Thee Comic Column #112: She Makes Comics

She-Makes-Comics-Logo-Medium-660x880I’ve been reading comics for more of my life than not and since almost day 1 there have always been women’s names I associated as key creators within the medium. For me Ann Nocenti and Louise Simonson were first, Karen Berger was a little bit later. These are women who actively helped define my world by defining the books that I read, books that helped shape the interior landscape I then in turn used to define the world around me as I grew up in the 80s and 90s. Ms. Nocenti’s work on Daredevil and Spiderman and Mrs. Simonson’s work as both editor and later writer on the X-books were among the earliest comics I fell in love with preadolescence. Later, in high school, many of the key books and creators that Karen Berger brought to her Vertigo imprint at DC etched their way into my very soul, most especially Sandman. That may sound a bit overly dramatic but it’s not; in a very real way the person I am today has roots in those books. Comics have never been any different than prose to me, every bit as important as the fiction I love; every once in a while along comes a Louise Simonson, an Irvine Welsh, a Neil Gaimen or a Donna Tartt and an entire new wing is added to the ego-scaffolding that is, more or less, Me. To me, both comics and prose are literature and literature is food for the soul. So the idea that women may not have a level playing field in the world of comics when they are so revered everywhere else in writing is insane to me and perhaps a little bit of a clue that the comics industry isn’t quite as established or ‘grown up’ as the world of prose.

Your Fucked Up Childhood #3: The Snowman

tumblr_inline_nfzu25X0UK1qzwijzLooking forward to it snowing this year? No?! Can you pinpoint the exact moment at which your sense of wonder blackened, crumbled and blew away on the breeze? Maybe it was the day you saw Channel 4’s 1982 animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ ‘The Snowman’. Every time the subject of snow comes up at this time of year I inevitably end up gnawing on the knuckles of my clenched fist as a means of both plugging my mouth and preventing me from raining a flurry of punches upon those balking at the fact that this astonishing annual phenomenon might prevent them from, wait for it, getting to work.

The Joup Friday Album: Sunn O))) – Monoliths and Dimensions

sunnoI’m going to a wedding tomorrow…so let’s talk about Sunn O))).  When listening to Sunn O))), I get the feeling that I’ve just wandered into something I have no business being privy to, that I’ve just witnessed something never intended for my eyes.  It’s like finding oneself the unexpected audience member of some archaic ritual, a sacrifice to the ancient gods, a blood ceremony of cloaked witches dancing to firelight in a black forest.  This is all very evident in the experimental drone doom metal duo’s 2009 record Monoliths and Dimensions, the band’s seventh studio album.  Whether it be the deep and unsettling spoken word sections of “Aghartha,” the haunting choirs on “Big Church (Megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért),” or just the general unease and foreboding created by the heavy and droning guitar effects throughout, the whole album feels like the score to something evil and eternal.

Thee Comic Column #111: The Real John Constantine

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 12.30.20 AMHoly cow. Now this my friends, this is John Constantine. I mean, if you can hold in your mind’s eye the *eck* movie version from 2005, add to it the current NBC version and then watch this short made with a super small budget and barely any effects at all, well, I think you’ll agree that this isn’t just John Constantine done right, this is John Constantine done probably as close to perfect as we’re ever going to get in our lifetime by a video production company.

Thee Comic Column #110: Wytches

WYTCHES-Cover-1-Final-7cd41I will admit that when I first heard about Scott Snyder and Jock’s Wytches my interest was tinged with a small swathe of trepidation. I don’t mean to sound like a dick, but after recently re-reading Snyder and Sean Murphy’s The Wake I wasn’t too hot on the idea of jumping on a new series by Snyder. This is because, in The Wake‘s case, I love the set-up, LOVE the art (Sean Murphy can do no wrong in my book) and love the characters, love the story and the way it’s two stories that tell one bigger story. What I didn’t necessarily love however was the ending. Honestly, it left me a bit flat. Of course it’s true that the journey is just as important as the destination, but I just don’t know if the ending to The Wake does the rest of the story – and oh what a story – any justice. That more than anything else may be what bothers me about the book and had me a little trepidatious about starting out on a new path with Mr. Snyder at the helm.

New Music Enthusiast’s Club: goste

goste Eugene EP Covergoste – Eugene

A swirl of plunked synthesizer keys and distorted computer noises ooze and crash like cold, slowly moving tectonic plates, glaciers pushing against each other until the ice begins to crack, immovable giants locked in eternal conflict. Cold electronics. Icy beats. And a low and warm voice comes into play, slightly askew, slightly warbled, a protoplasmic element to warm this cold and frost laden mix. “Volcanoes (Slow Fade)” opens up the Eugene EP, the latest record from Brooklyn composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and electronic artist goste, and it sets the tone for what’s to come, a blending of the synthetic and the organic, a subtle and flowing mix of hot and cold sounds…digital folk…computerized Americana.

The Joup Friday Album: Slowdive – Pygmalion

slowdiveShoegaze is back!  So let’s talk about a legendary shoegaze act’s least stereotypically shoegazey album, an oddity amongst the band’s catalog, and one that led to them being dropped by their record label.

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