Drawing of a silver person standing in the desert in front of a flying saucer.I really enjoyed the original run (Saucer Country) at Vertigo and the second run at IDW (Saucer State)…that ended on a cliffhanger, and I’m really looking forward to being able to read the conclusion!

Saucer Country is a dark thriller that blends UFO lore and alien abduction with political intrigue, all set in the hauntingly beautiful Southwest.

The comics by Paul Cornell & Ryan Kelly follow a presidential campaign whose candidate believes she has been abducted by aliens, what that means to her and the country, and weaves through every aspect of UFO conspiracy mythology you can think of.

The first volume ran from 2012-2013, and the second volume picked up in 2017…and it was really weird to see how prescient the first run had been, as well as how the 2016 election season influenced the second part.

Finally in 2022 they ran a crowdfunding campaign at Zoop (launching on election day, of course!) to fund the concluding chapters and a collected edition.

And now: It’s done! It’s printed! It’s shipped! I got my copy in the mail today! (And it’s been long enough that I’m going to want to start at the beginning anyway.)

Image of a faded comic book cover showing two superheroes carrying children over a street full of cars with sharp teeth for grills and angry-eye headlights to a bus.   Banners include: BUS RYDER Answers the Burning Question: WHAT IS AN OCTD?? Introducing BUSONIC WOMAN! SEE BUS RYDER Conquer the SNARLING TRAFFIC MONSTER!!

Apparently this was a 1976 comic book to promote the then-new county bus system with campy knock-off superheroes (and really wonky perspective). I mean, Bus Ryder looks suspiciously like Superman, and there’s no question where the Busonic Woman got her name.

Photo courtesy Orange County Archives.

Last night, I did something I haven’t done in ages: I read a bunch of this week’s new comics.

Over the last two years I’ve gotten behind on just about every comic book I read, and the further behind I get, the harder it is for me to catch up. (Making things worse: I stopped organizing comics as I got them, so I had to find a solid run in order to catch up on it.) After a couple of colds kept me on the couch earlier this year, I started finally making some headway, and I’ve reached the point where I’m current on six — count them: six ongoing comics:

Saga: The sci-fi drama about family is also the book I’ve kept up with the best, despite the fact that I absolutely must wait until the inquisitive six-and-a-half year old is in bed before I open the book. I did fall four months behind at one point, after Isabel’s disappearance. I just couldn’t bring myself to pick it up for a while. I didn’t want to know who was next.

Astro City: This one was “easy” to fall behind on because it’s isolated from other series and the stories tend to be short by modern standards. This also made it really easy to catch up on ~15 issues because I could read one or two at a time and still get a full story. The sequels to classics were fun, and I’m fascinated by what’s been revealed about the Broken Man.

Flash: This book really goes by fast. Seriously, with double-shipping, I keep picking up an issue and discovering that I’m already two or three behind.

Titans: I missed an issue of the crossover earlier this year, and my local shop sold out of it, and I finally decided to just buy the missing issue digitally and plow through. I really want to like this book more than I do, but I’m beginning to think it may be time to drop it after the current story ends. (It’s still better than the DEO kids era)

Jessica Jones: I was a fan of Alias back in the day, and while this is a little more plugged into the mainstream Marvel Universe than I remember that book being, it’s still got the same snarky sensibility. Just reading her complaining to Maria Hill about LMDs was hilarious.

Lady Mechanika: The first series of this steampunk adventure was delayed so long I decided to wait until it was done before reading any further. And then the gap hit. I felt so bad at last year’s Long Beach Comic Con when I talked to the writer and had to admit to her that I hadn’t read it in over a year. I finally caught up, so if I run into her or the artist this year, I can actually talk about the comic! My favorite has been “Tablet of Destinies,” both in terms of story and for the way it reframed alchemy as the misunderstood remnants of ancient nuclear physics.

I’m still behind on I Hate Fairyland and Saucer State (and Shutter, but that’s finished), but I’m at the point where I’m able to re-evaluate my pull list and take another stab at paring down my collection. Which has led to some interesting decisions (but that’s for another post).

I also finally got around to: Continue reading

One of the weirdest things about this year’s Long Beach Comic Con is how much moving the entrance to the other side of the convention center changed the flavor of the experience. For the last seven years, they’ve used the western entrance off of Pine Ave. with a big, open, glass lobby and an outside area that stays sunny all afternoon. There’s always a mass of people in costume out in that lobby — I’ve called it “Lobby Con.” That didn’t happen this year.

This year, they used a larger section of the convention center for the main floor, and brought everyone in on the east side between the theaters and the big circular arena with the Wyland mural. The lobby is smaller and feels more closed-in. There’s a lot more open space outside, but it’s divided by stairways and balconies.

Outside LBCC

The result: No Lobby Con. There wasn’t room for people to gather inside the lobby, and outside was so fragmented that it didn’t feel like a gathering. On the plus side, the lines for the food trucks didn’t look too long either, and the varied space made for some interesting photo backdrops: the mural, palm trees, lamp posts, sunny spots, shady spots, etc.

Going Somewhere Solo?

Whitney Frost CosplayI usually do Long Beach Comic Con solo, while we make WonderCon and San Diego (when we get tickets, anyway) family trips. We planned to change that this year. Katie has been putting together a Whitney Frost cosplay outfit (from Agent Carter). J. is in the age range for kids’ programming now. Then things fell through so that Katie couldn’t make it, and then J. got a cold, so I ended up going solo after all. We did do a full makeup/hair test and photoshoot as Whitney Frost first, though!

Anyway, I arrived around lunchtime on Sunday, leaving me with just one afternoon to cram in as much Comic Con as I could. That meant I only attended one of the panels that looked interesting, picked a few artists to seek out, didn’t spend much time browsing for comics (though I did buy a few), and made several cursory circuits of the floor, pausing when someone or their art or merch caught my eye, rather than really exploring.

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