Random Thoughts! (December 7, 2010)

Random Thoughts! One week until III/IV by Ryan Adams & The Cardinals! It's random thoughts time! Get excited!

Link Thought! GraphiContent for comics. butterbeatleblog for popculture. Dreadstar December for Dreadstar.

Random Thought! What If? Iron Man: Demon in an Armour #1 was such an inane, wrong-headed approach to the idea of Stark and Von Doom switching places/becoming the other man. It totally threw out any of Von Doom's character/motivation before his accident... so he could become an evil businessman. Wow. It's such an easy idea that I came up with this in all of 30 seconds: have Doom and Stark as roommates, everything goes as it does normally, but Stark tries to point out the flaw in Doom's machine and, when assisting him, HIS face is the scarred one, leaving him bitter and pissed at Doom and the world, while Doom, overcome with guilt at his mistake, becomes a force for good, finally overcoming his ego problem. Then, put them on a course to fight one another later... seems simple enough to me. The issue we got was unimaginative -- which always pisses me off with What If? comics since you can do ANYTHING.

Random Thought! Ah, Wolverine: The Best There Is #1... that's a crazy-ass comic right there. It felt like it wanted to be a MAX book, but it wasn't allowed to be. I don't mind the odd bit of censored swearing, but there was a major overload on that here. Plus, censoring the word 'ass?' That just bugs me. You stick a giant warning on the cover and then censor 'ass' like that actually does anything? NAKED BLOOD-COVERED LOGAN WHO JUST SLAUGHTERED DOZENS? OKAY! THE WORD ASS? COVER THAT UP!

Random Thought! "SAVE ME, LORD MEPHISTO!" is one of my favourite pieces of comics dialogue of the year.

Random Thought! Yes, yes, I'll write a long boring post about Black Summer, No Hero, and Supergod. I was being self-depricating.

Random Thought! Mondays are quickly becoming days when I just don't want to do anything because my new job. Working two 12-hour days in a row kind of kills any desire to do anything. It's a funny job in that I never feel tired/worn down during my shift, but an hour after I get home, all I want to do is slip into a coma. I like it. Besides, nice to have a day where all I do is watch things and read and do a little bit of stuff online. Maybe write a little but not too much. It's a nice luxury.

Random Thought! Until I found out what it exactly is, I was planning on ignoring "Age of X," but now? ALTERNATE REALITY, MOTHERFUCKERS! I'm so there.

Random Thought! My top ten writers and artists as submitted to Brian's thing...

Writers1. Warren Ellis2. Grant Morrison3. Joe Casey4. Alan Moore5. Garth Ennis6. Jim Starlin7. Frank Miller8. Chris Ware9. Mark Waid10. Brian Azzarello

Artists1. Jack Kirby2. Frank Miller3. Moebius4. Sean Phillips5. JH Williams III6. Frank Quitely7. Marcelo Frusin8. Steve Dillon9. Jim Starlin10. Chris Ware

For the lists, I leaned mostly towards 'favourites,' but did allow an object idea of 'best' to play a role. Also, if I were to make these lists today, I imagine they'd be slightly different. Too hard to come up with a final order when it comes to this sort of thing.

Random Thought! Just finished rereading The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler and, wow, that book is just dark and depressing and one big FUCK YOU to Los Angeles and how it had changed over the years. Total bitter fallout from his time in Hollywood. It has some of my favourite Chandler prose including a fantastic chapter with the refrain "You're not human tonight, Marlowe." I think it and Farewell, My Lovely are my favourite Chandler novels. "Pearls are a Nuissance" is my favourite short story -- the lead in that would be a fun interpretation of Batman.

Random Thought! After doing some Chandler rereading (still have The Long Goodbye and Playback to get through), I kind of want to reread Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis to really compare the two and Chandler's influence over that book.

Random Thought! I always wanted to see a Marlowe TV series that takes the novels and crafts a multi-season plan to adapt them all, overlapping them where they can, drawing upon the short stories that Chandler ripped off from himself, and doing it BIG and RIGHT. Three seasons of 10-13 episodes? Yeah, that would be nice. The key would also be looking at the Altman adaptation of The Long Goodbye and noting how that movie got the tone and feel of Chandler down pitch-perfect. I imagine Gould is too old to play Marlowe now... Fuck it, we'll get Timothy Olyphant to do it.

Random Thought! The Comics Should Be Good spam-catcher has gone into overdrive. I can't get a single comment through anymore. If it's one of my own posts, I have to go in, declare my comment as 'not spam' and then approve it. A COMMENT ON A POST I POSTED! (Also, you'd think the system would learn that posts from the same username and IP address continually being marked as 'not spam' would stop it from shunting it to the spam folder...)

Random Thought! I'm really curious to see how Robert Rodi sticks the landing on Thor: For Asgard #6. The last couple of issues have left me a little cold. The awesome feeling of despair and lost hope from the opening issues has gone away to a degree... not replaced with hope or anything like that, just leaving an empty void to a degree.

Random Thought! The way that India is destroyed in Supergod #5 is just funny: it's the only possible future that isn't completely boring according to one of the post-humans. I love it.

Random Thought! I find myself wondering what Supergod would have looked like had Juan Jose Ryp drawn it. I'm not sure if that was ever the plan, but it would have made for a more consistent thematic trilogy. But, I did really like Garrie Gastony's art, so I'm not complaining. Just wondering what the book would have been like and how it would have read.

Random Thought! Who has the worse generic costume right now: Noh-Varr or Daken? I vote Noh-Varr, but... wow.

Random Thought! First Wave #5 and Doc Savage #9 tomorrow? That should be good.

Random Thought! If all goes well, the Splash Page Podcast that goes up Friday/Saturday should be a big one. A do not miss one. A once in a lifetime awesome podcast that will melt your mind. Or, everything will fall through and it will STILL be fantastic since it will be business as usual and that's better than pretty much anything. Even Graeme McMillion$ and Jeff Lester's podcast.

Random Question! What's the one comics-related item (could be a comic, a toy, a movie, whatever) that you want most for Christmas? I'll give my answer next week.


Random Comments! I love responding to reader comments so much that I've begun doing them for the 4Rs columns where I review Monday Night Raw.

Bill Reed said: You may have a solid relationship with Mr. Snyder now, but I think you’ve sparked a blood feud with Mike Choi. Can’t win ‘em all.

Chris Roberson also challenged me to a fight after school...

Michael P said: Also, “the Buddha of the Marvel Universe?” I’m pretty sure the Marvel Universe has Buddhists in it, and therefore the actual Buddha.

This comment made me laugh and, therefore, gets included.

T. said: Everyone says that, but seriously, how much more could Bruce Wayne do than Batman? He’s saved the world as Batman how many times over by now?

The true superpowers of our capitalist Western society are corporations and Wayne Enterprises has the resources to impact dramatic changes on not just the US government but countries around the world. An easy example: instead of fighting corruption in Gotham, why not just pay everyone more to do the right thing? Heavily fund political campaigns and influence the elected to pass laws that help people. You know, do what we think corporations already do, but instead of doing so out of self-interest and profit, it could be all about altruism. (Not a very developed argument, I know, but just throwing the basic idea out there...) Besides, why can't he be both Batman and an effective and engaged Bruce Wayne?

Steve R. Stahl said: Are we also to presume, then, that you didn’t have a problem with Dr. Strange telling the heroes that the Eye was needed to protect the Earth from a demonic invasion, even though Strange and the Eye had been out of Earth’s dimension repeatedly over the decades, or with Agamotto being the one sending the demons? Even though the invasion served no purpose except to enable Immonen to draw some action scenes that had the New Avengers fighting something instead of standing around doing nothing and looking confused?

Thanks for establishing publicly that you’re a shill.

Normally, I adhere by the code of 'don't feed the trolls' (saying that alone should give the Stahlmaster more than enough of an excuse to say something back), but his last point (before the 'shill' comment) touched on something. Stahl often espouses the superiority of 'classic' superhero comics where, guess what, lots of pointless filler fights happened much like the demonic invasion. Jim Starlin, for example, is a master at introducing plotlines in his big event books that do absolutely nothing except give certain characters something to do while two or three core characters are the only ones actually matter. Besides, the demonic invasions did do something: they provided a reason for Strange and Voodoo to even engage with Agamotto. If there was no invasion or threat, where would the conflict even come from? How would they know something is wrong? Agamotto's threat was give him back the eye or he would continue to attack the dimension and try to conquer it. So, the invasion was kind of essential to the story. And your reading of the idea that the Eye of Agamotto was needed to protect the dimension is oddly limited and literal. It's not needed in the dimension every single second for prevent invasion -- it's simply needed in general. It's not like the second it leaves, all of the walls between dimensions fall. It's an added defence, one that's required here because the walls between dimensions had been weakened lately... something Hellstrom clearly stated a half dozen times or so.

As for the shill comment... liking something and saying so doesn't make you a shill. I've criticised Bendis for numerous faults in his writing. His treatment of Noh-Varr is a big one. But, there are also many things about his work that I enjoy. I also enjoy a lot of other comics, all of which I talk up when I have the chance, just as I say bad things about the comics I don't like. Then, I usually stop reading those comics. Your behaviour is baffling to me. You obviously hate Bendis's writing on the Avengers books yet continue to be up to speed on the details of them... why bother if you don't like them? Drop them and live a happier, healthier life. And, mostly, stop bothering people.

Kevin Street said: Thank you for mentioning “Twelve Notes on the Mystery Story!” Never heard of it before, but now I’m definitely going to find that essay and check it out.

You can pretty much read the entire essay in my posts applying it to comic book mystery stories. It's broken up with some discussion after each point, but it's all there.

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

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