What I bought – 15 January 2014

by  in Comic News Comment
What I bought – 15 January 2014

Believe me, everything looks like a noose if you stare at it long enough. (Sherman Alexie, from “Indian Education”)

Astro City #8 (“The View from the Shadows”) by Brent Eric Anderson (artist), Jimmy Betancourt (letterer), Kurt Busiek (writer), John G. Roshell (letterer), Alex Sinclair (colorist), Jessica Chen (assistant editor), and Kristy Quinn (editor). $3.99, 24 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

Busiek writes a really good “trinity” in this issue, as the Confessor breaks into Winged Victory’s compound for a weird reason (it’s to help clear Winged Victory, but why he felt the need to break in escapes me) and gets in a “fight” with Samaritan that instantly becomes the best Superman/Batman fight ever because it proves pretty conclusively that, sorry, there’s no way Batman beats Superman (and yes, Batman is an infinitely cooler character than Superman, but he’s still not beating him in a fight). I’m sure Busiek didn’t do this with any malice toward Batman lovers, but it’s very cool to see how he breaks down what would really happen if these two characters fought. Of course, the fact that they don’t really fight is neat, too – neither is exactly toying with each the other, but it’s clear that they’re not going all out to hurt each other, either. You know why? Because they both know the other is a hero. I get really annoyed with superhero fights, because the only one that makes any sense is if there’s a new hero that no one knows yet who happens to be caught in a compromising position. When two established heroes fight, it’s just dumb. Get it together, you dumb heroes!

What’s really fascinating about this issue is the way Busiek comments on how Winged Victory has been neutered (so to speak) in a man’s world. He lays it on a bit thick, but it’s still interesting, as she realizes that because she has been tarred with this brush, she can’t even fight back properly, as the men have taken over both the investigation and the defense, and her way has no part in that. The social commentary in Astro City has always been either non-existent or not subtle, and it’s certainly not subtle here, but because female empowerment is such a hot-button topic, this story is compelling. Busiek points out that Winged Victory is targeted, and while the government’s action seems a bit extreme and even the E.A.G.L.E. agent tells her that she’s simply been accused, not convicted, the feeling that her conviction is a foregone conclusion stems from several things, not the least of which is that she’s a woman. The government’s legal backing – that supervillains accuse her of something with no proof, and therefore they can shut down her operations under RICO laws – is feeble, but Busiek is nimble enough to leave unsaid the idea that Winged Victory is somehow upsetting the social order by taking women in and training them to defend themselves, which of course makes men nervous as they believe she’s training an army. The fact that women need to defend themselves because men do a lousy job of it and are, of course, the ones who attack women in the first place is not acknowledged by the men in the government, but in this case, Busiek has laid the groundwork in prior issues of AC and, even if you’re reading this for the first time, this is where a knowledge of the world comes into place. In some comics, writers assume readers know about their fictional universes and therefore don’t make an effort to get us caught up. In this issue, Busiek assumes we know something about the real world, which informs our opinion on Winged Victory’s training camps. It’s a way for Busiek to be slightly more subtle in this issue, even though he’s still not terribly so.

The hardest part of this story will be the resolution, whether that comes next issue or the following (I think this is a four-issue story?). At the end of this issue, Winged Victory seems to get her answer about who’s behind the smear campaign. If it’s a regular supervillain, that would be disappointing because it would take this out of the “real” world and its difficult gender politics and place it firmly in a superhero world. If it’s some vast conspiracy, you could make the case that it would be more “realistic,” but it would still reduce the society-wide issues we have with gender to something that can be punched in the face. I’m very curious to see where Busiek is going with the story, but I guess I’ll have to wait to see what happens!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Kiss Me, Satan #5 (of 5) by Eduardo Ferreyra (color assistant), Juan Ferreyra (artist/colorist), Victor Gischler (writer), Nate Piekos (letterer), Shantel LaRocque (assistant editor), and Daniel Chabon (editor). $3.99, 24 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

Kiss Me, Satan ends weirdly, as it’s kind of MacGuffin chase, but Gischler never really imparts much importance to the MacGuffin, so it’s not too annoying. Basically, Gischler wanted to reveal what Barnabus really is, and he and Ferreyra do so in spectacular fashion, so the fact that we had to meander a bit to get there isn’t that big a deal. Part of the problem with the story is that Barnabus is a fairly interesting character, and his back story and how he ended up on Earth seems like a better tale than the one we got. It’s an odd, disjointed story, one that dots all the eyes and crosses all the tees, but it still feels like it’s the wrong one. Now, I can assume that Gischler has more stories to tell about Barnabus, and that’s fine, but this still seems a bit weird.

Of course, the big reason to buy a trade of this is Ferreyra’s artwork. He gets to go full-on action here, and he doesn’t disappoint. When Barnabus and Zell show up at the werewolf mansion, Ferreyra uses small panels overlaid on the big ones to both speed up the action and to show what our heroes are thinking about as they fight, and he uses some nice camera angles to zip us around the room. He uses blacks really well for some scenes, especially the one where Zell finds the baby, and the big reveal about Barnabus is superb, as he goes nuts with the gore – he has to, really – but draws it all beautifully and even a bit tragically, as we know Barnabus is having some issues. I know I’ve said it for the entire series, but Ferreyra is the big draw – Gischler’s story is decent, but it wouldn’t work without someone like Ferreyra drawing it.

So, if you’re like me and agree that probably 60% of the goodness of comics comes from the art, do yourself a favor and pick up this trade. It’s visually stunning!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Letter 44 #3 by Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque (artist), Shawn DePasquale (letterer), Guy Major (colorist), Charles Soule (writer), and Jill Beaton (editor). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

I figured there would have to be evil things happening on Earth sooner or later, and I was kind of hoping for later – it’s not that I think it’s a bad idea, but unless the evil people are aliens themselves, it seems weird that other Earthlings would be so concerned about what President Blades is doing that they would resort to murder so quickly. I mean, if they’re trying to scare the president, I doubt if it will work, and if they’re trying to limit what the president can do, well, they picked the wrong person. If they’re hoping no one knows it’s murder (based on what happens, that’s a possibility), well, it seems that they think people are dumber than usual. I’m intrigued about where Soule is going with it, because the culprit could be any number of different interested parties, but I do wish it had come a bit later in the game.

Meanwhile, up in space, there’s some naughty shenanigans going on, as you can see by the cover, but what’s more important is that the crew finds an unusual asteroid and they decide to land on it. Well, maybe the naughty shenanigans will be important as a subplot as we move along, but what’s important in this issue is the asteroid, damn it!

Three issues in, and Soule and Alburquerque are doing a nice job with the mystery. Soule’s story is full of nods to the real world (Blades is Obama, essentially, so he talks about closing Guantanamo and getting out of wars), but it’s also a typical conspiracy thing, with people getting killed when in our world they’d just be exposed as a homosexual and, given our squeamishness over stuff like that, that would be enough to ruin them. Alburquerque does a good job with the sex scene, as he twists the bodies in unusual ways because it’s happening in zero gravity, but he also does a really nice job with the ennui of the teenagers in a later scene. Both creators are doing a good job, and the book remains intriguing.

Soule might be doing stuff for DC and Marvel, but wouldn’t you rather read something by him that’s creator-owned? Sure you would!!!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Li’l Gotham #10 by Derek Fredolfs (writer), Dustin Nguyen (writer/artist) Saida Temofonte (letterer), Jessica Chen (assistant editor), and Kristy Quinn (editor). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC. Batman and Catwoman created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane. Alfred Pennyworth, Robin, and the Joker created by Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson, and Bob Kane. Damian Wayne created by Mike Barr, Grant Morrison, and Andy Kubert. Tim Drake created by Marv Wolfman and Pat Broderick. Barbara Gordon created by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino. Poison Ivy created by Robert Kanigher and Sheldon Moldoff. Harley Quinn created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. Jason Todd created by Gerry Conway and Don Newton. Katana created by Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo.

Nguyen continues to write charming stories, some better than the others, but all worth a look. The first story in this book is one of the weaker ones, honestly – it’s about Poison Ivy getting depressed in the autumn and Harley and Selina trying to cheer her up. It’s certainly not a terrible story – I mean, Brad Meltzer didn’t write it – but it just kind of sits there. Harley is pretty fun in the story, especially the way she bosses the Joker around and the way she rocks a zoot suit, but other than that, it’s not really notable. Perhaps that’s because the second story is brilliant, as Damian sees Alfred dragging a huge bag into an unused wing of the Wayne mansion and comes to believe that Alfred is killing people and taking their bodies into the manor for nefarious purposes. It’s funny because Nguyen and Fridolfs play on the fact that Alfred is still, after 75 years, still somewhat mysterious – writers have done stuff with Alfred over the years, but his day-to-day interior life is still a bit of an enigma. Second, Damian is awesome in this story and shows, once again, that the God of All Comics’ decision to slaughter him was a bad one. He’s a big douche in this story, but he’s also hilarious, and as he drags the other Bat-sidekicks into his belief that Alfred is totes evil, the story becomes funnier and funnier. Nguyen changes the artwork to reflect the different stories the sidekicks concoct about Alfred, from the stark black-and-white of a “Dr. Frankenstein” idea to the rough brushstrokes of the demon Alfred possessing souls. It’s very cool how Nguyen does it. It’s always fun to see an artist trying different stuff, and Nguyen does it very well. I’m not sure if I’ll miss this book when it’s gone, but it’s very solid!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

The Maxx: Maxximized #3 by Mike Heisler (letterer), Sam Kieth (writer/artist), William Messner-Loebs (writer), Ronda Pattison (colorist), and Jim Sinclair (additional inker). $3.99, 21 pgs, FC, IDW.

Dang, this is a cool-looking comic. Kieth does such a cool job with the page layouts, moving between the “real” world and the Outback very nicely, and managing to make the Maxx a tragic figure even though he looks really weird. The final few pages, where the Maxx sits with Julie and we see two different worlds, is really well done.

I still don’t love the story – Messner-Loebs is really expository in this issue, and I don’t think he needs to be. Mr. Gone tells the Maxx a bit too much, and while there’s still plenty of mystery left, it’s kind of annoying to get things spelled out that are, after all, fairly obvious just from the way the story functions. Oh well. The comic is 20 years old – what are you going to do?

Still, it’s gorgeous. That’s definitely something!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Miracleman #1 (“A Dream of Flying”) by Mick Anglo (writer/artist), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Digikore (art restorer), Michael Kelleher (art restorer), Don Lawrence (artist), Garry Leach (artist/art restorer), Grumpy “Morrison is riding my jock, yo” McBeardypants (writer), Steve Oliff (colorist), Cory Sedlmeier (restoration editor), and Jeff Youngquist (restoration editor). $5.99, 64 pgs, FC/BW, Marvel. Miracleman created by … well, shit, let’s not get into that, okay?

So let’s talk about Miracleman.

If you’ve never read Miracleman, you really ought to, although I imagine many people who have never read it by now are either not interested in reading it or are waiting for the inevitable $40-$75 hardcover that Marvel will release once they’re done with reprinting this. (I arrive at that based on their past pricing policies, but also whether they will include all the extra stuff they’re including in these single issues. I don’t know what else will be in the subsequent single issues, but if they have old Marvelman stories and interviews with creators – not Beardo, of course, because he might put a spell on them – then it might push the price up. We shall see.) Marvel tries to justify the $6 price tag, as they reprint a prologue from 1985 that features an old Marvelman story with Moore dialogue to bring it in line with Moore’s modern story (it’s quite weird, but kind of neat). They also have some quotes from Mick Anglo about his life from when Joey Q (without a baseball cap?!?!?) interviewed him in 2010 (Anglo died in 2011), and then some Marvelman stories from the 1950s, including the first two he appeared in. They don’t quite make this worth it, and it’s very strange why Marvel would do this. The stories are reprints, and there’s no hurry to publish them, as far as I know. Marvel is trying to milk every single dollar out of this series, but why? I just checked the April solicits, and they’re skipping the next single issue for a month to offer the first four issues in a hardcover for THIRTY DOLLARS. That’s insane. I get that they charge a ton of money for their single issues because they know that the sheep will think they have to read everything right away, but as anyone with a brain knows, if you’re patient they’ll eventually release a nice version of the collected issues for far less. The people who want to read this and haven’t done so yet have been waiting for over 20 years – the last trade came out around 1991, I think (without checking on it). They can wait a little longer. The people who haven’t been waiting for this because they don’t know much about it – you know, the people Marvel is hoping they can hook with this story because someone they might have heard of named Neil Gaiman (only old farts like you and me know who Cranky Crankerson is) is waiting to write stuff with this character on the back end – will not think this is a good idea at all. Mike Sterling writes about having to do a hard sell to his customers on this book and giving a deep discount and still having trouble getting rid of it. I assume pre-orders on the book are fine (remember, you’re not Marvel’s customers, retailers are), but will they be for the issues after the hardcover, or will interest vanish once people realize that they’re getting hosed? It is absolutely insane for Marvel to do this, especially because the Eclipse issues (as opposed to the trades) aren’t really that hard to find. Marvel has done a very nice job in the past five years or so getting back to the heyday of the Bill Jemas era, letting creators really take point on several of their books and making the comics very distinctive and cool, but they remain absolute idiots with regard to pricing. When you’re charging far too much for fucking reprints, you’re idiots.

It’s too bad, because Steve Oliff’s recoloring is rather nice. The original colors (keeping in mind that the original comic was in black and white, and when I write “original colors” I mean the first time the book was touched up) were garish and occasionally just wrong (the famous “purple Miracleman” panel, for instance), and while I don’t love recoloring everything to make it “realistic,” Oliff manages to strike a pretty good balance between Mike Moran’s bright costume and the drabness of the real world. I wish it were a bit brighter, but oh well. The art restoration and recoloring helps create some more contrasts in the more explosive panels, like when Miracleman defeats the terrorists. I mentioned when the recoloring was announced that I hope Oliff keeps it a bit fuzzy when Mike and Johnny fight, because the original coloring makes it appear their fight is so intense that they create obscuring heat around them, but I have a feeling that too will be crisper. Moore, of course, shows us that he’s a master of phrasing, and while “superheroes in the real world” has been done to death over the past 30 years and so this might seem stale, it’s still one of (if not the) first attempt at that, and it’s a lot better than almost all of them. It’s just really too bad that Marvel seems intent on driving any readers away from this. They could have released just the reprints in slim, 2-dollar single issues, or just begun with a hardcover collecting the entire Moore run. This is the worst way of all possible worlds, but I guess they’re the billion-dollar industry and I’m just a schnook, so what the hell do I know? (And yes, I did actually spend the six dollars for this even though I already own the comic. Occasionally, for the sake of the blog, I’ll buy a book just so I can write about it, and I was perversely curious about this. I’ll be waiting for the big hardcover from now on.)

Rating (for just the Moore/Leach story): ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆
Rating (for the Marvel package): ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Miss Fury #8 by Simon Bowland (letterer), Jack Herbert (artist), Ivan Nunes (colorist), and Rob Williams (writer). $3.99, 20 pgs, FC, Dynamite. Miss Fury created by Tarpé Mills.

I assume Williams wrote this before news of Miss Fury‘s cancellation (or possibly just the ending – I don’t know if Dynamite is cancelling it because of poor sales or if Williams is just finishing his story and that’s all they planned for), but if he wrote it afterward, it seems he just figured “Fuck the heck” and went a bit nuts with it, because as nuts as the previous issues have been, this is even nuttier. Marla is in an alternate 1943, where her doppelgänger is a bit more extreme than she is, as she guns perps down rather casually and enjoys having lots of weird sex. Marla rescues her from the bad guys, but then shit gets even more intense, as she’s forced to make a terrible decision. It’s actually really well done by Williams, leading her to that spot and showing how awful she needs to be to get what she wants.

I’m glad Herbert’s back on art, and I hope he can finish the book (I haven’t looked at the solicits, so I don’t know if he’s supposed to be on the book through issue #11 or not). I have a feeling that this book will read much better all at once, when we can make all the connections that Williams is making. It’s not a great comic, but it’s bizarrely entertaining – Marla makes out with herself in this issue, for instance – and I’ll be interested to see where Williams goes in the next few issues.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Secret #4 (“Eyes Wide Open”) by Ryan Bodenheim (artist), Michael Garland (colorist), Jonathan Hickman (writer), and Rus Wooton (letterer). $3.50, 20 pgs, FC, Image.

It’s a shame that Secret has taken so long to come out (even longer for me; this issue came out in December, but Diamond didn’t ship it to my retailer, who only got it this week), because it’s a pretty cool book. It’s not Hickman’s best, but it’s pretty good. I can’t really name everyone because I’ve forgotten who’s who (Hickman does name people through the dialogue, though, which is nice), but when he gets to the big reveal about what’s going on, it’s pretty cool, and he does a nice job writing intense little scenes between characters. It will, of course, read much better when it’s done, but Hickman has gotten better at writing single issues, so even though I can’t remember how everyone is connected, at least the stuff that happens in this issue is pretty keen.

I don’t know why this is so late – whether it’s Hickman’s fault or Bodenheim’s fault or a combination of both. Bodenheim’s art looks a bit more detailed in this issue as opposed to earlier ones, so maybe he took a longer time on it, but Hickman’s own project that he was drawing and was supposed to be out in the fall of 2012 is still not here, so maybe it’s just Hickman doing too much stuff right now. Beats me. Whatever the case, Secret is a cool little book, and if you’ve missed it so far, the trade should be out sometime before the next century!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

The Sixth Gun #37 (“Not the Bullet, but the Fall Part Two”) by Cullen Bunn (writer), Bil Crabtree (colorist), Crank! (letterer), Brian Hurtt (artist), and Charlie Chu (editor). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

Every once in a while, Bunn kicks The Sixth Gun up a notch, taking it from one of the best series out there right now to Holy Shit territory, and I had a feeling this issue might be one, based on the ending of the previous issue. Bunn doesn’t disappoint, as he throws a ton of bad guys at our heroes and lets the violence commence, but he also moves the strange love triangle between Becky, Drake, and Kirby forward just a little, which is neat. He also ends at yet another interesting place, as some of the group is separated from the other and Asher Cobb, Mummy Extraordinaire, shows up again. He’s not happy.

Hurtt does his usual stellar job with the artwork, as he gets to draw a lot of violence and, of course, nails it. He’s really good when Missy shows up early in the book, a bit changed, and confronts Becky. Later on, as good as the violence is, the two panels of Kirby and Becky looking at each other while the violence erupts around them is really nicely done. Becky might be pissed at Kirby, but she can’t deny that she’s attracted to him. Hurtt doesn’t do anything too fancy with their faces, but he does enough to show how they feel even though they don’t say anything.

So, yeah. An exceptional issue. That’s always nice to see!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Velvet #3 (“Before the Living End Part Three”) by Elizabeth Breitweiser (colorist), Ed Brubaker (writer), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Steve Epting (artist), and David Brothers (editor). $2.99, 21 pgs, FC, Image.

Before I praise, I should bury, shouldn’t I? So Brubaker writes in the letters page that he’s never been a fan of the “greater than” and “less than” signs to indicate a different language, so they decided to use a different font in italics. That’s fine and all, but what’s the difference, really? It’s still an artificial construct so a primarily English-speaking audience can read what people are saying. What’s the big deal with anyway? It’s just weird to take a stand against them when you’re doing primarily the same thing. I don’t mind either way, honestly. It’s going to be written in English vernacular – it’s not “translated” and no writer will use idioms from that language and translate them into English, so it’s just written as English and we’re supposed to interpret it as a different language. It doesn’t really matter how you do that. The font is nice, though.

Epting draws this very nicely, with his thinnish lines suiting a sleeker tone than Brubaker’s work with Sean Phillips. He does a very nice job with Velvet and the way she reacts to things – this is a woman who puts up with no bullshit, and Epting’s wry facial expressions that he gives her work very well with that mindset. It’s also interesting, because she’s moving in a world of men, and Epting manages to give her a thinly-veiled look of contempt for all the men she needs to deal with. Epting does a lot to fill out Velvet’s personality, which is always a good thing. I don’t love the drab coloring, even though it fits the time period, and I really don’t like the computerized smoke from the cigarettes. Breitweiser does a really nice job with the splash when the bodies hit the water early in the book, making the Danube look like a smeary mess, but then, when it comes to the smoke, it appears like either she or Epting awkwardly Photoshops it in. The smoke should be hazier, but it looks almost clean. It’s not a great choice.

The story continues fairly well, although Brubaker makes what I would consider a mistake by having Velvet make a rookie mistake, even though we’ve been told and, for the most part, seen what a good agent she is. I guess you could make the argument that she’s been out of the field for a while, but it still seems lazy of her not to know what’s going on. It adds drama to the proceedings, and I imagine it will become a problem next issue, but it’s still a bit sloppy. But the issue itself is fairly exciting, and still intriguing. I’m looking forward to the next one!

Also, 80% of the people suggesting the name of a letter column wanted “Velvet Underground.” Really, people? I don’t know what mine would have been because I didn’t think about it, but could that have been any more obvious? Oh well. The next time Black Science comes out, I hope my suggestion for a letter column wins, because it’s an awesome suggestion. Well, according to me. I may be biased!!!!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:


I was reading Comic Book Creator #3, and if you get a chance to pick it up, I highly recommend it. It has some interesting features in it, but the highlight is the Neal Adams interview. Holy crap, it’s breathtaking. It’s 36 (!!!) pages long – yes, you read the correctly – and it’s everything you could ever ask for from 36 (!!!) pages of pretty much unfiltered Adams. The main focus of the story is Batman: Odyssey, which Adams explains in painstaking detail. It begs the question whether you should really have to explain it as much as Adams does, but it’s still amazing. He also takes on Internet critics who dared to bash it, making the point that has been made for time immemorial about serialized fiction – you can’t judge it until it’s finished. I have always loved creators who whine about people judging their works before they’re completed but do nothing to change the paradigm of the monthly comic book. If Adams wanted to release the book in 13 different chapters, they’re going to get judged that way. The condescension from both Adams and the interviewer over “trolls” (like the people at Comics Alliance, who are pretty far from “trolls”) who dare to judge Batman: Odyssey poorly is stupendous. Look, Batman: Odyssey is absolutely insane and dumb, but it’s also wildly entertaining. Some people didn’t like the art, but I thought Adams was turning in really good stuff. It’s something everyone should read because it’s just that nuts (Neanderthals dressed as Batman and Robin? Why not?!?!?), but I don’t think we can call it particularly good literature. Still, the interview is absolutely wonderful. I assume Greg Hatcher has read the interview, so I’ll let him chime in with his opinion! (And if he hasn’t read it, well, he totally should!)

Moving on, Russell Johnson and then Dave Madden died, so it was a bad week for people who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s. I was too young to watch either Gilligan’s Island or The Partridge Family when they first aired, but Gilligan’s Island was in heavy rotation in syndication during the late 1970s/early 1980s, so I saw plenty of it. Weirdly, The Partridge Family didn’t show up too often in syndication, so while I’ve seen episodes, I’m not as familiar with it and don’t have any attachment to it (not that I have an attachment to Gilligan’s Island, but I’ve seen every episode probably at least twice or thrice). I mention both of these gentlemen because when I went over to read about the Professor, I saw a news story about the death of Cassandra Lynn Hensley, who was a Playboy Playmate in 2006. Apparently she died of an overdose, but an autopsy hasn’t been done yet, so cause of death is still pending – the friend whose apartment she was in believes it was an overdose. Unfortunately, reading a story about her death reminded me why the Internet is a horrible place, as the comments on the story were so hateful that I almost – almost – couldn’t believe it. Celebrity deaths don’t affect me at all, and I have no opinion about Ms. Hensley one way or another, so I’m not sure why people have to be so angry about her death. Of course, the news that she might have overdosed means she’s a horrible person, and the fact that she’s famous for posing naked meant she was a horrible and stupid person. I mean, I would hit the roof if my daughter wanted to pose for Playboy, but some people really want to do it, and that’s their thing. All the people commenting about how she got what she deserved because she’s a godless whore need to be punched really hard in the face. I rarely read the comments on big news sites, and I was reminded why not the other day. Sheesh.

And hey, if you have lost your faith in the people on the Internet, with their holy judgment and awful words about a dead woman, you can always go out into the real world, where a person can get shot and killed for texting during a movie. Sorry, the previews for a movie. Look, I hate people talking and/or texting during a movie and/or bringing their 3-year-olds to a motherfucking 10 p.m. showing of motherfucking Sin City (why no, this didn’t happen to me, why do you ask?), but killing someone? Really? Good Christ, gays marrying each other won’t end civilization, the fact that everyone seems to think you can win an argument by shooting and killing someone will.

Finally, I got a haircut. Yes, it’s gripping news. Here’s the deal: I haven’t had really short hair since I was about 6 or 7. My mom took me to a barbershop in Germany and told them to cut my hair “ganz kurz.” She thought that meant I would just get a short haircut, but they took it to mean that I should get a buzzcut. So a buzzcut I received! There was much mockery of my hair … by my own family, I must say (we were really mean to each other – I’m stunned my sister and I never climbed a bell tower with a high-powered rifle). I never felt like getting a very short haircut in the intervening years, but yesterday I decided to go for it. I went to the barbershop right by my house, which is about as close to the stereotypical barbershop in movies such as … well, Barbershop as you can get (with an unfortunate exception of no one who worked there was as hot as Eve), and the guy there gave my head a nice trim. Here’s my hair before my cut:

And here’s me after the trim:

Perhaps predictably, the wife is not terribly fond of it. Oh well, I dig it. We’ll see how long it lasts. Just another adventure with Greg’s hair! What will happen next? You’re on pins and needles, I’m sure.

Let’s move on to the Ten Most Recent Songs on My iPod (Which Is Always on Shuffle but which I Accidentally Reset Last Week, Damn It!!!!):

1. “Language or the Kiss” – Indigo Girls (1994) “All I’ve sown was a song but maybe I was wrong”
2. “Baby Can I Hold You” – Tracy Chapman (1988) “Years gone by and still words don’t come easily”
3. “Borstal Boys” – Faces (1973) “Bet your life there’s a riot tonight in the mess hall”
4. “Laura” – Scissor Sisters (2004) “This’ll be the last time I ever do your hair”
5. “Elizabeth” – The Airborne Toxic Event (2013) “I said all these songs are love songs, just love at times can make you feel like shit”
6. “Nitro Burning Funny Cars” – Dead Milkmen (1987) “This world is full of people who look a lot like Gavin MacLeod”1
7. “Mama Train” – Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs (2001) “I wanna do damage all the time”
8. “Solace of You” – Living Colour (1990) “They can hurt me, jail my body – I’ll still be free”
9. “Out to Get You” – James (1993) “Miss the outline of your back, miss you breathing down my neck”
10. “Renaissance Man” – Midnight Oil (1993) “A new world order has been formed between the cheque book and the dawn”

1 It really is, isn’t it?

No Totally Random Lyrics last week, but let’s fire some up today!

“There’s a ship on the rise and he’s shootin’ at me
I rotate my ship and at the count of three
I fire and shoot and blow him out of the sky
Push on the button and wave bye-bye”

Have fun with it, everyone!

I hope everyone is staying warm and not, you know, freezing to death. It’s actually fairly warm here – in the 70s – which is nice, but I still miss a little bit of weather. I mean, we could use some rain, and January and February are usually when we get it, so who knows if we will this year. Anyway, have a nice weekend, everyone, and be nicer to each other than evil Internet commmenters reading about a nude model’s death, won’t you? I know – not a high bar, but you can do it!