“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture – it’s a really stupid thing to want to do.” -Elvis Costello
An anonymous email received in response to last week’s column- wherein I recalled the laughable early 90s art of Rob Liefeld with reverent regards to the schlocky comic stories purveyed at the time, that nevertheless entertained and titillated my imagination, called me out on my apparent disregard for the artists’ efforts. Also his dynamic influence, his success, and his congeniality (none of which did Icall into question, for the record). To paraphrase the gentleman’s missive, for space and language’s sake, “Who the hell do you think you are? What do you know about comics? Have you ever done one yourself? What did Liefeld ever do to you?”
Said email left me flummoxed, frankly. I felt I’d written nothing snarky or vile enough to warrant a disgruntled reader. Aside from pointing out a few gaffes, I was nothing but complimentary and affectionately nostalgic for those dopey books.
As to my credibility in writing about comics, the awesome thing is I get paid for discussing them- I don’t even need to have a license to write about or sell this stuff! It puts food in my kitty-cats’ tummies, and rock and roll in my soul. You and I may not see eye to eye on some things, dear readers, but please keep in mind that most of what appears in these pages is largely informed OPINION, and rarely critique. And there’s very little on this sphere that’ll stop me from discussing this material with you kids. That being said, my email address will conclude this article if any of you punks out there would like to tussle. Or hug via words, whatever the case may be.
No one ever said I could even touch the rim, but that never stopped me from entering the dunk contest. Let’s put on our Superman outfits and jump from the free-throw line, shall we?
Notable New Releases Week of 3/12/08
Jack Kirby King of the Comics HC- It’s finally here (so quit buggin’ me)! The long-delayed hardcover retrospective of Jack “King” Kirby’s artwork from publisher Abrams is in stock and EGADS is it an eyegasm! It’s 224pgs. of bodaciousness! If the over-used and abused term “Know Your Roots” should meaningfully be applied to anything in this jumbled up universe it should apply to this man’s integral contributions to the comics form. No. Integral is too small of a word in this instance, really. It is no stretch to state that without Mr. Kirby’s creations and talent, comics as we know them would not exist. You’d be pursuing your art and entertainments in some other medium, and I’d be writing about tires or gutting fish right now.
Serenity: Better Days #1- Not to diminish the show, nor the comics, nor anything else you like about Buffy, but you can keep it. My Joss Whedon fandom to this point has, for the most part, been Firefly exclusive. The erstwhile television show’s been off the airwaves for a few years now, and I felt its cinematic continuation, Serenity, left much to be desired. Happy happy joy joy, then, that Dark Horse Comics, who does licensed storytelling right, is publishing new adventures in Whedon’s SF/Western series, written by the creator himself!
Justice League International HC Volume 1- Were there a Holy Trinity of a comic book creative team in the 80s it would be Frank Miller, “Uncle” Klaus Janson, and Lynn Varley on The Dark Knight Returns. If there were a second, it would be Keith Giffen, JM DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire’s classic run on Justice League. This book collects issues #1-7. Better tie your ass to your pelvis. (You know, cuz you’re gonna laugh it off.)
Barefoot Gen Vol. 5 TP- From the publisher… “Cartoonist Keiji Nakazawa was seven years-old and living in Hiroshima in the early days of August 1945 when the city was destroyed by an atomic bomb. Begun in the mid-70s, his Barefoot Gen series of comics is one of the most heavy-duty manga out there; revelatory, thought provoking, very deep, baby. Volume One begins shortly before the bomb was dropped, and ends on the day of the bombing itself. Volume Two, The Day After, tells the story of the day after the atomic bomb was dropped. Volume 3 picks up the story with Gen, his mother and his baby brother searching for a place to rest in the bomb’s aftermath. Volume Four resumes nine days after the bomb, as Gen and his mother continue to struggle for food, shelter, and water amid chaos and vast human suffering. In this new reprint, Gen becomes entangled with black market gangs and faces an internal struggle of honor, ethics, and duty to resolve his and his family’s problems.”
My mother used to tell me I’d never get by on my good looks.
Guess she was wrong.