Random Thoughts! (November 20, 2012)

Random Thought! I am now a Certified Customs Specialist. Yeah. You should look impressed. It's very impressive. Yeah. 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! It has finally arrived: the final Riding the Gravy Train post where I discuss All-New X-Men #1. And, the Riding the Gravy Train Archive for easy access to the entire series of posts.

Random Thought! On Friday night, I talked comics with Alec and Joey over at the Chemical Box in what may eventually turn up as one half of a podcast with them. On Saturday night, I wound up talking comics with Tim and Joey after an online RPG thing that we're in fell through. As a result, I'm a little empty on things to say about comics.

Random Thought! I've already put Change on my pull list, but Tim telling me that it actually affected him emotionally makes me very intrigued. If you remember, comics don't affect Tim emotionally. So, if one can do that, it's worth paying attention to.

Random Thought! I have 20-something issues left in my reread of The Boys (speaking of comics that affect me emotionally...). I never reread that series after the first 15-18 issues. Just read the new issue and put it in the box behind the previous one. "Believe" is still a storyarc that crushes me. If I were the type of person who cried, it would have left me weeping on the couch in the fetal position on Sunday afternoon. But, I'm not. So it didn't.

Random Thought! As a self-congratulations thing for passing the CCS course, I bought a vinyl copy of Station to Station off eBay. It's my test record where I can compare it with the CD and see how the sound quality differs on that stereo. Because CDs sound pretty great on it. That difference will determine if buying vinyl becomes a regular thing or something I do very occasionally.

Random Thought! Everyone agrees: the best time for Brian Michael Bendis to have left the Avengers titles was with Siege and the end of Dark Avengers and the first volume of New Avengers. So, there's that.

Random Thought! I assume Emma Frost was broken out of prison between AVX: Consequences #5 and All-New X-Men #1.

Random Thought! We used a gift card to buy a Keurig brewer thing. Haven't used it yet, but we're both very excited. There's... there's something wrong with us... isn't there...?

Random Thought! There will be another Splash Page Podcast sometime in December or January.

Random Thought! That Jays/Marlins trade... I am excited for April. GET HERE SOONER, APRIL!

Random Thought! "The Age of Ultron"... I am excited for March. GET HERE SOONER, MARCH!

Random Thought! I've said it before and I'll probably say it many more times: David Brothers gets it and explains it in such a well-reasoned, logical fashion that anyone who doesn't get it after reading that... I don't have the words.

Random Thought! The only people who should care if a comic gets a positive or negative reaction are those that were involved with the making of it in some way. And, quite frankly, they said all they need to say with the comic and I couldn't give a fuck what else they have to say. If the work isn't enough, then it isn't enough.

Random Thought! The agenda people should be worried about is the 'positive only' agenda. And people think it takes bribes...

Random Thought! I've never tried (or been offered), but I do sometimes wonder how much money a positive review would have been worth to some people. I still contend that simply promising not to write a negative one would have made me more money. Maybe I could have determined my rates based on the difference between what I would give the comic and what they want me to give the comic? Because some people believe this shit happens, I find myself trying to reason out the world they think exists... I still haven't been able to come up with a solid figure. If any creators or representatives of publishers want to give me some idea, I'll forget all names I see in my inbox...

Random Thought! Funny how a 9/10 review is somehow considered more 'balanced' than 0.5/5 (aka 1/10). Seems actually equally negative as the other one is positive. How in the world is one 'balanced' and the other not? Oh. Wait. It's not. It's simply more positive, which, of course, the writer of the comic in question would want. I get it now. 'Balanced.' Good one.

Random Thought! Part of me can't wait for the Before Watchmen books to come out in trades. Name recognition plus gorgeous artwork could equal big sales in the bookstore/"mainstream" market.

Random Thought! Marvel can have a regular MU Punisher title run alongside Punisher MAX, but DC can't have Hellblazer and Constantine? We'll see which one has the better backlist and is still selling in, oh, four years. (Okay, there's some bitterness and anger there...)

Random Thought! I want a new Hawksley Workman album. Ryan Adams, too.

Random Thought! I really enjoyed Rock Bottom. I'm glad that came out in hardcover. I'm soon going to have a pretty impressive Joe Casey hardcover section on a bookshelf at this rate...

Random Thought! The first volume of the Nexus omnibus comes out this week. I am looking forward to that. Finally, I will see what all the fuss was about. Tim highly recommends this series. So, go buy it, too. We'll share in it together. It will be nice. Yes. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...........................................................


Random Joe Casey Question! You've made it clear that one of things you enjoy about comics is the collaborative process, but how do you deal with the times where things don't work out how you'd like? Times where, maybe, an artist is assigned that doesn't do your writing justice, or where delays happen? Without naming names, how do you move forward on projects where things like that happen -- how do you view works impacted by subpar art, delays, or any other collaborative problems now?

Random Joe Casey Answer! That kind of stuff, you just gotta roll with it. It comes with the dinner, so to speak. I've been doing this long enough to understand that the upsides of this kind of close collaboration absolutely outweigh any potential downsides that come from possible miscommunication, scheduling fuck-ups, conflicting intentions, what have you. I've sure as hell got enough work out in the world where everything went really well, I think the batting average is pretty good overall. Let's face it, I've certainly got it in me to micromanage every aspect of everything I work on, be it creator-owned or work-for-hire. At least, I've got the energy to do it (even if I don't always have the time). I'm just that personality type that can have an opinion on everything, on every aspect of the process, every element involved. I'm sure I've driven my collaborators insane in certain instances, but that comes with the dinner of working with me. I take this shit seriously.

I can say this... when I've been "assigned" artists by editors, it's rarely turns out to be as fulfilling a collaboration as it is when I bring the artist in, when I seek them out and recruit them for the project. Obviously I can think of exceptions, but those tend to date back quite a few years. But when I want to work with an artist, I've already got some enthusiasm for what they do, I'm already a fan of their work. So I'm juiced from the get-go, I'm excited about what's going to be happen when our minds meet.

Y'know, when it comes to the whole collaborative thing -- and if you're a real "inside baseball" kinda comicbook reader -- a great game to play is called "Who Cared The Most?" It's very easy to play: you look at a comicbook -- any comicbook -- and you try to suss out who cared the most. Was it the writer? The artist? The letterer? The colorist? The editor? Sometimes it's pretty obvious. When it comes to my own work, if I don't at least feel like I'm the one who cares the most, then I'm not doing my job. And I do my damnedest to work with collaborators who care just as much as I do. That sure as hell cuts down on the instances where things end up on a more disappointing tip.


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

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