Non-Sequitur # 57: A Chance For Folks To Meet

The Simple Things You Say Are All Complicated!

Yeah, so like I had a lot of stuff on my mind, then I forgot a lot of it,  then I thought of some other things to write about, then I got lazy, so um…let’s just jump in here…

I walked  to the grocery store early this morning and when I turned down one particular street, I saw  workers towing tons of cars. It was very weird then I remembered that they changed the route of the Gay Pride Parade this year and the starting point was actually in my neighborhood. I looked around and noticed all sorts of little signs on the trees that had messages about parking restrictions. I thought yeah, lots of people are gonna come out of these apartments in a couple hours and be PISSED.

A couple hours later I went to a different grocery store to buy beer. Masses of people had started to gather for the pride parade and then I thought, “Hey, this is the corner where those young dudes sometimes try to sell weed. I bet they won’t be out here today.”  Sure enough, as I passed their favorite awning, I walked by a dude on his cell phone pleading with one of his buddies, “But…Dude! Yer missin’ out on all this money! An’ I’m mad at so-and-so cuz I cain’t even get him on the phone!” I kinda wondered if his buddies didn’t want to come out because they were homophobic or if they were just more than likely concerned about increased police presence.

Sort of related to the above, yesterday, I passed the liquor store and there were a few guys  having a heated discussion out front. It was two wino looking guys  and one slightly younger dude in a shirt and tie. The tie guy was saying, “God’s not gonna go to Phelps ( I can only assume they were talking about the Father Phelps who goes around protesting gays at the funerals of dead soldiers) and say, ‘Ok, what was he doing…and what was he  doing…and what was he doing’…God’s gonna come and say, ‘What were YOU doing?” One of the wino guys replied, “But would YOU have sex with another man? Would YOU suck a dick?” I kinda thought…homie, if yer gonna get into a religious argument, ya gotta do better than, “But would you suck a dick?”  Understand, I’m not  making a case one way of the other for homosexuality, BUT…I’m not going to grow my beard out right now, that doesn’t automatically mean I think that people who do are morally suspect.

Yesterday, I walked to the local comic book store. On one particular corner ( at a strip mall nowhere near the comic book store by the way)  I saw a dude dressed like a superhero just sort of standing there. His suit was white with gold accents and he had sort of a Thor looking head piece with wings on the side. Thing is, I’d seen him a few weeks ago at the corner near my house ( his name was Spear Guardian or something, I can’t remember exactly). At that time, I thought he must be going to some party or event or just cosplaying for fun or something. Now I wonder if he’s trying to become the Phoenix Jones of the north side or whatever. All I can say is do yer thing, bud…but be careful. There’s lots of wannabe drug dealers with drooping pants around here, but there’s also real criminals too, so watch yer back.

Um, what else? …Oh!

Last weekend I went downtown to an indie comics convention. It was a BEAUTIFUL day. It was right before the Puerto Rican Day Parade ( Yes, another parade. It’s Chicago. From here on in there’s not going to be one weekend without either a parade or neighborhood fest, just deal with it). The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo was at Columbia College downtown I got down there a little early, so I killed time at a Harold’s Chicken on Wabash St. I gotta say, that Harold’s is way better than the one by my house. It was bigger and extremely well light. The small fries I ordered would have been a large at almost any other eating establishment.

I didn’t check out any of the comics for sale at the convention cuz I’d already spent my comics budget for the week and I was mainly interested in seeing one  panel about women and atuobio comics. I thought they’d have an unique perspective on the medium. The artists had pretty interesting things to say about visual style and how much of real life they choose to put into their strips. I was a little surprised when one of the women made a random Jack Kirby  reference, but what REALLY surprised me was all the 80’s punk rock music that was playing over the loudspeakers before the panel started. Here’s what stood out that I can remember…

7  Seconds – Clenched Fists Black Eyes

Black Flag –You Bet We’ve Got Something Personal Against You

Fear-I Love Living In The City

Misfits –40 Eyes

Fugazi- I don’t know which song, but I know it was Fugazi

Ramones- Blitzkrieg Bop

I totally remember that stuff from my teenage years. Hearing it in this venue made me feel both young again and very old at the same time. Fuggin’ mortality…

Also, last weekend there a street fest right here in my neighborhood. It was Chicago Pizza Fest or something. Even though it was within walking distance, I didn’t participate. The food they had there was exactly the same stuff I can get any day of the week only cheaper. They had live music of course. The headliners were 80’s new wave pop stars Berlin   and a local group called Too White Crew.  The bands might have gotten  me out there, then I remembered I only like one song by Berlin. An’ no…not Take Your Breath Away, but Masquerade. The other group was Too White Crew, they’re a local group that  does hip-hop/pop cover from the 90’s.  I didn’t make the effort to stay. Then it turned out I needn’t bothered anyway cuz Too White Crew  were so loud that I could hear them from my apartment with the window up. Luckily, I guess, I like TLC and have nostalgic feelings for Bev  Biv Devoe, otherwise I might have been pissed.

Um, ok…as I finished typing that last paragraph, my internet went out. I figured, “Alright, I’ll go out and get some beer and come back to it.” Outside right now the streets are swarming  with young people. I guess because of events related to Pride Day. On the way back to my house , I saw two girls and one guy who I’m going to assume was gay walking towards me. It seemed they had just exchanged words with a couple of thug looking guys behind them. The guy was saying, “I thought I heard him call me  a bitch! I was gonna blah, blah, blah!”  I walked by the thugs, the bigger of the two I sorta recognize from the neighborhood. His partner, however, I noticed had his pants sagging in the stereotypical “gangsta” way. They were literally just past his ass. I’m thinking like, “You wanna make fun of a guy for being gay. but you have your underwear showing. Do you even know where that ‘fashion’ started?” OH, THE FUCKING IRONY.

Comedian #1: When Before Watchmen was announced I said I wasn’t going to buy this one. I was at the comic store and bought it anyway.I was disappointed. Fuck me.

Enuff negativity! Let’s remember sweet, sweet music! Martha and the Vandellas


Non-Sequitur #44: Nothing Changes On New Years Day

The Not So New Avengers by Jim Cheung

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah…Out with the old, new beginings, blah, blah, blah…whatever.

I do not resolve to go on a diet

So, the maintenance man for my job’s building was teasing me  the other day about gaining weight. Something about the ground shaking as I walked by. Well, I’ll have you know, Richard…I lost 10 POUNDS this summer! So there! Course, this winter I’ve already re-gained 12 pounds, so…um…DAMMIT! You’ve won this round “Richard”, but I’ll be back!

I do not resolve to go out and meet new people

On the way to work, I passed a dude sitting at a bus stop. It was about 30 degrees outside and he was bare chested. It looked like he’d just taken off his jacket which was on the ground and his sweater which he still had one hand in. I remember thinking that this man either had maybe slight mental issues or he was just really really HIGH. I contemplated saying something, but what? “Hey, dude…it’s cold. Put your sweater back on?” And what was I going to do if he got belligerent? Get a cop and be like, “But Officer! He he wouldn’t put his sweater back on and it’s cold out!”

New people…

I was walking down the street earlier today. There were a couple guys coming towards me and one of them was wearing a Green Bay jacket. As I was passing them, a young man in a car who was turning down a nearby alley, stuck his head out the window and shouted, “PACKERS SUCK!!” Can’t we all just get along?

I do not resolve to be more practical with money. I got movies and comics to get!

Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol: I saw it earlier this week and I had fun with it. Solid action packed flick. I mostly bought the actors in their roles and there was only a few minor plot quibbles. Not terribly complex or layered, but it delivered on the level it was trying to deliver on.

Aquaman #4: By Johns, Reis, and Prado with some really nice coloring by Rod Reis. This is the end of the first arc. It wasn’t super heavy, basically the plot is Aquaman fighting sea monsters while the general public cracks on how lame he is. Storywise, it was actually pretty thin, but I still enjoyed it. I liked the relationship between Aquaman and Mera. They came across as a mature couple that enjoys each other’s company, but each partner has their own mind. A bit unlike the contrivances we see on some sit-coms and and cliched comic books. The art is just gorgeous. Ivan Reis and Joe Prado do a great job at making the art bombastic and detailed, yet the faces they draw are just nuanced enough to convey emotion.

Avengers Children’s Crusade: One more issue to go in this mini-series and so far I’ve really enjoyed the ride. We deal with Dr Doom with magical powers and the question of what to do about Wanda and  is she really responsible for everything that’s happened and if she is, what next? Good characterizations and dialogue from Heinburg and very very nice art from Cheung.

I Bought Batwoman #4, but I haven’t read it yet.

Hm, I feel like playing guitar in the snow, but it’s been unusually warm this winter, so I’ll have to made due with this.

Non-Sequitur #16: Fade Away and Radiate

Crunch! Bam! Pow!

I was going to do a review of Vigilante #13 from 1984, but I haven’t finished reading it. Or I should say I haven’t read it carefully. I skimmed through it. The story is by Marv Wolfman and the art is by Gil Kane. It’s interesting because they seem to take great pains to strike a serious cop show/action movie tone, but it’s contrasted by all the ads for candy and Saturday morning cartoons. It’s funny cuz these days it’s not unusual to see mainstream comics that have ads for automobiles. The march toward adult superhero comics was indeed a slow one.

They opened a Harold’s Chicken in my neighbor hood. It’s okay. I’m going back for some fries okra.

Check it out! Someone clicked to my site from a site called Dead Homer Society. It’s all about love for the Simpsons TV show. Dig it.

Johnny Storm from the Fantastic Four is dead! Yeah, sure he is…

A Wonder Woman TV show has been green lit by NBC! David E. Kelly is in charge! His wife played Catwoman in a very entertaining movie that made no sense! Wonder Woman is going to be a corporate exec that fights crime! Uh, what? I’m concerned, but who knows…they haven’t shot one scene yet and  none of us fans know what the script actually is.  Even if it isn’t traditional WW there’s still the chance it  might turn out to be good. Let’s wait for the show to air before we start calling for be-headings. On another hand, it’s interesting how many of us comics fans feel legitimized once Hollywood makes a movie or TV show out of our favorite characters. Comics are cool because they’re comics! Comics! We should be promoting comics because they are fun as a medium onto themselves, not cuz somebody might make a mediocre film from them. I’ll take a cool comic book with a clever story and great art featuring a B-list character over a drab big budget movie  starring a famous character that we’re supposed to automatically love because it features an “icon”. I’d like both, but if I had to choose, I’ll take George Perez returning to the Wonder Woman comic for  a year over a WW TV show.

This week at work wasn’t as productive as I would have hoped, but boy was Friday fun. One lady brought cupcakes, another made peanut butter fudge, and my boss brought coffee cake. Just because. Yes, I did partake and yes I realize that I’m slowly destroying myself. Anyway…

Debbie Harry and Chris Stein rule. They just do.

Random Comics Review: Sabre #7, 1983

Sabre was an independent comic published by Eclipse Comics in  the 80’s. The character was created by Don McGregor  and drawn by Paul Gulacy initially. The art in this arc is by Billy Graham. The series was set in a post apocalyptic near future. Sabre is a poetic believer in passion and free will  who fights against oppression and for the love of the lovely Melissa Siren. The series is very much Don’s ideas of romance and personal integrity and satire. The comic is full of grand adventure and overly colorful characters.

This issue is the fifth part of a six part story called “An Exploitation or Everything Dear”. Sabre finally makes it home just in time for the birth of his and Melissa’s child if government forces on his tail. There’s chaos as violence erupts between freedom fighters and government troops right as Melissa goes into labor. The main story ends on a cliffhanger as Melissa appears to be giving birth to twins while the main villain draws a bead on Sabre.

The writing is typical Don McGregor. Overwritten and very passionate. The dialogue  and the captions are very wordy. Extremely wordy. Wordy wordy. Characters have names like Wilhemina Divine, Joyful Slaughter, Midnight Storm, Summer Ice, Blackstar Blood, and other over the top monikers. Sabre seems to be the continuation of some of the ideas McGregor began in his Killraven series for Marvel Comics. In fact that’s probably the biggest drawback in this comic. This issue should be edge of your seat excitement with the childbirth and all the confrontations, but it drags due to all the speeches  and narration pointing out the importance of individual freedom and passion and self determination. Those ideas ARE important, BUT there’s a robot lizard SHOOTING PEOPLE over there!! Let’s get a move on! Also notable, there’s a gay kiss in this issue and it’s not made a big deal of. Risky move for 1983. Billy Graham’s art is interesting here. It’s very fluid and angular and almost underground comix-ish in couple of spots. I prefer the work he did or Marvel in the 70’s, but this works for me as well.

The back-up story about Melissa Siren  has lovely art by Kent Williams. The story is a flashback to Melissa’s escape from a government lab. The visuals are dark and moody with nice placements of shadows and very realistic anatomy. The tale is “meh” but the art is top notch. There’s an interesting editorial on the letters page by Don(?) that criticizes Marvel without mentioning them by name. Basically stating that Marvel’s practice of flooding the market with re-prints caused the distributors to cut back 10% across the board. The big publishers could handle this but the independents could be hurt.  Only three ads in this comic. Two for other Eclipse comics and one for a Sabre T-Shirt.