Friday, January 06, 2006

2005: It Sucked!

Oh yes, it sucked, but in ways both Good and Bad. I had quite a year; in many ways it was the Year I Grew Up. In other ways, it was the Year I Grew A Beard. Let us look back, shall we?

Wee Linus and Lucy came to live with me. The are fat and fluffy and love to beat the shit out of each other. I love those goddamn cats.

The original Man in Tights is back. My favorite author and one of my favorite artists brought me a simple story about a man who only does good. I ate it up with a wooden spoon, and re-read it until the staples fell out. I drank in the art like milk with cookies, and I felt like an eight year old all over again. Not since NEW FRONTIER has my nerd weiner been so fondled. SEVEN SOLDIERS came out of the heavens as well, pulled from the rushes in a basket, and delivered to me in swaddling clothes. It was a good year to read comics. Aside from Grant Morrison, there were lots of delicious treats. But everyone knows that. It was a good year.

Yes, dear hearts, I was fired from my job, a first time for yours truly. You could say that it was foolhardy to start planning a store while working in another, but due to a myriad of reasons, I had no choice. The timetable and the schedule was tight and prickly. So I was fired from my job, when my former employer found out I would be opening my own store. C'est La Vie! I hated that job anyway. It was pretty much the worst work situation I've ever been in, and the honest truth is that I was damn near suicidal. I won't go into details as to why it was as bad as it was (and it was bad), but I would walk into work and stare off into space and want to die. Anyone who knows me has (no doubt) seen my demeanor go from despondent and hopeless to stressed and frantic. A great improvement, thanks to being fired.

I'm all growed up, now! The Love of My Life, my sweet blonde baby, moved into my Brooklyn home and proceeded to make it all messy with screen print paints and shoes. Great Odin's Raven does that girl have shoes! I've never seen so many! Aside from the mess she has brought to my once-spotless home, I now drink more coffee (she makes a full pot every morning, and only drinks half a cup), I am sometimes made to change my clothes if they do not "work", and I feel bad about practicing my banjo when she's trying to read. It's great. We still have Hellboy toys on the shelf and comic art on the walls, but now there are a few more throw pillows and votive holders. And it smells like flowers rather than musty books. Good times!

As long as DVDs have existed, I've been waiting for the beautiful, restored, super-duper edition of the 1933 masterpiece about a monster who bites people's heads off. It's probably my favorite adventure, full of high seas adventure, dinosaurs, violence, savages, bi-planes, and one sultry blonde vixen. And now the DVD is mine all mine!

I co-own a business now. All growed up! Trying to make this place something wonderful has been a fun five months, and sometimes, it almost makes me happy. We've done far better than either of us expected, and I think we'll be around for a long, long time. There's a lot of doom and gloom and naysaying about The State of Comics, but from our point of view, things are rosy. Everybody loves comics!

I'm in my twenties for a few more months. For some reason I thought I was supposed to turn thirty this year, but my girlfriend pointed out that I was wrong. I'm not so good at math.

Here's hoping that 2006 isn't as crappy as every other shitty year in my stupid life. Hooray!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

WHY KAMANDI IS THE BEST COMIC EVER (and if you disagree you are wrong)

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Want a recipe for delicious comic goodness?

Take one cup of cut-off pants.
Add a tablespoon of feathered hair and a laser gun.
Mix in an ample portion of talking animals, including Tiger Pirates and Dogs dressed as Prussians.
Pour in a gallon of Apocolyptic wasteland filled with Giant Grasshoppers and Atomic Mutant Men with Cyclotronic hearts.
Stir it all into a Jack Kirby casserole dish and let simmer at a million dgrees for twenty years.

When that pie comes out, it will be the most tasty thing you've ever put in your mouth.

KAMANDI rules with an iron fist clutching a toblerone. It is my favorite comic series ever, and this is probably my fourth or fifth blog post about it. I can't stop kneeling at it's altar. It beckons me into the heavens with an unearthly light, and there are one hundered virgins waiting for me on the other side.

First of all, the protagonist is named Kamandi, which is the best name ever. He was named after the bomb shelter underworld he grew up in. Minnesota Fats, Tennessee Williams and "Command D" Kamandi. Secondly, he wears the coolest outfit ever. Feathered hair like Keith Partridge, no shirt (who needs one?), and cut off jeans with cavalry boots. Add a holster with laser pistol, and you have the perfect ensemble for a Last Boy on the Go. He is a tough little joe with spunk and wits and a mute girlfriend named Flower who is retarded. His best friend is a scientist dog, but he also hangs with Ben Boxer and the Mutant Boys, three hippies with Cyclotronic hearts.

(Apparently if you have a cyclotronic heart, you can punch yourself in the chest and turn to steel. Tell me that doesn't kick ass.)

The art is late-seventies kirby at it's most insane; fluid and clunky at the same time, with strange POVs, maddening splash pages, and dizzying spectacle. It will make your head hurt with crazy-dynamic panels poking you in the eye at every turn. The designs of talking animals look like people in bad costumes... you can almost hear their muffled lines under latex masks. But that only adds to the deliciousness. You still want to scratch all those doggies behind the ears, even if they are pointing cannons at you and enslaving humans. Cute widdle guys!

KAMANDI is what happens when you watch PLANET OF THE APES and then think, "Charlton Heston is a pussy. And what's with only having the post-apocolyptic world ruled by apes? How about some giant slave-trading snakes and sharks?" Then you draw a kid in a raft paddling away from the half-sunk Statue of Liberty, and everyone who reads it has to have a butthole replacement because their ASSES GET BLOWN OUT. That's how awesome it is.

I encourage everyone to visit their Local Comic Shop and purchase some KAMANDI for themsleves. Then change your freshly soiled undies, ladies and gents.

(If you don't enjoy it you have no soul and probably can not see your own reflection.)

Types of Bloggers

I thought it would be helpful and informative were I to collect a list of the various comic blogger types out there. Now, of course, none of these types are set in stone. You'll often, maybe almost all the time, see some mixing and matching. And some that defy explanation completely. But here are your basic types.

1. The Snarkster: The Snarkster loves nothing more than to make fun of things he doesn't like. Some of them are true egalitarians, making fun of everything. All-too-often, though, you've got the partisan Snarkster. This person LOVES snark, as long as it's not directed towards something he likes. You'll see a lot of pro-mainstream DC partisan Snarksters. They roll their eyes when people make fun of Infinite stuff, but revel in the degradation of something they themselves do not like.

2. The Jokester: The Jokester is like the Snarkster, but without the malice. They're just having fun. Dave's Long Box is probably the finest example of this sort of blog.

3. The Mangaphile: On the plus side, they have an unrivalled knowledge of manga on these shores. On the minus side, they share said knowledge all the time. They are very interested in expanding the market, and often have ideas about how to do so. Unfortunately, these ideas rarely go past "sell more manga." They often look down on American mainstream books, as if the tastes of 13 year old girls were somehow infinitely superior to those of 13 year old boys (Fruits Basket isn't Eightball, folks, you've got nothing to look down on). Well, their hearts are in the right place. This group is mostly comprised of women and gay men, for some reason.

4. The Intellectual: Not to be confused with the "Intellectual." The Intellectual specializes in long, well-thought-out posts that often have more in common with thesis papers than internet comics criticism. (This can be a very good thing, mind you.) Everyone links to them, and hopes their two sentence reply will somehow forward the conversation.

5. The "Intellectual": Tries very hard to be number four, but fails rather miserably. Long, boring, rambling posts that make little-to-no sense and often bring in outside sources that don't really fit at all. They want feedback quite desperately, but do not handle criticism well.

6. The Anti-Bloggers: Actually more prominent than the "blogosphere" they so desperately want not to be, these are the folks that see themselves as the lone sane voice in a sea of Scott Pilgrim and Street Angel love. They taut their love of crappy mainstream stuff like a badge of honor. They often make snide comments about "hipsters" without having ever witnessed one in real life. There's a hell ton of them, they all love each other, but they think they're outnumbered for some reason. They hate Alan David Doane even more than other people do. (Sorry, Alan. You know I don't.)

7. The Perfect Blogger: They post at Listen to Us, We're Right, and nowhere else.