Saturday, July 01, 2006

Diamond's Chokehold Starts to Hurt -- I suppose I agree with Tom Spurgeon about the recent ass-fuck handed to Dan Nadel's new publishing company.

I do wonder why anyone is surprised that Diamond has no interest in pushing comics forward, though. I wrote about this nearly a year ago, and if anything the situation has worsened, with even genuinely major publishers like Pantheon and First Second having their books widely available in real bookstores weeks or more before Diamond bothers to get their "indy filth" into comic shops.

I've said it before, and I feel it in my bones more than ever: If your comic shop relies solely on Diamond for what they stock in their store, they fucking suck, they're bad for comics, and you need to find a better shop.

The comic shops that will still be here at the end of the decade are the ones that have smart people staying on top of real industry news (as opposed to the type of news you see on "comics news" sites), who know what the great works are that are coming, and who work around Diamond's virtual monopoly to make sure those books are available to their customers as early as humanly possible.

If you enjoy anything other than Marvel and DC corporate superhero comics, any retailer who only orders from Diamond and only knows what he reads in Previews does not want your money and you need to move on. The real world already has.

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Friday, June 30, 2006

Look, Up On The Internet, It's a Kerfuffle! -- Christopher Butcher takes people who should know better to school on the basics of journalism. Being that Butcher is one of the two or three most insightful comics journaliasts alive, you'd think they'd listen, but the comments section of that post reveals a little nanny-nanny-nanny-neener-neener-neenerism, and also my two cents.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Comic Book Holocaust by Johnny Ryan.The Comic Book Holocaust -- Johnny Ryan is review-proof in the same manner as Rob Liefeld or Geoff Johns are review-proof. The work is what it is, it's always of about the same quality (not that all the talents just named are at the same level of craft, to be sure, just that there's an astonishing consistency to each of their oeuvres), and nothing any critic ever says is going to ever either impact the future work of the creator, or much affect the opinion of people who like what they do. (All right, Geoff Johns is the only one of the three whose work I find nothing to take pleasure in, ever).

If you've never read any Johnny Ryan comics, his Angry Youth Comics from Fantagraphics is a regularly-published series featuring all the things that make Ryan Ryan. Although Loady McGee and friends are not found in The Comic Book Holocaust (published by Buenaventura Press), you'll find many of the same themes, props and gags: snot, shit, floating vaginas, violence, sodomy, racism, huge testicles, tiny penises, regular penises, huge penises, stuff like that.

The high concept of The Comic Book Holocaust is that Ryan takes one page for each strip, and each strip eviscerates a different comic strip or comic book. Whether your sacred cows are The Avengers, The X-Men, Rebecca and Enid, Maggie and Hopey or Hi and Lois, no one is safe from The Comic Book Holocaust. The joy is found not in the juvenile shock-jock dick-and-shit jokes, but in the relentless assault on all comers, deserving and not, and in the bizarre, virtually random events the storylines of each strip eventually hinge on.

My favourite punchline in the whole book is "I'm no hero! I just like to drill glory holes in oven mitts!" If it's the only gag that made me laugh out loud, that's one more laugh than 110 Percent gave me. I did find myself smiling throughout The Comic Book Holocaust, though, because it's hard not to grin at stuff like Dr. Strange making love to an interdimensional portal, only to end up connected at the cock to a parallel version of himself -- Mark Millar should be so lucky as to be able to do that in the pages of Civil War; further, Millar has nothing on Ryan when it comes to rape.

Why is Johnny Ryan so dirty? Why is he so mean?

A better question might be, why are his comics so addictive? I know some people find his work reprehensible. The Comic Book Holocaust is a pretty good argument for the idea that there's more at work in his head that what appears on the surface; in fact, it's hard not to come away from the book thinking he is some kind of comics scholar, in his own twisted way. You can't tear this many icons a new asshole without knowing precisely what makes them tick, first. Which, for my money, puts him far ahead of the likes of Geoff Johns and Rob Liefeld.


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