29 January, 2014

Why Aren't I Making Movies?

I just.


I gotta do something while I'm here.

16 January, 2014

Sex: It's What People Do

Author's Note: It's been pointed out to me that this has a lot of, shall we say, unfinished sentences? While I appreciate the effort I am well aware of my lack of a copy-editor that isn't my cat. The following is a second go at this article.

As discussed in a previously post, I went on a bit of a comic book buying binge. I blame Christmas. And my poor impulse control. And a lot of things.

Speaking of which, one of the comics I bought is Sex.

I don't know that I've ever read a Joe Casey comic before. There was a time when I wanted to pick up Butcher Baker the Righteous Maker, but since that violently imploded, I think I'll take the long way around to checking out that book. From my understanding Mr. Casey is a man who takes superheroes and pits them against situations that are completely opposed to superheroics or situations that are the ultimate conclusion of the superheroing business. (Trade? Practice?)

That's a fine way to go about things. It's also as much a part of the comic landscape as the straight stories about people in capes. He seems far less pleased with his ideas than a guy like Mark Millar does and he also seems far more talented than the kind of "But what if Batman was in real life!?' type of nonsense that pours out of the Preview pages.

Sex's particular take on superheroes is "What if Batman quit being Batman? Also, what if everyone in Gotham City was a sexual maniac? Also, what if costumes were a poorly explored metaphor about sexual dysfunction?" And then it goes from there. Kind of. In its defense it doesn't feel cheap or exploitative. Maybe it's because I'm so jaded and cynical, but I never batted an eye at the sexual content of the book.

Then again maybe that's also a problem. If I'm not batting an eye at the contents of a book that was sold with the tagline "IMAGE WANTS YOU TO BUY SEX" then maybe something has gone wrong somewhere along the lines.

Though, the boners and the tits are there. My reaction is sort of tempered by the fact that they are there and they are sticking up at you. If that's the sort of book you were looking for-- and I thought I was-- then Sex will deliver.

The main problem with the book is that as good looking as it is, it is listless. Appropriately listless considering the theme. Or one of the themes. I'm not sure I care to parse them out. Our main character is primarily defined by the fact that he doesn't do anything. He has a thrilling past and one full of trauma and psychological conclusion, yet we're stuck in the present with this white goofus who seems to have the acting range of an opium addled Keanu Reeves.

Like scenes like this? Well, don't get used to them.
Ennui isn't an emotion that moves stories forward. That's a lesson we never quite learned from the French.

This lack of drive carries over to Sex's world building. In works like Watchmen or The Winter Men or any number of other books in this vein we have fully realized worlds that are as much a part of the story as the characters or the dialogue. Batman has had 70 years to throw a world together, but as readers we know what Gotham City is. It's a place that is alive and that has real weight. As a writer Joe Casey is making an analogue of Gotham City without any of the texture of that city. In Sex we're treated to a lot of men in suits and skyscrapers. Saturn City doesn't feel like a real place and that's important if your main characters aren't exactly leaping off of the page.

As far as Sex's supporting characters, we have the Alpha Brothers (the world's one and only Sebastian O cosplay gang), The Old Man, Keenan, and this world's Catwoman stand in, each weaving in and out of each others' lives, trying to make a living in a world without Batman the Armored Saint. Yet, by the end of the trade the only thing that's changed in any of their lives is that Not Catwoman had to get glasses. Which she thinks makes her look old. Considering that Lisa Ann is the world's most popular porn star and she's known for dressing up like another well known MILF, I can't help but feel that Not Catwoman can't see the forest for the trees. You know. Literally in this case.

Plus the main character has a goatee and what the fuck is that in 2014?

Overall, though, the book is rather humorless. I mean. It's called Sex. I'm not looking for Benny Hill here, but if you're going to have superheroes standing around not being superheroes, at least make me smile. I mean, Lord almighty nobody is having fun in this book. I'll go watch Shame if I wanted that. (I don't.)

All in all I'm excited that Hayao Miyazaki is making comics again. I want to read something nice.


I came out with a comic book myself. It's called  Old College Comics Presents and it's pretty fucking exciting. The cover looks great. The paper stock is solid. Some of the words and drawings together are pretty decent, too. If you're not interested in picking up the new comic, we also have an old one (It's called The Freshman Fifteen. Get it?). Either way, who are you to resist?

(It seems our website hasn't been updated. . . Huh. That'll have to be resolved rather soon. . .)

I do a podcast with my actor friend Cruz Flores. It's called White Guys, Square Glasses. It is a title that is 75% accurate. If you like the kind of nonsense I've written in the above article you might like the kind of nonsense that falls out of my mouth on our show. It's about media and pop culture and rambling on about whatever catches our fancy. In short: It's a podcast. But it's one from me.

09 January, 2014

Another Thought on "Nowhere Men"

"Nowhere Men-- It's like SHIELD: Architects of Infinity, but without the bullshit."

05 January, 2014

How Ill are Comics?

The Answer: Comic book are most ill.

As many comics as I have been buying and as many as I have been reading, my To Do List is getting higher and higher. Most of the time, when I buy one of these books-- or any book, really-- it's with the mental concession that I will either learn something about the craft or churn out a non-fiction piece of some kind on this blog. In that way it can do some actual, positive good in my life and not just entertain me, which, hey, I guess that is something. There's a lot of things out there that can't even manage that.

These are the following books that I have bought, but haven't read yet:


I'm always up for a good crime story. Supernatural stuff, though? It's about as attractive to me as a gay bar called the "Knife Wound." Even though something like Hellblazer or Hellboy will occasionally drop, you more often than not end up with the same shity paranormal investigator story ever written between 1993 and today excluding The X-Files (but not even all of The X-Files). It is a genre that has created an environment where RIPD could thrive.

Ghosted, luckily, isn't garbage. It seems very much aware of how overpopulated the genre is, as well as how underwhelming it usually is. The first two issues introduce you to a violent and vulgar world where a professional thief is tasked to steal Vincent Price a ghost. And then it gets weird. From what I have read, I liked. I'm looking forward to how this thing plays out.


I've been wanting to read a Joe Casey book for a long while and since Butcher Baker is never getting a proper release or conclusion, I figured this is going to have to do. I've heard good things about this book, which allows me to ignore how loathsome I find that "But what if Batman was like this" type of bullshit that I imagine plagues Image's submission department. Plus, when I opened it up there was a lot of boners and tits and I realized that I haven't read a book like that in a long while and I figured the time had come.


Slayground is Darwyn Cooke's next installment in his run of Parker adaptations. There isn't much else to say about it other than the only reason that I haven't touched it yet is that, like a fine wine or a bottle of whiskey, I'm saving this up for the right moment.

Nowhere Men.

I've already read up to where this trade ends, so, really this is all about me re-reading the first arc of the story. I think I've already discussed this book, but it deserves a second mention, because it might be one of the coolest books on the market. It's also the coolest book that I'm reading where I still have no idea what it is that I'm reading.

Nowhere Men has managed to somehow  tell an interesting, clever story that still seems like it's just on the edge of getting started. The seed of the book seems to be "What if The Beatles were super-scientists." Yet by the end of the first issue, that idea has exploded into a kaleidoscope of side plots and ephemera that have still yet to link up or coalesce into a central idea. It's exciting to read where it can be this coy and still be this good. As lost as I might be, this book that has a clear vision and a clear direction and I'm perfectly fine with going along with the ride.


I think 2014 is the year of me getting up the energy to finally read the graphic novel of the history of anti-Semitism. Finally.

There's a unifying theme in this list, which is that Image Comics is turning out some great work. I don't know what got into the water at Image HQ (which I imagine to be a trailer hidden away the in the mountains and when you knock on the door Erik Larsen comes to it with a shotgun and smelling of battery acid), but it's working. Whatever it is, somebody needs to pump some of it into the Marvel and DC HQs (a glittering skyscraper and a second-hand Soviet satellite, respectively).

The breadth and the quality of works that have come out of that company in the past year is astounding. Manhattan Projects. East of West. Zero. Saga. Satellite Sam. Prophet. Lazarus. Jupiter's Legacy. And those are just the comics that I'm reading. Thinks about how great those books are. Think how weird they are! Think about what this means!

They've got a wide array of books driven by talented people with a vision and that's exciting. It gives me hope. And it makes me think that maybe what's wrong with the world is that I'm just not paying enough attention. At the very least at 9.99 a pop, the price is right.

Now is an exciting time to be a comic book read. I'm glad for it. I'm glad for all of it. Because it'll be a cold day in Hell when I give a good shepherd's fuck about a Guardians of the Galaxy cross-over.