Joe the Barbarian
“… No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the lifesensation of any given epoch of one’s existence – that which makes its truth, its meaning – its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream – alone …” (Joseph Conrad, from Heart of Darkness)
People do a lot of year end reviews, but I never have. This week I was forced to confront a year of reading all at once when I decided to clear the growing pile of comic books next to my bed. Continue Reading »
“I’d like to change the world, but I end up as entertainment. Whereas all you lovers” — he spoke the word contemptuously — “who couldn’t give a fuck about the world as long as you’re feeling passionate, you’re the ones who make the cities burn and the nations tumble. You’re the engines in the tragedy, and most of the time you don’t even know it.” (Clive Barker, from Imajica)
“Concentration-camp existence … taught us that the whole world is really like a concentration camp,” wrote Tadeusz Borowski. “The weak work for the strong, and if they have no strength or will to work – then let them steal, or let them die. … There is no crime that a man will not commit in order to save himself. And, having saved himself, he will commit crimes for increasingly trivial reasons; he will commit them first out of duty, then from habit, and finally – for pleasure. … The world is ruled by neither justice nor morality; crime is not punished nor virtue rewarded, one is forgotten as quickly as the other. The world is ruled by power …” (Otto Friedrich, from The End of the World)
They hated Thomas for his courage, his brief moment as a bird. Everybody has dreams about flying. Thomas flew.
One of his dreams came true for just a second, just enough to make it real. (Sherman Alexie, from “This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona”)
“It is something so monstrous it is past sin and becomes necessity,” he said. (Greg Bear, from “Petra”)
When we were driving out of town I said, “I hate the corpses of empires, they stink as nothing else. They stink so badly that I cannot believe that even in life they were healthy.” “I do not think you can convince mankind,” said my husband, “that there is not a certain magnificence about a great empire in being.” “Of course there is,” I admitted, “but the hideousness outweighs the beauty. You are not, I hope, going to tell me that they impose law on lawless people. Empires live by the violation of law.” (Rebecca West, from Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)
“Beware of faking: people will believe you. People believe those who sell lotions that make lost hair grow back. They sense instinctively that the salesman is putting together truths that don’t go together, that he’s not being logical, that he’s not speaking in good faith. But they’ve been told that God is mysterious, unfathomable, so to them incoherence is the closest thing to God. The farfetched is the closest thing to a miracle.” (Umberto Eco, from Foucault’s Pendulum)
It’s been quite a while, but it’s time once again for the world’s most behind-the-times comics reviews! We’ll start with a couple of reviews that had been sitting in the “Drafts” folder for a few months, and then launch into some reviews that are considerably more up-to-date– but not too up-to-date. I have a reputation to uphold.
Beneath the fold: Ambush Bug, Atomic Robo, Batman and Robin, Doom Patrol, and MarkAndrew’s personal favorite, Joe the Barbarian.
“They get a thrill here – that’s why they come. They take stupendous joy in the indignation and compassion they feel on account of these mangled stiffs; it’s their roller coaster. I know this,” he said, making a tragic incision across the abdomen of an adolescent girl, “and I’ll tell you why. Since I’m here all the time and take apart fifty of these things a day, I can’t feel for each and every one of them. I’m not God. I don’t have that much in me. The ladies’ aides and the social critics sense immediately that I couldn’t give a goddamn about all this inedible meat, and that’s just what they want. They know they’re better than the miserable bastards they try to help, but they really enjoy thinking that they’re better than the rest of us, who aren’t as ‘compassionate’ as they are.” He turned to Peter Lake again, and said, “You notice how often that very word escapes their lips. They use it like a cudgel. Beware.” (Mark Helprin, from Winter’s Tale)
The last two weeks have felt like two years, and it looks like the comics internet is going through a dry spell. Let’s throw some pity lovin’ at it this week and hope it picks up its game in the future, shall we?
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What was the best last issue you ever read? Last, as in, final. As in, there were no more to follow. As in, the opposite of first.