I messed around and got bored, so this is closed for business. In the meantime, here’s something from Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira 2:
These aren’t good comics. They’re best comics. Visit Otomblr for more. I’m starting to think that people should be making comics that are at least trying to be as good or better than Akira. It’s cool if you don’t make that mark (it’s a high, but worthy mark) but if you’re just taking paychecks… nah son. Feed your family first, but holler at me when you make something worth reading.
You should cop that album. There’s four or five serious bangers, and the worst it gets is “pretty okay.” And even “pretty okay” gets an upgrade to “good” thanks to a Big Boi assist on the remix.
Here’s some comics some people are probably buying this week: David:Xombi 3, Power Man and Iron Fist 5 Esther: Yes: Xombi 3 Maybe: Action Comics 901, Detective Comics 877, Green Arrow 12 Gavin:Green Lantern Corps 60, Green Lantern Emerald Warriors 10, Green Lantern 66, Incorruptible 18, Astonishing Spider-Man Wolverine 6, Captain America 618, Deadpool 37, FF 4, Incredible Hulks 629, Iron Man 2.0 5, Namor The First Mutant 10, Power Man And Iron Fist 5, Secret Avengers 13, Secret Warriors 27, Venom 3
-I wanted to keep with my new format of discussing two works or bits of art I liked, but I’m on the run eating today, in addition to flirting with burnout and depression simultaneously!
-Brief bites, like the old school ciphers of two or three weeks ago. New format returns next week. Fewer complaints, too, I hope.
-The promised album reviews will have to wait, too, ugh
-One bit of art I liked from Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira:
-That coach is the greatest.
-Sometimes I go through phases of really believing that cape comics have a chance of evolving and sticking around, rather than navel-gazing their way into oblivion. And then I see the sales charts and find out that John Rozum and Frazer Irving’s Xombi shipped 12k and get depressed and bitter. Twelve thousand is pretty bad, particularly in today’s crappy comics market.
-I keep forgetting that the echo chamber that is the people I correspond with isn’t made of the traditional direct market consumer.
-Cape comics fans don’t want new, or diverse, or fresh, or even really interesting. They want what they have always had, but maybe slightly different from the last time. Maybe a new face, but not too new, in some old clothes, or an old face back from the dead and a little sexier.
-David Finch’s incredibly ugly, boring, and awful The Dark Knight came in at #4, and a couple books saw sales spikes for Reign of Doomsday.
-This is the comics industry we’ve built, and it’s gross.
-Mainstream comics: I’m currently regularly buying Hellblazer, Heroes for Hire, Hulk, Power Man and Iron Fist, and Xombi.
-That’s my “pull list.”
-They’re consistently good, fairly free of stupid event-based shenanigans, and just tell good stories, month-in, mouth-out. Those are the most basic things that’ll get me to buy a comic.
-(The art on Heroes for Hire is frustratingly shaky, though.)
-I buy a lot of trades and digital books, too, but these are the only ones I buy on any sort of schedule beyond “Oh, is that out?”
-I realize that my Xombi complaint is pretty much “Why don’t people like the things I like” *throws teddy bear against the wall*, don’t get me wrong. But, that doesn’t make the fact that new books do not, and apparently will never, sell any less depressing.
-My policy is generally “Like what you like, because who cares,” but sometimes I slip.
-But it’s whatever. I’ll read something good this week (probably Hellblazer, which sells less than Xombi but has the benefit of being a Name comic in some way), forget about the fact that most comics fans don’t share my taste, and go back to gushing about how great whatever the last comic I read was.
-That comic’ll probably be Charles Schulz’s Peanuts.
David:Hellblazer 279, Heroes For Hire 7, Hulk 33, Thunderbolts 157 Esther: Yes: Tiny Titans 40, Batman and Robin 23, Superman/Batman 84 Possibly: Power Girl 24 Gavin:Batman And Robin 23, Booster Gold 44, Darkwing Duck 12, Avengers Academy 14, Avengers 13, Deadpool MAX 8, Herc 3, Heroes For Hire 7, Hulk 33, Skaar King Of The Savage Land 3, Thunderbolts 157, Ultimate Comics Avengers vs New Ultimates 4, Uncanny X-Force 10
-Been thinking a lot about what comics can’t do lately. There are some things that require something more than comics can give–silence, for example.
-Silence is the absence of sound. It’s tough to portray silence in comics. It’s not the same as wordlessness, not really. If you’ve ever seen a scene in a movie where the music drops out and every word hits like a hammer to the skull–that’s so powerful thanks to silence. It dials your attention down to a single point. It turns “It tastes like you but sweeter!” from a mean diss into a gunshot.
-Car chases, too. You can do them in comics, sure, but I don’t think you can top what you’d see in Bullitt or Dirty Harry. Car chases need motion, the blur of scenery, and jockeying for position. They need squeals. It never feels right in comics. Kenichi Sonoda’s Gunsmith Cats had some good car chase bits, but the most memorable one took place on an empty highway.
-Foot chases in comics, though? Those are great. Frank Miller on Daredevil, for example. Comics made rooftops magical. I got mad when I grew up and found out how hard it was to get to the roof of buildings.
-Slow walks toward the camera always look corny in comics, too. You can do the slow stroll, but you can’t do it head-on.
-What am I forgetting? Have there been good chases in comics?
-Speaking of Gunsmith Cats, here’s a bit I like from the first volume, which involves something like a car chase:
-One thing Sonoda seems to understand is how limited comics are when it comes to car chases. He always adds some sauce, whether it’s a three-way race, gun battles, or civilians getting in the way. In a later volume, Rally and Bean are faced with the choice of pasting a dude on the highway or wrecking. Instead, they share a glance, jerk their wheels toward each other, and lock their tires, causing their cars to set up on two wheels each in an arc over the dude.
-This bit, though, is really good, underage panties aside. This is how you put a proper chase scene in comics. Sonoda binged on making the cars real and showing progressive damage. The big impact panel features the side mirror on the Lotus breaking off and flying across their windshield. The Mercedes grille is flawless.
-Slipping the girl through the car’s doors is clever, too. It’s the sort of thing Spider-Man should be doing all the time. I’ve seen a couple similar things in movies, like this bit from the otherwise aight Red:
-You have a limitation: motion is limited in comics and sound is portrayed differently. Your goal: how do you surpass the limitations?
-Comics/cartoons crossover: I’ve been watching old episodes of Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball. I’ve only seen a little of the show, though I own the whole manga. I’d forgotten how Dr. Slump-y it got. Poop jokes, dick jokes, boob jokes… it’s got everything I love. I knew there was a reason I liked it more than DBZ.
-Anyway, the cartoon does something I thought was interesting. Whenever something explodes, the cloud of dust has a “BOM!” sound effect over it. There are a couple others that are used, some in Japanese, some in English, but it’s so interesting to see comics transplanted directly to film like that.
-It makes the show feel very kiddy, if I can say that without having to get all “pow! zoom!” It’s the font they use and the way it appears. It’s very fun, very friendly.
-Another bit from GSC that I liked, though not for any formal reasons.
-I like how much attention Sonoda pays to Rally loading the gun in that first tier of panels. It’s quietly menacing. 2.1 is great, too, with those speed lines Sonoda just throws onto Rally’s arms. The pose and the motion are all good. You can instantly recognize what she just did, and he flips it again for 3.3.
-I really, really enjoy seeing how comics artists solve things like this. How do you show someone spinning a cylinder? Show the thumb and then a blur? Focus on the cylinder? Cheat and draw it all static? Afterimages?
-Smoking is one of my favorite things in media. It looks unbelievably cool, and in the hands of a proper actor and director, can really enhance a scene. Ladies with cigarette holders breathing clouds into the air while dismissing would-be suitors, thugs lurking in alleys with just the tip of their noses lit by the cigarette, or dudes in an apartment, making murder plans in clouds of smoke… yeah, I love all that.
-Smoking is great for pacing a conversation, too, and it works just as well, if not better, in comics.
-I got like four or five new albums yesterday, but those’ll have to wait. I haven’t had a chance to dig into them just yet, beyond Tyler, the Creator’s Goblin. Expect a big music post, maybe? I like buying music, so probably, yes.
-Oh yeah, I mentioned a Frank Miller piece I couldn’t find last week. Quote:
-There’s this piece Miller did of Miho for some magazine or another. It’s in The Art of Sin City, at any rate. It’s sparse, hardly any details but Miho’s face and pubic hair. It sounds perverted, but it really doesn’t come off like that way. It’s sexy, but not like… gross.
-Turns out I had it sitting on my computer the entire time in my big folder full of Frank Miller Stuff. Click here to see it, but keep in mind that it’s probably nsfw, depending on how your job feels about negative space boobs. It’s from Tripwire apparently. No idea which issue.
David: hates comics this week Esther: Mais oui! Batgirl 21/ Oui: Birds of Prey 12. Est Possible: Doc Savage 14 (I like the crocodile on the cover.) Gavin:Batman Incorporated 6, FF 3, Incredible Hulks 628, New Avengers 12, Punisher MAX 12
-Two things about Frank Miller’s work on Sin City: Family Values.
-This page is pretty nuts. A lot of what I read are mainstream comics, superhero or otherwise, which means that they’re colored, sometimes garishly (in both good and bad ways). Spotting blacks is something that feels pretty rare. I can’t remember the last time I looked at a page like, “Wow, look at all that black.”
-Miller’s pretty good at making black and white play well together, though, isn’t he? I love how he minimizes certain things (the barstools), suggests other things (Peggy’s legs), and then throws a bunch of detail onto the man’s pants and Peggy’s sweater. What’s really striking is how that big drop of black that’s Dwight’s chest really sets off his figure.
-I like the feathery fur on Peggy’s jacket, and the fuzz on Dwight’s coat. What material is that supposed to be? Like a light fur? Dwight’s really into his role. Shame about him sitting on his coat, though.
-There’s this piece Miller did of Miho for some magazine or another. It’s in The Art of Sin City, at any rate. It’s sparse, hardly any details but Miho’s face and pubic hair. It sounds perverted, but it really doesn’t come off like that way. It’s sexy, but not like… gross.
-I couldn’t find the image online. Found a whole bunch of other stuff, though. Here’s a slightly dirty Sergio Aragones Sin City illo, instead:
-Miho is probably my favorite character out of Sin City‘s cast. She’s sorta the height of Miller’s Elektric woman worshipping. She’s an invincible killing machine, stronger than everyone around her, and only subordinate to a man when she wants to be, which isn’t really submission at all, is it?
-Miller writes and draws her as a sort of ethereal, angelic figure. Her thoughts are closed to us, barring commentary from other characters, so we can only judge her actions.
-She’s entirely free of shadows in this tale. She’s the only pure character in the entire book. It’s an effective visual choice, because she either fades into the background, like a ghost, or really pops off the page.
-Miho spends all of her time in Family Values killing and maiming some thugs. It’s great.
-It’s great because Miller’s actually pretty good at action scenes. I like how casual this whole sequence is, how Miho’s just an efficient killing machine that catches everyone by surprise.
-The best bit, though, is that last page. Perfect picture of one moment in time, in that moment right before confusion turns into surprise.
-Has anyone ever looked at how Miller portrays people in mid-air? There’s this sublime bit in Elektra Lives Again where Matt Murdock just steps off a balcony and falls, before hitting a wire. Miller & Lynn Varley left the snow on the wire in place while the wire fell. There’s something about the way Miller shows people leaping and falling that’s different. I’d have to reread a whole lot more of his stuff specifically looking at that, though.
-Copped two new albums this week, both of which are actually old: Misnomer(S)’s American I(s) and Hard Nips second EP, I Shit U Not. One’s this sorta… punk-y thing, lots of heavy guitars. The other’s violin-inflected hip-hop.
-I really like the idea of violins and rap. There’s no real reason why one doesn’t belong with the other, and I’ve liked that mix since the intro on Hip Hop Respect (scroll down, hit listen). Misnomer(S) is two sisters, Knewdles and Sos. Knewdles kicks raps that feel sorta Native Tongues-y in terms of flow (I hear a lot of Queen Latifah in her voice, but she’s got De La’s playfulness) and Sos is the violinist half.
-American I(s) is a pretty fun record, but that type of fun that flips between rapping about rapping to rapping about real life issues, like racism or broken relationships. I like the way it sounds, though I’ve only listened to it a couple of times thus far.
-I Shit U Not… I like how this sounds. I don’t really know much about whatever microgenre this is probably supposed to be, but it’s good music to bike to. That mix of higher-pitched vocals and deep guitars (what’s the word for this type of guitar sound? somebody help me out) makes for an aural mix that’s new to me. The songs feel almost… abstracted, with the music and vocals playing basically the same role to my ears.
-Is that weird?
-I’m pleased with both albums, though. Hard Nips goes onto the workout mix, Misnomer(S) into boom-bap-rap.
David:Heroes for Hire 6 Esther: Yes: Superboy 7 Maybe: Secret Six 33 Gavin:Axe Cop Bad Guy Earth 3, Secret Six 33, Irredeemable 25, Avengers Academy 13, Deadpool Annual 1, Fear Itself 2, Herc 2, Heroes For Hire 6, Marvel Zombies Supreme 4, Ozma Of Oz 6, Uncanny X-Force 9
-It reminds me of the chromatic casting meme from last year (year before?). It’s begging for scraps off the table instead of demanding a seat at the table. I don’t want to buy Black Avengers. If I had to choose, I want to buy some fresh new comics with black characters. I don’t need the Avengers to validate my race or the characters I like.
-Screw the Avengers.
-This sort of thing tends to pop up once or twice a year–somebody gets it into their head that in order to be EQUAL black people need to be the same thing as white people. We need a Black Spider-Man! That’s diversity, right?!
-Black Spider-Man can get deez nutz. I don’t want him at all.
-The worst part about Black Avengers, and I’m using Black Avengers as a term to stand in for the thing I’m talking about, is that it’s so unbelievably short-sighted. It just ends up propping up the old, clumsy, ugly, poisonous, and rotten paradigm that everyone claims they want to get out from under. Let them people have the Avengers. Make something better.
-Oh, you want rock’n’roll? That’s cool, ’cause we’ve got rap.
-Sometimes I seriously hate corporate comics.
-And I said this would be short, but that was a lie, because I wanted to get that poison out of me. I’m not mad about the Black Avengers. I just think it’s a stupid idea (and, like all stupid ideas, one that would work under a talented team) and hate that it became, however briefly, a talking point with regards to race and capes.
-Think it through in both directions, front to back–where did it come from? Where will it lead? What does it mean? Black Avengers thinking is poisonous.
-Crap, what do I like so this isn’t completely composed of me blacking out on dumb ideas…
-I saw Hanna. I liked it. Too frustrated to write about it right now, though.
-It Ain’t No More To It is an attempt to better my writing. I give myself a time limit (15 or 30 minutes) and I don’t allow myself to edit. Once a paragraph is finished, it’s locked in stone, typos and all, and I move on. I barely even edit once I finish a sentence, barring deletion. It’s the raw unfiltered. My sword needs to be sharper, and this seems like an effective way to do it. Think faster, think better.
-Oh yeah, the African Batman has a few pages in Batman Inc 5. His name is David and he has a jetpack. I approve.
-I hope Donald Trump gets punched in the stomach on live TV. How unbelievably disappointing.
nigga, what, i’m a star
David:Power Man and Iron Fist 4, Xombi 2 Esther: Oui: Action Comics 900, Batman Incorporated 5 Peut-être: Xombi 2, Detective Comics 876 Gavin:Batman Inc. 5, Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors 9, Justice League: Generation Lost 24, Avengers 12.1, Captain America 617, Deadpool 36, FF 2, Incredible Hulk 627, Namor: The First Mutant 9, Power Man and Iron Fist 4, Secret Avengers 12, Secret Avengers 12.1, Venom 2, Incorruptible 17
consumed: Sore throat’s gone! But my voice is still kinda raaaaaaaaspy. (yo, I totally forgot that David Banner was in this joint. The old Banner, too, back before he turned himself into a sex symbol!)
-This interview with David Simon is excellent. Reading this guy always makes me want to do more and do better, and hurt whoever deserves it. He’s dead-on about everything he says, too, from newspapers to how America is more than willing to eat its young.
-Sometimes you just read this stuff and get depressed, like the train is already off the tracks, sailing down the cliff, and we’re just waiting for the impact.
-Actually, bump that last one first so that I can talk about it.
-”9x Outta 10″ is absurd rap, with this brutal beat and sample haunting Kurupt’s sideways verse. And then Quik fades in, Kurupt fades out, and then it stops–
-But it’s gonna start again, where it started at, ended up, and restart again. Get your mind in the right position before it start again.
-I can’t tell you how much I love Kurupt’s performance on this song. Quik came through in a huge way with the beat, creating a beat that’s simultaneously classic boom-bap (ignore the sample, and just listen–it ain’t that complicated) and like a dirty, grimey version of early Kanye, but Kurupt’s delivery is just… it’s not all over the place. He’s too good for that and everything lands where it’s supposed to be. But he breaks from how rap songs usually get broken up and completely changes how the song sounds. You can’t drop a regular verse on this track after this, and I don’t even really want the instrumental for a ringtone (yes I do).
-Kurupt came with that tongue-twister Jenga skyscraper flow, just pulling out blocks and putting them where you wouldn’t expect them to go. The chorus blends into the verse, Quik’s verse is part of Kurupt’s verse, and the sample bleeds and bends until it’s not even words any more, it’s just music.
-Two things: that shot of Kurupt breathing out smoke is incredible. “Don’t talk to me no more about no motherfucking money.”
-Quik and Kurupt are west coast legends. I’ve been a fan for years. Longer for Kurupt, I think, ’cause I liked Tha Dogg Pound a whole lot.
-More on drinkin’ smokin’ straight west coastin’:
-I bought two albums today. One was DJ Quik’s The Book of David, which I’ll come back to in a bit. I’m listening to Blu’s Her Favorite Colo(u)r right now, the other album I bought, and it’s got about ten minutes left. I haven’t listened to Quik’s record yet, but I liked Blu’s joint back when it dropped for free, unmastered, in 2009.
-I’ve tried to put what I like about Blu down on paper before, but trying again couldn’t hurt, right?
-I just got distracted for like ten minutes trying to ID the piano from Blu’s “Pardon”. It’s from Curtis Mayfield’s We the People Who Are Darker Than Blue”. He chopped up Mayfield’s vocals (that’s Mayfield going “Pardon me brother”) and sped up the music.
-Blu’s whole sound is really interesting to me, and that brief burst of sample digging kinda illustrates why. He’s not particularly lyrical (like “I’m lyrical miracle dropping bombs like spherical dirigibles”). He comes across as genuine in his rhymes, like a normal dude who just likes to make music and is talented enough to have a national platform.
-His beats tend to be these relaxed, soulful joints that I really dig. He’s not really about pumping out hits. Every rap song out right now sounds like Lex Luger produced it. Luger is dope, but that’s wack. Blu’s a nice corrective. You can just vibe out to his music, put it on in the background, and get your bougie smart-art cat on.
-And when it comes to songs that have some knock… well, listen to “Disco Dynamite” again. He can do that, too. I’m assuming him and Mainframe co-produced that joint, and maybe I’m wrong, but that beat is undeniable. It’s not as “What did the shotgun say to the head?” as Kurupt and Quik’s “9x Outta 10″, but it’s a definite headnodder. He’s got that Raekwon Juggernaut flow, just kicking rhymes.
-Also the girl(s) at 2:00 and 2:05.
-Quik’s album just came up on iTunes.
-Versatility is nice. You could definitely put Blu in a lane if you wanted to, maybe because of his movie and music samples, but he knows how to pull in these disparate influences and sources and create something new. Some of his songs positively meander. He’ll drop a verse, let the sample breathe for a minute, drop another verse, and out. A minute or more of no vocals, and the beat just riding out. I like that a whole lot.
-DJ Quik I have less to say about, but I dig him a lot, probably for similar. If you put a Quik album and a Dr. Dre album in front of me… I’m gonna grab the Quik record. Dre is dope when he tries, but his perfectionism and stage fright basically make him a dude who has coasted for at least ten years now. Quik has consistently put out dope tracks for everyone from 8Ball & MJG to himself to Tupac. You can be a genius producer, but if you never bother to produce, why should I care?
-Quik’s name is David, too, so that’s bonus points right there.
-Quik didn’t ever really fit into the West Coast sound. He wasn’t G-Funk enough for the mid ’90s and he didn’t have that hypnotic Dr. Dre knock of the late ’90s into the ’00s. But he’s versatile, too. “Do Today” just came up on iTunes and it goes. Apparently it’s got part of The Family’s “Screams of Passion” in it, and it’s definitely got that ’80s synth funk pop sound. Quik’s dope with the keyboards, really.
-Quik was an alternative to Warren G, Battlecat, and Dre, but never took that hard turn toward New York that Alchemist did. I don’t think he ever had that underground, Dilated Peoples/Hiero/Murs sound, either. He’s always been his own dude. Someone with a better sense of history than me could probably tell it better.
-I bought Portal 2. What’s up with not having a body in first person games? You pick up and hold things constantly, but never see your arms. You run around and jump, but never see your legs. I don’t think the water even splashes when you move through it.
-It’s this weird uncanny valley thing, and it keeps me from getting engrossed in the game. It’s a reminder that it’s fake, like some schmuck in a comic book mugging at the camera or saying something like, “We’re not in a comic book, Captain America! Life doesn’t work like that!”
-Angie Wang is a dope artist and I swear she finds the best games. She’s working on a book for First Second right now. When it’s announced and ships, buy it.
-Play that one. I’m finding a strange amount of enjoyment in these arty/non-violent games. It forces me to mentally shift gears, so that it’s not about competition so much as the experience in and of itself.
-Achievements, trophies… all that stuff is stupid. I reject being a completionist or proving my worth. I’m all about the experience now. Scores don’t matter. Rankings don’t matter. I don’t care. Is it fun? Am I interested? If I spend five minutes with it, will those five minutes keep my attention?
-These little art games tickle a part of my brain that rarely gets tickled when I play games, whether for pleasure or for work. They’re nice.
-A bit more about music…
-Jim Jones, “Everybody Jones.”
-This song goes.
-The beat is hot, and while Jimmy does more or less his regular flow (“We Fly High,” “Pop Champagne,” “Get Like Me”), he’s pulling that ’90s jiggy swag into 2011 more or less intact. This whole joint is just “Capo got stuff and girls like him. Harlem!” It’s a shopping list set to music, the 2011 equivalent of a poster of a Porsche on a teenager’s wall.
-Jones’s swag has been interesting lately, though. Him and Dipset had that whole pink Polo thing on lock, but at some point, probably shortly after Dipset broke up, they got into that rock star style. Skull & crossbones, wallet chains, properly fitted jeans (which is tough, for real), kick game vicious, chains back to ’90s size but either solo or in absurd numbers… the swagger is definitely black, for lack of a better word, but at the same time, it isn’t. Rock star rapper swag.
-The neon green and purple that Jones is sporting is fresh, too. It pops against his otherwise regular clothes. I couldn’t pull it off, but I’m definitely down to swagger jack some of his normal style.
-I bought another album, though it was the other day. Exile & Free The Robots’ LA Series 10.
-It’s a vinyl project, so it probably loses a little in the translation to mp3. Exile did one side, four songs that combine to form one long song, while Free the Robots did the other side. It’s not really a collaboration. It’s the tenth in a series of records about LA.
-I don’t want to say too much about it, because I think I want to do an Albarn post on it, but I dig it a whole lot. Both sides are good, but Exile’s wins by a mile.
-The thing about Exile’s half is that all the words I want to use it describe it are negative. His songs sound like the aftertaste of poison on your girlfriend’s lips after your last kiss or like looking at a broken, rotting building feels.
-I mean that in a good way, is the thing.
-”There was a hole here. It’s gone now” music.
-Even the track titles… “Distopian Utopia,” “PCP Laced Beedies,” “Love for Sell/Bots have feelings,” and “Dawn of the Nothing.” All of that feels wrong, like a body that’s about half as warm as it should be.
-Exile made this little four song sequence that crawls up under your skin and whispers in your ear while you sleep. I’m really glad I bought this joint. It’s music to think about.
-It sounds like parts of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira feels, and that’s already got a mean soundtrack (here and here) that’ll sit in your hindbrain.
this is what the devil plays before he goes to sleep
created: I haven’t been sleeping well. My throat hurts, so every time I swallow, I wince. Apparently, every time I swallow in my sleep, I wake up. That’s right: I’m the guy who wakes up an hour after taking sleeping pills. It’s had the odd effect of increasing my productivity, though. I’ve been dashing out stuff at work and at home like mad. I’m this close to getting out in front of every deadline I have control over. Crazy.
-You know what’s nice about comics? There’s so many good ones that I can be well-versed in the greats and have a fantastic library without having to give Will Eisner any props for The Spirit and Ebony White. “It was just the times! Ha ha! Not racist!” Nah son, that looks pretty racist, especially for 1972, but I guess ’cause Ebony was an Upstanding Honorable Guy Who Gets The Job Done it’s okay that he’s drawn like a pickaninny. Doing a smug strip like this is dumb, too. Why should I give you the time of day? Sheer skill only goes so far, man. Spotted at Diversions of the Groovy Kind.
-I can respect Hickman’s point (glibly paraphrased: “I’m not completely comfortable writing black guys because I feel like a faker, and that’s not the kind of writer I want to be”), but at the same time… at a certain point, you gotta man up, man. I (inelegantly) talked about this a while back, but you can’t let the possible reception throw you off your game.
-What’s more, black people aren’t so different from other people. You know what black people hate? Taxes and nagging moms. You know what black people love? …if you do, let me know, ’cause I’m real uncomfortable with the concept the concept of love.
-But seriously, if you can write space aliens, secret histories of the world, and time travel, I’m pretty sure you can write a believable black guy. Just go for it, man. Do some reading. Take a look at some magazines. Flip through a history book. Research it like you would anything else. Run it by a friend. Some people will not like it, others will, so just soak up the feedback (“Oh, so I was a little wrong when I did ______”) and keep it moving. You’ll get better.
-Also, please add some more colored folks to SHIELD. The world’s a big place. Thanks in advance.
-If I tried to pull this as a kid (“Oh, that was a lie. I didn’t mean it, I just wanted to say something.”) my mom would’ve beaten me in the street and I would’ve deserved it. Jon Kyl is either a hero or scum. The country we live in, man. We keep electing creeps.
-Colbert cracks up during this bit, and I really can’t blame him:
-That’s really, really funny stuff, and it gets even funnier because of Colbert breaking character.
-Did anybody see Norm Macdonald’s new show last night? I missed it.
-Norm wasn’t funny to me at all when I was a kid, but he’s legendary these days. Me Doing Stand-Up was funny, and so is stuff like this:
-I pay three bucks a month for Yen Press’s Yen Plus. It’s pretty okay, but the highlight by far is still Kiyohiko Azuma’s Yotsuba&!. Funniest comic, man. I liked this bit from the new chapter. Read it right to left.
-So much of Yotsuba&!‘s humor revolves around being mean to Fuuka.
-Tyler, the Creator’s Bastard came up this morning while it was raining. It triggered a funny thought. I latched onto Jay-Z in a big way once he started talking about his experiences as the child of a single mother. “Where Have You Been?” was incredible to me. I was what, 16? 17? Whenever that Dynasty joint dropped. I was putting that on mix CDs like it was going out of style and at all appropriate to give to a girl you liked. I was that high on it.
Do you even remember the tender boy you turned into a cold young man?
with one goal and one plan: get mommy out of some jam
She was always in one
Always short with the income, always late with the rent
You said that you was comin through
I would stay in the hallway (waitin), always playin the bench (waitin)
And that day came and went
Fuck You! very much you showed me the worst kind of pain
but I’m stronger, and trust me I will never hurt again
-So tell me if this exceprt from Tyler’s Bastard” is all that different from “Where Have You Been?”:
My mother raised me a single parent so it’s apparent
That I got love for my mother, none of you other fuckers
Are much important, I’m getting angrier while recording
I’m feeling like the Bulls, I’ve got a Gang of Wolves
Odd Future is children that’s fucked up on they mental
Simple but probably not, fuck ‘em
-Being able to relate to music in some way is vital for me, whether through the pleasure of living someone else’s life or affirming some aspect of my own, and Tyler’s rapping about the same stuff I’ve been struggling with for years. I think I would’ve been an Odd Future fan in high school.
-The beat on “Yonkers” is so hard. I bought it off iTunes a while back, just because.
-Video ain’t safe for work, I guess.
losers can never win me, you can never offend me
David:Uncanny X-Force 7 Esther: Yes: Batgirl 20 Maybe: Batman and Robin 22, Red Robin 22, Superboy 6 (would have been a yes, but ugh, crossover) New Artist and a Story About Huntress and Catman? Oh, HELL Yes: Birds of Prey 11 Gavin:Batman And Robin 22, Booster Gold 43, Justice League Generation Lost 23, Captain America Fighting Avenger 1, Carnage 4, Deadpool 35, Incredible Hulks 626, Iron Man 2.0 3, New Avengers 11, Punisher MAX 12, Secret Warriors 26, Ultimate Comics Avengers vs New Ultimates 3, Uncanny X-Force 7
and i say six, seven, eight, nine, ten, really wanted you to be my friend
consumed: I went to Wondercon and got sick. I was wrecked yesterday and am only slightly better today, but I should be good to go tomorrow. I hardly ever get sick, so each time is like the end of the world. (What a crybaby.)
You want to do the story where Spider-Man saves everyone, makes sure that no one dies, gets some new armor with some cool magnetic webbing, outsmarts the bad guy and rubs it in J Jonah Jameson’s face? Do it without talking about it. Calling all this attention to death, it makes the entire endeavor feel awkward, it consistently points out that this is a problem with reading a superhero comic with real world consequences. If you want to do something old school and tell classic Spidey stories, WHY NOT JUST DO IT? This is caught in the middle and satisfies neither side.
This isn’t nostalgia comics, it’s a job for these guys – almost in the mode of the shittiest Batman comics that come out – it has Wolverine and Deadpool in it, and it comes out in 6 weeks, do whatever you want. And Remender and Opena, they want to do a comic with some great fight scenes, and for me that’s always been something undervalued as a reason to make a comic. Especially in a place where comics are now, where real action is now much more of an idea you play to (which I think happens in all kinds of comics, from the Fort Thunder indie stuff to huge Marvel/DC crossovers, action is a pose more than anything). Giving a shit about things like fights and chases always makes me feel a bit silly, but it’s what I care about and I enjoy seeing it done right and hate when it’s paid lip service to. Uncanny X-Force is a comic that understands what it is, and then goes about being the best dumb fight comic it can be.
So I bought it, I thought the idea of Tintin traveling through Interzone sounded far enough away from coming of age and the 70s and Baby’s First Body Horror Reader. I bought it, because I am an idiot who actually listens to people, and the preview art looked great. I paid $20 for this. Those Tintin books that have 3 reprints in one are only $18.
-Some scrub on Twitter (retweeted here) called Sean’s work “Not the type of criticism the world needs.” Hahaha. Get real, homey.
-I can’t think of anyone who writes about comics like Sean does. The way he blends cinema theory (is that a word? “the way movies work”) and comics theory is endlessly fascinating to me, because I like movies, but I don’t know them. Sean can spot directors swiping other directors, which is basically magic, as far as I’m concerned. That’s a voice that I need to be reading, and that’s just the most obvious touchstone for his work.
-It’s cool to not like people, but to pitch it as “Oh, this guy is hurting the form,” like there’s some objective way to grade criticism? You need a dummy smack for that one. If somebody sucks, say they suck. Don’t get all bougie about it and try to justify your dislike.
-I always find discussions of what criticism is or should be to be pointless, but hey, I’m home sick from work and doped up, so let’s get it in.
-People are gonna believe what they want to believe about your work, according to their own interests. I’ve had people tell me that I’m too negative online. That’s funny, because I posted about 25 times in February for Black History Month, and one post about a dumb Gorilla Grodd comic came close to getting more comments than everything I wrote in February combined.
-I’m negative? C’mon, b. I spent the latter third of last year depressed out of my head and still managed to give sloppy kisses to dozens of comics I loved. Check the rhime if you don’t believe me. Do your homework.
-The internet’s backwards. People pay attention when you savage (or lightly insult or even ignore, at this point) something, because 1) controversy (intended or otherwise) brings in hits and 2) everybody likes a chance to tell you you’re wrong. Post about something you like more than most people you’ve met? Deafening silence. It should be the other way around.
-That’s the secret of why every site does top ten lists. They invite hits and angry comments.
-I could post tomorrow on that dumb looking American Panther thing, with some very well thought out and reasonable points, but I’d rather do what I’m doing right after I finish this point: write about Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo and figure out some way to explain Moebius to a general audience.
-The more I think about it, the dumber I think “not the type of criticism the world needs” is an incredibly stupid thing to say. It’s just–there’s this layer of elitism in there, an implicit statement that criticism needs to be a certain way to be valid, that valid criticism exists, and all of this other garbage that I hate.
-It reeks of stuffy academia, where knowledge is only kept by those who have been properly trained or let into a special criticism club. It’s rockism for comics, and I hate it. Maybe that’s my lack of education and public school upbringing, I dunno.
-But I do know that me and mine could eat people who think like that for lunch.
-There’s no right way to do criticism. It’s anything goes martial arts. You can savage books all day long, talk around them, new games journalism them, dissect them, or recap them. If it’s good, it’s good. No one “needs” any type of criticism, either.
-We’re all nobodies, baby. “I just wanted to talk about the comics, see? All those shitty, amazing comics…”
-It’s a good time to be a comics fan. Heroes for Hire went a little soft in the art department this week, but, man, was that a good issue or what? Misty Knight uber alles, dang.
-I need to figure out what I should write about Joe Casey and Mike Huddleston’s Butcher Baker. I’m feeling it, though.
and i say eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, can’t think of nothing that rhyme with fifteen
David:Heroes for Hire 5 Esther: Esther’s comics purchases for today have been called on account of bad plots and crossovers Gavin:Axe Cop Bad Guy Earth 2, Secret Six 32, Irredeemable 24, Deadpool Family 1, Herc 1, Heroes For Hire 5, Marvel Zombies Supreme 3, Ozma Of Oz 5, Ultimate Comics Captain America 4, (Maybe) Fear Itself 1
-See that last comment in there? Dude that’s like “Sounds like someone didn’t do all their homework before pretending to be an expert.”? He asks me if I read Albuquerque’s Superman/Batman work when I call out both his covers right there. Why would you want to be that guy? The “Oh, sorry, let me correct you” guy?
that nothing glorious can happen anymore
consumed: I felt like talking about movies, I guess.
-I saw two movies this weekend: 13 Assassins and Sucker Punch.
-The worst thing about Sucker Punch isn’t that it’s sexist or misogynist. It’s that it’s awful. It’s inept on almost every level, save for Jena Malone, the stop snitching scene, and… well, that’s probably it. Even the colors sucked.
-How inept is it? Around an hour and forty-five in, Snyder realizes that he has fifteen minutes left and pop pop pop three people drop just like that. Push that story along, baby! On top of that, there’s a huge plot hole in that segment. The girls have to get something. They don’t. They use it anyway to save the day. Really? Who edited this? Who wrote it? There’s a big twist at the end surrounding the least sympathetic character. The music selection is so unbelievably -~POIGNANT~- and -~MEANINGFUL~- that I wanted to leave (no joke) about thirty seconds in, or whenever it was that the line “Some of them want to abuse you” from “Sweet Dreams” synced up to somebody’s abusive father leering at the camera.
-Somebody should revoke Snyder’s music licensing permission. The music wasn’t bad, exactly, but I felt like I was watching a thirteen year old make an anime music video out of his wet dreams. The metaphor isn’t even that deep, man. And the ending is awful.
-I went with some friends because a) it was cheap and b) I hadn’t seen some of them in a while and it seemed like a nice way to kill a Sunday matinee. We laughed, and hard, at the snitching scene. It was absurd, yet another moment of “Really? REALLY?” stacked on top of a million others. This guy next to us was like “Ha ha, real FUCKING funny” in that tone of voice where people go on to lecture you about something you don’t care about. I wonder how it feels to be that guy.
-It’s the new Takashi Miike, and the story of 13 samurai (well, twelve and another guy) out to kill a dude who is basically Japanese Caligula. He’s the half-brother of the shogun, corrupt, almost cartoonishly evil, and has embraced his nobility to the point that other people aren’t even human.
-He’s played wonderfully by Goro Inagaki, with the perfect amount of distance and just… what, callousness? He isn’t evil, he just doesn’t care. There’s a hole in him somewhere.
-This flick is the most grown mannest, whiskey drinkingest, cigar smokingest, record playingest, old school Caddy drivingest movie I’ve seen in a long time. Honor, sacrifice, horror, and all that stuff Garth Ennis loves is in here, and it’s great.
-There’s a scene with a quadruple amputee (CG, I assume) that was incredibly haunting and led to a tremendous payoff toward the end.
-The last 45 minutes or so of the flick is one running battle, 13 versus 200, and the prize is one man’s head. The pacing of the scene, of the fights, and the moments between the fights is dead-on. It flies by, and by the end of it, you’re not ready for it to be over.
-I liked how the big battle began with what was essentially asymmetrical warfare and exploiting home field advantage. The men are all a little different, and the way they approach living their lives and bushido was all very interesting. One guy’s reaction to his first kill was great, while another scene set in a long alley with several swords was a really well done action scene.
-”Kill any of them that get past me.” I got chills. He was so real.
-I think what I liked most about 13 Assassins was how straightforward it was. No gimmicks, no stupid slomo, and no really masturbatory shots. There are a few comedic bits to break up the tension (much needed), but they don’t break the movie. Even the violence was subdued. Other than a couple of scenes, most of the blood is shed off-screen, and there’s one spot of nudity that doesn’t come off sexual at all. Due to that, the way that the blood eventually covers their swords is striking. It’s straight up chambara, no magic tricks.
-Oh no, I lied–there’s one gigantic gout of blood, but there was a really good reason for it.
-And something impossible happens in the epilogue, but I think I figured it out and I’m okay with it.
-Toward the end of the movie, and you can see this in the trailer, a man wipes the blood off his sword with his sleeve. That scene is fantastic, and didn’t go down like I expected.
-I’m trying to think of my favorite scene, but all of it was enjoyable. I watched it while eating a porterhouse steak and shrimp tortelloni alfredo, drinking cream soda from a bottle, and sitting in the dark. Great experience.
-It’s ten bucks to rent off Amazon (or iTunes, if you’d rather see it in HD). I waffled a bit–ten bucks is a lot to spend for a rental. Then I realized that I’d just spent six whole dollars on Sucker Punch and went ahead and copped it. I got my money’s worth. I’ll buy it on Blu-ray when that drops, too. I’m a fan, borderline stan.
-There’s a remake of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira coming, directed by the Hughes brothers and set in a Neo-Manhattan, after the Japanese swooped in on an economically vulnerable America and bought up the place, last I heard. The script’s probably changed since. A lot has been made about them casting white actors in the lead roles.
-I think they have a point, but at the same time: Yojimbo vs Fistful of Dollars.
-The situation isn’t exactly comparable, but I can’t imagine we’ll possibly get an American Akira with some white dude going by “Kaneda.” That’s stupid to anyone with half a brain. But my point, rendered as best I can while writing on the fly before I leave for work: I don’t think a not-Japanese Akira is a bad thing, in and of itself. There’s nothing wrong with remakes that put a film into a new context.
-Yojimbo vs Fistful is a good example of that. Both are classics, and I can’t tell which one I love more. Probably Yojimbo, because I watched it more recently.
-I think the biggest problem with a white Akira is the setting. Akira is fueled by a lot of things: the cost of power, science gone wild, nuclear fears, a certain type of street gang, and probably half a dozen more specifically ’80s, and probably Japanese, fears.
-It’s 2011. We don’t care about half that stuff any more. It’s like rappers still rhyming about pushing crack. It’s old. We have new fears, new things that will tilt the world off its axis and send us spinning off into space. The Akira remake needs to reflect that, and I’m not talking about Kenyan Manchurian Candidate Islamofascists hiding behind couches.
-If you’re gonna remake something, remake it. Don’t just try to translate it. That’s boring. Let Me In was pretty cool, and my understanding is that it took some liberties with the source material. If you’re going to adapt something to a new context, use the original as a base and then work within the confines of that context. Direct remakes are boring.
-If they do the work, I think an American Akira could be great. But honestly? The only faith I have in that movie lies with the Hughes. I don’t even know if I think it’ll ever actually get made.
-No way can they top the books, anyway. I wrote about it here and here. I own a couple color guides from it, too:
-So, y’know, as a huge fan of Akira, and a dude who is probably about to irresponsibly drop some dough on the colorized Japanese editions of volumes 2-5–maybe the Akira remake won’t be that baaaaahahahahahahahaha
we’ve run the gamut of our filth
David: I quit trying to save comics when I realized that comics wouldn’t save me Esther:Action Comics 899 Gavin:Green Lantern Emerald Warriors 8, Incorruptible 16, 5 Ronin 5, Avengers 11, Captain America 616, Deadpool Team-Up 883, Incredible Hulks 625, Punisher In The Blood 5, Secret Avengers 11
consumed: Pusha T and Young Dro dropped mixtapes that are, at best, mediocre. Far as I’m concerned, that translates to “unlistenable.” There’s not much worse than somebody with talent, whether for punchlines or scorn, to come anything less than 100% correct. Ain’t no half-stepping, fellas, so do us all a favor and get it together.
-How good is Asaf Hanuka’s The Realist? I love the art and the kind of airy way the strips progress. You get to fill in a lot of blanks yourself, and sometimes that takes a little mental legwork. It’s alternately funny, melancholy, and real.
-Nardwuar’s interviews always end so poorly, man. He gets some good footage out of people, but he’s just so oppressively awkward that nobody knows how to take him.
-DC rolled out a bunch of new good digital stuff. We3, Flash, Garth Ennis’s Hellblazer, Catwoman, and New Frontier. I’m a fan of all of these, and while We3 is overpriced, these are all worth owning. Those Brubaker/Cooke issues of Catwoman are all pretty good, and I think that the Comixology run has the point where Brubaker really hit his stride. Get those!
-I graze. I haven’t played a few of these in months (most particularly FF7 & P4). What I tend to do is focus on one game for a few weeks, then move on, eventually cycling my way back as the spirit moves me. Right now, it’s Brotherhood. Next is probably Persona 4.
-What I look for is an experience broken down into discrete portions. I like being able to drop in, get something done, and drop out. Sometimes this means ill multiplayer. Sometimes it means a compelling story with a lot of subplots. Anything that lets me sit down and have a bit of fun and leave it right there works. Shooters don’t really cut the mustard any more, multiplayer aside.
-I play games to relax, not to get frustrated, so something that pulls me in and is a brief escape is what’s nice. I purchase like… four new games a year. Last year, I don’t think I bought hardly any. Just Tekken, maybe?
-Sometimes, less is more, is what I’m saying. I could easily get a full year of gameplay out of what I own right now, but the way I play means that I sit down for 20 minutes or two hours (rarely), have some fun, and come back a week or so later. I could probably not buy a new game until 2013 and be okay. That’s a nice feeling.
-That new Pharoahe Monch is good, innit?
David:Hellblazer 277, Hulk 31, Power Man and Iron Fist 3, Uncanny X-Force 6 Esther: Yes: Batman Incorporated 4
Maybe: Batman: The Dark Knight 2, Superman/Batman 82 Gavin:Batman Incorporated 4, Green Lantern Corps 58, Green Lantern 64, Justice League Generation Lost 22, Invincible 78, Astonishing Spider-Man Wolverine 5, Daken Dark Wolverine 7, Deadpool MAX 6, Deadpool 34, Hulk 31, Namor The First Mutant 8, Power Man And Iron Fist 3, Uncanny X-Force 6
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