Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Still running. 


That's the holiday season done with. I'm actually approaching Year 2 of Ringwooding at you, though last year's total content probably didn't match up to the volume of the blog's first month. Such is life.

I was pointed to this little blurb on Ian's blog, and was somewhat surprised to find that my lack of participation could be seen as a shift to quality over quantity, rather than what it was: stark apathy. But I'm all for that.

Some thoughts.

1) I'm a shitty comics fan, and have spent the past couple months catching up on reading Neil Gaiman's Sandman. People'd give me shit every time it came up that I hadn't read it, and if I'm completely honest those people are exactly why I didn't read the fucking thing -- I didn't want to become one of them. (This is why I avoid Starbucks. That, and I don't drink coffee.)

It's pretty good stuff. Intricate. Layered. Natural. Intelligent yet accessible. The constant artist changeover I found refreshing instead of annoying, as it was the kind of book that seemed to beg for a constant shift in vision. (If I was one of the people who waxed flakey in intros for the TPBs, I'd say something like "the shift in artistic styles reflects the metamorphosis of the dreamscapes Gaiman explores, and indeed that of the slowly-evolving psyche of Dream himself," but I'm just not that much of a ponce.)

But I don't know that I've read anything that's left a real impression. The characters felt authentic, the stories could be corny but never pandered, but I walked away from the final volume (The Wake) feeling like I'd just spent several weeks examining an exceptionally well-crafted bauble.

And a bauble is a bauble is a bauble, no matter how much you make it shine.

Maybe it's Morpheus himself. I'm biased toward protagonists who are emotionally distant and uninvolving; I'm enough of a plebeian that I still require at least a smidge of audience identification with the protagonist before I can give a shit what happens to him. As a result, the stories in which Morpheus makes little or no appearance at all were, I felt, universally better for it. Yes, he's very remote and cold and wants to change but can't, etc, etc, and it's all quite tragic, but the end result is that Morpheus is kind of a smarmy prick and I just can't get visceral over his monumentally fucked-up relationship with his son.

But that could just be me.

2) Just got done watching Talk Radio. I wonder, idly, how many times Warren Ellis watched this movie during the entire Transmetropolitan run. Spider Jerusalem is pretty sanitized version of Barry Champlain (and of Hunter S. Thompson, and of this and that and the other), but still, the underlying anger/optimism dichotomy remains.

Optimistic? Yes. You don't keep coming back if you truly think it's all a lost cause.

Though the film is set in an arena that is by now an obsolete, pale joke of its former self -- talk radio -- Barry's observations about his audience's general lack of imagination in its use of the world's most sophisticated communication system holds true for us internet types today. If the internet is, as Barry labels the airwaves, "the last neighborhood in America," what the fuck are we using it for?

To talk about our pets? Orgasms? Evil liberals and corrupt conservatives?

Anyway. Enough of that. Let's get back to ripping on Bendis.

3) I need to stop deliberating and just get satellite radio already. I don't know why anyone bothers with free radio anymore. I know from personal experience: there is no substance in free radio. Do you know why? Because we didn't fucking want any, apparently. But then, I wonder how long it is before Sirius and XM go the route of MTV2.

4) Rick Remender's been on the brain lately. I stumbled across and picked up a copy of Blackheart Billy and found it anarchic and shit-ass crazy enough to appeal to my closeted punk sensibilities. And it was funny. Also, I fucking heart Kieron Dwyer.

Picked up the trade for Strange Girl this last week, and am currently about halfway through it. Gotta say I'm a little disappointed so far. Largely meandering action with the occasional panel of awkwardly gigantic exposition on the usual, unoriginal questions re: religion. If God made us in His image, why do we constantly rail against yadda yadda yadda. He's out of his depth, I think, and this is pretty watered-down from the Billy days. I'm hoping this isn't the best comics can do re: religious ponderings outside of a Will Eisner book.

4) If you're a big fan of Tori Amos and have a penis, we'll probably never be friends.

5) I've subscribed to Entertainment Weekly for, I think, five years now. (Some people would say this is reason enough to write me off out of hand; their opinion is appreciated even as I wipe my ass with it.) So it was with some interest that I found the blog of editor Marc Bernardin and, even beyond that, a blurb for a proposal of something called Monster Action Network.

I will read your Alan Moores, your James Kochalkas, your Will Eisners, your Harvey Pekars. I appreciate what they bring. I appreciate their individual elevations of the art.

But that shit right there is why I read comics.

6) Nothing. There is no sixth thing.

7) I wonder what Banksy thinks about Smoke's rather blatant ripoff of his iconic graffiti art.. Or if he'd even notice. Or care.

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