Non-Sequitur #34: Mrs America, How’s You Favorite Son?

Scarlet Witch by Adam Hughes. Awesome sauce!

I   have these notes for what I wanted to write about for this column and one of them says “Bar-B-Q Sauce” and for the life of me I can’t remember what I wanted to say about Bar-B-Q Sauce. It’s killing me that I can’t remember. Oh, well…on with the jibber jabber!

Random Screw Up: I was late for work the other day. I missed my train stop. I didn’t fall asleep or anything although I have done that in the past. I missed my stop because I was emersed in the Dan Savage column in The Reader    (a free alternative paper in Chicago). The focus of this week’s column was people sending in their vacation sex stories. I was thinking, “Damn, I don’t have one great vacation sex story. I mean nothing EPIC. Hell, most of my vacations in general are boring. ”  This is what was on my mind. Not the state of the economy, not how I can make better choices for my family, but, “Why come these folks were having amazing sex at 15 on exotic beaches around the world when I was still a virgin at 15? Life isn’t fair!” And thus I missed my stop and and to call my job and tell them I’d be late.  I felt like a schmuck. Yiddish pun intended.

Random Bus Thing: So coming home this lady got on the bus with her two daughters. Mom was maybe 30-ish. The girls were like 4-5 yrs old. After traveling maybe two blocks, one of the daughters asked if this was their stop. The mom said no. The little girl insisted a few  times.  “It is! It is! I KNOW this is my stop!” Mom was like, “If you want to get off and walk it’s going to take about an hour.”  The girl amused herself and her sister for a little while, but soon got restless. She asked if they were there yet. No. For some reason it made me laugh when the little girl said, “I KNOW we’re going the WRONG way.” As more people got off the bus, the two little girls began switching seats. The quieter of the two settled down quickly, but the more active one kept it up until the mom got her under control. When I got off at my stop, I heard behind me a stern, “WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?!” I kind of wonder if Mom was just waiting for me to leave so she could snap without a stranger judging her.  Hey… no judgement from me, Mom. Lay the hammer down.

Random Pop Culture reference:  Lollapolooza happened this weekend. It’s the 20th anniversary of the rock concert fest and if you remember when  Pearl Jam  was hip, when ICE-T  had a trash metal band, when NIN  actually dared to play somewhere in the sunlight, then you are old. No, no…no ironic detachment can save you now. You’re old. Stop fighting it. It’s ok. Things can be alright here on the other side.

I listened to the 3 Chicks Review Comics podcast episode 23. The ladies review a few recent releases and raise some interesting issues regarding diversity in comics and fan’s reactions to the new Ultimate Spiderman. http://1979semifinalist.podomatic.com/

Siouxsie Sioux and Ice-T from Lolla '91

  Black Panther #521:  The start of the American Pather story arc. The story is by David Liss and art by Francesco Francavilla. It’s completely the opposite of what I thought it was going to be. A new Hatemonger has come to Hell’s Kitchen and is stirring things up. Dealing with economic downturn and disenfranchised white males this issue deals with a  relevant topic handled in a so far plausible way. Well structured story so far and decent art, I’m picking up the next issue.
  Secret Avengrs #15:  I think this is the last Nick Spencer written issue. It deals with the fallout from the death of Bucky in Fear Itself. It also deals with the deaths and ressurections of supeerheroes in a pretty direct way and why civilians (and readers) have a hard time taking comic book death seriously. Solid writing by Nick and decent art by Scot Eaton make this is a fun buy.
  X-Men,First Class:  So I finally got around to seeing this movie. Not bad. Actually, it was really good. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Much praise has been heaped on  Michael Fassbender and deservedly so. He was excellent as pre-villian Eric Lensherr. He was  angry, driven yet very charismatic . James MacAvoy was also very good as a young Professor X.  Young Charles as confident and ready take on the world was a delight to see. The movie is about two hours long, but at no point did I feel it lagged. The pacing and the suspense  were just right. Some people were disappointed with January Jones’s performance, but I thought she was ok. She wasn’t portraying “our” Emma Frost, but Bryan Singer’s Emma Frost. I will say this about her costumes though…the one that looked like sexy lingerie was fine and the white suit was fine, but that thing that was somewhere in between was kinda ugh.
Wild In The Streets:  I watched this on You Tube of all places. A  youth exploitation movie from 1968 I believe. I think it was supposed to be a satire of the youth movement of the time, but by the last reel it seems like the filmmakers just said “screw it” and decided to make it as over the top as possible. Hal Holbrook stars as an idealistic politician named John Furgus trying to woo the youth vote. A rock star named Max Frost endorses the candidate after the voting age  is lowered to 15. Eventually, Max becomes thirsty for power and becomes a candidate himself. Too late Hal realizes how power mad Max has become. The movie ends on ridiculous note ( I mean I think it’s supposed to be ridiculous on purpose ) where all the people who are over 30 are taken to concentration camps and fed LSD to take them under control.  Stuff I liked about this film are Shelly Winters, the song Shape of Things to Come, and a bit part by Richard Pryor. Richard doesn’t do much, but it’s just cool to see him. The movie occupies this weird tone where on one hand it seems to be pandering to the youth movement but the message seems to be “These Goddam kids are getting out of control!”
Ok…so I’m going to go back to trying to eating decent food again. Yesterday for dinner I had pork steak, potatoes, brocholli and carrots for dinner. I washed it down with a beer that was 5.5% instead of the usual I have which is 8%. Yea, me.
More than decade after Max Frost. Goddam kids are still causing trouble

Non-Sequitur #30: Not That There’s Anything Wrong With It

Dracula vs Dr. Strange by the great Gene Colan

So, finally I get a weekend where I’m not busy with important stuff or hung over or both. I think to myself, “Hey, maybe I should finally drag my lazy ass over to the theatre and check out that X-Men:First Class movie, it’s gotten some decent reviews!” I pick up the newspaper and look through the movie section and of course it’s no longer playing. Guess it my own fault for procrastinating.

I could have gone to Taste of Chicago which is an annual festival of food and music in town. A great variety of restaurants have booths and it’s possible to sample all kinds of tasty delights the city has to offer. Thing is, it’s always crowded and the food is expensive. I’ve gone in the past just to experience the music. In the recent years, I’ve seen folks from Stevie Wonder to Cheap Trick  to Macy Gray perform, but this year’s list seems kinda “meh”. Then I thought, “I should go anyway and take pictures for the blog!”  Then I remembered my camera is not working properly ( which is why I couldn’t share the C2E2 pictures I took). So, yeah…

I didn’t want to sit in the house, so…I went to Target and bought some pants.

On the way home, I saw a statuesque beauty trying to hail a cab. At least six feet tall and with her fancy hair do she might have been 6′ 4”. Tight jeans, black top, reddish brown hair…she could have been an Amazonian palace guard.

Then I walked past her and realized that “she” was a man. Oh, well…I guess she was still a pretty man.

I got about a block and a half away and looked back and saw that she was still trying to hail a cab. I found this usual because in that particular area, it’s not hard at all to get a cab in the middle of the day. I saw cabbies out. Were they all otherwise engaged or did they notice what I noticed? Did the cabs not want to pick up my new friend because she may have been “trans” or was I inventing things in my head be

The Legend Gene Colan

cause I remember what it was like to be followed around in department stores when I was younger because I was African American?

When I got back home I saw someone had put a rainbow flag in the window of the building management’s office. That’s when I realized it’s Pride Day or something. To tell you the truth, I was a little surprised by the flag in the office window. Yeah, I know there’s a couple of gay people in the building, but there’s also some pretty conservative folks as well. I was just surprised that management was willing to make such an obvious political statement.That’s all.

Anyway, the sun was still shining and it was still much too nice a day to stay inside. I could have gone to the beach and read one of the many books that folks have given me over the the last couple of years that I still  haven’t found time to read ( I got a couple of Dean Koontz, a Katherine Neville, an Ed McBain, and a bunch more). Then I thought about how I’m getting more and more out of shape and how I need to be more active. I decided to take a walk and stretch my legs and just take in the beautiful day.

I made it all the way to Clark and Addison and was a little hungry, so I decided to reward myself with some Taco Bell. Yes, yes…I know. One step forward and two steps back. I fully expect to go to hell for some of the health choices I’ve been making over  the last year or so. I haven’t been to this particular Taco Bell in a few months. I think the last time was when I saw the movie Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I actually recognized the woman  who took my order. She had a  tattoo and an odd gap between her teeth ( like myself). Maybe about 35-ish? But a hard 35. She was enthusiastic and friendly and seemed serious about her job even though it’s a fast food joint. I totally want to marry her.  In my mind though I imagine she’s already got a man. He’s twice my size and can kick my ass without breaking a sweat. Anyway…

After I left Taco Bell, I realized that I hadn’t bought new comics in a couple of weeks and I wasn’t that far from a store called Chicago Comics. So, I decided to walk a little further. I don’t get to go to Chicago Comics that often, but when I do it’s always fun to just look around. Of course, they’ve got the latest mainstream titles, but they’ve also got an interesting section of alternative and indie titles as well as DIY comics by local artists. Plus they’ve got an interesting selection books and magazines. For what it’s worth, I bought a copy of Fritz the Cat on VHS from this store back in the mid-90’s. I only bought a few comics though, because over the last couple of days I ordered a bunch of stuff online and really couldn’t afford to spend too much. Around this time, I felt my stomach turning over from the Taco Bell food I ate and knew maybe I should head home.

It's summer! I don't care what you say, pretty girls in flip flops are sexy!

Ok, by this time I’m by Clark and Belmont right where the Dunkin Donuts is. Back in my day this specific Dunkin Donuts was nick-named “Punkin Donuts”  because of all the punk rock and alternative type folks who used to hang out there. On this particular day, there was a DJ playing some dance music. The street was blocked off and completely packed. I don’t know if Belmont was the official starting place for the parade or whatever, but it definitely felt like it was. No cars and tons of men, women, young folks and families filling the streets. There was no way I was going to make it back to my place on foot, so I was trying to reach the El Train.

I made it to the platform. The train going my direction came and it was filled to capacity with young people getting off at Belmont. Most of them got off  so I was able to easily find a seat. Directly in front of me was a woman who had her head down with her fingers on the bridge of her nose, like she was stressed out. I almost said something to her, but I thought maybe I should mind my own business. She probably was just a little overwhelmed from being squished with all those other passengers. At least I hope that’s what it was.

So, I made it back to my neighborhood and went to a mom and pop store and bought some alcohol..er, no! I mean, uh… this day taught me about uh, the beauty of summer! I had had an epiphany about the brotherhood of man and the glory of civil rights! Um, youth and justice prevails over all and uh…the moral is ah…hell! What really happened was I took a nice long walk, enjoyed the sunshine, saw some nice people and came home.

Then I fought with my cassette player. It’ll play may Scotch mix tapes form ’88  fine, but I have to fight with it over my HR mix tapes from ’90. Whatever…

This is a very interesting analysis of Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz’s Electra:Assassin. http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/archives/v3_1/tobe/  

Hey, here’s a fun comic book website I stumbled on. Mars Will Send No More! http://marswillsendnomore.wordpress.com/

Also, check out this young lady’s You Tube channel. It’s classical piano covers of rock songs and many of them are hard rock/metal songs. In my fantasies when I direct my horror/action movie, this version of Metallica’s song will be the theme. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWW38l0RhFI

I guess I read a comic book when I came home…

Alpha Flight #1: Story by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente and the art is by Dale Eaglesham and Andrew Hennessy. Um, you know what?  This isn’t terribly different than the way I’ll write this comic if Marvel called me up and offered it to me. The only thing is, I’d include more characters from the You Gotta Be Kiddin’ Me arc from the early 2000’s. The original team reforms and fights Attuma. Canada declares martial law and there’s a twist/cliffhanger. I’m interested enough to want to get the next issue.

Secret Avengers #14: It’s a Fear Itself  tie-in, but so what. It’s very good issue by Nick Spencer and Scot Eaton. It basically concerns normal soldiers fighting Sin’s ( the Red Skull’s daughter) mechs as they attack New York and the parallels between Valkyrie and  the soldier’s battles and heartbreaks. Nice art and Nick is able to do what some writers seem to neglect, that is  tell a story that works as a one and done yet at the same time ties in to a larger arc or cross-over.

Also, Patti LaBelle. I don’t have anything deep to say here, just Patti LaBelle…  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRDTBNVWKOw

 

 

 

Non-Sequitur #28: Revolution Is Not an AOL Keyword

One of my dumb fantasies is to see a comic book adaptation of this movie drawn by Frank Cho

To paraphrase the Clash, I been drinking brew for breakfast…

The Nice Ladies at My Job Are Nicer Than the Nice Ladies at Your Job: So, my birthday was last weekend. A couple weeks ago, a co-worker suggested doing something for it and even though I told her not to, she made it clear that she’d plan something anyway. She kept asking me what kind of cake I liked. I half jokingly told her I didn’t want any cake, I’d prefer pasta! Sure enuff, this Wednesday she brought sandwiches and pasta for everyone. This is the same woman who made me pork chops last year and who periodically brings spinach dip for the office. The running joke in the office is that if she ever dumps her husband, she’s going to marry me. Another woman brought me a black birthday balloon. All we needed was either a circus motif or a bit more existentialism and it could’ve been a Fellini film…

Dreaming Is Free: So, I know I’m feeling better about things because I’m starting to have weird dreams again. When I’m depressed, I either don’t dream or I don’t remember my dreams. When I’m in a good mood, I remember the goofiest details of my dreams. Hence, Jennifer Aniston invading my sub consciousness. In the dream it’s the middle of the night and I’m trying to catch the El in Chicago. The El looks like it’s from the 40’s and in dis-repair. It’s literally about to fall apart.  Some guys I kinda half know come along and we decide to go to their apartment and chill. Jennifer is there and we all watch TV and hang out. One by one the other guys gradually leave the room and me and Jennifer get “romantic”. When they come back I think, “Hmm…these are Jen’s guy friend, I wonder if she had them set this up?” Please understand that while I think Jennifer is an attractive woman, I’m not a super-fan or anything. I don’t go to see her movies and I haven’t watched Friends in years.  Yet here she is getting her buddies to set me up with her…

AGGHH! FUGGIN’ COMPUTERS!! IT SAVED HALF MY DRAFT AND THE REST WAS EATEN UP BY CYBER SPACE! Anyway…

This was a pretty interesting story regarding ageism in advertising  http://www.cbc.ca/ageofpersuasion/episode/season-5/2011/05/28/season-five-ageism-in-advertising-1/

Secret Avengers #12.1: I know, I know…the ” Point 1″ initiative is Marvel’s marketing dept bending over the fans. But at least Nick Spencer’s a gentle lover and he brought some stimulating lube ( er, I know…disturbing metaphor, let’s move on).  I really like the cover by Mike Deodato. I kinda think it’s funny that Hank McCoy’s face is the only one that’s detailed, but I guess if it weren’t, he’d be a shadow under Steve Roger’s armpit. Readers might wonder who’s legs are behind Steve. Comics Alliance ( I think) did a snarky review calling it Capt America vs Wicki-Links, but that’s not far off. A person dressed in the old US Agent’s costume leaks government secrets in the name of justice, but the information will put the lives of many  govt double agents at risk, so Steve and the gang have to bring him down. The story does work as a stand alone issue and manages to touch on currents events in the news that I don’t think will be too dated a few years from now.

Secret Avengers #13: Wow, I’m going to miss Nick Spencer when he leaves this book. This is a very well crafted story that ties into Fear Itself . The Beast tries to save an old friend who’s holed up at the Senate while Washington DC is under attack. This story is able to combine current Marvel continuity, civil rights, superhero action, AND still work as an entertaining  stand alone story. Nice art from Scot Eaton too ( although he draws cat-Beast). Boy, do I wish more superhero comics were this good.

Batman Inc #6: I’m still having fun with this title. In this issue we get a further explanation of Bruce’s idea for the Batman Inc concept that almost makes sense. We also learn a little more about the threat that Bruce is assembling his Bat-Army to fight. Complex, yet breezy and fun,,,this title makes me wish I could be a comic book writer.

Astonishing X-Men #37: A straight forward tale about the X-men fighting a giant monster in Tokyo while Armor attends a family funeral. I mostly bought it for the Jason Pearson and Sara Pichelli art. Heavy, detailed, cartoony, and energetic all at the same time…I really enjoyed the visuals. I might hunt down the previous issues. The thing I didn’t like…this issue ends on a cliff hanger, yet the next issue starts a new story with other members of the cast and a different creative team! Wha?

A Political Song For Michael Jackson to Sing: I was listening to a radio interview with Mike Watt, bassist of the legendary punk band the Minute Men. The part that stuck in my mind was when the guys ask Mike about the jazz influence in the band’s sound. Mike says something like, “We never knew about jazz when we were kids, so when we heard it, at first we thought they were like punk guys who were old. We didn’t realize that Coltrane had died years ago and that this music was done in the 50’s.”  Check it out if yer so inclined here, I think…http://www.soundopinions.org/

Gil Scott Heron passed away. Sometimes I wonder if the revolution WAS televised, but we were all too busy to realize that it got co-opted.

Non-Sequitur #26:On The Wings of Maybe

Big Barda wanted to call her memoirs of life on Apokolips Hammer of the Gods, but the name was taken.

I’ve been seeing more police  walking around the streets lately. I’m sure it’s because the weather has finally gotten warm and in this town when the weather gets hot, the violent crime rate goes up. Its going to be a cruel summer. Hey! “Cruel Summer!” Remember that song? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGYNvx9lqDQ

So, I heard this radio documentry on National Public Radio a little while ago called Heartbreakers. It was about an all female Led Zeppelin cover band named Lez Zeppelin. Interesting and moving, it explored the passion these women had for the music and the dedication they had for their craft. Other interesting aspects included the reminisces of the father of one of the band members and the bond he shared with his his daughter over Zep and also the generational quandary for for many people who like Zeppelin and this is the closet they can ever come to seeing them live. I’m not the greatest Led Zeppelin fan in the world, but I really enjoyed this radio story. If you’re a Zep fan, of course it’s right up your alley and if you’re not, you might still find the family bond aspect interesting and the ladies determination inspiring. http://www.fallingtree.co.uk/audio_gallery/heartbreakers_the_story_of_all_girl_zep

The Black Swan: I admit it…sometimes I’m a middle brow jerk. I was skeptical when I started started watching this psychological drama about a ballet dancer getting in touch with her dark side in order to play a coveted part in an upcoming production. At first I  was like, “What’s the big deal with this film?” There was a little too much, “I’m pretty and fragile,oh the pain!” But by the second half, I was sold. Natalie’s breakdown, Mila’s taunts, and Darren’s camera work and visual effects had me totally engaged. The film is gripping and visually stirring.

Secret Avengers #12: Ed Brubaker’s final story with art by Will Conrad and Mike Deodato. We learn how John Steele was brain washed/possessed by the bad guys. This issue functions as a cap to Brubaker’s run and also seems to solidify The Shadow Council as ongoing villains for the series. Seems like they’ll be antagonist for the Secret Avengers much in the same way Corba is for G.I. Joe or Hydra is for Cap America and SHIELD, the underground group that pops up periodically to cause trouble. This issue was not bad, not good, just sorta there.

Batman Inc #5: I’m still having fun  with this title. Batman and El Gaucho meet the modern day Batwoman and Hood. It also ties in with 50’s Batwoman ( I know, I know…I’m still gonna call her 50’s Batwoman). This issue gives a resolution but it also provides set up for future grand conspiracies. So far, I’m in.  This series isn’t dark and stormy night Batman, it’s gadgets, hideouts, and super-villain secrets Batman…there ain’t nuthin’ wrong with that.

The New York Five #4: This is the end if the mini-series. I’m not sure if I should do a full review of the entire story or not. We do get sorta resolutions to the various girls’s immediate situations, but we’re left with many possibilities for future storylines. It just SO  feels like the pilot for a TV show.

That’s all I got for now. Take it easy

Non-Sequitur #23:An’ Jumped the Silent Cars That Slept at Traffic Lights

Balancing Girl. Very nice art from Jamie McKelvie

In a previous post I wrote about how the peaceful soft rock they pipe in at my job is spiced up with unexpected classic rock hits. I found out that this music is coming from the boss’s I-Pod. Now it makes sense that I hear Alice Cooper and Led Zepplin after Elton John while I’m going to get coffee.

A few days ago, we took personalty tests at my job. I guess this is going to help the bosses deal with the supervisors and the supervisors deal with the workers. I found out that I am an “investigator”. Which means that I am questioning and intellectual, but I hide my emotions. It’s funny, but all the personalty types be they “challengers,” “helpers,”  or “achievers” or whatever are either “hiding their emotions” or “have a fear of commitment”. I thought we were over these new age cliches a few years ago. It’s ok, I had fun taking the test anyway.

I am sick of winter. I am really really REALLY sick of winter. Fuggin’ mid-west weather! It’s about 15-20 degrees colder than it should be this time of year. The wind whips by slashing at my face. It’s constantly gray outside. I mean, sure the sun makes an appearance for a few hours, but it’s real depressing looking outside when I leave the house in the morning. My co-workers and myself are fight various cold and flu symptoms. My head is pounding and I’m all congested and I got a wicked cough. Hell! I wanna go outside in my shorts and T-Shirt! I wanna walk everywhere again! I wanna look at women in their mini-skirts and flip-flops!

Ok, yeah…I admit I probably wouldn’t have gotten sick if I hadn’t gone out in the middle of the night Tuesday trying to go drinking. Stop trying to confuse me with logic.

And speaking of things where logic has no place…

Sucker Punch: Zack Snyder. I saw this movie over the weekend. It’s not a great film, but parts of it were entertaining. A young lady gets committed to a mental institution and retreats into a fantasy world. The fantasy world is very video game, comic book, and anime influenced. There was some shaky acting in a few scenes and the script could have been  a lot better, but I really liked the special effects and action parts. I’ll probably watch it again when it’s available on DVD, but I’ll skip the story and just watch the fight scenes.

MadMan #15: This is from Image Comics from 2009. I mostly bought it because the cover is a parody of David Bowie’s album cover for Aladdin Sane. Story and art by Mike Allred. It was fun and whimsical. Solid comics.

Secret Avengers #11: Not disappointing. Hank and Steve go into John Steele’s mind and relive an adventure set during the days of WW2. Fun and suspenseful. But what exactly is the deal with the Shadow Council? I’m ready for some answers, dammit!

Scarlet #5: This has gone from being a really good comic to being a not terrible comic. I was really intrigued when it started but it’s begining to let me down. Sure, I know there’s  lots a people who don’t like the police, but I just am not buying the whole “this sparks a revolution” thing. Scarlet shoots some corrupt cops.Yeah, there would be folks going “Right on!” but there’d also be people saying  “Why don’t they get this crazy b*tch off the streets!” Again, SHE SHOT SOMEBODY ON CAMERA! I don’t get why the cops in this story are all like “This sucks, we don’t know what to do!”

Power Girl#3: From 2009. Just a big goofy fun comic book. The world needs more stuff like this. Amanda Conner!

Classic Rock!

Non-Sequitur #20: Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

I found this Revy cosplay image on a site called airsoftforum.com

We had an election this week. And in a city that’s plagued with corruption, crime, a shaky educational system, racial tensions, and failing public transportation; we  felt it was in our best interests to pick the guy curses the most. Welcome to fuckin’ Chicago, bitches! Now get the fuck outa my way.

Random Work Incident: A supervisor at my job will be leaving next week, so Friday we had a little mini-going away deal. We gave her a card and took pictures…the usual. One co-worker made sandwiches and her famous spinach dip. It’s delicious. It has spinach and uh, er…ingredients and uh, dip type stuff? I don’t know, ok? I just just know it’s yummy! If I could get away with it, I’d just sit there  with a big spoon and pig out. By the way, this same co-worker surprised me on my birthday with pork chops. Yes, she is a very cool lady and an excellent cook.

Random Pretentious Sounding Crap I Got at the Grocery Store: Greek Vegetable Salad Kit, Country Maid Capellini with Asiago Pasta Salad, and some kinda stuffed eggplant thing. The eggplant thing  went well with high gravity lager.

Random Bank Mishap: I had a meeting with a guy at my bank. I thought it was going to be painful or that he was going to try pressure me into all sorts of plans or investments that I didn’t want but that didn’t happen. We talked about possible financial planning for about 30-40 minutes then I left. So, no actual mishap.

Um, I guess comics…right?

Secret Avengers #10: Big battle issue. The team arrives to save Shang Chi. Kinda thin story wise, but still kinda enjoyable. Right about now, I’m ready for there to be a little more meat on my SA stories, though. Hopefully, that’ll be taken care of next issue with a story about John Steele. I hope we also learn more about the Shadow Council. Goofy comic book moment: Moon Knight is somehow able to wear his cape underneath the Shadow Council uniform he was wearing when he infiltrated their ranks.

Batgirl #18: On Valentine’s Day, Batgirl teams up with Klarion the Witch Boy to stop his cat who’s been turned into a monster because of magic or something. It’s one and done. Lighthearted and kinda sweat. Not bad.

Captain America #614: Bucky is on trial  for crimes he committed as the Winter Soldier, while Sin, the Red Skull’s daughter threatens to blow up the Statue of Liberty. Tight well paced story by Brubaker, and nice art by Butch Guice. Guice is obviously using modern tools to help him, but I really like the panels that are just him doing pen and ink. How often these days do you someone who’s influenced by Gene Colon? I hope these images don’t turn out to be swipes I’m not aware of. There’s a Nomad back up that I’m indifferent towards.

New Ultimates #5: Bought this for the Frank Cho art. Very Lovely. Frank’s figures are a joy to behold. The cover seems reminiscent of Secret Wars 1. I guessing that’s on purpose. Storywise…ugh. I can’t remember the last time I was so bored by a comic that had so much action in it. Sure, there’s fights and a giant battle but it just seems so blah. Stuff happens and it just like “so what?” There’s no tension, no drama, no suspense. The irony about this comic is that here Ultimate Cap is alot  more likeable personality wise than in his appearances in other Ultimate comics. Of course, this probably due to the fact that Jeff  Loeb can’t be bothered to pay attention to what other writers are doing and the Marvel editors don’t care enough to tell him no.

Tha’s all I got for now. Take it easy

Non-Sequitur #12: Rolling With the Punches to Get to What’s Real

Adam Hughes for the Win!

So the thing about decorating the tree started ‘cuz back in the old days people thought that spirits lived in trees and…what? What do you mean no one wants hear about why many Christmas traditions started as Pagan rituals? Look, many Christian theologians say…what do you mean I’m being a buzzkill? C ‘mon, they used to have the Solstice and folks would…OK! I’ll knock it off! Merry Christmas, alright?  We’ll just move on.

Just wait ’til  Easter comes…

Random Website Plug: Our Valued Customers. One panel gag strip about the true utterances of customers at an east coast Comic Book Shop. I got hip to this strip through the Inveterate Media Junkies ( look to the right ). Planned to spend maybe a few minutes peeking at it, I spent the next hour and half laughing my ass off. Check it out now http://ourvaluedcustomers.blogspot.com/

Random Political BS:  Rev Meeks withdrew from the Chicago mayoral race. There’s several black contenders . Meeks claimed he dropped out ‘cuz there should only be one strong african american candidate ( which is a BS concept in and of itself ). The real reason is ‘cuz he said some unenlightened things about ethnicity and folks called him on his BS. Basically, he said something to the effect that only black people and not asians, hispanics, or women(!) should be considered minorities. I’m sorry…I’m black, but I think that’s an ignorant statement. I’m glad he’s out of the race, saves me the extra effort of not voting for him out spite.

Hey, they just played “Jump” by Van Halen on the radio. Someone should do an article about how hard rock/heavy metal and guitar solos aside, Van Halen wrote some nifty melodic pop songs. Here’s a cover you can play for your aunt that hates heavy metal. Just don’t tell her who the original composers were. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COtZZmWKcRI

Random Street Story: I was waiting for the bus a few days ago and had an interesting conversation with a man who claimed to be a Viet Nam veteran. It started with him talking about how he thought the cops were lazy these days, then he told me about how he was able to smuggle drugs from Amsterdam back in the day. He narrowly escaped a pat down once. The drugs were in his underwear. The authorities asked “What’s this?” He said, “That’s my dick.” They backed off. After his escape, the vet got in a cab with a driver who didn’t mind him lighting a joint. The $20 ride only cost $5 because the driver got lost due to an extreme contact high.  Never a dull moment back in the 70’s.

I got a couple of comics.

Neonomicon #3: It’s a de-construction/tribute(?) to H.P. Lovecraft. I’m no expert on Lovecraft, so I can’t comment on that aspect of it. I can say it’s sick, twisted and thoroughly suspenseful. I can’t wait to see where the next issue goes. Not a comic book I’d give to a first date though.

Secret Avengers #8: Hey, that business I brought up about the name of Shang Chi’s father  in a previous column? It’s addressed in this issue! The former ( because of legal reasons ) Fu Manchu is now called Zheng Zu. John Steele makes his his presence felt. Fight with cult guys with swords happens. Ancient mystical stuff gets babbled about. It’s all superhero team goodness. Ok, stuff I’m gonna whine about…Valkyrie has a fight in broad daylight along side the other Avengers. There’s not one clear drawing of her face.  And maybe this has been addressed in a comic I haven’t read, but what’s going on with the Beast these days? Does he have 4 fingers or 5? It seems  the artists nowadays are trying to split the difference between cat Beast and old ape Beast. Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

Avengers, Children’s Crusade #1: There’s a editor’s note on the first page that explains that because the story was written a few years ago, it is kinda hard to fit in continuity. I’m glad they just admitted it upfront. The gist of the set up is Wiccan and Speed might be long lost sons of the Scarlet Witch who went missing at the end of “House of M”. The Scarlet Witch had powers great enough to warp reality and the concern is that Wiccan may be just as dangerous. The Young Avengers decide to find the Witch and discover the truth. There’s tons of exposition and dialogue and none of it seems forced or unnecessary. THIS is how you do a comic book about superheroes talking.

Speaking of the Avengers, here’s the first part of  an interesting analysis of the the first issue of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Avengers. Parts 2 and 3 are on this site as well. Have a cup of coffee and enjoy! http://toobusythinkingboutcomics.blogspot.com/2010/12/making-sense-of-mighty-avengers-from.html

There was no mistletoe in the manger where Jesus was born. Ok, I’ll stop now.

Non-Sequitur #8: I Thought It’d Be Different

It snowed today! Snow in Chicago sucks!Hell...

Random Petty Grievance: I’m having internet issues. Ridiculously slow download time. Part of it is my hardware, part of it is the 30 degree weather. But anyway…

Random Alt Pop Song That I Like That No One Else Cares About: ” Judas My Heart” by Belly.Tanya Donelly is one of the great over looked songwriters of our generation.

Franklin Richards, Super Summer Spectacular #1: I saw this on the rack at one of my local comic book shops and thought it was left over from a few months ago. It’s from 2006! Has it been sitting there all this time or was it in inventory and they thought, “Hell, just put it up front, no one will notice”?  Hell, I didn’t…I bought the thing! I’m glad I did. It’s a fun family friendly kid’s comic. Franklin and his baby-sitter H.E.R.B.I.E. the robot have wacky mishaps. The stories are by Marc Sumerak and the art is by Chris Eliopoulos. Very Calvin and Hobbes like. Cool.

Secret Avengers# 7: Stuff I liked…Shang Chi and Ant-Man, Valkyrie’s new suit with pants and a jacket, a henchman recognizing Steve Rogers, lots of action. Stuff I didn’t like…Moon Knight’s on the cover, but he’s not in this issue, it’s cool we had some chase scenes, but now it’s time for some more plot. There’s an ad for “Age of X”. I so hope this isn’t another lame alternative X-men history/future. They ran that idea into the ground 20 yrs ago!

Avengers, Children’s Crusade #3: I had alot of fun with this comic. I enjoy it alot more than I thought I would. Basically Wiccan and the other Young Avengers discuss whether they should trust Magneto and go to Latveria to find the Scarlet Witch who may be the mother of Wiccan and his brother Speed.The adult Avengers want to find Wanda too and the debate is whether or not they should kill her. There’s lots of dialogue in this issue and lots of exposition, but it’s done right. It’s talking that is entertaining and advances the plot. I didn’t notice until it was over that there’s only ONE PAGE of fight. Also…lovely, lovely art. Kudos to Heinburg and Cheung.

No real dinner tonight. I will have some pork skins and the rest of the beer that’s in the frig. But tomorrow morning I will have pork chops and Spanish rice for breakfast. Yum!

Non-Sequitur #6: It Don’t Matter, We Just Do It For the Kicks

 

This illustrates the paradoxical shift of values in a post industrial society and,uh...screw it! I just thought the picture was sexy.

 

The Rev. Meeks said he might give up his church so that he can run for mayor of Chicago. Some people called a local radio angry because they felt like he has abandoned his calling. I felt like… calm down, please. He hasn’t been caught in a scandal yet. He hasn’t rejected God. If he’s truly a moral person and he brings that sensibility into the political arena, can’t that be seen as a positive thing? On the other hand, he hasn’t said a g*d damned word about how he going to fix the g*d damned CTA.

Just drank one beer and am fighting the temptation to drink the last two in the refrigerator. Gotta go the work tomorrow, but it’s 6% alcohol as opposed the 8% or more that I normally drink on a Friday. Let’s see how I feel by the end of this post.

Random Best Song to Sing While Drunk: Living On a Prayer by Bon Jovi. This is the only Bon Jovi song I know the words to. Jon must have thought he was Bruce Springsteen for a minute and with the right “encouragement” so will you.

Justice League of America #51: I gave up on this comic awhile back and thought I’d give it another try. It was not terrible. Basically, Washington DC is under an energy dome while the League fights the Crime Syndicate and villian named Omega Man. The issue is mostly a big fight and the JLA trying to take apart some evil machine. Mark Bagley’s art is enjoyable enough. It’s competent, professional, and just dynamic and kinetic enough to be fun. In an odd way he makes me think of old silver/bronze age guys like maybe Sal Buscema. On one hand they’re just doing a job and not crafting fancy works of fine art, but on the other hand, they get the job done. I’m guessing James Robinson’s story will read better in trade. There’s little attempt to catch the reader up. I was able to figure out what was happening, but I already had a passing familiarity with most of the characters. I imagine someone new to comics or the JLA would be lost. For example, Tangent Universe Green Lantern is in this comic for literally two panels and I was like, “What? Is she like Marvel’s Watcher now?” I had to re-read it to get how she fit into the plot. A paragraph or a “previously last issue” page would have helped.

New Avengers #6: Ok, this is the end of the first arc. It was basically New Avengers by way of Ghostbusters. On the whole it was alright. I really liked the first few issues, then it got bogged down with a bad case of “writing for the trade-itis”. I would have enjoyed this story a lot more if it where 4 issues instead of six. Someone dies a traditional comic book death meaning this person died under vague circumstances doing something heroic. I’m happy the person died this way instead of getting ambushed and chainsawed to death or a shotgun to the head which would have been more typical for some modern superhero comics. Stuart Immonen’s art is still undeniably great though.

Secret Avengers #6: Aw, yeah! Ed Brubaker is still scratching my superhero team itch. No deconstruction, no event tie-ins, no pizza eating…just intrigue, plot, and good guys-fighting-bad guys-chasing-good guys. This is the start of a new arc guest starring Shang Chi, master of kung fu. An interesting note, the red pajamas Shang wore in the 70’s as street clothes, here he wears… AS PAJAMAS!  Also it’s about time Marvel came up with a name for Shang’s father. Back in the day it was Fu Manchu, but legally Marvel can’t use that name anymore. This “my father-your father-his father” bit is going to get old soon. Another nit-pick…Steve Rogers goes on these “black ops” missions wearing his Super Soldier  costume. Doesn’t he know that one of these thugs he knocks out will wake up and realize that he works for the US government?

I’ve drunk one of the beers and I’ve cracked the last one open. I have no will power.

No one wants to admit it but this was the bomb back in the 80’s

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get some magic new wave shades and some leather pants!

Non-Sequitur #2: Slack Mutha F**ker

The accompanying  image I found on the Giant Size Marvel website http://www.giantsizemarvel.com/

Ok, I’ve accidentally stumbled on a new hobby. Collecting books given away by neighbors that I’m too lazy to actually read. This month I’ve acquired Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz, The Eight by Katherine Neville, and Marry Me  Cowboy which is some sort of anthology. I still have books from last year about theology and career hunting that I haven’t read yet, but somehow I’m able to make time for stupid comic books.  And so…

Secret Avengers #5: Still enjoying this book so far. This issue explains what going on with “Nick Fury”. However, I gotta say this, last arc had to do with the serpent crown and this issue *SPOILER* is the Fury LMD from the Defenders. This makes me wonder, is Ed Brubaker watching my old You Tube vids or (gasp!) actually sneaking into my home and reading my old comics from the 70’s? If in the next arc King Solomon’s Frog  from Kirby’s Black Panther or the Silver Dagger from Brunner’s Dr Strange appears then I’ll know!

Team America:World Police : Kay, I was going to do a You Tube vid about this movie by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but I couldn’t think of more than 5 minutes of decent material. It’s rude, politically incorrect and kinda funny. Blah, blah, blah…at this point you know what you’re getting into with Parker and Stone. I will say this, I found out that this movie is on a National Review list of top conservative films. You gotta be all types of high to consider this a “conservative” film. Just because they make fun of liberal actors doesn’t automatically make the movie’s point of view conservative. Do you really think *SPOILERS* that Sarah Palin would approve of the explicit puppet sex scene? That Rick Warren would cheer the scene where a man has to prove his patriotism by having oral sex with another man? That Bill O’Reiley would chuckle at the part when someone repeatedly projectile vomits? I don’t have a big problem with this stuff, I’m just saying it ain’t a movie that promotes family values.

I had chicken salad and crackers with St Ides for dinner. Hmm, it’s cool having friends with benefits, but maybe

I need to get me another woman who’ll cook for me.