Friday, October 03, 2008 which I fix Comics.

I've been playing the LEGO BATMAN video game lately (as the only video games I seem to retain any proficiency for are those designed for 8 year olds), and it got me to thinking: they really ought to just End Batman.

Maybe that's what DC is up to with the upcoming Neil Gaiman-scripted "Whatever Happened to the Dark Knight," or whatever it's called, but I really think Batman, as a comics property, could benefit by ending it and starting all over. Take into account everything that's happened in Batman's 70ish year history, announce BATMAN as a 200 or 300 issue series, and then tell the whole story again, starting with the origin and working up to Dark Knight Returns. You could jump around in time, treat it like TV "seasons," write a mega-outline and bring in different writers to tell different longform stories, introduce Robin around issue 50, slowly bring in the big villains and give them all their own long-running arcs, and treat Batman like the property it is -- a story that's run its course in a very real way, but that still has the potential to be an entertaining and financially viable comics property. Do it like the movies do it, only with a complete story in mind, from young boy in the alley to aging crimefighter. And 20 or 30 years down the line, when the story is told, you do it all over again.

Aaaaanyway. If, for some reason, the folks at DC decide not to take my advice on this, I'd settle for regular updates on the Daily Batman again.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Real Cool Hand.

"That's my darling Luke. He grins like a baby but bites like a gator."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The New Messiah

from the So I Won't Lose It Dept....

The Beat's look at the cancellation of DC's Minx line.

...another lesson in how Comics Just Don't Get It, burying Minx comics in with the graphic novels and manga, instead of fighting to get them in with the YA titles. I can attest to the fact that Barnes & Nobles have a graphic novel section in their childrens' departments -- it's young readers stuff, to be sure, not young adult -- but this reminds of how books like ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN were supposed to reach audiences AMAZING SPIDER-MAN couldn't, but just wound up being bought by the same folks who liked Spider-Man to begin with.

More and more I'm thinking: Comics Yay, The Comics Industry Nay. But then I guess sales trends will take care of that.

(Also? The new Jenny Lewis cd is my new girlfriend.)

Friday, August 15, 2008


And I mean, such a strange day.

I woke up with SJ, my back hurting, but grateful to be there with her on her floor, hoping to hold her a little longer. She'd turn her back to me and I'd curl behind her, or I'd lay on my back and she'd rest her head on my chest. Finally she said, after several false starts and faux awakenings, "I think I'm up."


"I think I'm awake."

We laid there a little bit longer, feeling the skin of the other against our own. I smelled her hair, I touched my fingers to the spot above her hip -- to the place below her breast -- both where her curves were about to begin, or end, depending on which direction you were going. But then we did, we got up, I went for breakfast and helped her put things away once I came back. "You've been really supportive of me, these last days," is one of the last things she said to me, her face to mine.

I ended the night with my friends of the past two years. Adam and Kate Lynn, Ryan and Ben. Folks I haven't hardly seen this summer -- all of us scattered and looking for our own ways ahead. We told stories. Kate Lynn's been in Chicago, then Baltimore and Washington with Adam, Ryan in Italy, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Ben drawing comics in San Jose, or seeing Amy at Zine Fest and ComicCon. It was good to have them together again. I loved having them together again. Adam says I should move to Baltimore, we'll start a Rock Band rock band, he'll introduce me to nice, single, Jewish girls. "They put out," he says.

"That's all I ask," I tell him.

I hugged him at least three times tonight, not sure when I'll see him again. It's downright cute how affectionate we are of each other. I hope he can tell. Kate Lynn wants to come to dinner tomorrow, which I like, and she offered to help me move. I like that too. I felt awfully fond of her tonight too, and she's got biceps I wouldn't turn down when there are things to lift. Or any other situation.

I couldn't stop talking about the Olympian softball players -- no sleeves, muscles as they pitched 113km/hr balls, nails painted red.

"That's what does it for your," Kate Lynn says, "that mix of strength and femininity."

"That's definitely what does it for me."

"That's a good writerly detail," she says.

I think about SJ's orange fingernails, newly painted, greasy and wet from a chicken we've torn apart on a lunchtime date at the farmer's market on the Bay. It is a good writerly detail.

"You're right," I say. And I resist the temptation to show off our photobooth pictures again. I want to keep them private a little bit longer.

Monday, August 04, 2008

To Catch A Yeti

I'm housesitting for a friend of mine these days and he has cable TV, so basically that means, whenever you think of me these days, I am probably covered in a blanket and watching cable TV. Right now there's a movie about Leonard Cohen on, and I have it on in an attempt to finally like Leonard Cohen. Much like sushi and coffee, Leonard Cohen is one of those things I managed to avoid, with no particular purpose or reason for doing so, until well into my adulthood. Well, it's 2008, I have had about a dozen cups of coffee this year alone (yeah!), about a dozen little sushi-bits just this week (EFF yeah!!), so why not give Leonard Cohen another try?

But listen Internet, this blog post isn't about Leonard Cohen. This blog post is about the movie on another station at the very same time, a movie I cannot watch because the so-called "friend" I'm housesitting for doesn't subscribe to it. Or, he had it blocked before he left town, because he knew that doing so would crush my spirit just a little bit, and that's the sort of thing dudes do when they are friends with each other. The movie in question is called TO CATCH A YETI, and the TV describes it thusly:

"A hunter (Meat Loaf)--"

And I have to stop right there for a second, because dude! Even if it wasn't called TO CATCH A YETI, I would pretty much watch any movie that begins with that description...

"A hunter (Meat Loaf) is hired by a New York businessman to capture the Abominable Snowman. (Action/Adventure, 86 minutes.)"

And even though it's on a station I can't get, I've decided this must be the best movie that's ever made. And I swore, on the spot, to make it my goal in life to see TO CATCH A YETI. But I can't give in and Netflix it, I can't do it the easy way -- TO CATCH A YETI will be my white whale, the thing what propels me through the next several years of my life and yet isn't a) a girl I like, or b) something that costs me tons and tons of money, a la graduate school. I will find you, TO CATCH A YETI, someday on my TV -- like a John Cusack romantic comedy, I trust and believe that we will one day find ourselves in the same grocery store discount VHS bin.

A little googling came up with this, as if a love note written specifically to me:

"Hunter Big Jake finds the fabled Himalayan Yeti -- the Big Foot of legend. But what he really finds is a cuddly, furry animal the size of a large teddy bear -- with enormous feet! And when Jake brings the Yeti to New York it becomes the pet of a spoiled son of a multi-millionaire. Only a little girl... Hunter Big Jake finds the fabled Himalayan Yeti -- the Big Foot of legend. But what he really finds is a cuddly, furry animal the size of a large teddy bear -- with enormous feet! And when Jake brings the Yeti to New York it becomes the pet of a spoiled son of a multi-millionaire. Only a little girl named Amy can set the poor Yeti free."

Hunter Big Jake! The Big Foot of Legend! Only a little girl!

Watch out, Meat Loaf!

Thursday, July 03, 2008 form a more perfect union...

There's no better way to celebrate America's birthday than with Muppets.

(I like the wiener backdrop about a minute and a half in.)

found on BWE

Monday, June 30, 2008

Dateline: Awesome

Unemployed Creepo wages one-man war on drugs ...

'They said the agent, a man some had come to know as “Sergeant Bill,” boasted that he did not need search warrants to enter their homes because he worked for the federal government.'

... until an intrepid small-town reporter checks his name on Google or something, and discovers there's no such thing as a “multijurisdictional task force” sending federal drug agents to Missouri to fight meth.

found via BoingBoing.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Where I'm At 06-08

Movies I want to see:

-The Dark Knight -- I wasn't wild about 'Begins,' but DK looks like the radness.
-Pineapple Express -- sort of.
-Hancock -- mostly just because the original title was 'Tonight, He Comes.'

Things I want to eat:

-Indian food -- always.
-Chick-O-Stick -- which means I'm itching for a road trip.
-Green apples -- they're good.

Music I want to listen to:

-My Morning Jacket
-The Avett Brothers (thanks Lizz!)

TV I've been watching:

-The Wire -- I'm hip deep in season 2.
-Battlestar Galactica season three -- I watched it during its first run, and I've been re-watching it before bed lately. I remember being really disappointed with the bulk of the middle, but really loving the first four episodes, and then the last one or two. Four episodes in, that remains the case.

Things I have been thinking about:

-Moving -- and where to go.
-Superhero comics -- and whether I'll ever like them ever again.
-Manual labor -- I'm in the mood to dig a hole.

Things I have been working on:

-Mostly short bits of nothing in particular. But I started a story I really like called "The Boy Who Would Be Thor," and July is officially the Month to Novel Again.

...and one more thing.

For all my dislike for comics these days, I can't stop THINKING about them. It occurred to me in a nappy-haze this morning (I woke up, ate breakfast, THEN took a nap -- it's about time to get myself to a new town, folks) that the folks who find FINAL CRISIS too confusing are the same folks who lurve ALL-STAR SUPERMAN -- the only difference being ALL-STAR is based on an imagined continuity, more or less. Superman ran up against Bizzaro in a recent ALL-STAR, and he was largely changed from any depiction of Bizzaro we've ever seen -- but that's easily the most well-received superhero title of recent years. But when the New Gods of FINAL CRISIS clash with their depiction in COUNTDOWN, it's cause for anger and mistrust...

Well, my problems with FINAL CRISIS aren't continuity-bound. I don't think it's a confusing book, it just has the confounding problem of trying to move too slow and yet too fast at the very same time.

(Although, I will say -- spoiler alert! -- that if you're not intimately familiar with the history of DC's various Flashes, the end of FINAL CRISIS #2 probably makes no sense whatsoever. It looks like the very same guy who's already there, appearing out of some vortex.)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Am Turning Misanthropic

I visited the comics shop today, more and more a thing I do based on specific books coming out rather than as a once-a-week affair. This time I was looking for FINAL CRISIS #2, being the latest issue in DC's latest opus. It wasn't very good.

This time last year I was doing a lot of comics research. I was chest-deep in a comics writing project and getting ready for my first San Diego Con -- I wanted to know who to talk to, I wanted to understand the latest market trends, I wanted to be up on what comics people were up on. I generally want that anyway, but last summer, it was with a specific ambition and a specific drive that I immersed myself in the online comicsphere.

Well. It's been a long year, yeah? Perhaps evidenced by the last post below this one being from last August.

Last year I was excited by the World Of Comics -- maybe because I was writing a lot of them -- but the comicsphere in June 2008 is a bleak kind of place. There are still comics I love -- American Elf and Achewood are still strips I look at every single day -- but trips to the comics shop tend to be disappointing. Grant Morrison writes superhero comics as good as they come, and a few months ago his and Frank Quitely's ALL-STAR SUPERMAN #10 was probably the finest Superman story that's ever seen print -- but with FINAL CRISIS it feels like a lot of thunder for not a lot of lightning. It's been two issues of talky-vague-exposition thus far, with a bunch of supervillains having constant meetings in an old movie theater. I'm not even sure WHY they're meeting -- Luthor just seems to show up to the meetings to tell everyone else that he doesn't want to be at the meetings, you know? It's lazy, and the sort of thing a writer's room would shoot down, reinvent, and reconstruct into something better. Maybe I, in spite of my natural inclination to favor the auteur, really just want my commercial fiction written by committee.

And not to get all nerdy on y'all, but Marvel's SECRET INVASION isn't much better. It has a different tone than FINAL CRISIS -- it's built on large panels and bang-splash-'sprise moments that unfortunately aren't as iconic or exciting as they're meant to be. Maybe I'm just lamenting my inability to be entertained by the artform I so enjoyed in the halcyon days of youth, but it's seriously a bummer to not be able to pick up a colorful packet of superheroes and walk away at least SOMEWHAT entertained. They're just not being good storytellers at Marvel and DC these days. I don't mean "these days" as compared to whenever you and I were reading comics as kids -- I mean these days as opposed to a few years ago. Or even a few months ago. RUNAWAYS and ASTONISHING X-MEN were able to entertain and tell competent stories, THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST took a decades-old character and did him done right, and BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT DETECTIVE was able to tell a story the way they USED to tell 'em without seeming like a trip down nostalgia lane ...

What I mean to say is, it looks like my own personal comics-universe is in a bit of a slump these days. It's fun to read the FOURTH WORLD reprints and all, but as a rule, I'd much rather get lost in something New and Young and Rad.

More on misanthropy later. Hello, interweb. It's nice to see you again.