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Saturday, July 31, 2004

How comes it? 

I don't have time to think properly or in depth, so I'm just going to ask you guys to do the thinking for me.

I'm perusing this site, an index of independent American comics publishers both past and present. It's fascinating stuff, and it's wonderful to see what kind of zany shit was being churned out in the past few decades; where else are you going to see an occupation listing that reads "Mercenary, former botanist"?

(That entry is redeemed with this opening history paragraph:
Axel was a mild-mannered botanist who had been three-quarters devoured by Vegan Green Fungus. Vegan Green Fungus is a sentient, telepathic and extremely well-mannered carnivorous plant, and the experience of being slowly devoured by a plant that kept telling him how grateful it was, how delicious he was and how much it was enjoying the experience snapped his mind.

Because whose wouldn't, am I right?)

It would surprise no one to learn that Steve Dillon was involved.

Anyway. I'm reading the entry on Marvelman. And there's this:
A recluse astro-scientist discovers the key word to the universe, one that can only be given to a boy who is completely honest, studious and of such integrity that he would only use it for the powers of good." The scientist picks young Micky Moran, newspaper copy boy as the recipient of these powers...

There's more, but it's the "newspaper copy boy" part that gets me. I flash back to all the superheroes somehow related to journalism; Clark Kent and Peter Parker are only the most obvious of many with some connection to the news, usually print news. Stretch beyond superhero stories and you find even more comics protagonists working in the field of print journalism. I'm looking at you, Green Hornet. And you, Spider Jerusalem.

Why?

Besides the fact that journalists sort of have a backstage pass to everything, or at least that's the mystique. Is it the vigilance thing? An estate seperate from established powers that plays watchdog? Surely it's not that simple.

Fiore, you have officially been called into action.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

For those just tuning in... 

Matt Maxwell has himself a little blog up, and it's definitely a space to watch. It's also the first to step forward and fill that long-suffering, eerily empty "blogs that start with the letter H" category.

Welcome aboard, Matt. Cocktail weenies to your right.

A little help for my friend... 

...who gets like ten times the traffic I do. Whatever.

Kevin Melrose is at it again with the Digital Webbing Presents people. He's got a "Bad Elements" story coming up in the next issue, #17, so why haven't you told your store to get you a copy yet? I have.

Here's what's in store from Melrose and Co. in issue #19:

...[T]he issue also boasts a little experiment co-written by Ian Ascher and me, and beautifully illustrated by Scott LeMien (Moonstone Monsters).

The three-page story, called "A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight," throws together characters from Ian's "Sleight of Hand" stories and my "Bad Elements" series in a case of two hitmen after the same target. It's short, but as I said, it's an experiment -- one spurred by an online conversation with the publisher, who challenged the three of us to tell a complete story in just three pages using members of both casts ... and an explosion. I think we met the challenge pretty well.

I love people taking challenges like that for the sheer bloody hell of it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Batman begins... 

...TO ROCK YOUR LAME ASS!

With a trailer.

A couple more quick notes. 

ITEM ONE: I have not ever claimed I am a reasonable person. I'm not. That's the whole point of the blog: To be unreasonable at high volumes. Nor do you need to get upset and feel personally attacked if you have not been personally named. Believe me, I have no qualms about calling out specific people, Legomancer.

(And I never said the movie was a good idea, either; just that it doesn't require everyone to act like a bastion of their childhood is being raped in the ass by bears.)

ITEM TWO: It just so happens I also think Thor, Ego the Living Planet, and the Flash are essentially very stupid characters too. Nothing about their powers are interesting; all the interesting stuff comes from the person behind the mask (well, except Ego). Green Lantern could be turned into a good, serious movie; I think to do so would require SERIOUS revisions to the character, and we all know how people would react to THAT, don't we?

Basic point: It's not a big deal. Lighten up. If you think it's a bad idea, fine, but I don't want to hear any more of this "hating the genre" nonsense.

Two things of note: 

You know how Rick got robbed? Well, he bowed to my wisdom and made up a wish list of the DVDs that done got took, so you should head on over and see if you can't help out a little. I did, and I feel so very Christian.

No, really.

...snicker.

ITEM TWO: According to Milo, I am General Dances with Chipmunks, rogue military leader with a thirst for blood and a taste for walnuts. This puts me on par with his rank, and I foresee a fancy power struggle that could be padded out to 6 issues, easy. Who's with me?

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Oh, my. 



Not to put all my gift horses in one basket, or whatever the phrase is, but I have hopes that this will be The Movie That Finally Does It.

(Up to you to figure out what that means.)

But will Andy Dick play Sinestro? 

So people are up in arms about this non-issue to end all non-issues, Jack Black being cast as the Green Lantern in a comedic take on the character.

It's apparently a big deal. The integrity of the big-green-fists-and-hammers guy is being dragged through the mud because Hollywood Doesn't Care, The Mainstream Shits On Superheroes, and whatever other hysterical overreaction the fan boys are cooking up today.

I'm going to be blunt about this, because there's no other way to break through to panic-struck shrieking harpies: the Green Lantern, as a character concept, is incredibly stupid.

You take a guy. You put a green ring on him. This green ring thing, it forms whatever the guy imagines. (The best he can imagine is fists, usually, or big circles or a big wall forcefield thing.) He charges this magical power ring by putting it into a fucking lantern. A FUCKING LANTERN! He wears a green bodystocking. His weakness is -- I'm sorry, it can't be said enough -- THE COLOR YELLOW.

(By the way, what sense does that make? YELLOW IS A COMPONENT OF GREEN! THE ENEMY OF A SECONDARY COLOR IS A PRIMARY COLOR? JESUS TAPDANCING CHRIST! I'm sure there's some lameass explanation for it, and it'll be explained to me in a huffy "pearls before swine" tone, but FOR FUCK'S SAKE!)

His major villain is named Sinestro.

SINESTRO!

THAT IS THE STUPIDEST NAME EVER CONCEIVED BY ANYONE, ANYWHERE, FOR ANY REASON, INCLUDING PEOPLE PURPOSEFULLY TRYING TO COME UP WITH STUPID SHIT, SUCH AS LOBO. LAME-ASS COMIC FANBOYS ONLY THINK IT'S COOL BECAUSE THEY'VE BEEN HEARING THE NAME SINCE THEY WERE KIDS, SO THEY'RE USED TO IT BY NOW!

This is not the stuff from which great dramatic fiction is made. Sure, it can happen -- but only by making the man behind the magic ring and lantern (snicker) interesting in truly admirable script-writing acrobatics. Basically you have to tack on interesting stuff before the concept becomes one that anyone can stomach for any length of time.

I have seen the responses already. "Oh," say the sanity-impaired in their best snotty tone, "and a story about a guy whose parents were murdered who now dresses up as a bat is so much more realistic and deserving of serious treatment."

Well... not to put too fine a point on it, but yes, you're absolutely right. Batman quite obviously resonates with tens of millions of people spread over several generations; the evidence is pretty obvious and omnipresent. Many, many people know the name Bruce Wayne (or Clark Kent, for that matter), many people who have no connection to comics know exactly what the Bat symbol is. They'd recognize the Joker instantly.

Tell me exactly who gives a blue FUCK about Hal Jordan? And by that, I mean someone who isn't an avid comics fan already?

No one.

There's a reason why:

He's a stupid character concept.

No, this movie will not ruin people for comics. No, this movie is not some grand representation of what The Mainstream Really Thinks About Comics. (Stupid line of thought, anyway. The widestream acceptance of Spider-Man 2 alone tells you the mainstream is absolutely dying for a good superhero story. It's unfortunate comics isn't usually the forum they can get one in.)

I'll tell you what turns people off about comics.

People like YOU whiny, bitchy, blustery, what-are-we-protesting-today bored little dipshits. Clinging so, so desperately to what you just know is right and true for the character, that no other interpretation can possibly be right. And, oh god, a COMEDY? Horror of horrors.

Did Sinestro zap your sense of humor with his Yellow Powers?

I guess the message is this:

LIGHTEN THE FUCK UP ALREADY!

Now shut up.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Hehehehahahahaheheheh... 



Probably someone else in the blogo-hive posted this, but, shit. That is some funny stuff.

From Penny Arcade. Duh.

One of our own... 

...got robbed blind by spineless slimefucks.

I myself have been robbed, a couple of times, but never to this degree. If you've got a DVD or $10 to spare, why don't you think about helping a brother out?

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Yes, indeed. 

I was out of town this past weekend. I figured my twin nephews' first birthday was more important than you sons of bitches.

Highly recommended reading: Stranger Than Fiction by Chuck Palahnuik. (Did I spell that right? I have a few of his books sitting 5 feet away, but I'm too lazy to look.) Ol' Chuck's relentlessly dry tone can get weary after awhile, so I recommend reading the vignettes seperately, or at least don't sit and read the whole thing in one or two sittings.

So.

What's been going on?

I caught wind of the Ellis-on-Icon thing. I read about the Aronofsky-on-Watchmen thing. What else's new?

Sunday, July 18, 2004

That Guy Needs Comments (or, The Modern Prometheus) 

I was kind of surprised that anyone took notice of my little snipes at the "review Eightball #23 or die like a cowardly dog" contest thingy that ADD was running, but Collins took note in his exhaustive and kind of awe-inspiring roundup of all the discussion surrounding said contest.

Here's what he had to say about what I had to say:

The main thing I can't understand about Ken's good-natured ribbing of ADD is why it's apparently unseemly to get so worked up about Eightball but perfectly acceptable to go completely apeshit over, say, Scurvy Dogs. Don't get me wrong--I'm sure Scurvy Dogs is a fun book, but I'm also sure that even its creators would tell you there's a big difference in terms of both execution and intent between a fun pirate romp and what Clowes is doing. This is not unlike the TV critics who sit around bitching about how overrated The Sopranos is, then spend a column on how much they enjoyed America's Next Top Model. I happen to love both shows, but I never lose sight of which one justifies that love more thoroughly.

1) I'm glad Collins understands "good-natured," because ADD apparently does not. In this instance, "good-natured" means "calling someone out for doing something a bit douchey, without making it all personal and saying he should die in the gutter with a dick rotted black with syphillis." When I'm being "good-natured," I'll rib you some, but I'm not going to make childish remarks about your intelligence. Trust me, you will fucking well KNOW when I've taken the kid gloves off.

2) I don't think Collins understands what I was saying. I did not, anywhere, make a sideways remark about Eightball #23, from here on referred to as The Holy Grail of All That Is Comics, or simply THGOATIC. I am not saying it's a bad comic, or unworthy of praise, or whatever the fuck -- I can't make that kind of statement because I haven't read the damn thing yet.

So I'm not sure how it's being read that I think Scurvy Dogs is a blast (it is) while THGOATIC can suck my fat one. I never said that, never made a comparison, etc etc.

(Nor do I have much time for the argument that it is silly for me to love something that is shallow but greatly entertaining while dissing a Work of Great Importance. I don't necessarily lend a story more weight because it's Trying To Say Something; I weigh a story first and foremost on whether it does what it sets out to do well. But that's neither here nor there.)

ADD can talk about THGOATIC as reverently as he wishes to. It still makes him look kinda stupid. If you want to say you think it's stupid that I love a hysterical comic book so much, super; talk to me about it. Comment on it. There's even comments for that! God, I love this country!

So yeah, ADD's sorta being a douche about it, and he opened himself up for all kinds of pot shots. I'd feel a little bad about taking so many shots at him, but then he has to throw in that "axe to grind and double-digit IQ" remark, so I can safely conclude that he earned it.

Hope that clears up any misunderstandings. If not, we can all make a pilgrimage to the birthplace of THGOATIC to seek divine enlightenment.

(Why haven't you bastards entered Rick's contest yet?)

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Dear Blogger, 

Fuck you.
 
Kisses,
Ringwood


CONTEST! 

So apparently contests are the new black, this season. You may recall that GREAT LOSERS GIVEAWAY I hosted awhile back, and the DEMO Giveaway that me and a buncha bloggers put together, and now there's some contest about writing a verbal blow job for some Dan Cloves guy or whatever.

But fuck all that noise.

THE CONTEST TO END ALL CONTESTS IS HERE. Rick at Eat More People has surpassed us all.

The gist:

The challenge is for you to write a review of the comic book pictured above – “Hamster Vice” #1, from Blackthorne Publishing. “Hamster Vice” is a well-renowned indie milestone that broke barriers for hamsters in comics. Without this series, hamsters would still be slighted in this medium today. Though if you go through and do a check of the amount of hamsters appearing on the racks these days, the percentage is still at a low level. But things are building, things are growing. If the word of this oppression can be spread, hamsters may one day be treated fairly and equally.

First, the rules:

The review can be any length, in any form, in any language. I prefer English so that I can actually read it. But if you’d like to write a standard review, write one in iambic pentameter, draw one in sequentials, or film yourself doing an interpretive dance of the review...be my guest. Do whatever you want. It certainly doesn’t have to be overly intelligent and overly clever – everyone’s doing that these days. I want something creative and original. Anyone can throw a couple paragraphs of big words together and call it a review.

Everyone is eligible to win, though I’ll probably end up having a bias towards the entrants who have kissed my ass the most lately. Such is the way of the world.

Email all entries to rick.geerling@gmail.com. The deadline for all entries is MIDNIGHT, Central Standard Time, on July 23rd.


CLICK TO CHECK OUT THE FABULOUS PRIZES.

You want to enter. You will be cool if you enter. Your peers on the internet will think you are cool if you enter.

DON'T YOU WANT TO BE COOL?!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Oddly compelling. 

Virtual frog dissection.

No shit.

I love the internet.

Le Diamond Noir 

I dunno, however that's said in french.




Artist Jon Proctor: Most of the comic books I see leave me with the feeling that the cigarette has been smoked down to the filter. Most of them are sorely lacking in passion, artifice, and real human drama. Comics are fighting a losing battle with advertising, television, movies and video games. The rebellious nature that made pop culture the epicenter for creative experimentation is now a runaway train that's jumped the rails. Narrative expressionism is becoming a parody of itself over and over... What do we do about it? Where will we go when all have forsaken us?

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Radio Free Id 

This is just some stream-of-consciousness stuff here. Pay it no mind.

1. WHY does everyone take such beef with the Ultimatizing of the Marvel Universe? With the actual process and idea of it, I mean -- what it means for The State of the Industry is an entirely seperate conversation. Why do we act like it's evidence of the ultimate navel-gazing of superhero comics? Why do we decry it so?

Why do we not realize that, as in so many things, comics are just very late to the game? I mean, how many fucking editions of Star Wars are we going to see before Lucas buys the moisture farm? How many respinnings of the Dracula story? Jekyll and Hyde? How about that TV movie adaptation of King Lear set on a Texas ranch? Romeo & Juliet, ya know, is the most ripped-off story of all time. Reimaginings are the bread and butter of the fiction industry; they're sort of an admittance that, yes, there really is nothing new under the sun, so let's just plagarize.

(Yes, I am aware that Shakespeare did not invent the star-crossed lovers theme, but he codified it so no one else would have to.)

I mean, we even had that Baz Luhrmann thing awhile back, Romeo + Juliet, whose sole saving grace was giving us the single "#1 Crush" by Garbage. God, that song never gets old.

Mostly it's that I have a Claire Danes bias. I hate her. Hate her. HATE HER. Every time I saw more than three minutes of My So-Called Whiny Shitty Stupid-Ass Insignificant Whitebread Dumbfuck Life of No Consequence to Anyone, I wanted to smash the TV in with my erection.

My erection of hate.

2. HAS ANYONE EVER REALLY ENCOUNTERED the mythical comic book store of doom? In the basement of some office building, no windows, murky, dusty, comics just laying in stacks? The clerks are just insufferable assholes bent on making your life difficult, etc, etc? I don't want any stories of comic book stores of your prehistoric youth -- I'm talking about stores in existence right now, still in the black, that operate this way.

I ask because it's such an accepted thing that these stores exist, and that they are Killing The Industry (along with, apparently, Mark Millar and trade paperbacks and/or monthlies) in such a dire way by driving away wide-eyed innocents who wish to get into comics.

I call bullshit on that particular myth.

3. OH PLEASE GOD, DROP THE "SUPERHEROES ARE FASCIST" THING. Anyone with half a brain stem and the ability to read critically can see that this argument is totally preposterous and monumentally moronic. The stupidity of the argument is enough to offend me, but not as much as the motive behind it -- the quest for a moral imperative to hate superhero stories. Anyone espousing that lame-ass fascism argument is doing it so they can appear morally superior to folks who enjoy the genre they despise so heartily.

You guys are like the Church of Satan or the University of Auburn. Seriously. You spend your entire existence decrying some other form of art, rather than just seeking out what you dig. You are useful to no one and advance the form of comic books not at all. Be useful and kill yourself on top of someone's compost pile, a'ight?

Look, I can appreciate that you guys don't like stories about dudes who can fly. Great. That's fine. I don't like 800 pages of self-absorbed, thinly-veiled autobiographical accounts of how the author gets nervous talking to girls. And that's fine too. Viva la difference!

But when you get to the point where you tell me superheroes are EVIL for a variety of reasons, that they are in fact corrupting, well guess what? We've heard that song and dance before, Fredric Wertham.

4. WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE MEDIA, IN TWO HEADLINES OR LESS: "Study Finds Car Owners Unaware of Defects: Who's Most at Fault?" No, the headline isn't, "what can be done," or even "click here to find out if your car is one with problems." It's "who's to blame?"

I hate you. I hate you and what you do to us. I hate your leading questions that make us more vile and base than we ever should be. I hate stupid shit like that, because it isn't, "we have a problem, how do we solve it?" It's, "we have a problem, who do we point the finger at while making no real progress?"

You sons of bitches make me sick.

5. PASSED A RESTAURANT TODAY NAMED "GUIDO'S ITALIAN SPORTS GRILL." First: what the fuck is an "italian sports grill"? Second: "Guido's"? C'mon, boys, let's stop being coy. Just name it "Wop's" and get it over with.

The weird part about all this is that I'm actually in a pretty good mood today.

WHAT YOU SHOULD BE PURCHASING BECAUSE YOUR LIFE WILL BE FORFEIT IF YOU DO NOT:

Ursula, by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba, two of the nicest (and most annoyingly gifted) comics creators in the biz today. From AiT/PlanetLar.

Video, by Stephen R. Bruell, from Lost in the Dark Press. Proof positive that a striking cover can sell a comic book -- and there's even good shit inside!

You have your orders. Leave me.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Radass! 

Everybody loves Street Angel. I love Street Angel. It's a very funny book, very off-the-wall, very strange, very much a good time.

But it's no Scurvy Dogs.

The forthcoming issue #5 marks the end of the current... is it an arc? I'm not sure such words can be applied to this book... and as can be seen from the SPECIAL NEATO SILVER INK cover, Our Five Piratey Heroes have Sold The Fuck Out. And it's all the fault of that messed-up little necklace doctor, Dr. Theopolis.

I hate that bastard.

What we're treated to in result is more reminiscent of the first issue than the ones that followed, going for a series of pirates-invading-primetime jokes instead of adhering to some kind of dread continuity. Ever wanted to see Rooneys Andy and Mickey duke it out in sumo diapers? How about how to garnish your mashed potatotes with shrunken badger heads? Rod Stewart, chugging gasoline like it's the very nectar of life?

If your answer to any of those questions is "jesus christ, no" then you probably wouldn't like this title anyway. Fuck away off.

The showstopper is the full-page advertisement for the piratey game console, the Salty Dog 2000. For ONLY (seven easy payments of) $299.99, you too can have access to games like Type or Die!, Return to Castle Naziface, or Man from O.K.L.A.H.O.M.A. This page made me laugh so hard I think I peed a little. HEY! LISTEN UP! PAYMASTERS OF ANDREW AND RYAN! Turn this page into a POSTER!

(True story: Scurvy Dogs #5 prominently features a certain rap superstar who wears a bigass clock on a chain. Just yesterday a friend of my brother's ends up on a plane heading into Dallas next to said rap superstar, and scores some tickets to the Public Enemy show last night.)

What makes me a sad panda is that this is the last issue of SD for some time. Le sigh. Guess that gives you plenty of time to get the first five issues, huh?

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Why I haven't been posting lately. 

(Picture removed because Rick and his Firefox are whiny pussies.)

Yeah, that'd be my City of Heroes Ringwood guy. (Note the cigar.)

Any other bloggers want to form up a little blogger team? This hunk of macho's on the Guardian server. Magic > Tanker.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Annoying. 

First, posting is low because I just can't get fuckin' Blogger to work. At all.

Second: if you could, post in the comments section tellin gme what online comic book subscription services offer good deals. Will is interested, but he doesn't have a decent shop anywhere near him. TIA, etc.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Is it just me? 

Or is everyone having to click on a link to blogspot blogs a few times before the page actually shows?

Man, I hate Blogspot sometimes.

Monday, July 05, 2004

FCBD... 

...was fun. I like any day where I can walk out the door with a stack of 10 comics, and my wallet never left my pocket.

A fair amount of people showed up to my beloved Zeus, most heart-warmingly parents walking around with their Yu-Gi-Oh-enslaved children, actually looking at other comics. It's like the cigarette industry without all the cancer: hook 'em while they're young.

Met Greg from Viper, and because he is a rocking rocker who rocks rockingly, he hooked me up with a special edition Dead@17: Blood of Saints #3 that not only has a neat cover, but it also touched up my hair cut and makes a lovely omelette. It's just that special.

Scott "Omnipresent" Kurtz was also there. You can't throw a stick in the D/FW area without hitting a Scott Kurtz appearance. Nice guy, but I think he's stalking me.

Fanboy Radio was there. Yeah, I don't really care.

Ghostwerks Comics were also there, but I know jack shit about their work, so I would've felt like a jackass talking to them. Honestly none of those titles appeal to me, which is probably a bad thing to say coming from the guy who's all about advocating local comics, but... there you have it.

Honorable mention to the NYC Mech guys and the Beckett guys, the latter of whom put out the intriguing Ballad of Sleeping Beauty, and the former, well, I totally forgot they were there till just now.

Anyway, I have actual opinions on FCBD, but I'm going to talk with El Zeus Owner first, and get back to you with something like formulated commentary at a later time.

Obscenity Quota: Fuckstick. Shit chomper. Cockmonkey.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Son of... 

Mark's doing it again. That whole "Comics I Shouldn't Own" thing. I'm not sure why; maybe it's sweeps week over there at the Abysmal Pit.

I mean, okay, I know why: because it's fucking funny. This time around it's Sleepwalker, that ol' Sandman done right, if by "right" you mean "fucking retarded" title:

Rick leaves his apartment to talk to his girlfriend Alyssa, who is no doubt a dancer planning to study architecture in college, but some thugs attack her in a convenience store and Rick passes out. RICK SHERIDAN PASSES OUT SO SLEEPWALKER CAN SAVE HIS GIRLFRIEND. This has got to be the worst superpower since ever. A comedy goldmine, perhaps, if played for laughs ("Man, what a sloppy vagina Rick is, passing out when something exciting happens"), but I get the feeling from this issue that the whole thing is played straight. For a few dozen issues.

Read the rest. Uncle Sam would want you to.

Quick thoughts. 

Spider-Man 2 -- It's a damn good movie. Everyone figured out their groove the first time around, and this one is pure payoff. Spider-Man 2 is the best superhero movie ever made in the sense that it's finally figured out the balancing act between the main character's real life and masked life. It is far from the best superhero movie that can be made; it is, in fact, not even the best movie of the year. But it'll still treat you right.

It still bugs me that "Spider-Man" has a hyphen when "Batman" and "Superman" don't.

Napolean Dynamite -- I'm going to hazard a guess and say filmmakers Jared and Joshua Hess have a copy of the Rushmore Criterion DVD on their shelves. Probably the screenplay, too. I'll go so far as to say they can probably recite Bottle Rocket line by line. Why do I say all this?

Because it's evident that these two guys very much want to be Wes Anderson. What they haven't figured out is that behind the maladjusted characters driven by their idiosyncracies, the intentionally tacky production design, and the "slice o' life" stories found in Anderson movies is a reason for the audience to give a shit about anything that happens. Napolean is boring and distractingly off-putting, his friend Pedro is wooden to the point of comatose, and the rest of the cast are obvious, one-note caricatures.

Come to think of it, it's like a latter-day Christopher Guest movie without the pedigree.

ADDENDUM: The apparent nomination of ND into cult classic status is yet another reason why that rather ridiculous argument that because audience members aren't as nerdy as Peter Parker, they can't enjoy the movie as much as comics readers from the '60's is complete and total bullshit. There isn't a single redeeming, interesting, or even sympathetic quality to Napolean, but mindless trend-zombies are looking for their next Donnie Darko, so there you have it.

Of course I see the rest of the thread and realize someone already made that point. Gah.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

He speak pretty. 

Johnny B pretty much nails what's good (and bad) about Midnight, Mass: Here There Be Monsters:

It's puzzling to me, given that this title had a wee "best series lately you didn't read" buzz about it after the first limited series came out, that John Rozum chose to script the follow-up in such a low-key fashion that this entire series has barely left an impression on me. He's got great leads, and a imaginatively conceived premise for them, but this LS was just one static scene after another, full of talky conflicts, with much of the actual action (you know, scenes in which things happen) happening "offscreen", between the panels if you will. Frustrating, more than anything, because it reduces most of the drama and tension, something a series like this needs in spades. Rozum's got to understand that if he wants us, the reader, to care, then he's got to make us care, and not just assume we will because we like Julia Kadmon or Jenny the secretary or Magellan or whomever. I suppose we can just chalk this series up to the sophomore slump, because while the first MM series had its share of nits as well, it moved a lot quicker than this one did. I'll keep my fingers crossed for next time, knowing full well that there may not be a next time. Art-wise, Paul Lee did a solid, dependable job- sometimes he was a bit Maleev-ish when it came to the conflict scenes we actually got to see, but he depicted much of this in an imaginative fashion, and I prefer his work to the fellow who did the first series. Better luck next time, I guess.

I probably would have taken five times that much space to say precisely the same thing. But then, that's why he's Johnny Effin' Bacardi, and I'm, you know, the guy who says "fuck" a lot.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Yeah, that's what I thought. 

music
Good. You know your music. You should be able to
work at Championship Vinyl with Rob, Dick and
Barry


Do You Know Your Music (Sorry MTV Generation I Doubt You Can Handle This One)
brought to you by Quizilla

And who are you to deny it?

(Thanks, Crys.)

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Der Phonen. 

This is a brilliantly surreal piece of Flash curiosa. Use an old rotary phone to dial up various 3-number combinations, and figure out slight puzzles to get to the next weird locale...

Fascinating because it's so damn weird and sorta... hypnotizingly interesting.

(Courtesy of Little Fluffy.)

Meme alert! 

(Lord, how I loathe that word.)

Rick's got a little thing going on, naming what books are on his Favorite Book Shelf. (The books are his favorites, not the shelf.) It's kinda neat. I figured, hey, why not fill up some space with that sorta thing? I know you're all dying to know what a Ragefuckian considers a "classic," in the most subjective of senses.

Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 1999 - I've been buying them every year since then, but that was the first one, and I think I spent two solid days reading that thing cover to cover. I love those books. Not only do we have every single review written in the past few years from A to Z, but you've also got interviews and Q&A's in the back. I love this guy's stuff, in no small part because he takes shit like comic books seriously, put Princess Mononoke in his Top 10 of the Year list before it was "cool" for critics to like anime, and he hates the goddamn MPAA with a passion.

The Thief of Always by Clive Barker - Yeah, his work can get a little... purple. This book had a pretty profound effect on me when I read it way back in 8th grade, and it's been a favorite ever since then. I have rarely been floored by a book like I was when I read the final quarter of this book, when the seasons go to war with each other.

The Scary Stories Treasury, adapted by Alvin Schwartz, with (highly disturbing) art by Stephen Gammell - Originally three volumes, sold as a kid's book. A great collection of ghost stories, each with its own piece of accompanying art and notes on regional source. I read my paperback editions of these literally to tatters in elementary school, and about flipped when I saw this in hardcover for $9. It's also the #1 most challenged book (to be banned) according to the American Library Assocation, and how the fuck can you not like that?

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli - A profound book, a pragmatic book, a revelatory book, and for none of the reasons you might think. Machiavelli was by no means an "evil" man -- he was a product of his times, and unlike his contemporary philosophers, saw what men were like rather than what they should be like. The version I have is this tiny little paperback that cost $4, and I'd have paid five times that.

The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King - Whatever, it's not very "cool" to like Stephen King because he's so well-loved, but I don't give a rat's ass. What he's attempting to do here is tell his own Grand Tale, in the J.R.R. Tolkein style, but mixed in with a heavy dose of the King Arthur mythos and the spaghetti western. It's brilliant work, spanning (when it's done) seven books and some 30 years of writing. I've got no fucking idea what I'm going to do when the last book comes out; I've been following this series since I was 14.

American Tabloid by James Ellroy - My brother got me started on James Ellroy, and my brother's always had a nose for discovering something approximately six months before it hits big. Sure enough, he got me reading this and six months later, I heard L.A. Confidential had a greenlight. (I am aware Ellroy had a following and a fanbase long before, wiseass.) Ellroy's stuff hit me in the face like a sledgehammer -- I had no idea fiction could be like this. It's dirty, sleazy, horrific stuff, and damn if I don't find it compelling. I even got this bad boy signed by the man himself.

Dictionary of Superstitions by David Pickering - A small handy volume detailing superstitions from all across the globe (focus on Europe), along with copious cross-referencing and, when available, origins of each. Concise and incredibly informative.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley - I've never fought so hard against or been so changed by any one book like I have by this one. It is required reading, no exceptions. I think a hell of a lot of white people (such as myself) have/had the wrong idea about Malcolm X, and once you close this book you'll realize the man was a bona fide hero, with more courage than any ten people you know. Hard lesson.

Dracula by Bram Stoker - A beat-up little paperback I got when I was 10 and have read as many times since then. I love this book. I am, in fact, a Dracula fanboy. Nothing else Stoker has written has come anywhere near this unimpeachable masterpiece, but that's okay. Mina, Drac, Lucy, Van Helsing -- I feel like I know you guys.

How to Write Tales of Horror, Science-Fiction, & Fantasy, various - I actually swiped this from my 12th grade AP English teacher's stash, which is horrible, because she was one kickass teacher. The best books of this style don't just have "how to" stuff in them, they allow you to dig into the minds of some of your favorite writers big (Ray Bradbury), well known (Marion Zimmer Bradley), and small (Katherine Ramsland). Also included: each contributor rates their top 10 genre novels, short stories, and movies. Great stuff.

And that's all I got for now. It's a big bookshelf and my fingers are tired.

("That's what she said!")

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