Friday, March 26, 2004

 
One More Thing: Goodbye, Shep -- As if this week's mutliple teeth-bashings-in hadn't been enough, I received word this morning that Shep died on Wednesday.

Shep was Jerry Shepard, a man I knew and worked with (and sometimes for) at a number of radio stations over the course of my radio career. He was a total original, full of piss and vinegar, and one of the few decent, honest people I ever met in a management position at a commercial radio station.

When I found out I had diabetes five years ago, it was Shep I first turned to for advice. He had struggled with the disease for years by then, himself, and his technique of getting his best advice through to me can best be described as "shock and awe," telling and showing me the ravages of the disease in such a devastatingly blunt and immediate manner that it impacted on me like a heart attack. Whenever I think about my diabetes, and dealing with it, I always -- always remember every second of that moment.

Well, Shep, you were an amazing man and I think my life -- and certainly my career -- were better for knowing you. You were kind and patient to me when I was a rookie, and you were a beloved friend and colleague once I'd found my feet in broadcasting. I never told you this when you were alive, and I never knew how true it was until now, but I loved you and I loved knowing you and the world is a great deal shittier for losing you. Goodbye, Shep.

From the Glens Falls, NY Post-Star

Francis ‘Jerry’ Shepard Jr.
Published on 3/26/2004

FORT EDWARD -- Francis “Jerry” Shepard Jr. 73, of Notre Dame Street, Fort Edward, passed away Wednesday, March 24, 2004, at Glens Falls Hospital. Born Aug. 13, 1930, in Fort Edward, he was the son of the late Francis and Margaret (Lapoint) Shepard. Jerry served his country in the Korean Conflict, in the United States Navy.

Shep started his career in radio as a sales representative in Glens Falls ,where he worked for WWSC in the 60s, then relocated to Connecticut and worked in sales for several radio stations, Shep then moved back to Glens Falls where he worked in sales until his retirement. His greatest enjoyments where the Saratoga Race Track, New York Giants Football and supporting Fort Edward High School Sports, he was also active in the Fort Edward Lions Club.

Besides his parents he was predeceased by his stepmother, Madeline Shepard; and his sister, Shirley Smoller. He is survived by his wife Anne; his son, Daryl Shepard and his wife, Patti, and their four children, Maxine, Jared, Scott and Dan, also his son, Jason Shepard; and several nieces, nephews and cousins. There will be no calling hours at Jerry’s request.

Burial will take place with full military honors at 1 p.m. Monday March 29, at Gerald B. H. Soloman Saratoga National Cemetery 200 Duell Road Schuylerville NY 12871. Arrangements are under the direction of M.B. Kilmer Funeral Home, 82 Broadway, Fort Edward.

Donations may be made in Jerry’s memory to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 6 Automation Lane Albany, NY 12205 or the Fort Edward Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 226 Schuyler St., Fort Edward, NY 12828.

 
This Sick Strange Darkness -- This week saw the beginning of a total overhaul of my family's daily schedule, with my wife taking on a new shift at her job and me picking up the slack in terms of taking care of our kids. What this means for the immediate future is a hiatus for the ADD Blog, while I adjust to the new situation and devote the necessary time to the kids. Sign up for the ADD Blog Yahoo Group (link in the menu bar at right) to stay on top of my dramatic return, when I shall ride in when needed most and least expected, with new power to grant boons.

While I'm gone, ponder these particularly good lyrics from Blink 182's song I Miss You:

Hello there, the angel from my nightmare
The shadow in the background of the morgue
The unsuspecting victim of darkness in the valley
We can live like Jack and Sally if we want
Where you can always find me
We'll have Halloween on Christmas
And in the night we'll wish this never ends
We'll wish this never ends

(I miss you I miss you)
(I miss you I miss you)

Where are you and I'm so sorry
I cannot sleep I cannot dream tonight
I need somebody and always
This sick strange darkness
Comes creeping on so haunting every time
And as I stared I counted
Webs from all the spiders
Catching things and eating their insides
Like indecision to call you
and hear your voice of treason
Will you come home and stop this pain tonight
Stop this pain tonight

Don't waste your time on me you're already
The voice inside my head (miss you miss you)
Don't waste your time on me you're already
The voice inside my head (miss you miss you)

Don't waste your time on me you're already
The voice inside my head (I miss you miss you)
Don't waste your time on me you're already
The voice inside my head (I miss you miss you)

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

 
Tony Moore Off Walking Dead -- Well, this sucks.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

 
New Hornschemeier -- I'm very excited by an announcement today that Paul Hornschemeier is releasing a new comic through AdHouse Books:

Return of the Elephant by Paul Hornschemeier -- A 48-page comic that tells an eerily quiet story of a solitary man and the ulterior motives involved in a visit from a longtime friend of the family.

That sounds like something that'llbe right up my alley, both playing to Hornschemeier's strengths and offering the chance for innovation and a pushing forward of his art. Can't wait to see it.

In addition, AdHouse also announced:

The AdHouse Books Free Comic Book Day Comic Book -- A 32-page themed comic with stories by Joel Priddy and Scott Morse

...and...

One Step After Another by Fermin Solis -- A 40-page comic imported from the alternative comics movement happening in Spain

AdHouse says the first of these comics ships in July, with the release of The AdHouse Books Free Comic Book Day Comic Book on July 3rd.

 
Ultimate Embarrassment -- You know, this is really a disgrace. I bought the discounted Ultimates DVD at Toys R Us this past weekend, and not only did it really get me excited about the title again, but my kids and even my non-comics reading wife were interested in the story.

When The Ultimates debuted, it looked like the natural inheritor to the legacy of the glory days of The Authority, written and drawn by two of the book's strongest talents. Months and months of delayed issues of The Ultimates diminished the buzz on the book, and seemed especially grating given that The Authority as drawn by Bryan Hitch mostly shipped on-time.

Personal problems, time-intensive modern artistic techniques, blah-fucking-blah. DO THE GODDAMNED WORK, or don't be surprised when people no longer give a flying fuck about what was once one of the most-anticipated and talked-about comics on the stands.

 


Peter Bagge -- One of the most prominent alternative cartoonists of the 1990s has reinvented himself recently with investigative strips and essays that see print annually as Hate Annuals, always one of the most dense and interesting comics in any given year. He spared a few minutes to answer the Five Questions.

Your alternative comic Hate is now a series of annuals, one of the most fascinating aspects of which is your political, cultural and social commentary and journalism. What do you get from those efforts that you didn't get from plain ol' cartooning?

It allows me to run off at the mouth in a way that I can't do in a comic strip. I currently am doing regular strips for REASON Magazine, and it's very hard to get my point across sometimes in a comic strip format. I wish they'd let me just write an illustrated article sometimes like I used to do for Suck.com!

With Hate only appearing once a year these days, what's a day in the life of Pete Bagge like?

I'm still trapped in my dungeon/studio all day working on countless projects -- the latest being a regular "Bat Boy" comic strip for the Weekly World News!

Which presidential candidate would Buddy Bradley be voting for, and why?

Seeing how he has a brain, Buddy would vote for whomever the Democrats wind up nominating to oppose President Bush, even if that means going through the trouble of registering.

What's you take on the overall state of the comics industry at the moment?

While I'm pleased to see that comics are making inroads in books stores via the graphic novel route, I'm very upset at the shrinking demand for the traditional comic book format, which is by far my favorite medium to work in.

What does the phrase "Make Mine Marvel" bring to mind?

A paycheck.

Get the lowdown on Bagge's comix at Fantagraphics.com.

Monday, March 22, 2004

 
Letters to An Accidental Vegetarian -- Here's a sampling of the feedback I've received since I began posting about my conversion to a meat-free lifestyle...

Colin says:

I e-mailed you when you went veggie, and have been following your progress on your blog. The new links you posted were helpful for me, as those links of course spread out into even more links. Thanks.

I'm a bit surprised at how hard your wife is taking your "conversion" (for lack of a better word, though I do think it's appropiate). Usually it's the other way around. Luckily, my wife and I went vegetarian, then vegan, together.

It's made it a lot easier on both of us. We're both the products of southern families, meat-eaters to the core. I can only guess what my father (now deceased) would have to say about it. Of, course, he might still be alive if not for his horrific diet and those damned cigarettes. I honestly don't know if I even knew any vegetarians before I became one myself. Just a few years ago, I myself used to trot out that imbecilic "meat-eating is natural" argument.

I understand the dilemma of dealing with those who are not sensitive to the issue at all. My in-laws and all but a couple of friends are all so threatened by this lifestyle that the jokes and comments start in almost any time food is discussed. Fortunately, I have at least a vague idea of what I'm talking about, which of course they don't, and I've never been afraid to talk shit. I also don't try to convert those around me. Not because I don't believe in what I'm doing but because I think most people prefer to wallow in their own ignorance and accept everything they've ever been told at face value. Why waste my breath. If I tell people I don't smoke, drink, do drugs, eat meat, etc. all I get are stunned expressions and defenses of these behaviors. Even though they asked me and I don't give a shit what anyone does. The unknown is the enemy, I guess.

So anyway, keep fighting the good fight. In this world all we can do is be responsible for ourselves. I'm not the most optimistic guy in the world, but there is definitely a meat-less buzz in the air. It sounds corny, but we're the wave of the future. Some things just won't go away once they've been brought to the fore. Gay marriage, vegetarianism, James Kolchalka.

Anyway, that's it. If you got this far, thanks for reading. I think I've said more here on this subject than I have to anyone but my wife. But this does excite me. Your blog reaches a lot of people. Maybe seeing someone who's not a health nut, an enviro-fanatic, a leftist-anarchist-communist-whatever doing this will make some people think about this subject. A little thought is all it takes.


Logan writes:

I guess I'll have to look into the "no meat" thing some more. Don't know what others are saying, but I enjoy the pieces on your new lifestyle, very informative, and it's great to see that you don't take it so seriously that you can laugh at yourself about it. I think that helps keep it from being too preachy. Anyway, I for one enjoy it. Thanks again!

From Troy:

I've been reading about your vegetarianism, and while I'm not a strict vegetarian, I have cut out most of the meat in my diet (I was very seriously overweight, and over the last two years, I've lost 150 lbs so far, mostly by eating a lot of beans). As you noted, you have to make sure you still get plenty of protein (hence the beans in my case).

One side effect I found with the lack of protein is that my hair started thinning out (now that I'm cognizant of the protein factor, it's back to its full luxurious glory...cough cough...). Just be careful, man.


Shawn checks in...

I've been a vegetarian for about eight or nine years now. My fiancé has been one for about 7 years. I also turned my father onto vegetarianism about four years ago. He lost about 50 pounds and feels healthier than ever.

The important thing is to do the research yourself and not to listen to the would be experts out there. Your a smart guy, so you can decide for yourself.


My thanks to everyone who has written in with their advice and experience, and I continue to encourage your suggestions and ideas -- just e-mail me any time you feel like it.

 

The Week in Comics -- Here's a rundown of noteworthy new comics and graphic novels arriving in stores on Wednesday...man, am I ever picking up a lot of floppies this week.

COMING WEDNESDAY MARCH 24TH

AVATAR PRESS

ALAN MOORE'S HYPOTHETICAL LIZARD PREVIEW $1.99 -- Alan Moore's projects for Avatar have ranged from the inconsequential (Magic Words) to the essential (The Courtyard). I haven't seen enough of this one yet to know which way it'll lean, but you can view a few pages here.

TOP SHELF

COMIC BOOK ARTIST VOL 2 #3 (RES) 7.50 -- Darwyn Cooke is featured in this must-buy issue. Cooke is one of the best and most interesting cartoonists currently plying his trade in corporate superhero comics, and putting most everyone else doing it to absolute shame. Find out why and how in this issue.

DARK HORSE

FREAKS OF THE HEARTLAND #2 $2.99 -- The first issue didn't move a story along much, but it was well-done, atmospheric stuff with gorgeous artwork. Writer Steve Niles rarely disappoints, and this looks to be another winner.

HELLBOY THE CORPSE ONE SHOT $.25 -- Buy a couple of dozen and give them to everyone you know who has never told you "I hate them damn funnybooks."

IDW

WAKE THE DEAD #5 (Of 5) (MR) 3.99 -- To quote a noted comics critic, "Writer Steve Niles rarely disappoints, and this looks to be another winner."

AIT-PLANETLAR

DEMO #5 (Of 12) (MR) $2.95 -- The nice thing about a series of unconnected stories like this is that every issue is a good jumping-on point. There are brief character portraits, but each one so far has been compelling and I'd recommend you give the series a try.

DC COMICS

CAPER #6 (Of 12) (MR) $2.95 -- The first issue of this storyline, last month, really grabbed me with its realistic depiction of celebrity life and some of the best John Severin art I've ever seen. Looking forward to the rest of this excellent series.

HUMAN TARGET #8 (MR) $2.95 -- One of the best monthly series you may very well not be reading.

OUTSIDERS #10 $2.50 -- It speaks to my profound affection for Tom Raney's art that I am stiff buying this. Other than the "Two Metamorphos" issue, I haven't cared much for the writing, and the non-Raney issues were excruciating.

SMAX #5 (Of 5) $2.95 -- The fantastic (in more than one sense of the word) tie-in to Top 10 concludes. Alan Moore really surprised me with this one, pulling out all the stops to make me care about what I thought would be a diverting spinoff at best.

WILDCATS VERSION 3.0 #19 (MR) $2.95 -- Jesus, I want Nguyen back on the art already. This series had a years-long run of interesting stories coupled with excellent artwork, but the past month or three has seen the quality of the visuals -- and my level of interest -- drop a bit.

IMAGE

INVINCIBLE #9 $2.95 -- Hey, Hellboy, Astro City and Savage Dragon fans! Over here! Good, fun superhero comics!

SAVAGE DRAGON #114 2.95 -- Ooh, here's another one.

WANTED #3 (Of 6) 2.99 -- And another one!

MARVEL

HULK GRAY #6 (Of 6) 3.50 -- Too many ads, and a very awkward looking Iron Man were among the elements that made this mini-series suffer by comparison to its earlier related projects by the same creative team, Spider-Man: Blue and Daredevil: Yellow. Maybe once it's collected in hardcover, it'll read better.

That's it for me -- check out another point of view (two, actually) on this week's new releases over at Previews Review.

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