Random Thought! For the 29th straight year, I will not be in San Diego. For the 29th straight year, San Diego weeps. It's Random Thoughts time! Get excited!
Random Thought! In last week's Riding the Gravy Train, I discussed the Phoenix Five and how Cyclops stand apart from the other four. Over at Spandexless, I returned after two weeks away to participate in the weekly Spandexless Reads, discussing chapters three through five of "The Curse of the Crimson Corsair."
Random Thought! My superpower of buying comics and having them get collected (in new editions) continues: on Thursday, I bought a complete set of those Stan Lee Just Imagine... comics on eBay. Yesterday, an omnibus edition showed up in the DC solicitations for October. Now, I paid considerably less than $75 for the comics, so I'm not upset or anything. I also would have a hard time spending that much money on those comics without reading them first.
Random Thought! On Friday, I finally got a copy of Spider-Man: The Complete Clone Saga Epic volume 4. I had to go to another site after Amazon.ca said that wouldn't be able to get it for another couple of months. Now, I'm good on those books and am eagerly awaiting The Complete Ben Reilly Epic volume 5 later this month and volume 6 in the fall. I've only read up through all five volumes of The Complete Clone Saga Epic, so I still have four volumes to read before I'm sitting around, waiting for the final two trades to be released. Some of the comics are very, very, very bad, but some are quite good. And, surprisingly, the whole thing doesn't seem as drawn out in this format. I mean, everything from "Smoke & Mirrors" through "Maximum Clonage" is pretty unnecessary and bad, but there's also a lot of quality in there.
Random Thought! I think I'm done with Animal Man.
Random Thought! The highlight of the new Marvel solicits for me: they're reprinting the Spaceknights series Jim Starlin did with Chris Bautista. It was six issues and Marvel is doing three reprint issues. It's one of the few Starlin cosmic works that I hadn't gone back and gotten yet.
Random Thought! The Tragically Hip concert on Thursday night was really, really great. I wasn't sure if they would impress me as much after the Hives concert the previous week, but Gord Downie is every bit the frontman that Howlin' Pelle is. His style is different, but he's very engaging and able to draw focus well. The show was at the casino here in Windsor and the crowd was very mixed as far as age goes. I don't think I've been to a show that skewed older than me since seeing Neil Young live in 2007. The band made a surprising decision to lead off with a new song from their upcoming album and wound up playing five new songs total. If you didn't know the band too well, you could tell that those were new songs by the fact that, during them, tons of people left to get drinks or use the washrooms. I liked what I heard of the new stuff and they did all of the other songs you'd expect from them. Somewhat surprisingly, there was only a song or two from albums after Phantom Power (I don't think In Between Evolution or World Container got a single entry in the set list, actually). But, I was very happy to see them do "Love is a First" off We are the Same -- it really suits Downie's live performance style. It was a great time. I can't wait for the new album this fall.
Random Thought! Last week, I said that Superman #75 is probably the most important comic published during my lifetime. I was thinking about that and realised that Superman comics have contained a few 'big' moments for superhero comics for me. Obviously, Superman dying was huge. That happening when you're about to turn ten years old will definitely affect how you view superheroes from that point on. Two other big moments: Lex Luthor becomes president (he fucking beat Superman in a way that Superman couldn't defend against) and Superman being a pacifist. Those three things taken together are radical concepts that paint a very different picture of what superhero comics could be than what they are. And they came in Superman comics.
Random Thought! I got an update from Mike over at Sequart this past week and in-house editing process is, hopefully, nearing its conclusion for Shot in the Face. It's a thorough process with numerous stages, so it's taken a bit of time. Because of that, here's a preview of the book; it's the first sentence of my essay, on the influence of Hunter Thompson on Transmetropolitan: "Spider Jerusalem is not Hunter Thompson."
Random Thought! The structure of Action Comics is so random and fractured... I wonder if it will stand as a cohesive work when Grant Morrison is done.
Random Thought! It's a BIG comics week for me this week. Up to 14 new comics plus Parker: The Score by Darwyn Cooke and, if my shop has a copy, maybe Wild Children from Image. I almost pre-ordered that, but decided against it... but, people talking it up has made me think that that was possibly a mistake. Of course, what I'm most excited about is, after last issue introducing women into the mix, AVX: VS has two intergender matches in the next issue. Andy Kaufman would be proud.
Random Thought! After finishing up my Bret Easton Ellis reread last week, I decided to reread the Irvine Welsh novels I have since I haven't read them in even longer than when I'd last read Ellis's stuff. Honestly, The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs kind of turned me off of Welsh's work a bit. But, I have very fond memories of Glue and was interested in seeing how Trainspotting and its sequel Porno held up. In doing some online reading, I discovered that he published a Trainspotting prequel this year, Skagboys and picked it up. I'm not far into it, but it's good so far. The prologue is pretty fantastic, actually. And, as always, it takes a little bit of time to get into his writing because of the way he writes in Scottish phonetics. But, if you want to practice your Scottish accent, reading it aloud is a good method.
Random Thought! My best man, Adam, is apparently cool by association at a comics shop because he's my friend. That is a very weird thing to be told. Especially because he's much cooler than I am.
Random Thought! I like that Jonathan Hickman is taking over both Avengers and New Avengers.
Random Thought! Seriously: Tales of the Black Freighter would have been a great idea for an ongoing comic.
Random Thought! Since glamourpuss is ending with issue 26 so Dave Sim can continue "The Strange Death of Alex Raymond" as a graphic novel, I think, when issue 26 comes out, I will finally do the big read of the entire series. I am looking forward to that quite a bit.
Random Thought! I kind of want to buy all of the Amalgam Comics that I don't have... That I don't own Thorion of New Asgard #1 seems wrong.
Random Thought! In a couple of weeks, my work schedule is changing. When I was originally hired through a job agency, it was just for the weekends because of a sick leave. Over a year and a half later, that person is coming back to work and will resume the weekend shift (along with two days a week). Thankfully, I was hired on full-time a few months after starting, so I'm moving from my current schedule of Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays to Monday through Friday. It will require some adjustments since I do enjoy my three days off during the week and, honestly, working 12-hour shifts on the weekends isn't that bad. But, it will mean having my weekends back and that's pretty cool. What it also means is that I'm going to have to rethink how I do Random Thoughts. Normally, I write it on Tuesdays, but, if I'm working Tuesdays, I can't do that anymore. So, if the column gets disrupted at any point in the next few weeks, it's me just adjusting to my new schedule and trying to find a place for this column in it. Maybe it will switch days -- I don't know.
Random Joe Casey Question! How do you view your relationship with reviewers/critics?
Random Joe Casey Answer! Well, those are different things, aren’t they? Reviewers seem to approach what they do like a job… a lot of it probably having to do with, “How soon can I get this review up so the site I write for can be seen to be writing about the most recent (i.e. “relevant”) releases?” They basically act as an advertisement -- regardless of the reviewer’s opinion -- for something you can go out and buy on the stands that day. To me, that’s not a situation that fosters a lot of thoughtful analysis… so I tend to ignore most of it. Critics, on the other hand, tend to come at their writing in a much more studied, considered way. That, I have tons of time for. Now, that may just be me splitting hairs, but hey, you asked.
I’ve said many times that a lot of insightful writing is happening in the comicbook “blogosphere” (if anyone still uses that term), and I think that’s still the case today. You’ve gotta’ seek it out, but it’s there. So, strictly on a writer-to-writer basis, I’ve got a real appreciation for what they do. I wouldn’t call it a “relationship”, exactly… I read comicbook criticism and when it’s effective and well-written, I love it.
That's it for this week. Thanks for reading. Later.