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CSBG Archive

Random Thoughts! (December 6, 2011)

Random Thought! There’s nothing about Fred Van Lente in this post. It’s Random Thoughts time! Get excited!

Link Thought! GraphiContent for comics. butterbeatleblog for popculture. 411mania for wrestling reviews and the occasional CD review.

Random Thought! I wonder if I posted this piece on negativity here on Comics Should be Good, it would have gotten as much attention as Greg’s post on Shade (and trades/singles and some other stuff). Probably not. People love Greg. That post again: You Don’t Just Want to Break Me, You Want to Tear Me Apart.

Random Thought! On Sunday night, Michelle and I had to go pick a friend of hers up at the train station, so I brought along Lulu by Lou Reed and Metallica to briefly listen to. Michelle hadn’t really heard any of it and I was curious what she’d think. She dug it and couldn’t believe the extremely negative reaction to it. This is a woman who listens to shitty pop music and radio stations that play everything that is popular. She loves American Idol and The Sing-Off. And even she could get into it and was downright baffled at people who couldn’t. I found that funny. Her reaction to “Cheat on Me,” which I’d described as the catchiest song of the album (after hearing it, I always have it stuck in my head): “This is catchy!”

Random Thought! No Doc Bizarre last week. Retailer Tim forgot to order it for me. So, I get it in two weeks.

Random Thought! The Ultimates is some damn fine superhero comicbookery. Jonathan Hickman’s writing is inventive and surprising; Esad Ribic is continually making me wonder why he was stuck doing covers when he’s this good at sequential storytelling; Dean White makes Ribic’s art look better in every panel.

Random Thought! Am I the only one who’s wondering if How I Met Your Mother is secretly being written by Vince Russo at this point?

Random Thought! Tim Callahan wants me to explain the influence of Jim Starlin upon Grant Morrison’s work. I’d rather just talk about Starlin. (Ooooh! Breed III #7 comes out this week!)

Random Thought! My all-time favourite villain moment: Mr. Lahey: “I am the liquor.” I never tire of that scene. That’s right up there with “Darkseid is” as far as I’m concerned. “I am the liquor.”

Random Thought! Haunt #19 was… not what I expected. It definitely becomes clearer after a reread or two, especially that opening scene — it benefits from seeing the word balloons used later in the issue. Not quite a brand new hotness issue… Nathan Fox kicks ass and I like the way that Joe Casey just presses ahead and assumes we’ll all catch up. Plus, the ad for the second trade at the back of the book basically recaps the essential details. I assume my reaction to issue 20 will be more positive now that I have a better sense of what’s going on — much like OMAC #2.

Random Thought! Ladies and gentlemen… David Brothers!

Random Thought! I have the urge to begin a new feature on this blog where, every day, I tell a new part of my ongoing sequel to Watchmen… I’ll give you some teasers: Zombie Rorschach! Ozymandis, the smartest man on the planet vs. Bzksod, the smartest cockroach on the planet! The Nite-Spectre comes back in time to make sure her parents get on the cruise ship that’s hijacked by pirates prompting them to rescue everyone and, then, have the sexual intercourse where she’s conceived! Damn right, let’s get excited for Watchmen 2!

Random Thought! Today will be a busy day at the mall. I have to return some dress shirts and get some pants hemmed — all of which I hate, because, like a child, I absolutely detest dress clothes. Michelle has to get her engagement ring looked at where we bought it as part of the whole ‘keep the guarantee on it valid’ thing. And, then, we’ll be seeing the new Harold and Kumar movie finally. Somewhere in there, I’ll get the new Black Keys album. Last… Wednesday night, I believe, we watched the first two Harold and Kumar movies on DVD. I’d seen them both before a few times, but Michelle hadn’t. We’re both still annoyed at how good the first one makes White Castle seem despite the fact that the time we had it was disgusting. Fuck.

Random Thought! Every time I see someone say, basically, “I’m a fan of X and I didn’t know about that piece of news that’s been around for a few months and was covered by all of the usual mainstream places when it broke,” I tend to think that that person is a pretty shitty fan. Or, maybe that explains the state of things. After all, according to research, apparently people who consider themselves fans of television shows only see one in three episodes. It boggles the mind.

Random Thought! It seems the biggest news these days revolves around digital comics and… well, I don’t buy digital comics. So there we are.

Random Thought! When the Daniel Craig Bond movies finish up, I think they need to just go the Archer route for a movie or two, because no one is following Craig if you’re doing regular, serious Bond movies.

Random Thought! I didn’t miss DC’s ‘new 52′ comics last week. A lot of people noticed that DC adhered to their four-week shipping schedule, but did anyone really care?

Random Thought! The first draft of Warren Ellis’s new novel is complete. I rather liked Crooked Little Vein, so I’m looking forward to Gun Machine. I don’t usually follow comics writers I like to other media. Ellis is one of the few who I tend to track anywhere.

Random Thought! So… Avengers vs. X-Men… I just don’t know, boys. I just don’t know. Twelve issues over six months… five writers, three artists… the X-Men aren’t even the X-Men anymore… coming off Fear Itself, why bother? Why is the promo image by someone not drawing the comic? Why does it look more like it’s the X-Babies vs. the Kid Avengers (or whatever they’re called)? Why do I have a feeling, based on the titles of previous Marvel events, that we won’t actually see the Avengers and X-Men fighting? I don’t know… win me over, Marvel. Win me over.

Random Thought! The big news leaves me cold and indifferent, but the comics themselves, that I buy every week, that’s where it’s at. That’s what gets me excited and feeling good. Funny how the two don’t meet so often.

Random Thought! Later this week, I’ll begin rounding up my initial list of the top ten comics of 2011 for CBR. Since they want it in early December, it’s more of a ‘first draft’ of my final list. I don’t like doing lists until the year is actually over. I tend to get some graphic novels around Christmas (either as gifts or using gift cards) and, if I did my list now, then they wouldn’t make it. I understand why sites do lists before the year is actually over, but I hate it.

Random Thought! Cynicism doesn’t come from a vacuum. Sorry, it doesn’t. If we seem negative and overly critical in response to your ‘big news,’ if we respond with scoffs… where do you think that came from? If it’s a bias, it was one cultivated by your behaviour, by your decisions, by your actions — bias based on experience is legitimate and to be trusted. Hell, it isn’t even called ‘bias’ usually, it’s called experience and judgment. Don’t act like we sprang from the womb jaded and angry and ready to shit on everything… You don’t get to create us and then dismiss us that easily.

***
Random Comments! Giving voice to the masses, brother.

joe said: By “extremly literal”, do you mean “extremely literate”? I didn’t write any emails and I don’t think you suck. Just thought it was funny.

I meant literal.

An e-mail I received: “You’re an Idiot who has no idea how to review comics.”

My response: “That’s a pretty vague criticism. In what way do I not know how to review comics? Were my sentences structured wrong, full of misspellings while breaking the rules of grammar? Did I go off on an unrelated tangent? Did I fail to state my OPINION clearly? In what way was my review written that reveals myself to not be up to the task aside from the obvious: you and I disagree about the comic in question? Please consider your words before sending out e-mails like this in the future as they do not reflect warmly upon you as a critic or a reader of reviews.”

Riley said: Considering you’re a guy who has said “Superman sucks” on this very column before, you’d think vague criticism wouldn’t bother you so much.

That was one of many ‘Random Thoughts’ in one of many ‘Random Thoughts’ posts. That’s a little different from e-mailing someone specifically to say that they suck.

Kevin Hellions said: Chad, with your skill at getting deals what do you think of Thwipster? If they don’t ship to Canada, apologies for my ignorance.

Unfortunately, Thwipster only ships in the US. But, every time there’s a deal that I’m interested in, I check to see if that policy has changed yet.

Travis Pelkie said: Kirby’s Fourth World omnis are in TP now? Cool. How much are they?

Hey, Travis, there’s this thing called Google that you should learn to use…

Are those Auster books the “New York Trilogy”?

Yes.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading. Later.

25 Comments

If the Avengers are fighting the X-men, which side is Wolverine (and possibly Beast) going to fight on?

I was all set to yell at you about The Ultimates, but then you said “Jonathan Hickman” and I realized you were talking about the current series.

Tom Fitzpatrick

December 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Ha ha ha, That was a good one about you telling Travis Pelkie about using google. He’ll never live that one down.

Thank you, by the way, for not talking about Fred Van Lente. You have NO idea how much I really appreciate a column without FVL in it.

I buy no more than 4 of the “New 52″ from DC. If they EVER change the writer/artist on the specific book. Goodbye!

Considering that the last commenter on that post called me a clueless, talentless asshat, maybe not everyone loves me. It made me very sad, though, and I’m typing this through the tears.

White Castle is shit. Testify, Nevett!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

December 6, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Random Thought! When the Daniel Craig Bond movies finish up, I think they need to just go the Archer route for a movie or two, because no one is following Craig if you’re doing regular, serious Bond movies.

You think he’s that good that anyone else will pale in comparison?

I disagree.
He’s doing alright with it, but it’s not such an amazing take that it’s redefined the character forever, or that he’s become the character.

I rather enjoyed your piece on negativity. What I don’t understand is that why do other comic readers get upset when I react negatively to a book they really enjoyed. What’s it to you? I understand that what yourself and hundreds more do while review comics but if a comic I really enjoyed is given a negative review it doesn’t stop me from enjoying it. The oppose though, a comic I considered to be bad, really bad or just plain awful is positively reviewed, that’s when I get confused. I start to question if maybe I missed something.

One last thing, don’t people pay attention to who writes the reviews they read? Most times I adjust the rating for myself based on who wrote it. Because it is nearly impossible for a reviewer to completely detach his personnal preferences while review a product (be it a comic or something else), reading regular reviews by the same people can provide you with a certain understanding of the reviewers in question and you can better decide how to absorb or reject their criticism and praise. Just because reviewer X thought comic X was amazing doesn’t mean it ACTUALLY was or doesn’t mean that I will agree with the review based on my own taste and preference. However, it can provide a lot of useful insight on the reviewed comic.

Don’t worry Greg, I’m sure most people like you. You’re not as mean as Chad Nevett! :P

I’m with Mario, if someone doesn’t like something I like I pay them no mind, but if someone likes something I don’t I give it another chance to see if I missed something.

Some people just need validation of their likes or dislikes, and others take dissenting opinions as personal assaults.

It’s a national pastime in America.

It actually makes it quite easy to determine who you should engage in conversation with.

Tom Fitzpatrick

December 6, 2011 at 5:32 pm

@ Mario: Greg isn’t as mean as Chad, ‘cuz Greg’s not Canadian!!! ;-)
We Canadian are mean as hell, but downright polite!

RE fandom:
It may be a matter of time prioritization. I’m a big fan of Murakami but I haven’t read all of his works. Maybe some wouldn’t consider me a true fan, but what I mean by fan is that I love his work. I’ll get around to reading it all eventually, but limited time and a multiplicity of interests means I can’t devote all of my time to him.

I love the works of Satoshi Kon and considered myself a fan, but I found out about his death a year after he passed. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t a good fan. I’d seen everything he’d released, but didn’t look up news items about whatever he was doing at any moment.

One last example: I’m a big fan of the Elder Scrolls series. Since Morrowind was released, I put hundreds of hours into the game. Put quite a bit into Oblivion and am currently enjoying Skyrim as time allows. But I never played Arena or Daggerfall or any of the Oblivion DLC. Doesn’t diminish my fandom. Just means that I have limited time to exercise my fandom.

Some people just can’t separate criticism of things they like from criticism of them.

Aw, dawg, that’s colllllllllddddddd!

Actually, I saw elsewhere that the TPs are apparently only 10 bucks less than the HCs, so I’ll be going with the HCs, if I ever shell out that cash.

I am quite impressed with the fiance digging Loutallica (which I still haven’t gotten myself), especially if her tastes run counter to that sort of thing. No wonder you’re marryin’ her.

Do they have Canadian Idol? Why not, man?

I know I can’t, Michael!

Himym is miles ahead of anything pro wrestling has ever done, let alone Russi’s hack work.

Lulu is bloody terrible.

Is this a joke version of Random Thoughts? Opposite day?

Cyclops is my new favorite Marvel super-villain, so it’ll be good to see his ongoing breakdown go head-on against the Avengers (and by extension, his ex-BFF Logan).

odds are a few xmen and avengers will fight mostly cyclops proably trying to blast wolverine and cap and the red hulk and colluses as juggy going at it. and scarlet witch will go no more cross overs.

“Random Thought! It seems the biggest news these days revolves around digital comics and… well, I don’t buy digital comics. So there we are.”

That’s a shame. If you did, you wouldn’t have to wait 2 weeks to read Doc Bizarre.

The Black Keys should stop making albums… For a couple of dudes who can really rock live (did you see that first song on last weeks’ SNL?), their studio efforts are shite.
IMHO.
Obviously.

Then again, maybe something’s changed… After listening to their whole discography through Brothers I just couldn’t take it anymore…

Fandom is a bit hard to describe sometimes. I consider myself a Star Wars fan, but I haven’t seen the animated series or read any of the books written in the last 15 years. I love the original trilogy and I like many of the books I’ve read, but I am not a completist.

With some TV shows, I think you can be a fan without seeing all the episodes, specially long running shows like the Simpsons or CSI.
However, the shows I consider myself a fan of (Seinfeld, Babylon 5, Buffy, Angel, BSG) are all shows I’ve seen every episode of and in the case of Seinfeld, seen every episode multiple times.

I agree with someone who posted being a fan of an author. I am an Asimov fan, but Asimov wrote 12 hours a day for over 50 years. He has more than 500 books and over 90,000 letters. It is hard to read all of his work. I’ve read the Foundation series (7 novels), the Robot series (4 novels), all of his short stories from the 50s (The Complete Asimov Stories Vol. 1) and I am planning on reading more, since I love his work. But I don’t think I’ll ever read everything he wrote and probably I won’t get to 1/2 of what he wrote.

I’ve seen The Black Keys live 4 times and man, they rock. Saw Dan Auerbach live too, when he was out supporting his solo album They definitely don’t bring it as hard to their albums as they do live. But if they’re gonna keep making them, I’m gonna keep buying them.

IF you’re ever forced into a white castle again, forget the burgers, and get the chicken rings (by themselves or as sandwiches). The pork BBQ sandwiches aren’t half-bad either. The burgers SEEM good to many people, only because of WHY they eat them –
a. greasy, starchy food to offset later alcohol consumption
b. Lots of stomach filler to offset pot-induced hunger (hence, Harold & Kumar)
c. The customer was raised by people who fall into the next category, and eat them out of nostalgia or habit
d. They were the only burgers around, or the only affordable ones, prior to McDonalds, and the consumer mindset got locked on their taste as what a burger should be.
To me, I’d rather eat the cardboard sleeves, than the actual white castle burgers.

When it comes to square burgers, Krystals are much better (as long as the buns don’t get oversteamed to the point of sogginess), as they have more toppings and flavor (almost like eating a meat loaf sandwich, especially when you add in the fries and the ketchup that goes with the fries). Having both chains in town really helps compare the two.

Ed (A Different One)

December 8, 2011 at 10:30 am

I’ve yet to run across a White Castle out here in the wild’s of PA, but we do have a fine place called 5 Guys that makes the most kick-ass hamburgers I’ve ever tried. I know some West Coasters have argued that In & Out Burger is the crown jewel of burger joints, but I’ve spoken to many reliable folks who have had the privelege of trying both and attest that In & Out Burger and 5 Guys are so close in quality as to be a virtual dead heat, but with the overall advantage going to 5 Guys on the basis of their superior fries.

That being said, if I ever do come across a White Castle, I’ll have to try it if just for the cultural significance . . .

. . . oh, and as far as comics go, I dropped Firestorm from my pull list today after I heard that Gail Simone was leaving the title. Quite frankly, I was on the verge of doing so anyway, but after hearing that Gail was leaving, that finally pushed me over the hump.

Firestorm is just one of those characters it just seems like I should like, but try as I might, I just can’t stick with it. This represents my third abortive attempt in that regard . . .

There is one White Castle in PA. It is in Whitehall, which is right next to Allentown, and it opened a few weeks ago. (Well, there is technically a second one but it’s actually a Chinese food stand in the food court of the Crossings Outlets in Tannersville PA, and yes, they serve White Castle, and yes, I have eaten it). I went to the new White Castle just this week. They had to hire a guy to direct traffic through the parking lot, it was so insane.

I like White Castle. I like it for novelty and for nostalgia– there was one in Philly when I was a wee lad. But I also think it’s good when fresh, and I savored those tiny burgers.

But I know it’s not a universal experience. I mean, people like Taco Bell. I don’t get it. But I’m sure it’s the same way with White Castle.

I’ve only eaten the frozen White Castle cheeseburgers from my local grocery stores, but I likes ‘em.

We have 5 Guys up here in NYS, but I’ve never been myself. I know Mark Evanier (of Groo and a multitude of other books) seems to prefer 5 Guys, iirc, and he’s on the west coast and is familiar with In N Out as well. (If I’m wrong Mark, I apologize!)

We used to call White Castle burgers Murder Burgers cuz they would murder your intestines.
Chad excellent post about Negativity on your blog!!!!!

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