage of do-gooders. No, Planetary is a worldwide organization of strange archaeologists. There’s a field team made up of Jakita Wagner, a woman who can run faster than a cheetah and dropkick a rhino across the grand canyon; The Drummer, a complete weirdo who can talk to electronic signals; and the reluctant Elijah Snow, a detective born in 1900 with the power to freeze water with his thoughts. Planetary was created and is funded by the mysterious Fourth Man. Nobody knows who he is, but finding out is the great mystery of the first twelve issues.

Of course, there are those who want the secrets to be kept secrets, for things to run smoothly in their tight grip. Those people are The Four, a malicious Fantastic Four analogue set against Planetary at every step, determined to preserve the status quo for their own benefit.

And that’s where things really get interesting.

With Planetary, Warren Ellis is paying tribute to all of the fantastic stories of days gone by. Want some Flash Gordon? It’s here. Tarzan? Here. Want to find out how long it would take The Incredible Hulk to starve to death? That’s in here, too. Ellis puts a new spin on the stories we all used to read or watch when movies and comics didn’t cost so damn much. He makes them new and returns that sense of wonder we all seem to have lost so long ago.

But he couldn’t do it without John Cassaday.

Cassaday has really made it over the last few years with high-profile gigs on Captain America and Astonishing X-Men. Planetary, however, is what he excels at. His pencils and inks bend and twist through a kaleidoscope of settings, and his work never looks like it doesn’t belong. He doesn’t have to pretend. He just goes for it and pulls it off every single time. Whether it’s a ghost cop on the streets of Hong Kong or Godzilla’s corpse or a mesa that turns into a gigantic stone man, Cassaday makes it work each time, filling the reader with that sense of wonder and awe that really makes Planetary sing.

Planetary is one of the best books out there. The first eighteen issues are available in three trades, and the first twelve have been collected in an oversized hardback along with one of Warren Ellis’s scripts and various production notes.

So… Why aren’t you reading this?

Preparing to binge

Ah, Thanksgiving. What am I thankful for? I’m thankful that I’ll be eating smoked turkey this year. I’m thankful for the concept of “pot-luck dessert.” I’m thankful I get to make my zucchini mushrooms. These are all beautiful things. By tomorrow afternoon, I’ll have put back on the twenty pounds I shed in the last year.

And it will be good.

The sun keeps popping in and out from behind a thick blanket of clouds, teasing Austin better than my old friend Heather could tease a room of thirty drunks. Rumors around the city say it’s supposed to dry out this weekend. I’ll wait and see. All I know is that it’s a week before December, and I got to wear shorts yesterday. There’s something very wrong there.

I’ve decided to throw a few reviews of things I think you should be reading up here. I’ve got provided some kind of material for you, right? Look for the first one on Monday.

I feel so old.

With the sun coming up and going down so many times today, I’m convinced that I lost at least four days off of my life since I woke up this morning. If you want to help me get those four days back, then email me for an address to send cash to.

Until then, go to Doghouse Records and listen to Cruiserweight’s This Ain’t No Beach Party. It’s divine, I tell you.

We Are Go

Static Broadcasting. Here we go.

My name’s Nate. I write. I live in Texas. No, I don’t have a gun.

Well, there’s the formalities out of the way.

My short story “Hell Inside” was published in issue ten of Thirteen a week or so ago. It’s a fun little story. Think Gladiator, but with zombies instead of lions. It gory and depressing and action-packed. Fun for the whole family, really.

I’m getting a kick out of writing zombies. There’s a lot to work with there, since there aren’t a lot of hard and fast rules. I recently wrote another short story set in the same universe as the upcoming A TRIP TO RUNDBERG. It’s making the submission rounds right now. There’s a few other Rundberg story ideas floating around in my cracked noggin. We’ll see what happens to them.

Go read Brian Keene’s THE RISING. Best zombie novel I’ve ever read. Yes, I said “zombie novel.”

Oh, and avoid purchasing Half-Life 2 if you wish to be at all productive. Great game, but too damn addictive.