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Put You On Game Linkblogging

October 6th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

-Emi Lenox of EmiTown creates one of my favorite online comics, and one of the few journal comics I’m willing to read on a regular basis. Her art is very endearing, and her point of view is always interesting. She did a comic in 24 hours in honor of 24 Hour Comic Day, and it’s a good one. Check out the comic here. It’s pretty awesome.

-Jason Thompson discusses Felipe Smith’s Peepo Choo, which looks like exactly the kind of manga I want to read. I may order Smith’s MBQ just off the strength of this feature.

-Chad Nevett, once again proving that my opinions are the best opinions, agrees with my unspoken opinion that the first half of Hancock was very good and interesting and that the second half goes completely off the rails. He’s got some good thoughts on the movie, and Hancock’s motivations.

-Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca are dropping an Afrodisiac book later this year. You have bad taste in comics if you don’t pick it up.

-Kate Dacey dropped her Manga Hall of Shame, a list of terrible books that she’s read. In what I hope is the first of many, Erica Friedman does her own list for yuri manga. I don’t know if I could make a list of my own. Maybe the Cowboy Bebop mangas, which were both amazingly not charming at all? The Gundam tie-in manga that Tokyopop put out when I was dumb enough to buy every manga on the shelves?

-Leylaaker (apologies if I missed a real name) writes about a pretty sour experience visiting comic shops on both coasts. Dear comic shops: get your acts together. Comic Shop Guy should be an aberration, not the norm.

-Ian from The Eastern Edge posts the final part of his six part Naoki Urasawa interview translation project. It’s a good read, and links to the previous installments are in the post.

-Brandon Graham’s blog is a must-read, though it’s sometimes NSFW. He renewed my eternal love in this post and with these words: “Where did that L7 square, space wingtip wearing motherfucker ever come up with the feet for that robot? Those feet were clearly designed by someone that regularly mastrerbates into a pair of 93 Reebocks.”

-Jog wrote a wrap-up of SPX 2009, and as usual, it’s must-reading. It ranges from a look at old Mazzucchelli art to panel recaps to books he picked up at the show.

-FBB did a podcast on Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons’s Martha Washington books. I haven’t listened to it yet, but black people.

-A brief bit of Richard Corben animation from 1968. NSFW, but guess what: it’s Richard Corben. Props to Sean Witzke for the link.

-Cheryl Lynn is reading a couple comics on recommendation from Ragnell and David Uzumeri. Which did they recommend? Tarot and Fantastic Four. Prologue is up, and part 2 covers Tarot.

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FBB4l Crossover

February 11th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

I spent the weekend in New York, and all I have to show for it is this podcast with most of the FBB gang.

Go listen.

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Thirty Year Old Linkblogging @ FBB

January 20th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Chris Eckert has a fascinating look at The Comic Reader, a fanzine from the late ’70s/early ’80s, over at FBB. The inaugural edition of what I hope is going to be a series is pretty fascinating, and even explains those weird painted marks on old comics.

[...]Denny O’Neil contributes an open letter to Steve Skeates, responding to an earlier interview where Skeates lambastes what he perceives as O’Neil’s dishonest business practices and “lukewarm liberalism” masquerading as as “radicalism”.

So in case you were wondering everyone, politics invaded comics a long time ago. Blame Nixon.

TCR allows O’Neil to ramble for over two pages, mixing inside jokes with lengthy quotations from Camus and e.e. cummings, old convention anecdotes and critiques of specific issues of Aquaman. What’s amazing is that these are not the kneejerk slapfights we’ve grown accustomed to in the blogosphere, these are letters delivered by parcel, debates with months between retorts. But even with those hurdles, creators found time to fight!

Go give it a read.

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Return of the Wrath of Comic Con

April 22nd, 2008 Posted by Gavok

The weekend of chunky guys dressed like Colossus and hot women dressed as Slave Leia has come to an end. I myself had a great time, spent with hermanos from this very site and a whole bunch of guys from Funnybook Babylon. Sadly, Thomas “Wanderer” Wilde deemed himself “too broke” to consider joining us and Hoatzin would have probably involved a gigantic plane ticket paid in rare diamonds, since he’s from Europe. I don’t know. I really have no grasp on how that type of thing works. Besides, Hoatzin seems to have vanished from our planet. What happened to that guy?


This one movie sent the other movie into space.

Day One

Last year I got to New York the day before the con started, which allowed me enough rest and whatnot. This year I had to come in the first day of the event and kill time until David Uzumeri came in from Canada, since he was in charge of dealing with the hotel. I walked straight from the Port Authority bus terminal to the Javits Center, which tired me the hell out.

After getting my swanktastical press pass, I met up with hermanos and Joseph of FBB. They were at a panel starting up that was a screening for a new Will Eisner documentary. Since I was tired from all that walking, I decided to stick around and watch it. I found it interesting in the sense that I honestly didn’t know all that much about Eisner, which is almost a sin if you’re a comic fan. The four of us (David U. showed up towards the end) mostly agreed that while it had some fantastic stuff in there, such as taped conversations between Eisner and guys like Kirby, the sum of it was incredibly dry.

Shortly after, we went to the panel on online journalism, with guys from Newsarama and CBR there. It wasn’t as good as the comic blogging panel from last year and mostly focused on arguing over criticism vs. getting press releases. Once that was done with, I was rested up enough to do some wandering.

Read the rest of this entry �

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Some Odds and Ends

April 14th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

First off, the latest Comics From the 5th Dimension is up. This time it’s part one of a two-parter where I discuss Luke Cage’s 70′s rogues gallery. I’ve gone over some of it here before, but I go into more detail and discuss why I believe Luke Cage is currently a Skrull.

The mega wrestling site Figure 4 Weekly Online recently had Leonard F. Chikarason as a guest on Dr. Keith’s radio show. You might remember Chikarason’s interview on this site months back. It’s apparent that he does, since he proceeds to give us a quick shout out. What a guy. Even if he does read Countdown.

I should return the favor by mentioning that CHIKARA has shows this upcoming weekend. Saturday is Deuces Wild at Hellertown, PA. Sunday is Passion and Persistence at the ECW Arena. I will be making one or two of the shows in May, but not these shows.

No, instead, I’m going to be at New York Comic Con this weekend. It’s going to be me, hermanos and some of those jokers from Funnybook Babylon. I’ll be the dumbass with the 4th Letter t-shirt, so if you see me, be sure to keep your dirty fucking hands off my nachos. And say hello if you feel like it. I honestly don’t even eat nachos. I don’t know where that came from.

Play

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More PopCultureSchlock

April 3rd, 2008 Posted by Gavok

First off, I have a new installment of Comics From the 5th Dimension up. This time it’s the KO and Return of Superman, where I discuss the classic one-shot Superman vs. Muhammad Ali.

Also at PCS is a roundtable discussion about Secret Invasion #1, involving both 4L writers and Funnybook Babylon writers. Or as I call the collective group, The Corporate Ministry.

On another note, today is 4/4. That should be the official 4th Letter Day. Make it happen, politicians!

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Uzumeri Talks Smart/FBB+1

March 31st, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Funnybook Babylon » Blog Archive » Fandom, Readership and Snark

What’s starting to disturb me more is the reaction to this that I see on a lot of the more moderated/respectable blogs – this conscious attempt to cut ties with the tastes of the hoi polloi and instead turn the topic to how cleverly you can savage a certain creator or book. Mike Choi is right – the switch is defaulted to “snark” all across the blogging community and everyone’s tripping over themselves to be the funniest guy to say something’s going to suck.

I’m increasingly beginning to feel that the topic of conversation is turning from comics themselves to the comics community, because everyone’s trying to take sides and generate controversy. Everyone wants to start some shit or get some gossip, everyone wants to know if marvel b0y’s going to set the photocopier on fire and dress up like Dan Buckley to try to fire Joe Quesada. Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to know that, I’m enjoying this little drama as much as everyone (except for when people turn their blogs into dedicated spoiler dumps), but doesn’t everyone remember comics? Does it really take All Star Superman #10 to get comics discussion going these days, even if it’s just “OMG best issue ever”? And no, I’m not counting the latest 40-thread viral controversy about whether (X) or (Y) is racist or misogynist.

Go scope it.

By the way, the best podcast in history went live last week. Go give it a listen, too. You might hear a familiar voice talking about comics.

A few highlights:

Like if you went to his wikipedia page Joe, and you were to read it, your head would explode. It abuses time travel in the worst way.
- Pedro on “Per Degaton”

“The only man trying to be a cross between Doctor Doom and Marlo Stanfield.”
- Joe on “What Pedro wishes to be when he grows up.”

“4th Letter is a subsidiary of David Brother’s ego.”
- Pedro on “our special guest’s website.”

“She’s like an ineffective Amanda Waller.”
- David B. on Val Cooper

“Interestingly enough, genocide was not enough for Metron. He was totally fine about that.”
- Jamaal on “The betrayal of Mister Miracle”

“Honestly, he was like a Scooby Doo villian back then.”
- David B. on Jack Kirby’s Darksied

” I do like that original Norse Myth where Thor’s hammer got taken by a space alien.”
- Joe on “Viking poet Walt Simonson”

“He just got a kid, so he needs his cash.”
- Pedro on Matt Fraction

“I hear Chris is turning into a spicy latina.”
- David on the FBBPodcast relaunch at New York Comic-con and the ensuing continuity changes.

There! Now you don’t have to listen to the podcast!

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Guerilla Grodd, Three Years Later

March 17th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Check it, it’s like…
My man Jus used to keep an ox between his teeth
Said he could spit it with pinpoint accuracy if there was beef
We chuckled out loud… Still the thought of it intrigued me, (right)
So now I keep a jackal under my tongue to spit with related reasoning

–Aesop Rock, “Nickel Plated Pockets”

(an ox is a razor)

If he talkin’, he a target
–Royce da 5’9″, “Politics”

I missed my third year comics blogging anniversary by a just under couple months, looks like. I’ve been preoccupied, I figure.

Anyway– three years of blogging. Wow. I think I took a break of a few weeks at some point in 05, where I relaunched 4l after being a little less than enthused with both online and offline things, but it’s been more or less weekly ever since. Hopefully more than weekly. Maybe thrice weekly. Maybe a bit more, I don’t know.

I was mulling this over and thinking about what I’ve learned and seen. Interacting with people via blogs, message boards, and emails has been interesting. What have I learned? Let me boil it down to 13 things.

1: Don’t expect e-fame. Three years on and I’d consider myself small time. A few people who run popular blogs know my name, and that ended up in me running another comics site (and what a ride that is!). We’ve got a grip of readers, but 4l was never about hits anyway. It was about me listening to the sound of my own voice while I talk about comics with other people who may or may not agree with me. It was about learning, listening, and laughing.

If you’re blogging to get famous, you’re probably not doing it right. Do it because you like it.

2: Timeliness helps. If you want readers, you have to attract them. Part of that is being timely, whether that means meeting a daily deadline or talking about current comics events. Doing 29 days in a row for Black History Month was a beast, but I felt good when I finished and I felt like I’d learned something. Even better, I felt like maybe somebody else had their thoughts provoked a little bit.

4l has been not quite daily in varying degrees of “not quite” since forever. We’ve added a considerable amount to our visitors ever since we started doing “almost daily” rather than “not quite daily.” Timeliness helps.

3: Timeliness doesn’t matter at all. Honestly, if your content is good, people are gonna tune in. One of my favorite blogs is Not Blog X, a review blog for X-Men comics that were coming out in the 1990s. Each post is a trip down memory lane for me, but the most recent comic reviewed on the blog is basically 14 years old. Fourteen years old. Regardless– it’s awesome. Each post reminds me of something from when I was a kid, and G. Kendall is a pretty dope writer. He’s got a format, a good hook, and a site that I immediately added to my RSS feeds.

4: Blogger is terrible. Seriously, I switched to using WordPress and bought my own domain a few years back. It’s been pretty much smooth sailing ever since. My site only breaks when I break it, rather than when Blogger goes down and freaks out. I have total control, and that is a wonderful thing. 100 bucks a year isn’t a lot at all. RSS feeds, RSS comment feeds (I can’t describe how much I love those), plugins, all of that. It’s golden. Livejournal and blogger are dinosaurs. Make your own site.

5: Don’t name your site after yourself if it’s a group blog. For some reason, the exclamation point in my site’s name always ends up left out and a space gets added in between 4th and letter. However, 4thletter! means one thing– D. As in David. As in me.

Oops.

It’s catchy, though, and 4l/fourel is kind of a cool abbreviation.

Sorry Gavok and Hoatz! It’s all about me-me-me-me-me. We’ll have another 7thletter! and an inaugural 8thletter! day sometime in 2009 when I finally stop talking about black people in comics.

6: Don’t be afraid to use your real name. When I asked Gavok if he wanted to do some work at PCS for me, I also asked him if he wanted to be credited as Gavok or Gavin. He said Gavin, ’cause PCS was a different kind of site than 4l. Here, a nickname is gravy. It’s a fansite, it’s a place to make stupid posts about Jubilee or What Ifs.

I can see where he’s coming from, but I took it a step further. There’s only one place online where I still use a pseudonym, and that’s more due to laziness than anything. Plus, “hermanos” is a really, really crappy secret identity.

Using my real name is just taking away that (thin) veil of anonymity that the internet gives us. It’s saying, “Yeah, you can’t see me, but I’m here and my words matter.” No one can use that “Oh, you’re hiding behind a fake name” excuse when you call them out.

7: If you’re talking, you’re a target. This is step one is basic discourse: don’t open your mouth if you aren’t ready to back up what you say. This is the internet– someone is gonna argue with you on whether or not the sky is blue today. What makes you think they won’t call you out when you’re wrong?

I think about every blog post I write. I’ve had posts checked out by other people when I’m really worried. This is because I’m not the type of person to pop off at the mouth with something half-cocked. You have to think if you’re going to blog, and you have to be prepared to be disagreed with. Expecting everyone to fall in line behind you like you’re Pollyanna is dumb.

I once wrote a love letter to Joe Quesada. Joe Q is a guy that half of the fans out there want dunked in acid for “ruining Spider-Man forever.” I did it and got away with it because I backed up what I said. I thought it through and argued my points. Looking back, I could’ve done better, but that’s any post I’ve ever made. Some may not agree, but they can’t say I didn’t try and didn’t make sense.

8: Controversy sells. The flipside of the above is that the squeakiest wheel gets the grease. The loudest blogger gets the hits. Going off half-cocked and shouting at people is going to get you attention. Being a jerkbag is going to you even more attention, as people who should know better will come to try and set you straight or debunk your points. Don’t be afraid to troll a little bit. Call that blogger worthless. Call that creator as a pedophile. Put out that hit piece on a popular comic and how overrated it is and all its fans are racist ageist sexist misogynist misandrist flat-footed pot-bellied balding imbeciles who probably eat babies for lunch and senior citizens for dinner.

However, all of this will make you look like a jerk to everyone ever. At least, I hope so. Anyway, don’t do this one. Controversy doesn’t sell, it just makes you look dumb.

9: Everything has a funny side. Learn to laugh at yourself. Taking yourself too seriously is for, I dunno, action figure bloggers (do those exist?), not comics bloggers. We’re talking about funnybooks here, and while there are Issues to be solved, you cannot take this too seriously. It’ll kill you.

Seriously. Your blood pressure’ll get up and then you’re screwed. Semi-famous comics blogger dead at 27 of a fatal heart explosion due to reading the internet, news at 11.

Don’t be jealous, either. Sure, there’s an idiot of a blogger with crap opinions who has higher hits than you, but screw that. Do your thing. They’ll self-destruct eventually, right? If they don’t, uh, pretend like I never said that.

10: Comments count. I’ve had some of my best conversations in comments. That’s part of why I love WordPress’s Comment Feeds feature. It’s brilliant.

There are three kinds of blogs out there. Ones with comments, ones without comments, and ones with moderated comments.

Ones with comments are wonderful. You get to dig in, debate, question, answer, troll, reply, and figure things out with others. If things get out of line, the blog owner can step in and shut things down. In my mind, this is the perfect blog. It’s like a mini message board or classroom. It also turns the blog into a two-way street– if you’re going to make a stupid post, someone out there is gonna call you an idiot for it.

Ones without comments are less wonderful, but still good. Nine times out of ten in this case, you can toss an email at the blogger and get into private conversations with them. In a way, this is a better thing for the blogger, ’cause you’ve got to the space to make your point clear and you don’t have to worry about commenters getting things twisted up. It’s all about you. No distractions.

Ones with moderated comments are worthless, nine times out of ten. I feel like moderated (as in approval first) comments just lead to commenters toadying up to the blog owner, neutering your point so you don’t offend, and a culture of yes-men playing greek chorus in each post. It’s lame. The temptation is too strong to just leave out the negative posts. After all, who wants to be told that they’re wrong? Who wants to be questioned?

I want to be called out when I’m wrong or lazy or intellectually dishonest with my points. I’m in this to learn, not to have my feet rubbed. Yes, Virginia, that’s why this blog has comments– so that I can be called an idiot when I need to be.

11: Any idiot can be a blogger. And sometimes, that idiot is you. Or me. Or a friend. Make an effort to not be that idiot.

12: Make some friends. I hesitate to call them allies, mostly because that sounds corny and terrible, but go out and find semi-like-minded people and chat. Discuss things over email. Keep in contact. I’m hitting New York Comic-con again this year and I’m easily supposed to meet over a dozen people who I only know via the internet. All of these are online friends that I’ve been talking to.

This includes the iFanboy (though I met them at Wondercon), Funnybook Babylon, and PCS gangs. Not to drop names or anything.

I wonder if I can convince Pedro that the FBB/4l! alliance should be called F-Unit. Funnybook Babylon, Four(4)thletter!…

Anyway, knowing people is great. It’s a huge plus to blogging, and gives you even more people to talk shop with. If someone writes a post you like, drop them an email. It’s more personal than a comment, but less personal than visiting their house. Give it some thought. All of my e-buddies are e-cool.

Also, you can use your friends to bounce ideas off of, or check to see if you’re out of line.

13: It’s just comics. If blogging isn’t fun, you aren’t doing it right.

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Funnybook Babylon is video podcasting

January 3rd, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Lifestyles of the Rich and Ballin’ | Funnybook Babylon

Don’t worry guys, I’m going to put a stop to this.

I’m going to meet up with them at New York Comic-con and put them down like the rabid dogs they are.

What is that, Pedro, a sweater-vest? *smh*

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Gavok’s New Years Resolutions for 2008

January 1st, 2008 Posted by Gavok

As if you didn’t know, 2007 is over and done with. It’s a new year and a time to access the future. It’s time to come up with goals and hopes for 2008 and to plan for the next 365 days. Here are my New Years Resolutions:

- I resolve to finally write that series of articles about Venom’s bizarre history as a comic character, featuring such things as Venom and Carnage fighting inside the internet and the guest appearance of cyber-ninja Mace, the most forgettable shoe-horned superhero I’ve ever seen. Okay, I remember him, but that’s not my point.

- I resolve to lose about 20 more pounds. Funny thing, back before I decided to go on a diet months ago, I was going to start a ridiculous internet campaign for me to play the part of Seymour from the very end of Watchmen. So when you do watch that movie in theaters and you see that chubby guy reaching for a journal, remember to reflect on what could have been. I know I will…

- I resolve to continue to get on Wanderer’s case for never writing anything for the site. Then I’ll get depressed when I remember that he has about 29 legitimate writing jobs and I just work retail.

- I resolve to read and review every single comic starring Mr. T.

- I resolve to set aside at least a minute every day to roll my eyes at this Spider-Man: Brand New Day crap.

- I resolve to finally get going on my own comic book concept so that in a couple years, I can read it and make fun of it on this very site.

- I resolve to not fight the Monarch because I hear from a good source that he is badass.

- I resolve to lead my team to victory in the 8th Annual 4th Letter vs. Funnybook Babylon Charity Volleyball Game.

- I resolve to receive a restraining order from one Matt Fraction.

- I resolve to discover the storage freezer where writer Len Kaminski is kept. Really, that guy was totally awesome back in the day and he’s completely vanished from the face of the Earth. What the hell happened to him?!

- I resolve to make more jokes about how much Wyatt Wingfoot sucks. More like “WyamIreadingabout Wingfoot?” am I right?

- I resolve to get around to reading Sentences by MF Grimm so I can show hermanos that I’m, uh, down.

- I resolve to finally review what I consider to be the all-time worst comic book issue of all time. It may kill me, but I’ll do it.

Have a happy new year, people.

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