365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

T-shirt #229: Work shirt - Joe Phat

T-shirt #229: Work shirt - Joe Phat & "Don't bother me when I am writing" hat

See the hat? Seems pretty self-evident, but more on it farther below, but first my preamble to today's entry.

I write about comic books a lot. This is quite an under-statement. Once again pulling on stats, comic books have been the subject focus of 70 of my 229 entries so far. The majority of the entries in the comic book category are shirts with comic book art, but not in every case, as I use the category for any comic book content. Though it's the dominant subject of my blog, 70 of 229 is no where near half the blog. Top subject though it may be, there's still a lot of variety. In terms of subjects, sports, TV and movies, Ultimate, and music are the next largest subject categories, not counting things like logos, shirts by color, and gifts. I know you faithful readers tune in just for these blog re-caps, so there you go.

I add all of this content as preamble because yet again I have more comic book content, and I am featuring another comic book shirt. Today's shirt is my original Joe Phat shirt from the Mage series. I originally featured Joe Phat in T-shirt #140 in August. I bought a second Joe Phat because this one developed a hole, not that you can see it in the pictures. When I put the shirt on for the pictures, it got stuck on my huge nose, so I left it that way and took the shot. Trying to mix it up. Anyway, after its damage, I bought a new Joe Phat shirt and relegated this one to "work" shirt, not caring if it gets soiled (which so far it has not).

I also decided to feature the hat that my sister embroidered for me many years ago. I am wearing my Fantastic Four shirt today, so I left it on to get it more exposure. It's a new shirt and was featured in T-shirt #207. I want to dispel the notion that I wear a different shirt each day and that it is always the featured shirt. This is not true. And as I am loving my new FF shirt, it's getting worn frequently. So, the hat. I do not wear the hat much, but I have worn it in the past to indicate that I cannot be spoken to when I trek down to the kitchen (which in the West Gull Lake Drive house was down two flights of stairs) for coffee or water. The hat has always been on display in my office, ready to top off my head if I want to be left alone. Not sure if I would want to try this tactic with my wife. But I think it's a neat hat. Often, I am writing in my head, even when I am not actually typing, which is what makes the hat so useful and true.

Today's blog is dedicated to quickie reviews of recent comic book reads. I am not going to indulge in reviews that are too long, but I wanted to get some thoughts down as this is my purpose in life, apparently.

Oh, so back to the preamble. Comic books have become more important since I started the blog. Don't get me wrong. I have always loved my comic books. I have been an avid reader and purchaser (not sure if I am really a collector in the strictest sense) of comics all my life.

My purchasing of many main titles has been consistent and uninterrupted since around 1985. And though comics have always been a part of my life, they have taken on a new and special importance now that I am writing about them more often. Back in the mid-1990s, I wrote about comics in small press and in the Kalamazoo Gazette, where I penned a weekly column about comic books for two years. I think some of this content may have to make its way to the blog.


Read on at your own risk.

Anyway, I am rejuvenated in my attraction to comic books and how seriously I regard them than I have been in many years, simply because I feel that I must produce content about them, and I am deeply honored to learn that I have readers who actually read this content. With that in mind, here are some thoughts about some recent comic books in short (I hope) pithy sound bites of not enormous length.

Guardians of the Galaxy #008 (Bendis/Francavilla) - I raved about Francavilla's art in T-shirt #206 in my review of Afterlife with Archie, for which his art is perfectly suited. I do think his art is gorgeous, but it's not the right art for the Guardians of the Galaxy. He does a wonderful job with the art in his style, but there are so many better suited artists for this book that I am a bit puzzled as to why Francavilla was selected. I suspect Bendis manipulation. As for writer Brian Michael Bendis, this is not his best work. So far, I am under-whelmed, and issue eight is definitely one of the best in terms of characterization.

In part, the problems with this book are due to the team. The original Guardians had more engaging characters. These Guardians are not very interesting as a group (though individually they are).

X-Men: Battle for the Atom #2: (Aaron & various) - I am very disappointed in the wrap-up of this series. Originally, I reviewed the opening salvo of this series in what has become one of my most popular blog entries: T-shirt #176. I liked the premise, though it was a retread of the famous "Days of Future Past" storyline. But here, there were some interesting twists: intriguing X-Men from the future, three versions of Iceman (four if you count his current old and young self twice), Jean Grey in the Xorn helmet, and the imperative that the original X-Men MUST go back to the past, their time, to save the future.

The series has been worth reading, so much so that I picked up one of the X books I am not buying just to read the whole story. The art is a let down alone as Frank Cho drew the original capstone book. These artists are not bad. There's a whole bunch of them, which indicates to me that Cho failed a deadline and Marvel had to scramble to get this book out on time with whomever could be cobbled together.

But aside from the art let down, the story is not very good. The issue begins as the five bands of X-Men (two teams of future X-Men, Wolverine's current team, Cyclops' current team, and the original X-Men) all face off against a SHIELD Heli-Carrier and new SHIELD Sentinels. The story starts off well as one of the Beasts gets killed. There's a great splash page of the coming of a mammoth Sentinel. But then, the plot tries to do too much with too few pages. Significant story elements are rushed. There's more good character stuff, such as future Jean Grey blaming the Wolverine-Cyclops feud for the awful future she's from and suggesting they stop being stupid and work together, which is an excellent point.  But the death of this future Jean Grey is poorly handled and completely anti-climactic. The reason she is in the Xorn helmet is never fully established. The whole thing does not live up to the promise of the nine chapters and the massive cross-over that preceded it. The epilogues are equally rushed and abbreviated. A future son of Xavier and other "evil" mutants from the future are still loose in the present? And then, the capper is Kitty Pryde quitting the X-Men with no lead up or dramatic tension at all. What? This is nonsense. And like this is the first time someone has quit the X-Men. Whatever. Hardly a fitting climax. It's also boring. YAWN.

Kick-Ass Volume 3 #4 - (Millar/Romita, Jr.) - On the other hand, Kick Ass continues to be excellent in both writing and art. I am not one of the many crazed mutant zombie legions of Millar fans, but I do like his stuff (though I do not buy it all). This issue is excellent and a great next installment in the series. I can't wait for the rest. Wonderful stuff. If you like comics and are not reading Kick Ass, get to it. Ignore the movies. Read the books!

Superior Spider-Man #20 - I have done no investigation to learn the prevailing fan opinion of Doc Ock's mind in charge of Peter Parker/Spider-Man's body, but I have loved it so far. I appreciate Marvel's willingness to mix it up. Peter Parker had a good run of 50 years. Time to give someone else a try. We all know that Peter will be back in his own body eventually (actually by the end of the year), but the stories have been engaging anyway. In issue #20, either unaware of their history or not caring, the Doc Ock/Spider-Man punches out the Black Cat and leaves her for the police after one of her heists. There's also good development of the ongoing stories, including a mysterious coma patient who will have something to do with the return of Peter Parker. Most interesting is the culmination of Octavius/Parker losing his bid for a doctorate when someone claims he (seemingly Parker) plagiarized Otto Octavius!


The Trial of the Punisher (Two issue one shot) (Guggenheim/Yu/Suayan/Gho) - I have always liked the Punisher, and I owe Andrew at Fanfare for helping me obtain both issues. This story developed from Guggenheim asking a smart question: how come the Punisher has never been on trial? He has been in prison several times, but he has never been in a court room. The story developed from that excellent "what if" question. The story is tight and well written. The first issue was drawn by Leinil Francis Yu, whose scribbly art I usually do not like, though I think I just dislike him as an artist on the Avengers. With a comic like this one, Yu's art works very well and is beautiful. Mico Suayan draws issue two. Though his rendering of the Punisher's face looks nothing like the Punisher, the art is very good. I strongly recommend this two-issue series for lovers of the Punisher.

That's all for today. I am going to review more of my recent likes and dislikes tomorrow. Stay tuned.

- chris tower - 1311.05 - 9:10