* First of all, because he's been uncharacteristically quiet about this so far, I should say that Ben and his team at Marvel.com have CRUSHED IT with their brand new redesign. I know all those dudes at the House of Ideas put in a lot of late nights over the past few weeks on this, but it really shows. Do yourself a favor and check out some of the new content like this intro story on the site itself (Written by our boy TJ Dietsch), a new installment of Marvel Super-Heroes What The?!? featuring Doctor Strange, the first in an all-new series of "The Watcher" videos hosted by the talented Grace Randolph (writer for Marvel Her-Oes) and Ben's own roundup of creator's Thanksgiving thoughts. Good jorb on the new Marvel.com, guys! (Or should I say NuMarvel.com? Damn, that bit never gets old)
* And hey, if we're tooting our own horns today (and when aren't we?), I've got to say that my News team at CBR has been all over it this week. If you don't believe my, feel free to check out this week's trio of interviews on the ten year anniversary of Ultimate Spider-Man, Dave Richards' two-part chat with Jonathan Hickman on his Marvel U work, our own Kevin's catch-up with Ben fav Fabian Nicieza or the announcement of Scott Lobdell's new Image book, Shaun Manning's fun talk with Mark Waid about BOOM!'s latest Stan Lee comic, Steve Sunu's mega-interview with Garth Ennis on The Boys, Josh Wigler's always worthwhile commentary track with Nick Spencer on Morning Glories as well as Josh's indispensable interview with Rian Hughes or Jeffrey Renaud's back-to-back Batman interviews with Grant Morrison and the entire Batwoman creative team. Oh, and I myself filed stories on Jeff Kinney, Paul Dini's TV team, Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada. Just sayin.
* And man, have I had a ton of fun/weird/interesting interviews get sent to me or pointed my direction the past two weeks. Check out Hearty Magazine's chat with Fart Party cartoonist Julia Wertz (although we really need to knock it off with all this "female cartoonist" bullshit...would you point out that someone was a female school teacher?), Whitney Mattheson's two-part Edgar Wright interview held at Bergen Street Comics, this left field chat with Mark Waid about Shazam comics, a really solid interview with Marvel artist Reilly Brown on fitting in to big events, a random e-mail chat with Tom Brevoort and this "you probably never thought about it" interview with composer Bear McCreary on the music for "Human Target" and "The Walking Dead." Whew!
* And hey! My old pals at Wizard Magazine have reignited a web presence with the blog Pie Monkey! I always kind of liked the magazine's '90s insistence that those two things were always worth a cheap laugh, so they had me at that name, but the content on the site so far is enjoyable as well, like this early tease at what inside jokes are in store for the new "Thundercats" cartoon show.
* I also REALLY enjoyed Matthew Murray's profile of the relaunch of Brit kids comic The Dandy over on The Beat. I enjoy learning about comics that never make it to American shops anyway, but I also have a real soft spot for Bannanaman from way back in the way back.
* A lot of fun think pieces/essays on comics hitting recently too. Here's a Minneapolis newspaper piece on how Scott Pilgrim bridges the Hipster/Geek divide. Then there's this After Ellen piece on queer identities in comics. And Sean T. Collins is SO right that Gabe Bridwell's account of his time at a Paul Pope/Craig Thompson/Svetlana Chmakova-led artist's retreat is a must read, despite the awful site design.
* I read this NY Times opinion piece by sometimes comics writer and all-around nice young lady Mary HK Choi on living in New York as a young professional woman about three times, and I still don't know what I feel about it. There's plenty in there I can identify with, but I have a hard time working up sympathy for anyone who throws themselves into the big city party scene with gusto and is then chewed up by it. Maybe that's just me.
* Comics to read! The indie fantasy story PFS by Billy Burkert and Jaime Van Wart was great. Thanks to Tom Spurgeon for pointing it out as well as this classic Donald Duck comic which brought back "Ducktails" memories for me like whoa. And if you haven't gone through James Stokoe's Orc Stain blog yet for all the radical things in there, I have no idea why you're still reading this blog.
* One non-comics bit: Changing Gears is worth your time if you've ever lived in a rustbelt or Midwestern town. It's an NPR series funded by multiple stations in Michigan, Illinois and Indiana focusing on what cities like Detroit and Gary can do to reinvent themselves like Pittsburgh has.
* Finally, you look like shit: