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Random Thoughts! (September 11, 2012)

Random Thought! The football season is upon us once again and I don’t really care. It’s Random Thoughts time! Get excited!

Link Thought! GraphiContent for comics. butterbeatleblog for popculture. 411mania for wrestling reviews and the occasional CD review. My Twitter account for random thoughts as they happen in real time.

Random Thought! Last week, Marvel had a scheduling hiccup (fuck up) and there were no Avengers vs. X-Men comics released. So, that left a hole to fill in my Riding the Gravy Train series of posts and I filled it with not just one post — but two! Riding the Gravy Train 1987 on The X-Men vs. the Avengers #1-4 and Riding the Gravy Train 1964 on The X-Men #9. Go read about two instances of hostilities between the two teams and how things have (not) changed in the years since.

Random Thought! This past Saturday was a big 25th anniversary sale at my local comic shop of choice, Border City Comics. I took the bus over there shortly after it opened and the place was packed. It’s not a large store, so I tried to be as quick as possible. I had a few things that was aiming to buy with trades/hardcovers at 40% off like volumes 5-12 of DMZ (I have the first four volumes — all purchased before those two years where I was unemployed and broke). They didn’t have any copies of volume 10 (someone beat me to it!), but, still, getting the other seven was a nice find. I also picked up X-Men vs. Fantastic Four/Avengers, Daredevil: Born Again (I read a library copy years ago), all of the back issues of Walt Simonson’s Orion and Kyle Baker’s Plastic Man they had (which, in Plastic Man‘s case was 15 out of the 20 issues from that series). I also managed to snag the hardcover collections of Paul Pope’s Heavy Liquid and 100%. I decided to quit there. Though, I did order DMZ vol. 10 from Chapters when I got home. When it arrives, I plan to read the entire series. So, I guess I made out pretty well at the sale. Last time they had a sale like this, I was working, so I sent Michelle with my debit card and had her get all 13 volumes of 100 Bullets. Sales like these are best used for picking up Vertigo series in trades, I guess. The only bad part was carrying my bag after that. It was filled and quite heavy.

Random Thought! “When the New 52 began, writers were told to ‘write as if they were writing fan fiction.’” That explains why I’m only reading four nuDCU books currently.

Random Thought! I enjoy Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men as much as the next person (rereading this weekend, it was a pretty good series), but I think we can all agree that the covers tell a much better story. Those covers are fantastic. They both sell you on the comics and suggest that maybe you don’t actually need to read the comics.

Random Thought! Okay, I partly bought X-Men vs. Fantastic Four/Avengers for the purpose of writing about The X-Men vs. the Avengers mini-series. But, I had fond memories of the Fantastic Four mini-series and it lived up to them. Some harshness in there that’s surprising. Reed Richards having a large crisis of faith in himself… good stuff.

Random Thought! On Friday, I got Learn & Burn, Five Easy Pieces, and The Sheepdogs by the Sheepdogs. Two albums and an EP for a little under $30 isn’t too bad, I don’t think. I’ve heard the band on the radio quite a bit and decided to give them a shot. I’ve spent the weekend listening to the three discs and it’s good stuff. I’m not as sold on their eponymous new album (it just came out this past week), but their previous album and EP are both strong. The influence of the Guess Who on these guys is huge — at least prior to the new album. The new album is a bit more ‘generic late ’60s/early ’70s’ sort of rock. Which is fine, but it doesn’t quite have the same distinctive voice that the other album and EP have. Then again, Learn & Burn seems like a lost Guess Who record at times, and, while I like the Guess Who, the band moving away from such a strong similarity in sound is probably a good thing. Though, how many bands give off a post-Bachman Guess Who vibe? You don’t want to lose that completely. Not enough bands are obviously influenced by post-Bachman Guess Who.

Random Thought! The profile for Superman in the back of Action Comics #0 says that his first appearance is “Justice League #1 (2011).” If you ever wondered what it would take to turn Tim Callahan in me at my shoutiest, here you go. I’ve never seen him like that. And he’s right. What the fuck are the idiots at DC thinking? Besides, “Hey, I know how we can be perceived as bigger assholes than we already are!” of course. Mission accomplished, assholes.

Random Thought! If Marvel had ever thought to use ‘incorruptible’ as the adjective in one of their comics, they could have recruited Mark Waid to write a relaunch of it and The Irredeemable Ant-Man for Marvel NOW.

Random Thought! This probably won’t surprise many, but I sometimes have genuine difficulty coming to grips with the idea that people think differently than me. I’m not even talking about different opinions. I’m talking about the fact that we can both look at the same thing and have fundamentally different reactions. That people accept that and understand that kind of freaks me out. After all, nothing is more natural to a person than how they think. Sometimes, all I see around me are a bunch of people who refuse to look at two plus two and see four. They see every other goddamn number, except four. That’s insane and I’m surprised more people don’t get freaked out by that. It bothers me quite a bit, actually. All of it. And none of what I said seems to accurately describe what I’m talking about. (Also: we need a word that describes appreciation for a gift, while also communicating that said gift is not something the receiver wants, so never give it again. I bet the Germans have a word like that.)

Random Thought! As with everyone who has read Heavy Liquid and see a picture of Paul Pope, I must state: wow, S sure looks like Paul Pope, doesn’t he!

Random Thought! My candidates for a “WWE Superstar Collection” DVD who aren’t among the first eight guys: the Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Chris Jericho, Christian, Kane, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, Sin Cara (more because “Hey, kids! MASK!” than anything else), Alberto Del Rio, and R-Truth. I almost included Santino Marella on that list, but that would require them being okay with the DVD not having any matches, just promos.

Random Thought! Have there ever been worse attempts to redesign a Jack Kirby character than what was done to Orion? EXHIBIT A! EXHIBIT B! (Although, since Kirby was involved with the whole Super Powers thing — did he do the redesign of Orion for it? Or was that Carmine Infantino?)

Random Thought! Has anyone ever had as many different columns as Warren Ellis? And that’s not a bad thing. I like his brief columns with a specific focus and how he does it until he’s said all he needs to/wants to. If there’s anything Ellis can teach the world of comics, it’s how to say what you have to say and, then, get off the stage.

Random Thought! A rather large week of comic buying in the Nevett household coming up tomorrow with 16 comics. I know that some will laugh at that as being ‘big,’ while others are wondering how I buy 16 comics every two months let alone in one week. But, I am looking forward to it. The only comic that I’m buying tomorrow that I’m even somewhat sour on is the new issue of Captain America as the current arc has been very underwhelming. But, it’s also near the end of Brubaker’s run, so I’m not exactly torn up over plunking down the money for three more issues (two of the current arc). Otherwise, it’s a week of non-superhero books like The Manhattan Projects, The Massive, and Punk Rock Jesus, four Avengers vs. X-Men comics, the weekly dose of Before Watchmen, another chapter in the weekly “Everything Burns” crossover, and a bunch of other great stuff. I surely do love weeks like this.

Random Thought! Also: new Bob Dylan album! Next week, Brian and I should simply forget Before Watchmen and talk about it.

Random Thought! Garth Ennis writes fantastic endings and, so far, the end of The Boys has been no exception.

Random Thought! Last week as Matt Fraction Week thanks to the shipping of The Defenders #10, Hawkeye #2, and The Mighty Thor #19. This week is Brian Wood Week with The Massive #4, Ultimate X-Men #16, and X-Men #35. Maybe his Conan comic, too? I don’t know. I’m not buying that.

Random Thought! One month. Two days.

Random Thought! One of the Orion issues I got is issue three, featuring Frank Miller providing the art for the back-up story. Fuck yeah.

Random Thought! More bands need to release the same song more than once with entirely different lyrics. Or with entirely different music. Either or.

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Random Joe Casey Question! Reading Gødland #36, I was wondering how much of the narration is written ahead of time and how much is done after you see the art? I know you and Tim Scioli work “Marvel Method,” but it’s not unusual for writers working in that style to have some bits and pieces of dialogue/narration written and included in the plot they provide the artist. Did you give Tom any idea of the bombast and craziness you were about to unleash to match his art?

Random Joe Casey Answer! Well, the direct answer to your question is, “No”… but it’s not that simple. For #36, Scioli and I were probably more closely collaborative than we’d been in the previous run of issues, in terms of the events that took place within the issue. I’ve said this before: ending this series has been one of the major challenges of my career to date. So we definitely put our heads together to make sure all the narrative bases were covered, but while still containing the improvisational spirit of the series overall. But, ultimately, the plot that Scioli worked from didn’t really have any dialogue (or dialogue suggestions) whatsoever. It was enough just to choreograph all the shit that had to happen on the page. Then I had to sit down with 50 pages of art and just pour my own creative id all over them, coming up with dialogue and whatnot, absolutely from scratch. It was both fun and frightening in equal portions. But I’d like to think that the end result speaks for itself.

And now we’ve gotta top it with the Finale issue. Fuck me…

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

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