Random Thoughts! (April 10, 2012)

Random Thought! From Friday 4pm through to Monday 4pm, I worked 40 out of 72 hours. It's Random Thoughts time! Get excited!

Link Thought! GraphiContent for comics. butterbeatleblog for popculture. 411mania for wrestling reviews and the occasional CD review.

Random Thought! Well, my series of posts on Avengers vs. X-Men officially began last Tuesday with some brief thoughts on the first issue. Some people have asked and, yes, I will be writing about most of the tie-ins. So far, the only tie-ins that have been announced that are series I'm not already buying are AvX: VS, Avengers Academy, and X-Men Legacy and I will be buying the first of those for sure. The other two, I'm not sure about. Otherwise, every other tie-in happens in a comic I'm already buying. I guess you could say that this event is aimed at me, except I'm not sure it is. Ah well. I just wish I had more to say about that utterly lacklustre first issue.

Random Thought! Not sure to think of the new colouring in the Flex Mentallo hardcover. It didn't immediately jump out at me -- but my copies of the issues are in one of my boxes. Seeing comparisons, I do think the original colouring was better. I'm a little surprised that they changed it. (And, while doing this post, Illogical Volume put up a great post on the subject over at the Mindless Ones.)

Random Thought! Well, the Blue Jays are 2-2... The only game I've had the chance to watch was the season opener on Thursday, all 16 innings of it. Well, more like 14 for me since I fell asleep in the bottom of the sixth and woke up in the bottom of the eighth (not because it was boring, but because I was just tired). It was a great game with a lot of exciting moments. For the weekend games, I was stuck checking the box score on Yahoo from time to time because I was working. From what little I've seen, the team looks decent, but needs to work out some problems. The same problems as always it seems.

Random Thought! I'm torn: I don't want to support seemingly random crossovers like "The Omega Effect," but also want the entire story. It's like either way I choose (to buy or not to buy Avenging Spider-Man and Punisher this month), I lose. Thanks, Marvel.

Random Thought! I will miss Travel Foreman's work on Animal Man. It was damn good.

Random Thought! Normally, clarity of storytelling is something I value highly in an artist, but Chris Bachalo is a big exception. It may take an extra pass or two to understand... and it's worth it.

Random Thought! I finished reading The Kitchen Readings, a book by Hunter Thompson friends Michael Cleverly and Bob Braudis sharing stories and memories of Thompson, and it's a decent read. Some funny moments in there. It's repeats itself a bit with explanations about Thompson's various quirks at times and, sometimes, has paragraphs that go nowhere. Still, it's not the sort of 'biography' you often see and it helps contibute to a more rounded picture of Thompson. That I got it remaindered for cheap helped as well. Now, I'm reading Have Not Been the Same, a book about Canrock from 1985-1995. It's a massive tome.

Random Thought! The creative team would have be to fucking amazing for me to buy a Gambit comic. Probably more amazing than Marvel is willing to get -- or would be willing to work on that book.

Random Thought! I rather like the idea of National Comics. It should vary issue-to-issue and, surprisingly, I'd love to see sales vary issue to issue in a big way. Why doesn't it work like that? A series like that with stand alone issues by different creators should, theoretically, have wildly varying sales. Yet, who doesn't look at that and predict a steady decline? That's fucked up...

Random Thought! "And this one's for nothing. And this one's for fun. And this one is about rock 'n' roll and comic books and bubblegum."

Random Thought! Batman was created to kill Superman. Heh.

Random Thought! If you haven't, go read Alan Sepinwall's interview with David Simon from last week. It's quite interesting, especially in how much of Simon's discussion about television criticism can easily be applied to comics. This really hit some spots that I've been thinking about for a while. Something that contributed over time to my becoming unhappy as a reviewer for CBR was the endless grind of reviewing small parts of bigger stories and how limiting that was. I don't see anything wrong with that inherently, but when that's all you get a chance to do, it wears on you.

Random Thought! Someone told me that there are distinct characters in Age of Apocalypse and I refuse to believe that.

Random Thought! What's your comic buying/reading routine? Mine used to be getting to the shop just after it opened at noon on Thursdays and, then, coming home and reading my comics on the couch. Now that I end work on Wednesdays at four, it's getting picked up by Michelle and hitting the shop on the way to the gym where she teaches a class from 5-6. The gym is on the second floor of a grocery store, so I read my comics outside of the gym where they have tables set up for people to eat/employees to go have lunch/breaks.

Random Thought! Last night, I took advantage of a pre-sale to buy tickets to see the Tragically Hip here in Windsor in July. Somehow, I haven't seen them live yet. I'm glad to have a chance to correct that mistake.

Random Thought! I read Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes: The Ultimate Collection last week and it was the first reread of the first mini I've done in years and the first time I've read the second one period. It's interesting how both look at two different times in the Avengers' history (though not too far apart) to tell the same story: of the time making a lasting go at it. The first one, it's the team getting over being a random collection of heroes that may or may not have anything in common, while the second is a team with members that aren't as well known/beloved by the public. Basically, the first mini establishes the Avengers as a viable team, while the second establishes it as a team not made up of heavyweight necessarily, one that can survive line-up changes and rosters with 'less popular' members. Now, all we need is for Joe Casey to come back with a third mini tackling the leather jacket era...

Random Thought! There are some movies that, if I come across them on TV, I have a hard time not watching no matter the time. That happened on Saturday night with Ocean's Twelve. I do enjoy those flicks.

Random Thought! I buy glamourpuss every other month, but haven't read an issue in almost two years, I think. Maybe more. Someday, though, I will... and it will be magnificant. Or I'll find out that Sim went off the rails somewhere in there and I missed it. I chose to stop reading it, because Sim's discussion of history seemed to benefit more from reading in bigger chunks to keep the details straight.

Random Thought! This week's batch of books is a solid bunch. Nothing jumps out as something I'm overly excited about. The post-"War of the Words" Unwritten maybe? The Secret #1 should be good. New Haunt is always appreciated. And I am curious to see how the first Avengers vs. X-Men tie-in comic shapes up.

Random Thought! I would be the Adam West Batman, because that version is the only one that seemed happy.


Random Joe Casey Question! In his art book, Jim Starlin praised Bernie Wrightson and Ron Lim as two of the best artists he ever worked with. Wrightson because he would always deliver surprising work that looked nothing like what was in Starlin's head; Lim because he would somehow capture exactly what was in his head. Of all the artists you've worked with, who is your favourite in each category?

Random Joe Casey Answer! It’s a strange question for me, not just because I have trouble picking favorites, but also because in the category of "artists who’ve delivered exactly what was in my head", there’s quite a few of them… but that's mainly because I tend to build projects around the specific artists I want to work with. Someone like Chris Weston on FF: FIRST FAMILY, he gave me exactly what I had in my head… because what was in my head was Chris Weston artwork. Sean Phillips on WILDCATS, same thing. Frazer Irving on IRON MAN: THE INEVITABLE, same thing.

I think I’ve been surprised by the level of skill that certain artists have displayed, far beyond what I thought they were capable of. Chris Burnham on OFFICER DOWNE seemed to take a quantum leap in his art from what he’d done on NIXON’S PALS, which was already pretty goddamn good. Nick Dragotta on VENGEANCE really stepped up to match my own insanity when it came to a certain kind of storytelling, mastering certain panel-to-panel techniques and visual transition riffs that he’d never been asked to do before.

In the other category, I would say, right at this moment, Nathan Fox and I are really getting into a groove on HAUNT and he’s doing work that’s pretty breathtaking. So I guess he is surpassing a lot of what I might’ve imagined when we started on the book. And I’m not just talking about the over-the-top action stuff (which he does great), but even the quiet, dramatic beats of the story. Some of his pages in the most recent issues… I could just stare at them for hours. The nuanced emotions in the art and the specific kind of mood he can create… well, I don’t think anyone working in modern comicbooks can touch him. He's a massive example of an Inkmaster General.


Random Comments! One of these days, I'll choose the comments to respond to in a truly random fashion. Not today.

Jeremy said: Did you enjoy Wrestlemania, Chad? I did, mostly, although that first hour was DREADFUL. I loved HHH/Taker, really enjoyed Rock/Cena, and Punk/Y2J had a great finish if not the all-time classic it should have been, so I left satisfied. Poor D-Bryan though, that guy will NEVER get over.

I enjoyed it while watching it, partly due to the big crowd at the movie theatre and their enthusiasm, but, then, Cena lost to the Rock and, for some reason, that just killed my enthusiasm completely. I can't remember a match result leaving me feeling as empty/depressed as that one did. It was really weird and surprising. From there, I began to get really down on the show and, now... well, I'm just waiting for the DVD so I can rewatch it from a bit more distance. I don't know what to think. I did love 'Taker/Triple H and Punk/Jericho.

I think AvX could have fanbases split, but the safer bet is just X-men fans vs Avengers fans, as the CBR forums are already showing. The problem of having Steve Rogers on one side of the fence is a tough one to crack. He’s CAPTAIN FRICKEN’ AMERICA, the symbol of everything great in this nation, smells like apple pie and sounds like your favorite uncle. When Steve’s on the other side of the argument, chances are you are wrong, and it’s hard not to look like a fascist douche-nozzle when you’re against him.

He's wrong all of the time. But, writers do tend to make people in opposition to him look like douchebags (seeL Stark, Tony). Then again, it's more of a 'government vs. cult' story so far... so chances are both sides will look like idiots.

Ninjazilla said: Dork avengers

I'd buy that.

Riley said: I thought the Kane vs. Randy Orton match was good, and that Hell in a Cell will probably go down in history as one of the best, but my favorite match was easily Punk v. Jericho. And maybe that Divas match was lame but Kelly Kelly’s move off the top rope was stellar work! Also if you missed the tag team match, it is worth checking out on youtube or elsewhere on the internetz. Why they aired the Brodus Clay thing but not that I’ll never understand.

I'll probably watch the tag match on the DVD when it comes out. Then again, I just got around to watching the Miz & Morrison vs. the Colons match from 'Mania XXV, so... And I understand the Brodus Clay stuff: it was crowd pleasing. If this WrestleMania was about anything, it was trying to pander to the live crowd and create a 'fun' show.

Also, the finale to Season 4 of Venture Brothers is the single best season finale I have ever seen, period.

It was damn good. The finale to the first season left me completely shocked. It still produces that reaction a little when I rewatch it -- a sign of how well they pulled off the finish to that episode.

Dean said: Didn’t the Dark Avengers beat up the Molecule Man, or some other loser?

Different Dark Avengers. You're thinking of the first group, while I was discussing the more recent lame second group.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading. Later.

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