Thee Comic Column #141: Jeff Lemire’s Moon Knight

MoonKnight_1

courtesy of the scoop-il-icious comicbook.com

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve not read anything Jeff Lemire has written except for the first few issues after Justice League Dark passed from Peter Milligan to him. I didn’t stick around, not because of anything Lemire did, it had just become abundantly apparent to me that the editorial staff was crafting the direction of that book more than the writer. Milligan bounced, Lemire probably received a call asking if he could take it and wah-la. Justice League Dark became considerably less Vertigo-lite (at that point any Vertigo flavor seemed a good thing) and considerably more JLA.

The Joup Friday Album: The Mars Volta – De-loused in the Comatorium

delousedThere are some albums you get right away. Others take time. An anecdote I use that a lot of people tend to relate to is when I fell in love with Pinebender’s Working Nine to Wolf . I had the disc on repeat downstairs in the living room of our rented town home while I was upstairs writing. The music on the album was unobtrusive, working its way through the floor boards in vague and lilting passages that, at first, left no impression. Shortly however, I realized I was humming along with what I had just heard, and before long I knew the disc intricately even when away from it. I call this the “Through the walls” method of absorbing music and it often leads to some of the strongest connections I have with albums. Several key records in my life have endeared themselves to me in this or similarly “passive” ways. The Mars Volta’s debut full-length album De-loused in the Comatorium is one of them.

Thee Comic Column #140: The Children’s Vampire Hunting Brigade

CVHB1_FrontCover-680x1024

Vampires are, at this point in human history, archetypal monsters that are as important to our modern psyches as almost any of the creatures that populated the folklore of the various ancestral lands that made up the world when it was a much simpler place. As humanity has branched and evolved so to have the needs within us that our ‘boogey men’ serve, and as such our monsters wear many hats, perhaps none more so than Vampires. Our eternal, bloodsucking brethren have been romantic, brutal, viral, pretty, considerate, comical and apocalyptic. For myself, while I’m always interested in new takes on old ideas, of late the simpler the approach to Vampires the better. Twilight and Sukie Stackhouse have, in my opinion, overly domesticated the Vampire, and as such anything that strips them of that, ahem, sparkly sheen is welcome. While admittedly I spent the early 90s enthralled by Anne Rice’s lush visions of her Nosferatu, the candlelight-and-leather approach is what the Cullens evolved from and thus have, for now, run its course. Today, if I’m going to be interested in Vampires at all it has to be a more visceral experience.

Thee Comic Column #139: Airboy!

airboy1Airboy. Holy crap – AIRBOY! This book is completely batshit crazy; a fearless piece of meta-fiction wrapped in a superhero shell (or is that the other way around?) and I am loving it! Highest possible recommendation. If you are over 18 years of age. Well, maybe even if you’re not but are a mature reader. But if that’s you and you snatch this book off your local comic book store shelves and any authority figures in your life catch you with it and demand and explanation, well, I didn’t tell you about. I only told you how good it was…

Thee Comic Column #138: Return!

Weirdworld_Vol_1_5_TextlessYou may have noticed this column disappeared for the previous three weeks and became what can can only be described as sporadic for a time before that. The three weeks hiatus is a first – since I started Thee Comic Column* back in 2012 I’ve missed a week here or there, but never consecutive weeks. I need this column – it’s where I go to put down my thoughts on what I’m reading, how I’m feeling about the comic world, its trends, its ups and its downs. I once flirted with the idea of writing ‘journalistically’ and dabbled in it a microscopic bit, only to realize that journalism is not the kind of writing that I’m here for. Sure, I’m opinionated about the things I like (and dislike) and as such I like to ‘talk’ it out on the page occasionally, but there’s only so much time in a day and storytelling is my true calling. So the last few months have been a flurry of activity in that department as I finish the novel I’ve been writing for three years. Also, I went through some dark life stuff and am still climbing up out of that, so during all of that it’s probably not a stretch for me to say that I’ve read very few comics. That’s changed now –  I’m catching back up; slimmed down my pull at The Comic Bug a bit to cast off the stuff that I wasn’t really enjoying (Sandman: Overture for one, which we address on the forthcoming issue #24 of Drinking with Comics) and really began delving into some of the books that I’ve been behind on. Lazarus, Saga and Velvet are all books that I’ve been reading monthly since they began but haven’t had a chance to sit down and re-read in a tight, controlled burst. Doing that is at the top of the list. Also, there are a bunch of titles I want to pick up that my Dw/C co-host Mike Wellman turned me on to: Airboy and Weirdworld are both at the top of that particular list. And yes, Weirdworld is a Marvel book and I’m technically off Marvel books, however since it doesn’t tie into any of the standard Marvel characters I have now successfully detoxed from I’m considering it an acceptable cheat. Plus, I mean, when you look at Mike Del Mundo’s art, the fact that Jason Aaron’s writing it, or characters from freakin’ Crystar the Crystal Warrior are in it, well, Weirdworld is a title I just can’t pass up. Growing up I was always intrigued by that kinda grimy late 70s/early 80s pulp fantasy stuff but never really knew how to get into it. This will be revisionist education, if nothing else.

Thee Comic Column #137: Judgement from a Friend!

JDRecently I was at a pretty low point. Things that were once constants in my life suddenly slipped away and I found myself in a rather shaky psychological place. My day-to-day life stopped, and that included all the things that make me happy. My interests, at one point, became solely based on survival.

It was pretty terrifying.

Thee Comic Column #136: Rick Remender’s Year of Creator-Owned Comics

DeadlyClass_12Recently I fell behind in my comics. Due to extenuating personal circumstances I found myself repeatedly unable to get into the shop and pick up my pull. This lasted for a while – almost two agonizing months to be specific! Near the end it became a self-perpetuating problem, as week after week I realized that the amount of cash I was going to need to empty my box at Manhattan Beach’s amazing Comic Bug was growing into a monster. Finally I found myself with a spare $100 bill (how often does that happen?) and I walked in and traded that sucker – or $97 of it – for everything I had missed since the beginning of June. As you might imagine, it’s taking me all the spare time in a busy weekend to put a dent in this pile. This was especially true when, in the backs of both the latest issues of Deadly Class and Black Science, writer Rick Remender made with the best comic-related news imaginable: He is taking a break from writing at Marvel Comics and spending the next year focusing on his creator-owned series.

Translate