digging through the long boxes

Yesterday evening was spent putting my old comics in order. They’ve been thrown in long boxes for the past 25 years, bagged but not boarded. It’s time to take better care of some of them, if only because there might be a handful of them in there worth selling when Elijah gets to college age. Most of those comics were pretty unexceptional. My predilection for mutants was more of an obsession.

  • X-Factor. I didn’t recall buying so many of these. Louise Simonson was okay on this title, but I recall being indifferent to Walt Simonson’s art back then. Now his covers are striking, dynamic and bold. Walt’s take on Kirby-tech led to the big guns of Liefeld and his ’90s buddies though. That’s some seriously bad karma. It was only recently I stopped to figure out what Walt Simonson plus Art Adams minus talent arrives at Rob Liefeld.
  • New Mutants. Bill Sienkiewicz wasn’t on that title nearly as long as I recalled. Memories of his art overpowered anything else. I used to despise Kevin Nowlan’s work (there was something about the eyes and mouths I found weirdly off putting,) but now seems brilliant. Bret Blevins still does nothing for me. He has style and talent, but the creepy fetishization of teen female characters was too much. Combining the cartoonish hypersexuality with Louise Simonson’s writing that infantilized the character made a sour mix, perhaps worse than looking back to realize how hung up Chris Claremont was on BDSM themes.
  • Excalibur. Good old Alan Davis. Any of the whimsy in the Claremont X-Men drained out of the title after the Mutant Massacre storyline and went here. I don’t mind Excalibur. I’ve not re-read any of this stuff, but I recall it being a nice, fun comic while the X-Men went grimdark serious. If only a single comic existed that balanced the tone… meh. It doesn’t matter any more. Change happens and most comics are ultimately a disposable medium at speak only to the youth of their era. To wish otherwise is silly.

Some of the fond memories of my first comic chop in Hammond are eroding. It did have thousands and thousands of back issues crammed in a tiny space. I could spend all day combing through its boxes. However, some of my comics are actually back issues I bought there. I don’t even recall whether boarding was a common practice back then, so I’ll excuse that there was no boarding on anything. The problem is that it’s finally sinking in just how poor the quality condition the comics were in when I bought them, yet back in 1987, they were marked up at least twice the price. Why on earth would a “good” copy of Uncanny X-Men be marked up from 60 cents to two dollars? The guy running that place was ripping off the kids. It’s no wonder that place went out of business when comics were beginning to boom.

It doesn’t bug me too much. I was never much a comic speculator. I enjoyed most of what I bought. The disappointment is the realization just how crooked that old shop really was.

Now I’m putting all of this junk in short boxes. The long boxes are back-breaking.

morning 05.31.16

Mike Mignola: Why I’m ending Hellboy to go paint watercolors instead. Tomorrow I’ll buy the last Hellboy in Hell comic. I still don’t own most of the Hellboy run in floppies or trades, although I’ve read most of them. However, it’s one of my all-time favorites comics. There’s even a signed Mignola print on the wall, the only one I own. It’s easy to see why he wants to move on and he’s welcome to do it. A well-done completion to a story is better than one dragged out into perpetuity. It’s going to take years to acquire all of the Hellboy, BPRD, and assorted off-shoots anyway. The Joe Golem comic is pretty good, but it’s no Hellboy.

The Velvet Underground – IV. Brian Eno posted the link last night. The zip file had already been sitting in my hard drive for a few years. Plus, I already have all of the songs from a CD boxed set and bootlegs. Nonetheless, I don’t ever recall bothering to listen to these in this sequence. Quite a nice little album.

Neurons Constantly Rewrite Their DNA. “They use minor ‘DNA surgeries’ to toggle their activity levels all day, every day.”

Guardian piece on Indonesian literature. On Eka Kurniawan’s Man Tiger:

Man Tiger, with its main character possessed by the spirit of a white tiger, has elements that UK readers will most readily recognise from Latin American magical realism; indeed, it is common for Indonesian writers to be compared to Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez or even Italo Calvino.

I’ve grown snobby about García Márquez over the years and the Borges touchstone is clichè, but throw in Calvino? Yeah, This could work.

Villager dipped his fishing net in the river and caught a 4,000 year old pagan god. “Currently the theories are that the statuette belonged to the Okunev or Samus cultures.”

That alleged Neandertal “stone circle.” Bruniquel Cave, France. 176.5k year old. Arranged stalagmites.

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morning 04.12.16

The Goon movie is still on track for development. Live action comic book movies aren’t really my thing, but animated ones? Yeah. It was a surprise to realize that the co-director who signed onto this project originally, Tim Miller, directed Deadpool and he’s still into The Goon.

US Appeals Court Rules Mississippi Can Resume Google Inquiry. This is bullshit. Use of a search engine is essentially the same as visiting a library. The librarians always saw this coming.

It’s fun to read this trashing of Rolling Stone’s lousy list of the best 40 punk albums. I’m in a poor position to criticize, as I regularly blend punk and post-punk together, but that list is drek.

Artificial Intelligence Sheds New Light on the Origins of the Bible. The concept reads like a Philip K Dick story. Recognizing the handwriting of individuals in ancient texts, figuring out the proportion of literate people, and creating a model of who wrote what.

morning 04.08.16

DC said made rumblings they were going to relaunch Vertigo recently, but that seemed like a bad idea. Some of their current titles aren’t that bad. Now the flagship for what would have been the Vertigo relaunch is getting its own imprint, Young Animal. Good. This is a better plan. Giving Gerard Way his own little corner to riff off Grant Morrison is better than forcing anything that doesn’t that mold out of Vertigo.

HIV overcomes CRISPR gene-editing attack. Well, damn. This is disappointing. The researchers were only surprised by the speed HIV could do this though.

Maybe John Podesta is scum but this amuses me. Clinton campaign chair: ‘The American people can handle the truth’ on UFOs. Then again, I wouldn’t trust a Clinton to tell the truth about anything.

 

 

morning 03.30.16

The intent was to blog a ton of shit today, since Elijah had to go to the library in Amite. However, Kat got a flat tire. We swapped cars and I need to sort this out before it’s time to go in for the night shift.

How Cerebus the Aardvark explains Trump. Jeet Heer outdid himself here. Immediately people began mocking his tweetstorm, as Heer tends to do. The mockery was hilarious too, but they know damned well they are just jealous they didn’t come up with it first. Serious? Timely? Incisive? Irrelevant. It’s fucking funny.

Paul Bowles in Morocco: The Lost Recordings. Brian Eno threw a link up to this last night.

double horn group

Relive the Punk-Rock Scene of 1970s Los Angeles. It’s a slideshow of photos from the old Slash magazine.

The number of FBI agents investigating the private email server of Hillary Clinton is actually less than 50, not 147. However, that’s likely more than 8 agents, which is some other disinformation that’s been floating around.

Another judge is allowing Judicial Watch to take sworn testimony from officials in relation to Clinton’s email server setup. Ugh. Did Clinton do shady, illegal shit. Hell yes. Is Judicial Watch going to act with integrity in the pursuit of justice? Absolutely not.

Extinction, Gilgamesh, Miyazaki’s Wolfchild, etc. (A Riff). Biblioklept on fire here. I doubt if I have the strength to read Dawson’s Extinction: A Radical History, but damn… i’m tempted.

The Bohemian Caverns are closing again. Bullshit.

Drone footage to the damage at Palmyra.

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Curator Forced to Kill Out-of-Control Bio-Art Exhibit. Was this intended to end any other way?

Turkey might be killing journalism but they’re embracing their Byzantine heritage after many years rejecting it as Greek. Yay? By the way, I see mention today that the government has installed someone from an allegedly radical Islamist newspaper Yeni Akit as the new editor in chief of Zaman.

In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA. Let’s just stick to that headline. Maybe in some small part the Syria conflict is a proxy war between elements of the United States government? Nahhhhhhhh……

New edition of Marcel Duchamp: Boîte-en-valise. Only $195?! I’ll take two.

The age of human remains and associated fauna from Zhiren Cave in Guangxi, southern China. Jaw of Homo sapiens in China 100,000 years ago. Chew on that, Out of Africa 60k or whatever bullshit.

Novel collagen fingerprinting identifies a Neanderthal bone among 2,000 fragments. 50,000 year old Neandertal bone found at Denisova Cave. It has a fingerprint on it?!

Yeah, yeah…. some of this deserved to be broken up over several posts. However, it’s this or nothing.

Saturday morning 03.26.16

William Gibson writes about film, the psychedelic experience, and The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Apparently it’s primarily about Gaspar Noé’s ‘Enter the Void’ (which I’ve yet to see) but it’s really about The Book of the Dead.

Nice little thumbnail biography of David Lynch on Bookforum, reminding me that I intended to pick up Dennis Lim’s David Lynch: The Man from Another Place to browse.

Quarterly Conversation has a piece on innovation in literature through disengagement and introspection in the aftermath of chaos and strife. It covers E.M. Cioran, Alain Robbe-Grillet, and David Markson. Robbe-Grillet is the one I never quite connected with- with me reading one novel that I probably missed the point of. Cioran can be problematic, but his aphorisms are fun. Markson is a demigod. I love this sentence:

Markson is validating an essential argument of Cioran—that despite one’s awareness of and fruitless retaliation against knowledge, there is no relief from the omnipresence of historical consciousness.

It’s amusing to see Animal Collective’s Painting With called “a steaming turd.” For a few years there, they were my favorite band. The last project I loved from those guys was Panda Bear’s Person Pitch. By the time, Strawberry Jam came out, i was suspicious (but adored “Peacebone”) and Merriweather Post Pavilion lost me entirely. It’s time to revisit some of the stuff from that era to see if I was right or just became bored before they actually began to suck.

Vertigo seems to be getting yet another relaunch. The Becky Cloonan/Gerard Way Doom Patrol team seemed like a fun little title (because it’s highly unlikely it could dislodged the old Vertigo run) but then the rest of the article sank in. Flagship title, eh? Apparently the current flavor of Vertigo has been deemed a failure. I’d been happy with Art Ops, Twilight Children, and yeah, even Lucifer. Only a couple of issues of Unfollow made it to my LCS, but it seemed okay. The Image but not-Image thing worked for me. Consciously turning Vertigo into a ghetto for quirky superheros to be revived seems yet another mistake for DC.

Yesterday my dad dropped into the bookstore to buy a copy of Western Hoserman and pick up any book I suggest for my my to read. On a whim, I passed him Cosmosapiens, as that seems the sort of thing she’s read many times over through the years. My distraction and laziness has prevented me from investigating it firsthand. I’m eager to see her take on it. I’m hoping it’s analogous to Guy Murchie’s The Seven Mysteries of Life, with new science breakthroughs.

8House burst open

I’ve been slow to catch on that Image’s 8House is gone, morphing into something else. Mirror and From Under Mountains remain. I’m a little behind on From Under Mountains right now, but fairly certain the past couple of issues are still at the comic shop. I only figured it out because Mirror mentions both issues that it was originally an 8House story. Emma Rios cleared it up on Twitter after someone else asked her how to keep track what’s going on there.

I reckon one anthology title (Island) was enough for them, without juggling a shared universe with that. However, as much as I dig the other titles, I was obsessed with Kiem. Xurxo G. Penalta blew my mind, then… nothing. Even his Tumblr and Twitter are kinda quiet what else he’s working on. There’s no word on Kiem continuing.

Zack Snyder: Objectivist

I confess my ignorance. The only Zack Snyder movie I’ve seen is his remake of Dawn of the Dead, which I thought was a decent remake. The Romero original was better obviously, but it seemed enjoyable. After a few years of scoffing, I tried to watch 300, only to switch it off in boredom. Watchmen looked awful, as if it missed the entire point of the comic. Man of Steel looked dreary, unlike my ideal All-Star Superman. Reading the reviews of destroyed cities and Zod’s snapped neck confirmed ignoring this movie too. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice looks like an outright turd sandwich. Fantasy and superhero movies that are po-faced are ultimately unnecessary.

Now Snyder gives way the game. He’s working on an cinematic adaptation of The Fountainhead.

ZACK We have The Last Photograph that I’ve been working on for a long time. It’s a small, sort of weird project about a war photogra­pher in Afghanistan. I have been working on The Fountainhead. I’ve always felt like The Fountainhead was such a thesis on the creative process and what it is to create something. Warner Bros. owns [Ayn Rand’s] script and I’ve just been working on that a little bit.

Yuck.

It’s drolly funny Snyder got his hands on Rorschach in retrospect.

comics 03.02.16

Comics. I burned out attempting to post about them during Secret Wars. While I loved Marvel’s Secret Wars event, event fatigue eventually set in. Anyway, back to it with the ones I picked up today:

  • The Discipline #1. Oh, man… Did i make a mistake! I grabbed it up today thinking, “Hey! New Image comic! Peter Milligan! The art looks nice enough!” On the other hand, it feels pretty misogynist and rapey. Perhaps I missed some alleged empowerment nuance, but this is not a story that I care to see unfold. There’s transgressive and there’s exploitative. This seems to be the latter. Fuck this shit.
  • The Goddamned #3. On the other hand, the pre-Flood world is extremely depraved but this feels… right. It’s Cormac McCarthy’s graphic novel of Genesis.
  • Nowhere Men #8. The change in artist did it a favor to an extent. I sorely miss the slicker style of Bellegarde. Some of the pop art commercial style interludes he did so masterfully. I wish I had them as posters. However, Taylor’s doing a more than good enough job. It took a minute to realize Emi Lenox was in there as well. The storytelling seems a little choppier, but again, it’s not a problem. It’s just a new arc. I far prefer this world to Stephenson’s They’re Not Like Us.
  • Plutona #4. The series opened with a great premise and cool art, but it feels like it’s been spinning its wheels on the plot. Disappointing.