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.)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

T-shirt #353 - "Death" - Shi Comic

TODAY'S COUNT: 12 blog posts remaining in the T-shirt year!!

T-shirt #353 - "Death" - Shi Comic

Once I was out for breakfast with my good friend Chris Dilley, who speaks Chinese and has lived in China for short periods of time, and he asked "Why do you have death on your t-shirt?"

"It's from a comic book. Shi."


Sadly, I could not offer much more back than that.

I could not recall the details then that I can share with you here after some Internet searching.

Apparently the Japanese character for "death" and the Chinese are very much similar.

Shi is a character created by William Tucci and came to prominence in independent comics in the early 1990s. Like the shirt's character, her name translates literally as "death." She is a Japanese-American woman drawn into an ancient "shadow war" between sohei warrior monks.

Though the character is often depicted in provocative and sexual poses, the series itself rooted itself in Japanese history, mythology, and spirituality.

Buying the Shi comic was definitely an action in which my ethics came into conflict with my fan boy, basic male hormone-driven lusty nature.

Though tame compared to many of the Manga and bubblegum pop cheesecake of little girls in short skirts popular with the Japanese men, and though Shi panders directly to the fan boys who like to ogle provocatively dressed women, even if they are sohei warriors armed with a naginata who could kill them with a flick of the razor sharp pole arm.

Men are visually wired. This is a fact proven best by evolutionary psychology (even though "intellectuals" dismiss evolutionary psychology as non-factual and anecdotal). I confess that I have a tendency to ogle, though less so now that I am married.

Nevertheless, I like the shirt because it's not a picture of Shi in a position swiped from a picture on pornographic magazine. It's just the Chinese character for "death" because when Shi is involved, death is coming.

I am using this shirt as an excuse to write about other comics. To feel that I have provided enough content, feel free to explore the links to Wikipedia and Comic Vine Shi content farther below. And, because my visual wiring almost requires it, I have a gallery of Shi art, mostly by original creator Billy Tucci. The art is gorgeous, even though, at times, it's swiped from pornography.


OFFICIAL BOILERPLATE TEXT OF THE LAST TWENTY POSTS COUNTDOWN: Hi. Thanks for reading. I am posting this "boilerplate" text everyday for the last TWENTY posts in the T-SHIRT blog year, which started on March 22, 2013. I will close out daily transmission on March 21st, day 365 of my T-shirt blog-tastic extravaganza spectacular. I will give myself a short hiatus of total non-transmission or  publication for an as yet undetermined period of time, though I am estimating about two weeks. After my blog vacation hiatus, I will resume T-shirt posts on a regular basis, also as yet to be determined (weekly? Twice monthly?) to finish blogging about all the T-shirts that were not featured in the blog year. At some point, once I feel I am rolling along nicely, I will begin regular posting through my main blog: SENSE OF DOUBT. T-shirt posts will direct to the T-shirt blog from SENSE OF DOUBT. I will continue to post THE WEEKLY COMIC LIST, the features of occasional T-SHIRTS I AM WEARING THIS WEEK, book reviews, comic book reviews, and other popular culture nonsense as I have been for a year now but all will go up at SENSE OF DOUBT and some will direct back here to 365 T-SHIRTS. Ultimately, I will begin Internet publication of my fiction, primarily the comic book satire episodic story called POP! among other projects. So, in summary, 365 T-SHIRTS will continue though intermittently. SENSE OF DOUBT will host my main blog presence and fiction writing as well as links to any T-shirt posts shared here. I hope you will continue to follow me in my journey as a writer and a content provider. Thank you for your kind attention and time you have spent with me on this and/or any other day this year. I am humbled and blessed by your readership. - chris tower, blogger, originated 1403.02

BY THE WAY NOTE: 1403.09: Reviewing my page views, I am intrigued that my post for

T-shirt #348 - Kalamazoo College Alumni has jumped to the top of the monthly page views list followed by the WMU post for T-shirt #324 (no, I am not linking them all), the Fantastic Four logo for T-shirt #344, Curious George (#322), and Robin-Time Drake (#323).


Shi Comic Resources

Shi (Comics) Wikipedia

Shi - Character - Comic Vine

Shi - The Way of the Warrior - Comic Vine



There was a Shi and Daredevil cross over comic. Information is HERE: SHI & DAREDEVIL.



Comic Reviews

Herein I review the top six comics from my stack from March fifth 2014 as promised two days ago in the blog for T-shirt #351.

Though the blog will grow to a large size with images and the content I am sharing, I do consider these to be "mini" reviews. :-) Really. I mean it. Stop laughing at me.



Do not read on if you wish to remain unaware of what takes places in the following comics:

Afterlife with Archie #4

Moon Knight #001
Velvet #4
Starlight #1
Green Arrow #29
Forever Evil #6



Afterlife with Archie continues to be great with work by one of the most under-rated and yet best writers in the business (whose take on the Fantastic Four in the comic simply titled 4 is still among my favorites) -- Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, and the up and coming master of the dark and shadowy Francesco Francavilla.

Issue #4 is the best yet. As Archie leave Lodge manor and heads home to save his parents, he flashes back to childhood memories, mainly of choosing his puppy Vegas, and the bond that they share. This flashback culminates in the scene in which Vegas sacrifices himself for "Archie Master."

Later in the comic, Archie must make a similarly difficult choice as he must take a bat to the skull of his now zombie-fied father, hence the banner image above.

Here's some good sites that go into more depth on the comic and a few pages from it. Truly excellent work!!


And in an excerpt, Aguirre-Sacasa says: "I can't speak for Francesco, but for me, the biggest surprise -- and the most gratifying thing -- has been the unconditional -- like, completely unconditional -- support this book has gotten from everyone at Archie, from Jon Goldwater on down. It's a labor of love for everyone…"


Horrortalk is a great blog site full of all things HORROR, which my wife especially will love once I tell her about it.

And lastly, the link below, is a preview that includes a "trailer" because in today's world one can make a movie-style, film-like preview for a comic book (or anything really). And, yes, it's actually very awesome and worth watching.

Afterlife with Archie #4 trailer looks awesome


Moon Knight #001

If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you already know that I am a very fond fan of writer Warren Ellis, so much so that I have devoted a category just to post concerning him in my category list. For those who are not regular readers, there, I just told you.

So it should be no surprise that I eagerly anticipated the new Moon Knight  comic by Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire.

In the exclusive CBR interview (see link below), Ellis promises a Planetary-esque experience with Moon Knight, which will set all Ellis fans' hearts aflutter as there is a great deal of general agreement that Planetary is if not his best work, surely top five. It's also one of the best comics of its kind ever produced.

Ellis discussed in the interview (again, link below) that his "Planetary process" is to scrape back barnacles to "what excited people about it [the comic, the character] in the first place." This process of scraping has me intrigued and has set my creative juices a-flowing on my own projects.

The Moon Knight comic is a great new look at the character (though I am hoping that the cape and special helicopter eventually make appearances) supplied by Ellis' inventive twist. The ending, which I will NOT spoil here after all, makes a great reversal of an assumption about the character that will produce some very intriguing stories going forward. This comic could easily have taken my top spot for the week, though it's rivaled by other GREAT comics that came out on March FIFTH.

BTW, Quirky thing, because they can be quirky, the Moon Knight comic letters page -- "Going Postal" -- is only accepting hand written letters mailed in the postal mail and marked "Okay to Print." I find this request amusing and wonder how many they will receive. Will they in turn be postal mailed to Ellis or scanned into a Google account or sent via email?

I will share some pages from the comic after the links.


Charles Skaggs always produces good reviews.


Velvet #4

Velvet continues to be one of my favorite comics, and for those who like the old 1950s and 1960s spy thrillers, you will find this comic to be one of the best on the market, which is a claim that if I keep making it, I am going to have to back up with an actual LIST. Though my assessment will be flawed because I do not read everything.

This issue is connective tissue, moving the story from one major plot point to the next. You have to be invested in the story already to enjoy it. This is not the kind of thing you can pick up midway.

Set in 1973, Velvet Templeton, a retired field agent, is in the field once again and on the run after seemingly set up for the murder of one of the ARC-7's best operatives. 

One of the best observations by the reviewer shared in the upcoming link is that Templeton is an older woman, though we're not sure how old, surely she's at least in her 40s.

Here's the review I mentioned, a great REVIEW by Benjamin Herman of issues one and two.

In this issue, Velvet costumes herself for prowling about Monaco's annual Carnival of Fools to make contact with an ex-KGB agent named by the woman whom Velvet sprung from prison in the last issue (in the flashback in one of the art pages I will share below). The issues turns quickly with a great action sequence as Velvet intervenes to protect her contact and is almost beaten to death by an assassin. She narrates this sequence, explaining that any fight that lasts more than five seconds is hell. She manages to beat the assassin in a very hardcore and unexpected fashion, (I don't want to give away everything), after which she and her contact Roman, get the heck out of the area. the issue ends with possibly the best cliff hanger yet, one that will turn Velvet's world, and our reading experience, upside down.


Starlight #1

Though derivative of the John Carter set up that's been re-used many times in stories and comics (such as the wonderful Adam Strange), Mark Millar takes a new look at the hero visits another world and returns to earth story motif, but here, the aging hero is losing what makes his life on earth worthwhile and no one on earth believes his stories of others planets, aliens, and rocket ships.

Millar is a good writer, though I have not read everything he does. I find him a bit indulgent sometimes (though aren't we all) but I generally have enjoyed his work. His in top form here with a strong story and dynamite first issue. Art by Goran Parlov is exceptional. The art is very reminiscent of Moebius with a bit of Alex Toth thrown in, which I love.

MOEBIUS. If you don't know, GOOGLE.

Though the art I will share is out of order, I like the way it works out of order. Enjoy.


REVIEW OF STARLIGHT - Nothing But Comics

Green Arrow #29

Okay, here I go again. Green Arrow is one of the best comics being currently published. It may be the best DC Comic, at least of those I read (and I do not read Swamp Thing though I plan to catch up via trade collections).

Lemire and Sorrentino have transformed this comic completely from its former incarnation, have worked in older popular Green Arrow story lines (Shado), and are developing a rich, complex new mythology.

This issue marks part four of an ongoing story but it ends with such a devastating cliff hanger that I will not even reveal it here.

Suffice to say that Green Arrow will keep hitting the top of my stack. I would have ranked it higher this week if not for the debut of Starlight, which I was eager to read, and of course the others, which were either debuts, easy reads, or, as with Velvet, have the slight edge on the life and times of Oliver Queen.

I have not yet watched the TV show Arrow, and I do plan to at some point, but I am happy that this comic, at least I assume, is not transformed to match that show outside of the addition of the hood and a leaner, greener (as in younger) Ollie Queen.


Forever Evil #6




DC comics' Forever Evil is not quite a match for the other comics in the top six. It's one of those big superhero and villain all universe cross overs in which much is left unexplored because of the nature of the mini-series format and the intermittent publishing schedule (this book has not shipped monthly and on time or so it seems in my flawed mind).

But it's damn good stuff. I like these crossover books generally. And David Finch's art is gorgeous. I am also not a nay sayer and happen to like Geoff Johns' writing.

But I am also a huge NIGHTWING fan and, well, damn, damn, damn. But then heroes are dropping like flies this week (go read Green Arrow), and I am not convinced that Nightwing is DEAD.

But that's what happens. It's well done and the story is solid enough, though not the best I have ever read.

The big surprises are worth the price of admission, especially the final frames.

Here's two reviews.





COUNTDOWN TO END OF THE BLOG YEAR - 12 shirts remaining

- chris tower - 1403.09 - 19:23