I'm Just Sayin'…#16

Hey, I’m the first one to say [America]’s a great country but it’s a strange culture. We got a strange culture. This has got to be the only country in the world that could ever come up with a disease like bulimia; gotta be the only country in the world where some people have no food at all, and other people have a nourishing meal, and then puke it up intentionally. This is a country where tobacco kills 400,000 people a year, so they ban artificial sweeteners! Because a rat died! This is a place where gun storeowners are given a list of stolen credit cards, but not a list of criminals and maniacs! And now they’re thinking about banning toy guns…AND THEY’RE GONNA KEEP THE FUCKING REAL ONES!

To quote another great personal influence: “And so it goes.”

As we all know by now, last weekend saw the passing of George Carlin – someone who I think I referred to at least once before on here, as my “comedic God.” Honestly, I’m not so much sad as I am grateful that I learned of him back when I did, flipping through the channels at age 13, and discovering “Jammin’ in New York” on HBO. Without that, I never would’ve gone out and searched for CD after CD, taped special after special, or sought out all three of his books. Without that, I wouldn’t have this “3 x Carlin: An Orgy of George” Desk Calendar not three inches from my right. Without that, my gf wouldn’t have thought to buy tickets for us to see him live on two separate occasions, and I never would’ve thought to look for him at a Barnes & Noble in Union Square, while he was promoting some book about Jesus and pork chops.

So all I wanna say on this, is thanks for spending some time among us, George. Thanks for changing the way I look at my world. Thanks for letting me shake your hand three years ago and smiling when I told you how much of an inspiration you are to me. I promise I’ll think of you the next time I’m in a gift store, and I ask for my gift. Joe bless you.

Okay – on to comics…

I hope I’m not the only dinkus around here, but did anyone else almost miss buying THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST # 16 this week?

Talk about a cover too unique for its own good – I must’ve walked RIGHT past this thing on two separate trips to the shop this week! “Iron Fist, Iron Fist, where is Iron Fist…hm. It doesn’t come out next week, does it?”

I go back a second time: “Iron Fist, Iron Fist, where is Iron Fist…hm. Guess it does come out next week…”

And then when I went back just yesterday, the shop employee herself went RIGHT by it: “Iron Fist, Iron Fist, where is Iron Fist…hm. Guess it sold out this week.”

ANYhoo, now that I’ve exposed myself for the fool that I am…I did wind up buying a whole slew of books this past shipment day…now, some of you may recall my mentioning a book I stumbled upon a few months ago in a Barnes & Noble, called THE CRIMES OF DOCTOR WATSON

Find this book - SUCH a fun read!

Published by Quirk Books, this was an interactive mystery set in the time period Holmes enthusiasts call the “Great Hiatus,” when Sherlock Holmes was thought to be at the bottom of Reichenbach Falls, when in reality he was traversing the globe, avoiding Professor Moriarty’s henchmen. It was during this time that Dr. Watson found himself in the fight of his life, as he is framed for the murder of a stranger at 221B Baker Street and writes an American ally named “Col. H. Kelsh Resmo” for help.

The main text is of course the Watson letter, and the “original clues” that Watson mailed to Resmo for the reader to puzzle over – If you’re a Victorian Era buff like me, I can guarantee your favorite “clue” will be the marital aids catalog. Hilarious and completely accurate for the time!

Naturally, Watson was exonerated, but the fun of course is putting it all together and figuring out who framed him. And in the back, there is a sealed solution to the mystery in the form of Resmo’s response to Watson’s plea. Now to go to full-on geek mode for a moment – CAN YOU SOLVE THE MYSTERY?

*AHEM* OK…I’m OK…just had to get that out of my system.

Now, I didn’t realize it at the time, but as you can see, it’s written by crime novelist Duane Swierczynski – who, coincidentally, is taking over for IRON FIST. But the discovery I wanted to talk about is this other interactive mystery he wrote, called BATMAN: MURDER AT WAYNE MANOR.

This one is told by Bruce Wayne himself, writing in his journal of the day the 30-year old skeletal remains of a young woman is found on the grounds of his ancestral home, and all the evidence he finds seems to point to none other than – dun dun DUUUUN! – DOCTOR THOMAS WAYNE.

Once again you get the “clues” as Bruce finds them, and the solution is in the back of the book – NO PEEKING! – I have to say, I really am enjoying this concept of the interactive mystery, and I hope Quirk Books keeps’em coming. I’ll admit, I peeked in the Watson book but I only confess to this because I’m rather proud of myself for solving the Batman mystery. Because, as we’ve established, I’m a geek. But the bigger thing to note: if you have reservations about Frubaker’s departure from IRON FIST, do yourselves this favor and find these two books. If they’re any indication of Duane’s sheer ingenuity and ability as an author, then Iron Fist is going to be in very good hands!

I am curious about one thing, though…

A passing of the torch, as it were?

I know that’s Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker on the right, but is that Duane and (now full-time artist) Travel Foreman on the left? If so, I’m gonna quote a certain cartoon cat when I say…”Nice touch.

And now, I’d like to make a special mention of a couple of my favorite moments from FINAL CRISIS #2…

“And pray for a resurrection.” I just like that. In 2008, you’d just have to say something like that at a spandex funeral, you know? At the same time, that leads me to wonder…why’s anybody crying? Suck it up, Vixen. Unless she’s thinking about her odds of a resurrection, in which case…erm, uh…yeah.

And props have to go out for such a solid departing image in the form of Barry Allen, the Black Racer – New God of Death, and the theo-toxic quantum bullet that felled Orion all comin’ atcha at once!

I have to say, this image pretty much had the exact opposite effect on me, than say, CIVIL WAR #2. I firmly believe that image should make you want to buy the next issue, not forcibly restrain yourself from throwing the comic back onto the shelves in sheer disgust. So yeah, I’m still on board and will be buying FINAL CRISIS #3. So far we’re seeing that the New Gods of Apokolips have been reborn, and are possessing various humans as they congregate at the burnt husk of Bludhaven, but there’s still the whereabouts of the Gods of New Genesis that has yet to be addressed. Or maybe it has, because I’m starting to suspect that Shiloh Norman is Scott Free reborn…

…what do you think? [GEEK]CAN YOU SOLVE THE MYSTERY?[/GEEK]

*AHEM* OK…better. Promise. Now, hands-down the greatest moment for my money this week goes to Ed Brubaker, Rob De La Torre and company for CAPTAIN AMERICA #39. In the opening scene we got an interesting bit of commentary on American politics as Crazy 50’s Cap watches Senator Wright’s campaign speech…

Very interesting statement, here – in American politics, it really doesn’t matter what you say, does it? Just make sure to hit those buzzwords, and you’re gonna get someone excited!

There’s also a teaser for the clash of Cap-sessors between Cee-Fitty-Cee and our own Bucky Cap, but that’s gonna wait until next issue; the real treat for this issue, is Sharon Carter. You don’t need a spoiler alert to know that Agent 13 has been through the ringer for the last year or so – she’d been brainwashed into killing Steve Rogers, and on top of that she’s carrying Steve’s baby. At this point she’s still being held captive, strapped to a bed, and to add insult to injury, her roomie’s the Red Skull’s daughter, Sin herself…

I only have these images up because…well, in order to really appreciate this? You need the build up. And when it comes to the build-up, Mr. Brubaker is a proven master. Wait for it…

…Annnd NOW!

Ohhh, yeah…TELL me Sin hasn’t been asking for this!

I love a good rally. If this were a scene in a movie, it’d be Ian McKellen’s jailbreak from X-MEN 2. Just… *kissing fingertips* Mmm! SWEET. Wait, I’m sorry but I just need you to hit me with this one more time!

Ok ok ok…once more, indulge me. Think of it as your Moment of Zen. Okay? Ready?

Love it.

I’m gonna hit y’all back next week with a discussion of a Thor prequel miniseries that has all the makings of Marvel’s unsung hit of the summer, but I wanted to share something I just came across from DC’s “Love of Comics” Panel at Wizard World Chicago this past weekend. I just really liked this excerpt attributed to Dan DiDio:

DiDio’s first comics he bought were HULK #152 and AVENGERS #100. “When people say to me that comics should be more accessible, this is what I always say. First issue I bought of Hulk, he was on trial, a blind man who turns into a superhero is defending him, the Fantastic Four comes bursting through the doors and I had no idea what they were doing there. The Avengers are there. And I have no idea what’s going on,” he said.

“The stories are so interesting and compelling,” he explained. “And this is what we always say. If you make them interesting enough and compelling enough, that’s what pulls you in. And that’s our goal. How do you make comics accessible? You make them accessible by making them compelling enough to make people want to read more.

“When I first met Geoff [Johns], we talked about continuity. We have a lot of continuity discussions,” DiDio said. “Geoff was the guy who said to me about continuity: Everybody has continuity. Everyone. Every one of you people have something going on. You’ve had a life in front of the moment that you’re at this panel, and you’ll have a life after. Everybody had continuity. That doesn’t mean I can’t meet you for the first time. Right? Seriously. It doesn’t mean I’m going to say, ‘Oh my God! He’s been alive 40 years! I don’t want to get anywhere near him! He’s confusing!'”


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