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Friday, March 31, 2006

Top Shelf at APE -- Brett Warnock sends along this heads-up about Top Shelf's plans for the Alternative Press Expo:

The Alternative Press Expo (APE) this year is April 8th and 9th. And
Top Shelf Productions will be there in force. Publisher Brett Warnock
will be joined by Guest of Honor Alex Robinson (and his wife Kristen);
cartoonists Renee French, Jeffrey Brown, and Jeremy Tinder, all of whom
will have brand spanking new books (The Ticking, Every Girl is the End
of the World For Me, and Cry Yourself to Sleep, respectively); Aaron
(Spiral-Bound) Renier, Jennifer Daydreamer (eponymous), and Liz Prince
(Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed?), are scheduled to attend as

The Ticking
Every Girl is the End of the World For Me
Cry Yourself to Sleep
Jennifer Daydreamer
Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed?

Information and reviews about these books, plus creator interviews with
the creators is available at the Top Shelf website


Monday, March 27, 2006

Five for Monday: Five Comics You Were Sad to See Go Away -- This was Spurgeon's Five for Friday that didn't go up until Saturday, and somehow here on Monday my answers didn't make the cut, so, enjoy!

1. Sleeper. The failure of the direct market to embrace the best
corporate comics title of the past twenty years is outstripped only by
the astonishing, monumental fuckup of DC's publicity department in
getting the title into the hands of the hundreds of thousands of
literate, crime-fiction readers who would have loved it. Good for
Brubaker, Phillips and ************ for the forthcoming ************,
the success of which should cause mass firings at DC/Wildstorm. I've
seen pages, and they are FUCKING AWE-INSPIRING.

2. Street Angel. I guess this is what Rugg and Maruca chose, to make a
big impression and move on to something else. Good for them, one
supposes. The TPB stands as a monument to one of the greatest moments
in pop culture in recent memory, and collects five fantastic
funnybooks plus tons of juicy extras.

3. The Human Target. The only Peter Milligan title I have ever
consistently enjoyed, probably because it was his most personal work.
Readers will discover this title in 20 years and wonder why it
couldn't hold an audience. And if I'm still around, I'll explain it in
tones much like those found in #1, above.

4. Barry Windsor-Smith: Storyteller. It's funny how the cancellation
of the very best comics is often so clear and obvious an indictment of
the failures of the direct market and the tentpole a-holes that barely
hold it up.

5. Supergirl. The Peter David version. Too bad he had to write scores
of bad issues to get to the sublime final six, which were a
celebration of parallel universe stories, meta-commentary, and silver
age nostalgia, the final issue wrapped in a gorgeous John Romita Sr.
cover. Also, Jeph Loeb: There is nothing about your version that does
not suck beyond all comprehension. Par for the course.

Bonus: A Comic I Won't Be Sad to See Go Away

1. The Ultimates. It's been a genuine blast seeing Millar and Hitch
have so much fun on such an entertaining title. For every little "This
A Stands for Oxymoron" moment, there were ten "HULK RAPE BETTY UP THE
ASS" and Cap Kicking Banner in the teeth moments that made it all
worthwhile. Maybe Jack Kirby is spinning in his grave over what was
done to his creations, here, but isn't that what the next generation
is supposed to do to its elders? Anyway, yeah, no need at all to buy
this past the Miller and Hitch era. To do so, actually, would be
fucking silly.

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

ADD Mouths Off At New Site -- Check out my 10 Comics You Should Be Reading - Right Now! at the new site Independent Propaganda.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

You Should Read -- Tom Spurgeon's 50 Best Comics of 2005 at The Comics Reporter. See, what Tom misses in timeliness he more than makes up for with excellence and good taste in great comics.


Monday, March 13, 2006

The Monday Briefing -- Hello, good morning and welcome to your Monday Briefing here at the ADD Blog.

Over the weekend I watched last week's episode of Boston Legal, which runs hot and cold quality-wise, usually in proportion to how many scenes James Spader and William Shatner get together. But this was a good outing, combining Shatner's Denny Crane character's hilarious love of right-wing causes with Spader's electric relationship with Murphy Brown. Very good stuff all around, the best line being when Shatner goes on a pro-active media campaign to get a very guilty murderer off by claiming he was defending his rights as an AMERICAN HOMEOWNER. Pointing at a young attorney, Shatner blusters:

"You, you're young, you know all about websites. Start up one of those blobs."

Well, I thought it was funny.

Speaking of media campaigns, head over to Christopher Butcher's blob -- erm, blog, for an amusing look at how reporters often misquote the people they interview, in this case Butcher in regard to upcoming movie adaptations of a couple of comic book properties. Best part: Butcher getting "inned."

Finally, here's me bitching about the term "mainstream comics" over at The Comics Reporter. Also, the same site has a new interview with the amazingly talented C. Tyler. If you haven't read Late Bloomer yet, you're missing out.

Have a great Monday.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

"Mainstream" and Comics -- Tom Spurgeon recently commented on Naruto's placement on the USA Today charts. I see a bit of irony in his phrasing:

"The unfortunate thing about a mainstream comics-oriented mindset that doesn't easily embrace a hit like this is that Naruto is clever and accomplished, well-written in terms of escalating drama and linking character interaction to plot lines..."

By definition, I would guess the reason Tom thought this worth commenting on is because Naruto has entered the mainstream in a way that no other comic or graphic novel has.

I stopped referring to North American superhero comics as "mainstream" a couple years back when it became clear that the mainstream had discovered comics and was not as interested in spandex as it is in the personal history of a young Iranian woman, or the life story of a man whose brother has a terrible illness that afflicts their entire family, or, you know, Snoopy.

Eddie Campbell recently categorized it as the "comic book culture," I call it "corporate comics," but I think the important thing here is that to continue to call the increasingly (self-)marginalized comic book/superhero/corporate comics culture "mainstream" is to aid and assist its awe-inspiring ability to ignore the mounting signs of its own irrelevance. "Hey, the world may like all those other comics better, but we're mainstream!"

Well, they're not. In the insular world of the direct market with its sun-faded Vampirella posters hanging in the window and Cheetos stains on the fingers of the clerks, superheroes may be the mainstream. But they're the main stream of a tributary that clearly is leading away from the roaring river of comics that are headed in a different direction, one that leads to a place with comics for everybody. As Naruto proves, that even means action and adventure. Just action and adventure not targeted to regressive narcissists who don't understand why girls don't like to watch The Hulk beat the crap out of The Thing for the 371st time, and who would be vaguely unnerved if they did.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Friday Briefing -- I won't get to the comics shop before Saturday afternoon at the earliest, but thanks to what Internet Hipsters lovingly refer to as "The Favoured Store," I've already read the final issue of Tom Strong -- and it's a great farewell to the series, the character, and the ABC Universe.

Jog has a (warning, SPOILERS!) terrific look at the final Tom Strong issue (and the final Tomorrow Storeies as well), and it's nice to see he was as surprised by Moore's big revelation about Tom and a certain other character in the book as I was. Moore always manages to make surprises like this seem obvious in retrospect, one of the great charms and delights of his work and an element that runs through most of his best efforts, from Swamp Thing to Marvelman and beyond. I'm going to miss Moore's joyous, fantastic ABC efforts; and like Jog, I am thankful that they're in print and available for new readers to immerse themselves in. Top Ten, Promethea, Tom Strong, Tomorrow Stories and more, if Alan Moore wrote it and ABC released it, chances are you've got some great (and I think undervalued by most readers) comics right there waiting for you.

In other news, James Sime sends a timely reminder that he has posted a preview of Skyscrapers of the Midwest #3 on the Isotope Comics site. Check that out.

And by the time most of you read this, Chris Allen's newest BREAKDOWNS column should be up on the main page of Comic Book Galaxy. Among the books he covers this week is Late Bloomer, a wonderful hardcover offering from Carol Tyler, published by Fantagraphics. Please check 'em out, the column and the book both.

Newly stocked up on antibiotics and painkillers to deal with my current dental dysfunction, I need to take a shower and get to work. So have a great Friday, have a wonderful weekend, and I'll see you back here soon.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Have You Ever: The Meme -- Grabbed from Roger. Hi, Roger!

1. Smoked cigarettes - Took a drag off one on a bet once. Fucker didn't pay up, so I stole all the quarters out of his car's ashtray while he was passed out drunk.
2. Smoked a cigar - No.
3. Broken a CD - Scratched a few through careles handling, but I don't think I've ever broken one.
4. Crashed a friend's car - No.
5. Stolen a car - No.
6. Been in love - Yes.
7. Been dumped - Yes.
8. Shoplifted - Does it count if the cashier is a friend who's given the thumbs up to your egregious behaviour?
9. Been fired - Yes, and it usually leads to better things in very short order.
10. Been in a fist fight - Yes, twice. The first time the other guy ended up in the St. John's River, the second time was when a drunk friend showed up at a radio station I was working at and wouldn't leave.
11. Snuck out of your house - No.
12. Had feelings for someone who didn't have them back - Can anyone say no to this question?
13. Been arrested - Yes.
14. Made out with a stranger - No.
15. Gone on a blind date - Yes.
16. Lied to a friend - Oh, probably, but I can't remember any specific incident. Maybe I am the perfect friend!
17. Had a crush on a teacher - No.
18. Skipped school - Oh, my, yes.
19. Slept with a co-worker - No.
20. Seen someone die - No.
21. Been on a plane - Yes, when I was 8.
22. Thrown up in a bar - No.
23. Taken painkillers - Yes, for bicipital tendonitis a few years back, and a cracked tooth right at this very moment.
24. Love someone or miss someone right now - Always.
25. Laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by - Yes, outside the Olympic Park in Montreal.
26. Made a snow angel - No.
27. Played dress up - No.
28. Cheated while playing a game - Not to my recollection.
29. Been lonely - Yes, often.
30. Fallen asleep at work/school - Only once in 20 years of radio did I fall asleep while on the air. I was playing "All Around the World" by Lisa Stansfield on an overnight shift, and laid my head on the counter just to rest my eyes a minute. Woke up 20 minutes later with the needle clicking in the groove.
31. Used a fake id - No.
32. Felt an earthquake - Yes, three times, all in upstate New York.
33. Touched a snake - No.
34. Ran a red light - Yes.
35. Been suspended from school - Yes. I refused to mow the football field.
36. Had detention - Not that I recall.
37. Been in a car accident - Twice. Once was my fault, the second one was not.
38. Hated the way you look - Yes, usually.
39. Witnessed a crime - Only traffic violations.
40. Pole danced - No.
41. Been lost - Almost every time I go more than 50 miles from home.
42. Been to the opposite side of the country - No.
43. Felt like dying - Yes.
44. Cried yourself to sleep - Yes.
45. Played cops and robbers - Not that I recall.
46. Sang karaoke - Christ, no.
47. Done something you told yourself you wouldn't - Yes.
48. Laughed till some kind of beverage came out of your nose - Probably.
49. Caught a snowflake on your tongue - Not on purpose.
50. Kissed in the rain - Not that I recall.
51. Sing in the shower - No, I usually sing in the car.
52. Made love in a park - Yes, but it was dark.
53. Had a dream that you married someone - No.
54. Glued your hand to something - No.
55. Got your tongue stuck to a flag pole - No.
56. Worn the opposite sex's clothes - No.
57. Had an orgasm - I'll echo Roger's response: Oh, come on!
58. Sat on a roof top - Yes, sprained my ankle falling down the stairs immediately afterward
59. Didn't take a shower for a week - Not since I was 10.
60. Ever too scared to watch scary movies alone - No.
61. Played chicken - No.
62. Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on - No.
63. Been told you're hot by a complete stranger- No.
64. Broken a bone - Yes, in the car accident that was my fault back in 1985.
65. Been easily amused - It's the only thing that keeps me sane.
66. Laugh so hard you cry - Yes, most recently watching a Ricky Gervais stand-up comedy routine.
67. Mooned/flashed someone - Yes.
68. Cheated on a test - I don't think so.
69. Forgotten someone's name - Yes.
70. Slept naked - Yes, I don't like it.
71. Gone skinny dipping in a pool - No.
72. Been kicked out of your house - No.
73. Blacked out from drinking - Not in years; these days I get sleepy and wander off to bed after three drinks.
74. Played a prank on someone - Yes. It was hilarious.
75. Gone to a late night movie - No, but I would like to.
76. Made love to anything not human - Not that I am aware of.
77. Failed a class - 9th Grade English.
78. Choked on something you're not supposed to eat - No.
79. Played an instrument for more than 10 hours - No.
80. Cheated on a gf/bf - Yes, to my everlasting regret.
81. Ate a whole package of Oreos - No.
82. Thrown strange objects - Ritz Crackers count? Those fuckers FLY!
83. Felt like killing someone - No.
84. Thought about running away - Yes.
85. Ran away - Yes.
86. Did drugs - Only for pain.
87. Had detention and not attend it - No.
88. Yelled at parents - Not that I recall.
89. Made parent cry - Not that I know of, but probably.
90. Cried over someone - Oh, yes..
91. Owned more than 5 puppies - No. The most pets my family had was four cats when I was in college, one of whom turned out to be the best cat I ever had. Right now we have a hamster and a cat, and this cat is pretty cool, too.
92. Dated someone more than once - Yes.
93. Have a dog - No, not as an adult. Frankly I hate them quite a lot.
94. Have a cat - See #91.
95. Own an instrument - Kazoo count?
96. Been in a band - No.
97. Had more than 25 sodas in one day - No, but I probably have had 8 or 9 Diet Mountain Dews in one day on accasion.
98. Made out with a member of the same sex - No, but I've seen Brokeback Mountain.
99. Shot a gun - Handled, yes. Fired, no.
100. Been online for more than 5 hours straight - In my earliest days online, in the heyday of Prodigy chatrooms. God, what I wouldn't give to have that time back now.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Speakeasy's Fortier Not-So-Nice? -- One thing that has been fairly consistent in the discussion of Adam Fortier and his failure to create a viable publishing entity in Speakeasy Comics is the oft-repeated notion that he is a nice guy. I've seen this said quite a few times by people who either met him or interacted with him in some way.

Writer Sebastien Caisse paints a bit of a different picture in this post today on The Engine:

I created The Grimoire and wrote the first six issues and still haven't received a dime, nor a phone call from Adam, nor any indication that any form of compensation will ever be offered. When you sign a WFH contract and you don't receive anything, are the rights still yours or does it mean the other guy gets the rights for free? Adam seems to have conveniently bundled me with Grafiksismik, something he now casually dimisses as "a separate case" when the subject of moneys owed comes up (not mentionning dozens of thousands of debts to freelancers is convenient, apparently). I once believed in Adam's goodwill, but I've been proven wrong many times over in the past two years.

Sounds a lot closer to the Mark Alessi CrossGen model than had previously been in evidence. I wonder how many other creators and creations were left hanging in limbo by Fortier and his inept-at-best, unethical-or-worse-at-worst business practices?






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