The Joup Friday Album: NIN – Pretty Hate Machine

NINI really like Nine Inch Nails. A lot. I always have and probably always will – I don’t think there’s a bad album in Trent Reznor’s oeuvre; sure there’s a few I like less than others, but overall all of the man and his collaborators’ work is impressively conceptualized, composed and executed. That said, I am fairly certain that nothing Mr. Reznor will ever do will have the same impact on me that his first album under the NINs moniker did. Nothing.

Joup Confessions… Billy Joel’s The Stranger

BJMy first experience with Billy Joel’s 1977 album The Stranger was most likely in my parents’ old Chevy station wagon, late 70’s or very early 80’s (if my memory really does go that far back). I Love You Just The Way You Are would have been a staple on the easy listening station that they listened to while we drove here and there with me and my then infant sister in the backseat. That station made my life a living hell and really, it’s kind of amazing that I love music as much as I do when that was one of my earliest, most sustained introductions to it. To this day I still feel pangs of car sickness if I’m relegated to the status of a backseat passenger, all because of Lite FM and the shitty California Laurel Canyon ‘movement’, the Carpenters, Dion Warwick and their peers. That was Lite FM’s bread and butter. Funny then, that this particular song, and the particular era of Mr. Joel it belongs to escaped my wraith and years later so endeared itself to me. Truth be told I’m not really sure how I happened to own the album, on vinyl. Somehow one day I just magically found The Stranger in our record collection, as if it had always been there.

Thee Comic Column #122: Big Man Plans

BigManPlans-cov-01_web02A few months ago on Drinking with Comics my co-host Mike Wellman became absolutely aghast when he learned I had never read Eric Powell’s The Goon. Admittedly, since starting the show there have been quite a few books that I haven’t read that Mike has trouble understanding: Hellboy, Elephantmen (remedied now) and The Goon were big sticking points right off the bat. My defense is what it always is – you can’t read everything. There’s plenty of stuff we overlap on and probably an equal amount he’s not read that I feel is essential. It takes work to keep up, and in the interest of trying to read everything good sometimes you need a friend to point you in a particular direction you may have missed. So it was in that spirit after the shoot that night that I took Mike’s advice on where to begin The Goon and picked up the second volume of the trades.

Beneath the Panels #4 – Nameless and the Place of Fear

B7KljFICYAA8_veBeneath the Panels is my ongoing effort to catalogue/analyze the Occult correspondences I posit Grant Morrison has built into the underlying ‘code’ of Nameless, his new comic collaboration with Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn. Before proceeding with this fourth and final iteration pertaining to the first issue of Nameless, I should point out for new readers that the research and subsequent outlining of this stuff has been an involved, ongoing process and as such if you’ve not read the first three iterations of Beneath the Panels you would be best served to go back and do that. Below are links to those columns, the first of which is on my personal blog and the subsequent two here on Joup:

Thee Comic Column #121: Why Spider Gwen is Important

spider-gwen-1-cover-robbi-rodriguez-109184 (1)First: there will be some who will roll their eyes at the title I chose for this piece. That’s fine. However, the fact remains that nothing is “important” until we choose to assign that value to it. Under different circumstances I might have rolled my eyes at an article bearing this title. As you read this piece you’ll see that initially I wasn’t the most receptive person for a title with a decades-deceased character re-packaged with familiar super powers. However, several things happened that changed my mind and in the process made Spider Gwen suddenly feel very important in the context of the comic book industry and Geek culture overall. It is this importance I’d like to discuss now, so whether you’re one of the folks who LOVE this new character or a skeptic, follow me down the rabbit hole and let me make my case for why I feel Spider Gwen is a watershed for much-needed change in the comic book industry.

Beneath the Panels #3: Nameless and the Tree of Life

Nameless02Way I see it, everything’s been fucked up since 2001 anyway. Since the towers came down – since the pylons fell on Trump 18 and Malkuth was gathered up into Yesod.”

Thee Comic Column #120: Re-reading Alan Moore’s Promethea

sophie 5 largeIf you have by chance encountered the new column I recently began to post here on Joup you’ll know that Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s new series Nameless has reawakened an old passion in me. The column, Beneath the Panels, is an attempt to investigate the Occult underpinnings of Nameless, and it’s really got me on my toes. Reading it you will no doubt see me illustrate how, when dealing with the Occult, it is very easy to get lost amid the hundreds of invisible wires that run between scores of disparate concepts and even seemingly conflicting ideologies. Many of these ideas end up connecting in ways that are not always obvious or even intuitive, however, getting to that point takes quite a bit of work! This is because contrary to what conventional wisdom would have you believe, the Occult is at its best a tributary of science; Magick is not sleight of hand or elaborate stage antics but an attempt to craft a unified theory of everything. This is why both in modern and medieval times Occult study draws from every world view possible – the early alchemists were as much scientists as philosophers, and the Chaos Magicians of the 80s and 90s were as influenced by Quantum Mechanics and Chaos Mathematics as they were by Austin Osman Spare or *ahem* Aleister Crowley. In diving back into this type of research – which I had taken a hiatus from for almost ten years – I found that there was no better place to go for a streamlined cram session than Alan Moore and JH Williams III’s Promethea, a comic book that not only features appearances by pretty much everybody and everything I’ve just gone on about above, but that for all intensive purposes is a primer on Magickal study and Occult theology.

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