Howdy folks! I took a somewhat impromptu vacation last week to celebrate my birthday. It is my belief that when I become Emperor of the Americas (or at least USA and Canada) that the Ritter Republic will be closed for business and open for barbeque that entire first week of Spring. Baseball games, burgers and steaks, spaghetti squash, pro wrestling matches and comic stores sales will be the order of the day and an entire day of that week must be set aside for extended gaming of any kind. I dig the board games myself (still waiting for that Gambler game from England, hint-hint) with the occasional role playing session or marathon City of Heroes fest. The Emperor has spoken! All is proceeding as I have foreseen. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!
So with that vacation over I announce a new one: PITTSBURGH! Go Pirates! Get well soon, Freddy Sanchez! Go Steelers! Wear your damn helmet, Ben Rothlisberger! Go Penguins! Sid Crosby is wikkid awesome! And so is the PITTSBURGH COMICON! Hells yeah! I haven’t had the opportunity to attend before but Two Double Ought Seven is the Year of the Nightmare! Hide the women and the children! No, better yet, just hide the children! The Dark Overlord and the Nightmare are road trippin’ in a stolen Jeep Cherokee! Well, it probably won’t really be a Jeep, or stolen for that matter, but Jeeps are really easy to steal! Trust me! Am I using entirely too many exclamation points in this paragraph? I SAY THEE NAY! I WANT MY MTV!
Daron went last year. He and his lovely and dork-tolerant girlfriend spent a fun filled weekend in the Steel City and brought me back a gorgeous original piece of Modern Zen art by Andy Lee, a Dr. Doom that I am told was the envy of the show last year. AND IT’S ALL MINE! Bill Gates needs to invent a character on the keyboard that means â€œmaniacal laughterâ€. So this year I’m getting a equally gorgeous Andy Lee rendition ofâ€¦well, OK, I got no idea what I’d like to have him do this year, but it’s gonna be bloody gorgeous I guaran-damn-tee it. Of course, I’m going to be torn between a literally ton of artists (Andy Lee himself doesn’t weigh all that much, but collectively, you know?) as the list of creators, personalities and industry insiders at this under heralded show is pretty big. How big you ask? George freakin’ Perez big! If you took every character he’s ever drawn and lined them up side by side, you’d probably get a couple of miles out of it. I mean, comic art isn’t huge in terms of proportion. Just ask Rob Liefield. Or better yet, since Rob wonâ€˜t be there, ask Joseph Michael Linsner, who will be there drawing his finely proportioned redheads and assorted other lovely ladies. Or Adam Hughes, or Talent Caldwell. Frankly, the guest list is ridiculous, but you can check out in all it’s fanboy gushing glory at their site. Oh, and did I mention James Hatton’s gonna be there? That dude draws God. How can you not have God’s personal artist at a proper convention? He writes for the Nexus too. The man is multitalented-probably a gift from God, â€˜cause, you know, James draws him so well. I gotta tell ya, if you read my column regularly and you don’t get yourself to Pittsburgh April 27-29 you are a Cubs lovin’ pinko Commie and should turn in your Nightmare’s Knights Membership Card immediately (unless of course you live outside the continental United States, we’ll forgive you for that, it is, after all, a long drive from Myanmar to Pittsburgh).
So for this trek I’m going to need some music. Daron, it probably will surprise no one to know, listens to whiny â€œEmoâ€ wussy crap exclusively. There’s no way in the Seven Hells I’m gonna spend a car ride of any length listening to dudes in their mid 30s still trying to get over getting kicked in the scrotum by that chubby chick in 10th grade. Nope. A trip like this requires a soundtrack! I am putting together a list of quality tunes to burn onto at least one CD that will be permanently spinning in the rental car’s player. If Kappauff wants to hear whiny wussy boys he can bring an iPod. That’s what they were designed for, so Emo lovers can keep that whiny wussy crap to themselves. Untwist the testicles and RAWK THE HOUSE DOWN!
Big Weekend – Tom Petty: Self explanatory. What could be bigger than going to PITTSBURGH COMICON? OK, sure, the American government finally admitting that nobody’s ever actually landed on the moon would be bigger, but it wouldn’t stop me from going. Any and all Tom Petty is the soundtrack for American road trips.
Hotel California – The Eagles: For when we get there. I know the Hotel isn’t in California, but cut Don Henley and Glen Fry some slack. There’s not a whole hell of a lot that rhymes with Pittsburgh.
Close To Champaign – Los Straightjackets: This song will be played at my wedding, when I find a girl worthy of my marital bliss. It just says â€œsummertimeâ€ to me. Plus they wear Lucha masks! They’re just like me, only they can play instruments. I can barely play the radio.
Summertime – Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince: I don’t know why, but this song just says â€œsummertimeâ€ to me too.
Riders On The Storm – The Doors: The favorite song of the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, if they stopped killing X-Men long enough to listen to classic rock.
Pocket Full Of Kryptonite – Spin Doctors: Let’s face it, if you were youngish in the 90s you listened and even enjoyed the Spin Doctors. And they nailed the Superman imagery with this number. I think DC threw a fit about it but I can’t see why. Not once did they ever mention how gay his red undies look outside the blue tights or how completely awful the recent movie was. Because I know if I was listening to this in high school and talking to friends about what I’d like to see done comic-movie wise I would have said, â€œFor the love of Simon and Schuster don’t remake Superman and try to insert it in the middle of established Super-movie continuity. Don’t give him a murderous kid. Don’t even go to the Lex Luthor well again. Say, these Spin Doctors, they’re pretty good, eh? Probably be winning Grammys for the next decade or two.â€
Superman – Eminem: The video, which you’ll never see on that lame ass MTV, had Gina Lynn in it. If you don’t know who she is, ask your father. He’s probably got a magazine or video with her somewhere you haven’t looked yet. Eminem is pretty funny to me. Anyone who takes rap too seriously oughta chill, yo. 4-Real.
Sunshine Superman – Donovan: The song mentions Superman and Green Lantern in the same breath and isn’t even remotely about either of them. How great is that? I bet Neil Gaiman digs it. IF he don’t, Grant Morrison might, and then I might not.
Kryptonite – Three Doors Down: Fairly good rockin’ song, all about an extremely rare element that EVERYONE in the DCU has a piece of. Batman gave them out as gifts one year for Hanukkah. Seriously, I think even Jonah Hex has a piece, just in case Superman gets displaced in time and goes a little nuts in the wild wild west.
Wild Wild West – Eric Cartman: Because this will drive Daron nuts. I might put this track on the disk at random intervals, just to be sure. â€œWell, I’m a badass Cowboy livin’ in the Cowboy days. Wiggy, wiggy, scratch, yo, yo, bang, bang. Me and Artemus Clyde frog go save Salma Hayek from the big metal spider. A wiggy wig wig wiggy wiggy wig – Fresh cowboy from the west side. Wiggy wiggy scratch yo yo bang bang. Me and Artemus Clyde frog go save Salma frog polly prissy pants – Go down to, well… Rumpletumpskin.â€
Time Of The Season – The Zombies: Because it’s a good song to bob your head with in the car, and because it’s sung by freakin’ Zombies! Robert Kirkman oughta check these dead dudes out. Might find some inspiration or something. I’m just sayin’.
One Week – Barenaked Ladies: The song mentions Aquaman in a sort of Canadian rap style. You can’t not like it. It’s un-unlikable. Huh. â€œUn-unlikableâ€ doesn’t give my spell check program fits. I think I’m rather disappointed.
Speed Racer Theme – No idea, but I think Moby did a mix of it: It won’t matter which of us drives, we’ll make STL to PITT in about 2.5 hours unless we stop at Cracker Barrel. Mmmmâ€¦Cracker Barrel.
Fragile – Sting: This song has nothing to do with comics, but for some reason I’ve always pictured Deathlok and/or Daredevil fighting in the rain, bleeding from bullets, in a style similar to Frank Miller (with Klaus Janson) or Scott McDaniel (who will be at the show) whenever I listen to it. Funny how some songs just cause your mind to recall a certain image or create it’s own â€œvideoâ€ in your head. You know, like â€œFergaliciousâ€.
Linus and Lucy – Vince Guaraldi Trio: The music of Charlie Brown, which makes me happy no matter what miserable mood I’m in. Vince created audio Prozac with this jazzy little ditty. You can’t help but dance like Franklin or Frieda or even Snoopy when you hear it. Daron will love that. He’ll think I’m walking like an Egyptian. He’s not savvy on the Franklin Shuffle. Speaking of Daron and dancingâ€¦.
J’en Ai Marre – Alizee: The hottest damn Corsican ever. Hell, she’s pretty smokin’ for any country. She’s big in France and Japan but hasn’t hit America much yet. Most of her hits are in French, and as my readers may or may not be aware, most Americans think the French suck. I am obviously more enlightened than my countrymen. I think they blow. So it is my mission to liberate her career from the sweaty, cigarette and dog shit laden French music scene and bring her to the land that even lets William Hung do his thing. Daron hates the way she dances in the video I have for her, a live Bandstand kind of thing. My response, obviously, was â€œWHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT HER DANCE?!?â€ She’s justâ€¦she will be mine, oh yes, she WILL be mine.
And if that doesn’t work for some reason, try this shot of the future Ms. Nightmare:
Private Universe – Crowded House: I picture Thanos and Darkseid standing back to back at the edge where the DCU and Marvel Universe nearly intersect, surveying their own â€œprivateâ€ universes. And in a strange way, these two deeply evil and plotting conquerors are probably thinking â€œYou know, once I take over the universe it will all be perfectâ€¦I wish I had a woman to share it with.â€ I wonder if Vertigo’s Death treats Darkseid the way Marvel’s Death shuns Thanos? By the way, if you think Crowded House starts and stops with â€œDon’t Dream It’s Overâ€ and â€œSomething So Strongâ€ you’re deluding yourself. Go get â€œRecurring Dream – The Very Best Of Crowded Houseâ€ ASAP. Even though it’s a greatest hits package I treat it with the reverence of â€œSgt. Pepperâ€ (then again, I like â€œRubber Soulâ€ slightly better anyway). The Finn Bros. and Co. are the most underrated band ever. After Crowded House comes WHAM!
Ghost Riders In The Sky – Johnny Cash: OK, so it’s not exactly about Johnny Blaze or Dan Ketch, but it’s The Man In Black. Don’t argue with me. Now that Johnny and Waylon Jennings are gone there will NEVER be another decent country song. Even if Tug McGraw’s kid comes up with â€œThe Ballad of the Two-Gun Kidâ€.
The Passenger – Michael Hutchence: I got into INXS a little late but I made it! Mike was awesome. I liked him better than Bono (yeah, I said it). This is his cover of Iggy Pop’s classic, as heard on the Batman and Robin Soundtrack (or whichever one had Jim Carey as The Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones as Tommy Lee Jones). It calls to my mine a variety of images, from people in Kandor as Superman picks them up to dust under the city, to superheroes in chains being trucked into the Negative Zone at the behest of Tony Stark, Asshole of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Road Tripping – Red Hot Chili Peppers: â€œRoad trippin’ with my favorite allies, fully loaded we got snacks and suppliesâ€¦â€ Can’t make a traveling soundtrack without some Chili Peppers. Can’t make decent chili without them either. If you don’t put some in with the beans and water, all you’d have isâ€¦coffee. GROSS. Daron has an intravenous drip of that stuff. Probably the expensive blend that comes from feeding this weasel-looking catlike critter coffee beans and then picking them out of its shit. Seriously, I can’t make up stuff like that. If I could, my name would be Warren Ellis. Go to Wikipedia and type in â€œWorld’s Most Expensive Coffeeâ€ and see if I’m not telling the truth. They call the coffee Kopi Luwak and it sells for $600 a pound! I bet that coffee tastes like shit.
That’s 20 songs right there. I can still think of others like Sgt. Rock by XTC, Magneto and Titanium Man by Paul McCartney (with Wings), Paradise City by Guns N Roses (Captain America reference) and of course Iron Man by Black Sabbath. What do you think? Help me out! Save me from Daron’s whiny wussy Tickle Me Emo music and send me your PITTSBURGH COMICON Soundtrack suggestions. I have about 4 weeks to cobble these songs together. I’d prefer songs that directly or indirectly but still obviously correlate to comics or songs like Sting’s â€œFragileâ€ which just really give you a strong mental picture of a comic scene, and please give me a little explanation if that’s the case, because I’m probably not gonna get why you think of She-Hulk whenever you hear â€œBeds Are Burningâ€ by Midnight Oil unless you explain that you were listening to it when you saw Jen sleeping with Juggernaut, though I might be able to put two and two together if you mention picturing a citizen of Kandor writing a note to Superman when you hear â€œMessage In A Bottleâ€ by The Police. I’ll even buy â€œCinnamon Girlâ€ if you suggest the Type O Negative version and explain that your first character on City of Heroes was named Cinnamon Girl and she’s a level 50 Earth/Storm Controller. You know, one of these days I’m going to have to do a City of Heroes column. Someone remind of that. But wait until May.
So come out to the PITTSBURGH COMICON, meet Daron and I, and sing some BeeGees songs with me in front of Alan Hughes table in the hopes that he gives us some free sketches to get rid of us. Did I mention I’m dragging Daron, Nexus Writer On Hiatus Chris, Chris’s lady and hopefully The Man They Call Soak to a Pirate’s game? I’m gonna have me some fun in Pittsburgh, yo! And then I have to go back to work.
Welcome to my nightmare.