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Random Thoughts! (October 23, 2012)

by  in Comic News Comment
Random Thoughts! (October 23, 2012)

Random Thought! I’m married now! 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! Some links you may have missed:
* Riding the Gravy Train 25 on no specific comics in particular
* “Swipe File: Bleeding Cool and Riding the Gravy Train” (aka I’m a snarky bastard)
* Riding the Gravy Train 26 (Avengers vs. X-Men #12, AVX: VS #6, and Uncanny X-Men #19)
* When Words Collide column on Avengers vs. X-Men with Tim Callahan (actually, it’s more like “with Chad Nevett” since it’s Tim’s column… whatever… SPLASH PAGE!)
* Some brief thoughts on Avengers: Season One and why it’s a marketing failure (to me)
* Riding the Gravy Train 27 (AVX: Consequences #1-2, Wolverine and the X-Men #18, Uncanny X-Men #20, and Uncanny Avengers #1)

Random Thought! As you can imagine, I’m beginning to run out of things to say about Avengers vs. X-Men

Random Thought! So, I’ve been ‘gone’ for the past few weeks. I was only planning to take two weeks off (the Tuesdays before and after the wedding), but I was also working afternoons there and just did not feel like doing it for that extra week. But, hey, that’s how it goes. Part laziness, part not having to say. Anyway… the wedding has come and gone — it went as close to perfectly as a wedding is likely to go. We beat 99% of other weddings by starting on time and staying right on schedule (hell, we were early for some stuff). Good organisation. For me, the wedding day was mostly chilling out in a hotel room with my best man, Adam. Neither Michelle nor I were nervous (which seemed to throw people off a bit); I was anxious from waiting around all day, though. I don’t know what to say about the day. It was a good day. For those curious, our first dance was “Crazy Feeling” by Lou Reed. And, Adam and I both CM Punk wristbands on our left wrists under our shirts because… why not. They came with the copy of his new DVD that I got via (and it’s a great set). On Sunday, we went to the Irwin Inn outside of Peterborough for a couple of days. Had our own cottage with a heated pool on the deck, a second floor that we didn’t need at all, and spent our time mostly hanging out — swimming, watching DVDs, eating, reading, playing the odd game of pool in the games room… It was a nice time. We got back to Windsor late Tuesday night and, then, it’s mostly been hanging out for me as Michelle has jumped back into her routine, preparing for her PhD defence on October 29. So… that’s that.

Random Thought! Also occuring the weekend of my wedding: this year’s New York Comic Con. I honestly can’t remember much news that jumped out at me. A new Joe Casey comic rings a bell and… Chip Zdarsky finally making some new comics… and… uh… stuff…? Brian Michael Bendis doing Guardians of the Galaxy… because announcing something everyone already assumes is happening counts as ‘news,’ of course… Jonathan Hickman re-announced Feel Better Now, so maybe that will finally come out in the next decade…

Random Thought! Hey, Marvel is collecting the rest of the “Counter X” Generation X! Hopefully, that means X-Man is next.

Random Thought! Hickman’s New Avengers focusing on the Illuminati sounds like a smart way to have it act as a companion book to Avengers.

Random Thought! Soon: the final volume of Spider-Man: The Complete Ben Reilly Epic will be out. It comes out in shops this week, but I pre-ordered it on, so it may arrive this week or later. The previous book arrived on the Friday before it was available in shops, but they list it as coming out in November. So why knows. Trades coming out from anywhere than Diamond is hard to predict (and, actually, from Diamond, too). I’m looking forward to jumping back into that story and finishing it off.

Random Thought! The “Uncanny Avengers” are Captain America pulling a joke, right? How else can you explain one member being the person who nearly wiped out the human race and the other being the younger, more unlikeable brother of the mutant everyone hates most right now? It’s like Captain America said “Okay, we can’t get bring humans and mutants together in love, let’s make them both hate this team with an equal passion — unite them against the common enemy that is the Uncanny Avengers!” Hell, they also have a guy who claims to be a god, a sometimes feral killer, and a mind/life thief/rapist. What about that team, aside from the guy wearing the flag, suggests something that the American people would have any confidence in?

Random Thought! Neil Young’s book Waging Heavy Peace is more like a collection of blog posts than a ‘proper memoir.’ And that’s great. He moves from chapter to chapter discussing what he feels like at the time; it’s very casual and easygoing.

Random Thought! My concerns over Alberto Ponticelli leaving Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE have been made moot by DC cancelling the title. After January, that means I’m down to three DCU comics. Hell, and, then, Morrison is leaving Action Comics soon and Batman, Incorporated is only meant to run until around issue 12, right? I swear, never in the history of either Marvel or DC, has one of their publishing strategies seemed to run along the “Publish comics that Chad will want nothing to do with” than right now. Give it enough time and it will be just Wonder Woman… until Brian Azzarello has told the story he wants to tell and moves on…

Random Thought! Having read pretty much all of Brian Michael Bendis’s work on the Avengers titles, I will say this: Avengers Assemble #1-8 were the worst Avengers comics he’s done. But, as a Jim Starlin/Thanos fan, I do take comfort in the fact that Bendis was writing about a Thanos clone.

Random Thought! I think Fatale will be getting the glamourpuss treatment: buy new issues and don’t read them until it’s all done. (And, no, I haven’t read glamourpuss yet…)

Random Thought! So far, marriage hasn’t really changed anything. Except for wearing a wedding ring. That feels weird, especially when I’m typing. I imagine that that will be what requires the most adjustment.

Random Thought! I haven’t dug into the bonus material, but I have read the first two issues of the Cerebus “High Society” digital project (and part of the third…). I think these are the first Cerebus comics I’ve read. I like them. I’m looking forward to reading this whole story at a rate of one new issue per week. That third issue is really not meant to be read via .pdf on a computer screen, though.

Random Thought! Sometimes, I catch episodes of Repo Games on Spike TV and that show is… odd. I rather like the idea of a gameshow where you can win your own car. It’s a practical concept. Part of the fun is seeing people go from pissed off to excited in no time when they realise that they have a chance to not only avoid having their car repossessed, but to win it outright, paid off. I saw an episode last week featuring two of the rudest, awful people I’ve ever seen on that show and they lost in three straight questions. That was followed up with a sweet single mother who won her car in three straight questions. Lovely episode. Part of me is surprised that one of the networks hasn’t picked up a version of this show centred around houses. Much bigger emotions…! Then again, I’m not sure they’d do a show where you can see people lose their houses like that…

Random Thought! For those weeks when I decide to be lazy (and the ones where I write one of these posts), there’s Shawn Starr’s Diary of a Guttersnipe at the Chemical Box.

Random Thought! One of the things I like most about David Brothers is his ability to approach topics from a logical, rational point and cut through other people’s dumb, self-serviving bullshit. Dan Slott isn’t the first person to make this argument (and, sadly, won’t be the last), but Brothers lays out why he’s wrong quite well. Basically, you can’t use previews, interviews, and every other promotional tool as a means to get people interested in your project and, then, get pissed when those same things alert some people to the fact that they probably won’t enjoy the project you’re promoting. Either all of that is meaningless and everyone should buy everything before making a decision on whether or not to continue buying it, or you need to recognise that this is a double-edged sword: promotional tools will attract some and repel others. Bitching about it simply makes you look pathethic. (And David says things in a much calmer, nicer way than I tend to…)

Random Thought! New Motörhead live album this week! I rather liked the first The Wörld is Our album and am hoping this one is more of the same. The best part of that one was Lemmy’s banter between songs. He’s a funny guy. And, while I’m talking about music… Now for Plan A by the Tragically Hip is pretty good. Not as good as We are the Same, but it has some nice moments. Rock and Roll is Black and Blue by Danko Jones continues that band’s path towards being another Motörhead in their own way: albums that don’t differ greatly, but are of such quality that you don’t mind.

Random Thought! Won an eBay auction for both trades of Jim Starlin’s Mystery in Space (which also included The Weird), filling yet another small gap in my Starlin cosmic collection.

Random Thought! Ed Brubaker’s tenure on Captain America ends this week. That’s almost as weird as Bendis not writing an Avengers title. Along with Matt Fraction on Invincible Iron Man, Marvel has had some long runs on those titles. Looking around, I guess that just leaves Geoff Johns on Green Lantern and Grant Morrison on a Batman title, right?

Random Thought! No one is more surprised by how much I seem to care about Cyclops in Avengers vs. X-Men than I am.

Random Thought! Michelle and I have begun the Great Boston Legal Rewatch 2012. It’s been delayed this long at my request. I wanted to give it as much time as possible for maximum impact. So far, it’s been wonderful. Denny Crane.

Random Thought! For a brief period of time, Michelle and I considered “The Game” by Motörhead as the intro song for the wedding party/parents at the reception (mostly because it’s the only wrestling entrance theme I have on CD and we were trying to avoid downloading anything — which we did… all of the music came from our respective CD collection (mostly mine). That is, until I pointed out that song is pretty funny if you think of it actually being about marriage. Go listen to it from that perspective and… well… it’s a bit cynical.

Random Thought! I’m hoping that this week’s issue of The Unwritten begins to hint at a stronger direction. It’s been lacking since the big confrontation with Pullman. Still a decent read, even quite good in spots, it just hasn’t seemed to have a good purpose. Like that should have been the endpoint and it’s continuing anyway.

Random Thought! The one thread from that New Avengers: Illuminati mini-series that Bendis had yet to return to was the Beyonder as a mutant Inhuman. I wonder if we’ll see that in these final issues or if that will remain the issue that stands out as a complete “What the fuck…?” issue. (Unless it’s been referenced again in a way that I completely missed — possibly elsewhere. I don’t believe so, though…)

Random Thought! The biggest problem with ‘upping the ante’ on every Joker story is that, with every increase in violence and murder, Batman looks increasingly bad for sticking to his code of not killing. The worse the villain becomes, the worse the hero looks for allowing the villain to continue. It ceases being about morality and becomes a personal failing rooted in pride and stubbornness. At least in any meaningful way.

Random Thought! When we were in Whitby for the wedding, Michelle and I went to a Five Guys there. I’d heard good things from Americans and do love a good burger. And it was a good burger.

Random Thought! Anyone else grab one of those free preview books for Marvel NOW! at their shop a few weeks back? Isn’t it just terrible? Random pages of comics that do little to provide context or anything that would make you want to buy them… The Fantastic Four one has a single good moment and that’s where Mark Bagley draws Reed’s torn up arm in a similar fashion to Jim Starlin. The FF one is decent, but is really a preview of a preview given that these pages are from the Marvel NOW! Point One comic. The Iron Man preview has generic “Iron Man fighting people perverting his technology” stuff with Greg Land art. The All-New X-Men preview stands out with actually providing the concept/hook for the book in a way where it seems like it was designed as a teaser. The Captain America preview has great art and fairly forgettable writing. The Indestructible Hulk preview tells me nothing. The Thor: God of Thunder preview gives a bit of the hook and has gorgeous art. The Deadpool preview is weird, but not funny. The X-Men Legacy preview has pencils and a mediocre bit of dialogue. The Avengers Assemble preview is two panels, one of Iron Man in the sky, the other of the Hulk on the ground, and I believe I’ve seen those things before, so what the fuck does this creative team bring to the table that makes their Iron Man in the sky and Hulk on the ground comic worth reading? Because this preview tells me fuck all. And, finally, the Red She-Hulk preview has cluttered art and dialogue that probably could not be said aloud by actual people. So… maybe three previews that worked for me? Why are these free previews always terrible? Can someone tell me?

Random Thought! Prison Pit book four won’t leave my brain alone… I’m scared…

Random Thought! I’ve read part of Building Stories. Not much to say yet. I sure do enjoy Chris Ware’s work.

Random Thought! The clear ‘must buy’ in the January solicitations is the Paul Pope One-Trick Rip-Off/Deep-Cuts hardcover from Image.

Random Thought! Obviously, I will be buying Young Avengers. Gillen! McKelvie! Noh-Varr! Miss America! Loki! Other characters!

Random Thought! Three months, six days… Not soon enough.


Random Joe Casey Question! Do you consider superhero teams to be more like families or like work places? Or is it neither and I’m entirely misreading large chunks of your work?

Random Joe Casey Answer! Tough question… and I’m not sure if I can come up with any kind of definitive answer. Ten years ago, I might’ve been able to bullshit some kind of hard liner opinion, but now I actually have much more of a sense of what “family” really means and, conversely, what co-worker relationships are truly all about. But I tend not to do those kind of general classifications of superhero teams, if I can help it. Each one is its own thing, based on its core concept. The Fantastic Four? Obviously a family. The Avengers? Co-workers. I could go down the list. Interestingly (to me, anyway), I think the Claremont X-Men and the Wolfman/Perez Titans, in their heydays, both pulled off a neat hat trick of effectively creating, for the readers, the idea of the “surrogate family”… but that’s what happens with young people (and, by “young people”, I mean late teens to mid-20’s), when their friends (co-workers, to some extent) do become their family for a brief time in their lives. Those times never last, they’re very transitory states… but they do connect with a certain age of reader. Unfortunately, that age group doesn’t really read comicbooks anymore, hence the diminished value of both of those properties in the current marketplace.

In my own work, I probably leaned closer to the “co-worker” vibe on the team books I’ve done, because that’s what interested me as a writer. As a human being, the concept of family is much more fascinating, but probably too personal for me to attempt to translate into fiction right now. I probably need a little more perspective on it before I can write about it with any real style or authority.


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

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