Issue #34


Really been all over the place this week, what with arranging the printing for The Foot Soldiers, Volume Two and Couscous Express, as well as attending what I can of WEB2001 since my pal Warren Ellis is presenting a keynote panel with Grady Booch and Thomas Dolby. Scroll down a bit on Warren's link, and read about this panel. It's quite a brain trust assembled, there.

Anyway, with all the running around, I'm just going to riff a little on odd things this week. Just sit back and pretend we've gone out for sushi, and if you don't like the hamachi or the nise-gani, maybe you'll dig on the California rolls coming up…

(Aside to Our Man in Timonium: WASABI!)

One of my favorite columnists, Jon Carroll, wrote an entertaining and funny piece about pedestrians this Tuesday past. Here's the whole thing; give it a read. It's not a waste of your time, at all. It's quite funny, as are most of Carroll's columns. Except, you know, the serious ones. Those aren't funny, at all.

But in the course of his ruminations… pleas, really… to pedestrians and his entreaty for them to employ the proper usage of body language and hand-signals to indicate their bipedal intentions, he wrote this bit: "Use the miracle of body language to indicate that you have no intention of darting in front of the car. Having done that, you may add a graceful wave to your repertory. Your actions are clear and unambiguous."

...and of course, that last sentence made me realize, in six words, the problem everyone has with Marvel.

Marvel's like a pretty girl on the side of the street, facing the oncoming onslaught of the Pop Culture Audience careening at her at high speed, behind the wheel of the latest hip automobile. Marvel catches the audience's eye with its sassy demeanor and stylish clothes (this being a metaphor for its undeniably high quality recent creative work), but just as that car starts to slow down, somebody over there says something like, "If you don't like what we're doing, you've got low IQ," or "Since [insert names of two well-known, well-respected, heck, even well-loved retailers here] are vocal critics of ours, we shall call them names, as if we were seven years old" or, and this is my favorite: "We are selling more comics than we ever have! You know, if you look at this fudged data from three regimes ago, and compare it to this flawed information here, without taking into account all the various factors that effect that here, and, viola! We sell more comics than Bill Gates has got dollar bills! If, you know, you hold all that up to the light just right."

When all they have to do, really, is stop at the crosswalk, wait for the light to change, and proceed in a "clear and unambiguous" manner. Metaphorically.

Just let the really high quality of comics they are producing speak for themselves, and the sales will happen because the retailers will be happy. And, you know, I've never heard a copy of X-Men insult anyone, yet, so there's that.

Today's official website, kindly pointed out to us by Sequential Tart Marcia Allass, is Right Turn Clyde. Go, and enjoy. You can thank Marcia by hitting her site.

I found the ad for "Louis' Italian American Restaurant" to be quite funny. But I'm kind of a coarse guy, so there you go.

click to enlarge
Mike O'Brien & Kieron Dwyer
John Heebink (looking already drunk) & a fan
[Rory and Larry]
Rory Root & Larry Young

Was over at James Sime's store Comics and Da Kind last Friday, and I have to say, I love having a few cocktails after hours in a comics store with an impressive trade paperback display and a few hip customers. If you hit the link in that last sentence, you can read about my first impressions of James' store, and the few months he's been working on it has only increased my admiration for the work he's done.

Kieron (The Avengers) Dwyer was there, the indescribably mad-in-the-British-way Mike O'Brien (who may be more well-known around these parts as the face model for Spider Jerusalem's editor Mitchell Royce in Transmetropolitan) made an appearance, and John The Bod Heebink showed up, if only so afterwards he could stick his head into Amazon, the bar across the street owned by Asian hookers.

Even Rory Root, of Berkeley's Comic Relief stopped in, sharing, as is his wont, the incredibly good Scotch he keeps about his person on occasions such as these.

And this is the sort of thing that happens with disturbing regularity at this shop.

Can you believe the Justice Department dropped its pursuit to break up Microsoft? It's true what they say, isn't it, about the vocalization abilities of the coin of the realm vis-à-vis the perambulatory nature of excrement? And even more interesting that Microsoft announces the arrival of its Pocket PC 2002 operating system for PDAs, which incorporates the copious customer feedback they'd received…

Is there a lesson here from Gates to Jemas? You know, as one Bill to another…?

Like many robust people, in fact, he held neurosis in contempt. Yet, here he was, larry@comicbookresources.com

I get a few emails from folks each week asking what these quotes are before the mail-to. They're just neat quotes that strike me from the stuff I'm reading that week. The first person to identify this week's quote gets, I dunno, an Astronauts in Trouble Channel Seven baseball cap, straight from me to you. I'll give you a hint, because there's a lot of stuff I could be reading, yes? It's from a recent novel by a New York Times best-selling author known for his deftness with the comic and the cosmic alike. That's "comic" as in "ha-ha," and not as in "sequential art," so you don't go down the wrong path. At least one of his novels has been made into a motion picture.

While you can get your news and commentary about the funny books all over the damn Internet, I usually make it a point to let slip at least one bit of information at the Loose Cannon Message Board that I post nowhere else. Just so you know.

Next week I will no doubt be singing the praises of award-winning author Warren Ellis, who will be making his only U. S. personal appearance this year at Comic Relief, on September 8th from 3 pm – 6 pm. I'm sure kind words about the shop and its owner, Rory Root, will also be found within.

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