The comics burrito
Saturday, November 01, 2003
This is the best Halloween costume ever. A day late, I know. At least it's 11 more months until I have to see someone spell it 'Hallowe'en' again.
I was clicking through Highwater Book's archives again and rediscovered my favorite comic there. Go read Ben Jones' Osco Drug.
The cheapest way I can find to get yourself The Complete Far Side is find someone with a Costco membership and give them $80.Lookee here. EBay has no good deals yet. There are some places that have it online for $70, but they look fishy.
I'm on the search for the nerdiest comic forum I can find. The comic Book Rumbles forum at Comic Book Resources is the current leader, but I know there's a lot worse out there. Help me out. 
Friday, October 31, 2003
  Some advice for 'comic book activists'
Not an 'attack', just a reality check.
First off, lose the arrogance. You're not saving comics. 'Saving comics' is completely out of your hands. If you and your buddies each got a new reader hooked on comics every week (and you won't do that), that's still a drop in the bucket, even in a field as small as comics.
"B-but John! Does that mean we should just give up? How can we just let comics die?" I'll repeat: Comics'll live or die regardless of what you do. People who have no interest in comics (at Borders, in the media) are more responsible for the public's exposure to comic books than every goofball putting comics in public restrooms combined. Why don't you just relax and read some comics?
Also, can you quit expressing yourselves with these stupid military references. It was lame enough when Savant said 'welcome to the front lines', why does everyone want to drive that into the ground? gives you 'ammo', supposedly to fight against those poor saps who haven't realized that every comic in the world is fantastic. James Sime, in his article The Comic Pimp, gives us a tired 'guerilla warfare' routine where his secret agents give some people comics. Everyone gets a pat on the back because they got someone to look at a comic. And hey, Too Much Coffee Man at the coffee house. Brilliant. I think I'll go break into Los Alamos and leave them some issues of Firestorm, the Nuclear Man. Nuclear, get it?
If you really need to do some sort of activism to fuel your ego, go join the Peace Corps. Doing something for comics is unimpressive.
Also, can you please think your suggestions through? If you really have to just fling dozens of suggestions at the wall, ones which you have no intention of trying, at least spend a few minutes considering each one. Raging at Marvel because they don't put all their comics together in big newsprint books like in Japan doesn't help anyone. Chances are your idea has already been considered and deemed unfeasible for one of those pesky real-world reasons. Maybe it has more to do with Japanese logging permits in Indonesia than with Marvel just being full of retards who won't let you save them. Also, while I'm sure the owner of your local comics store appreciates you revealing to him how cramped and foul-smelling his store is, has he done anything to fix that? The three comic shops here in Reno are universally bad. They're ugly, they have stinky customers and they never have any decent comics. Borders has more comics up my alley in two little bookshelves than those stores do in their hundreds of boxes. Even one issue of Nickelodeon Magazine has more of what I look for. Yet all of these stores do pretty well for themselves. They sell a lot of action figures and Yu-Gi-Oh cards and Heroclix. By the way, if someone could explain to me what Heroclix actually are, I'd love to hear it. While I secretly hope they all go out of business, the truth is they all managed to weather the loss of me as a customer. No one's going to do what's good for you if what they have works. They might not be able to unload those Sea Devils back issues as fast, but I think they'll survive without my money or my complaints.
Think about this for a second, Mr. Comic Book Activist: If an activist from another unpopular subculture wanted to get you to try something you've never had any prior interest in, what would they have to do? Let's use Birdwatching as an example. Would going into a public restroom stall and finding a birdcall placed lovingly on the handle work? Would you give birdwatching a second thought someone had snuck a Peterson's Field Guide in with the magazines at the doctor's office? Would seeing a man decked out in his hiking gear and binoculars, handing out a flyer for the next meeting of the local birdwatcher's club to everyone on a bus make you more inclined to go birdwatching? For me it would be just the opposite. Remember that before you go and make a jackass of yourself. Do it wrong and you'll only give the impression that everyone who reads comics is as crazy as you. It would also be a minimal effect, just like any positive effect you might have, but for you that's probably a big deal.
So after all of this, what can you do? The only sort of activism I can see that makes sense, and won't make you look like a loon is this: tell people about the comics you like. Don't play matchmaker, telling them what comics you think would be good for them, only recommend the ones you yourself truly believe in. Do it in person only if the conversation genuinely relates to it. A little less posing and some more genuine honesty is the way to go. 
Thursday, October 30, 2003
  This is neat
Thanks to Neilalien, and Johanna at Comics Worth Reading for the links.
Mr. Chon has his technical difficulties with posting here worked out, so maybe he'll post here soon. Bug him if he doesn't.

U.S. Supreme Court may get Tony Twist case Please please please let this happen!

Other links:
Have you seen This ad at Comic Book Resources? Barf X infinity plus one 
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
  Savant's death certificate
There it is, in case you need it. As a former Savant contributor (although a minor one, I should be clear on that) I'm just going to air some final thoughts about the whole experience.
Savant going out like this is frustrating. While most of you who may have followed Savant in the past had probably written it off as dead, there was a serious effort undertaken to bring it back, which in the end fell apart in a really disappointing way. I guess now everyone can now walk away from that train wreck and get on with something new. In the end I think it was clear that if there ever was a time where Savant was necessary or relevant, that time isn't now.
I never bought into the 'activism' part of 'comics and activism', but I had a lot of fun working with my fellow Savants. I haven't met a single one of them, but almost without exception they've shown themselves to be pleasant, intelligent people who really, really like comics. Nothing wrong with that.
I wish them all luck with whatever they have planned in the future. If you were part of Savant, feel free to leave a comment and plug what you're working on. 
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
  Funny stuff on the Funnies.
I haven't been keeping up with it as much lately, since I moved 1,800 miles out of the distribution range for the Baltimore City Paper, but their Funny Paper column tends to offer an entertaining rundown of how inadvertantly amusing (and crappy) the daily comics can be. For, you know, when John Pierce is too busy to do so. 
  Props to my homeys
Thanks to The Johnny Bacardi Show and Alan David Doane for linking here. I'm also glad people don't hate the name. A second nod to Mr. Doane for this. There's no point in continuing that discussion, but I'm going to expand on my thoughts on 'activism' in comics soon. Sneak preview: I am not for it! No sir!
  Why I didn't buy any comics today
Will you hear my tale of woe? I just got back from a few seconds inside Alex D's Comics, and I had to leap out of there. Not only is the store cramped and stocked full of really bad comics, they were in the proces of adding to their 'unique' paint job.
Lookee here.
That's the ugliest building in the world then, so what is it now? TEN TIMES WORSE. They're painting a big Playboy logo next to the door and even more awul comic art in all the gaps. How am I supposed to shop there? I swore off the store about a year ago, this time it's for real. Once Cerebus ends, I'll never go in a comic shop again.
Maybe I'll buy comics Friday. I was planning a big review thing, but bad art got in the way. 
Monday, October 27, 2003
  Article 10: Pictures At An Exhibition
Paul O'Brien gives us all the heads up on Sequential artist Chad McCail. 
  Wired 11.11: The Two Faces of Takashi Murakami
This is a bit of a depressing article for American comics fans. It'd be nice to live somewhere where the arrogant divisions between 'high' and 'low' art aren't recognized. 
Sunday, October 26, 2003
testing testing one two three.
testing testing one two three.
testing testing one two three.
testing testing one two three.
testing testing one two three.

Comics books and general tomfoolery.


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