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 #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 #25:Brothers and Sisters, Why Are We Fighting?

Stop fighting,ladies...you're BOTH pretty!

So Spike Lee and Tyler Perry are beefing. Tyler saying Spike can go to hell because of something Spike said implicating Tyler regarding “coonery and bufoonery” in the media. http://concreteloop.com/2011/04/round-the-way-tyler-perry-tells-spike-lee-to-go-straight-to-hell-steve-harveys-intern-steals-10k-from-himI was going to get all deep and political then I thought about it…isn’t Tyler responding to something Spike said in 2009 when he was promoting Miracle at St Anna’s. And isn’t Tyler promoting his latest film now? At first you think this is a debate about race, media images, and politics, then you wonder how much this is about artists hawking their wares. Thing is, the issues they brought up ARE worth discussing. The images of race, gender, and religion that appear in the media do affect the way some people view others. It’s totally worth discussing how certain stereotypes are not only accepted, but are also commercial in today’s culture. On the other hand it’s dismaying to see two popular black directors sniping at each other about who’s good for black people. And it’s a little disheartening to see other black people thinking they need to take sides. Personally, I think Spike has made some good films ( and some not so great ones). I think Tyler is serving an audience that is not always catered to ( I need a few more slo-mo gun fights in my flicks tho). We don’t have to choose between one black voice or the other in Hollywood, there’s room for both…and many more.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jp_jEryyND8

Random El Sighting: Ok, so I’m on th el and saw a French family. It was two guys and three children. The kids were goofing off and one of them actually said, “Oo-la-la”. I am not joking. Anyway, I thought they were either tourists or visiting someone in town and I was like, “What a nice French family visiting our first class international city.” I sat down next to a young black man who I assumed was from the west side. THEN he started speaking into his I-Phone in what sounded like it could have been French as well. Welcome to Chicago, mon ami.

Also, I’m always amused when the green-line el passes over the Chicago River and children are like, “Oh, look at the water!” It just makes me laugh.

X-Men Anime: I saw the first couple of episodes on You Tube and so far it’s not a bad cartoon. However, I am disappointed by how physically weak Storm is depicted. Back in the day Storm was always portrayed as one of the most powerful X-men characters. Heck, I remember back when Storm had NO POWERS and still defeated Cyclops in a duel to determine who had the right to lead the team. The Storm on this show uses her powers and faints every five minutes. Goddess…

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: This is another show I’ve been catching on You Tube. I like it a lot more than I thought I would. I have to give credit to head writer Christopher Yost. The show displays are real knowledge and reverence for Marvel comics history as well as an appreciation of modern continuity. There’s a good mix of old and new stories and characters, a nice blend of interesting personality types and the tales are exciting and dramatic. This exactly what I want from a superhero team show. I hope the live action Avengers movie does a similarly good job.

The New York Five #3: Not earth shattering, but interesting. The title continues the trials and tribulations of young female college students. The comic almost comes across as a love letter to hip New York. If I had a complaint, I’d say that it comes across maybe a little too glamorized? Sure, all the characters have problems and serious issues they have to deal with, but everyone is pretty and hip and living a lifestyle that a lot of young people dream of living. No one’s overweight. Even though the characters aren’t wealthy, class issues aren’t a major part of the story. With a bit of tweaking I could almost imagine this as a series on the CW (that’s not an insult).

Fear Itself #1: I know, I know…I complain all day long about event comics and here I am buying an event comic. My only reason/justification is that I really like Stuart Immonen’s art. The art here is gorgeous, it’s lovely, and it was worth buying for it’s own sake. The story isn’t terrible. but let’s see how that goes.