Ah, The Boys. The comic book DC didn’t want, the comic book only Garth Ennis could write. The place that further crosses the line of decency of the South Park classic “Lemmywinks”. And issue 26 is no exception.
The fourth part of “We Gotta Go Now” sees the CIA-backed Superhero Watchdogs send their newest member Wee Hughie to infiltrate the G-Men (think the X-Men crossed with Animal House) when a teammate is murdered. During his infiltration, Hughie makes a startling discovery, the G-Men (despite being superheroes) are actually nice guys and wants to make sure they don’t turn into jerks like the other superteams in the world.
Compared to other issues of The Boys, issue 26 is tame. The only absurdity that happens is an incident with a dog and an annoying cat, and Hughie and his girlfriend Starlight (A Midwest Christian version Supergirl who is constantly having her dreams shattered) engaging in sexual relations in a park. Tame, compared to the books previous moments, but still entertaining with a fun dose of commentary on the state of superheroes. Not for the weak at heart and certainly not the children, but certainly the most absurd book on the racks every month. Oh….and one of the most fun.
Q: First off: Do you yourself have any super powers?
A: Not unless booking counts as a super power, no. I got the job through Craigslist.
—John Scalzi, “Denise Jones, Super Booker”
Want something free today? Something that’ll make you laugh out loud? John Scalzi has that something for you. It’s a short story of his called “Denise Jones, Super Booker” and the folks at Subterranean Press have posted it at their website. And best of all, it’s yours for the reading, free of charge, no strings attached. To say anything about the plot would spoil the jokes, so I’ll just say that Denise books personal appearances for superheroes and let it go at that.
Scalzi is the Heinlein-enhanced writer of many science fiction books like “Old Man’s War” and “The Ghost Brigades,” both set in the same universe. He also wrote “The Android’s Dream,” which is a laugh-out-loud funny novel in a Douglas Adams sort of way. If you like the short story, I highly recommend his other books, and if you’re a member of the World Science Fiction Society you have the chance to nominate “Denise Jones, Super Booker” for a Hugo Award in the Best Short Story category. Regardless, read the story and tell a few friends. It’s a couple of minutes very well spent.
And if someone out there at Marvel or DC is still poking around book publishing to find some big-name writers to tackle a comic book mini-series…hey, look over there, it’s John Scalzi!
Dean Mullaney is one of the true pioneers of comic book publishing and, I confess, an old friend. He launched Eclipse Comics, one of the first comic book companies that specialized in not only giving creators a refuge from the corporate underwear heroes at DC and Marvel, but also in giving them ownership of their creations. Eclipse folded back in the early ‘90s and Dean disappeared into non-comics pursuits (as everyone in comics knows, once you leave the industry for something else, you disappear).
Now Dean’s back at the helm of the Library of American Comics, a series of classy comic strip reprint hardcovers he’s designing and editing for IDW. In his first year back, he won the Eisner Award for “Best Archival Collection” for his collection of Milton Caniff’s Terry And the Pirates. I caught up with him at the end of last year and asked him to spill about my favorite book of his, “Scorchy Smith And The Art of Noel Sickles.” Naturally, I strayed off-topic, too.
This morning at CES 2009, Palm announced the phone that they expect will take them into the next generation - the Palm pre. It’s a small, rounded black handset with a trackball, and the specs read like a dream as far as we’re concerned. We are talking about a 3.1-inch 320x480 touchscreen with multi-touch support and a gesture area, the newest OMAP processor from TI, 8 GB of storage space, EVDO Rev. A, 802.11b/g, GPS, Bluetooth 2.1, 3 megapixel camera with LED flash, and stereo A2DP. Are you thinking iPhone killer yet? Palm says that the Palm pre has “laptop like performance” since the processor is so fast.
The pre also featues a slide out portrait keyboard, which they say is all very ergonomic. The other thing we love about it? It’s a phone with a USB 2.0 MicroUSB connector. Was that too much to ask for after all this time? The phone can also be recognized as a Mass Storage device. Apple, we hope you’re listening.
Even better? Palm announced a feature called Touchstone. In normal terms, that means that the pre supports wireless charging. How cool does that sound?
If you want to get your hands on a Palm pre when they launch, you’ll need to be a Sprint customer, as the phone launches there exclusively. As far as a date goes, the best we were able to get out of them is that it will launch at some point in the first half of 2009, “as soon as possible.” Oh, and no price was announced either. I know, right?
To see more on the device, check out our Palm pre photo gallery.
During the kickoff Microsoft keynote that marks the start CES, Steve Ballmer announced that Windows 7 beta is available starting today for TechNet and MSDN subscribers. Nothing too exciting there for the average Joe, we know, which is why we were excited when he also mentioned that the beta would also be publicly available beginning this Friday, January 9th. You’ll be able to grab either the 32-bit version, or the 64-bit version of the Windows 7 beta software if you are one of the first 2.5 million people to hit the download button. You just need to head to the Windows 7 product page to do so. Just be aware that the beta software will expire on August 1, 2009.
As part of the release, Microsoft was also happy to note that Windows Live Essentials, “a free suite of communications and sharing applications that make it easy for people to communicate, share and keep their online lives in sync and in one place with one login,” is now also available on a worldwide scale.
We are big fans of BUG Labs, so we are naturally excited about the news this morning coming out of CES that they are set to release a total of five new BUGmodules. If you are unfamiliar with what BUG Labs and the BUGbase is all about, check out our video from last year’s CES after the break. Anyhow, here’s a list of the new BUGmodules:
- BUG3g: Gives you phone and/or data connectivity
- BUGwifi: Give you 802.11b/g Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR capabilities
- BUGbee: An 802.15.4 antenna to be used with ZigBee home automation setups
- BUGsound: Give you a 20mm speaker jack, four 3.5mm jacks, and an omnidirectional microphone
- BUGprojector: An integrated DLP Pico projector which outputs at 480x320 resolution
None of these have been priced, or have even been stamped with a specific release date, but you can expect them to ship before the end of the quarter.
Read More | PR Newswire
Earlier today during the MacWorld 2009 keynote, Apple announced that the iTunes Store was on the way to completely dropping DRM. As of today, 8,000,000 of the 10,000,000 tracks are now available as DRM-free iTunes Plus tracks, and that even includes music videos. We figured we’d give you a quick look at how you go about upgrading your library of purchased content.
So the first thing you want to do is go to the iTunes Store, and look on the right-hand side. You’ll see “iTunes Plus” as one of the links, with a number next to it. That number represents the number of pieces of content that you have available that can be upgraded. Click on that.
This morning during his MacWorld 2009 keynote, Phil Schiller announced the new 17” MacBook Pro. The notebook is the world’s thinnest 17-inch notebook, at just 0.98 inches thin, and weighs in at 6.6 pounds. It’s got the same LED backlit display with a 1920x1200 resolution, 700:1 contrast ratio, and 60% greater color gamut. It’s got the glossy screen, but on this model there is a $50 anti-glare option that can get built-in behind the glass. As far as connections go, it’s got 3 USB ports, FireWire 800, Mini DisplayPort, ExpressCard, gigabit ethernet, and digital audio in/out. The notebooks rock the Intel Core 2 Duo 2.93 GHz processor with 6MB L2 Cache, and support up to 8GB of memory. It’s got the two integrated NVIDIA 9400M and 9600M graphics cards, and ships with a 320 GB hard drive, which can be upgraded to a 256 GB SSD. The big news here, though, is the battery life. Sine the battery is non-removeable, Apple was able to cram a bunch of cells into this thing, with the end result being 8 hours of battery life on a single charge using integrated graphics, or 7 hours using the discrete graphics chip.
The new 17” MacBook Pro comes in one configuration and sells for $2799, so no price increase over the last model. That gets you 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 RAM, a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, and a 320 GB hard drive, and it ships in late January.
During his first (and only) MacWorld keynote speech, Phil Schiller announced the latest update to the iLife suite of software, iLife ‘09. Let’s take each app, one by one, and look at the changes and additions:
iPhoto ‘09: New to iPhoto is Faces. Faces uses facial recognition to organize and tag photos of people. iPhoto will find a face in a photo, and you tell it who it is. It will then find other photos that it thinks are of the same person. Easy way to grab snapshots that feature the same person. Another new organization feature is called Places. This uses the geotagging feature available on a lot of modern cameraa, and puts pins on a map showing the different places that the images were taken. If you have photos that aren’t geotagged, you simply tell iPhoto where the image (or event images) was taken, and it fills in the rest. The map feature is based on Google Maps, so you can zoom in on a location, look at satellite or street view, etc.
Apple has also added in built-in support for Facebook and Flickr to iPhoto - that means no more fumbling around with clunky plugins to get your pictures out of iPhoto and onto those services. A very welcome addition. Facebook users can add the names of people in their images, and iPhoto will retain that info as well (presumedly for the Faces feature.)
iPhoto also gets new slideshow themes. You choose a theme and photos, and iPhoto puts it all together. It uses the Faces to find the faces in images so that those are centered and zoomed. You can save slideshows to iTunes, and they can be synced to an iPhone or iPod touch. Something new for the Books too, you can now automatically get maps included, with pins that show your location. Great for making travel books.
iMovie ‘09: Apple has admitted that, since it was new, iMovie ‘08 didn’t have all the features that older customer wanted. This year, they aim to change that. iMovie ‘09 gets a new Precision Editor, Advanced drag & drop (that give you context-sensitive menus,) dynamic themes, and even animated travel maps. So, again, you can use your location data to insert 2D and 3D maps of those locations into your movies.
GarageBand ‘09: GarageBand ‘09 is being updated with a new feature called “Learn to Play,” which brings up an instructor which plays video lessons. If that’s not enough to get you excited, there are even Artist Lessons. You get people like John Fogerty, Colbie Caillat, Sting, Sarah McLachlan, Norah Jones, and Patrick Stump, who will teach you how to play instruments like the guitar or piano.
iLife ‘09 also includes updated versions of iWeb and iDVD, and ships free on new Macs. You can purchase an upgrade for $79, or buy a family pack (good on up to five Macs) for $99, and it will be available in “late January.”
For those wondering, Apple has also released a new version of iWork - iWork ‘09.
SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone is set to make its debut this week during MacWorld 2009. If you own a Slingbox and an iPhone, then you’ve been waiting for this moment for quite some time. Sling Media will be showing off the current build of their SlingPlayer Mobile iPhone app, which they plan on submitting to Apple for App Store approval by the end of the first quarter of the year. This is gonna be one to watch. We’ll try to get more screenshots, or even video of the app, from Sling in the meantime.