Random Thoughts! (June 26, 2012)
Random Thought! Greg was right. This new post-writing screen sucks. It’s Random Thoughts time! Get excited!
Random Thought! And now for the real “Link Thought:”
* Riding the Gravy Train 07 (Avengers vs. X-Men #4, AVX: VS #2, Uncanny X-Men #12, and Avengers Academy #30)
* A short piece on Irredeemable #37 (aka the FINAL ISSUE)
* “1000 or so words on Deadenders, youth, nostalgia, and growing up. Only 40 of them are worthwhile.” (aka my first contribution to Alec Berry’s Spandexless Reads column)
* Some Brief Thoughts on Avengers (The Movie)
* Riding the Gravy Train 08 (Avengers #26 and Secret Avengers #27)
* Riding the Gravy Train 09 (Wolverine and the X-Men #11 and X-Men: Legacy #267)
* Spandexless Reads featuring my capsule ‘review’ of “The Curse of the Crimson Corsair” Part One
* Riding the Gravy Train 10 (Avengers vs. X-Men #5, Uncanny X-Men #13, and Avengers Academy #31)
* Spandexless Reads featuring my capsule ‘review’ of “The Curse of the Crimson Corsair” Part Two
* Riding the Gravy Train 11 (AVX: VS #3, Avengers #27, and X-Men: Legacy #268)
* Riding the Gravy Train 12 (Avengers vs. X-Men #6, New Avengers #27, Secret Avengers #28, Uncanny X-Men #14, and Avengers Academy #32)
* So… basically, if you’ve missed this weekly column, you DID have plenty of other things by me to check out (and I didn’t even include my mini-reviews and star ratings posts there…). Plus, the other things I write on this blog. Insanity.
Random Thought! I actually meant to return last week, but my internet went out. The intended four-week break came about from working 2pm-midnight on the Monday and not wanting to do anything Tuesday and knowing that I would be out town from June 9-12 and not able to do the column that week. So, why take a week off, do two, and, then, take another week off when I could just take off four? Also, I’ve decided that I would rather do this without comments. You do not have the right to respond. You can either read what I have to say or share your thoughts on subjects, but not both. Get your own blog for that.
Random Thought! I love the weird antagonistic conversations that pop up in the two “…And the Superhuman Review” posts. I mean, Brian and I clearly have zero interest in those topics that dominate the comments, but, dammit, if crazy idiots aren’t determined to be crazy idiots. How long will they keep it up? Will every single one of those posts turn out the same way? I’m genuinely curious…
Random Thought! No, really, how are comics put out in the same month with the exact same editorial teams at Marvel showing contradictory scenes? Will that ever be explained? Or is the answer “We don’t know how to tell our writers that, while we respect their talents and creative vision, we would prefer objective events to actually make sense across the board” or something similar?
Random Thought! Tomorrow night: the Hives live! Lex Hives hasn’t been played non-stop since I got it, but pretty damn close. The more I listen to it, the more I want to listen to it. A ‘return to form’ after The Black and White Album, though very purposefully so. That album was about pushing the band as far as it could go while still being the Hives and this is a shift back to the sound the band is more known for. I love that the band has a pretty clear collective idea of what it is. It’s very conceptual and I dig that — right down to the ‘uniforms’ the band wears with each new album/tour. If one thing tied the Hives and White Stripes together, beyond the fact that both were ‘the’ bands (dumbest connection ever), it’s that both seemed thought out and purposeful in what they did. It wasn’t just about expression through music, it was about expression through music within certain parameters. I dig that. Also, the first half of Lex Hives is insanely strong. The second half drops a little, but that’s only because the first half is SO good. Those first six songs are perfectly sequenced and flow well. So, yeah, you could say that I’m excited to see the band tomorrow night. They were, after all, one of my top five ‘bands I want to see live’ bands.
Random Thought! One of the weirder things about Before Watchmen: if you read those text bits at the back, it seems that Will Dennis got the editing gig for his half of the titles because Brian Azzarello wanted him as his editor. Then again, it seems that hiring Azzarello to write something at DC means hiring Dennis to edit it. I just find that kind of cool.
Random Thought! I’m glad that Ed Brubaker is leaving Captain America. He’s had an incredibly strong run — hell, he’s had me buying Captain America for how long now? I was shocked when Robert Morales got me to buy his run and, then, Brubaker topped that with his eight-year time on the book. Reading the title now, it’s still good, but it doesn’t feel like he really has anything he wants to say with the character anymore and that’s fine. He’s talented enough to still produce quality comics without the same underlying energy and I’m glad we got these ‘extra’ 19 issues out of him. He’s leaving before he really burns out and begins churning out crap, and that’s a smart move.
Random Thought! What’s that? All of the WWE’s 2011 PPVs on DVD for $40? SOLD!
Random Thought! Where the Clone Saga went wrong: explaining things. It isn’t until that “Smoke and Mirrors” story where the Jackal returns and there’s all this nonsense about extra clones and fake-outs that the story begins to take a turn for the worse. Up until that point, there didn’t seem like any of those questions were even being asked. It seemed simple enough: the original clone survived somehow and has been living his own life until he found out Aunt May had a stroke and returned to New York. In the process, he took up a new superhero identity and decided to stick around for a while. Nothing about that requires more clone plots or the return of the Jackal or anything of the sort. It stands on its own fairly well and could have transitioned very easily into Peter retiring as Spider-Man and Ben taking over. Then again, I’m still waiting for volume four to arrive, so, obviously, things will get worse. Two words: MAXIMUM. CLONAGE.
Random Thought! There’s something kind of funny in a completely awful way that tomorrow has the release of the new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen book and the first J. Michael Straczynski-penned Before Watchmen comic given JMS’s comments being the most defensive/critical of Moore of the whole Before Watchmen bunch.
Random Thought! It’s looking like the next Direct Message will be on Marvels and Kingdom Come. I’m a little disappointed that Alec didn’t want to discuss Eddie Campbell’s Alec. THE NAMES ARE THE SAME! OOOOOOOOOOOH!
Random Thought! I finally got the final four trades of Sandman and finished that series on Friday. It’s taken me, like, five years since I last bought a trade of that series, I think. I really enjoyed volume seven and found the rest a little more hit or miss, which pretty much falls in line with my opinion of the rest of the series. Some bits, I loved. Others didn’t do as much for me. I’m very glad to have read it all and, maybe, when Tim starts writing about it, I’ll reread it all, following along.
Random Thought! An update: I still don’t miss reviewing books for CBR. I’m very, very glad to be done with that. Oddly, I imagine that surprises some people probably…
Random Thought! When people called AVX: VS ‘review-proof’ because it delivered what it promised (fights), that seemed so stupid to me. Most comics deliver what they promise conceptually, but that doesn’t make them ‘review-proof,’ that just means you judge them on how well they do it. But, what, becase AVX: VS promised mindless fights, the fact that almost all of them are godfuckingawful doesn’t enter into it?
Random Thought! Am in the midst of rereading Lunar Park as part of my big reread of all of Bret Easton Ellis’s novels. It could be my last stop since I reread Imperial Bedrooms right after Less than Zero, but I think I may read it again to see how it works when placed at the end of this trip through Ellis’s entire body of work. It’s funny how different things stood out this time — like how funny Tim Price’s rant at the beginning of American Psycho is or how Glamorama might have been a better book if it didn’t have those final two parts. Or, how Zoolander really does seem like an adaptation of Glamorama — one that’s even slightly more accurate than the Less than Zero film adaptation. Even more obvious is how over-the-top and fictionalised the first chapter of Lunar Park is… Also, I tried focusing more on the latter parts of the books since those always seem to fade a little for me.
Random Thought! Also: bought Neil Young and Crazy Horse tickets for when they kick off their fall tour here in Windsor. A little weird that this is where the tour begins. I like Americana — the final song is so fucking clever, man. And I also like how, when you buy Neil Young tickets online, you get his latest album free with every ticket purchased. That means I’ll have two extra copies of that album arriving here soon. I don’t know what I’ll do with them necessarily yet — but, if there’s some people out there who want them and are willing to pay for shipping, I’m not too hard to track down. In October, it looks like Young’s memoir Waging Heavy Peace is coming out, too — the day before the concert to boot.
Random Thought! I did that DC survey and I told them that I’m going to keep buying OMAC and Men of War. That’s more of a theoretical answer: if they were still publishing them, I’d still be buying them. They didn’t have a box for that. They didn’t even seem to recognise that those titles were cancelled.
Random Thought! The whole “Court of Owls” story is like Morrison’s “Batman RIP” adapted into a movie that appeals to a broader audience. Except as a comic released only a few years later.
Random Thought! I watched Louie season two on Thursday. It was pretty fucking great. I find that show produces a lot of emotions in me as a I watch it. I get more tense in certain situations than I do while watching other shows that specialise in tension like Breaking Bad. I guess that’s because those shows seem less likely to happen to me whereas the tense moments in Louie seem FAR more likely. Like that episode from the first season with the teenage bully? I’m afraid that will happen all of the time — and was before I saw that episode. That’s always seemed like it could happen at any time and that freaks me out a bit, especially when I’m watching a TV show where it’s happening. But, a fantastic show. You should check it out if you haven’t.
Random Thought! I am genuinely surprised that the opening scenes of The Boys #67 didn’t get more attention with the Legend (aka Stan Lee looking like Jack Kirby) going on weird tangental rants to the ghost of his formert artist partner with quotes like “Soldier Boy! Stormfront! Webweaver! Starboard! All were mine! Thou didst no more than scrawl thy doodles at my bidding!” or one mocking the idea of the estate trying to sue for ownership or royalties. I kept expecting scans to show up on Bleeding Cool… and they never did.
Random Thought! When did Scrier go from pale guy in a dark cloak to cosmic armour guy? I think I missed something…
Random Thought! The Silver Surfer: Parable hardcover is a pretty good package. Great paper, lots of bonus material including Moebius writing about doing the series and his Marvel pin-ups. I know, I know, it has a non-Moebius story included, but that shouldn’t stop anyone.
Random Thought! As cool as Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic (presumably with Dean White, I hope) doing Avengers would be, they were already doing a version of that in The Ultimates, except with fewer limitations. Why should be excited again? I feel sorry for Sam Humphries in a way, because I like his writing, but entering The Ultimates this way isn’t exactly the best way. Let’s see, a writer known for longterm planning leaving after a year, taking with him a fantastic art team, leaving a story that will no doubt shift midstream and art that looks far, far inferior. And none of that is his fault and has nothing to do with what sort of job he’ll do. But, I’m less excited about that comic than I was even a few months ago.
Random Thought! I missed out on the New Mutants half of “Exiled” because my shop had no rack copies of that title. Because no one buys it.
Random Thought! Reading the Avengers Academy tie-ins for Avengers vs. X-Men, I really don’t understand the praise for the book. The first story was resolved with Tigra thinking that getting beaten up by teenagers is an excuse that won’t get her in shit with Captain America instead of taking a moral stance on an issue. The second story seems to involve standing up to an insanely powerful mutant who has a problem with a teenager having a pet genocide machine and Hank Pym thinking that, yeah, protecting the pet genocide machine from the insanely powerful (and pissed off) mutant is a good idea. It’s a comic that seems intent on showing why Tigra isn’t on the Avengers anymore and that, yes, Hank Pym really is the dumbest genius in the world and the worst superhero ever. And that’s before we get into the trite cliched plots… (Also on display in the latest issue of X-Men: Legacy…)
Random Thought! I enjoyed Prometheus. Gorgeous movie. Its connection to the Alien franchise was fairly obvious and separate in a way that I appreciated. I liked that the answers to questions raised more questions and those didn’t get answered. I’ve heard some call it confusing, which I guess it was… if you’re stupid. It didn’t answer every question, which isn’t the same as being confusing. It was really quite simple and easy to understand so long as you understand the concept that not every question will be answered — nor is there a need for every question to be answered. I’m a little surprised at how much I enjoyed it given my usual distaste for fiction that tries to explain the origins of humanity. I find it tedious. But, this was engaging enough — and that idea was part of the larger theme explored throughout the movie — that I didn’t mind. Good stuff.
Random Thought! David Brothers’s post on DRMs shows one reason why I haven’t gotten into digital comics. The main one remains my preference for paper, but a smaller factor is the idea that you don’t actually own the comics you buy from ComiXology. I hate that idea. There have been times where I’d be tempted to buy something from them (like an issue I missed getting at my shop or something), but haven’t… because why spend my money on something I don’t own like that? Brothers offers a rather good solution and one that would definitely bring me closer to buying at least some comics digitally. Hopefully, it happens at some point.
Random Thought! With the rest of the “Counter X” X-Force stuff getting collected and Brian Wood doing X-work for Marvel, I hope we see the rest of “Counter X” X-Man and Generation X get collected.
Random Thought! I enjoyed Matt Kindt’s first issue of Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE.
Random Thought! Four years ago today, I had my first date with Michelle. In October, we’re getting married. I’m not one to celebrate anniversaries (and neither is she), but, honestly, June 26 is a special day to me.
Random Joe Casey Question! You’ve written books alone, with co-writers, under editorial mandate, in full script, in ‘Marvel style,’ basically in a variety of ways and with various degrees of collaboration — it seems almost like you’re moving more and more towards close collaborations (though I could be wrong there). Do you find it difficult to work with others or is it something you prefer?
Random Joe Casey Answer! When it comes to collaboration, working with others, etc… it can be all over the map for me. I’d like to think that the partnerships with my comicbook collaborators — the artists I work with — are extremely close. After all, we’re trying to be in each others’ heads to create something greater than the simple sum of its parts. Admittedly, some collaborations are closer than others, that’s just the nature of the beast. I guess I never find it especially “difficult” these days, mainly because I’ve been doing it for 15 years… I’ve written a ton of shit and worked with a long list of artists. So I pretty much know how to maneuver those waters, even when they get a little rough.
Lemme put it this way… it’s preferable when it works.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading. Later.