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Randomer Thoughts On New Comic Book Day

That’s right Nevett, I’m upping the ante! By slinging together a bunch of semi coherent musings on my trip to the LCS before I pass out from exhaustion! Get bowel quakingly terrified!

-The only comic I’ve had a chance to read this week is JMS’s first issue of Brave and the Bold. I just got it because it was self contained and I had some extra cash to spend because it was a slower week than usual (and yeah, maybe Mark Andrew’s* series had something to do with it). I wound up really liking it. It reminded me a bit of Alan Brennert’s B&B stories. Well, until that crotch punchingly painful soliloquy from Batman at the end. That was pretty rough.

-I’ll use that micro review as a short spring board for thoughts on JMS’s Spider-Man run. It’s funny that’s it remembered solely for everything after Sins Past (and probably more for One More Day than anything), because when I was modding CBR’s Spider-Man board
, a lot of people loved it. I was never that crazy about it, but his first couple years on the book had their moments. It helped that John Romita Jr. was drawing it, mind you, but I found it to be solid. I even didn’t mind that Spider Totem storyline (even if I didn’t care enough to finish reading it), because at least he wrote it in a way that future writers could ignore it. I hope they all make sure to thank him for that every time they do.

Anyway, since his ASM is like 90% of what I’ve read of his work, it shaped how I view him as a writer. Much like Geoff Johns, I don’t get the hype either way. He’s not as bad as his detractors say or as good as his proponents do. So that Batman team up that was 90% good, 10% radioactive shit poison exceeded some low expectations. Had to qualify that. For T. He loves it when I qualify, I bet. Even if he said he didn’t, I bet he does.

-In case you were missing it, Wednesday Comics Ranked has been on hiatus again because… well, I haven’t felt like doing it. I got tired of trying to do commentary on each fragment of the story, and really haven’t felt much like doing reviews in general. I may do a wrap up of the series in my usual half assed style when it’s over and I finally sit down and read Wonder Woman. Given all the stuff I’d rather do, my tentative schedule for that is January. 2012. Watch this space, true believers!

-Fanboys was on in the shop today. I had no idea that Seth Rogen and Danny McBride were in it. That makes me sort of want to watch it now.

-Much like Chris Sims, I was pumped for Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2’s launch yesterday. Unlike Sims, I had to settle for playing the PS2 version for reasons I don’t feel like elaborating on. It really feels like Activision wasn’t trying with it. I get that it’s a system on a dying console, but still; it’s worse than I remember the original PS2 version being in every single way, from graphics to sound to control. How is that possible? I’ll probably wind up buying the 360 version eventually, even if Activision really doesn’t deserve my money, for other reasons.**

I’ve liked Uncanny X-Men: First Class a lot so far, except when Banshee shows up and talks. So yeah, I kind of regret buying this month’s Banshee spotlight. I’m holding out hope that he flies in to a jet engine in this comic, too. Then it would be perfect!

I almost bought Blackest Night #3, just to see if I could blog about it. After flipping through it, I realized it’s just aggressively not for me, and I have no interest in even snarking at it. This must be how some people saw Final Crisis. That makes me sad.

No more thoughts.*** Literally. I’m functionally retarded at this point from lack of sleep. We’ll see if I can get to high functioning retard after a good night’s sleep and maybe I’ll post something again this week.

Story continues below

*Searching for that was less convenient than I would have liked, so I have to agree with Burgas (much as I hate to); learn to use tags, rest of the blog besides us!

**I’m actually not as aghast over the Cobain thing as a lot of Kotaku commenters, I just felt like linking for the sake of the ignorant, who didn’t know you could make a digital Cobain play Bon Jovi or talk like Flava Flav.

*** Well, except for this; a link to Marvel’s Ben Morse’s reminiscence about the ’90s X-Men arcade game that Sims omitted from his Comic Alliance article about the best team up games. Possibly because a cast of 6 X-Men isn’t a team up, but whatever; I love the game and Morse’s piece, so it gets pimped just like my unrequited man crush’s**** latest missive.

**** You know, it’s kind of unsettling when other people mention how much I like Sims.


I did the same with Blackest Night # 1.

“Jesus no.

But I’m glad that people who really like things like this really like this thing.

But Jesus. No.”

It cracks me up that people are so defensive about Kurt Cobain in Guitar Hero. I guess it makes sense that the fans of someone who took himself way too seriously would take him way too seriously, too. But, man, he’s just a dude who wrote mediocre music and sold it for lots of money.

Oh yeah. I got distracted.

I tagged the whole team-up series last night. The pen-ultimate part will be up tomorrow, after final edits.

Brave and the Bold didn’t do much for me, ESPECIALLY the part where Batman wouldn’t. Stop. Talking.
Maybe I’m just jaded and haggard and I’ve seen to many “This Man, This Monster” riffs before, maybe it’s that I expect my Dial H for Hero stories a little goofier, but the whole thing didn’t click.

And I never saw Kurt Cobain as taking himself too seriously. The Nevermind era especially is full of funny, self-effacing, tongue-in-cheek lyrics. (Nirvana are one of my favorite comedy bands of all time.)

Cobain wrote songs called “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Mr. Moustache,” “Mexican Seafood, and “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter,” with lyrics like “Here we are now, entertain us” and “I died smothered in Andy’s butt,” and was originally going to name his band “Fecal Matter.” Def. sounds like a guy who takes himself too seriously.

He moped and whined in front of a national audience for money.

He also killed himself because his life was SO HARD.

80+% of Nirvana song lyrics (as well as just in terms of the tone/tempo of the music) are not mopey at all. If you dislike Nirvana because it’s a mopey or whiny, you must hate all rock music made in the last 20 years and the Beatles (Elanor Rigby) and Led Zeppelin (Babe I’m Gonna Leave You) and The Doors (People Are Strange). Guess they all suck because they played those songs in front of audiences (and made money no less). Pussy-ass whiners all. Beach Boys, now there’s a band I can get behind.

01. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Not mopey.
02. In Bloom – No.
03. Come As You Are – Somewhat.
04. Breed – No.
05. Lithium – Arguably, but not really.
06. Polly – Yes.
07. Territorial Pissings – No.
08. Drain You – No.
09. Lounge Act – No.
10. Stay Away – No.
11. On a Plain – No.
12. Something in the Way – Yes.

Other bands of the grunge-era, Pearl Jam or Alice in Chains for example, it’s fair to call them mopey when like 60%+ of their tracks are downbeat with generally unironic lyrics. But if you’re using any sort of metric based on comparison to other music of the same genre, and I mean rock in general, calling Nirvana a mopey band is ludicrous.

Also, I think depression as well as drug abuse played major roles in Cobain’s suicide. But I’ll be sure to write in a suggestion to the DSM to revise their next manual to include “taking yourself too seriously” as a leading cause of suicide.

I thought Cobain killed himself in a drug-addled haze. Which isn’t necessarily better than killing yourself because life is hard, but still not what Dan said.

And I remember JMS’s Spider-Man much more for the stuff with Romita than post-Romita (which is how I divide the run).

Since this seems to be the place to air some controversial opinions, I’d like to the throw out the following: JMS best work is the first chunk of Supreme Power (or possibly Rising Stars). This includes Babylon 5.

I agree with Cass, in jest, that the Beatles were the first boy band, the N’Sync of their day. Their supposedly more mature later work is roughly analogous to Justin Timberlake’s solo output.

Led Zepplin is similarly terrible. Besides stealing whole riffs from various blues men, they produced some of the most self-important music of thier age.

Not really on-topic, I know, but I thought that’s what we were doing here.

JMS best work was Midnight Nation. It was a self-contained limited series that he had all planned out, beat-by-beat, before he turned it in.

And it has Gary Frank on art. So there.

I’m a huge Nirvana fan, but I don’t get the uproar over him being in GH5. To me it seems like people going out of there way to get pissy about something. Big deal if you can make him sing other people’s songs. In the comment section that Brad linked to, someone claimed that Cobain would never sing songs by such artists, and one of them he mentioned was David Bowie. Considering that Nirvana did a Bowie song for their Unplugged show, not to mention a bunch of other covers, it just points out how stupid a lot of the people complaining are.

Yeah, Kurt whined a lot. I find Nirvana’s music to be much stronger than their lyrics, anyway.

JMS and Geoff Johns, I would agree with Brad. They’re not horrible, but I just don’t see what all the hype is about. Some their plotting is actually really bad, and I just don’t like some of their ideas (rainbow Lanterns?).

I’m pretty sure that ‘crotch-punchingly’ should have a hyphen.

Yee gads! Am I pleased that I’m not alone in the universe. I really don’t get what the fuss is with Blackest Night. And I’m a GL fan.

JMS is very hit and miss for me. As of late, other than his Thor run (and that only if propped up by Fraction’s one shots) it’s been mainly miss. How bad were those Red Circle one shots? Not really what one would expect from the mind that brought us Rising Stars and Supreme Power.

If you want to see Nirvana at their comedic best, watch “Live! Tonight! Sold Out!” I haven’t watched it in years, but I remember one scene in which the band had to lip-sync “…Teen Spirit” on a European t.v. show. The bass player starts slinging his bass around his neck, and Kurt sings the song in a low-key voice, and with proper annunciation.

I liked JMS’s Spider-Man run enough to buy it up to issue 500. It was the perfect jumping-off point. While the issues I read were inconsistent, there were more enjoyable parts than not. Aunt May discovering Peter’s secret was a highlight. Supreme Power and Rising Stars were both slow and choppy, but I liked it overall.

>>He also killed himself because his life was SO HARD.

He was also probably exhausted beyond hope at the thought of continuing to exist in a world in which insanely insensitive morons — professional jerks, one might say — who post sentiments like that continue to breathe (& maybe even breed).

In that regard (& others, unfortunately, having a history of clinical depression myself), I certainly feel his pain.

PFT! Those thoughts aren’t nearly as random as mine…

I don’t feel bad for him. I do feel bad for his family, but definitely not for him..

“Oh I’m so talented, and I have millions of adoring fans but there are too many insensitive people in the world *sob* *sob* I can’t take it *sob* sob*!”

Whatever, let me save my sympathy for people who really deserve it.

So if someone’s got emotional problems, they just need to hut up and get over it? Now, I think this is true of a lot of mopey tools, and I know I certainly had to sort out my own shit. But some people really do have problems and really do need help. Cobain may have been one of them. I don’t know.

Regardless, their music was excellent and changed rock and pop in ways that are still being felt today.

A lot of great artists are assholes (and I’m not saying Kurt was one), but it doesn’t invalidate their art.

As for JMS, I loved Midnight Nation and Supreme Power, but maybe Gary Frank has a lot to do with that.
I really enjoyed the first arc of Rising Stars and the JRJr issues of Amazing Spidey.
I’ve also been enjoying Thor (though having the Fraction comics to provide a fun bad-ass alternative helped).
That’s all I’ve read of his. I’ve heard good things about his MK Silver Surfer and The Twelve, and plan to check them out eventually.
So yeah, I’ve enjoyed all the stuff he’s done that I’ve read, aside from the later Spidey, but none of it’s blown me away except the stuff with Gary Frank.

It seems lately that the hip way to hold a contrarian view about the Beatles is to say they were “just another boy band.” But that’s like saying that Jack Kirby was just another guy who drew comics, or that The Odyssey is just another epic. The Beatles practically invented popular music as it is currently understood. 99.9% of current pop would not be possible absent the Beatles influence. They did it first, and they did it best, and everyone out there from the top acts selling out stadiums to the lowliest garage band stands in their shadow.

Kurt Cobain understood that, and somehow I don’t think he always took himself quite as seriously as people now believe, or as seriously as people perceive him now that he’s been “canonized” by the rock intelligentsia. Somehow it seems to me that a part of him would find it profoundly amusing that you can make pixellated Kurt do all sorts of embarrassing things fifteen years after he’s dead, and that making him do those things can still produce an outcry. I’m a big Nirvana fan and defender (because it is now popular to belittle that group as well), but I bought the latest Guitar Hero last weekend for fear that newer copies of the game would remove the ability to unlock Cobain as a character.

As for speculation on the reasons for his suicide, it is always amazing to me that we, as a culture, presume to know everything about a person just because they’ve had some success in the entertainment industry, to the point that we feel we can pass judgment on their every action. Who knows, maybe his life was hard – anyone who has ever tasted any success, financial or otherwise, can tell you it comes with its own pressures and problems, even while it alleviates others, and it certainly isn’t a magic elixir for any pre-existing emotional or chemical dependency problems. I tend to evaluate artists based on their creative output, though sometimes I fail in that regard (good luck trying to get me to go see a Mel Gibson picture), and really don’t think Cobain’s music should be lionized or savaged based on the way he chose to end his life.

He moped and whined in front of a national audience for money.

Well, you’re right about the money. “Teenage angst has paid off well, now I’m bored and old.”

COMPLETELY wrong about “moping and whining” of course, although I grant you that Nirvana’s songs – Which were mostly short character sketches drenched in irony – are easy to misinterpret if you’re not paying attention.

Which you aren’t.

Sorry to hear that the PS2 version of M:UA2 sucks. I was looking forward to picking it up, since I really liked the first one (and all the continuity treats thrown in thanks to CB Cebulski).

Oh, yeah — also, I am obligated by law to observe that computer & video games & such constitute the height (or depth?) of stupidity. Wrestling, too. And the NFL. And superhero movies. Plus pretty muchy’know, basically anything else that I personally don’t find interesting.

What the hell, I turn 50 today. I figure I’m due at least “Hey, you kids, get off my lawn!” post.

Dude, Fanboys is fantastic. The cameos are just the icing on the cake. Hell, Rogen plays three different roles himself.

Here, here, Alan. I remember writing something very much to that effect to Tim Yohannon, the (now-deceased) editor of Maximum Rocknroll, way back in the summer of ’83, & receiving a reply filled with contrition, especially considering MRR’s long standing as a beacon of PC-ness in punk. (I find the usage particularly offensive because my sister has Down syndrome.) *sigh*

It’s hardly a revelation, but people often act & write idiots, don’t they?

Cobain’s painted as “mopey” because the media turned him into a hero-figure, and then didn’t know how to handle it when he blew his head off, so they did some retconning so nobody had to think too much about it. “Oh, no wonder, he was Mopey.”

Apodaca, it seems to me that you enjoy sounding like a jerk. I also think you don’t care what other people think, which can be an admirable trait. But you know, it wouldn’t hurt you to do a little more reflecting before speaking/writing. You’ve no idea what Kurt Cobain’s life was really like. Keep in mind: You don’t have to sympathize with him to avoid passing judgment. Or you could maybe even practice a little compassion.

Which is an awkward, dopey segue to get me back to comics: As Indigo said in the latest issue of “Blackest Night”: “Compassion … sadly remains elusive to most beings.”

Hey Brad — I feel like I’m in this bizarre minority in comics land, because I enjoyed both “Final Crisis” and (so far) “Blackest Night.” There certainly don’t seem to be too many people in the blogosphere who make that claim. (Except Tim Callahan. And actually I don’t know what he thinks of “BN” per se, but he recently recommended “Green Lantern” and “Green Lantern Corps.”)

You’re exactly right about Johns being neither as good nor as bad as his fans/detractors claim. I’d say the same thing about Grant Morrison (who’s actually my favorite comics author), because he misfires and misses the mark too, and sometimes really disappoints in the concluding acts of his stories. Still, I’ll buy anything he writes. That’s not a claim I’d make about too many other writers, and not about Johns, but I am loving his “GL”/”BN” work. (And I liked his run with the Wally West “Flash.”)

Here’s one thing Johns is doing really well in “BN”: He gets these characters. He’s not afraid to make Hal look like a jerk sometimes. And though I didn’t want Barry back, Johns is doing good stuff with him here. (I refuse to buy/read “Flash: Rebirth,” so I dunno how that’s working out.) Most importantly, the other heroes get to be, you know, heroic. For example, Mera’s kicking ass and acting smart. Meanwhile, the Ray Palmer I used to enjoy was also the one who showed up in “BN” #3. The Atom who exhibited compassion at a key moment in this story, he’s miles away from the godawful version I’ve read about (online) in “Cry for Justice.” (A torturer who’s obsessed with revenge? Sheesh. I imagine even Johns, who’s no stranger to gore in comics, is shaking his head too at Robinson’s JLA characterizations.)

I also love the geeky-cheesy throwback to the Silver Age in the very concept of rainbow lanterns. It’s like we’re getting some zany 60s comics, mashed up with a zombie trope (which is fun so far), then filtered with 21st-century/new-age science of superhero chakras. Sure, I could dismiss it out of hand, but it’s actually pretty neat.

Anyway … it shouldn’t (and doesn’t) make me sad that you don’t like “Blackest Night,” just as you shouldn’t feel sad that some people hated “Final Crisis.” (Except they’re still complaining about it! Which is kinda funny.) The only sad part is when people get stuck in snark. That bums me out, so thank you for not giving in to the impulse. Let’s just enjoy what we love — and try to ignore the horrid stuff (“Cry for Justice,” “Brand New Day,” etc.).

I’d like to apologize to Brian and Jonah for bringing the Cobain in GH 5 thing here. It is like internet AIDs and Herpes had a baby, and I should have been more responsible.

Dan Apodaca- Don’t ever change. Seriously, just keep saying shit like that. This place wouldn’t be the same without you being you, Madman.
Alan- No. That would be retarded. I do appreciate the please, though.
Dave- I didn’t think that’s what I was doing, but hey, knock yourself out. I barely ever read comments on my stuff anyway. You guys could say horrible things about me and 9/10 times, I would not know.
Dan Bailey- That’s pretty much everything I like. So I’m totally TPing your house, old man! Metaphorically. Well, okay, the NFL is kind of dumb. I’m just obligated to pay attention to it because I live in Texas.
Rebis- I like you for advocating ignoring Cry For Justice. Even if I hate Rainbow Lanterns so much.

Finally, Chad- IT’S ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, and I’ll hyphenate crotch-punchingly from now on, Ted. Good call.

Also, Mark- Thanks for the tags.

“Sorry to hear that the PS2 version of M:UA2 sucks. I was looking forward to picking it up, since I really liked the first one (and all the continuity treats thrown in thanks to CB Cebulski).”

It’s probably more playable than I make it out to be and I just hate it because I’ve been spoiled by Ultimate Alliance: Gold Edition on the 360. It’s $30 compared to $60 for the next gen ones (and $50 for whatever the Wii is), so if all you have is a PS2, you may still want to buy it. Or at least rent it. I did sort of have some fun with it in spite of the technical flaws (even if Deadpool committed suicide by leaping in to a death trap. Or maybe because?).

Had to qualify that. For T. He loves it when I qualify, I bet. Even if he said he didn’t, I bet he does.

I don’t get this sentence, as I agree with everything that came before it.

Oh wait a minute, thought this was by Chad Nevett. I just realized its by Brad. I get the joke now. Good one.

Everyone should get avatars! That would make the world better.

Oh, and I’ll hyphenate crotch-punchingly from now on, Ted. Good call.

I live to give.

Brad —

I don’t think I knew you lived in Texas. Having grown up some 40 miles east of Texarkana in Arkansas, a/k/a an inferiority complex with borders, I am also obliged by law to hate Texas, Texans & by extension everything in life you love, like or can even tolerate.

Please advise me of what all that includes; I’d like to get started now, before I slide into full-scale senility.

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