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Spinner Rack #3

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They call comic books the “The Medium of Angels.” I didn’t find it to be that, exactly. But I’ll allow there are some nice folks there. ‘Course I can’t say I’ve seen London, and I ain’t never been to France. And I ain’t never seen no queen in her damned undies, so the feller says. But I’ll tell you what – after seeing comic books, and this here Spinner Rack random thoughts I’m about to unfold, well, I guess I seen somethin’ every bit as stupefyin’ as you’d see in any of them other places. And in English, too. So I can die with a smile on my face, without feelin’ like the good Lord fleeced me. 

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  • Look, I’m not going near this Captain America thing with a thousand-foot pole, okay? The only things I do want to touch on in regards to it are that I find people’s dismissiveness to the feelings of others to be pretty abhorrent. Maybe that’s the nature of social media, that physical disconnect that leads to the emotional disconnect, but hey: you cannot tell someone they are wrong for feeling the way they do. You can’t. You can not feel that way yourself. You can not understand why they feel that. But you simply cannot tell someone that what they are honestly feeling is wrong and go on to insult them for feeling that way. Do not do that. And certainly do not do that with vitriol and a level of passion stemming from the defense of a comic book. Being said, sending death threats to the creators of said story is the act of a damn lunatic. That is psychotic behavior. I love Captain America just fine, but the past three days have been pretty horrible to watch from all sides. I opted to stay out of it, and I’m still staying out of my personal reaction to said comic book, but by doing so I also opted to listen to other’s interpretations and feelings and I agreed with a number of things said on both “sides” (that made me feel gross). Apologies for getting preachy. But seriously, leave Ed Brubaker alone too. Dude hasn’t written a Cap book since some of you were still in diapers.
  • Please do not read into that diapers line more than you should.
  • Okay, sure, let’s get the other big thing out of the way too while we’re at it: The Rebirthening of the DC Universe again ad infinitum. I read it. It was…fine? But I also feel confident that it wasn’t really for me, so if you fell in love with DC Comics all over again because of it, I think that’s rad and I can pick up what you’re throwing down. My experience with it was akin to reading a promotional catalog about all the cool new toys that I can play with in a few short months, except only a few of them are toys I want to play with? Now that just sounds dirty. My major issues with it are that it wants to have its cake and eat it too. Johns issues a mea culpa on fucking up the DCU, but also totally passes the buck on to a comic I’m not entirely sure he gets in the same way I do. Not to mention that he, you know, wrote a bunch of the stuff he’s now claiming lacked “hope” and “love.” Dude…you could have made the Justice League not be dicks if you wanted, you know? But he almost single-handedly makes up for it by pouring on just the right amount of sap in the Wally/Barry and in Wally’s dialogue throughout, really. That’s what Johns really excels at. Getting inside these legacy character’s heads and hitting all sorts of emotional buttons that are predictable as all get out, but still makes them hit to effective highs. Anyway, the issue also made Batman – the world’s greatest detective – look like a damn clueless idiot here. Finally, the one thing I don’t want to harp on, but by far my biggest gripe: stop proving Alan Moore correct, DC. Moore said long ago that all DC seemed to be doing is strip mining his creations instead of pushing the medium forward in any meaningful way and well, here we are. Back to the Watchmen mines, everyone. I hate it. Not because I think Moore and/or Watchmen are sacred, but because I think there’s an inherent lack of understanding in what that work was trying to accomplish and it’s now starting to look like you’re desecrating a corpse instead of letting it lie peacefully. That sounded harsher than I intended, but it’s Friday and my coffee levels are low. Apologies. Mea Culpa. My random thoughts are missing ten years and that’s why they are so dark.

    Oh come on!!

    Oh come on!!

  • Want to know what small press indie comics are out that might be worth your time? Check out Daniel Elkin’s Your Chicken Enemy blog where he always spotlights exactly that.
  • Speaking of, Elkin also turned me on to the Broken Frontier Anthology and hold on to your butts everyone, it is phenomenal. I’m not going to do anything resembling an actual review here (see: low coffee reserves) but this thing is overflowing with imagination and talent. There’s a plethora of familiar names, and some lesser know names that contribute, but it’s one of those few anthologies I’ve read recently where almost every piece impressed me. Typically, the inherent mixed bag experience of anthologies leaves you with a few standouts, a few middling, and a few that simply don’t click with you, but Broken Frontier clicked me good. That’s a phrase now. It’s mine. You can use, though. Anyway, if you want one particular soaring above the clouds level highlight from this anthology, it’s gotta be “The Wave” by Robert Sammelin. For reals. For really reals.

    "The Wave" by Robert Sammelin

    “The Wave” by Robert Sammelin

  • I think it’s interesting how people give first issues such a big benefit of the doubt. Myself included on many an occasion. There’s this weird ingrained allowance of “let’s see where this goes” that prevents many from judging a first issue solely on its own merits. A first issue can tickle your imagination and of course it’s only the first part of a much larger story, but it’s still pretty easy to evaluate it by its own merits. Being the first part of a story doesn’t give it a ‘get out of jail free card’ on being not particularly good. Or bad. I’m not even talking about a specific issue here, truly I’m not, but it’s interesting how there’s this dichotomy that happens where the immediate response to a first issue is “hate this premise, it sucks, dropping the book” or “wait, it’s only the first issue so let’s not judge because that’s like judging a song by only the first 10 notes.” I guess I’ve been guilty of it in the past myself, and there is a reasonable amount of leeway one can give to the first issue, but sometimes it feels like we’re really letting them get away with murder. Sometimes literally! Well, fictionally literally. Shut up.
  • What’s that? You want to hear how my Simpsons rankings are going? Of course you do! Here’s an updated list of my expertly evaluated best episodes of The Simpsons. Feel free to tweet episodes to me on Twitter @focusedtotality so I can tell you why what you love is wrong:

– Summer of 4 Ft. 2
– A Streetcar Named Marge
– Last Exit to Springfield
– Cape Feare
– You Only Move Twice
– Homer at the Bat
– Itchy & Scratchy Land
– El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro
– Marge vs. the Monorail
– The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson
– Bart on the Road
– Bart vs. Australia
– Deep Space Homer
– Boy-Scoutz N the Hood
– Marge on the Lam
– Homer’s Enemy
– Bart’s Comet
– Homie the Clown
– Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?
– Homer the Smithers
– Trilogy of Error
– Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy
– Missionary Impossible
– E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)
– Homer Bad Man
– Dancin’ Homer
– Wild Barts Can’t Be Broken
– Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington
– Behind the Laughter
– Bart’s Dog Gets an F
– Homer to the Max
– More Room for Lisa
– Homer vs. Dignity
– Bart the Mother
– Beyond Blunderdome
– Large Marge

  • Superhero comics as a genre should be more like Pixar. Aimed primarily at young audiences, but with nuanced storytelling that is rife with elements that can also really hit adults. Kids and adults enjoying something silly and fun and complex together. The idea of adults-only superheroes is a fine idea that can lead to great stories, but that should be the exception and not the rule. You know those are going to run out eventually, right? Well, we keep making superheroes for only adults and then they die with us because the kids never got any to call their own. It’s a limited resource. We turned superheroes into some bizarre stunted-growth entitlement thing. We were told that growing up meant having to put your toys away, but then we didn’t want to put our toys away and then we didn’t want them to be called toys at all, these are motherfucking action figure collectibles goddammit. Nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy something that meant a lot to you as a kid, we should all feel super free to do that, but don’t force that thing to grow up with you.

Is that enough? That’s enough. Thanks for swinging by. See you later on down the trail.

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