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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.

PlayPlay

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All King of Trio’d Out

March 4th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

You may have noticed that for the past week or so, I haven’t said a damn word on this site. That’s because last Friday I went off to Philadelphia for the three day CHIKARA wrestling show known as King of Trios ’08. What a blast.


Me hanging out with Stupefied, El Generico and Player Uno. This should be the new Mount Rushmore.

King of Trios was the biggest tournament in wrestling history, featuring 28 sets of three-man tag teams. The first two days would feature 14 teams each, whittled down to four teams after ten matches and two byes. By the third night, they’re down to eight teams, with several non-tournament matches added on. Follow that? It doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that there were 31 matches over the course of three days and it was rocktastical.

That’s not to say that there weren’t any disappointments in the roster. CHIKARA top guys Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli are in Japan, so they missed out. Plus some of the more memorable guest stars from last year like Yago, Dino and American Balloon weren’t returning. Despite that, we had some of the reliable mainstays, surprisingly entertaining new guys and some bizarre surprises.

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Live and Direct Current Events

February 25th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

So, check this out.

I’m the “Senior Comics Editor” for Pop Culture Shock now. Surprise! This means that I get to organize most, if not all of the comics content on PCS. This includes soliciting content from writers, contacting publishers, coordinating interviews, and things like that. It should be interesting, and I did enough politicking this weekend that I should be able to get off to a pretty good start. I just have to draft up a few emails and send them off, and we’ll see how things go.

Those of you that know me well now know that I don’t have any time left to sleep now!

I’m not leaving 4l or anything ridiculous like that. I might post a little less while I get acclimated to PCS, but that isn’t very likely, either. It’ll probably be about the same as usual.

I’m going to be soliciting bloggers for opinions, too! I’ve got ideas about where PCS can go, and having free-rein is a wonderful thing. I do have a PCS email account, now. Throw a line to david at popcultureshock.com if you think you’ve got an idea that’s just the bomb, if you like.

I am, however, going to skip the last Wondercon post. The last day was pretty low key, though I finally got to meet Carla Hoffman of Snap Judgments. I also got to chill with Graeme McMillian, scourge of the comics internet, who I hadn’t seen in a couple of months. I worked the Writers Old Fashioned booth for an hour or so with some of my WOF buddies. I bought some more trades (which I should probably review, huh?), talked a lot, and got Darwyn Cooke to sign the page of New Frontier that I bought.

Oh, I didn’t mention that? I’ll post an image in a later post. I’ve got plans.

We’ll be in touch. 2008 is gonna be a big year.

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Wondercon Day Two!

February 24th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

I got an email earlier this week (or maybe late last week) from someone I’d spoken to a couple times. She wanted to interview me at Wondercon! Being a suitably narcissistic fellow who loves the sound of someone listening to him speak, I said “Yes!”

–So, at 1030 Saturday morning, I was interviewed by the wonderful Lene Taylor of I Read Comics. She asked me my opinions on comics, race in comics, and my Black History Month series. What a start to the day! Thanks for letting me ramble, Lene. Hopefully it came through all right in the recording.

–I bought a grip of trades again. I can’t help it, man. The haul this time was Peng (signed by Rey, and shoulda been bought years ago when it came out), Dr Strange: The Oath, X-Men Legends vol 4: Best of X-Men Unlimited, Human Target, Squadron Supreme: Hyperion vs Nighthawk, and Gambit: House of Cards.

I know someone who’d kill for that Gambit trade. Eat it, Sara! It’s going for 130 dollars on Amazon! I paid half cover for it!

Cripes, she might actually kill me at that price.

–I caught some awesome panels. First was the podcasting extravaganza. It was moderated by Matt Silady and featured Ron, Josh, and Conor of iFanboy, Lene Taylor and Logan Hall of I Read Comics, Chris from Around Comics (I forgot his last name like a jerk, though I’ve hung out with him basically two or three nights in a row now), and Bryan Deemer of Comic Geek Speak. It was a fun panel, made double fun by the fact that I know/am familiar with most of the people up there. I got to ask a question about timeliness in podcasts with regards to content. Does it matter at all? Chris had the best answer: “Nope.” The others mostly agreed, with the caveat that they will cover something if it is underreported or if there’s a demand for it. Otherwise, there’s no reason to feel pressured. It was a great panel, and everyone involved did a great job. Also, Conor is incredibly awesome and has a hard life being so awesome.

–The next panel was the Animation Break-Down panel. I’ll let the convention site tell it. I added in iMDB links.

4:30-5:30 Animation Story Break (“Wait, does it HAVE to be a story?”)— Go behind the scenes as writers take an idea for an animated superhero story from one-sentence premise all the way to a full-blown beginning, middle, and end. Then the real fun begins with audience participation! The crack writing staff features Charlotte Fullerton (Kim Possible), Michael Jelenic (The Batman), Dwayne McDuffie (Static Shock), and Matt Wayne (Justice League Unlimited). Moderated by Eugene Son (Storm Hawks). Expect laughter and tears – mostly the latter.

Um, wow, what a line-up! Basically, the gimmick of the panel turned out to be breaking down a Howard the Duck vs Green Lantern Corps movie. It was pretty ridiculous (in a good way) and a lot of fun. Also, as seen below, I got McDuffie to sign a couple of trades– Static Shock and Fantastic Four, in fact. That was a great moment.

–After that, I chilled out a bit, went home, changed, and went out to the world famous Isotope Comics for the awesome Darwyn Cooke signing event. I’d volunteered to work the art table, so I stuck around upstairs for most of the night, giving people the mean mug when they get their drinks too close to the art.

Did I mention the art? We had J. Bone drawings, we had some stuff from Spider-Man Tangled Web by Darwyn and J (I want to keep calling him J.Bone, but man! that’d be weird), we had some Doop/Wolverine stuff… and we had pages from the as-yet unreleased New Frontier Animated Special. It drops the first week of March!

How were the pages? They were awesome. Beautiful, every single one of them. I saw a few pages that I kept going back to. You’ll see them when the book drops. I’ll just say that there is a note in them that just says “Think fast” and a wonderful smirk. That character should always smirk. Manoman.

How was the party? Hrm. Did you know that a million people were there? Maybe not a million, but it sure felt like it. The party was out on the street for a bit and getting across the store was nearly impossible. The guest list was completely ridic, though. There were some folks in costumes. The mascot or whatever from the new Zelda was in effect. There were some burlesque-looking girls.

There was also Amy Jo Johnson a.k.a. THE PINK POWER RANGER (according to Ron), JH Williams III, Paul Dini, Bill Willingham was maybe there, Antony Johnston stopped back in again, Ross Richie of Boom Studios was there, and a grip of people from DC Comics/Warner Home Video were there.

Repeat: Pink Power Ranger.

I might have possibly kind of told Paul Dini to get his drink off the art table before it spills, but in my defense if I did do such an unconscionable thing it was because I didn’t recognize him until Marsha, Darwyn Cooke’s wife, pointed him out to me.

Oops!

It was pretty cool talking to J. Bone and David Bullock about art and work and like that. Those were great times. Bullock did some work on the upcoming Spidey cartoon and being something of a big Spider-Man fan, it was cool to speak to him.

Oh yeah, Darwyn Cooke… he is awesome, through and through. I finally saw a break in the signing line and he signed my copy of Selina’s Big score and the print of the Isotope flyer. We talked more about the John Henry stuff. I mentioned that I was going to fanboy at him for a moment and told him that I led off my Black History Month posts with the John Henry sequence from New Frontier and he was like “That was you?!”

So, uh, Darwyn Cooke reads my blog! He also told me to post this picture.

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He thanked me for feeling that the John Henry stuff wasn’t overwrought or horrible and I thanked him for writing it.

I’d brought a camera with me with the intention of taking a ton of pictures, but instead I basically just took shots of me and my friends chilling in the art room. Check the flickr set here!

Sunday is almost guaranteed to be more laid back and less awesome than today. I’m going to be trade bin diving with Keith and Ash (I want to score another Gambit book!) and just wandering the floor the rest of the show. I’m definitely gonna do a stint at the Writers Old Fashioned table, too.

Also, wandering the Wondercon halls listening to Saul Williams’s “The Inevitable Rise and Fall of Niggy Tardust” is really, really weird but really, really fitting. I don’t know why.

One quick reminder: You can still enter the contest to win a free copy of New Frontier! Go post on that thread to get it done and I’ll pick the winner Sunday night.

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Wondercon Day One!

February 23rd, 2008 Posted by david brothers

What did I do today?

I went and saw a Becky Cloonan panel. It was pretty cool, and she talked a lot about her influences. She was also asked three different times what books she likes to read. I was first, mind you. Way to go, guys– try being on time. She’s a big Gambit fan, and a friend of mine got a sketch from her of him.

After that, I saw Terry Dodson. He gave a really interesting talk on his career and how he got to where he was. He also told how he ended up having his wife be his inker, which was a little neat. Basically, she was an interior design major, but she has impeccable penmanship and line control. She apprenticed for a little while, and the rest is history.

After that, I saw Darwyn Cooke for the second time. He did a stealth signing at the Isotope on Thursday night, which was really cool. It was really laid back, plus I got my Absolute New Frontier signed. He told a bunch of very cool stories, too.

I met Dwayne McDuffie.

Let me repeat that– I met McDuffie. Pardon my fanboy, kids. I thought I saw him, but I wasn’t sure, but Howard Brown of PCS made it a point to introduce us. Do I even have to say how awesome that was?

I bought a couple of trades (Impulse: Reckless Youth and Sam Noir Volume One) and wandered the floor. Did some networking. Solidified a deal that’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done solo (I’ll talk about that next week!). Hung out with Mindy Owens, writer of the Runaways/Ultimates Saga and Spider-Man Fairy Tales, and her twin sister. Saw a bunch of people I know. Chilled at the Writers Old Fashioned table (AA90!) for a little while. Hung out at the Ben Templesmith and Antony Johnston signing at the Isotope.

Tomorrow? I’m getting interviewed (exciting!), watching a podcast panel moderated by a friend and featuring a few friends, and working the Darwyn Cooke signing.

I’ll be around. Holler if you see me!

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Wrestlecomics Interview: Plagued by the Osirian Portal!

February 20th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

Next Friday I’m going to be taking a 3-day trip to Philly for CHIKARA’s King of Trios tournament. This thing is going to be crazy epic as over these days they are going to hold a tournament of 28 teams of 3. That’s 84 guys in there!

Other than the CHIKARA mainstays, teams are coming in from other independent wrestling feds and several other countries. It even has some stranger attractions like a team of Kaiju Big Battel monsters and a team made up of 80’s legends Demolition Ax, Demolition Smash and the One Man Gang.

I figured this was as good an excuse as any to get another CHIKARA interview down. This time I chose to interview the Osirian Portal, a tag team made up of the insidious human cobra Ophidian and the cold dancing machine Amasis.


The Bangles used to have nightmares that looked like this.

Ophidian debuted back in July at Showdown in Crisisland. After a couple weeks of build-up, he made his first appearance by taking on fan-favorite Player Uno. Showing off his viperlicious attack style and slithering to and from the ring rather than actually walking, Ophidian got everyone’s attention by knocking out Player Uno with a Cobra Clutch combined with leg scissors.

In September, at the show called Cibernetico and Robin, he was joined by Amasis, the Funky Pharaoh. As the Osirian Portal, they won their initial match against veterans Jigsaw and Shane Storm. Despite Amasis’ mastery of mixing wrestling with dancing, he still comes off as annoyed and with little patience when it comes to the CHIKARA crowds.

As it turns out, these guys don’t actually read comics. Well, not anymore at least. When Amasis wasn’t looking, Ophidian slipped me a note talking about how “Sssssspawn” is still the greatest superhero ever. Man, these guys really are evil. Nonetheless, I couldn’t pass the chance of interviewing two grown men dressed as up like Egyptian supervillains.

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Ambidextrous Miranda

February 3rd, 2008 Posted by david brothers

AMBIDEXTROUS: MIRANDA, CASEY & THE COOL – NEWSARAMA

Brandon Thomas, aka the best Robin writer since Chuck Dixon, is launching a new series named Miranda Mercury. It looks like the proverbial bomb diggy, so go check it out. He also interviews Joe Casey, which is just a plus.

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Bendis Hates Tigra, Brubaker Hates Milla, BKV Hates Black People

January 30th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Or do they?

How long do you give a story before you judge it? If it’s obviously one part of a series, do you wait until it’s done or are you just so turned off that you shun it forever and cast it into outer darkness?

I tend to walk the line. If it’s a writer I trust, I’ll ride it out and see where it takes me. If it’s a writer I don’t trust… well, I don’t generally read books by writers I don’t trust, so that problem basically solves itself.

I mean, I saw one of the best black characters in comics catch a bullet to the dome a while back. It was a good scene and a good story, so I stayed interested instead of turned off.

Also, can we please stop talking about how much X writer hates Y character just because bad things happen to that character? One joke in an interview two years ago does not a vendetta make, no matter how often and how loudly it’s repeated. Bendis doesn’t hate Tigra any more than he hates Dr. Strange or Mary Jane.

I should probably also talk about Young Avengers #1: Patriot sometime soon, too, huh? I’m sure you’re all dying to know my thoughts on it.

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Cam Stewart, Graeme McMillan, Secret Origins

January 11th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

I think my first Cameron Stewart book was Seaguy. I’m pretty sure it was, anyway– I didn’t become a Brubaker/Stewart Catwoman fan until they were nearly off the book. I’m a little fuzzy on that point, though, I might be wrong.


Either way, the man is crazy good. Every book he’s ever done looks 2008% rock solid. He’s got a fun and expressive cartoony style. Lately, I’ve been enjoying the man’s ongoing webcomic at Transmission-X, Sin Titulo. Link to the first page here, as that previous link takes you to the latest comic. Whoops, should have warned you I guess!

Anyway, the comic is really good. Stewart has a pretty smooth writing voice and the story is really engaging, though I’m not sure where it’s headed. Plus, I can get my Cam Stewart fix once a week this way. That’s good stuff.

It’s funny, but I haven’t thought about Seaguy in a long while. In a very real way, Grant Morrison’s Seaguy and JLA Classified #1 were the reasons why I started blogging about comics around this time in 2005. My first comics blog was Guerilla Grodd (shut up it was clever back then). My first post was on JLA Classified #1. A few posts later, I posted the first of two explorations of Seaguy, with an imaginary third rounding out the trilogy. I really want to rewrite these. It’s been a while since I have really dug my teeth into a subject, not to mention reread Seaguy. I feel like I could bring a lot more to the table now.

Speaking of blogging in 2005, one of my favorite sites was Fanboy Rampage. It was a linkdump of all the best (worst) comics fans had to offer and run by one Graeme McMillan. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say it was probably my favorite comics blog back in the day. Imagine my surprise when I move to SF this year and the guys are like “Hey, do you know Graeme?”

So, yeah, Graeme McMillan is cool people and I’m pretty pleased to call him buddy. He’s got a fun interview with Tom Spurgeon over at the Comics Reporter. Give it a look, all right?

Man, do you guys remember when comics blogging was all The Beat, Journalista, a little Warren Ellis (“The Bendis Board is full of rape-os”), Fanboy Rampage, Neilalien, and ADD? I feel like I’m leaving people out, but it’s late and my memory is bad. Casey and Fraction on the Basement Tapes, Augie on The Pipeline… Three years, man. Wow.

Controversial opinions–

–Have you ever wished for the death of a comics creator, be it an EiC, writer, or artist? Maybe an editor or colorist if you’re really into funnybooks? If you can answer yes, you probably suck as a person. It’s just comics, man. Chill out.

–The “comics fans are shut-ins/creepy nerds/worthless man-boys/fat/neckbearded/stunted” stereotype needs to be lost, stat. It doesn’t matter whether you’re explaining why comics are sexist, poorly written, racist, or whatever– lose it. It ain’t true, man. I know a bunch of people who read comics. I don’t know any shut-in creepos. Let those dudes do their own press– we don’t need to do it for them. Real recognizes real and they need to be invisible.

–Have you ever used the word “overrated” in a review? If you did, I probably didn’t finish reading what you wrote. Overrated is a stupid word that has no place in a review. It basically means “This is popular and I don’t like it so I’m going to diss everyone else’s opinion in an effort to make myself look smart(er).” You might as well be saying “as if” as far as I’m concerned.

–Seriously though– it’s just comics. It’ll be okay. Go read Kraven’s Last Hunt or Batman: Year One or Flex Mentallo or Casanova or something you haven’t read yet that’s generally well-regarded if comics right now are making you mad. If it’s getting your blood pressure up, back up off it. It ain’t worth it. It’ll come around.

–I’ve been listening to Lupe Fiasco, T.I., and Juelz Santana pretty much exclusively for the better part of a week now. It’s a weird mix of maybe 16 hours of music (9 of T.I., 5 of Lupe, and 2 of Juelz). T.I. for the south (deuces up, a-towns down), Lupe ’cause he’s a nerd, and Juelz because he’s sick at storytelling. “Gone” is dope.

Youtubes, which are probably nsfw if only for lyrics and the fact that they’re youtubes:
Lupe Fiasco: I Gotcha, Dumb It Down, The Cool (Music only)
T.I.: Big Things Poppin’, Hurt, U Don’t Know Me
Juelz: Oh Yes, Dipset Anthem, Gone (Music Only)

Man, I love that sample on Oh Yes. “Wait a minute mister mista mista mista”

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Wrestlecomics Interview: Gavok Annoys the Heck Out of Leonard F. Chikarason

November 13th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

I haven’t mentioned CHIKARA that much lately, but right now, the unorthodox wrestling federation has a lot going for it. For one, they just released two DVDs for their recent shows Bruised and New Star Navigation. The former of which has a neat cover based on the first battle of Hulk vs. the goofy-masked Wolverine, but I’ll feature that one later, when I have a better, less diagonal image.

Speaking of DVDs, the company has just let loose its first wide-release DVD, The Best of CHIKARA. If you find yourself in an FYE, Sam Goody, Best Buy, or wherever you get your DVDs, they just might have this baby waiting for you at $9.99. Come on, that’s a great price for the sweetness within.

This weekend comes the final three shows of CHIKARA’s 2007 season. On Friday the 16th, it’s The Battle of Who Could Care Less. On Saturday the 17th, we get The Sordid Perils of Everyday Existence, whatever that means. Finally, the season finale is on Sunday the 18th with Chapter 11 in Philadelphia.

With CHIKARA having such a pulse at the moment, I figure I’d hitchhike onto their success with another interview. This time the unfortunate victim is Leonard F. Chikarason. Mr. Chikarason isn’t a wrestler by any means, but plays the role of the company’s Director of Fun. He, you know, makes matches and stuff. He also does a big chunk of commentary and shows up whenever pictures are taken in the ring.

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