Cakes and Money

Thursday, July 31, 2003
 
Truth, Justice�

The following story comes from the book True Tales of American Life, a collection of stories that were sent in to the National Public Radio�s Weekend All Things Considered program and read out by Paul Auster (who edits and introduces the book).

The Chicken

�As I was walking down Stanton Street early one Sunday morning, I saw a chicken a few yards ahead of me. I was walking faster than the chicken, so I gradually caught up. By the time we approached Eighteenth Avenue, I was close behind. The chicken turned south on Eighteenth. At the fourth house along, it turned in at the walk, hopped up the front steps, and rapped sharply on the metal storm door with its beak. After a moment, the door opened and the chicken went in.�

(Linda Elegant, Portland, Oregon)


Ridiculously cute though the above story may be (and if there�s a weakness to the collection as a whole then it is in the slight overabundance of cutesy wholesomeness in these true tales�it kind of feels like the anti-matter Jerry Springer at points), I can�t help but giggle my ass off every time I read it. It�s just so random and silly and� it cracks me up, basically.

I love little stories, anecdotes, gags� all that kind of stuff really gets me going. But something�s just occurred to me that I find interesting: there sometime seems to be an emphasis on the �real� in the stuff I read/am generally interested in that doesn�t really connect with my intellectual standpoint on the idea of �honesty� and fiction�I don�t care about �truth� so long as the story works for me, and gives me something that I can connect with on some level.

But look at all the autobiographical comics I�m always going on about, or the mild obsession I developed with those "Apology Line" Mp3�s Flux posted a while ago�what does this have to do with the �true� nature of these things? Would I be bothered if I found out they we�re fabrications?

No� I don�t think so. The reactions they caused in me would be the same, and isn�t that the important thing? Jesus, I�m using a lot of question marks in this post.

But then again, the idea that this stuff is authentic does give me a nice bit of reading context, and I�m always fond of stuff that gives me a filter of some sort to read through. I loved Nabokov�s Pale Fire, for example, because it provided me with a lot of different angles to consider when I was reading it. Pale Fire, for those of you who haven�t read it, is a book which is essentially written by two fictional characters�the first is a poet, whose poem Pale Fire remains unfinished due to his recent death, but is published as it stood at the time of his death in the novel. The second is someone who claims to have been a friend of the poet in his later days, and who has written a lenghty series of annotations for the poem. Obviously this really turns how you�re reading the damned thing upside down, and you have to really read between the two things to get the full story, or a full story and� I really liked it because it played around with the context that I was reading in. So I guess if I found out that any of this stuff was wholly fabricated I wouldn�t be upset, as such, more just curious as to how this affected my interpretation�it�d be another layer of context to take into account or ignore, and on some strange level I�d kinda like that�

[Edit--this post inspired by the fact that someone in my work is convinced that Auster wrote all of the stories in the True Tales... collection and that it's all a big postmodern comment on the idea of America... from what I've read of these stories, I'm not convinced by this theory, but it did get me thinking]


 
My First Oboe

Linky-linky:

--The Village Voice on Harvey Pekar, writer of the autobiographical comic book American Splendour. (link via Journalista!.

--Behold: the mighty genius of the Archie Meets the Punisher comic. (link via Journalista!) Truth be told I�ve never read the aforementioned comic, but for sheer gonzo novelty factor, this most absurd of crossovers looks like it can�t be beat.

--There's been some good back and forth about Marvel's recent troubles in the comics blogosphere of late:

Sean Collins makes some damned fine points about the better aspects of Bill Jemas� stint as Marvel big-boss.

Bill Sherman brings a nice sense of calming historical context to the current hullabaloo about the number of creative types jumping ship from Marvel to DC.

Both posts serve as a nice antidote to some of the more hysterical reactions to this recent comic book talent shift. As far as I'm concerned it doesn't make much big difference to the big picture: both companies will still be putting out one or two books that I'm going to want to pick up, a few other good titles that just aren't to my taste, and a whole load of crap that I wouldn't touch with a bargepole.

The one thing about all of this that I have become really excited about is the prospect of Grant Morrison branching out a bit again.

I know he's rumoured to have some kind of Superman gig in the works, but I'm kind of hoping that he's going to do a mini series at most, as he's been doing work on big superhero characters for ages now, and I'd really rather see him play around with some more grounded or varied stuff for a while.

I'm kind of excited by the fact that he's talking about writing 'heartbreaking' material and an "Islamic sci-fi love story" at the moment, as while I enjoy all the bombastic superhero work and metaphysical secret agent stuff, I'm also aware that he has far more range than this, and It'd be great to see him play around a bit more after he's done on New X-Men and The Filth.

Here's hoping...

--Bill Sherman also wrote a really good post about Los Bros Hernandez which you should definitely check out if you�re interested in that sort of thing.

--There�s a brief, but interesting, piece about the influential superhero work of Warren Ellis on Four Colour Hell at the moment. (link via Neilalien)

Sample excerpt:

�Ellis' main contribution to the genre came from injecting intelligent political commentary back into the superhero genre in a way that hadn't really been seen since Watchmen. I may not be a big fan of the politics Ellis and co. propogated (the American "black ops" community was the main foe in Stormwatch, the Authority was a left-wing power fantasy run wild that spent most of its time (especially during Mark Millar's run) battling the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy whereas Planetary featured a story that had Thatcher's government attempting to kill the reborn Christ child), but I was too entertained and engaged to care. �

The success and popularity of these Ellisverse titles, in my opinion, comes down to a couple of very simple factors which make the books seem to stand out from the crowd:

First of all there is the stripped down, militaristic style in which Ellis wrote the books (less spandex; more swearing and bloodshed; morally dubious characters; acknowledgement of the modern world in the basic set up of the plots). This, I think, appeals to a lot of superhero fans (myself included, to an extent) by giving them daft superhero thrills in what is arguably a more �realistic� context without loosing the throwaway pop feel (none of Ellis� books have much in the way of psychologically convincing characters or a particularly high level of intellectual subtext*).

This ties into and is supported by fact that Ellis worked almost exclusively with very talented mainstream artists like Bryan Hitch and John Cassaday. Ellis wrote in such a way as to allow the artists in question to shine�hence the lack of thought bubble and narration, the sparseness of the dialogue and the low panel/page ratio�and I�d say that at least 50% of the I get from these books comes from the artwork.

I mention these points because I am slightly bewildered by the praise that some people lavish on these books (and bear in mind that I�m not attacking the person who wrote that Four Colour Hell piece here�I don�t have a problem with most of what he wrote about Ellis� work, though I'd downplay the political complexity of Stormwatch a bit). I guess that I�m talking about the general hype that surrounds these comics as well as their lingering influence on the style of modern superhero comics.

I remember seeing a lot of people talking about the complex political commentary in the Authority a year or so ago and wondering if they had read the same comic as me. Even Stormwatch, the more layered of the titles, only really uses its black-ops setting as a different texture for the straight up action/adventure plots, so I�m slightly lost as to what these people were talking about.

Now politically I�m staunchly what you�d probably call a left wing kinda guy, but I�m not going to pretend for a second that the Authority�s �Western Governments as cackling mega-fiends� shtick (mainly a factor in Millar�s run, admittedly) counts as incisive political commentary. There�s nothing wrong with making bad guys ham it up Bond villain style, but lets not pretend that making a baby-eating George W Bush stand in the bad guy in your pulpy adventure story is a cutting satirical move. To steal a quip from this Barbelith thread about the deficiencies of the character of the Smiler in Ellis� Transmetropolitan series, �to simply identify leading politicians as mad and bad lets them off the hook way too easily.�

I�m not slagging off these books, by the way�they were (or in Planetary�s case, are) good, fun titles, and they've undeniably been highly influential on the last couple of years worth of superhero comics�but I am questioning the idea that they represent a genre highpoint. An easy template for interesting superhero comics, perhaps, but the best the genre can manage? I�m not so sure� if we�re talking about darker, more �realistic� superhero comics then surely something like (brace yourselves) Watchmen blows the hell out of this stuff? The plot and characters are more complex, the storytelling more advanced (even if it does sometimes get a bit heavy handed), and for my money Dave Gibbon�s work here is at least the equal of anything Bryan Hitch did in the Authority.

And I can think of many less obviously grounded, more absurd superhero work that is a hell of a lot more intellectually and emotionally textured than anything Ellis or Millar have ever written (the Morrison/Case Doom Patrol run comes to mind, as does Milligan and Fergedo�s Enigma).

Hell, Morrison�s New X-Men operates within roughly the same idiom as these books, and I�d say that when it�s on form it kicks seven shades of crap out of this kind of thing.

I�ve also got to the point where I�d really like to see a bit more variety in the field of mainstream comic books�there are other ways making simple, entertaining comic books you know, as titles such as Catwoman so ably show. It was such a thrill for me to see Brubaker and Stewart really having fun with panel arrangements on that book� it was just so well executed, and so much more to my taste than most �widescreen� comics could ever hope to be (I�m much more of a person for comic book art that doesn�t aspire to cinematic realism, for reasons I may go into at a later date). Plus its mix of noir atmosphere and goofy superheroics felt really refreshing to me after a few years of shouty pomp and bluster from Ellis, Millar and their imitators.

I�m looking forward to Kyle Baker�s Plastic Man for exactly this reason�from the sound of it, it�s gonna be really straight up good fun, but in a way that has nothing to do with so much of what constitutes mainstream superhero comics at the moment. Baker�s got the talent to do something special here, and I�m really hoping that he�ll pull it off�

Anyways, I�ve gone on here for longer than I intended to� time to wrap this post up. More soon.

*And yes, I do include Planetary in this statement�it�s a fun book, but the level of actual comment it provides on the pop culture it samples is pretty low. At best, it serves to illustrate that there�s still life in these ideas yet, but it rarely does more than that. Take, for example, the issue about the wave of mainstream comics by British creators in the late 80�s/early 90�s (issue #7 was it?)�what does it actually say about those comics? That they seemed revolutionary then, but look a bit goofy now; that this is because they were a product of their context, and that this dating process is natural�what else? There are maybe a couple of other points there, but very little that wasn�t self-evident (and I�d say that that particular issue was utterly lousy as a story�it just seemed really daft and hideously clunky to me).


 
Gary Oldman [plus] Christina Ricci [equals�?]

Argh�a word document containing about a dozen half-written posts has mysteriously dissapeared from my hard drive. I have literally no idea what�s happened to the file, but it�s just not there anymore� maybe I accidentally deleted it when I was tidying up the other day, or maybe one of my family members did something similar, I don�t know, but I�m mildly gutted to have lost all that stuff.

Truth be told, I was a bit blocked on most of the stuff I was trying to write�hence the sheer volume of spontaneous posts I've been writing of late�so maybe this will be a good thing in some ways. At least it'll stop me from worrying about writing them for the time being, and if I really want to write about any of that stuff, I guess I can always start again from scratch.

But still� my difficulties aside, some of those posts were shaping up kinda nicely, and I�m a little bit disspointed by the fact that they've vanished so randomly.


Monday, July 28, 2003
 
I Am Not J Mascis

I�m feeling a bit ill tonight, so it looks like I�ll be keeping it brief for the time being. I�ve got a couple of days off this week, but I don�t know if there�ll really be any notable increase in the amount of posts I write, as I�m going to be writing with Kenny and just generally hanging out with my friends for the most part, which won�t really give me a lot of time near a computer.

Anyways: I just wanted to note that, yes my local comic book store did have a copy of Jeffrey Brown�s Unlikely in stock, and yes, it is brilliant.

I don�t really know if I have much to say about Brown�s work that I haven�t already said (see last Tuesday�s post for a link to my biggest post about Brown�s work), but I do think that the two quotes that adorn the books inside cover bear a bit of examination, so here we go�

�Mr. Brown seems to understand perfectly the day-to-day rhythms of the modern 'young adult' relationship. UNLIKELY, like his first book CLUMSY, is pretty much impossible to put down." (Dan Clowes)

For me at least, this touches on one of Brown�s biggest talent�s�his ability to draw really engaging and cohesive patterns out of fragments and snippets of everyday life. He�s got a real good eye for what little bits and bobs to include in order to make everything flow cohesively. There�s a whole range of emotions on display here in the awkward moments, and the funny, sweet stuff, and the fact that it makes for such compulsive reading is testament to Brown�s sheer skills as a storyteller.

�Something about the way Jeffrey Brown draws these stories makes the saddest, dirtiest, most humiliating things that can possibly happen to a person seem weirdly innocent. The scratchy simplicity of the drawings makes the people in them all seem guileless and sweet. You feel like you're reading about some very well-meaning children who also happen to have sex, smoke pot and drink. Maybe it's just that Jeffrey Brown is a very nice man, and he projects this niceness onto everyone around him, even people who aren't treating him so well. You can open to any page and find something unusually bare and honest about these stories. They're surprising, even though half the moments in the book are ones you've probably experienced yourself. Hard trick to pull off." (Ira Glass)

While I wouldn�t go so far as to say that this quote is truly representative of the comic it describes (for my money, Unlikely is neither as innocent or as potentially �dirty� as Glass makes it sound) the general sentiment of this quote is dead on the mark as far as I�m concerned. This could all be terribly voyeuristic, delving as it does into someone�s emotional and sexual life in a fairly unflinching manner, but yet� there�s not a hint of that here. This, in my opinion, is Brown�s other big trick, and Glass is right to point out that it�s a �Hard trick to pull off�: Brown�s art style�rough and ready as it is�ensures that this deeply intimate comic feels completely natural and charming without once blunting the emotional impact of the material.

It�s amazing stuff, and I�ll be trying to track down I Am Going to Be Small, a collection of Brown�s humorous material, at some point in the near future.


Saturday, July 26, 2003
 
Work Ethic

I�m heading off into town today to pick up some clothes and comics and stuff�I got paid yesterday and since I�ve scraped through the last couple of weeks on a minimal budget, I feel like going on a minor spending spree which will probably ensure that I have to scrape through the last week or two of next month on a minimal budget, but hey...

Apparently the new issue of Peter Milligan and Mike Allred�s X-Statix came out this week, so I�ll be picking that up, but thinking about it� I�ve just come to realise how little excitement I feel about this title right now. It�s not like it�s a bad comic per se (indeed, I think it�s still one of the better monthlies out there) but the sparkle has worn off somewhat, for me at least.

I think I�ve been feeling like this since it became X-Statix rather than X-Force, and in a lot of ways this reaction feels somewhat natural given the style of the comic itself. The basic trick of the series is use a deliberately exaggerated and transparent take on the mighty Marvel soap opera style as the base for a healthy dose of pop-culture parody. This is fun enough in itself, but the real trick of the series was that it actually made its cast of dysfunctional celebrities interesting, thus providing an extra hook for the reader. And the characters are still fun, it�s just that� the story type this series is built on doesn�t exactly lend itself to long running serialisation, since it is�on some levels�a parody. A very layered and entertaining sort of parody (and one with a tiny bit of satire at its core), but a parody nonetheless.

I did enjoy the last couple of issues (though it seems like forever since they came out so my memory isn�t too clear on this one), and I�m sure that this one will be fine too. At the very least, it�s gonna look great�Mike Allred�s been on top form from the first issue onwards, and you could probably write something very interesting about the role that his art style plays in sustaining the tone of this series�there�s a lot of genuine affection, enthusiasm and sheer pop-art fun in everything Allred draws, but there�s also an odd sense of ironic humour involved in his style being used in this title; its very overtly retro styling obviously recall the older comics whose soapy style is being used here, and this plays off the very modern, occasionally violent, reality TV/pop star elements of the stories themselves in any number of interesting ways.

But, yeah� I�m just not as thrilled by this series as I once was, basically, and I wouldn�t be sad to see it end some time in the immediate future (though I�d definitely like to see more collaborations between Milligan and Allred in the future--they have a good chemistry together).


 
The Booty Has Been Shaken

Joy!


Tuesday, July 22, 2003
 
Bitten

Jeffrey Brown�s new graphic novel, Unlikely, is apparently either out or coming out soon. Will I be lucky and find it at one of my local comics book stores like I did with his previous work, Clumsy? I hope so� Clumsy was amazing, and I�m really looking forward to reading more of this guy�s work.

Here�s a link to a post I wrote about Clumsy and a whole batch of other autobiographical comics a while back, and here�s the publisher�s blurb for Unlikely:

�The follow-up to Jeffrey Brown's self-published debut hit, CLUMSY. UNLIKELY continues to explore the nature of relationships in this story of how Jeffrey Brown lost his virginity. A full-length graphic novel of excruciating detail and intimacy, drawn in an awkward style that both disarms the reader and heightens the emotional impact of the work.�


 
Green Man

For Tomorrow

He's a twentieth century boy
With his hands on the rails
Trying not to be sick again
And holding on for tomorrow

London ice cracks on a seamless line
He's hanging on for dear life
So we hold each other tightly
And hold on for tomorrow

Singing
La la, la la la
La la la la la la la la
Holding on for tomorrow
...oh, oh, oh, oh, oh...

She's a twentieth century girl
With her hands on the wheel
Trying not to make him sick again
Seeing what she can borrow

London's so nice back in your seamless rhymes
But we're we're lost on the Westway
So we hold each other tightly
And hold on for tomorrow

Singing
La la, la la la
La la la la la la la la
Holding on for tomorrow
Trying not to be sick again
And holding for tomorrow

She's a twentieth century girl
Hanging on for dear life
So we hold each other tightly
And hold on for tomorrow

Singing
La la, la la la
La la la la la la la la
Holding on for tomorrow

(Jim stops and gets out the car, goes to a house in Emperor's gate, Through the door and to his room, Then he puts the TV on, Turns it off and makes some tea, Says Modern Life Is Rubbish I'm Holding on for tomorrow, Then Susan comes into the room, She's a naughty girl with a lovely smile, Says let's take a drive to Primrose Hill, It's windy there and the view's so nice, London ice can freeze your toes like anyone I suppose)

I'm holding on for tomorrow...


(from Blur's brilliant Modern Life Is Rubbish album, which is on heavy rotation round my place at the moment)


 
Note to Self:

Shake booty more often.


Monday, July 21, 2003
 
Semidetached

Just a random recommendation here: Sean Collins is very, very good, and if you haven�t checked out his blog yet, I suggest you do so, as it really is consistently excellent. The reason he�s getting his own post here is that I just realised that despite the number of times I�ve intended to link or reply to one of his posts this month, I�ve repeatedly failed to do so, which is kind of embarrassing really.


 
the King of Comedy

So... the Hulk then: I went in prepared for something pretty terrible by some of the more visciously negative reviews, but I have to say that on the whole I really enjoyed this movie. It�s a weird, weird movie, and flawed for sure, but at the end of the day there are a lot of things that I really liked about it.

If there�s one thing about the movie that I�m most unsure about, then it�s this: I don�t get enough of what any of this means for Bruce Banner. For the first half of the movie at least, this could be seen to be the point. Banner is supposed to be distant, repressed etc, so I guess it makes sense that we don�t really get too close to what makes him tick before he starts to Hulk out and go crazy. But after he�s been on the rampage, and even after the big forgotten memory from his past comes out we don�t really get a good look at what this means for him.

The script here isn�t bad�there�s nothing as groan worthy as the �The best thing about MJ�� speech in Spider-Man, for example�but it doesn�t give us particularly much insight into any of the characters either, which is perhaps slightly problematic in a movie that relies so much on scenes which feature two characters talking to each other. The bare bones of all the characters are there (Banner is emotionally closed off and has a big secret in his past which even he cannot remember; Betty Ross is attracted to distant men and has a strained relationship with her father etc) but not much else. This is alleviated somewhat by the fact that almost everyone in this movie puts in a good performance. This brings a certain amount of life to proceedings during the films quiet patches (and there are quite a few of those, particularly during the film�s first 40 minutes). There�s something to the scenes between Banner and Betty Ross that works beyond what the script offers us, and I think that this is largely down to the work of Eric Banna and Jennifer Connelly. I can�t quite put my finger on it, but there�s something to the way those two interact that rings true. Nick Nolte�s gruff hamming as Banner�s dad provides the movie with its primary source of energy (and, one could argue, perhaps too much of its focus). Sure, he may go a tad over the score at the end, but until that point his controlled scenery chewing was probably the most engaging thing about the character scenes.

Of course, you could say that to some extent the lack of deeper emotional connection with the characters in the first half of the movie, followed by the Hulk's defensive, childlike flailing in the second half of the movie is supposed to represent the emotional state of the main character, but I still feel that this leaves me wanting something more from the ending. After that weird elemental finale (which gave me odd hints of Akira�s ending in a slightly more subdued way�something to do with the rapidly escalating mentalism of it all and certain elements of the visuals), we don�t get enough Banner for my liking. Sure, you could take the ending as a sort of tragic thing where Banner is doomed to walk around trying to keep his temper in check, unable to live his normal life and unwilling to just give in and Hulk it up, but� there�s just not enough there for me.

All this aside, my main source of joy in this movie came from the comic book/monster movie aesthetic of the whole thing, which I loved wholeheartedly.

Some people found the use of split-screen unnecessary or distracting, but I liked it. Obviously, it�s an attempt to create a comic book feel on screen, and I felt like this added to the nuttier moments in the movie and also served to contextualise the CGI Hulk when he was on the rampage. Sure, he didn�t look realistic, but he did look like a comic book character, and with the split-screen visuals backing this up� it just worked for me. There�s something very physical about the way he fights the Hulk Dogs (still not sure whether they were too goofy for me or whether I admire the inherent wrongness of them) and the tanks that satisfies me, and I have to say that I�m a sucker for scenes where the big monsters weakness (such as it is) turns out to be his heart, so I was chuffed to see Banner calm down in the face of Betty Ross. I know it�s a clich�, but it�s one I�m fond of, so yeah, I liked that bit.

And all the other crazy visual touches were brilliant too: the surreal dream imagery; the big, empty deserts; Talbot's comedy pop-art death; that gorgeous battle between the Hulk and his father in the sky; all that moss� I loved that stuff, really, I did. The whole exists in this really rich little unreal world that I found very enaging and interesting, partly because I'm a comic geek and partly because I liked all the tones and the way they shifted around so interestingly.

So, yeah, while I definitely understand what some people found boring about this movie, and while I did have issues with it myself, I liked it a whole lot in the end. What can I say, there�s a certain barmy quality to the whole thing that makes me smile.


 
Hunted By a Freak

Here's a link to an excellent piece about the brilliance of the Brubaker/Stewart Catwoman run and decompressed comic book storytelling in general.

The author, one Graeme McMillian, even includes a scanned image of one of my favourite bits from this comic�a fight scene from Stewart's first issue that really shows how fun his work on this title has been and how effective the high panel/page ratio employed in this book can be.

[Edit: I forgot to mention that the image displayed on the above link only takes up a small part of one page, which is pretty important when you're considering quite how cool and effective it is.]



 
High Yield

Linky-linky:

--Scott McAllister blogs about his recent webcomic activity.

--Ninth Art runs an interesting summary of cartoonist Paul Pope�s career so far.

I particularly love the following Paul Pope quote, in all its earnest glory:

�The art form of comics itself, like all others, is elastic, open-ended, and expansive. The comics medium has the power to contain and express all human thought, feeling, and experience. As long as there are artists to create, this one, true rule remains indestructable.�
(from his brief �Comics Destroyer� essay)

--Comic book writer Warren Ellis is interviewed at Technoccult. (link via Die Puny Humans)

Ellis on what makes him an interesting and unique writer:

�These are the questions you never ask the writer because, in general, they simply don't know. I can tell you what makes Morrison work, and Moore and Ennis and Bendis... but me? I don't have the genuine tap into my subconscious that Morrison has. I don't have Alan's gift for complexity. I can't do that real unaffected likeable storytelling of Garth's, and I can't do dialogue like Bendis. If anything, I'm in the spaces they're not. When I'm on my game, I'm nasty, and angry, with angles on the contemporary world that no-one else does (much), with ways of telling stories that no-one else does (much).

I dunno. Rian Hughes thinks I'm the last of the modernists. Most other people think I'm just a horrible old man.�


I have to admit that I giggle a little every time I hear Warren Ellis refer to himself as an old man. The �old bastard� persona seems a bit premature for someone in their mid thirties, don�t you think?

--Mark Millar announces his upcoming creator owned comic projects.

I dunno� I�ve been waiting for Mark Millar to write something that really knocks my socks off for quite a while now. His Swamp Thing run showed a lot of promise, I really liked his first Authority story arc and the Ultimates is a lot of fun, but all too often his work just doesn�t do it for me. Sometimes its just too bland and nondescript, and sometimes it just tries way too hard to be offensive and ends up feeling juvenile. Just check out his last Authority arc for gods sake�that arc isn�t terrible because it was censored, it�s terrible because it�s a really played out superhero story tarted up with some cheap sensationalist humour. But despite his weaker moments, there�s something to his work that suggests the potential for something better to me. Whether or not any of these titles will give me what I�m looking for I don�t know (two of them sound a bit too much like they�re going to be �try hard� Millar for my tastes), but I�ll probably check them out just to see.

One thing I will say for the man is that he sure does get to work with some of the best mainstream comic book artists: Frank Quitely, J.G. Jones, John Cassaday etc� that�s quite a list of collaborators there.

Plus, the fact that he�s managed to pull off a cross-industry self-promotion deal is kinda cool. That�s a smart piece of branding there, I think, and one that shows that for all he�s a company man he�s still pretty good at self-promotion when it comes down to it.

--Comic book movie news from San Diego comics convention.

What little I�ve heard about the clips from the second Spider-Man movie that were shown seems to indicate that Scott and I might get the crazy Sam Raimi tentacle action we�ve been hoping for since we heard that Doctor Octopus was going to be the villain in the second movie. Methinks there might be big geeky thrills ahoy!

Also: the proposed Darren Aronofsky Lone Wolf & Cub movie will be a western rather than a samurai movie? Weird. Potentially interesting, but weird. There�s always been a strange connection between Aronofsky and Lone Wolf & Cub in my head, largely because I first encountered both of them within the space of a week, so I�ll be very interesting in seeing how this comes together. I feel like there�s some kind of natural connection between the two visually, despite the wildly differing aesthetics. Something to do with sharp visual shifts that retain cohesion while still creating a certain kind of visceral energy�


Sunday, July 20, 2003
 
Straight Down the Middle

Apparently Cameron Stewart�s short but sweet tenure as artist on DC's Catwoman will end with issue #24, which is a shame because in my opinion his artwork on that title is some of the very best in mainstream comics at the moment. Stewart is to be replaced by penciller Paul Gulacy and inker Jimmy Palmiotti, not a bad team, but one whose style seems to be somewhat at odds with the tone this book has maintained since its re-launch (the work of their's that I've seen really doesn't mesh with the sprightly, paired down look of this title).

It�s interesting that I can claim that this title has had a pretty consistent visual look despite the fact that a wide variety of artists have worked on it. This may not sound like a big deal, but it's refreshingly competant in the seemingly badly organised world of superhero comics (just think about New X-Men year one and the total mess of art styles therein).

Anyway, I�m definitely going to miss Stewart�s artwork on this book; he has just the right mix of energy and mood for the fun, but slightly noirish adventure stories that writer Ed Brubaker has been churning out of late, and his characters are always infused with so much charm and personality that you can�t help but be drawn in by them.

But hey�I�m sure he�ll move on to other interesting projects, and I have a feeling that he�s going to become quite a fan favourite in the near future, so� good luck to him, basically.


Wednesday, July 16, 2003
 
A Very Considered Man

I�m halfway through Flann O�Brien�s the Third Policeman now, and wow! it�s amazing�

It�s a really absurd little bugger of a book, in a way that is both really hilarious and really hard to describe in any meaningful way. Suffice it to say that it is probably the best book to prominantly feature murder, bicycles and atomic theory ever written. Well, at the very least it�s the best book that focuses on those subjects that I�ve ever read.

I think I've got the just of what this insane little book is all about, but I can't be sure till I read further. I'm pretty sure it's all some kind of Beckett-esque hell/purgatory situation, but I could be wrong.

One thing I do know for sure is that it's about the perfect length for a novel. Don't get me wrong, there's much to be said for a good, chunky book, but part of me just loves to read books that come in around the 200 page mark. There's just something great about getting 100 pages in and knowing that you're halfway through the thing. Maybe it's just my short attention span talking here, I don't know, but it's definitely something I like in a book.


 
Working It!

Jesus� it�s so hot here today. Has been since the weekend. Long-term readers will know that while I adore the sun (something to do with the fact that it genuinely feels like a novelty here in Scotland) I am utterly useless in the heat. I�m not built for it, but I do love it so� it�s just one of those things I suppose.

Today has been Outkast day round my place�Stankonia mainly, with a few other tunes thrown into the mix for good measure. There�s so much great stuff on that album, but today has been the day for �B.O.B.�, which is just far too huge, breathless and insane for me to keep up with in this weather, but which oddly seems to be the perfect soundtrack for it anyway.

I think �breathless� is the key word here; the beat is so loud and insistent, the rapping is speedy as all hell and the whole thing just bounces along with an irresistable amount of confidence and panache. There�s a lot going on in there, but somehow it's not a busy sounding song; for all the cool 80�s bleepy bits and wailing cheese-guitars that weave though �B.O.B.�, and for all that the drums and vocals speed along at a ridiculous rate, there seems to be a lot of space in this song, sonically speaking. Partly I think this is because the timing with which all these elements interact with each other is masterful, and partly I think there�s just something wonderfully precise about the sound of all these elements that stops it all from sounding in the least bit sludgy; but in the end it doesn't matter because it just sounds great. And when it morphs into that wonderful �Power music electric revival� outro� I�m just there. It�s the perfect conclusion to the whole song; somehow it manages to be both this great big climax to the song, and the point at which it starts to wind down simultaneously... not sure how that works, but it does, and it's bloody amazing.


Monday, July 14, 2003
 
Actually...

A few initial reactions to London�s Dark to accompany my brief post about it below: the lack of colour is perfect in this context, with the stark black and white tones combining with the occasionally smudgy nature of the linework to really give this comic book an almost tangible sense of grim atmosphere; something about the figure drawing is fittingly old-fashioned, adding to the sense of time and place evoked in the narrative; the little fragments of newspaper clippings, posters etc that occasionally flit through these pages are very effective in terms of adding to the aforementioned sense of historical context, and are also well used to communicate information within the story; the intertwining of narrative text boxes and dialogue in word balloons is�at points�masterful here (see the first conversation between Jack Brooks and Sophie Heath for a prime example of this).

Basically, I liked it a great deal. It's quite obviously an early work in some ways (there's a certain rougness to the dialogue and narration; a lack of polish that, while not unpleasant, seemed quite noticable to me), but there's something very unified about the storytelling here--a kind of overall immersive quality created by the various techniques on display--that gives this comic a very unique kind of power.


 
A Question

Which lame sci-fi TV show has the worse theme tune�Firefly (groanworthy �country� mush) or Enterprise (sub Bon Jovi cheese rock)? I really can�t decide�


 
Front Cover Illustration By�

I�ve just started reading London�s Dark by James Robinson and Paul Johnson, and I have to say that I�m impressed.

I don�t really have much to say about it as yet, but from what I�ve read so far (it isn�t terribly big and I reckon I should be done with it in about five minutes) I�d definitely give it a high general recommendation. Here�s what Warren Ellis had to say about the book in his Artbomb review:

�LONDON'S DARK was originally produced by Escape Publishing in concert with Titan Books. Escape are one of the forgotten architects of the adult comics renaissance that began in the 1980s, and, among many good things, they created the space for a young writer called James Robinson to magic up a pure blast of emotional, inventive historical fiction, matching him perfectly with a self-publishing small press artist called Paul Johnson.

LONDON'S DARK, a love story with crime and magic set in World War 2 London, crackles with wild youthful energy. James Robinson writes it with a simple, guileless humanity, and Paul Johnson's figure drawing, especially his nobly ordinary, somehow haunted faces, are matchless. LONDON'S DARK is alive with ideas, new methods, new compositions, all put solidly in the service of telling the story as clearly and evocatively as possible.
This book is contemporary with the rather more well known Violent Cases from Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, and is as much of a stepping stone to an adult medium as that work. That it's been out of print this long is a stone crime, and I urge you to pick up this little bit of lost history from the dim and distant 1980s. �


And he�s right about this one. Please do check it out if it sounds like your kind of thing�it�s a slim, but good looking book that comes in at the very reasonable price of �6.99.


 
�A Pint of Plain is Your Only Man�

I�ve been dipping into The Best of Myles, (a collection of the writing Flann O�Brien (real name Brian O�Nolan) did for a daily newspaper under the pseudonym Myles na Gopaleen) again recently as a sort of warm-up for reading O�Brien�s the Third Policeman. It�s insane stuff, and very funny with it, but there�s one section of the book that really touches on one of my perpetual worries in a slightly alarming manner.

The section in question��the Myles na gCopaleen Catechism of Clich钗is a good one that collects various Question and Answer routines in which O�Brien has a lot of fun taking the piss out several spoken/written clich�s. As I said, it�s a good laugh�like a deeply silly version of the �Ithaca� section of Joyce�s Ulysses�but this is something that I�m really paranoid about in my writing. There are times when I�ve read over one of my own sentences and half-cringed myself out of existence at the tired, thoughtless nature of it. I don�t think I�m that bad in this respect, or at least I don�t think I�m much worse than most other people, but it still bothers me a little that I don�t always think about the turns of phrase that I use etc. On some levels, it�s entirely natural, but sometimes I feel like I�m just not aware enough of my lazyness as a writer/thinker. I had a similar mild panic when I read George Orwell�s essay on �Politics and the English Language�, but it feels weirder to be worrying about this kind of stuff of the back of reading Flann O�Brien because his writing is so funny.

Anyway, this is all sounding a bit more intense than it was supposed to, so I�m going to stop going on about it now.


 
08II-7X

--Flat Earth weblogger Steven Wintle writes an excellent post about Kyle Baker, and also blogs his attempt to create a comic in 24 hours.

--Flyboy on Isaac Hayes' Hot Buttered Soul :

�It's a little annoying the way everyone thinks of Isaac Hayes as being just about sex, and in a 'comedy' way to boot (which is why even though a lot of the stuff he did in South Park was funny, I wish he hadn't done it). This is serious music, not in a joyless muso zzzzzzz way, but in an oh-my-god-this-is-fucking-amazing-you-cannot-fuck-with-Isaac-Hayes way. It's also weird that so many people over at the Amazon entry for the album seem to think it's great 'make-out' music - most of this record is tragic! 'Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic' is the only song that's actually about sex - the rest are about heartbreak of one kind or another, and they all contain the quality that makes so much black American music so great: infusing tales of personal struggles with an anguish that draws on the wider context of political and historical struggle.�

--Self-published anthology comic Rumble Royale sounds like a lot of fun�here�s what contributing artist Cameron Stewart had to say about it on this Barbelith thread:

�My new, self-published comic - "The Apocalipstix," created (and owned) by me and fellow Barbelither Ray Fawkes, is hot off the press. It's part of RUMBLE ROYALE, an anthology book put together by me and the other guys in my studio and making its grand debut at this weekend's San Diego Comicon. 5 stories, 88 pages, all fun.

The contents:

"The Apocalipstix" is about an all-girl rock band in the post-apocalyptic future - think Josie and The Pussycats meets Mad Max. Ruined cities, downed jet fighters, three hot ladies, mutant cannibal hordes, and Hiroshima-level rock and roll. Drawn by me, written by Ray.

"Monster Cops" is the story of history's greatest monsters - Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolfman - who renounce their evil ways and fight crime as officers of the law. Created, written and drawn by Chip "Prison Funnies" Zdarsky.

"Doppelganger" is a sci-fi tale in the grand tradition of The Twilight Zone and the old EC comics, by award-winning illustrator Ben Shannon.

"Infinite Kung Fu: The Pain Ingredient" is a prequel to Kagan McLeod's acclaimed comic series "Infinite Kung Fu." Ancient culinary secrets give way to spine-shattering martial arts action and zombie mayhem!

"Thirsty Are The Damned" is a pistol-packin' western yarn by Xeric award-winner Sam Hiti.�



Friday, July 11, 2003
 
Take Me Higher

From a post I wrote about issue eleven of the Filth:

��I�ve always thought that Morrison is at his best when he draws you into the madness and makes you feel it; it�s what makes something like Kill Your Boyfriend far more compelling than the Mystery Play, for example.�

While New X-Men #143 was a lot of fun, I�d say that it was notably weaker than the previous issue due to the fact that, much as I enjoy Morrison when he�s in action packed high-concept mode, there�s not really a lot of character to hook onto in this issue.

With issue #143 we finally get to see �the World� of Weapon Plus, and to no one's surprise it turns out to be a bizarre pocket universe in which evolutionary experiments are conducted. All of which is very typical of a Grant Morrison comic, but which�crucially�works in this context. Essentially I think that this comes off here because it seems like a promising setting for some fun and fairly straightforward sci-fi adventure, which is something I�m always up for reading in a monthly comic (providing it's done well).

But, yeah� not much going on with the characters this issue. Cyclops has become so miserable that he can�t even use his eyebeams, which is interesting because it�s the first time that Morrison has shown the character faltering in the field as well as in his personal life. I�m interested to see how this plays out, but apart from that, this issue was all sparkling one-liners and enjoyably silly techno-babble.

Not the best issue of this title in terms of writing, then, but a good laugh nonetheless.

Penciller Chris Bachalo does a pretty good job here�there are a couple of scenes in which some of the important visual information seems to have been forced out of the panel in favour of something that suits an overall sense of design (see the scen in which the scientist is killed on the balcony, for example), but on the whole his oddly stylised artwork (which is both very simplified and busy at the same time) gives this issue an interesting aesthetic which suits the slightly skewed tone of the story well. Though that two page splash of wolverine attacking the AIM guy was a bit much, come to think of it�gurn-tastic, so it was�


 
What�s in the Box?

Here�s something Flux said to me when we were discussing why there aren�t many Barbelith threads about indie comics:

�Well, part of it definitely has to do with the infrequent publication and occasionally spotty distribution. I think a big part of it has to do with the nature of the stories and the writing. Monthly serials lend themselves to "oooh, what's gonna happen next" conversation, lots of speculation and off the cuff analysis. They are easy to chat about. With a lot of the better indie stuff, it's more complex work which isn't so easy to talk about. Analyzing those comics isn't always hard, but it's not exactly easy too. I know that for the most part, I don't feel a need to talk about the work of Daniel Clowes - I don't have a lot to say about it, and that in a lot of ways comes from his work dealing with emotional issues and ideas that aren't always easy to talk about with people. It's a more internal thing. It's more private. A lot of the best indie work often depends on relating to some very dark emotions and negative experiences, which some folks may not really want to talk about too much. The reasons why I related to the last issue of Optic Nerve or some of Chester Brown's work are certainly some things I don't really want to talk about online, for example. So, yeah, the nature of the work changes things a lot.�

He�s got a point, and all of this stuff has been a big part of why I�ve found it so hard to write about the comic books of Daniel Clowes on this blog. In addition to the fact that many of my reactions to such comic books are very personal, there�s also the fact that I�m sometimes slightly scared to write about something like Jimmy Corrigan or Eightball #22 (especially Eightball #22) because I know that to do so properly�i.e. to my satisfaction�would take so much time and effort. There�s a lot to be said about some of these comics, and I don�t feel like I want to invest that much of myself in writing that kind of thing right now (maybe some other time, but not now).

But I am gonna write about Clowes here soon, in one form or another. Probably just random little thoughts and reactions that come to me as I re-read his comics, as I plan to do over the course of the next month or so.

Should be a lark.


 
God Bless the Simpsons

I just switched on my TV to be greeted by the site of Homer Simpson trying to "freak out the squares". Now that's entertainment.


 
We�re Gonna Go

Heh � it looks like my blogging is going to be a bit more sporadic for a wee while. Partly this is because I�m still adjusting to full-time work, and partly it�s because of� other stuff that�s going on in my life. Fun stuff that you all don�t need to hear about, mostly because I�m sure it wouldn�t sound particularly interesting to you, and partly because I like being a little bit cryptic and goofy at times.

Anyway, here are a couple of fun links for you:

--Pop Culture Gadabout�s Bill Sherman writes a really interesting piece about Marvel�s new teen-comic Trouble here.

--The Sunday Herald interviews comic book writer Alan Moore.
[link via Journalista!]

--Frank Black on the idea of playing with the Pixies again. I wouldn�t hold my breath personally, but the idea of the Pixies playing together again really amuses me on some levels. Dunno what I�d make of it if it actually happened, to be honest with you, but as there's nothing in the above link beyond Black talking about how he still hangs out with the other Pixies and sometimes thinks about what it would be like to reform, I'm almost entirely sure that this isn't going to happen.

That aside: Would I go see them if they reformed? Hell yes. I guess my particular fascination with this idea comes from the fact that while I�m a massive Pixies fan, I got into them long after they�d split up, so the idea of actually seeing the Pixies had never even crossed my mind. Erm�I�m gonna stop going on about this now.

As a side note, I saw Frank Black play a couple ofyears ago, and very good he was too. He played a lot of great songs from his post-Pixies albums with just enough Pixies material thrown in for good measure (i.e. enough to satisfy the crowd without overpowering the fact that this was a gig by Frank Black and the Catholics, not the bargain basement Pixies).

[via Die Puny Humans]

--Scott has put together another one of those gonzo pulp-pastiche comics he sometimes does for Tuesday�s Wake Up Screaming. Always fun to see him play around visually, I think. Keep up the good work big man.

--It looks like Princess Di won�t be turning up in the next X-Statix arc after all. This is a shame, as I thought the idea was just silly enough to be amusing. Then again, it could easily have been awful, but I guess we�ll never know. Seems like a waste of a lot of perfectly good publicity to me.


 
Turn It Off!

Ugh � why did �Crazy Beat� have to be the second single off Blur's Think Tank album? I know it's probably the most upbeat and 'pop' song on that record, but it�s also probably one of my least favourite Blur songs ever, and I�ve not been able to escape it for the last couple of weeks. Whenever I turn on on radio or the TV it's there, and it really hasn�t grow on me in the slightest. It just sounds so lifeless and dull. I normally like the punky throwaway tunes on Blur albums, but �Crazy Beat� just doesn�t do it for me. There�s no life to it. No wit. No spark. It just kind of thrashes along like the clunkier cousin of �B.L.U.R.E.M.I.�, and� I�ve had enough of it, basically.

Next please.


Tuesday, July 08, 2003
 
Target Market

Paul O�Brien raised some interesting points in his recent review of Peter Bagge�s Sweatshop #3:

�Self-publishing retro superhero comics. Hmm. Okay, I really like Peter Bagge's work, and the characters are all pretty well observed here. If you're a comics fan, then it's funny stuff. But let's be honest, who's the expected audience for this book? Much as I enjoy it, I'm increasingly alarmed that this is a comic seemingly aimed as a tiny audience of hardcore comics followers who'll get jokes about how the attendees at comics conventions react to indie publishers with a strong Walt Simonson influence. I enjoy it, and most of the people reading this probably have enough knowledge of comics to get the joke as well, but I can't imagine that the long term prospects for this book can be all that great when it's playing in such a narrow territory.�

When I first started to write about this, I was unaware of the fact that the title is going to be cancelled with issue #6, a fact which makes O'Brien's comment about the long term prospects of the book seem slightly more important than it sounded when the review was originally written (link via iJournalista!).

In many ways Sweatshop strikes me as being the closest thing to a real �mainstream� comic book that DC publishes right now. Well, that�s not entirely true, as the success of the recent superhero movies and shows like Buffy which have a very superhero influenced aesthetic suggests that perhaps more people like the genre than buy the comics etc, but still: people like other things equally/more-so� things like romantic comedies and sitcoms, and hey: this is, when you get down to it, a rapid-fire sitcomic. The characters are�as O�Brien notes�well observed, and since much of the humour comes from these characters and their neuroses, I can see a lot here that would appeal to people from outside the audience that almost every other DC or Marvel book is aimed at. But still: there�s a lot of comic book humour in here (particularly in the third issue), and I can�t help but think that this limits the potential audience for this book. Mainstream comic book fans evidently don�t want to read it, or it would have sold better, and while on some levels I can see where iJournalista!�s Dirk Deppey is coming from when he says that he hopes the book gets collected in softcover so that it finds its proper target audience, I don't really see this happening in the end. As good a comic as Sweatshop is (and it is a very funny series) I think that it falls between two stools somewhat� not traditional enough for the superhero market (i.e. it�s not a superhero/genre book and it doesn�t have the �realistic��ha!�art style that fans of most mainstream comic books like) and too grounded in the world of comics for people outside of that world to take to it. Then again, I could very easily be totally wrong here�the series hasn�t been quite as inaccessible as I�ve made it sound; there�s normally been at least one of the two stories in every issue that has stood up well without any knowledge of the comic book world (check out the second story in issue three, for example) and maybe it would find a larger audience if given a chance in the bookstore market. But my gut instinct says that it wouldn�t, for whatever that�s worth.


Monday, July 07, 2003
 
�I Can I Can�t?�

Big Boi�s drawling guest vocals on Beyonce�s Hip-Hop Star have really got me fired up about the prospect of a new Outkast album later this year. Not that I�d forgotten how good they were or anything, but I�d just kinda got used to the Outkast material that�s already out there and� Mmmm� new Outkast!


 
Complications Ensue

A fistful of links for ya:

--We�ve finally been given some clues as to what Neil Gaiman�s upcoming 1602 series will be like, and despite the fact that Gaiman et al have been very firmly stating that this won�t be an Elseworlds/what-if kind of story, it certainly sounds like one to me (in content, if not in setting--I�m sure they�ll have found some way to integrate it).

Not sure if this whole �iterations of Marvel characters in a different historical setting� thing sounds dull or not to be honest with you, but I am interested enough to want to read it and find out, so I guess the idea must peak my curiosity on some levels.

--This has been around for ages, but as I�ve not mentioned it yet, I figure now is as good a time as any: hey kids, it�s the Zenith superhero scorecard.

Ever wondered who all those crazy super-people that crowded up Zenith phase three were? Then this is the site for you (and yes, I am geeky enough to not only derive a massive amount of joy from this site, but also to be proud of this fact).

(link via this Barbelith thread)

--Haus has written an intelligent and punchy blog post about Jeffrey John�the openly gay almost Bishop of Reading who stepped down from his prospective position in the face of all the conflict his promotion was causing and would likely cause in the future�here.

--And last, but not least, you should check out the cameo appearance by Wake Up Screaming�s Grant A. Weiss over on Breakpoint City�s Third Anniversary comic while you�re here.

More soon�


 
Explicitly Content

Just for clarity�s sake: when I said in an earlier post that I wanted to like the Mars Volta I meant that, as a fan of At the Drive-In, I had high hopes for this band due to the presence of two ex-members of that band. I did not, however, go to this record expecting At the Drive-In II... at least, I don't think I did.


 
Along The Lines Of�

The cover for this history book--Origins of Nazi Violence--caught my eye at work today.

I don�t think this photographic image really gets the full effect across: in real life, the fact that this cover has a swastika on it is much less evident than it is here. You soon figure it out, of course, but it takes you a moment or two to realise quite what you�re looking at (or at least, it took me and several other members of staff who I showed the book a few seconds to work it out).

Intrigued by the cover, I decided to read the blurb, and was highly amused to note that it is apparently a book about the historical context of some of the more excessive and shocking practises of the Nazi regime that attempts to show that these horrible, dehumanised actions were not as groundless and unique as we may think they were; that they were rather a combination or culmination of much of the brutality that had come before. Now, having not read the book I can�t tell you whether the writer has a point or not, or whether the book itself is well written, but I do like the way the cover supports this idea by taking the most obvious icon of that regime and disguising it and lessening its shock impact by not making it immediately obvious what it is.


 
Why Panic at Ten O�Clock in the Morning?

Argh�is it just me, or is Deloused in the Commatorium (the debut album by the Mars Volta) one of the most frustrating albums in recent memory? There are loads of little bits that I liked on this album�vocal lines or guitar fragments scattered here and there�but I�d be hard pressed to tell you what they are, what track the occur on and what I liked about them. It�s driving me faintly mad, actually, as while I really wanted to like this band, I can�t get anything out of them at all� every track just kind of flails and noodles around aimlessly, never amounting to much beyond the surface-level bombast. I�d like to say that it�s an album that makes more sense upon re-listening, but so far� nothing.

Maybe it doesn�t help that I�ve felt like some of the positive reviews for the band have been scowling at me for not �getting it�. I�ve listened to the album four times now, and it hasn�t been fun once. And I don�t think that this is because I�m �shallow� or whatever, I just think that it�s because there�s nothing to hold any of this together.

But hey, if you can get something out of it, that�s cool� it�s just that it doesn�t do anything for me. At all. Which is kind of disappointing really� I expected some strong reaction either way, but instead my negative feelings towards this album seem to come more from my frustrated attempts to like the band than from the music itself, which largely just passes me by leaving me completely unaffected (the afformentioned snippets of hope aside*).

Ach well...

*In an odd way, I think these bits make it the whole thing seem worse to me... engaging me for a second then loosing me again, and thus bringing to my attention how little I'm getting from the rest of it.


 
Don�t Just Do Something

So, I�m 21 all of a sudden�whoa!

Or, at least I was� sometime a couple of weeks ago. On the 28th of June or some such date. Weird that.

Though the event itself seems somewhat distant now, I�d like to take this opportunity to go into oscar speech mode and say a big thanks to Kenny & Zoe, Graeme, Scott, Gemma, Chris & Gillian and everyone at my work for being really wonderful and sweet to me on and around my Birthday, and to my mum, dad and other family members for similar reasons.

The biggest reason for this blog�s week of inactivity was the fact that I�ve been working ten days solid in the Ottakars bookstore I work in. More specifically, I was helping to move the shop to a new premises and to set it up there, which was fun in some ways, as it gave the new staff members a bit of time to get to know everyone. But it also left me really physically exhausted, especially when my stupid sleeping patterns were taken into consideration.

But I�m feeling pretty damned good right now, and hopefully I�ll start to get some of those posts I was talking about last week written soon.

The post about the Fantastic Four is still coming, but I�m currently re-writing the whole thing due to the fact that Scott bought me a copy of the Fantastic Four: Unstable Molecules trade paperback for my birthday. I really liked it, and it really fits into a lot of what I was going to talk about in the aforementioned blog-post, so I've decided to write about it as well.

Should be a laugh.

p.s.

Much as it may seem like an odd thing to say, it definitely feels good to be writing blog posts again.


Tuesday, July 01, 2003
 
Minus

Due to general craziness, I won't be posting here again until Monday, when I'll hopefully have quite a few interesting things to say. Right now, I'm busy as all hell, and I can't seem to concentrate enough to finish off any of the posts that are lingering on my hard drive so I'm taking a brief holiday.

Take care...