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Monday, February 28, 2005

Comics For SALE or TRADE -- If you'd like to buy or arrange a trade, drop me an e-mail to arrange a trade or purchase...if you're interested in trading, please send a list of what you have to trade along with your inquiry. Thanks!


30 Days of Night Annual 2004
30 Days of Night Return to Barrow #1-4
30 Days of Night FCBD Comic
303 Preview, #1 (Ennis/Burrows)
Action Comics #801 (Tom Raney art)
Aleister Arcane #1-3 (Niles/IDW/COMPLETE SET)
Authority Vol. 1 #27 (Art Adams art)
Authority Vol. 2 #10-13
Authority Annual 2000 (Casey/Hamner)
Authority: Kev #1 (Ennis)
Authority: Scorched Earth One-Shot
Batman: Death and the Maidens #1-9 + Detective #783 prequel (COMPLETE SET; Rucka/Janson)
Batman: Gotham Knights #1 (Ellis/Jim Lee Batman backup)
Catwoman #25-31 (Brubaker/Gulacy)
Criminal Macabre #1-5 (Niles; COMPLETE SET)
Daredevil: Father #1 (Quesada story/art; COMPLETE SET, ha ha!)
Dark Days #1-6 (Steve Niles 30 Days of Night sequel) COMPLETE SET
Day of Judgment #1-5 (Johns; COMPLETE SET)
Deathblow #0, 1-3 (Jim Lee/Tim Sale)
Detective Comics #801-802 (Dave Lapham)
DC One Million Unofficial Sketchbook (SIGNED by Val Semeiks)
Divine Right #1 (Jim Lee)
Elric #1 (Pacific Comics)
Elric #1 (DC Comics; Simonson art)
Empire 1-2 (Image), 1-6 (DC) (COMPLETE SET)
Freaks of the Heartland #1-6 (Niles; COMPLETE SET)
Green Lantern: Rebirth #1-4 (return of Hal Jordan)
Hairball One-Shot (Niles)
Haven #1-9 and Haven: Arrival and Haven: Anathema (COMPLETE SET, Olivetti art)
Hellspawn #15 (Niles/Templesmith)
Hulk Smash #1-2 (Ennis; COMPLETE SET)
Hunter/Killer #0 (Waid/Silvestri)
Iron Man #1-2 (Ellis)
Just Imagine Stan Lee and Walt Simonson's Sandman (Prestige Format)
Kingpin #1-7 (COMPLETE SET; Bruce Jones/Sean Phillips/Klaus Janson)
Last Train to Deadsville #1-3 (Niles)
Love Me Tenderloin One-Snot (Niles)
Lunch Hour Comix #1 (Robert Ullman)
Marvel Age #14 (Byrne interview)
Mortal Souls #1-3 (COMPLETE SET; Steven Grant)
My Flesh is Cool Preview and #1-3 (COMPLETE SET; Steven Grant)
The Nail #1-4 (Niles; COMPLETE SET)
Onslaught: Marvel Universe
Outsiders #7-10, 13-15 (Tom Raney art)
Para #1, 3-5 (Stuart Moore)
Powers Vol. 1 #37 (final issue), Vol. 2 #1-8
Punisher #2 (Ennis/Dillon Spider-Man guest stars)
Quit City One-Shot (Ellis)
Red #1-3 (Ellis/Hamner; COMPLETE SET)
Robocop vs. Terminator #1-4 (COMPLETE SET; Miller/Simonson)
Saga of the Swamp Thing #16, 17, 19
Sandman #64
Scars Preview, #1-6, and #1 signed by artist Jacen Burrows (8 issues total; COMPLETE SET)
Secret War #1-3 (Bendis; #1 is 2nd Print)
Shattered Image #1-4 (COMPLETE SET; Busiek miniseries)
Spider-Man: The Lost Years #0, 1-3 (COMPLETE SET; JRJR art)
Standoff Parts 1-3 (COMPLETE SET of Alan Davis-drawn story-arc, includes
Thor #58, Iron Man #64 and Avengers #63)
Strangehaven #15
Stormwatch Vol. 2 #6, 11 (Ellis/Hitch/Neary)
Superman: Strength #1 (Scott McCloud; Prestige Format)
Supreme Power #7-15
Thing/She-Hulk Long Night One-Shot (Hitch art)
Timeslip: Avengers One-Shot
Thor Rough Cut #1 (JR Jr art reproduced in pencils only)
Thor #55 (Tom Raney art)
Ultimate Spider-Man #41-72 (uninterrupted run, every issue from 41 to 72)
Uncanny X-Men Annual 1995 (Bryan Hitch art)
Uncanny X-Men #133 (2nd print; Claremont/Byrne/Austin)
Wake the Dead #1-5 (Niles; COMPLETE SET)
Wolverine #22-25 (Millar/JR Jr/Janson)
X-Men #55 (Onslaught)
X-Men Collectible Classics #2 (Chrome cover, deluxe reprint of Days of Future Past from Uncanny #141-142)


Underbelly by Dave Cooper (hardcover)

Comics and The Internets -- Just a quickie response to Paul O'Brien's new Ninth Art column on internet fandom. Firstly, I believe that close to half of the readers of comics sites online do read his reviews, because O'Brien is one of the best critics around. I have zero interest in the X-Men past Astonishing, Morrison's New X-Men, the Claremont/Byrne/Austin days and taking my kids to the movies, but I still find his reviews entertaining as hell, even if I do think he should expand his horizons for both his own and his readers' benefit. But that's just me being an elitist prick, as usual.

Also, I think it's funny that Bendisada would cast aspersions at the comics internet by saying only 10,000 people read it, when that's about one-tenth of the audience for the best-selling corporate comics. How many opinion polls sample that high? I very much doubt 30 million people are polled ever in the U.S., even during a Presidential election cycle. So, they're kidding themselves if they think the opinions of 10,000 people don't matter. But, it's Marvel, they're always kidding themselves.

As you were.

ADD's Oscar Wrap-Up -- I saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and liked it a lot. Glad to hear its writer won something.

I think I recognize Clive Owen when I see him, although I always think he's the guy from The Practice until he says something.

And yeah, that's it. Didn't watch a moment of The Oscars. Being 39, I just don't have that much time left to waste in my life. Tick, tick, tick...

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Rambling Saturday Evening Thoughts -- Just a weekend full of rambling, I guess.

Well, one continuing problem with this blog has been that for some reason, the bottom of the blog was getting cut short, ending wherever the right sidebar did. Using my puny HTML-Fu, I was able to finally fix this problem, by inserting an invisible image that is really freaking long into the sidebar. But at least the entire blog is visible again now. If anyone has a more elegant solution, please do e-mail me.

As expected, my wife spent the day helping her sister -- she's still doing that, in fact -- and took our daughter with her to help. That left me and my son Aaron to pal around through the day. I took him to his favourite seafood restaurant for lunch, where he pigged out on fish and chips, and as much of my shrimp, clams and scallops as I could foist off on him in the name of better health.

After lunch, we went to Troy, a small city near Albany that boasts exactly one comics shop, and a wonky one at that -- Aquilonia is the place where I found a mint condition of the incredibly rare Rubber Blanket #2 right on the stands at cover price, thereby completing my collection and forever cementing my concept that this is a shop where you can occasionally find something really extraordinary, if you just look around a little.

I didn't find anything that spectacular today, but my son picked up a back issue of Young Justice, a series he loves in large part because of its Teen Titans connections; he got #3, a halloween-themed issue that he was quite delighted to read on the ride home. He also wanted and received a Green Arrow action figure from the Total Justice line of the mid-1990s. The Connor Hawke incarnation of GA set us back a startlingly reasonable six bucks, exactly what he went for when the toy was new. Checking the date on the back of the package, we determined that Green Arrow had likely been sitting there in the shop waiting for Aaron to discover him since my son was 2 years old. He seemed impressed by that thought.

As I wrap this up, my son is here in the living room with me, still playing with Green Arrow (along with a batch of Titans figures from the current cartoon) and just finished watching Static Shock on Cartoon Network. We're waiting for Teen Titans Go and Justice League Unlimited to get underway at 8 tonight, as both have been quite good as of late, entertaining the hell out of both of us.

Aaron still wants to know why there's no Static action figure. Apathetic, passive racism is my theory.

Rambling Saturday Morning Notes You're Just as Well Off Not Reading -- Well, last night was a bit strange. Usually my wife and I spend some family time with our kids on Friday nights, as I have them by myself in the evenings during the week while she works. Immediately after work last night, though, she went over to her sister's to help her family move into their new apartment -- same complex, different apartment. So, on my wife's schedule, that means she worked until 1 AM Thursday night/Friday morning, then had to be back at work at 11 AM Friday morning (her Friday schedule is weird anyway), then she had go directly from work at 4 PM to her sister's, where she helped haul furniture and whatnot until about 1:30 this (Saturday) morning, when I woke up and noticed she was crawling into bed with me.

The weirdness was multi-faceted. As I say, usually we are all together on Friday nights, but since she was off doing that, it was just me and the kids, and my buddy Marshall came over with a frozen pizza and we watched some of Spaced on DVD (thanks again, Leo!), laughing our asses off at the last three episodes of Series One and the first two of Series Two. Stayed up a bit later than is usual, and I let the kids stay up; my daughter watched a bit of Spaced with us, then retreated to my bedroom to watch cartoons on the TV in there with her brother. I was glad Marshall came over, as he usually doesn't come out so late in the evening (he just turned 40 and I just turned 39, so, yes, 9:30 is, pathetically, "late in the evening" for us both), but also because he returned to me the one object I possess that I actually consider to have magick in it, the first, British printing of Alan Moore's Voice of the Fire, which was nicely reprinted in hardcover by Top Shelf last year.

As to why I consider it a magickal object, well, there's a bit to that, skip to the end, I thought it had been lost, and Marshall found it in his stacks of magickal books and other ephemera, so, I am thrilled to have it back.

Anyone who enjoys Alan Moore's comics, by the way, would do well to read that book in whatever iteration they can find it -- he clearly enjoys the freedom to paint his entire canvas in words in Voice of the Fire, and by the very last chapter, you may become convinced, as I am, that writing it was an actual act of magick for Moore, one that will have a definite and measurable impact on your own consciousness when you experience the work, especially -- nah, that would be telling.

Oh, I promised strangeness, didn't I?

When my wife has had little sleep -- as I hope I have established above -- she tends to sleep poorly, waking up often and tossing and turning. Twice between 1:30 AM and 4:20 AM she woke up asking where our son is -- you may recall she also did this the morning I found out Dr. Thompson was dead -- and I had to reassure her that he was asleep in his bed and all, indeed, was right with the world. The second time she did this, this morning, she in fact was interrupting a nightmare I was having -- related to stresses of the past half-year and intensely personal, humiliating and frustrating, was this nightmare.

Now, in the normal course of events, I might have forgotten it before even waking, but Lora woke me up with her Aaron-is-missing routine right at a key and horrible moment in my own bad dream, and instead of falling back to sleep and forgetting it, I was, rather, more than a little shaken from the memory of the whole freaky experience I was having in my head, and damn if this day isn't off to a pretty lousy start.

Hey, I told you you'd be better off not reading this. I just needed to get it out of my head, and there it is.

Ah, Saturday is ahead of me -- and first things first, Lora is supposed to go back to her sister's to help them finish moving, first thing after she wakes up. Well, you try to enjoy your Saturday, anyway, won't you?

Friday, February 25, 2005

Cheers for Five Years -- Happy Anniversary today to My Favourite Palindrome.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Random Thrusday Night Blogging -- I'm getting sleepy and really should go to bed. The huge mug of green tea I had about an hour ago made me feel sleepy and contented with its warmth, but the caffeine is probably keeping me awake.

Only days remain for you to enter our ULTIMATE STREET ANGEL CONTEST, so I hope you'll click over, carefully read the instructions, and enter to win comics and original art from one of my absolute favourite comics.

Finally, (tea...making me...sleepier...) I've still got a batch of comics and stuff for sale or, preferably, trade -- take a look at my list (scroll to the last message in the thread for the latest version of the list) and see if there's anything you need, won't you?

All right, nighty-night. Hopefully I'll see you in the morning with a pretty good-sized site update and some new reviews.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Problems with the Direct Market -- An ongoing frustration with the direct market, that is to say, most comics shops, is the way they limit their customers' perceptions of the industry by focusing so narrowly on one genre (superheroes).

Eric Reynolds discusses this quite eloquently in this letter to the Comics Reporter website.

Basically, my perspective is, if I can't find the latest offerings from Fantagraphics, Drawn and Quarterly, Alternative Comics, Top Shelf, or Slave Labor in a given comics shop, it's not a comics shop. It's a superhero store. And when I want to go grocery shopping, I don't want to go to "The House of Grape Jelly," I want to go to a goddamned supermarket that has the fullest selection of product possible.

Get it?

Yet Another Goddamned Meme -- This one nicked from the LiveJournal of Andrew Foster.

1. Copy this whole list into your journal.
2. Bold the things that are true about you.
3. Add something that is true about you.

01. I miss somebody right now.
02. I don't watch much TV these days.
03. I love olives
04. I own lots of books.
06. I wear glasses or contact lenses.
07. I love to play video games.
08. I've tried marijuana
09. I've watched porn movies.
10. I have been in a threesome.
11. I have been the psycho-ex in a past relationship.
12. I believe honesty is usually the best policy.
13. I love ice cream.
14. I like and respect Al Sharpton
15. I curse sometimes.
16. I have changed a lot mentally over the last year.
17. I have a hobby. I just go to school for it.
18. I've been told I have a nice smile.
19. I carry my knife/razor everywhere with me.
20. I'm partially TOTALLY smart.
21. I've never broken someone's bones.
22. I have a secret that I am ashamed to reveal.
23. I hate the rain.
24. I'm paranoid at times.
25. I would get plastic surgery if it were 100% safe, free of cost, and scar-free.
26. I need money right now.
27. I love sushi.
28. I talk really, really fast.
29. I have fresh breath in the morning.
30. I have long hair.
31. I have lost money in Las Vegas.
32. I have at least one brother and/or one sister.
33. I was born in a country outside of the U.S.
34. I shave my legs (females) or face (males) on a regular basis.
35. I have a twin (or a triplet, or somesuch).
36. I have worn fake hair/fingernails/eyelashes in the past.
37. I couldn't survive without Caller I.D.
38. I like the way that I look sometimes.
39. I have lied to a good friend in the last 6 months.
40. I know how to cornrow.
41. I am usually pessimistic.
42. I have a lot of mood swings.
43. I think prostitution should be legalized.
44. I think Britney Spears is pretty.
45. Slept with a Suitemate.
46. I have a hidden talent.
47. I'm always hyper no matter how much sugar I have.
48. I have a lot of friends.
49. I am currently single.
50. I have pecked someone of the same sex.
51. I enjoy talking on the phone.
52. I practically live in sweatpants or PJ pants.
53. I love to shop.
54. I would rather shop than eat.
55. I would classify myself as ghetto.
56. I'm bourgie and have worn a sweater tied around my shoulders.
57. I'm obsessed with my Xanga or Livejournal.
58. I don't hate anyone. I dislike them.
59. I'm a pretty good dancer.
60. I don't think Mike Tyson raped Desiree Washington.
61. I'm completely embarrassed to be seen with my mother.
62. I have a cell phone.
63. I believe in God.
64. I watch MTV on a daily basis.
65. I have passed out drunk in the past 6 months.
66. I love drama.
67. I have never been in a real relationship before.
68. I've rejected someone before.
69. I currently have a crush/like someone.
70. I have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life.
71. I want to have children in the future.
72. I have changed a diaper before.
73. I've called the cops on a friend before.
74. I bite my nails.
75. I am a member of the Tom Green fan club.
76. I'm not allergic to anything.
77. I have a lot to learn.
78. I have been with someone at least 10 years older or younger.
79. I plan on seeing Ice Cube's newest "Friday" movie.
80. I am shy around the opposite sex.
81. I'm online 24/7, even as an away message.
82. I have at least 5 away messages saved.
83. I have tried alcohol or drugs before.
84. I have made a move on a friend's significant other or crush in the past.
85. I own the "South Park" movie.
86. I have avoided assignments at work school to be on Xanga or Livejournal.
87. When I was a kid I played "the birds and the bees" with a neighbor or chum.
88. I enjoy some country music.
89. I would die for my best friends.
90. I think that Pizza Hut has the best pizza.
91. I watch soap operas whenever I can.
92. I'm obsessive, anal retentive, and often a perfectionist.
93. I have used my sexuality to advance my career.
94. I love Michael Jackson, scandals and all.
95. I know all the words to Slick Rick's "Children's Story".
96. Halloween is awesome because you get free candy.
97. I watch Spongebob Squarepants and I like it.
98. I have dated a close friend's ex.
99. I like surveys.
100. I am happy at this moment.
101. I'm obsessed with guys.
102. I am bisexual.
103. Democrat.
104. Conservative Republican.
105. I am punk rockish.
106. I am preppy.
107. I go for older guys/girls, not younger
108. I study for tests most of the time.
109. I tie my shoelaces differently to anyone I've ever met.
110. I can work on a car.
111. I love my job.
112. I am comfortable with who I am right now.
113. I have more than just my ears pierced.
114. I walk barefoot wherever I can.
115. I have jumped off a bridge.
116. I love sea turtles.
117. I spend ridiculous amounts of money on makeup.
118. I believe in prophetic dreams.
119. I plan on achieving a major goal/dream.
120. I am proficient on a musical instrument.
121. I worked at McDonald's restaurant.
122. I hate office jobs.
123. I love sci-fi movies.
124. I've never been in love.
125. I think water rules.
126. I am going to college out of state.
127. I am adopted.
128. I like sausage.
129. I am a pyro.
130. I love the Red Sox.
131. I have thrown up from crying too much.
132. I have been intentionally hurt by people that I loved.
133. I love kisses.
134. I fall for the worst people and have been hurt every time.
135. I adore bright colors.
136. I love Dear Abby.
137. I can't live without black eyeliner.
138. I think school is awesome.
139. I think pigtails serve a purpose.
140. I don't know why the hell I just did this stupid thing.
141. I usually like covers better than originals.
142. I don’t like multi-textured ice cream (ex. Chocolate chips, nuts, marshmallows)
143. I think John Cusack is adorable.
144. I fucking hate chain theme restaurants like Applebees and TGIFridays.

Win The Comics Journal -- The best issue every year of the best magazine ever about comics is usually their Year-End issue, where the magazine's pundits, critics and columnists assess the previous year's comics output.

Now, the magazine has gotten fantastically good these past few months, but perhaps you haven't checked it out yet, because you really need to buy a goddamned clue about the comics industry it's an expensive read?

If that's the case, check out Shawn Hoke's Comics Journal Giveaway, where my buddy Shawn -- Shawn, I hope you don't mind me considering you a buddy -- anyway, he's giving away not only an issue of The Comics Journal, but the actual Year-End issue at that!

As my son would say, "Sweet!"

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

15 Ways to Make Comics Better -- There's a lot of people who want to make comics better. Here are some ways I believe that could actually be accomplished.

1. Creators: Create, always, human stories with a strong narrative voice, a clear point of view, and a reason for existing. Anything less insults the reader and devalues you as a creator.

2. Creators and publishers: Ensure high-quality reproduction at every step of the process from the creation of the artwork to the final print job. Poor reproduction removes the reader from the story. You are the ultimate advocate for the work, and for the reader. Fail them and they will flee from you.

3. Publishers: Allow corporate-owned characters who have become creatively bankrupt through mis-handling to lay fallow for a few years. There's no reason at all why Green Lantern, Iron Man, Thor, or most other second-tier characters must be published month-in and month-out. Wait until a creator or creators have solid, original ideas with which to stage a true revival rather than a lame renumbering. If you must publish these characters for trademark purposes, issue affordable, monthly reprints of landmark runs until such a time that a worthwhile new take on the character can be published.

4. Publishers: Publish complex, riveting titles like The Invisibles, Sleeper and Promethea as original graphic novels, a complete storyline published in HC every six months, with the SC to follow six months after initial HC release. If you cannot find an economic model in which to make this work, you have no business being in publishing. If you don't want to put your hands in the toilet and fix things, you shouldn't be a plumber.

5. Would-Be Publishers: Realize that no new comics company can be expected to make any money whatsoever within the first five years of its existence. If you do not have the capital shored up to protect against that fact, and do not have the confidence that your books will be of such high-quality as to ensure a large readership that builds over the first three years, then do not start your new comics company until you can meet those marketplace realities. Wishing will not make it so, and if you build it, history has shown that they will not come.

6. Publishers: No one wants your new superhero universe, American-created Manga, or fifth-week event. No one.

7. Publishers: If you cannot give away 200,000 copies for free or for a quarter, you cannot sell 10,000 for $2.95.

8. Publishers: Because you like a writer or artist, that does not mean that readers will like their work. The worst thing an editor or publisher can do is be buddies with the talent they publish. If your judgment is thus compromised, you owe it to yourself, your creators and your readers to seek out blunt, critical analysis of the quality of the work and its liklihood of success before publishing it.

9. Would-Be Publishers: If you must publish comics and are not already an established company with a well-known line and a reliable slate of books, then start your new company with one bulletproof book that is so well done and wildly entertaining that it can serve as the foundation of a steadily-growing company over the course of the next five years.

10. Creators: At all stages of the creative process, seek out the opinions and evaluations of people whose tastes and critical faculties you trust implicitly. Ask them to be brutally honest in judging your work, and accept that there is at least a grain of truth in everything they tell you, and likely a lot more than a grain.

11. Readers: Do not continue to buy and support comics that do anything less than dazzle you with their ingenuity, their quality storytelling, and their elegance of purpose and design. The only reason any publisher can continue to produce bad comics is because people buy them. Just stop.

12. Readers: Find critics whose tastes clearly intersect with your own, and follow their recommendations into places you might previously have avoided. If Critic A's explanation of why they like a book you like makes sense to you, then find a book they recommend that you haven't read, and try that one. Watch the magic happen.

13. Do not ever buy a comic book with the expectation that you will sell it at a profit later on. 99 percent of every comic book you ever will buy over the course of your life will be worth 12 cents or less within a month after you buy it. Selah.

14. Publishers: If you cannot afford a full-time publicity department that is dedicated to getting your books the maximum exposure possible, then you cannot afford to be a publisher. Hiring the talent and printing the books is no more than 50 percent of the equation that results in a successful book.

15. Readers: Go through your collection regularly, and pluck out any comics you haven't felt the need to re-read for a year or more. Set them aside, and evaluate whether you really want to spend a portion of your rent money providing space for comics you no longer want or need. Throw them out, trade them, give them away, or sell them on eBay. Make room for better comics in your home, and in your life. Make careful note of the creators and publishers who tend to create books that you are not still excited about months after you first read them. Reconsider investing your money in their books in the future. Would you return time and again to a restaurant that served you bad food? There's so much more out there, waiting to be discovered. What are you waiting for?

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Preview The Event of the Year! -- The Countdown to Countdown has begun! Click here for an exciting preview!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Comics and GNs for Sale or Trade -- Click here to view my latest list of comics and graphic novels available for sale or trade.

Hunter S. Thompson 1937-2005 -- I awoke at about 1:20 AM with a startling, breathless revelation from my wife: "There's something in here with us."

There wasn't, she was just having a nightmare that somehow crossed over into her waking life. It happens from time to time, she awakes with the certain knowledge that, well, whatever it is that she's sure of has come to pass. Last time, a month or so ago, our son was missing. He wasn't, of course, but she awoke from a dream quite sure of it, and demanding to know where he was. He was in his room, asleep, I assured her. She was just having a dream.

I wish this was a dream.

I awoke at about 1:20 AM and after assuring my wife that she was just dreaming about there being "something in here with us," (and frankly, that's not something you want to hear upon suddenly being awoken -- is there something in here with us?), I stumbled half-blind and half-awake to the bathroom (which is on a goddamned separate floor in this stupid frigging house -- thoughts I only have when being suddenly awoken like this,) and especially, and this is crucial, having to pee really, really bad.

All right, peeing completed there in the half-dark, a quick glimpse at the hamster cage there in the upstairs hall (what if it was the hamster that had made a nocturnal invasion of my wife's slumber? Nope, still there) and came downstairs. Checked quickly my e-mail, to see if any good news or letters from long-lost friends awaited. Two good pieces of news, much-needed virtual items had been secured by a friend and colleague. "Excellent, Smithers, excellent." I would have rubbed my hands together with glee, but I started poking around on blogs quickly, instead, Always checking the blogosphere, hate to miss the latest meme.

Ian Brill had the story. It kicked the shit right out of me, that headline: "The Gonzo Journalist is Gone." What? Fuck, WHAT?!?


When asked from time to time -- and it's not very often, but it does happen -- when asked who my favourite authors are, who influenced my own writing, who do I read to replenish my batteries and jumpstart my heart and blah blah fucking BLAH -- yeah, The Doktor was pretty much at the head of the list. Oh, Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert both have written criticism that makes me ache with a feeling of unworthiness, Gary Groth and Kim Thompson's energy and dedication to good comics inspire me and Tom Spurgeon's writing about comics is just goddamned sublime -- but Hunter S. Thompson was the first writer that made me want to write.

Here I would love to write at length, in startlingly lucid and convincing prose, with only the occasional burst of profanity used to laser-like effectiveness, in grand homage to the man who in a sense was the Greatest Journalist Ever (and take that Edward R. Murrow!) -- I would love to do that. But I'm not even sure I can compose a sentence now, knowing what I know, feeling quite like I've been punched in the gut and kicked in the head and knowing that Herr Doktor left this sad, sick fucking world never seeing any brighter days ahead, never knowing if this dark cloud that has descended over our times will ever fucking lift. Hell, is this why he took his own life? Did he see the darkness and the lies and the blindness of a nation that he loved and find himself unable to process it all any further? Or did he just get drunk and high and mad and batty and trip over his shotgun? What the fuck, Doctor Thompson? What the fucking fuckity fuck FUCK?!?

The thought of suicide, it has been said, is something of a comfort for many people. It lies there at the back of our minds, a means of last resort, a get-out-of-jail-free card in the game of life.

I find nothing comforting in the thought that the demons of this world finally conquered perhaps my greatest hero in life. I find waking up from my wife's nightmare only to learn this horrific, awful news to be one shitty way to start the day. It makes me want to kick something, or hit something, or write something. And it scares me.

"There's something in here with us." That's what my wife said, as she woke me up from a sound sleep and tossed me out here into the world, where there's no room for Hunter S. Thompson anymore and so for whatever reason he took his own life, BANG, and by the way, there never would have been any goddamned Transmetropolitan at all if not for Thompson, goddamnit, so you should care. I know you don't, but you should.

"There's something in here with us."

Damn it. Was it Thompson? Was he in our room, scaring the hell out of my wife as she slept? Tearing through our ideaspace one last time on his way to hell, where, if there is any justice, he finally will be elected sheriff?

Good night, dear Doktor. Go to sleep. Your work is undone, yes, but we all, always, leave something unfinished. I wish I could say that someone is up to the task of finishing it for you, but, I don't think so. Just grab a handful of pills and a big bottle of something and go off to sleep.Try not to think about it:

"There's something in here with us."

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Tally Me Banana -- This is, by necessity, totally stolen from the always-awesome Fred Hembeck: A hopefully near-complete list of lists of 100 Things The Blogosphere Loves About Comics, the year's first Gigantic Meta-Meme here on the ol' comics internet. See, it all began with Fred's list, which inspired me to do my own Photoshop-assisted piece (complete with annotations!), which led to, well, all of these, thanks to a challenge by Mike Sterling. So, with coding stolen from Fred (apologies, Fred, and thanks for keeping track!), here they are:

Nik Dirga (Spatula Forum)

Beacoup Kevin (It's Got Disco Potential)

Scott (Polite Dissent)

Mike Norton (Miraclo Miles)

Mag and H (The Comic Treadmill)

David Allen Jones (The Johnny Bacardi

Tony Collett (Mah Two Cents)--a second list of 99 to go with his original 100

John Jakala (The Low Road)

Dr.Sordid (The Word On the Street)

J Donelson (The Pickytarian)

Ian Brill (Brill Building)

David Carter (Yet Another Comics Blog)

Bob (Jack Kirby Blog)

Steve Pheley (Gutterninja)

Evan Cantrell (Chipped Ham Productions)

David Welsh (Precocious Curmudgeon)

Bill Doughtry (Trusty Plinko Stick)

Shane Bailey (Near Mint Heroes)

Bill Sherman (Pop Culture Gadabout)

Logan Polk (House Of The Ded)

Dave Puckett (Elmo's Junction)

Ken Cuperus (Revoltin'Developments)

Franklin Harris (Franklin's Findings 2.1)

Jim Henley (Unqualified Offerings)

Dave Lartigue (Legomancer)

Greg Burgas (Delenda Est Carthago)

Noah Smith (Baggy Pants And Bravado)

David Fiore (Motime Like The Present)

Gary Sassaman (Innocent Bystander)

Havy (Trade Whore)

Scott Cederlund (View From The Cheap Seats)

Kevin Melrose (Thought Balloons)

Will Pfiefer (X-Ray Spex)

Gordon (Blog THIS, Pal!)

Thanks to every9one who wrote me to say they enjoyed mine, and to everyone else who took up Mike's challenge to craft their own lists. Thanks, finally, to Fred Hembeck, who inspired all this craziness in the first place. Fred thinks I should tally up a list of the most-often referenced elements common to each list, but I think it would be more fun if Fred tallied the lost man-hours devoted to paying homage to his original idea!

Friday, February 11, 2005

100 Things I Love About Comics -- Inspired by a strip by Fred Hembeck, I spent most of the last 24 hours secluded inside Photoshop to create 100 Things I Love About Comics. I think of it as a column without writing, and a comic strip without comics, as the images, fonts and placement all are meant to convey not only opinion, but narrative and information.

The original file was over 14 MB in size and my computer crashed over a half-dozen times as I was working on this. This version is as streamlined as I could make it, but it's still a big file (2 MB or so), so if you're on dial-up you might want to go walk around the block while it loads up. If you're on a cable modem or DSL it shouldn't be more than a minute or so.

I hope you'll click over, and I hope you enjoy it if you do.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Free Comics! -- Yeah, that got your attention, huh? Just a reminder that we're still taking entries in the ULTIMATE STREET ANGEL CONTEST, and also that my buddy Logan Polk is giving away some free comics himself. Logan's got a set of the popular Loki mini-series for you to win. Click over and check it out.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Jason Marcy Site Launched -- February 7th, 2005 -- Cartoonist Jason Marcy announced today the creation of his new website, www.JasonMarcy.com.

The creator of the popular JAY'S DAYS series of
autobiographical graphic novels maintains a Live Journal/blog and a
daily journal comic strip, both of which are accessible right from
JasonMarcy.com. In addition, readers will be able to keep up on the latest Jason
Marcy news, buy his books, and stay on top of the latest in the life of
the Oshawa, Ontario cartoonist.

In addition to JAY'S DAYS, Jason Marcy has been a
contributor to Comic Book Galaxy, a website focusing on opinions and
criticism of comics and graphic novels. Galaxy editor Alan David Doane, who
contributed to the design and implementation of the new site, said
"Readers need a central place to go to find information about their favourite
cartoonists, and Jason's new site will be that central area that he's
needed for a while now. After JAY'S DAYS BOOK THREE, everybody knows Jay
can hold his own with other popular autobio guys like James Kochalka
and Joe Matt. So this site is designed to make it easy to find out what
Jay's up to on a daily basis."

In addition to his comics career, Jason works as a
pasta maker and caterer at a small shop in Oshawa, Ontario, and enjoys
life with wife Kristine and their son Xander.

In the coming year, Jason Marcy is planning to release
a number of new projects, including JAY'S BOOK OF HATE, JAY'S DAYS
BOOK FOUR, and an anthology with various writers and artists called MY
DAY IN THE LIFE OF JAY. Even further, Jay plans an as-yet unnamed
collection of one page strips used to "warm up" before Jay's Days writing and
drawing sessions, and a collection of the daily 365 Days With Jay


Friday, February 04, 2005

The MP3 Meme -- Courtesy of Mike Sterling, here's a look at my musical life...

1. Total amount of music files on your computer:

763 MB. It would be much more, but when I bought a CD burner I started moving my MP3s over to CDs to save space on my 12GB harddrive.

2. The last CD you bought was:

The most recent A Perfect Circle one, with "Imagine" and other anti-war tunes on it.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?

Something off of Green Day's American Idiot.

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.

"Holiday" by Green Day
"Schism" by Tool
"Beautiful Child" by Fleetwood Mac
"Vertigo" by U2
"Float On" by Modest Mouse

5. Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?

Whoever wants to pick it up and run with it. I'm too tired to think about it!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Catching Up with Reviews -- Spent a couple of hours editing and posting a batch of new reviews to the main site today; I wish I could say I wrote any of them, but I've been so busy the past few weeks that I barely have time to read any comics, never mind form any cogent thoughts in regard to 'em.

However, the crack Galaxy staff is on top of things. Head over to the reviews page and start at the top. Today's offerings include We3 #1-3, Superman: Birthright, Gemma Bovery and Little Lulu #1. How's that for diversity?

Also of note today is the strip I was dreading, Jason Marcy's interpretation of the night I bored our wives to sleep with my stories and theories about comics. It's much kinder than I deserve. And what a blast it is to see myself and my wife in cartoon form over the past few days in Jay's strips. Thanks, buddy.

I also wrote my very first full, finished comics script last night. I'm hoping it meets with the approval of the artist/editor I have in mind for it. I had a great time writing it and learned a good deal about breaking down a story as I was going along, what to leave in, what to leave out, and how to lie in service of the truth. I hope you guys get to see it someday in full, comics form. I'll let you know as soon as I hear anything.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Canadian Invasion -- My wife and kids and I are back from visiting Oshawa and Toronto. We stayed with Jay Marcy and his wife Kris and son Xander (click here for Jay's side of the story!) over the weekend, and had one of the best trips of our lives.

Jay and his family live in Oshawa, which is about 45 minutes out of The Big City of Toronto (or "Toronno," as I noticed the locals pronounce it) but still has a population of 150,000 so is still a much bigger place than Glens Falls, at about 30,000 or so.

We had a blast, me, the wife and kids -- Jay and Kris are EXACTLY as depicted in his comics, which I expected, but Lora was nervous about meeting people we'd never met, that we wouldn't be comfortable with them or whatever. As it turns out, Lora and Jay's wife Kris got along GREAT, which I expected since they seemed to have a lot in common. Little did I dream, really, they have almost EVERYTHING in common. All Kris's complaints about Jay are the same as my wife's about me, too, which made every minor criticism or request of either me or Jay by our particular wife into a moment of high comedy as far as I was concerned.

We got there about 1 PM Friday, having left the house at 3:30 in 20 below zero weather. The car windows were coated with ice on the inside (yes, it was THAT cold!) until about halfway there, when the sun came up, so, that was interesting. For about an hour of the ride there (Lora did ALL the driving on this trip), I was sitting in my seat wondering what the FUCK we were going to Canada for, and trying to remind myself that once we were there, all would be well and I'd be wondering why I had such doubts. Which turned out to be true, of course, but there was a bit of anxiety for a while there, buyer's remorse on the whole idea of going.

The first culture shock was when we stopped in Belleville (still 90 minutes from Jay but well into Canada) and my daughter ordered toast and eggs for lunch. "White or brown toast?" asked the waitress. Points to Kira for understanding that brown toast is whole wheat. Since all my other Canadian visits have been to Montreal, I was surprise how LITTLE difference in language there is. Among the highlights, Jay said "eh" at the end of a sentence only twice the entire time we were there, whereas Kristine says it a lot more. We had fun discussing the dialect differences, Lora being most bewildered by "ta ta," which apparently means "bring that over here," rather than "bye bye." NEVER heard that one before. Chris Butcher says "eh" a bit more than Jay, but much less than Kristine.

Ah, Chris Butcher. That leads us to The Beguiling. All right, it is EVERYTHING they say it is, and more. Basically, it is the shop that I sometimes have this recurring dream of, that has everything I have ever been unable to find, all in one place, and there's so much that it's too overwhelming to adequately process. Like that library in Hicksville, you know? The biggest ego boost of the trip, by the way, was Christopher seeing me walk in and telling the person he was talking to on the phone "I have to go, Alan Doane just walked into the store." Biggest ego deflator was my longwinded stories and theories about comics literally putting Jay's wife to sleep as we chatted in the living room Saturday night. But I digress.

The Beguiling: Two floors, with the stairway walls fully lined with framed art by Jaime Hernandez, Jason, Hornschemeier, and many more. Upstairs is corporate comics and The New Mainstream, as well as a huge waterfall rack of floppies from Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly. Series I've never seen anywhere are almost fully represented as if they just shipped last week, like all David Collier's floppies, Chester Brown's, Zero Zero, etc. Bit of a shock that they are, OF COURSE (duh!) priced at the higher Canadian price, so I didn't get as much as I might have otherwise...some weird psychological inability to overcome the differences in currency.

Downstairs is where the magic happens; gigantic, huge, incredible selection of alternative and artcomix TPBs and HCs, like, a whole WALL dedicated to nothing but Alan Moore collections, books, TPBs etc. Full sets of all the good D&Q guys ouevres, as you'd expect -- including many OOP books. A FULL waterfall rack of mini-comics from total unknowns to Jason's stuff and James Kochalka. Funny moment, they had some Jay comics he was surprised to see and didn't know how they got! I handed him my pen and told him to sign them. He got all humble and demured, until Chris Butcher came up and encouraged him to, indeed, sign 'em.

This was our first trip to The Beguiling, Friday night. On Sunday, we went again, with the express purpose of meeting Butcher and some of his friends for dinner and drinks. While I realized as we were waiting for him at the store that the last night before we left was probably the worst time we could have done this, being tired from the entire weekend by now, as it turned out we had a great time. About 5 or 6 of Chris's friends came along, someone brought the new Previews, and it was sort of like a live Previews Review show, if you can imagine that. We took over "The Vault," in the restaurant we were in, this semi-private room that actually was a vault when the building was a bank instead of a restaurant. So, that was extremely cool.

Total haul from the Beguiling, two trips, filled two of bags. Half was minis and magazines and such, half GNs, TPBs, etc. Maybe the coolest thing about the shop is when you ring out, they bag your stuff in this cool-looking black plastic bag and seal it with a piece of tape. You couldn't miss someone on the street if they'd spent money at the shop.

Really, though, as exciting as it was meeting cartoonists and bloggers, oh, my, the trips to The Beguiling were the icing on the cake. The whole weekend, from the moment we got there on Friday until our goodbyes on Monday morning, were spent immersed in good conversation and time well spent with good friends. You know, on our way through customs at the border on Friday morning, there was a funny incident:

Canadian Customs Person: "Where are you going in Canada?"

Wife: "Oshawa."

CCP: "Why are you going to Oshawa?"

Wife: "To visit friends."

CCP: "Have you been to Oshawa before?"

Wife: "No."

CCP: "Then how do you know these friends?"

Me: "We met them on the internet."

CCP: (Pause). "How do you meet people on the internet?"

Me: "I have a website, and he used to write for it."

CCP: "What's your website about?"

Me: "Comic books."

CCP: "Do you have any comic books with you?"

Me: (After mental inventory of car) "My kids brought one or two. I didn't bring any myself."

CCP: "Enjoy your stay."

It's hard to express in words the oddness of this exchange, but the woman was clearly stunned to think we would drive 7 hours to spend time with people we'd never met. I'd bet anything that as we pulled off she was thinking "I bet this is some sort of sex thing."

The fact is, I really met Jay Marcy, coincidentally enough, three years ago this week, when I received Jay's Days Volume One and was so knocked back by it that I felt the immediate need to interview him and interview him and interview him.

I got to know Jay through his comics, through his great work for Comic Book Galaxy (I am trying to twist his arm into writing more reviews, keep your fingers crossed), and even the occasional phone call. So, even though the first time we technically met was last Friday, really, he's been one of my very best friends on earth for the past three years, and I am thrilled, moved and delighted by the fact that now our entire families have met and become friends.

How do you meet people on the internet? That's easy. How do you make great friends on the internet? That's a little harder, but Jay and Kris and Xander Marcy make it look really easy. Thanks for opening up your home to us, gang, and I can't wait until we can do it again.

Update: Jay has posted his comic strip version of the trip here, here and here.





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