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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 20 October 2010

What can be broken, should be broken. (Dimitri Pisarev, 1840-1868)

The world would be a lot cooler if they swore in the president like this ... costumes included, of course I used to really like Brandon Peterson's art ... now it kind of freaks me out I like that you can see his ribs God forbid he lose his cigarette! She should really be looking more closely at what she's doing Oh, Darwyn Cooke - you're so groovy! Becky kicks ass! Nice of them to deliver it to the West Coast, ain't it? Squeed looks like he's doing some kind of funky boogie This seems like it's an homage, but I'm not sure what it's referencing Yes, please! That worm-thing on the cover is brought to you by a Mr. Steve Ditko! It's all lo-tech and shit! Freaky-deaky!

Batman and Robin #15 (“Batman and Robin Must Die! Part 3: The Knight, Death and the Devil”) by Grant “Every comic I write from now on will have Batman coming out of the mist, and you’ll love it!” Morrison (writer), Frazer Irving (artist), and Patrick Brosseau (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC.

I suppose I ought to be keeping up with the cover story about Bruce Wayne and where he is, but I haven’t. So can anyone explain to me why a member of the media asks Thomas Wayne if his return has “anything to do with [his] son’s bizarre behavior”? What bizarre behavior? What have they been told about Bruce and his absence? I should remember this, but I don’t. I apologize.

The other question I have: At the end of the issue, is that Dick attacking Dr. Hurt alongside Damian? I can buy him getting out of his bonds and taking out the henchmen in apparently 30 seconds (from the point where he tells Damian to stall to when he attacks, it can’t be more than 45 seconds and probably closer to 30), because he’s Batman (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) – and I’ll even buy him taking the time to put his cowl back on. But a few pages earlier, Hurt shoots him in the head. Then he says that the pellet won’t penetrate his skull, “but it has been expertly placed to fracture the skull and cause a hematoma.” So it hasn’t yet fractured the skull? Is that it? Hurt explains that in 12 hours, Dick will suffer permanent neurological damage, but it seems like the process has already begun and that Dick’s skull is, in fact, fractured. Wouldn’t that keep him down for the count for quite some time even if it didn’t cause neurological damage? Dick seems awfully spry for someone who just got shot in the head. I know, it’s comics. Shut up, Greg.

Irving does some very nice work in this issue, especially with the Quitelyan mini-panels surrounding the main panel when Damian tries to rescue Dick. Some people might think that Irving’s art is too stiff, but what he lacks in fluidity he makes up for in style and design, and each page of this arc has been really nice to look at, because Irving does some nice things with details, perspective, and coloring that make the art absolutely stunning. As Dick and Damian’s world goes insane around them, it’s nice to have an artist whose work is a bit off-kilter along for the ride, because it makes Morrison’s scripts more vertiginous than they might otherwise be. There’s nothing wrong the story, to be sure, but it’s nice that we have Irving drawing it to add a bit of extra oomph to it.

Cameron Stewart is back next issue. DC claims it’s a 3 November ship date. WE SHALL SEE!!!!!!

One totally Airwolf panel:

Frazer Irving really draws shit-eating grins well, doesn't he?

Chaos War #2 (of 5) (“Return of the God Squad”) by Greg Pak (writer), Fred van Lente (writer), Khoi Pham (penciler), Tom Palmer (inker), Sunny Gho (colorist), and Simon Bowland (letterer). $3.99, 23 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Van Lente and Pak use this issue to bring the new “God Squad” together, as Hercules asks for help from some entities who refuse to help fight the Chaos King (Eternity) and from some entities who might help (Galactus) and to show that the Chaos King is reanimating the dead to serve him. Someone somewhere brought up that it’s similar to Blackest Night in that regard, which is certainly true, but it’s not like reanimating dead people is all that novel a concept, so we’ll just have to see where the writers go with it. We don’t quite spin our wheels in this issue, but it still feels like it could be shorter – yes, the Pak/van Lente brand of humor is always fun and the sound effects are always fun and some of the information is important, but it still feels like there’s a lot here we could assume. Coming from something like Batman and Robin (which I read after this, but reviewed first), it’s interesting to contrast other comics where the writers aren’t quite as confident about letting readers make their own connections. You may hate Morrison’s style, but he does force the reader to make mental leaps that other writers don’t, and it’s interesting when you get something like this, where half of it could be excised without missing a beat, story-wise. Humor-wise, van Lente and Pak need the beats, so I can forgive the excess a bit, but that means that once we get past the humor (which isn’t all that prevalent, as this series is a bit more “serious” than some of the Herc/Amadeus arcs of the past), it feels a tiny bit hollow. I can only imagine how vacuous the tie-in series will be.

But it’s always fun to see Daimon Hellstrom. I wonder if Pak and van Lente will update us on the status of Jaime Cutter!

One totally Airwolf panel:

I know it's two panels, but work with me, people!

Fables #99 (“Dark City”) by Bill Willingham (writer), Inaki Miranda (artist), Eva de la Cruz (colorist), and Todd Klein (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

The guy at the comics shoppe and I were discussing Fables recently. He likes it as much as I do, and we were wondering what was going to happen in issue #100. From the events of this issue, it seems like there’s going to be a duel between the Dark Man and Frau Totenkinder in her new, foxy guise.* That’s all well and good, but doesn’t it seem a bit anticlimactic? I mean, the Dark Man (who we discover is a “dullahan,” meaning, according to the Internets, that he should be headless – could the Dark Man be from a certain Washington Irving story, and he has now recovered a head?) is supposed to be all scary and shit, but he hasn’t really done much, has he? He’s standing around Fabletown enslaving the feeble mundys, and all we keep hearing is how scary he is. In this issue, the cat spy tells Ozma that the Fables have left a trail to the Farm and that the Dark Man is going to find it soon, but he hasn’t done it yet. Almost everything we know about the Dark Man is because all the other characters talk about how creepy he is and how powerful he is. At the end of this issue, Totenkinder even mentions that she doesn’t think the duel will be all that difficult because the Dark Man is overconfident. So what exactly is going to happen in issue #100? Obviously, it’s a big issue and I’m sure Willingham has some kind of plan to make it special. But I really hope Totenkinder doesn’t defeat the Dark Man and that he becomes a bigger threat, because if she does beat him, he’ll go down as kind of a lame villain, don’t you think?

Anyway, I’ve never seen Miranda’s art before, but he does a really nice job, especially with the urban scenes. His fantasy scenes (the winds teaching Snow and Bigby’s kids; Totenkinder’s meeting with the North Wind on the Farm) are a bit less effective (a bit too wispy, as if he’s trying for whimsy but can’t quite pull it off), but the scenes with the Dark Man and his mindless minions are much more effective. He’s not as good as Buckingham, but he’s a good fill-in artist.

We’ll see what happens in issue #100. Either way, it’s fairly impressive to make it this far. And, apparently, Willingham has absolutely no plans to finish this, ever. You’ll pry Fables from his cold, dead, conservative fingers!

* I don’t care as much as Kelly that Totenkinder went from old lady to hot young thang, because I’m a porcine male, but one thing that bugs me is that I don’t remember Willingham giving us any reason for it. I’m trying to remember if, when she abdicated to Ozma or soon after, she gave any explanation for her “youthening.” I would have thought Willingham was going to have her do some seducing or such and therefore it would have helped if she were more comely, but he hasn’t (to his credit). She hasn’t done anything that seems to require her to be young. So while I’m not terribly bent out of shape about it (Ms. Thompson, remember, hates attractive women – other than herself – with the white-hot hatred of a thousand suns, so it’s not surprising she’s raging about it), I do wonder why, exactly, Totenkinder isn’t old anymore. Did I forget a reason?

One totally Airwolf panel:

He's so happy about the prospect of violence!

Hellblazer #272 (“Bloody Carnations Part Two: Life on Venus and Mars”) by Peter Milligan (writer), Simon Bisley (artist), Giuseppe Camuncoli (layouter), Stefano Landini (finisher), Brian Buccellato (colorist, Bisley’s art), Trish Mulvihill (colorist, Camuncoli/Landini’s art), and Sal Cipriano (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

So late in this issue, when Nergal (that’s Nergal, right?) talks the succubus whom he wants to seduce John so he’ll forget about Epiphany (it’s all very simple and believable, to paraphrase Woody Boyd), he says, “You can see why he gives us so much pleasure. All that arcane knowledge in the hands of a self-destructive fuck-up. It makes for wonderful viewing.” And with that, Peter Milligan gets to the absolute heart of John Constantine and Hellblazer. Exeunt.

One totally Airwolf panel:

Boy, I met a girl with a tongue like that once, and let me tell you ... oh, wait, this is a family blog!

Morning Glories #3 by Nick Spencer (writer), Joe Eisma (artist), Alex Sollazzo (colorist), and Johnny Lowe (letterer). $3.50, 26 pgs, FC, Image/Shadowline.

As you well know, if I mention the delightful Ms. Kelly Thompson thrice in one post, I get a “I Hate Man Comics” badge to wear proudly to comic book conventions, so I’ll mention her again (who knows if I’ll mention her again – can you stand the suspense?!?!?). In her second post about ladies reading comics, I commented that perhaps she should let the readers know that comic book cover art often doesn’t match the interior art. Several people pointed out that this knowledge would dilute the experiment, and I see their point. The reason I brought it up was because the cover art to Black Widow #6 didn’t match the interior art and DeAnne was a bit disappointed. But it had come up in Part 1 as well, when Alexa expressed disappointment that Joe Eisma’s interior art didn’t match Rodin Esquejo’s cover art on Morning Glories. Rebecca Hahn, who read Fables #98, was also put off by the disconnect between cover art and interior art. I didn’t want to bring it up in the Fables review, but I will here: I think interior artists ought to do more covers, but I also understand why that doesn’t occur as much as it used to. For people who have never read comics before, I think it’s important to point out that maybe, just maybe, the cover artist’s interior work would not be as good as the cover. It’s certainly possible it would be, but perhaps some cover artists just aren’t very good at sequential storytelling and interpreting a writer’s script. Time is also a factor. Let’s say Morning Glories, for instance, is being rapidly turned over. Joe Eisma has to draw 26 pages in a month (pencils and inks, mind you) and make sure it’s coherent. Esquejo has to produce one image, with the only direction (presumably) being, “Show a sinister nurse about to inject a female student with something nasty.” There’s no sequential storytelling involved. That’s not to say Esquejo couldn’t crank out 26 excellent pages, but who knows? Time comes into the equation, too. Many artists become cover artists because it pays well, but also because they just can’t do a monthly book on time (or even an annual book, for some artists!). When DC gave J. G. Jones plenty of lead time (presumably) to do Final Crisis, he couldn’t finish it (how much this has to do with Morrison’s scripts being late is still up for speculation). We can argue all we want that comics shouldn’t be subjected to the strictures of monthly publishing, but until they’re not any longer, there are going to be covers that don’t match up with the interior art.

All right, that’s enough of that rant. Go read Kelly’s posts, because they’re very neat in general. I suppose I should write a bit about this issue, which, like another book further down the list, bugged me a bit. Spencer introduces an idea in the beginning of the book that this academy – or something like it – is centuries old and has been imprisoning kids for that long. He ties it all in with what’s currently going on in the school, and I guess there will be more of it in future issues. Now, there’s nothing really wrong with this idea, but I guess I’m getting bored by the whole “centuries-old institution manipulating humanity for their own sinister ends” thing that is such a common trope in comics (and in fiction in general, but far more in comics, it seems). I certainly understand WHY secret societies and conspiracies are so tempting to comic book writers – visually, they allow artists to have some fun in other time periods, and they provide a nice, long overarching plot for the writer to play with – but I do get weary of them. As with anything, it’s all in how Spencer (and other writers) work with it, so it’s not a deal-breaker for the comic in general, but it is somewhat frustrating. Secret societies in comics are almost NEVER convincing, and I don’t have a ton of hope that this one will be. We shall see, shan’t we?

One totally Airwolf panel:

Man, she really doesn't like people comparing her to Sinéad O'Connor!

The Murder of King Tut #5 (of 5) by Alexander Irvine (writer), Christopher Mitten (artist), Ron Randall (artist), Dom Regan (colorist), and Neil Uyetake (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, IDW.

Okay, some SPOILERS below. Tut dies, in case you’re wondering. It’s right there in the title!

So, yeah. I was really, really disappointed with the end of this mini-series, and by extension, the entire series. It started off quite well – dual stories, one about Tut and his world, the other about Howard Carter and his world – but started to falter in issue #4 and fell completely apart in this issue. First of all, as I wrote last time, Tut dies in issue #4. So this is a weird epilogue kind of issue in which James Patterson writes a book about his murder, figuring the whole thing out before the 22 pages are up. In a metafictional kind of way, that’s not a bad way to go, but that’s about as interesting as this issue gets. First of all, Howard Carter’s story ends up going nowhere. Yes, in previous issues there was a bit about the struggles he had finding anything good in Egypt and how long it took before he discovered Tut’s tomb, but ultimately, there’s nothing really to recommend about his story, and it ends abruptly, with nothing terribly dramatic happening (yes, I know people’s lives often are devoid of drama like we expect in fiction, but then why even write about Carter at all?). Meanwhile, “James Patterson” solves the murder of King Tut and writes a book about it, meaning we get to see a lot of Mitten’s excellent art (I like Randall, who did the modern art, but I like Mitten more) because the book mostly takes place in ancient Egypt, but it also means we get Patterson narrating about events, which robs the book of much of its dramatic tension. It’s like the end of a Hercule Poirot mystery, except Poirot usually surprises the reader more. Patterson’s explanation of Tut’s murder reads like a National Geographic article. Sure, it’s informative and it has pretty pictures, but it lacks drama, and as this is a fictional story, I don’t think it’s too crazy to expect drama. Finally, recent evidence suggests that Tut wasn’t murdered at all. So Patterson hasn’t solved anything. This comic is based on a fairly recent book (it came out about a year ago), so I imagine Patterson knows all this. He can speculate about Tut’s “murder” all he wants, but I do wish the comic had made the story more dramatic. This final issue is somewhat inert, and it almost invalidates all the interesting things that happened in the first 3½ issues. Too bad.

One totally Airwolf panel:

What? Someone alert David Caruso!

The Sixth Gun #5 by Cullen Bunn (writer) and Brian Hurtt (artist/letterer). $3.99, 24 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

As this has rapidly become one of my favorite comics, I really hope it’s doing well enough that Bunn and Hurtt can continue doing it, and I hope Hurtt can keep up with the pace, even if they have to skip months in between story arcs (which is what Chew does to allow Rob Guillory some breathing room). Hurtt is so freakin’ good and he’s wearing so many hats on this comic (everything but writer) that I do hope Oni lets them do it for as long as they want. Buy The Sixth Gun, people! You won’t be disappointed!

Of course, I have a complaint. This is the second book this week that ties in events in the present (and yes, I’m aware this book takes place in the Old West, but it’s the “present” in the comic) with a long tradition, in this case the guns our heroes and villains are carrying. I find it a bit less egregious than the idea of a secret society in Morning Glories because, so far, Bunn hasn’t introduced some sort of sinister cabal, just pointing out that the weapons are always with humanity in some form or another, which I can deal with, but from there it’s only a short step to conspiracies, and I do hope Bunn doesn’t go that way! We’ll see, of course.

Anyway, in this issue Becky, Sinclair, and Billjohn make it to the Maw, a prison where the general put his worst enemies. After the war, a bunch of prisoners stayed because of the legend of General Hume’s treasure, which is buried in a deep well in the Maw and locked in a vault that needs all six guns to open. Becky, however, realizes there’s something far different than treasure, something much worse than the general … but of course, we don’t learn what that is. So the general shows up, setting the stage for the big battle that ends the first arc. Exciting!

Bunn and Hurtt do such a nice job slowly building the tension, even early in the book when Sinclair gets another gun thanks to a clever trap. This is a beautiful comic, and the fact that Bunn and Hurtt have long-term plans for it just makes me happy. You know you want to buy it, people! Don’t be shy!

One totally Airwolf panel:

That's never good to hear!

Sweets #3 by Kody Chamberlain (writer/artist). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Image.

This is very weird. Sweets #2 came out two months ago, but I don’t recall very much about it. It came out during the week I was back in Pennsylvania and so I didn’t review it, my friend Dave did, but I did read it, so I ought to remember more about it. I remember the flashback with some clarity, but the drug trial stuff is fuzzy – I know it’s in the first two issues, but I can’t remember much about it. It’s very possible I may be dim. This is not the first time I’ve been confronted with that fact.

Chamberlain seems to know what he’s doing with regard to the story, however, so I’ll just follow along with him. He’s revealing things about the case and Curt’s past in a nice, slow manner, and it feels pretty organic, which is always good. I was a tad disappointed with some of the art – in the outdoor scenes, there’s a distinct lack of backgrounds, which makes it feel like everyone is in the middle of the desert rather than New Orleans. I wish Chamberlain had simply drawn in some vague building shapes, because that’s all it would need. But he does a nice job with the car chase that turns into a foot chase into a cemetery, and there’s a nice sense of foreboding about the coming storm, which is getting closer and closer (it’s raining throughout this issue).

I’m certainly enjoying Sweets and look forward to the final two issues, but I’m a bit bummed that my memory is failing me. Maybe when I re-read the issues I’ll slap my forehead and say, out loud, “Well, shit,” but until then, I’ll live in a foggy haze of foolishness. What year is it, anyway?

One totally Airwolf panel:

I feel the same way about my Vespa

Turf #3 (of 5) (“Bad Fellas!”) by Jonathan Ross (writer), Tommy Lee Edwards (artist), and John Workman (letterer). $2.99, 26 pgs, FC, Image.

Jonathan Ross is married to Jane Goldman, whom he wed when she was 18. And they’re still together, so that’s cool. Goldman was the screenwriter of Kick-Ass. Should we hold that against her? I dunno, I still haven’t seen it.

In the long months since Turf #2 (almost three of them), I’ve read a few reviewers that absolutely loathe the series, especially the writing. Because I’m easily suggestible (just like Homer Simpson), I find myself agreeing with them, if not to the extent that they do (in other words, I still like the series and will continue to buy it). However, I really wonder why Ross is overwriting this sucker so much. It’s gotten better since the unnecessarily verbose first issue, but it still lingers, and it’s really throwing off what should be a better series. While Ross has eased back on the omniscient narration of the first issue, there’s still too many words in this book. (I know that’s like the emperor criticizing Mozart for putting too many notes in his music, but Ross ain’t Mozart, I’ll tell you that much.) Ross, like many people who come to comics from a different medium, is having difficulty realizing that a good artist is very capable of telling the story, and you just don’t need so much verbiage. It’s too bad, because the overall plot is still pretty cool – the reporter, Susie, rescues Gregori when his clan rebels against him, while Eddie Falco comes to an understanding with Squeed, the alien, and everything moves forward – but Ross is trying to stifle it with words. As I pointed out, he’s getting better, so maybe by issue #5 he’ll have learned more about writing a comic.

Edwards, of course, does amazing work, which is why it’s frustrating to see word balloons and narrative boxes splashed over the art so much. He has a couple of really nice double-page spreads showing the secret origins of Eddie, Squeed, and the “vampires” (who aren’t really vampires, according to Gregori, although they really are), and there’s one page where Pete, the crooked cop, flashes back to his childhood that’s done in the style of early 20th-century comic strip art, and it’s really stunning (plus, it takes the silliness of the strips and adds several sinister touches, which makes it more disturbing). Ross is getting better at letting Edwards show his stuff, and it helps the series very much. A lot of what Ross narrated earlier in the series wasn’t necessary because as Eddie and Susie move through this world, we find out a great deal, so Ross keeping us in the dark briefly earlier wouldn’t have mattered too much. Oh well.

I expect the next issue will come out in January or February. We shall see! I’ll try not to be swayed by other, smarter reviewers. I’ll just be sitting here, dragging my knuckles and trying to crack a nut on my forehead. It’s fun!

One totally Airwolf panel:

If Jimmy Darmody had this kind of firepower, he wouldn't have needed to lam off to Chi-Town!

X-Factor #210 by Peter David (writer), Valentine de Landro (artist), Jeromy Cox (colorist), and Cory Petit (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Marvel.

As you ought to know, it is my contention that the all-encompassing lesson of popular culture is Never Trust The Woman, and it’s unfortunate that far too often, I’m proven correct. So when a woman tormented by nightmares of her tour of duty in Iraq shows up at X-Factor headquarters and begs Monet to make those nightmares go away, I was thinking to myself, “Monet – don’t trust the woman! There’s probably a reason why, in her dream, children are pointing their fingers at her, gun-style! Why don’t you ask yourself why they would do that?!?!?” Of course, Monet doesn’t, and it turns out that, in the end, we … (everyone with me!) … SHOULDN’T TRUST THE WOMAN! Of course she’s a bad guy! Sigh. She’s a pretty cool bad guy, though, so that’s okay.

I’m always amused by Rahne’s medieval outlook on life, but do people who are not idiots (and I’m pretty sure Rahne isn’t an idiot) still believe that they can turn people gay? She asks Rictor if she did that to him, and of course he laughs at her (not in a mean way, just in an incredulous way). I just wonder if people (who are not idiots) still think that. I’m not saying they don’t, because I don’t know many people in the first place, and the ones I do know tend not to think that way, so I’m just wondering. Does anyone out there in Internet land know someone who believes you can turn someone gay? Sound off!

And how does the doctor instinctively know that Rictor isn’t the father? She’s suspicious just by looking at him. That seems weird. Even if she senses that he’s gay, the last time I checked, gay men could certainly impregnate a woman. These are the things that keep me up at night.

Finally, Valentine de Landro is back on art, which isn’t great (especially considering how good the art has been for the past three issues), but he’s inking himself, which makes his art sturdier and, frankly, better. Noelle’s dream sequence in particular is very well done. De Landro obviously can’t do a monthly book, so why not let him ink himself all the time, if it’s going to be so much stronger than when Pat Davidson inks him? Beats me. What do I know, I’m just a guy who reads 50 comics a month.

So it’s a solid issue of X-Factor. A bit more smug than usual (the cab driver and the doctor are both somewhat smug), but that’s kind of what you get when you buy a Peter David comic – it rises up every once in a while. I don’t care too much, because he’s doing such a nice job with this comic. It’s just moving right along.

One totally Airwolf panel:

The correct response to this is: 'Or we could be mouth-breathing, troglodytic Yankee fans. We'll take our chances being mutants!'

20th Century Boys volume 11 by Naoki Urasawa (writer/artist). $12.99, 228 pgs, BW, Viz Signature.

I’m three volumes behind on this, and I really should get reading it, because it’s so damned good. So don’t spoil it, pretty please!!!!

The Horror! The Horror! Comic Books the Government Didn’t Want You to Read! by Jim Trombetta (ed./commentary). $29.95, 306 pgs, Abrams ComicArts.

This isn’t really a comic, as it’s a book about the horror comics of the 1950s, but it includes a lot of covers and some of the stories, so I guess it counts. It looks really keen, so I hope it is!

Lone Pine by Jed McGowan (writer/artist). $15, 165 pgs, FC, AdHouse Books.

I can’t really tell much about this just by flipping through this, but it’s extremely minimalistic, both in the art and the very few words. I’m curious if it still works.

X’ed Out by Charles Burns (writer/artist). $19.95, 52 pgs, FC, Pantheon Books.

The good: It’s very neat looking, and with Burns, you can always count on plenty of weirdness. It’s also a nice large hardcover, so the packaging is pretty keen. The bad: It’s only volume 1, which goes into bad point #2 – it’s only 52 pages for 20 dollars, and it’s only volume 1. That’s pretty steep.

In news from around the world, Arizona Crazy Person Russell Pearce has decided that Senate Bill 1070, his baby, isn’t keeping his name in the headlines enough, so now he’s going after the 14th Amendment. You know the one – it means people who are born here are automatically citizens. Pearce wants the Supreme Court to revisit an 1898 decision that interpreted it this way rather than, according to him, the way it was intended, which is making sure ex-slave owners couldn’t deny southern blacks citizenship. The funniest (or, perhaps, saddest) thing about that news story is that Pearce is claiming that the “new” interpretation robs blacks of their legacy. Russell Pearce – civil rights activist! Pearce claims that because illegal immigrants are not subject to U. S. jurisdiction (because they can’t be drafted or serve on a jury), the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply to them. If that sounds dicey to you (illegal immigrants can be jailed, which sounds like the U. S. has jurisdiction over them, and the citizen-babies of illegal immigrants can be drafted and can serve on a jury, because they’re, you know, citizens), you’re not alone. But Pearce (who’s a state senator and will soon be the power behind the throne once our bumbling governor gets elected – she replaced Janet Napolitano when she went to Washington – only because she signed SB 1070, meaning Pearce will have her in his pocket) is aiming for … something, and it sure doesn’t include those south-of-the-border types! Yay, Arizona!

In happier news, my daughter has been watching television. Yesterday she watched the new Avengers show on Disney Channel. Her review is thus: It was good, but kind of boring (yeah, I don’t know what that means). She liked the Wasp (the little woman with wings), Iron Man, and the guy with the hammer (Thor, and it took me a while to figure this out, because she kept talking about the metal guy, and I thought she meant Iron Man, even though she knows who Iron Man is). She didn’t like the Hulk. She also didn’t like the bad guy (Graviton, I think – I wasn’t watching it). She’s currently watching the newest episode of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, “The Shrieking Madness.” It aired a couple of days ago. It guest-stars Harlan Ellison, because it’s freakin’ awesome. Early in the episode, he’s signing copies of his book, which is called My Fiction is Better. And he’s really grumpy, too. He yells at Shaggy for using “like” all the time and tells Velma that “jinkies” isn’t an actual word. Plus, some Che Guevara lookalike is protesting everything (including “old person smell”). It is, of course, the greatest Scooby-Doo episode ever. The new episodes of Scooby-Doo are kind of weird, because of the sexual dynamics. Daphne obviously digs Fred, but Fred is too obsessed with traps to notice (it’s a very humorous running gag). Meanwhile, Velma keeps getting vexed that Shaggy is choosing Scooby over her. Yes, Shaggy is choosing to hang out with a Great Dane and eat ridiculous amounts of food than tap the nerdy hawtness of Velma. It’s a bit of a bizarre show, I tell you that much. Although I’m not sure why the five of them keep splitting up and then getting back together as a mystery-solving group. Make up your minds, people!

Moving on, here are The Ten Most Recent Songs Played On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle):

1. “Crazy Train” – Ozzy Osbourne (1980) “One person conditioned to rule and control, the media sells it and you live the role”
2. “Inside Information” – Foreigner (1987) “One man on the beat, wants everything that he’s not allowed”
3. “Idiot Stare” – Jesus Jones (1993) “Pushed to the center, took no advice, waited in vain”
4. “The Guns of Brixton” – The Clash (1979) “When they kick out your front door, how you gonna come?”1
5. “Hasta Mañana” – ABBA (1974) “Where is the spring and the summer that once was yours and mine?”
6. “The Colorful Ones” – Liquid Jesus (1991) “I watch the life that I once cherished just wash away”
7. “Now or Never Land” – Midnight Oil (1993) “Suitcase full of good ideas, history that’s filled with tears”
8. “Here I Go Again” – Whitesnake (1987) “Hanging on the promises in the songs of yesterday”2
9. “The Roof is Leaking” – Phil Collins (1981) “It’s been months now since we heard from our Mary, I wonder if she ever made the coast”3
10. “Why Should I Cry for You?” – Sting (1991) “Dark angels follow me over a godless sea”

1 Because I haven’t stirred the motherfucking pot enough today, London Calling is wildly overrated, isn’t it? I mean, I’ve never been a huge fan of The Clash’s punk/raggae thing, but I had hoped that this album would change my mind. But it has a few really good songs (the title track, this one, a few others) and lots and lots of filler. The Ramones blow them out of the water any day of the week and twice on Sundays … and I don’t even love the Ramones all that much!
2 This video might be the only time I’ve ever been grossed out by two people kissing. I mean, some kissing in movies and television looks weird, but David Coverdale and Tawny Kitaen almost swallowing each other’s faces is really icky. I was 16 when I first saw this video, so it wasn’t like I thought girls were icky. But those kisses … brrrr.
3 You can say what you like about Phil Collins’ solo career, and I’ll mostly agree with you if you say it sucks, but this song is really, really good.

Last week no one got the totally random lyrics, although commenter jjc looked it up but didn’t identify it. The lyrics were from Everclear’s “One Hit Wonder,” which is a notable song because the video does indeed feature Christina Hendricks of Mad Men fame (watch it here!). So there you go. How about some new totally random lyrics?

“Heaven help me for the way I am
Save me from these evil deeds before I get them done
I know tomorrow brings the consequence at hand
But I keep living this day like the next will never come

Oh help me but don’t tell me to deny it
I’ve got to cleanse myself of all these lies ’til I’m good enough for him
I’ve got a lot to lose and I’m betting high so I’m begging you
Before it ends just tell me where to begin”

Have I pissed enough people off today? Please let me know!

79 Comments

That’s Criminal by Fiona Apple, yeah?

Dang it! Far too easy today!

I think the reference to Bruce Wayne acting weird is because Hush has been running around as Bruce ever since (even before) Bruce died. I haven’t read enough to know why Dick or Tim let him get away with it, but I assume it’s because they figure having A Bruce running around is good cover.

Errm, Frau T did seduce Dunster Happ, the ex-bower who came back with her to the Farm. I also think it’s camoflage, a young appearance is generally assumed to be less experienced and less knowledgeable than an older appearance.

Ack! Greg! One mention shy of an “I Hate Man Comics” button. You’ll have to just settle with the one for now.

You and I are very in synch where our readings crossed over this week.

First and foremost, though I remain somewhat lost and puzzled with all the Bat books because I haven’t been reading all of them and some for not long enough…I believe jjc is right that the Bruce Wayne acting weird thing is about Hush pretending to be Bruce for show while Bruce has been “dead”/mia.

While on the subject of Batman & Robin: “Irving does some very nice work in this issue, especially with the Quitelyan mini-panels surrounding the main panel when Damian tries to rescue Dick. Some people might think that Irving’s art is too stiff, but what he lacks in fluidity he makes up for in style and design, and each page of this arc has been really nice to look at, because Irving does some nice things with details, perspective, and coloring that make the art absolutely stunning.”

I could not agree more. I find Irving’s stylish highly designed pencils really interesting in this book…I especially love how he renders The Joker and Damien. Great stuff.

Also in total agreement with the strangeness between the “gotcha” panel and the next panel being them free and kicking ass? Seemed like a huge jump and it didn’t work at all.

Re: Fables I was delighted last month that it finally looked like things were going to get going, only to get another “interlude” issue of sorts. It’s felt like 6+ months of interludes and I’ve never been more disappointed and less enamored with Fables. I feel like I get what Willingham was trying to do here with building things up…but it just feels achingly slow and poorly plotted to me with not enough actual story to keep me invested. As you mention, I’m not happy about Totenkinder’s appearance but I still like the character and am excited to hopefully finally see an epic battle (or something). I would agree with snarkbunny that I could possibly see an advantage in Totenkinder appearing younger and that adding to Mr. Dark’s confidence in that she’s likely inexperienced…although North Wind kind of blew (haha! pun!) any surprise in that regard I suppose. Also, Mr. Dark as you said, doesn’t really seem like much. He seemed scary and interesting for the first couple appearances…now I’m just bored.

X-Factor: That weirdness in the doctor’s office really bothered me as well…I’m hoping they’re going to address/explain it…because it was way too overt to just be left dangling. I did think the “all dark” ultrasound screen (or whatever it’s called) was pretty cool.

Lastly (I’ve gone on WAY too long already)…Morning Glories. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve realized I’m looking forward to these issues. I don’t love the writing, but I think the plotting is rather sharp – lots of cliffhangers and red herrings (maybe?) – however, if they don’t start paying off/delivering, my rapt attention is going to die out. For example we ended on an interesting cliffhanger of sorts in #2 and it wasn’t picked up on or even addressed in #3. Now we’ve ended on another somewhat unrelated cliffhanger in #3…if #4 doesn’t pick up or address it we’re going to be headed toward trouble. I like when a story draws me along with great plot moments and twisty turn-y bits…but the threads all need to come together before too long or I start to feel Lost…oh my god, I’ve stepped into another pun…someone stop me! ;)

Anyway, great post this week…as always.

I’m sorry, sir, but you are wrong about London Calling. So long as you go into not expecting a particularly heavy punk record, as I did when I first heard years ago; it’s really a cleverly disguised pop album. Listen to each song individually and you’ll find that there ain’t a weak track throughout.

I really hate centuries-old secret organisations. I don’t mind radioactive arthropods that induce super-powers, guys made out of sand, or flying due to tiny wings on one’s ankles, but enormous societies with super-andvanced technology that run the world for hundreds of years without anyone noticing strains credibility way too much. It’s why I’m so sickened by this new version of SHIELD (the old SHIELD was silly enough). (To be fair, I haven’t read the new SHIELD– my revulsion is based solely on what I’ve heard about, not what I’ve seen.)

There’s a new Avengers show on the Disney channel? Man, I wish I had cable.

I do like Frazers joker. Proabably up there with Brian Bolland and Dave Mckean in sheer creppy factor.

Oh, the Hush thing. Yeah. I haven’t been reading any Batman stuff except Morrison’s, so I missed that.

snarkbunny: Did she seduce him? I remember their initial meeting and the conversation last issue, but I forgot the seduction. Whoops!

Kelly: I’ll get it next time! I feel much the same way about Morning Glories, because it does seem strange that Spencer is throwing so much at us. I do give books like this a good deal of leeway, though, and I’m definitely on board at least through issue #6, and then we’ll see. I do like what Spencer is doing, but I also have been lukewarm about how he ends some of his comics, so that’s on my mind.

Mary: I’m still enjoying SHIELD mainly because it’s so nutty and pretty, but I’m with you on some of the things straining credulity, like Galactus showing up prior to the Fantastic Four dealing with him and Leonardo da Vinci being able to fly really close to the sun. So far, Hickman has done a good job balancing everything, so I’m sticking with it.

enormous societies with super-advanced technology that run the world for hundreds of years without anyone noticing strains credibility way too much

Yeah, and to top that off, in the end it seems like, for all their lofty claims to manipulating the course of human history for centuries, when you come right down to it you never actually see them accomplishing anything. Paul O’Brien, in the most recent edition of The X-Axis reviews at House to Astonish, quoted something Bob Harras said in an old Marvel Age interview, where he referred to the Hellfire Club as “the most evil organization in the Marvel Universe that never does anything.” That sums it up perfectly.

By the way, I’ve never really had a problem with one artist drawing the cover and a different artist illustrating the interiors. Greg is absolutely correct that the demands of rendering one dynamic image for the cover that will entice a reader to pick up the book are very different from having to illustrate twenty plus pages of sequential storytelling.

Having first gotten into comic books in the mid-1980s, I remember from personal experience purchasing issues because they had the most dramatic and/or shocking covers drawn by Brian Bolland or Mike Zeck. The fact that neither Bolland nor Zeck actually drew the interiors ever bothered me. Back when comics were only 60 or 75 cents, yeah, it was sometimes worth picking up a book solely for the cover.

Even today, with comics having a three or four dollar price tag, I still sometimes do that. For example, I purchased the three issue miniseries It! The Terror From Beyond Space published by IDW because Steve Mannion did some absolutely fantastic covers. Fortunately the interior story and art by Dara Naraghi and Mark Del Santos was of a high quality as well, so I’m glad that I picked up the miniseries. But I might have passed it by if it hadn’t been for Steve Mannion’s covers causing me to take notice of the book.

Spider Jerusalem

October 21, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Mary, you should really give SHIELD a shot. I’m not lying when I say it’s one of the very best books in years. Jonathan Hickman is a master.

As to the “Batman on the last page” concern, that’s up for debate. There’s a reason it’s a cliffhanger, and it’s too easy for it to be Dick. Guesses I’ve seen so far range from Bruce to the Joker to Tommy Elliot to Jason Todd.

NO YOU’RE WILDLY OVERRATED BURGAS! YOU’RE WILDLY OVERRATED!

(Brand New Cadillac is pretty crap, though.)

I also forgot the drug thing from issue 2 of Sweets. I remember very little from the second issue, for example, I don’t remember what happened in the flashback scene.
Despite that, I enjoyed the third issue. The last few pages had really good art and I liked the way the detective figured out who the patient was.

I loved the first two issues of Morning glories, but I didn’t like this one that much. Hopefully the next issue will give this issue some meaning, it just seemed out of place and meaningless.

With respect to Turf, I have no problems with Ross’s verbosity. It is one of the things I like about it, making it different to other current comic books. I still enjoy the magnificent artwork by Tommy Lee Jones, even if it is underneath many bubbles.

Ive never even understood why The Clash are considered to be “punk”, London Calling and Rock the Casbah are very very pop.

Compared to the Sex Pistols, which are pretty tame and when you look into there history actually a manufactured boy band, they are pure pop.

Also Blondie is punk?? Never go that.

Man, Sixth Gun is soooo good, it’s obscene. I really don’t understand how Hurtt can manage ALL of the art from the cover to the letters on a monthly schedule without there being a dropoff in quality. And it’s not like he’s turning in workman quality stuff to begin with. The book looks fantastic – easily, to my mind, one of the top three best-looking serials on the stands.

Agreed re: Phil Collins (that’s the only one of his solo albums I ever wanted to buy) and the Clash (whom I’ve come to like, a little, but I’ve never gotten the appeal).

Jax, the Clash and Blondie both came into the public eye at the time the Punk movement was in full swing, so of course they got lumped in. Television is another band which got thrown in there like that, too.

I seem to recall Foxy Frau’s reasons for reverting being explained at the time it happened, but I can’t recall what exactly that explanation was. I’m just rolling with it. The Dark Man, when he was first introduced, really seemed like a big bad bad ass (I hope Fafhrd and the Mouser survive somehow)…but Willingham has stretched this out for so long now it’s hard to remember what a threat he seemed to be, despite his characters reminding us from time to time. I’ve grown a bit impatient with it all myself, as well.

Oh, and it’s JAINE Cutter, not Jaime, and I hope she gets some screen time as well in that series. Heck, I just hope they do right by Daimon; since Ellis laid down the template, some writers have done better than others in handling his personality.

Kelly – I agree with you about the way Fables is plotted. That’s why its one of the few series I now trade-wait. Willingham’s pacing is much more bearable in big chunks, though even there it leaves something to be desired.

I first heard The Clash on Rock the Casbah and never understood the punk thing either. Johnny’s right, though – they came along at the same time, they weren’t disco, so they must be punk! When I say London Calling is “overrated” I don’t necessarily mean I hate it – it’s just overlong and could probably be a fairly tight 8-song album or so. But when it always seems to show up on Top 10 Albums EVER lists, I wonder what I’m missing.

Johnny: Darn it, I knew it was Jaine. I’m going to go with a typo instead of stupidity. I brought her up because I just read Aaron’s Ghost Rider, and the last we saw of Jaine and Daimon, they were making out. That was fairly recent, so I don’t know if Pak and van Lente will pick that thread up.

I agree on Fables. I like it, but not only do I trade-wait on it, I multiple trade-wait. I read it once a year or every few years, 3-5 trades at a time, then put it out of my mind for another year or two. I find the pacing much easier to take that way.

the X’ed Out cover reminds me of Tintin for some reason. Cool.
A new volume of 20 Centurys Boys? Niiiiice!

Does anyone out there in Internet land know someone who believes you can turn someone gay? Sound off!

I occasionally hear a lament from some of our single women friends about guys they’ve dated ending up on the other team, followed by, “Maybe it was me.” But I’m pretty sure that’s just whining.

As for the Batman skull-fracture thing… you know, I just filed it under “Batman’s secret master plan to pull out the win” and figured we’d get the explanation next issue. It sure is a weird week when I have more trust in Mr. Morrison than you do. If, on the other hand, no explanation is forthcoming, I will be THOROUGHLY annoyed.

Typo works for me! Heaven knows I never make them. I thought Aaron did an excellent job with Daimon & Jaine, and I thought Van Lente & Pak did well in one of those Marvel Zombie things a while back. So I guess we’ll see!

I’m the type of Clash fan that the hardcore hate- I like “Rock the Casbah”, “Should I Stay or Should I Go”, “Train in Vain”, and am lukewarm to indifferent to the rest of it.

Greg: Well, last issue we had the pumpkins in various states of destruction, indicating that Hurt was practicing exactly how he needs to shoot Dick, and that’s probably all the explanation we’re going to get. My explanation will be “It’s comics.” That’s usually what happens in these instances.

I started writing a bunch of stuff to clarify what was punk and what wasn’t and the comment got too long so I scrapped it and decided to just say, anyone really interested should read Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil and rent the documentary History of Rock N Roll, specifically the disc that covers punk rock. They’re both very accurate.

But in general, don’t put too much faith in any source that overstates the important of UK punk. Punk originated in NY and had a wider spectrum of sounds besides just aggressive in your face snarling and loud 3-chord guitar riffs. There were many ska/reggae influences and folksier sounding seminal punk bands as well. before morphing into a New Wave group Blondie was very ska for example. By the time punk hit the UK and the Sex Pistols made the rest of the world aware of it, NY was already over punk and had moved on to New Wave, No Wave and other genres.

My point is, when people say the Clash didn’t sound like punk it’s because they usually don’t have a correct idea of how broad a sound punk actually was when it originated. More than being a cohesive style of music it was more an umbrella term for a bunch of different-sounding bands that had little in common stylistically but shared an aesthetic and were all based in the same area of NY, specifically at CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City.

Twenty bucks for 52 pages? I don’t care if Jesus himself drew that comic.

You are so wrong about London Calling.
I suppose you could say it’s “too intellectual” to be a proper punk album if you want, and thereby give Ramons the edge, but really that’s like saying that only one kind of punk is really punk, which is silly.
Also, The Clash I think, have a lot to say about all this SB1070 sh*t we’re going thru here in AZ.

I am really disappointed in how this debate is going.
I disappointed actually that it ISN’T A DEBATE at all.
I hear little to nothing from the “liberal” side other then coffee clutch philosophizing .

Message to Dems: Yer not just gunna lose this round of mid-term elections if you don’t get up and step up yer game FAST. And I don’t even just mean the next Pres. run; yer party is inert and your voice is nothing more then a murmur.
I don’t believe that political parties have a right to win elections, and if they’re not saying anything, they really don’t even have a right to be heard.
It feels, horribly, like the left has just abdicated the stage since the last Presidential election.

@Mario

Good eye. There’s an interview up on Robot 6 where Burns talks about how Tintin was a big inspiration for Xed Out.

$20 does seem a bit out there for 52 pages, though. How oversized is it? Does it feel like enough to justify the price tag?

X’ed Out is 12 inches high and 9 inches wide.

JRC: Yeah, it’s frustrating hearing very little from the left about how stupid Pearce’s policies are. I think they’re just following the crowd, which is largely in favor of stuff like this. So instead of trying to show why the policies are stupid, they just go along. Very annoying.

I think you could consider White Riot punk. I also think a lot of the reason The Clash is considered punk is because Joe Strummer has a punk rock voice, he just sounds how a punk singer should.

Also, Hulk 26 had some fun Thor moments. I’m not a huge Thor fan so maybe a Thor fan might not find them as such.

T, I could also write for days (and extra days!) about the relative claims of originality from the US/UK punk scenes.
I also could argue that the Kinks invented punk in 1964! (You could counter by saying that actually Link Wray invented it in the 50s!)
Suffice to say although there was plenty of ramalama in the UK, the punk scene was just as variegated. EG The Jam’s modish 60s leanings, the Stranglers’ Doors tribs, and, indeed the Clash’s reggae influences (predating Two-Tone) to name a few. You also had the art fringe like Swell Maps, Subway Sect and the Soft Boys, some of whom predated the NY scene.So there!
And dammit, I forgot to pick up Sweets!

Brand New Cadillac is an awesome song. And The Clash is an amazing band. London Calling is an epic album, though not so punk-y. Their first album was very punk, though. Also, keep in mind that the Clash were very raw live and sounded closer to most people’s idea of punk live. Finally, it is depressing how nobody writes protest songs anymore. I tried to write one about SB1070, but only received misspelled comments on YouTube about how stupid I was in return.

“Because I haven’t stirred the motherfucking pot enough today, London Calling is wildly overrated, isn’t it? I mean, I’ve never been a huge fan of The Clash’s punk/raggae thing, but I had hoped that this album would change my mind. But it has a few really good songs (the title track, this one, a few others) and lots and lots of filler. The Ramones blow them out of the water any day of the week and twice on Sundays … and I don’t even love the Ramones all that much!”

OUTSIDE, BURGAS

NOW!!

“Jax, the Clash and Blondie both came into the public eye at the time the Punk movement was in full swing, so of course they got lumped in.”

You people are going to drive me insane!!!

Calm down there slappy, you know I’m generalizing, right?

Yeah I’m actually not taking this that seriously at all, I can never tell when my tone is coming through on the internet or not.

It still stands that saying that the Clash isn’t a punk band is wildly inaccurate, seeing as how they were some of the founders of the genre as it’s known(not counting proto-punk like the New York Dolls, the Stooges and so forth). Their first two albums are punk to the bone, and even later stuff like Combat Rock still retains punk elements.

Ooh, a punk argument!

A nod to T: any source that puts too much stock in the UK branch of punk being “the only” punk seems to forget that, to a degree, the Sex Pistols/Clash/et al decided to form/make a real go of things after the July 4 1976 Ramones show in the UK. And then “all” (note: not all) the bands that saw the Sex Pistols and went on to form after that. I loves me some UK punk tho.

And “punk” is a sloppy label that got applied to a lot of things that were disparate but focused in the same geographic areas (NYC and the UK). Blondie, Talking Heads, and some of those type bands got lumped in with the later, record company introduced term “New Wave”, which, while not really descriptive, serves more to indicate that they were different from the “dinosaur” rock of FM radio at the time.

And anyone who says punk died with the Sex Pistols is a fool. You’ve got the West Coast scene with Black Flag and Dead Kennedys, DC with Bad Brains and Minor Threat, so on and so forth.

I think I’m typing the long comment that T didn’t want to.

And big ups to Blair for the mention of Link Wray (RIP). I’ve become familiar with his stuff through a local college DJ (who now is a “horror host” on cable access, check out http://www.darkvault.wordpress.com ) and Link is awesome.

I think Brand New Cadillac is a cover song. Can’t remember of who, but that might mean I’m wrong. Duane Eddy? Gene Vincent?

I have to, as usual, skim over the Batman stuff since I’m STILL way behind on reading that. Someday soon, honest.

Oh yeah, the first wave of hardcore-Agent Orange, Dead Kennedys, Misfits, Black Flag, Minor Threat, etc.-is actually my favorite era of punk by far, much more than the original British scene. I’m just saying it’s wrongheaded to say that the Clash is not punk.

Chris Jones is my new favorite poster here.

Oh yeah, definitely the Clash is punk. If the sound of “Know Your Rights” isn’t “pure punk” (puke on that term!), the thematic content of the song certainly is punk as fuck.

And just because we can mock him, let’s, and point out that Burgas listens to, and likes, stuff like Foreigner and Whitesnake, so he may have a hearing problem. Although neat trivia bit: both Foreigner and the Clash debuted in ’77, and both had guys named “Mick Jones” in the band.

And I was going to defend the Burns price in that he has to support himself for however long based on that price, plus production costs, but then I remembered that he does plenty of commercial art work, so, yeah, that is steep for 52 pages.

Oh, and because I skimmed past the Morning Glories/interior artist-cover artist bit, let me say that some artists can do really good interiors but SHIT covers. Let’s just say that there was a particular reason that Preacher had Fabry covers…

Travis: You’re just jealous because I’m so eclectic, man!!!!

Bad Religion still finds enough things to write protest songs about, I think, they’ve been doing it for so long they’ve probably got a whole catalog of songs about how corporations suck. Looking forward to seeing them next Sunday.

Women turning men gay? Doesn’t happen… It is still well within the thought processes of women with extremely poor self-esteem, to think they can. It’s not an education issue that some women think they can (or for that matter, make a gay man turn straight, via sex), it’s an emotional/mental issue one.

On the other hand…

A Man treating a woman so badly (physical & mental abuse) that she swears off men, and becomes lesbian by choice? I’ve seen it happen twice, and I was best man at the ceremony of one of those failed marriages, so I knew both quite well (at least until the breakup). The crank-addled ass still keeps trying to claim their child isn’t his, despite tests proving that it is.

I’m jealous you can piss so many people off in so many different ways. It’s a gift, man!

I’m just teasing about (most) of your musical tastes.

It’s not your fault that hair metal was popular when you got into music…

The thing about London Calling (and The Clash, in general) is that the bad songs are really fucking awful. It has a few of my favorite Clash songs on it (Lost in the Supermarket, Death or Glory, Hateful, Clampdown), but it also has absolute dreck like Jimmy Jazz and Rudie Can’t Fail.

I also never felt like The Clash ever had any stuff that demanded to be considered as an album. Some cool songs here, some shitty ones there… But do any of their albums have some kind of unifying theme or concept?

Ok, I have to ask – who’s the girl you link to from the word “stunning” in your Batman and Robin review? I clicked on it assuming it would be artwork but hey, I’m not complaining.

Jay, it appears from the web address that it’s Minka Kelly. Thanks for pointing it out, though. rowr!

Burgas, have you been including “hidden hotties” all along and I’ve been missing them? Damn.

Well, Apodaca, do albums NEED to have a unifying theme or concept? A lot of them over the years are more just “these are the songs we got done since the last one”. Mind you, I do like “concept” albums. I think Arcade Fire’s the Suburbs is one of the coolest albums in a while, and Wilco’s stuff (from YHF on) seems to have a degree of a theme that makes each album that much better.

I suppose with the Clash, the Singles CD that was released probably 10 years ago or more is probably their best stuff, then. Although I don’t think any of what Apodaca likes is on there.

I’ve got “Paradise is Burning” in my head now, though.

“absolute dreck like… Rudie Can’t Fail.”

>:(

I just realized I never talk about comics when I comment in this column, I always just rage about music.

I think albums are made significantly stronger by having some kind of reason for that set of songs to be together, beyond just being the songs that the band has written since the last one came out. It adds depth to the work, and makes me more inclined to listen to the whole album, instead of just enjoying songs when they come on in the shuffle. It just makes it more of a substantial piece of work and invites more consideration from me.

I also think that when an artist just releases whatever they’ve written in the meantime, it seems like they’re putting less effort into the product. They’re just looking to hit a number of songs that qualifies as an LP, rather than having something to say with the album. I’m more interested in music that has some kind of message to it than music that fills the silence.

Which isn’t to say that either type of album is RIGHT or WRONG. It’s just my personal preference.

I think it’s like the difference between a comic where each story arc really just exists for the sake of its own value, and a book (like Grant Morrison’s stuff, for example), where the story arcs hold up on their own, but also contribute to some grand turn at the end that makes you reevaluate each of the story arcs. Like Seven Soldiers. Each of those books was designed to tell a story on its own, but when considered in relation to each other, became something much more powerful.

Travis: Yeah, I’ve been including links to various women for a while now. Someone (The Dude, maybe?) suggested I make it recurring, so I did. So thanks for noticing, Jay!

Dan: The problem is, of course, once the Beatles decided to start making pseudo-concept albums, the idea of just releasing singles went the way of the dodo. I enjoy albums that have a semblance of a theme, if not a downright through-concept, but I think a lot of bands release albums when they have enough songs for an LP, as you point out. I thought that might change with the advent of simply downloading music, but the album holds on. Some musical acts would be much better at simply releasing a string of singles, because they’re more poppy (and there’s nothing wrong with that, mind you – it’s hard to write a good pop song). And then some bands are much more inclined to release long-form albums, because that’s where their interests lie.

I’m a sucker for themed/concept albums myself, but I have to refuse to say that that format is better than the other, since saying so would discount a lot of Motown, soul, punk and electronic records as being inferior by format, which I don’t agree with. I wouldn’t say those albums are “meaningless” just for lacking a clear message either, otherwise we’d have to discount jazz as a genre as being utterly vacuous for the most part.

While people are still releasing music in the album format, I think the sales show that song downloading has brought about a return to people buying songs as if they were singles.

And I’ll gladly discount the electronic records, but that’s just because I’m not a fan of elevator music.

INFLAMMATORY!

I think this column is more awesomer when we don’t talk about comics. I think Burgas’s ipod shuffle list gives the opportunity to go off on music stuff, especially for those of us who don’t get to the comic store as often as him, and have to scroll past the stuff we’ve got waiting at our LCS.

Plus, we can make fun of some of the things he listens to, as well.

I knew you’d link to lovely ladies, but I wasn’t sure if you were still doing it. I suggest Jenny Wade from the Good Guys.

I’d guess that the bands that still are interested in producing albums are going to focus more on making a “concept” out of each one (as I mentioned earlier, Arcade Fire’s latest, Wilco leans that way, Tori Amos has been putting out themed albums, well, from the start, really, and so on and so forth). Then there are the people who can put out really interesting singles, and several of them. My only real example there is Lady Gaga. Yes, I open myself to your mockery, but dang those are catchy tunes.

Actually, I had seen a limited vinyl version of “Video Phone” with Beyonce that I would’ve gotten had I had the money, for the sheer incongruity of having a slab of vinyl with a song about an up-to-the-minute piece of high tech equipment.

As for electronic music, I’d love to be in an elevator that was playing Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. Although I’d probably assume that I was about to die in there.

And because I’m behind technologically (no ipod/mp3 player thingies, just a 5 disc cd player with cassettes and record player), I tend to listen through albums a lot more than probably some people do. I think it makes me tend to pick albums that I like to hear the whole of. (Throwing out some neat stuff I’ve been listening to lately, New Order’s Get Ready, Magnetic Fields’ Distortion, Lou Reed/John Cale Songs for Drella, and while I haven’t listened to it for a while, The Sound of Animals Fighting’s Lover, the Lord has Left Us is a cool album.)

I mean, that’s not really inflammatory, it’s just wrong. That’s like saying “I don’t listen to metal, but only because I’m not a fan of Christmas carols”.

I prefer to look at what Dan said not as commenting on his previous comment, but doing a sort of Jerry Lewis thing when he goes to the bathroom:

“Man, I’ve been holding that in so long the back teeth were floatin– AH, INFLAMMATORY!! Hello Lady, with the itching and the burning and the stinging!”

And of course, since I don’t think I’ve seen a full Jerry Lewis movie, that’s the Dr Frink version.

Actually, instead of elevator music, now I’ve got that song “Furniture Music” in my head. Dang, who did that? “I like Furniture Music”

There’s gotta be an album of Metal and/or Death Metal Christmas Carols, right? I wanna hear Slayer do “Silent Night”, man!

I think there totally is, actually-Rob Halford of Judas Priest does an absolutely bitchin’ cover of We Three Kings, and I say that without the slightest hint of irony.

This is more what I was referring to as “elevator music”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2cYWfq–Nw

It’s totally formulaic and repetitive. It’s music that’s easy to ignore. Of course, the term “electronic music” is one of those problematic genre titles, since it can include everything from Lou Reed to Daft Punk to Animal Collective. I guess that’s why we’ve started parsing it into smaller categories. “Rock” has the same problem.

I’d actually say that Wilco stopped producing albums with any kind of theme after A Ghost is Born. Sky Blue Sky and Wilco – The Album both sounded like a bunch of dads jamming in a garage. One of the things I liked best about I Am Trying To Break Your Heart (the YHF documentary) was seeing them continually deconstruct and rebuild songs, searching for the most essential version of the song. It showed how much thought and effort had gone into the production of the album. As opposed to something like Sky Blue Sky, which sounds like they just used the first take of each song. I guess my issue is that if it feels like they didn’t care all that much about the album, why should I?

“Then there are the people who can put out really interesting singles, and several of them. My only real example there is Lady Gaga. Yes, I open myself to your mockery, but dang those are catchy tunes.”

We’ll have to agree to disagree about those songs being interesting, but I’m gonna call you out on your defense that they’re catchy. The whole “pro” of a song being catchy is that you love it so much, you actually enjoy the repetition inherent in the song. Because you just can’t get enough of that hook. So, why the need to acquire new catchy music? Couldn’t you just listen to the hundreds of catchy songs from the last, say, fifty years that actually have some meat to them?

I’ve had “Hey Bulldog” from the Yellow Submarine album stuck in my head for months, for example. That song is miles beyond “Poker Face”! And it is catchy as all get out. Also, you don’t have to be embarrassed to listen to it in public!

You picked a weird electronic song to single out as elevator music, seeing as how it moves at a nice clip and actually manages to shift around a lot in terms of tone. Venetian Snares, Kid606, Squarepusher, deadmau5, Four Tet, Kraftwerk, The Knife, The Avalanches, Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh, Aphex Twin(up to a point), Chromeo, Bjork, M83…those guys all make/made really exciting, interesting music, even in their mellower spots.

I don’t think it does shift around much in tone. It’s the same thing, over and over, with little tweaks in the arrangement. But the song doesn’t go anywhere. It starts as one thing and stays that same thing.

Here’s some terrible electronic music by deadmau5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QV8eiSA4vqc

That same old 4/4 beat you hear across the electronic board, the same phaser effect that’s in every club song, and one hook that cycles forever. I don’t find that exciting or interesting.

Oh, and as for the tempo of the Daft Punk song, it’s no faster than Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl”, which I’ve heard muzak’d on multiple occasions.

funkygreenjerusalem

October 24, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Cameron Stewart is back next issue. DC claims it’s a 3 November ship date. WE SHALL SEE!!!!!!

He’s partially back.
The artist from Officer Downe is also on board.

As with anything, it’s all in how Spencer (and other writers) work with it, so it’s not a deal-breaker for the comic in general, but it is somewhat frustrating.

I’d only read the first half of issue one of Morning Glories – life got in the way – but still picked up the next two, and on Saturday, whilst waiting for a hangover to subside enough that I could play Fallout: New Vegas on X-box, I read all three in a low.
Was absolutely loving it up until #3, when this centuries old conspiracy kicked in.
Not only did I groan inwardly as you seemed to at having to see this yet again, I also think it completely threw out the good pace this book had going – basically, we lost sight of characters I still don’t think we’ve spent enough time with, for writing on a wall that isn’t that interesting.
I’m also getting concerned that he’s now putting in way too many questions, with no sign of them stopping.

Mis-step aside, this is a pretty good book, and I’m glad I kept picking up the issues.

However, I really wonder why Ross is overwriting this sucker so much. It’s gotten better since the unnecessarily verbose first issue, but it still lingers, and it’s really throwing off what should be a better series.

I remember when #1 came out, Bleeding Cool had a bit talking about Ross’s fave comics, and I believe he’s a big Don McGregor fan, and is purposefully over-writing – or at least, writing a lot – to give you a bit more reading to do.
I don’t mind it too much – and it was good fun having a comic take 10-15mins to get through.

I was put off by this issue with the Alien becoming a character rather a death machine – I’m just not sure it fits the tone, and really wasn’t what I was expecting – and with such long delays, kept finding myself confused when characters popped back up, if they weren’t explained.
The cop who is working for the vampires constantly had me confused as to whether it was him, or another guy in a suit.
(Loved his flash back sequence though).

Also, the real interesting fact isn’t that Ross married his missus when she was 18 – it’s how old he was at the time!
But as you say, they are still together.

The Ramones blow them out of the water any day of the week and twice on Sundays … and I don’t even love the Ramones all that much!

Th Ramones are alright, but The Clash blow them away. They were just better songwriters.
And I like The Ramones.

Sex Pistols blow them both away though.

That thing you described about the deadmau5 song pretty much describes MOST SONGS, and aside from that it’s pretty fun for club music. It’s not gonna set the world on fire but it’s an alright song.

To counter, here’s a frickin’ AMAZING song by Venetian Snares: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPruYvX2DLw

FGJ: Yeah, I just saw that about B & R #16. Stewart, Irving, and Burnham. And it’s apparently at the printers, so I suppose they will make the ship date!

You know, Morrison should have spent less time in that My Chemical Romance video and more time working on Batman scripts… :)

I’m trying to wrap my head around Sex Pistols being better songwriters than the Clash, being better songwriters than the Ramones. And I dig all of them. But I prefer the Ramones…

funkygreenjerusalem

October 24, 2010 at 8:00 pm

I’m trying to wrap my head around Sex Pistols being better songwriters than the Clash, being better songwriters than the Ramones. And I dig all of them. But I prefer the Ramones…

The Sex Pistols aren’t better songwriters than either – though they were better songwriters/musicians than they got credit for, as Maclaren wanted them to sound bad – but I just think they had all the perfect elements at the exact right time.
I think their music holds up, and they definitely had more of an impact than either of the other two.

Watch the doco ‘The Filth And The Fury’ – you can take or leave what they have to say about what happened, but just watching the footage is amazing.
For a band everyone is decrying, they look like a bunch of normal kids, whilst it’s everyone who is saying they are evil that looks like a total freak.
It’s quite clear which side won – and I think for having that much effect, or at least spearheading it, makes them the greater band.

(Also, they had one album, and at any given times, I’ve probably got as many tracks from that album on a playlist as I will have tracks from The Clash or The Ramones.)

funkygreenjerusalem

October 24, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Yeah, I just saw that about B & R #16. Stewart, Irving, and Burnham. And it’s apparently at the printers, so I suppose they will make the ship date!

At least it’s a good artist, and not Phil Tan.

Yeah, funky, the Filth and the Fury is a really cool film. (One cool thing is that in all the new footage, none of the “cast of characters” is shown full on, they’re either in shadow, or a bondage mask, like McLaren).

I think I’d grant you your points.

But front to back, that first Ramones album kicks ass too.

Not a fan of the Sex Pistols-I like one or two of their songs but for the most part they completely fail to strike any chord with me. To me it sounds like they’re having too much fun to be really angry, and yet too pissed off to be really enjoying themselves.

Their live shows were the bomb, though, I’ll grant you that(from what I’ve seen, I mean-they were WAY before my time).

Let me say that, speaking of John Lydon, Public Image Ltd’s Second Edition (aka Metal Box) album is f–ing awesome. Great, let’s call it, electro-dub stuff. (Yes, it’s possible there actually IS electro-dub; no, I have no idea what I’m talking about.)

Wasn’t your dad Steve in the Pistols, Chris? ;)

RRRRAAAAARRRGGGGHHHHHH

NAME RAGE

CURSE MY GENERIC-SOUNDING HERITAGE

funkygreenjerusalem

October 24, 2010 at 9:38 pm

To me it sounds like they’re having too much fun to be really angry, and yet too pissed off to be really enjoying themselves.

I think that’s how they felt about that entire period as well.

RRRRAAAAARRRGGGGHHHHHH

NAME RAGE

CURSE MY GENERIC-SOUNDING HERITAGE

Yeah, steady on Travis.

His dad, Mick, was clearly the guitarist/songwriter for The Clash.

What’s funny about that is that my dad’s name actually is Michael.

At least your dad’s not the Mick Jones in Foreigner. Brrr.

Given the current economic climate, shouldn’t we be having a neo-punk revival?

Maybe the power to turn dudes gay is poor Rahne’s secondary mutation?

Blair, I should qualify, I’m not dissing UK punk. I’m a big fan of a lot of it, including Sex Pistols, the Clash and X-Ray Spex. I also read Jon Savage’s book on UK Punk, England’s Dreaming. I’m just saying that too many people overstate the significance of UK punk, making it seem like the genesis of punk. That’s my only beef.

funkygreenjerusalem

October 25, 2010 at 4:46 pm

I’m just saying that too many people overstate the significance of UK punk, making it seem like the genesis of punk.

I’d actually argue the opposite T! (who saw that coming?)

Although there are arguments that punk originated from America, the reason UK punk gets all the attention, is that punk had a much more dramatic effect on music, and media landscape in general, than American punk could ever dream of.
It just was more significant than American punk.

As for arguing about the genesis of punk, you can have fun with that.
Everything influences everything else when it comes to art, so the argument will never end as band x was influenced by band y, but band y t built on the sound of to band q.

Well, the books I’ve read on UK punk tend to act as if it was created in the UK and that it didn’t exist past the Exploited song “Punk’s not Dead”. Those books tend to be written by people from the UK. As we know, punk still exists in some form or other (bands like NOFX, the Dickies are still kicking, I think, so on, so forth blahblahblah).

I will agree that the impact was felt more in the UK, since the Sex Pistols, despite being banned from the radio, hit #1 on the charts! No US punk ever came close.

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