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Friday, October 29, 2004

I don't have the stamina to not post this. 

Well, Rick shows me up for the fraud I am.

God.

Dammit.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Radio Free Id, Part 2. 

1) Mild response to the post from yesterday. The most informative responses of all were the e-mails I got from folks who wanted me to be more vicious than I was. Interesting. Anyone else want to pick up the ball on this, or will I remain the shit-stirrer?

The silence is a touch disappointing. Not because I wanted to create meaningless controversy, but because I wanted people to actually start thinking about why the fuck they blog. I don't want to hear any of this shit about "because it keeps me writing," or whatever; those are lame, cop-out reasons to free you of any potential responsibility. And besides, if that were the case, why do you have a linkbar? Why is your blog not password-protected?

You want to be public. So why?

2) What's with new cars? They're all about half a foot taller than they need to be, two feet wider than they need to be... and I'm not just talking about oversized SUVs or something. Cars look puffy, like they're inflatible. Just saw some jackass tooling around in some Stay-Puft Chrysler convertible, licorice red, and he was very happy about it, you could tell. I'm sure all the chicks in Candyland were digging on his completely ridiculous ride, though.

Man, give me a future where all the cars look like DeLoreans. I can't handle this shit.

3) Small publishers, let's try a novel concept. HOW ABOUT GIVING ME A SUMMARY OF YOUR FUCKING STORY ON THE BACK OF YOUR GODDAMN TRADE PAPERBACKS? I don't want to pick up a book with an interesting cover, turn it over, and see quotes like "IT'S ABOUT TIME. IT'S ABOUT LOVE. IT'S ABOUT LIFE." over a picture of some dude shaking out a rug or something. And below that are some quotes from jackhole websites about an author's PREVIOUS work.

IT TELLS ME NOTHING, AND IN FACT MADE ME PUT YOUR BOOK DOWN.

I don't understand. The idea is to get books into peoples' hands, right? You want to SELL the product, for reasons various and sundry?

SO WHY DO YOU MAKE IT SO HARD ON THE FUCKING CONSUMER? WHY MUST THE CONSUMER DO ALL THE WORK? WHY WILL YOU NOT MEET US HALFWAY?

This is not a hard concept to grasp.

4) That whole opening sequence to the remake of Dawn of the Dead is just fucking superb, isn't it?

5) I appreciate all that Dirk Deppey did for blogs, but we need to stop talking about this guy like he's Jesus. The rush to be "more like Dirk" is a loser's gambit; do we want to be clones or do we want individual voices? Why do we want to emulate patterns of the past, instead of creating new ones? Are we really so small-brained, so self-referential, so cursedly aware of ourselves that we want to start eating our tails that quickly?

6) Comics piss me off because I love them so much. But comics are so very, very timid. My violent reintroduction to comics back in 2001 was via Frank Miller, and ever since then I've been frustrated that not everyone tries for that kind of energy, zeal, or simple balls-out passion for the form.

And when I say "comics," I mean the whole world of them, inside and out. Not just the floppies. You guys are part of that.

I do not want to read about Hal Jordan. I do not want to read another snarky dismissal of a safe target like Identity Crisis. I don't want to hear ANOTHER GODDAMN REFERENCE to superhero readers living in their mom's basement. All of that crap -- that's pure intellectual laziness.

Start using teeth when you talk, or shut up.

7) WHY DID YOU FUCK WITH THE CAMERA IN GRAND THEFT AUTO?!

8) What one person has called a binary philosophy, that pisses me off. No one is all saint or all devil. Black and white is worthless when talking about human beings.

Who I'm thinking of is Julius Schwartz. Seems to be the popular opinion is he's either the Savior of Comics or A Dangerous, Dirty Old Man Excused By Other Dangerous, Dirty Old Men. That either his lecherous habits should be ignored because of his achievements, or his achievements are for naught because he was sleazy.

Ridiculous. That's the kind of simplistic, childish morality worthy of... why, a 1960's superhero comic book.

Has anyone here ever known anyone that could be defined that simply?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Nuclear. 

I owe an artist an e-mail. I have an unopened copy of GTA: San Andreas sitting on my desk, calling my name in its sweet siren song. I picked up three classic horror movies -- Little Shop of Horrors, Dementia 13, and House on Haunted Hill -- for A DOLLAR APIECE! (I heart Best Buy.) I should be writing. I haven't had a bite to eat all day. There are, literally, 5000 things I should be doing instead of this.

But here I am.

Now, I don't believe in shock and posturing for the sake of shock and posturing. Some people do. I'm thinking specifically of that Talk to the Face situation and its various hangers-on; Congratulations, suckers, you've hitched your wagon to the Jacqueline Susann of our time. I'm a bit surprised some of my fellow bloggers responded so positively to such an obvious handjob of self-importance and gimmickry, but whadyagonnado. Next I'll be hearing that US Weekly is legitimate press and should be taken seriously.

No, I believe shock and posturing should be like miracles: a great big conflagaration that draws attention to something else that needs attention. I understand the argument to "lead by example," but the critic has his or her definite place on the food chain. They serve an undeniable function: Shaping and guiding the consciousness of the greater masses.

(If you scoff at that, and you're a blogger, ask yourself why you have a blog in the first place. If you scoff at that and you merely visit blogs, ask yourself why you visit them.)

That's all pretty fancy talk. Here's the low humor part: you've got yourselves front row seats to a hell of a train wreck. I admit to no small joy in being the one manning the engine.

It's time to Name Names, and I'm just going to go down my bloglist on the lefthand bar there. I won't talk about everyone, because frankly not everyone needs to be talked about. If this shatters your ego, I have advice for you: cope.

Ian Brill - No strong opinion. I like Ian. He writes good stuff. Hooray Ian.

Mark Hale - Same. We always have need of people who archive our collective past, and all the better if they do so in a humorous fashion.

Johanna Draper Carlson - I do not believe Johanna reads and talks about comics to enjoy herself or to have a good time. I believe she reads and talks about comics to be miserable about something in an intelligent fashion. I sense no joy or love for the art in anything she writes. All I read is informed misery. She's smart, no doubt, but hardly an entry goes by that I do not say, out loud, "oh for god's sake, pull the stick out." Please: LIGHTEN UP. Note: This entry works if you replace Johanna's name with Chris Butcher, and adjust the pronouns accordingly.

Rick Geerling - Rick doesn't have the stamina to put up with disappointment, which is really too bad, because he's very funny and very clever. We need more people like Rick, hanging on the fringes, well-known enough to be noticed but not so popular he can't just do whatever the hell he wants whenever the hell he wants. A loss.

Graeme McMillan - A cornerstone of the blogosphere, undoubtedly. It's funny, because if you just laid out a quick summary of what it is Graeme does, you wouldn't figure he'd be so important to the whole works. The man wields as much power as any of us can, and he doesn't really use it. I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

Franklin Harris - Knowledgeable, but oh so snooty. Oh, lord, the snooty factor. We're all very impressed, my boy, no really; just TALK already. This goes for Franklin, and for everyone else, too: we're not nearly as important as we think we are until we've EARNED IT. And we haven't yet.

John Jakala - Help me Obi-Wan, you're our only hope. Jakala fit all the traits I look for in a good blogger, and for all intents and purposes he's gone. This saddens me, and I'm not speaking in hyperbole.

Matt Maxwell - See entry: "Brill, Ian." I actually love Matt to death. I consider him one of the Good Guys.

Marc Singer - Too smart for us.

Dave Intermittent - See entry: "Jakala, John." Dave is brilliant. He's very smart but doesn't flaunt it; he just gets on with his point and makes his point in about a third of the space of the rest of the "intellectual" bloggers. We would do well to follow his example.

David Fiore - I love David to death, and I, like most people, think he might be mildly insane. There's no question in my mind that David is very, very smart. Most of the time, though, he sounds like he's chiming in from another conversation that is quite similar but distinctly different. I also believe he's completely sincere in everything he says, and that most people react very poorly when they encounter someone who talks with zero guile. They simply don't know how to respond to a man who hides nothing and keeps everything on the level.

Neilalien, Mike Sterling, and Johnny Bacardi - When the bombs drop and the world ends, the last things left alive will be Twinkies, roaches, and these three guys. And that warms up the coal-black pits of my heart something fierce. I understand Neil has lately been called "Dirklike" in a complimentary fashion, but I consider this a disservice. Neil is not Dirk, nor should he have any reason to be. He's Neil. As long as these three continue to do what they do, all hope is not lost.

Kevin Melrose & Shane Bailey - I've often commented that these two are necessary components of the blogosphere, perhaps even vital. I also think their style of blogging inhibits the emergence of any true personality. I get the sense with Kevin that this is the intention, but I chalk that up in the Loss column.

Jeff Chatlos/Otto - We Need Otto. Another of a small cadre of bloggers who set the example just by doing what they do.

Rose Curtin/Steven Berg - Have grown distressingly inconsistent on blogging. Now, just being regular once a week is fine; not everyone needs to blog every day. Not everyone can. But I'm starting to wonder about this blog's shelf life, and that's too bad; we need all the smart dissenting voices we can get.

(Note: that's dissenting, not arbitrary naysaying. A lot of bloggers mix the two up often.)

Dorian... whatever his last name is - My sole complaint with Dorian is that there's only one of him. We need him like we need Mikester, like we need Neil, like we need Johnny B, like we need Jeff/Otto, like we need Graeme. Essential.

Milo George - Wasted potential. A lot of intelligence and a lot of insight squandered on so-backhanded-it's-useless commentary. Though, I admit, the "yours in Christ" signoff never fails to make me laugh. Could make a difference; apparently chooses not to. Which is too bad.

Me - I don't know my place here and never have. I've always considered myself just about the least essential blog on the whole sphere, which is really saying something. But all the right people seem to like me. Chances are, if you don't like me, the feeling is mutual. But if you want to know for sure... why not drop me a line?

There. I feel much better. Have a pleasant day.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Am upset. 

Once you stop reading blogs for a few days, for whatever reason, it's really easy to stay that way.

A lot of the reason behind that is pretty obvious: there's way too fucking many of them. I don't think anyone can argue with that.

Here's another problem: we've allowed ourselves to become secondhand sources of Newsarama blurbs. That's... that's pitiful, is what that is. We don't report our own news. We let Newsarama and CBR and whoever else process the press releases, or score the fabulous columns (which is all CBR is good for), and then talk about what they talk about.

Which is fine. There's a place for forum discussion, and message boards sure as shit aren't the place anything constructive can be done. But is that all we should be?

What we have now are eleventy million blogs that refilter press releases and release schedules through each blogger's particular personalities. And if a blogger has a particularly strong personality, or a good niche unserved elsewhere, that can be okay.

But is that all we should be? Exactly how many lifestyle columnists are necessary?

Now, far be it from me to suggest alternatives to this self-fulfilling cycle of worthlessness and parasitism. We have here an excellent opportunity to break out of the loop and make forward progress, but mostly we want to perpetuate the same shitty circumstances in comics that we came into (or say we came into, or heard that other people came into.) The status quo, when questioned, is viciously reinforced by Voids that Eat Fun (tm a blogger who probably doesn't want to be named.)

Lame.

There are a few bloggers out there who offer consistently fresh material, consistently interesting insights, or fulfill their niche unlike anyone else. But we don't have enough of them.

And maybe it's silly of me to expect everyone to rise to excellence, but I'd like everyone to at least give it a shot, you know? Maybe resist the temptation to tell us what you're buying this week. I don't really care. What I care about is WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THOSE COMICS. Positive (or negative) buzz is something bloggers specialize in, and can be a pretty powerful tool.

If you like, I can start naming names.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

A mini offer. 

In case you were not aware, the Hard Time TPB from DC Focus came out today. It's $10. It's a title I believe in, and it needs a boost in sales in the worst way.

So here's what I'm going to do.

The first five people to send me a funny prison nickname for themselves or their shiv (and no name generators, please, that shit is just lame) will get a copy of the Hard Time TPB from me, absolutely free, even the shipping. Drop me a line at crimson at lethaldeath dot com. Title the e-mail "HARD TIME FOR A HARD RINGWOOD."

And please, this is only for people who have not yet read the series.

Thank you.

ADDENDUM: THE FIVE LUCKY WINNERS HAVE BEEN SELECTED. PLEASE STOP SENDING IN YOUR... ACTUALLY KEEP SENDING THEM, THEY'RE PRETTY FUNNY. FOR THOSE WHO DIDN'T WIN: DROP THE $10 ALREADY AND GET IN ON A GREAT FUCKING SERIES. THANK YOU.

Monday, October 11, 2004

The more they stay the same. 

So I pretty much cut myself of comics news and blogging for a couple weeks. Some stuff came up, and my motivation to deal with it was totally lost. I return today to find out some interesting tidbits that are quite refreshing.

Apparently, Joe Quesada spun a web of bullshit about his career as Marvel's EiC. I was shocked, shocked I say, to find out that he'd done such a thing. It's a good thing we have our packs of trained attack hounds to leap on the man every chance we get. What everyone is doing certainly does not overstep the bounds from watchdogging to violating a dead horse with savage glee in every stroke.

Hal Jordan is still returning. Can we please go ahead and RELEASE THAT FUCKING ISSUE SO WE CAN STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS NOW?! Holy fucking god, has there ever been such a non-issue in the history of the world? It's pathetic, it's sad, we all know it, WE'RE MOVING ON NOW.

Shane has a Walking Dead contest going on, which is pretty cool. (Not sarcasm.)

Apparently some actor died, I think it was Gene Hackman or something. Man, wasn't he great in Behind Enemy Lines?

Apparently Identity Crisis still sucks and is morally reprehensible. If I'm not reminded of this on a weekly basis, I may forget. So keep up the good work!

Unrelated: From what I understand, Angelina Jolie is in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow for about 5 minutes. I'm pretty sure this is punishable in a court of law.

Johnny Bacardi is not a murderer. I guess I should be glad to hear that. And yet...

A lot of people on comics message boards are totally bugfuck insane. Film at 11.

Dorian continues to post fresh material. God bless that little man. (Note: I have no idea how tall Dorian is.)

In case I have not made my point perfectly clear.

POST SOMETHING NEW, GODDAMMIT!

(That goes for me, too.)

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Still kickin'. 

I'm a guest blogger on Rick's 31 Days of Horror in October, and today's entry is me waxing enthusiastic about Poltergeist. Give it a look-see.

If you're curious, a couple days ago I reviewed Ravenous. If you've never seen this movie, do me a favor and correct that mistake immediately.

Regular blogging will resume Monday. Had some stuff going on lately that's slowed it all down and killed my enthusiasm (stuff not related to comics), but I'll get over it.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Two is my favorite number. 

(Lie.)

1) Rick has begun his first in a month-long series of daily horror movie reviews, in celebration of the holiday we all know as Boxing Day. No, no, okay, it's for Halloween. Today's selection is Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, as reviewed by Rick himself. Keep your eyes on that space -- I have five reviews going up over the course of the month myself.

2) Lar's posted a piece of the script for Matt Fraction's upcoming Five Fists of Science. It features a conversation between (apparently) Mark Twain and Nikolai Tesla, so purchase is pretty much required.

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