Thee Comic Column #147 – Man Vs. Rock

Man vs. RockWhatever you are doing, stop. No really, STOP. Go to the windows and carefully pull down the shade or shut the blinds. Did anyone see you? No? Are you sure? Because there are eyes and ears everywhere. Well, not eyes and ears per se, but there are people watching. Well, not people per se. Not people but ROCKS.


So says Professor Buck Stone, the one man who stands between humanity and a malevolent, invading force of rocks! They’re everywhere, all around us, and they’re tired of taking our shit! Now the rocks are going to make us pay and…

Thee Comic Column #146: Descent of the Dead

DoDI’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; zombies are overdone. We’ve reached the  saturation point and most of what we see from here on out is recycled in some way or another.


It takes something really special in the, ahem, Zombie ‘genre’ to get on my good side because at this point not only has almost everything conceivable been done with Zombies: comedies, Romcoms, adventure/sci fi takes, big budget, low budget. Has there been an Elmo meets the Living Dead? Oops. Too soon?

The Joup Friday Album: Post Stardom Depression – Prime Time Looks A Lot Like Amatuer Night

PSDI Love this album. I mean, I LOVE this album. Somehow though that love has never incited me to look into anything else that Post Stardom Depression has done, or any of the groups that frontman/guitarist/chief songwriter Jeff Angell has done since PSD called it quits in 2008. That’s a mistake I need to remedy, but I guess I have this thing where, when I find an album like this one, something I’d never heard of before that comes out of the blue, and it’s this damn good, well, I become a bit paralyzed. What if it’s a fluke and I hate the other records by the band? Ridiculous? Yeah. But if there’s one thing we human beings excel at, it’s ridiculous, no?

The Comic Column #145: Re-reading the Age of Apocalypse

x_men__age_of_apocalypseAfter years of not missing an issue, some time around 1997 I had an epiphany and stopped reading all X-books. The epiphany was that I didn’t like these books at all anymore, hadn’t in fact liked them for quite some time, but what I now call “Fan Inertia” kept me dolling out the money to follow at least half a dozen books for years after I had checked out. When I go back and look at the X-books from that era, their style and presentation, content 0r lack thereof, I wonder how I ever continued past the first year or two after Chris Claremont left. Remember Magneto becoming Joseph? Or Eric the Red? Even the at-first intriguing tension between Bishop and Gambit wore out its welcome after too long a build up and, frankly, a contrived and fairly anti climatic revelation*.

Thee Comic Column #144: Black Magick

Black-Magick-1When I first saw the preview of Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott’s Black Magick in the back of a recent issue of Lazarus I was immediately drawn to it. Since I’ve heard some people predict a similarity to Caitlin Kittredge’s Coffin Hill and I’ll be honest, there might be something to that. However, I only followed Coffin Hill for a few issues before it kind of fell off my radar (I need to do the trades) so I’m not the one to do any kind of accurate comparison. Besides, if there are two books about Occult-involved police women I’m not one to have a problem with that. I spent a pretty fair amount of time studying certain pockets of the Occult and even though I no longer actively practice I am still fascinated by it. And an honest-to-goodness, well-researched incorporation such as Black Magick appears to be (we all know Mr. Rucka does his homework) is a treat. Not since The Witching – which granted took some liberties, as I’m sure Black Magick will for story’s sake, but still managed to work in historical and “orthodox” elements – has there been a book that made me feel as kindly toward it so quickly due to a realistic portrayal of Magick in a fictional setting. This first issue actually begins with an actual Mabon ritual (the Autumn Equinox – so it’s timely too!) that is extremely well-researched. Ms. Scott’s art here is particularly fantastic; she’s able to convey the enigmatic mystery and sacred space of a circle without giving it too dark an edge. This feels Occult and ancient but not sinister, and that is the exact essence of ritual in the real, practicing sense.

Thee Comic Column #143: James O’Barr’s The Crow

like a concave screamEvery year I end up revisiting one of the most archetypal comic book experiences I have thus far had in my life. And every year it absolutely destroys me. Tears, existential crisis, waking loved ones in the middle of the night just to hug them… the whole lot. What could have this effect on me? What example of our favorite medium could a reasonably intelligent, nearly 40-year old man consider a cornerstone of his emotional, mental and spiritual existence?

Why James O’Barr’s The Crow, of course.

Thee Comic Column #142: Paper Girls

paper girlsSo I missed a couple weeks picking up my books at the shop again, missed last week’s column because I was at Beyond Fest* and now I have a wonderful stack of books I’m working my way through and at least two new titles that I really want to write about: Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang’s Paper Girls and Rick Remender and Sean Patrick Murphy’s Tokyo Ghost. I’m going with Paper Girls for today’s column because, well, I haven’t read Tokyo Ghost yet but also, because Paper Girls is awesome and absolutely where my head is at the moment, one week in to my favorite month of the year.