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CSBG Archive

Sunday Brunch: 4/25/10

Slow week. Let’s see what bits of awesome we can scrounge up!

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: On the whole, are your favorite comic book writers “fat guys with beards” or “skinny bald guys”? Is there some kind of hybrid form? U-Decide!

ITEM! Colin Smith has been thinking again. I like it when he does that. This week, he derives his own personal mythology for Lex Luthor, and attempts to diagnose Luthor’s psychopathy, using the writings of Dr. Robert Hare, criminal psychologist! So, yeah. It’s a big one:

Now, of course, these differences have no doubt been generated by my cack-handed playing with the PLC-R, but in terms of informing comic-book characters, maybe this technique has some small virtue, because no matter how absurd it is in real-world terms, it does generate a debate about the degree to which a character does and doesn’t fit a psychological category. It’s certainly sharpened for me a sense of who Luthor “really” is, and my Grud, I think he’s absolutely terrifying. From the adolescent Luthor practising Krypto’s assassination in his back-garden to the executive-sexual predator, this is the most appalling man, a beast far far worse than I concede I ever imagined. (And as stated, I came into this with a very low opinion to start with.)

I warn you, it’s a long one.

ITEM! Ain’t It Cool News conducts an epic interview with Paul Pope:

I like the displacement of science fiction. Obviously, I like ideas a lot. I like to entertain an idea like a Rubik’s Cube and approach it like an algorithmic problem and try to solve it, you know? But I thought the best way to do the classic boy-meets-girl/boy-loses-girl thing — an almost mundane story — was to put it in an environment that’s going to be weird.

ITEM! David Brothers detoxes from his comics:

I got my first tattoo back in March. I was asking about how much it’d hurt, and the guy told me that after a certain amount of time (or trauma), the body goes into a kind of shock and you barely feel anything. That didn’t happen with the tattoo, but it absolutely happens with comics.

Sometimes too much misery is too much misery!

ITEM! Ty “The Guy” Templeton shares with us his Top Seven Comic Creators Who Could Kick Your Ass, though I’m pretty sure most Golden Agers can still kick my ass. Last week, Ty composed a list of the Ten Greatest Nude Fight Scenes in comics, and he didn’t even use the Iron Man/Mister Sensitive one from X-Statix! Clearly, comics love naked brawls.

ITEM! Friend of CSBG (and now friend of MGK) John Seavey shares his essential Essential volumes and his showcase presentation of Showcase Presents…es! John, you have earned my undying respect for your #1 DC choice.

OBLIGATORY CHRIS SIMS DEPT: We might as well make this a thing. First, Chris explores the various sexual kinks of Riverdale (I can feel the uptick in Google hits from that one). Next, over at Awesome Hospital, Sims, Chad Bowers, Matt Digges, and Josh Krach (props to letterers) present us with the Sensational Character Find of… uh… what time is it?:

Awesome Hospital knows bball

What’s better is that Bowers has confirmed a different celebrity every appearance. Plus: Space Baby in a certified Kirby brand ™ Astro-Harness. Nice.

AXE COP MOMENT OF THE WEEK: How can I resist the allure of Baby Man?

Baby Man vs Duck

Answer: I can’t. (And listen, if you’re the type of person that reads this post every week and doesn’t actually click on the links, well, click on the link. It gets even more awesome.)

HOLY SHIT BEST THING EVER DEPT: You guys. Kate Beaton drew an Aquaman comic. I… yes. My brain just exploded:

Aquabeaton

DOCTOR WHO DEPT: “The Time of Angels” Written by Steven Moffat

Who with wings

Within the Doctor Who lexicon exists a storied phrase, spoken with hushed tones or quivering voices, a not-so secret shared amongst many: “behind the sofa.” It speaks to an army of anecdotes dating back decades, when children across the United Kingdom fortified themselves behind living room furniture, hiding from the monsters on Doctor Who. Doctor Who, you see, is supposed to be scary; at least, that’s what many would have you believe, especially head writer Steven Moffat. More than any writer since the series regenerated in 2005, Moffat has geared his stories specifically toward childlike fears. He’s frightened children and parents alike with lonely masked children crying out for mummy, ticking clocks, scary statues, and carnivorous shadows. Every Doctor Who story needs a monster these days, and for Moffat, those monsters exist under the bed, in the closet, and, yes, behind the sofa– the strange places within a child’s purview. With this episode, Moffat extends that conceit to the television set itself.

I was intrigued from the get-go that the Doctor’s enemies are referred to, collectively, as “monsters;” that just isn’t terminology you find in genre fiction too much anymore, but it lives and breathes in the Whoniverse. While the Doctor never speaks the word– much like how no one says “zombie” in a zombie movie (er, except Zombieland)– we all know what his enemies are. They aren’t often villains, or aliens, or creatures. They’re monsters, a lovely, childhood term that speaks to those menaces we could never quite see, but always knew were there. The monsters this week (and next) are the Weeping Angels, possibly the scariest monsters the show’s ever featured, previously seen in the Moffat-penned episode “Blink,” for my money the best– and scariest– episode ever. Quantum assassins who can only get you when you’re not looking, who turn to statues when observed– it’s a marvelous idea, one in an episode absolutely teeming with fantastic ideas (militarized churches, messages sent cleverly through time, relationships that don’t happen in the right order, etc). With Moffat’s new conceit of the captured image of an Angel becoming an Angel, thereby demanding children across the UK keep their eyes glued to the television set less they end up angel food cake, well, he’s all but guaranteed a future traumatized generation, a legion of kids quaking behind the sofa, but keeping a focused, watchful gaze upon the TV. Doctor Who isn’t something to be watched– it’s something you have to watch. I love this show.

There, two paragraphs. See? I can do it.

12 Comments

Hm. I think Steve Englehart and Steve Gerber would be my favorite writers and they don’t fit either somatotype. I think there ought to be a third possibility for ‘old school’ where they look, i dunno, a little more buttoned-down.

Alan Moore is skinny and hirsute. Warren Ellis is bald and bearded. Chester Brown pulls off the difficult combination of being bald and having very unappealingly long hair.

It’s great that Paul Pope believes that everything is just more interesting in Sci-Fi. I love it when writers I like express an opinion on writing that I share. It’s like when Dan Slott said “all comics are fun, they just might not be your kind of fun”, or when Brubaker said that he doesn’t see super heroes as a genre but as characters he can apply to any genre.

One of my favorite writers, Peter David, used to be fat and bearded, but now he’s lost the weight and shaved his head. So I don’t know what to think.

I’m with you, Bill. “Blink” was fantastic!!!

I mean, it felt like I was watching a horror film rather than Doctor Who, it was that effective. Unfortunately, I don’t have BBC America, and the friend I usually watch the show with wasn’t at his house. Ah well, at least my other friend was able to give me the complete Rucka/Williams III Batwoman…

Still, I like Matt Smith as the Doctor. How about you?

Alan Moore kinda makes sense if you imagine that magnificent beard feeding off the fat that normally builds up.

I have no idea what most comic book writers look like.

I watch Doctor Who on PBS. I figure I have at least two years of waiting before I can see what everyone is talking about on these websites.

Kate Beaton is mega-awesome.

Yes, but is she bald or bearded?

Yeah, I’m having the damndest time trying to fit Lynda Barry into the duality, there, too.

And as to the question of the week…well…Jimmy Palmiotti is fat, but not bearded, and I have NO clue what Justin Gray or Tony Daniel look like…Grant Morrison is bald…JMS is fat and bearded, and so is Fabian Nicieza.

Huh…I guess a lot of them do fall into those categories!

Thank you thank you thank you for the links to Ty Templeton’s blog! I’ve loved his stuff ever since I found the first 5 issues of Stig’s Inferno at a local library. (No, really, someone must have donated a bunch of 80s indie books and there was all sorts of neat stuff. Some issues of 2000 AD with Zenith in it, even. And this one series, Straw Men, which involved circus freaks and was really creepy, and was drawn by the guy who did Dai Kamikaze for Now, and you’re probably all scared of me now.) I’m surprised he wasn’t able to include Harvey Kurtzman, since his ghost kicked Ty’s ass in the Plastic Man special he did. And don’t forget Mad Dog!

And I don’t know about the fat guys with beards/skinny bald guys dichotomy. Roger Stern is bearded, but not fat (I just saw him yesterday. Really. At Ithacon.) Morrison and Brian K Vaughan are skinny bald guys. I’m not sure who the bearded fat guys are. I am reminded of something I pondered on reading the first issue of Transmetropolitan. Spider Jerusalem starts out hairy and bearded and pops out bald and shiny. Was this some sort of commentary of Vertigo passing the torch from Alan Moore to Grant Morrison? I know Transmet started out as a Helix book but… It’s just something that occured to me when I first read Transmet 1.

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