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Random Thoughts! (December 18, 2012)

Random Thought! Dammit, snow! WHERE ARE YOU? I DEMAND YOU SHOW YOURSELF! 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, Alec Berry and I managed to put out two Direct Message conversations: the long overdue one on Fatale and the frantic takedown of Cable & X-Force #1. So, go read.

Random Thought! And, for the record, I will make no concessions towards Mr. Hopeless. I saw nothing in Cable & X-Force #1 where I feel like I should say “But, I’m sure he’s talented…” People say shit like that all of the time. “Everything I’ve read by Writer A seemed like it came from a no-talent hack with a single-digit IQ… but, I’m sure that he must be good.” Fuck that. Shit comic? Shit writer. If that seems unfair, let me remind you, he wrote a shit comic. WHAT IMPRESSION AM I SUPPOSED TO TAKE AWAY? No one is owed a second (or third or fourth or fifth…) chance. No assumptions are given. You have a shot, you fucking take it — and nothing about that comic seemed like it was anyone trying to make me want to see their names in a credit box again. So, fuck it. Want to win me over? Send me free copies. Maybe I’ll read them… if I feel like giving you some time. But, money? Are you stupid?

Random Thought! And the best way to follow that up seems to be mentioning that, last week, while shopping in Detroit, Michelle and I got into a minor car accident. Entirely the other driver’s fault (the police report says so… because it’s the truth) and no serious injuries. I banged my left knee pretty hard, because I’m too tall for cars. Michelle’s car is currently being repaired (some minor damage on the driver’s side front). Not the best way to begin the evening, but it was still a pleasant evening. My favourite purchase was Key & Peele season 1 on DVD. Funny shit.

Random Thought! For the first time in five years, I didn’t participate in the year-end CBR ‘best of’ list gathering. Batman or some other shitty comic is going to take the top prize. Oops. Spoilers…? Besides, if I participated, I might have given nine of my ten choices to the various Before Watchmen comics. If that Dollar Bill one shot had come out in 2012, I would have done it. All ten spots. BEST IN DA WORLD, BAY-BEE!

Random Thought! I was debating whether or not to buy the second Grendel omnibus that came out last week (I haven’t read the first one yet!) and, then, my shop had a copy available for 50% off because the top right corner of the cover is slightly damaged. It was a sign. Obviously.

Random Thought! Another Marvel free preview book? Only five of the previews in it haven’t been released already. Odd.

Random Thought! The Dears are awesome.

Random Thought! When in Detroit, we went to a Five Guys that had one of those Coke Freestyle machines. It was glorious. I had raspberry coke and vanilla root beer. I never wanted to leave. Except my knee hurt.

Random Thought! You know what would have been very interesting? Jerome Opena on Avengers and Esad Ribic on New Avengers, both coloured by Dean White and provided with scripts by Jonathan Hickman.

Random Thought! I think I’ll buy those Lone Wolf and Cub omnibus editions. Yes. Yes, I will.

Random Thought! I found a ‘buy it now’ copy of Time Fades Away by Neil Young on eBay for around $25 (including shipping) and bought it. So, if it gets rereleased in the next year or so, YOU ARE WELCOME.

Random Thought! What’s this strange feeling? Is it… Yes… Yes, it is… It’s… hope for the upcoming Blue Jays season! I… *sobs* I missed this feeling so. Fucking. Much.

Random Thought! Change #1 is worth picking up. That’s all I have to say on the matter right now. (Ales, there’s a pull quote for you. Credit it to CBR and put like, I dunno, four and a half stars after it? What the hell, make it five! *****!)

Random Thought! I finally got the Joe Casey remix/rewrite of Youngblood volume 1. Only two types of people own this: Rob Liefeld fans and me.

Random Thought! I will buy Age of Ultron, but probably not many tie-ins unless they’re either comics I’m already buying or written by Bendis. It’s like a coda event to his Avengers run.

Random Thought! With every issue, I like Ultimate X-Men a little more. It’s the sleeper entry on my top ten books of 2012 most likely. A year ago, it seemed impossible. And, yet, here we are.

Random Thought! I finally got both discs of the “Kevin Steen: Descent into Madness” DVD set. Thanks, Ring of Honor! So… anyone want just disc two? (I’m really looking forward to watching this. I love how it basically gives you the year-long story of Steen’s heel turn against El Generico. Sets like this are my favourite kind. Imagine that: people like the idea of getting complete narratives!)

Random Thought! I still haven’t decided if I’ll put together a post for next week, what with it being Christmas and all. If I don’t, everyone have a safe and happy holidays. I hope magical fat men bring you everything your heart desires.

Random Thought! My top ten albums of 2012 (I think I’ve gotten 11 or 12 so far, so…) (I made this list for the 411mania year-end voting):
10. Rock and Roll is Black and Blue by Danko Jones
9. Americana by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
8. The Sheepdogs by the Sheepdogs
7. Old Ideas by Leonard Cohen
6. Scrappy Happiness by Joel Plaskett Emergency
5. Tempest by Bob Dylan
4. Blunderbuss by Jack White
3. Now for Plan A by the Tragically Hip
2. Psychedelic Pill by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
1. Lex Hives by the Hives

Random Thought! That’s 70% Canadian content, too.

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Random Joe Casey Question! How much thought goes into your public persona? The sunglasses, the “don’t give a fuck if I say the ‘wrong’ thing in public” attitude, not discussing your personal life much… It seems very purposeful, but is it? Or is it just naturally how you are?

Random Joe Casey Answer! Well, first things first. Let’s define the parameters of this particular discussion. To me, celebrities are the ones that need to have bona fide “public personas”. And as far as I’m concerned, a comicbook writer — or any other “behind-the-scenes”-type creator — is not a celebrity. Not even close. We really don’t owe people any entertainment beyond the work we produce. Unfortunately, I came of age as a professional when a group of us were… let’s just say we were experimenting with the notion that we could be celebrities, on some fucked up level. I think we’ve all since realized that the idea of a “rock star comic creator” is complete bullshit, and it’s probably a little embarrassing to look back on some of our efforts to make that concept a reality. We wanted fame, plain and simple. And I’ve since come to realize that, in my opinion, fame sucks. Fame kills. To seek out fame is to seek out a circumstance that will probably lead to your own grizzly demise. But I guess it was one of those motivations that was, as they say, of its time. I’m sure it was part of what drove me to score the Uncanny X-Men gig when I probably had no business being let near that title (historical note: this was back when writing that book was actually a feather in your professional cap, when there’d only been maybe three or four guys who’d written the book before me, over the quarter-century lifespan of the series). For me, I’m a lot happier now being a so-called “cult writer” but some of the impressions that I made back around 2000 tend to stick around with some people. Now, in some cases, you’re right… it is because that’s just who I am — or who I was — on some level. I’m sure some of it came out of my experiences playing in bands, where you are making conscious efforts to be… I dunno… somewhat transcendent as a personality (that’s the diplomatic way of putting it, btw… you learn how to make a spectacle of yourself). In other words, I was saying fucked up shit in interviews as a musician years before I did it in the comicbook press. But I suppose that has a lot to do with just being young, too. I was trying to define myself and there were times I was pretty ham-fisted about it.

So whatever it is I do end up doing these days when I stick my head out in the world, I don’t look at it as presenting a public persona, per se. It may appear that way on the surface, but it’s more of a way I’ve learned to maintain some privacy while still being an advocate for my own work. But even that’s starting to wear a little thin lately. As I embark on yet another round of PR to spread some awareness about SEX and THE BOUNCE and, later in the new year, the GØDLAND FINALE and CATALYST COMIX, I find myself strangely ambivalent about the entire process. And this is really personal shit I’m doing, work-wise, so you’d think I’d be fuckin’ enthused about going out there and talking about it. But, for whatever reason, I’m not quite in the headspace for it. It seems like a dance I may have danced one too many times already. I’m sure I’ll get back there eventually.

I dunno… maybe I’m also a bit put off by the bloodlessness of most creator interviews I’m seeing these days… especially when it comes to Big Two promotional efforts, which tends to be the most visible PR we all see. Aside from a few notable exceptions, I’m just not feeling any sense of fun or enthusiasm from these writers and artists that are the current stewards of these corporate IPs. It’s seems like a whole new marketing vibe… but I know that when Morrison took on the JLA or the X-Men, I wanted to hear what he had to say about it. Or Garth Ennis on Punisher. I didn’t just want to read that book, I wanted Garth to verbalize his approach, because I knew that would be just as interesting to me. Or when Ellis would write Thunderbolts (to pick an unlikely writer/property combo off the top of my head)… you knew he’d at least have some insight on the gig that was worth hearing about. They had some left-field, personal take on the material — as well as the career opportunity it might present — that, at the very least, seemed to exist outside of the obvious corporate parameters of those particular jobs. And, yeah, I know a bit more about what goes on behind the curtain than your average reader, but I feel like I’m seeing some weird level of ambivalence on display… so maybe it’s not just me. Maybe it’s the fact that there are some good writers out there doing their damnedest not to let their enthusiasm for the medium get squeezed out of them when they find themselves trapped within the grinding gears of the corporate machine… and not being completely successful at it. Or maybe I have seen it all, and I’m just a bit more cynical than I used to be. That’d be fuckin’ sad, wouldn’t it?

Although, in terms of how creators are allowed to present themselves in a PR situation, we seem to be a long way from the more in-depth journalism of say, The Comics Journal and the mammoth, no-holds-barred interviews they would run. I feel like most of the current generation of journalists (and/or bloggers) — the ones that, to me, have the necessary insights, perspective and enough talent to conduct a worthwhile interview — seem to spend a lot of their time simply talking to each other while taking the piss out of those same Big Two creators… and I guess I can’t blame them, in most cases.

But, back to your original question. I would say it’s up to anyone and everyone reading this to decide for themselves… am I bullshitting them? Did I just spout a bunch of ape shit because it’s part of the game I always play when I do these things? Maybe. But maybe not. Ultimately, does it matter?

***

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

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