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.