Random Thoughts! (August 28, 2012)

Random Thought! I can only interpret DC adding a two-issue Moloch mini-series to the Before Watchmen project as them thinking that Brian and I are doing fantastic discussion reviews and they'll do what it takes to get even two more of them. It's Random Thoughts time! Get excited!

Link Thought! GraphiContent for comics. butterbeatleblog for popculture. 411mania for wrestling reviews and the occasional CD review. My Twitter account for random thoughts as they happen in real time.

Random Thought! My latest Avengers vs. X-Men post... Riding the Gravy Train 21 on Uncanny X-Men #17: "Did I just read a comic where the X-Men commit genocide?"

Random Thought! For no reason other than curiosity and boredom, on Saturday night, I took a brief look at some CBR review stats. Out of 48 reviews crediting Joe Casey as the writer of a comic, I have written 34 of them -- and none have been written since I quit. For Warren Ellis, it's 36/54 and, for Garth Ennis, it's 25/56 (with Ryan Lindsay doing 19 of the remaining 31). I also check the stats for Brian Michael Bendis reviews and I've done 57/161, which is over a third of them. That strikes me as surprising given that, all told, there's been around 10 (maybe a couple more than that?) CBR reviewers and, somehow, I've done over a third of the reviews for one of the most popular (and central to the largest publisher) writers? Weird. I also checked and the lowest Casey review star-rating was 0.5 stars; the highest was 4.5. If anything shows that my reviews were just business and nothing personal, it's that. I've written about Casey more than any other writer on my blog -- I buy his work whenever I get the chance. He is clearly one of my favourite comic writers. So, if I'm willing to call something he wrote a pile of shit, don't get too upset if I don't think highly of anything someone else did.

Random Thought! Rob Liefeld is an entertaining guy when he's not making comics, isn't he?

Random Thought! Though, in his defence, I did chuckle a bit at Pete Woods's argument that DC has a plan and that complaining about crappy continuity AND strict editorial mandates is contradictory. He is, of course, correct. Except, Liefeld's big complaint was editorial changing the plan at the last minute on a pretty constant basis. When that continues to happen, it's no longer called 'a plan,' it's called 'making shit up as you go.' Which is fine. I'm not opposed to that. But, one is not the other and let's not pretend that they are.

Random Thought! Depending on my mood/what I hear, I may just buy The Avengers at Wal-Mart to get that Avengers: Season One book.

Random Thought! Marvel: I was far more likely to by a Thanos comic by Joe Keatinge and Rich Ellson than a Morbius the Living Vampire comic by the same creative team. For the record.

Random Thought! If Diamond's list proves accurate, next Wednesday will see no Avengers vs. X-Men comics released, breaking a 23-week streak, beginning with Avengers vs. X-Men #0. There will be a Riding the Gravy Train post. About what, I don't know yet. I also expect four or five Avengers vs. X-Men comics the following week.

Random Thought! Last week was the week where I went to two Blue Jays/Tigers games in Detroit. It was my third and fourth times visiting Comerica Park and I really do like that place. On Tuesday night, Michelle and I took the Tunnel Bus over and had the shortest questioning by a US border guard ever (three questions!). Our seats kind of sucked since we were in the outfield, right in line with the first base foul line -- meaning, in one of the seats, the foul pole blocked home plate so completely that you couldn't see the batter. I sat in that seat for the first few innings and, then, Michelle took it for the rest of the game, because she's a much nicer person than I am. If you ignored the first two innings where Ricky Romero pitched horribly, it was a great, competitive game. The best part had to be when someone in our section tried again and again to get a wave going and, after seven attempts, was told by an usher to stop it, that the stadium rules said that you only got seven attempts. I'm not sure if that's an actual rule, but I do agree with the pissed off people in my section that it's a dumb rule -- but, for a different reason. They called the usher a buzzkill and mocked him, while I thought that such a rule isn't needed, because most people have the sense to stop trying to get a wave started after five or so failed attempts. I fucking hate the wave.

On Thursday, I went to the 1:07 pm game by myself and had a great seat in the infield, right in line with the first baseman, 17 rows back (which is a lot closer than it sounds). The Tunnel Bus nearly didn't get us there in time because some asshole truck driver was blocking the bus/truck lane, which made the bus have to back up to switch lanes. FUN! I was also part of a group from our bus selected to be inspected by a drug-sniffing dog. But, we made it to the park about 15 minutes before the game (meaning, it took an hour to get from Windsor to Comerica Park -- which is about five minutes from the border). Thursday's game was a bit more competitive -- though the Jays got killed by pitching changes and lost in the 11th inning. It was a fun (and hot) day. I wish the Jays would get scheduled to visit Detroit more than once a season. At both games, the park was sold out (or near sold out) with a healthy mix of Jays and Tigers fans. I'm sure Tigers management wouldn't mind having a semi-local team like the Jays visit for another series each year.

Random Thought! I enjoyed the new issue of The Unwritten, but if I never see another "I'm a crazy person who believes X to be the messiah and, oh no, X rejected that idea and is taking away everything that makes me feel special, so I'm going to go extra-crazy and blame X for everything!" plot again, I'll be a happy man. At least Avengers vs. X-Men is almost subtle about doing that plot with Cyclops and Hope.

Random Thought! Infinity Gauntlet was really about listening when a woman tells you that she's not interested and the futility to grand gestures to win her over. Crisis on Infinite Earths is really about cleaning your room.

Random Thought! I have an odd weakness for awesome song mash-ups. My favoure will forever be a mash-up of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" and James Brown's "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine."

Random Thought! I've sat here for seven hours trying to think of something to say about Superman and Wonder Woman hooking up. Here's what I've got: ain't gonna top The Dark Knight Strikes Again.

Random Thought! Huh. Tim quits the Splash Page Podcast and, suddenly, his interest in monthly comics disappears. Coincidence? Or will the entire industry collapse beginning January 29, 2013?

Random Thought! We don't just get two new Neil Young and Crazy Horse albums in one year: WE GET A GODDAMN DOUBLE ALBUM AS ONE OF THE NEW ONES! Life is good, people.

Random Thought! Winter Journal by Paul Auster is a wonderful book. Insightful and a great example of 'universal in specificity.' Many times, I stopped and had to consider what I just read, unable to separate what Auster was writing about from my own life. There are some truly amazing, touching passages in that book. If you see it, get it, and read it.

Random Thought! Now: The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy. I've read the first three chapters and digging it already.

Random Thought! I keep waiting for the big quitting Marvel public blowup...

Random Thought! I reread Scalped. It reminded me of many things that I forgot and made many threads clearer. It didn't make me like the final issue more. I liked it. I did. But, I didn't love it. I found it a little underwhelming. Reading the final story as a whole, it all seemed somewhat underwhelming -- a little too forced, perhaps? I don't know... We'll see what I think next reread.

Random Thought! This week, the big finale is Spaceman #9. Curious to see what happens there. It won't be a definitive conclusion, I imagine, based on Azzarello mentioning that it's a story he hopes to continue telling with Eduardo Risso.

Random Thought! Brian Azzarello interviews are the best. For anything coming up, his answer is always some variation of "Wait and see," while, for anything that's already come out, his answer is always some variation of "I'll leave that up for the reader to decide." I'm just waiting for someone to give up halfway through and begin talking baseball with him, fuck comics.

Random Thought! Today, I'll read some comics wherever I damn well please, because I find the idea of going out in public to read comics so goddamn pathethic. So terribly insecure. Just screaming to the world "Look at me, I'm doing something completely normal! Something totally acceptable that has no cause for me to do it in public specifically!" But, hey, that's me. I don't see anything different between comics, books, movies, TV shows (beyond their inherent differences) that requires me to go out in public and show off my love of any of them.

Random Thought! I don't really have much to say about Jack Kirby's 95th birthday... especially when so many others have said much smarter and more heartfelt things than I ever could. I did just start in on the third Fourth World omnibus and I'm looking forward to reading more of it today after work.

Random Thought! The best candidates for "Random Brian Cronin Comment of the Week!" are, sadly, not fit for public consumption. He did share some insights with me this week about how he constructs his "Comic Book Legends Revealed" posts after I made a snide comment about him resorting to doing a legend about Alex Ross art (aka shit everyone knows -- so widely known that it gets included as bonus material in trades!). He took my snark in stride and dropped some science on me. And if I'm reading into his e-mail right, he can literally do those posts forever. He knows all of the secrets -- and, yet, everyone loves him. Weird.


Random Joe Casey Question! How do you generally approach taking over the writing on an existing comic series? Do you ignore what's been happening on the title, try to integrate things for a smooth transition, or is it all situational?

Random Joe Casey Answer! For the most part, WFH gigs are laboratories. And it all depends on the experiment I feel like conducting if and when such opportunities arise. On some gigs, I might decide that honoring the previous run poses the greatest, most worthwhile challenge, while on others, I might blow everything up just to tickle my own shit. These days, I'd probably be more inclined to blow things up, simply because having a long, "classic" run on some iconic corporate character is not what my career is ever going to be about. For better or worse, it's just not what I'm gonna be known for. Not to mention the fact that sales are still so crappy, just maintaining any status quo, just doing the same ol', same ol', is just courting disaster (or, at the very least, cancellation). So I might as well go for it and piss everyone off, right? Sounds like what DC did last year and what Marvel are doing this year anyway...


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

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