Another week of whatever pops into my head regarding comics and, maybe, some other things, too. It’s random thoughts time! Get excited!
Random Thought! No Hero somehow became more disturbing with issue six. And this is a comic that’s had a guy take a drug to gain superpowers and proceed to experience nightmarish visions that ended with his skin and genitals falling off. Yes, it got worse. Oh my fucking god how it got worse. “How much do you want to be a superhuman?” Not this much. Christ.
Random Thought! Also, this issue identifies why Juan Jose Ryp does not jump ship to draw Avengers: you’ll never see an issue of The Avengers where Kang rips out Captain America’s spine and… well, I’m not going to get into the details, but it’s rather messed up (my next random thought contains a link where I go in-depth on what happens).
Random Thought! I realised on Friday night/Saturday morning that No Hero #6 is really about superhero comics fans, not getting laid, and money. We are Josh and he is us. Goddamn.
Random Thought! By the way, I compared Josh to Kang only because their look is somewhat similar.
Random Thought! I may be biased with my Master’s in English, but The Unwritten is shaping up to be one of my favourite monthlies. An exploration of literature and its relationship to the real world? Hells yes!
Random Thought! If you’ve never read anything by Philip K. Dick, I can safely recommend BOOM!’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? comic. It is indeed Dick’s complete text split up into captions and word balloons with art. The art doesn’t always work, but it’s a fun way to read a novel — and the first issue has a fan-fucking-tastic essay by Warren Ellis that works as a great introduction to Dick beyond just this novel. Of course, if you dig what you read, I’d suggest buying a book or two rather than waiting the two years for the comic to finish. I’d recommend a collection of short stories or maybe one of the following novels: Ubik, The Man in the High Castle, A Scanner Darkly, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, or, well, any of them, actually, but those are the ‘big’ ones — and rightfully so, because they’re very, very good. Apparently, the Library of America has been doing a reprinting of four or five novels in one edition since 2007, so one of those volumes could be a good way to get into Dick. I got into his writing via a collection of short stories and a hardcover omnibus containing The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Ubik, and A Scanner Darkly. And, then, I spent far too much money one January to get the rest of his books in paperback. Fantastic author whose influence is giant, particularly in comics.
Random Thought! I will have a hard time at the shop tomorrow if they have copies of both the regular and black and white versions of Captain America #601. I’ve seen both thanks to the .pdf copies I got to review the issue for CBR and, man, both are absolutely gorgeous. The black and white version has Gene Colan’s pencils and OH MY FUCKING GOD is it a beautiful comic. Absolutely wonderful. However, the regular version is very close in quality thanks to Dean White’s colours, which look like they were done with pencil crayons instead of computers — and since he seems to be working directly off Colan’s pencils, the styles just sync up perfectly. Imagine that: if you’re working off the pencils, use a colouring style that resembles pencils! I am so impressed with White’s work here. And, so, the dilemma: which version to purchase. I wish Marvel had just added another dollar onto the price and given us BOTH in one package — but that would have resulted in complaints, of course. It’s a no win situation.
Random Thought! It’s been linked here by Brian (thanks again), but Tim Callahan and I have moved out Splash Page column to CBR for 12 weeks to discuss Wednesday Comics. Actually, it wasn’t going to be the Splash Page, but we couldn’t think up a name… what? “Wednesday Comics” doesn’t lend itself to anything beyond “[insert day] Discussions” or something equally lame. You can read the first column here.
Random Thought! This week is packed with comics. Next week, not so much. I love shipping schedules.
Random Thought! I reread Wildcats #1 by Grant Morrison and Jim Lee the other day and enjoyed it more than I did when it came out. I still prefer the two Morrison/Gene Ha Authority issues, but, for the first time, I kind of saw that Wildcats had some potential. It actually comes across as “Ultimate Wildcats” with Morrison taking various elements from the past and combining them into one cohesive whole. A shame that neither will ever be finished probably (though I am still waiting the Keith Giffen-helmed continuation/conclusion of Morrison’s Authority).
Random Thought! I don’t believe in the concept of the ‘guilty pleasure.’ My liking something, for whatever reason, makes it worthy of being liked. I have nothing to feel guilty about or feel like I need to defend something I enjoy. That said, Brian Michael Bendis’s Avengers work and the current “Utopia” crossover are coming dangerously close to that area.
Random Thought! Besides, I have a habit of liking something that seems lame to everyone else and, then, two years later, everyone else catches up and realises that I was right all along. Well, not so much as realises that I was right all along since no one ever remembers that part, but they do come around to agreeing with me without knowing that they’re agreeing with me.
Random Thought! When I was a teenager, I pitied Americans. I would turn on the radio and half of what I heard was Canadian music that Americans had no idea about. We got everything they did plus a whole host of music they never heard. It made me wonder about how empty and bland the US must be — at least when it comes to rock music. Am listening to Hawksley Workman today and am reminded about that thought process. I mean, seriously, what did you guys listen to without all of those bands I loved?
Random Thought! And, because Marc Caputo asked me this on Twitter, my recommendation on where to begin with Hawksley Workman is lover/fighter, but a close second is (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves. The former is a better album, but the latter has the fantastic two-song opening of “Striptease” and “I’m Jealous of Your Cigarette.” lover/fighter was the album that introduced me to Workman and is a beautiful, wonderfully funny and sad album. The song “Autumn’s Here” nearly reduced me to tears on an autumn afternoon in university while waiting for a bus, because it captures the feeling of that season so well (key word: nearly). My favourite Workman album is My Toothless Little Beauties, which was never released as an official studio album. It was first sold at shows and, then, on his website. It is dark and moody. It’s his Tonight’s the Night. It’s not for everyone. I can see why he released Treeful of Starling instead since it’s sweeter and friendlier. Then again, imagine if Young had released Homegrown instead of Tonight’s the Night. Thankfully, here, we get both.
Random Thought! Getting back to comics… I really like comics. I know you do, too. That’s nice, isn’t it?
Random Thought! We conclude with last week’s book of the week: Wednesday Comics #1. Again, not a surprise to anyone (although I imagine some were betting I’d pick No Hero #6). One thing I’m enjoying about this series is that, as most people who write about comics, I’m very writer-oriented, and this is an art-oriented book. It’s going to be challenging to discuss it each week and I’m looking forward to it helping me to grow as a writer.
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