Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Random Thought! It’s the final Random Thoughts! 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! So, the Blogathon was a big success. Like “raised more money than my first four Blogathons combined” success. I was blown away. Usually, it’s a frustrating struggle where, by the time it’s done, I vow to never put myself through that sort of experience again. This time, there was nothing but good feelings. Nothing but over $1000 raised for the Hero Initiative. Thank you. Thank you to my guest posters. Thank you to all of the people who donated. Thank you to everyone who read. It was a hell of a way to go out. And now I have to leave, because I can’t top that.
Random Thought! Aside from some of the early episodes, the entire run of the Splash Page Podcast is available for download thanks to Joey Aulisio, the official Splash Page Podcast curator. Also, thanks to Shawn Starr and Daniel Wu for contributing some of the episodes to the collection. I plan to never listen to any of them again (aside from the Joe Casey episode), but I’m happy knowing they’re available.
Random Thought! I’m 30 today. Have been since 11 am, technically.
Random Thought! I can’t remember my first comic. I really can’t. My dad read them, so they were always there. I have memories that are vague that could be characterised as my first memories with comics. I remember watching my dad read one. I want to say that it’s a Thor comic, but I couldn’t read or probably even comprehend it enough to retain the details of it, so that’s probably just projecting. I have early memories of Ghostbusters and Police Academy comics. Of DC action figures from the Super Powers collection. We had a lot of them, but only Superman stuck around somehow. He’s in a box somewhere. I have memories of waking up early and looking through those Marvel handbooks, of just loving to see the different characters. The part I love best was the index of different alien species in the Marvel universe. I remember flipping through Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns and Marshal Law at an age that would cause most parents to demand the comics burned and the people who made them hung. Except my parents didn’t know what I was flipping through. By the time I read those works, they were an odd mixture of familiar and novel — the pictures were so engrained inside of me, but the words and the way the pictures fit together to tell a story… those were new. I remember reading comics at the magazine rack of the grocery store we went to every Thursday, while my mom and my sisters did the shopping. Again, something that today’s parents would frown on, but it was great. I remember foil covers and Thanos (I love Thanos, still do) and the death of Superman and the return of Superman and Spider-clones and Batman’s back being broken and a world where Xavier was killed by his future son who would never be born and watching Warren Ellis turn Thor into a plain-speaking shirtless guy who fucked the Enchantress and desroyed my young mind and Iron Man turning evil and, then, turning into a teenager and Xavier turning evil and Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld returning to take over the Marvel heroes and minus one issues and Ladronn and the first time I read a Joe Casey comic and Grant Morrison’s JLA and The Authority kicking off my favourite time in comics and Marvel Boy was the first comic I ever ‘got.’ I got the subtext and the hidden meanings and something beyond just the text and that was a great feeling. My whole life has been comics. Not just comics, but they’ve been there the entire time. That’s always set me apart. I’ve never understood people who talk about giving them up (do you give up film or music or books?) — but I’ve also never understood the burning desire for acceptance by the rest of the world (do you need people to approve of your films or music or books?). They were just there… them not being there doesn’t make sense, nor does the idea that they shouldn’t be there. It always seemed a little pathetic to me on both counts. Pathetic that someone could think that comics were something to give up, to leave in childhood; pathetic to claw and beg for acceptance that’s not needed. I’m a terribly insecure person at times, but I’ve rarely been insecure about comics. It just seems so absurd to me. They’ve always been there… it’s the most natural thing in the world…
Random Thought! That, and no job I ever have will probably be cooler to people than comic book reviewer was.
Random Thought! Yeah… I’ve got nothing except self-absorbed bullshit. Sorry about that. Er… “Random Thought! I bet Captain America’s dick got bigger because of the Super-Soldier Serum…” or something. Whatever.
Random Thought! I’ve debated the comments situation for this final column. It feels like it be cruel to keep them off. But, leaving them on seems like an exercise in collecting praise and well-wishes and all of the dumb bullshit that comes with leaving. So, you’ll have to forgive me for keeping them off. It would be hypocritical to turn them on now.
Random Thought! Thank you, Jonah. I never saw Comics Should be Good as Comic Book Resources the way most people do, but it is part of CBR. And Jonah has been good to me. If you read my response to Tucker in the Blogathon, you’ll know that my CBR pay made a big difference during some incredibly tough times. All Jonah did was hire me, let me write what I would write, and send out a cheque every month. I would always get so pissed off when people would suggest that there was some behind the scenes directives or payola or anything when it came to reviews. I don’t know how many creators called or e-mailed to complain about me — I really don’t and that’s because Jonah kept us separate. We wrote our reviews with no input, no directives, not a fucking word. And, later, after I left and I said some less than kind things about CBR in about the meanest way possible, do you know what Jonah’s reaction was? He said he didn’t agree or like what I said, but I was free to say it. On a CBR-hosted blog. That’s class and exactly what you want out of a person who runs a site like CBR.
Random Thought! Thank you, Joe. I was really nervous before the Splash Page Podcast with Joe Casey, convinced that he hated me. It’s a weird thing to speak to/meet someone whose work you’ve written so much about — and so honestly. I’ve always called Casey’s great stuff great and his shit stuff shit, and that could easily be uncomfortable. But, it wasn’t. It was all in my head. He was nice and did our show for, what, three hours? And, then, when I quit CBR, he approached me with the idea of a big Q&A to mark my departure. When I said I was only quitting the review team, not CSBG, he suggested the weekly Q&A instead. He answered every single question, too. And I asked some dickish/rude questions. I tried to dress them up, but you could see what I was getting at. And he answered them all. Never said a bad word about it, just answered them and asked for more. Never said anything about what I said about his writing either. Again, class.
Random Thought! Thank you, Brian. He asked me to write for the blog and gave me free reign. And I took it and he just encouraged me. He would send me crude e-mails and laugh about stupid shit with me. I would say that I’ll miss that, but I don’t think it will stop. I hope it won’t.
Random Joe Casey Question! Back when it was first announced, I asked about SEX and you swatted me away, claiming ‘fatigue’ and ‘not wanting to talk about it’ as if those were valid excuses for not answering questions asked mere hours after the title was announced. Well, the solicitation for the first issue is out and, honestly, our time together is coming to an end soon, and it’s kind of now or never to drop a little knowledge on the Random Thoughts readers about SEX… well before the final order cut-off date, I might add. In whatever terms you’d like, what’s SEX? What’s it about? Where are you coming from with it?
Random Joe Casey Answer! Well, I guess at this point, there’s been plenty of PR to go around. Feels like I’ve been talking a lot of SEX lately. Here’s something I haven’t been saying in a lot of the press I’ve been doing… there’s an improvisational style of writing comicbooks that I use for more of the surreal, whacked out projects — like GØDLAND or CHARLATAN BALL or even some of my recent WFH gigs — where I just empty out my head onto the page and see what happens And for the most part, I let the characters and whatever shit I’ve got on my mind at the time lead me through the narrative, as opposed to vice versa. It’s a less controlled way of writing stories. For the SEX series, I was curious to apply that same approach to something that wasn’t so over-the-top wacky, something that was a little less cosmic, a little less surreal. Despite the title and some of the more salacious marketing that we’ve put out there, it’s really a much more understated series than the title implies. But readers will hopefully find all that out on their own. I honestly have no fucking clue how this series will go down… there’s every chance it’ll go down like a goddamn lead balloon in the current marketplace. It might piss a lot of people off, for any number of reasons. It might disappoint people that, over the last few years, have come to expect a certain kind of comicbook from me (although I think readers who liked what I did on WILDCATS back in the day will dig what I’m doing here). And, quite honestly, I’m nervous as hell about it. And not in a good way, either. But I think it’s a creative experiment worth doing. Format-wise, it’s more of a follow-up to BUTCHER BAKER, since there’ll be some significant backmatter material in every issue, which the readers of that series seemed to get a perverse kick out of. It’ll be a different approach than I took in BUTCHER BAKER backup stuff, but it’ll still serve to hopefully give readers their three bucks’ worth of the entertainment.
Thanks for reading.
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