Friday, April 29, 2005

Wire Season 4

Noticed this today.

I have mixed feelings about it. But then I had mixed feelings about a second season, and while that season was a bit uneven, it ended up leading into a third season that was possibly the series' best. So we'll see. Even if it isn't as good as season 3, it'll still be great. It is The Wire, after all.

Holding pattern

Hey, remember when I talked about Psychonauts? Yeah, that's pretty much all I do with my time now. Yesterday I got home from work around 5:30, played Psychonauts until 9, took Leslie to get her car, got home at 10:30, started playing Psychonauts at 11, and finally went to bed around 1. I couldn't sleep until I had made it past the Milkman Conspiracy level!

This is why I don't play many videogames. They simply consume my every waking moment until I've beaten them.

This game's hysterical, though. Did I mention that? Funniest game since Sam and Max. The Lungfishopolis level has to be seen to be believed. And did I mention that the main character is voiced by the same guy who voiced Invader ZIM? Truth!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Seriously, my head

I hereby curse Jess and any silver-tongued daughters she will produce in her lifetime. This is the worst I've felt in a good long while. Did I mention that when we got back to the apartment she beat the shit out of me? Because it happened.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Man, there ain't nothing cooler than Psychonauts!

It's the new videogame by Tim Schafer, who made Full Throttle and Grim Fandango for LucasArts back when they did stuff other than Star Wars. Man, those were some great games. Grim Fandango is in my top three of all time. Anyway, it's a basic platform game, but the art design and story really set it apart. You're a psychic kid at a government summer camp for training telepathic soldiers and each level represents the inside of someone else's mind. It's for PS2 and Xbox, and it rules. Goodbye, free time. It was nice knowing you.

Tales from the Weekend

The weekend: an overview

Friday: Ribs, Shaolin Soccer (again)

Saturday: Liz's birthday: Day (soccer, pinata, Meredith is always so friendly), 2nd reading of Frank's play (new guy is better than old guy), Liz's birthday: Night, (nobody puts Baby in the corner, drinking, alarmingly cheap beer, more drinking), Jesse's house (Kim, Eliot, nice apartment, yet more drinking, up way too late, help Layla navigate back to Franklin).

Sunday: Candide at Oxy, (Jenni STILL does not know how to get to my house, good show, great Kim, finally give Alan back his recording of The Hostage that I've had for two years), late dinner with Frank and McKenna.

Monday: Sort of sick, Psychonauts

Friday, April 22, 2005

Spain vs. Magneto

This makes me laugh and laugh.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Daaaisy, Daaaaaaiiiisy

I know things have slowed down around here. Things seem to have slowed down most everywhere (by which I mean, "on my friends' blogs"). With our increasingly busy schedules, it seems we, on average, are spending less time blogging and more time, y'know, on our actual lives. Which is great, but provides less reading material for downtime at work. I personally find that the more I write elsewhere, the less inclined I am to work on this blog. And with rehearsals for Frank's show starting soon, I'll have even less time. Not to mention that I still haven't gotten my internet fixed.

Basically what I'm saying is don't hold your breath for up-to-the-minute posts all the time. Not that you necessarily were. Just, y'know, in case.

Sleep is my enemy

Why is it that most nights I come home, sit around, do very little, then go to bed, but on that one night a month where my body demands I catch up on sleep and pass out at 9 PM, everyone decides to call me after I've conked out?

Stupid body. Stupid, stupid body.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Emory and Leslie trapsed off to the Alternative Press Expo the other weekend, and brought me back this. They even got it framed and everything.

Well, uh, the picture doesn't seem to come up on that link. But for those of you who went to the ninja art show out at Nucleus, it's a print of the one with the ninja and the rabbit crossing paths in the snow by Kazu. It was such a nice guesture that I won't even talk about Leslie's secret love for him. Although she did go to the Flight gallery and didn't come home that night. S'all I'm saying.

I feel so dirty


When I saw Reefer Madness the other night I was like "Huh. Andy Fickman. That name sounds familiar for some reason. Well, I'm sure I'll look it up sometime." Little did I know the answer would be so devestating!

The thing is, Emory and I recognized Robert Torti in Reefer Madness because we had seen him in Who's Your Daddy? Plus we were flummoxed when Christine Lakin showed up as Joan of Arc. "Hey, it's like a Who's Your Daddy reunion. What a disturbing connection," Emory noted. NOW ALL THE PIECES FIT!

Monday, April 18, 2005


Issue 2 of SMRT-TV is alive and kicking. I wrote a review of The Wire's first season, a show that, you may have gathered while reading this blog, I love with a passion. I think it turned out all right.

I also did a smattering of editing for this issue, because it's come to my attention that editing is a considerable portion of my day job. And might I say that Alan? Can't string a sentence together to save his life. You heard me, Bloom!

Tales from the Weekend

Man, if my weekends get any duller I want you to shoot me. On Sunday I was so bored and desperate that I made a 35-mile round trip to Santa Monica just to sit in a restaurant and watch other people eat.

Which isn't to slight the party I went to at Dan and Soren's on Friday. That was good times. Dan and I did a shot on his insistence, and then about an hour later he came up to me and said "God, I got drunk fast. Why did we do that shot? That was the worst plan." Your worst plan, Dan. Your worst plan.

Soon you will know what I thought of Reefer Madness. Soon.

It would've been funny! You would've laughed!

So I had lots to tell you yesterday, except it turned out that my internet was down. After about 40 minutes on the phone with the internet provider, they determined that the problem wasn't my wireless connection, but some sort of internal problem with the computer itself. Blargh. So I called Dell and was on hold with them for awhile, and I finally hung up because I hate being on hold more than most anything.

And now that today has rolled around, I can't remember what it was that I was so all-fangled excited to tell you. Ah, well.

Friday, April 15, 2005


When June rolls around, be sure to get the Street Angel trade. That book is hysterical. And really, really odd.

Hey, why didn't Flight get an Eisner nomination? Anyway, Volume 2 came out Wednesday. It's better than the first! (And it features a great story from a certain roomate's secret boyfriend.)

French Connection II

A miniature play:

(POPEYE DOYLE runs alongside the water, catching up to the villain's boat as it passes lazily by.)

POPEYE: Hey, Dude I Didn't Get To Shoot in the First Movie!

DUDE: Quoi?

(POPEYE shoots him dead. Justice is totally served, at long last.)

POPEYE: P-p-p-pow!


Thursday, April 14, 2005

2005 Eisner Awards

Hey, kids! Here's a list of this year's Eisner awards nominees!

It's a really strong group this year. For example, I can't possibly be diappointed by the winner of Best Continuing Series. And there's only one clunker in Best Serialized Story (Hey, do you want to know how every Fables story goes? Things look bad, then Bigby Wolf sweeps in and solves everything!). Anyway, any awards list that gives lots of love to Brian K. Vaughn, Joss Whedon, John Cassady, Kyle Baker, The Goon, Planetary, and We3 is A-OK in my book. I like how Planetary finally qualified for Best Serialized Story since it had its first-ever two-part story arc. No love for Queen and Country, though, despite a Best Writer nod to Greg Rucka. Pity.

Looks like Whedon and co. have assumed the scant Marvel nominations once reserved for Bendis. That's what happens when you stop playing to your strengths, Bendis.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Sweet Linda

Listen, all I'm saying is that Linda Cardellini walks away with both Scooby Doo movies. WALKS AWAY WITH THEM.

Don't, y'know, actually watch those movies, though. I'm just saying.

RIP Chunkyface

Goodbye, Orson. You were the rat I liked best. And by "best," I mean "at all," so that's saying something. Best rat ever.

Tales from the Weekend

For our purposes, "the weekend" will be defined so as to include Thursday. Also, this post is of considerable length.

Thursday night I was barely home an hour before I had to turn around and drive out to Frank's place. Paul's sister Ilah was in town, and we all went out to dinner. I hadn't seen Ilah since high school, so it had been roughly 150 years since I had laid eyes on her. She's out in Boston working for a jeweler nowadays. After dinner we went back to Paul's place where I auditioned for Paul and Frank to be in Frank's play, "Forget My Chrome Embrace" (it's about fan fiction!). It's the smallest part in a three-person show, and I hadn't done any acting in awhile so I figured what the hell. Anyway, they gave me the part. Cool beans! I haven't acted in a trillion years. Good times. And it was good to see Ilah again. It occurs to me now that of my core group of PHS friends, I'm the only one without a younger sibling. Except for Matt, of course, but he's one of those spoiled "only children" I've read so much about in racy periodicals. Paul and Ilah also informed Frank and me that another of our old high school friends, Ashley, was in town visiting her siblings Bregan and Drew, who both had recently reappeared on our collective friendship radar within the past year (which just means that we finally realized that they lived in LA and that we should hang out). Anyway, circumstances prevented us from seeing that brood Thursday evening, so we pledged to meet up during the weekend.

On Friday I was still deciding whether or not I was going to go to San Francisco with Leslie, Emory, and Asa. Since I didn't particularly feel like driving all night and had pledged to see Ashley at some point, I opted not to go. Plus it was nice to have the apartment to myself, however breifly. Anyway, as I was getting off work Paul called me to invite me to go get giant pizza with him, Ashley, Bregan, Drew, and Frank. I agreed and Paul said he would call a bit later with the details. Three hours later I called Frank to see what he was doing in the interim before pizza. As it turns out he was ALREADY OVER AT DREW AND BREGAN'S EATING DELICIOUS GIANT PIZZA! Paul had FORGOTTEN TO CALL ME because he IS A JERK IN THE FACE! What an asshole. Anyway, I hightailed out to West LA. Then we went down to the Santa Monica Pier and played Skee Ball. Between the too-expensive arcade and the near-gale force winds coming in from the ocean, it would be tough to describe the night's activities as a "good time." But still, it was nice to see Bregan and Ashley again. After the pier Frank ran off to hang out with some other friend of his who was in town, and we went back to Casa del Hubbard to watch "Resident Evil: Apocalypse." It wasn't as bad as I remembered it. It was worse. I fell asleep, finally roused myself during the film's "climax" (the part where Milla Jovovich fights Operation: Zombie That Can Use a Gun), and slipped off before the movie ended.

On Saturday I decided to get some work done on my upcoming DVD review for SMRT-TV. Which meant watching a bunch of episodes of The Wire, reading many pages of a book about The Wire, and looking for interviews online with the creators of The Wire. A Wire sort of day, one might say. Anyway, I did a bunch of research, got a bunch of good quotes, scribbled a bunch of ideas down, and then didn't write a damn word because I am Lazy McLazyass. Ashley called to invite me to a barbeque she and her siblings were having, but I was actually doing research at the time and didn't go. That evening Paul and Frank came over and we all had delicious lasagna at Matt's place as prepared by Andrea. Mmm, that was some good lasagna. Paul, Frank, and Matt talked play stuff (Matt's going to be the production designer) and I read some more Seven Soldiers. Frank wouldn't stop nuzzling the Zatanna cover. Also, the new title of that cover is Zatanna in: Bunny Trouble. There was the possibility of playing poker with Jenni, but since I discovered earlier that day that I only had $.59 in my bank account, I opted to go with Frank to this party he invited me to. The party was Santa Monica theater people and Frank's Northwestern friends that I knew, so it was a fun, if low-key, time. I got home around 1 and decided to watch one of the Veronica Mars episodes that was in my baglog. I fell asleep on the futon, Odin curled up next to me.

At about 4 AM Sunday I woke up on the futon and got up to get in my bed. Odin woke up too, but I left him curled up on the futon. Once I was in bed and the lights were out, Odin ran into my room and lept up onto my chest. He began batting at my nose with his muffin-paws and sticking his nose into my eyelids. "No, Odin," I said. "It's time for more sleep. You should sleep, too." He stopped batting at me and began incessantly fiddling with my blinds. Finally, I had to throw him out of the room. He returned five hours later and did it all again. This time I woke up and let him jump up on my window sill. This satisfied him. Stupid cat. That afternoon Matt and I met up with Paul, Frank, and the Hubbard clan in Chinatown. We meandered a bit and bought those little gunpowder popping things. I threw one that hit Ashley in the back and it left a huge scorch mark on her white sweater. I felt really bad. Paul just kept throwing them at Matt's feet to make him dance, because, as established earlier, Paul is a jerk. Our crew split up in the early evening to fulfill various obligations, but met up later, sans Matt, at some bar in west LA. I schooled Ashley and Paul in air hockey, but was then vanquished by Drew. Ashley came with Paul, Frank and I to the Apple Pan for dinner, and then we met up with Drew at some bar whose name I can't remember (Bregan wasn't feeling well.) Frank was supposed to buy me a drink, but the bar was cash only, and then Frank couldn't find an ATM, and then when he did find an ATM he couldn't remember his new PIN number, so Drew ended up buying all the drinks, much to Frank and I's embarassment. It was nice of him. We got a bit drunk and then Paul drove me and Frank back to Frank's place where my car was. I stayed up too damn late again. I got NO SLEEP the whold damn weekend. Stupid cats.

Monday, April 11, 2005

To tide you over

I know, I've been neglecting you. The last four days have been very busy. While you wait for me to get around to telling you about it, why don't you read Paul O'Brien's latest column over at Ninth Art? It's very interesting.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

This week's comics

And now for something a little lighter.

Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #1: I'll be honest. While I will never return to single-issues full-time, it's really nice to go into the comic store every other week and know that a new Seven Soldiers issue is waiting for me. This issue might be my favorite one so far, as Zatanna's loneliness gets the better of her and she accidentally sets the apocalypse in motion. Whoops! That's what happens when you dabble in the black arts, kids. Several pages of this issue resemble a sort of Promethea-lite, but I always sort of thought that a lot of Promethea was ponderous (thought beautifully illustrated) bullshit, so I rather welcomed the more grounded approach taken here. Artwork on this one is by Michael Sook, who I had never heard of until now, and his work is stellar. I've been really impressed with all the Seven Soldiers artwork thus far, and I'm really finicky about my comic art. And listen, I don't want to say that I'm like, in love with Zatanna, but, um... let's not talk about it. Seven Soldiers has yet to disappoint.

The Goon Vol. 2: My Murderous Childhood (And Other Grievous Yarns): That title's a bit of a mouthful. I've been meaning to buy the second Goon trade for ages now, and this week I finally got the chance. The Goon is an odd book. The sort of book where a lumbering muscleman patrols a city full of zombies and other monsters with his garrulous pal. His other friends are a werewolf and a giant, talking spider. Paul has described the book as "Hellboy meets Popeye," and that's right on the mark. Writer/artist Eric Powell has taken horror and pulp elements, mashed them up, and jammed them through a screwball comedy filter. I've got three words for you: "spontaneously combusting orangutans." And let's not forget the poo artistry of Peaches Valentine! Um, it's a little tough to get across how great this book is, but I was laughing out loud so much while reading it that Emory hit me a whole bunch. And Emory hits HARD. And yet I kept reading. It's that good!

Oh, you men

Matt pointed an article out to me today in the most recent issue of GQ. I wish I could link to it for you, but it's not on the GQ website, sadly. The gist of it is examining the word "cunt," and detailing how it is the perfect weapon to use against women when those nasty bitches start yelling at you for some damn reason or another. Hilariously and nauseatingly, the article is listed as "Advice." Here's a brief excerpt, as the author recalls when he first learned that "cunt" has power.

"I learned that men still had a weapon in this war, if only they dared to draw it from its sheath... That night my relationships with women changed. I'd taken a male-self-defense course, in a way, and I didn't have to use my knowledge to feel its effects on my self-confidence. At any moment, I now realized, I had the option of blowing to smithereens any female I encountered."

What a hateful, sad little piece. That a man would consider basic relations to the opposite sex as a "war," is sad enough. But this guy is relieved he has an unbeatable secret weapon, since now the women are all powerful with their feminism and stuff. How manly. Well, you'll certainly show them, sir.

Listen, here's my yardstick for sexism. You substitute gender with race. Does it still sound cool to you? Like this article, for example. What if it read like "Man, I sure am threatened by these black dudes who keep taking my jobs with their affirmative action and shit. Thank God I've still got the n-bomb!" I'm thinking they'd get some letters.

Sin City, finally

First, let me point you to a piece that Liz co-wrote over at Bookslut. It makes several fine points that I'll try not to reiterate too much here.

Having seen the movie twice now, I think my opinion has settled down to "pretty good" and "worth seeing." It didn't light my world on fire, but I certainly would recommend it to someone who hadn't seen it.

Visually, it's stunning. The brief flashes of color are used to great effect. Notice how Goldie is always in color and Wendy is in black and white, except when Marv perceives her as Goldie. Nice touch.

The visuals are the movie's main draw, just as they were in the comics. The stories are noir-on-drugs, heavy voiceover and graphic violence both pumped beyond their normal limits. And that's sort of the problem. There's really no point to either the film or the comics beyond starkly realized pastiche. As Frank noted, "Sin City is the movie that people who didn't like Kill Bill thought Kill Bill was." There's precious little substance to engage the mind beyond the eye-candy.

This wouldn't be so pronounced if the film weren't so damn long. Actually, it's only a hair over two hours, but it feels like more. In order to cram all three stories into a reasonable running time, Rodriguez and Miller rev up the pacing of each story. There aren't any lulls or pauses, just pedal to the metal from start to finish, and it's wearying. By the time Bruce Willis infiltrated the Roark farm, I was saying "enough already." It certainly didn't help that "The Hard Goodbye" and "That Yellow Bastard" are so similar to begin with. The climax of a film shouldn't invoke deja vu on the part of the viewer. I think it was a mistake to inclue "Hard Goodbye" and "Yellow Bastard" in the same film, but if they wanted three different protagonists then the only other story option would have been "Hell and Back," and that's easily Miller's weakest Sin City tale.

The structure of the movie doesn't really make any sense and is pretty distracting. Why put part of "That Yellow Bastard" at the beginning and the rest at the end, only to repeatedly insist that the entire story takes places before the other two? If you're going to tell three chapters out of order, it doesn't lend anything to the movie to do it 2,3,1, and actually is kind of distracting. Also, if you're splitting "That Yellow Bastard" into two parts, why not make the break where Hartigan's in prison? That way we wouldn't have to start eight years ago, jump forward eight years plus however much time passes between "Yellow Bastard" and "Hard Goodbye," then jump back eight years, then jump forward eight years AGAIN. Like I said, it's distracting.

My favorite section of the film is "The Big Fat Kill," since that story is basically a lark and the actors seem to be having fun with it. All stories are so hyper-stylized that they often swerve into ridiculous territory bordering on self-parody, and I'm more inclined to accept a Sin City tale the embraces that fact. The subject matter is positively light-hearted compared to the other Sin City chapters, and the plot chugs along nicely, unburdened by the other two stories' relentlessly dark tone and leaden voiceovers. It's also the only story to try for genuine comedy. Del Toro's Jackie Boy prying the fingers of his severed hand off his gun with his mouth is like something out of a Pekinpah movie, and Clive Owen's tongue-in-cheek deadpan delivery just kills me. "Hi, I'm Shelly's boyfriend and I'm out of my mind."

The acting, overall, is up and down. Michael Madsen is so bad in the opening scene of "Yellow Bastard" that one is inclined to give up on the film altogether. Mickey Rourke is good at Marv, but he didn't blow me away. Brittany Murphy seemed to be acting badly on purpose, whereas Jamie King seemed to just be acting badly. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Jessica Alba, and Bruce Willis does all right. Elijah Wood and Nick Stahl were both really creepy.

Overall I, like Liz, am a little unsure as to what the point is. The movie doesn't seem to be more than an advertisements for the books. And if someone was trying to choose between the two, I'd push for the books, since they're paced a lot better. The movie certainly doesn't make Frank Miller look any saner than I already perceived him to be. It just makes him look even nuttier, with his rather fascistic take on justice and his intense madonna/whore complex suddenly given fluid movement and THX sound.

It's a decent movie, though. Although I probably won't want to see it again for quite some time. It's the sort of movie whose flaws only become more apparent after repeated viewings, while you wonder what drew you to the movie in the first place.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


If an angle exists where the Bankruptcy Bill isn't capitalism at its grossest, I don't see it.


Monday, April 04, 2005

I am so SMRT

The first edition of SMRT-TV is now in the hizzy, and by "hizzy," I mean "interweb." It's got several fine article about TV and it's run by our very own Liz. Check it out, I implore you.

And now, a SMRT-TV-related tale that should bring delight to you, and more than a little embarassment to me. I was emailing Liz earlier today about contributing to the website, and I also said that I could maybe help with copy editing, too. I stressed that I was willing to try editing despite the fact that I had "no real copy editing experience." But what the hey, I thought. I'm good with spelling and grammar and the like. I thought I could help despite, again, NO EDITING EXPERIENCE. Then I sent the email and went to lunch. On my way out of the building I stopped in the bathroom and as I was washing my hands I thought "Hey, I should have told Liz about the style manual that's on my desk at work. That could have been more of a recommendation as far as editing goes." Then I stopped and thought to myself, in a patient-yet-weary tone, "Jeff, why do you HAVE that style manual on your desk? Could it maybe be because a large part of your job is EDITING? That when you tell people what you do you say you are a TEST QUESTION EDITOR? And that you have been doing this job for a little over TEN MONTHS NOW?"

Yeah, no editing experience. Oh, except for those last ten months. Apparently I forget those really easily. Man, I am a MESS.

Anyway, SMRT-TV. Check it out.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Countdown vs. Seven Soldiers

Did anyone else notice the similarities of plot and themes between Countdown and Seven Soldiers #0? Eh? Eh? Think about it.

On a related note, what was the first-ever zero issue? Was it Zero Hour or did DC just swipe that idea from Image? I know Image had all those zero issues at around the same time.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Morrison article

Here's an article about the Grant Morrison Q&A at Meltdown the other night. If you look at the pictures at the bottom, you can make out the back of Asa's head. If you look really closely, you can spot my and Leslie's heads poking out behind other attendees'. Alan and Emory can't be spotted at all, so don't bother looking.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Countdown to what now?

Since we were at Meltdown last night, I finally got my mitts on a copy of DC's Countdown to Infinite Crisis. Snerk. "Infinite Crisis."

Anyway, Asa posted an intriguing theory that Countdown and its various miniseries are all leading up to a second Crisis that will once again hit the reset button on DC continuity. That, I think, would explain the tone that Identity Crisis and Countdown have set up, a tone that it seems to me would drive away readers who pick DC over Marvel. I'll elaborate a bit, as I review the book.

Countdown focuses on Ted Kord, aka The Blue Beetle, a down-on-his-luck former JLAer who discovers a massive conspiracy within the DC Universe, an organization that has a database of all the superheroes, their secret identities, and their weaknesses. The book goes out of its way to establish how downtrodden Beetle and his best friend Booster Gold have become since their golden days in the JLA (during its comedy years under Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis). Blue Beetle has to undertake his investigation alone since none of the other major superheroes take him seriously. This rang true enough for me, since I have no earthly idea what the Beetles has been up to since his JLA run in the 80's. Superman and Wonder Woman both take Beetle's warnings seriously, but have their own stuff going on and leave him to investigate further on his own, rather than blowing him off, as some people perceive it. The only one who seems out of character is Martian Manhunter, who's downright snotty to Beetle for no apparent reason.

The writing and the artwork are patchy. The art is broken down by chapters, with five artists total, but of those five only Phil Jiminez really rings my bell. None of it is downright bad, but nothing leaps off the page. Even Jiminez doesn't seem to matching his normal standards, but the coloring throughout the book is so murky that it's tough to tell whose fault it is. This is a dimly-lit book, especially considering it features a man in bright blue tights. I know it's supposed to be ominous, but there's a fine line between "ominous" and "muddy." The writing's a bit off, too. The narration often wanders into overblown territory, as Beetle notes that Starfire looks like she's "sculpted out of glowing gold," and his constant fawning over the JLA's big guns gets tedious more or less immediately. The obvious plugs for the related miniseries don't really gel that well, most obviously the ones for "Day of Vengeance" and "Villains United." Beetle winds up talking to the wizard Shazam pretty much out of the blue and for no real reason, and the villains' few pages are basically a "Meanwhile..." in the middle of a story that has nothing to do with them.

Overall, though, the plotting is solid, and the conspiracy idea is a good one. The book does a nice job of showing how down Beetle is, and then manages to build him back up again. The final reveal of the mastermind behind it all is an interesting choice, and certainly one people won't be anticipating. Overall, the comic does just fine as serving as an introduction to what'll be happening in the DC Universe in the next few months. It's perfectly serviceable.

There's another aspect of the story I want to discuss, and that's for what audience are the creators making this book. Countdown requires a working knowledge of the DCU as a whole, and certainly the events of Identity Crisis in particular. Also recommended is a knowledge of the Giffen/DeMatteis run on JLA back in the 80's. While I know who Beetle and Booster Gold are, that's about where my knowledge ends, and the page where the two of them disucss some robot that Booster knew completely lost me. The final pages also require knowledge of the 80's JLA's supporting cast. But at the same time, I can't see how people who know all of that and have been reading that long would enjoy this comic. If you enjoyed the happy-go-lucky days of the JLA in the 80's, what pleasure could you derive from all of it being torn down? Don't get me wrong, I think that kind of stuff is cool, but that's why I mostly read Marvel books. This book seems aimed at people who know enough about the DCU to appreciate the reveal and the focus on second-stringers, but that have no emotional attachment to those ideas or those characters. (Like me, I guess.) That seems like a pretty niche market in an industry that's a niche market unto itself. Are they courting Marvel readers? "Hey guys, it's cool now. We're tottaly taking down the icons!" But again, wouldn't they need to know a lot about DC to appreciate it? On the other hand, Identity Crisis sold like mad, so maybe I'm underestimating the audience for this sort of thing.

I'm completely in favor of a big, universe-wide storyline IF DC is ending everything and hitting the reset button again. That's the kind of big, climactic storytelling that I can really get behind. But again, I can't imagine this book really appealing to hardcore DC fans. Mostly this comic seems like an invitation for those of us who hadn't been paying attention to come over and watch the creators torch the place.

Also, some music

After Grant Morrison I finally got to see Kevin's band, The Wimbledons last night at the Viper Room. I enjoyed their "adult contemporary folk-rock stylings." Some of the slower songs didn't seem that far a cry from something Counting Crows might have done back when they were good, so I can get behind that. And that's just about all I have to say about that because I am shitty about verbally expressing my feelings about music. But I liked it!

A bit more Grant Morrison (there's no such thing as too much!). I was really interested in his description of why he didn't feel comfortable working in the Marvel universe. And I can respect that. My personal tastes trend toward that more gritty, realistic approach, but Morrison seems to be the only writer who can completely throw himself behind that sort of "gee whiz, crazy stuff is happening" approach and not make is seem infantile. And the DC universe is tailored more to those sensibilities. (Although if Countdown is any indication, then it won't be that way much longer, or at least until after Crisis 2.) So it's cool that Morrison doesn't work for Marvel as much. I think Bill Jemas did some great stuff with Marvel, but I'll never forgive him for nixing Marvel Boy 2. Marvel Boy's a personal favorite of mine.

UPDATE: Leslie has more on Morrison.

Morrison at Meltdown

(adopts James Lipton voice) Quite simply, Grant Morrison is a DELIGHT.

Morrison did a kind of interview/Q&A thing at Meltdown last night, and it ruled. He talked about comics and magic and the 5th dimension and fiction suits and Superman and everything you would expect him to talk about, really. A working knowledge of most of his work was certainly helpful in following the flow of discussion, and frankly, I had heard several of his stories before in other interviews, but he's so funny and charasmatic in person that it was most definitely worth it. As Emory noted, he's crazy in a way where he knows what he's saying sounds crazy, but he completely believes it, so you really want to believe him. Maybe he went to the 5th dimension and saw the fabric of the universe, or maybe he just had food poisoning, I DON'T KNOW. But it was cool to hear about. Plus the story of how he lost his crown on his tooth would have been worth the trip even if that was the only thing he had said.

About 3/4 of the way through the Q&A, this guy chimes in behind us with "Grant, what about the guy we saw at Ralph's?" and it was Joe Casey. Oh hey, Joe Casey. Didn't see you there.

Anyway, it ruled.