Non-Sequitur #24: Feeling Brand New, I Jumped Up

The sun came out! The sun came out! Yea! It's sunny outside!

The sun finally came out this past weekend and I couldn’t be happier! Sunshine! Damn near three weeks straight of  day after day after day of gray cloudy skies. I was damn near ready to slit my wrists! Ok, not really and that’s probably not something to joke about, but I have been pretty down recently for a variety of personal reasons and the cold dreary climate didn’t help my out look. When I was younger I used to scoff at the idea of people’s moods being affected by constant gloomy weather, but now I know there’s definitely something to it. Heck… I know ultimately we all die alone in a cruel unfair universe, but right now  I’m groovin’ on the ladies in their skirts and open toe shoes! The sun came out! Yea!

The other day I turned the corner to walk into my building and I was hit by a pungent and familiar oder. I thought, “Where the F*CK  is this weed smell coming from?!” I looked half a block down and saw a young man walking with his girl friend who was carrying laundry. A puff a smoke  floated around his head. I remember thinking “I hope a cop hits him in the head.” Not cuz I’m anti-weed or anything, but because I couldn’t believe he’d be so stupid to be smoking a blunt walking down the middle of the street like that. If you want to do your thing, go home or find some secluded area, ok? Look, I get it…I know what it’s like to be young and arrogant, “See, I’m so bad-ass I smoke my sh*t right in the open! I don’t give f*ck! Acknowledge my coolness!”  I just feel like, dude…please get a clue.

This past Saturday I walked past the Daley Center in Chicago. I saw a gospel group having a  sound-check. It looked like it was for some sort of pro-union rally that was going to be happening later on.  Aside from the teenagers on the stage, there didn’t seem to be too many young people there. Most of the crowd seemed to be middle-aged. I’m not sure if this says anything about how people in their twenties feel about unions these days. Hell, I was there early, they could have showed up later. I just thought the demographic was interesting at the time.

One of my favorite David Bowie songs is Life On Mars. About three days ago I found out that Barbara Streisand did a cover of it back in the 70’s. And I can’t even get snarky about it cuz you know what? It’s not terrible and in a strange way it makes perfect sense that Babs would sing this song seeing as Bowie wrote it as kind of a response to My Way which has been done by a multitude of old style crooners. Here it is. Stop being a hipster and just listen to it.

Avengers, The Children’s Crusade #5: First of all, this comic is really Young Avengers.  It’s probably called Avengers:Sub-Title for marketing reasons, but whatever. The plot is about Wiccan and Speed trying to find the Scarlet Witch and discover if she’s in fact their mother. The other Young Avengers join the adventure to support their teammates and the emotional weight of the story centers on the young heroes. The adult New Avengers just kinda guest star. This issue features the return of Iron Lad. Iron Lad takes the team back in time to the start of “Avengers Disassembled” and things get kinda hairy. Well written, great characterization, and lovely, lovely art. The story by Heinberg is driven by dialogue and almost none of it seems unnecessary. The art is by Jim Cheung. Did I happen to mention I think it’s lovely?

Batman Inc #4: Not an all time great issue, but very interesting. There’s a guest appearance by the new Batwoman and fun flashback of the pre-crisis Batwoman. Somehow this ties into Batman’s current adventure in South America with Gaucho. Grant Morrison’s greatest strength? Being able to include all the camp stuff in a way that doesn’t make Batman look like a clown and being able to portray modern Batman in a manner that doesn’t make him seem like a paranoid control freak. I’m intrigued enough to pick up the next issue.

Ultimate Captain America #4: Ultimate Captain America is an asshole. I’m sorry, but that’s they way his personality is written and I don’t think he’s a “cool” asshole or an “edgy” asshole or a “necessary evil” asshole or an “interesting character study” asshole. He’s just some kinda fuggin’ ASSHOLE. I want 616 Steve Rogers to go to the Ultimate Universe and back hand this guy and put him in check. On a positive  note, I really enjoy the Ron Garney art. Just enough of old school  bronze age storytelling to give a dramatic and cinematic feel to the tale. Really great visuals. Too bad the protagonist is a JERK.

This song makes me feel good

Non-Sequitur #21: C’mon Out And Dance

This picture of Death is related to St Patrick's Day because, was drawn by Steve Rude and uh, there's lots of Irish people named Steve? Uh...ok,fine! I just like the way it looks.

Random People Dressed For St Paddy’s Day: A white guy and his black girlfriend. A Hispanic couple. An African-American mother and her son at the comic book store. A guy on the subway who looked middle-eastern. Another guy on the same train telling his friends that he got his green tuxedo t-shirt in Boystown ( an upscale gay neighborhood in Chicago). He said this without any hint of self consciousness, cuz he obviously had no problem being a straight guy buying clothes in a gay environment. Days like this make me think, “Wow, I live in one of the most diverse cities in the country. Things don’t have to be so tense all the time.”  Of course I know we’re also one of the most segregated cities in America. And I know eventually something will happen to make me think, “Gawd! What  A-Holes some people are!” But this morning, the world was chill.

Our Muzak Is Cooler Than Your Muzak: Ok, so at my job recently they started playing music over the PA in the halls between the offices. I’m pretty sure this is the music you’d hear if you called  my job and asked to speak to the owner and got put on hold. Most of it is what you probably expect, lite-rock  music. Elton John, Lionel Richie, John Mayer,  soft rock hits from the 70’s-80’s etc. What’s interesting is the ample seasoning of AOR (that’s album oriented rock to you kids) that made it into the programming. I was pleasantly surprised to hear David Bowie’s “Suffragette City” on a trip to the bathroom one day. The other day I heard Lynyrd Skynyrd (!) “That Smell” and later a track from the Who’s Quadrophenia album. I don’t have a problem with any of this music, it’s just that I never thought I’d be working at a desk job where the safe for work “muzak” would include hard rock classics. If on the way to look for paper for the copy machine I hear Ted Nugent or Black Sabbath next, I think my head will explode.

So how did I celebrate St Paddy’s Day weekend? Um, I wore my winter coat which is army green? No? I went to Oak Park which is a suburb of Chicago. I took the Green-line train? Eh? I bought a double cheese burger and some fries. I paid cash, that’s green money? Huh? Good enuff, no? FINE, here’s some friggin’ comics…

Power Girl #4: This comic came out in 2009, but I’m just now getting around to it. It’s a fun one and done story written by Justin gray and Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Amanda Conner.Peej and Terra go out to the movies and have to stop a witch who wants monsters to destroy the city in order to save the environment. The story is mostly humorous with just enough action to remind you that you’re reading a superhero comic and just enough sub-plot to get you curious about further issues. The thing that makes this comic work however is Conner’s art. The way she depicts facial expressions really carry a lot of the humor. Also, I really appreciate the way Conner draws Power Girl. Kara is  busty, but she’s athletic looking as well. She looks like a woman who could give you a hard time in a fight as opposed to a girl with a boob-job. One drawback, I don’t think the new Terra’s name is actually mentioned in this issue.

Godland #34: I guess we’re coming to the end of the series. The story is by Joe Casey and the art is from Tom Scioli and a bunch of way out cosmic stuff happens that I don’t think I can begin to explain. The sun has been replaced by god knows what. The hero is on the other side of the galaxy and has to get back home. Bad guys are turning on each other while mice dressed like Superman and Clark Kent are under foot. There’s enormous space stations and viking space giants floating around and cosmic beings just…being cosmic. The series has mostly been a tribute to bronze age science fiction-y comics in general and Jack Kirby in particular, but with enough of Casey’s personality  and other underground sensibilities that it doesn’t come off as a just an imitation of “the king’s” work.

Batman Inc #3: Cool. A Batman comic where he doesn’t act like a control freak jerk. Bats goes to Argentina to recruit El Gaucho to join his group of international Batmen and gets involved in a plot concerning arms dealers and missing children. Story by Grant Morrison. Pencils by Yanick Paquette. Inks mostly by Michel Lacombe. This comic is breezy and action packed. Very nice detailed art from Paquette. He shows a real knowledge of bodies, form, composition, and storytelling.

Van Morrison is Irish

So’s John Lydon

Oh…before I sat down to write this column, I went to the liquor store to get some beer. On the way, I walked past a few drunk muscle bound frat-boy type guys. One of them said to me, “You going the wrong way, old man?” I said, “I’m going the right way,”  and kept walking. In the distance, I heard something like “come back and I’ll show you something.” I couldn’t make it a whole 24 hours without some jerk bursting my  St Paddy’s Day brotherhood of man bubble.