Archive for Meta

Bye-Bye to Bully

If you needed more evidence that we’re all living in the Darkest Timeline: Bully the Little Stuffed Bull has decided to stop blogging.

He’s earned the rest — he’s been blogging for 15 years, and I can’t blame anyone for being ready to stop after all that time. He’s one of the last remaining bloggers from the Golden Age of Comics Blogging, and he’s kept his blog fun and positive for longer than I can imagine.

And I’m still a little pissed about it, ’cause Bully’s blog is so good, and I hate that we won’t have it around.

You can still find Bully on Twitter and Instagram.

May the cookies and cakes and burgers never end, Bully.

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Hit the Bricks

I’ve got plenty of excellent stuff to review right now, but I just can’t get interested in writing up any reviews. So I ain’t gonna.

I will note a minor change here on the blog — I’ve deleted my link in my blogroll to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. I did it for the following two reasons.

First: The past week has been a rough one for comics fans as we deal with the fact that a lot of comics creators, both prominent and obscure, have spent years abusing women, particularly creators trying to break into the industry. And one of those abusers is Charles Brownstein, the CBLDF’s longtime executive director.

And they’re not new or obscure accusations either. They date back to at least 2005, and were updated by the Comics Journal article in 2018. CBLDF has largely shrugged this all off. It’s not a good look for any organization that’s supposed to be focused on protecting comics creators, either back then or today.

Second: This is something that has irritated and mystified me for the last three years. The CBLDF defended neo-Nazi Milo Yianopoulos.

Wait, you say, was this related to a comic book he made? Nope, it was just a book he was getting a generous advance for writing. It had nothing at all to do with comics.

But wait, you say, was he being censored? Was his book seized by police or banned by the government? Nopers, friends, what was happening was that common ol’ private citizens and advocacy groups, unhappy that any publisher felt comfortable giving an abusive neo-Nazi — best known for trolling, doxxing innocent people, and giving winking approval to pedophilia — a generous advance for writing a shitty book, began organizing boycotts of publisher Simon & Schuster. And the CBLDF decided that was an unfair infringement on the sacred rights of a multi-national publishing corporation.

And no, it didn’t make a lick of sense to anyone else either. And the organization has never bothered to explain themselves to all the folks asking why. Frankly, it felt like they were offended that anyone was talking back to them, or maybe just hoping it’d blow over quickly before any comics creators decided to stop letting them sell autographed comics…

It took me longer than it should have to remove the link in my blogroll, partly because I only started blogging again just a few months back, and partly because I was privileged enough that I’d managed to forget both these incidents.

So give money to your favorite creators’ Patreons, drop money in your favorite bloggers’ tip jars, and contribute to the Hero Initiative. But let’s allow the CBLDF to fade away, hopefully to be replaced by an organization that doesn’t approve of Nazis and doesn’t assault women.

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The Future, Conan?

Okay, I’ve told you the blog is back, and I’ve told you what’s happened to me over the past few years. So I guess the next question is — what comes next? What does the future hold?

Well, as far as this blog goes — I’m not really sure.

I won’t be able to blog about comics as much as I used to. There are no comics shops in the town I live in now. I can pick up Archie digests at the supermarket, and the local library carries a small number of graphic novels. The closest comics shop is about an hour away — I’ve been in the store once, and it was genuinely the worst comics shop I’ve ever seen. The next closest stores are two hours away — and I deeply dislike the idea of driving for four hours there and back to pick up weekly comics.

Even if I had easy access to a comics shop, I probably wouldn’t buy many. I just don’t have the money for it nowadays. I’ll order a graphic novel occasionally, and if there are interesting comics available for free through Comixology Unlimited, I’ll read those, too.

But a few reviews of older graphic novels probably ain’t gonna cut it for gripping blog content, right?

I can do other reviews, too, of course. I already did quite a few book reviews before, so we’re all used to that. I could do movie, TV, and game reviews — but those wouldn’t happen often, ’cause I nearly never watch movies or TV or play games anymore.

I could rant about politics all the freakin’ time. But I’m not entirely sure y’all would want that, since it would mostly be me screaming about all the people I want to club with crowbars. Because I want to club so very many people with crowbars. I think about clubbing people with crowbars all the time. And while it might be fun for me, I suspect it’d get boring and creepy for the rest of y’all. I’ll try to keep the political rants to a minimum.

(At some point, I’m sure I’ll be posting about COVID-19. I got parents in the high-risk group. I’m nervous as heck.)

I can also post photos. I’ve taken a ton of pix for Instagram, and I sure don’t mind re-posting them here. Plus I could post some of my old poetry, old RPG characters, all kinds of random and quasi-cool stuff. Of course, those aren’t really typical blog fodder — and I hope to post a lot of that on my new personal website, when or if I get it up and running.

No matter what I end up writing about, however, I’ll probably be posting a lot less often than I used to. Not daily, not three times a week. I’m not even sure I want to say I’ll post every week. I have other projects I’m trying to work on these days — like I said, I want to start up a personal website, plus I’m writing a novel, and I try to post essays on other websites, too.

Above all else, I don’t want to get to the point where I absolutely despise writing for the blog, which was definitely the case by the time I quit blogging before. Hopefully, a less frequent blogging non-schedule will help stave off burnout.

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What Has Gone Before

So I’ve started blogging again, and I’m sure you’re wondering (yes indeed lololol) what’s been happening with me over the last four years.

It ain’t been great.

I got fired from my job soon after I quit blogging. I’m still not entirely sure why I got the axe, but they’d been working on getting rid of me for quite a while — vastly increasing my workload, trying to get me to do additional work off-the-clock, etc. I figure either my boss decided I was boring and uncool, and decided to unload me for cooler people, or the division as a whole was working to discard workers with more seniority in favor of recent graduates they thought they could underpay.

After that, I was unemployed for over three years. I was able to move in with the folks and have been more than pleased to help them out here and there. Still, I’m in a far worse place than I was before — I’m making less than half what I was making in Denton, most of my belongings are in storage, likely permanently, and the nearest decent comics and book stores are hours away.

(I’ll probably be salty for the rest of my life about having to leave Denton. I loved the holy howling heck out of Denton. A beautiful city, two excellent comics stores and more within driving distance, the best damn used bookstore in existence, and a vast variety of things I could take photos of. I’ll also be salty at myself for not appreciating where I lived and spending most of my time hiding inside the house. I should have volunteered at the music festivals. I should have tried more weird restaurants and coffee shops. I should have taken even more photos than I did.)

And the blogosphere in general ain’t doing too great either.

At some point, blogs got abandoned because we let Facebook and Twitter convince us that social media was the only thing we needed. Most of the blogs in my sidebar have been abandoned, and many others haven’t been updated in months. Some of them are even more depressing. Comics Alliance was shut down. Brian Snell, host of “Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep,” died just over a year ago. RIP, Snell, I wish we’d appreciated you more.

And even then, considering how bad things got for me, considering the dwindling of the blogosphere — it’s still better than discovering that half the country, including people we thought were our friends, think Nazis are “Very Fine People,” doesn’t it?

So yeah, the country is falling to pieces, fascist governments are on the rise worldwide, a global coalition of Russians, Nazis, dumbfucks, and trolls got together and worked very hard to kill off video games, comics, and the Hugo Awards — all to win the favor of a Nazi-loving has-been comics artist and a creeptastic anime voice actor, and a worryingly large percentage of our national population is champing at the bit to start going door-to-door machine-gunning their neighbors.

Nihilism is wrecking the country, the environment, democracy, and the economy — ’cause if you can’t own everything, why not just let the world burn to punish everyone else? — but we’re told that the problem is we’re not being civil and polite enough to the maniacs running our lives.

I don’t know how to fix any of this, but I can tell you I have strong desires to trim down the planet’s supply of sociopaths. It might not work, but I could at least have some fun with my duffel bag full of crowbars, right?

So, in summary, the last four years have sucked. Any way to fix it all? Hell if I know. May as well write some blog posts, right?

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Un-Cancelled

It’s been over four years since I shut the blog down, and I regret to inform you that I’m back.

Why? I certainly wasn’t enjoying writing this when I quit, and I’m not under many illusions that I’ll enjoy it more if I start back up again. Blogging is hard work, and it’s incredibly ephemeral, and it’s a distraction from the stuff of real life.

But the world changed all around me and around you and around all of us over the last four years. And I think it’s time to start again.

So again — why do this again? I think it boils down to the simple fact that we all got persuaded that we should give up on blogs and personal websites so we could focus our online lives into social media. And the past few years have certainly shown us that social media suuuuuucks.

Facebook? Zuckerberg and his goons are sociopaths willing to burn the world down for a few extra bucks and a few giggles. Twitter? @Jack is a Nazi, and the only good Nazi is a dead Nazi. Instagram? Listen, I absolutely love Instagram — but it’s owned by Facebook now, and eventually, it’ll turn on us, too.

And the worst thing about ’em? They really are a great way to keep up with your friends. That’s a hard thing to give up, and while I understand people who’ve given up social media so they don’t contribute to the sad state of the world, I know I’m probably not going to be able to quit Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram until it’s way, way too late.

Nevertheless, blogs were — and are — good. And personal websites were — and are — good. They do things that social media can’t do at all, and we never should’ve given up on them.

So I’m starting the blog back up again. Not because I think I can lead other people to start blogging again, but because I want to do it. I hope it’ll be fun. I hope it’ll be a way to improve my writing and my communication skills. And I hope you enjoy what I do.

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Ho-Hum, Back to Sleep

BoredBatman

I ain’t written anything for the blog in days. Just haven’t had a lot of energy for it. Sorry ’bout that.

I didn’t get many comics last week — just the three that I reviewed on Friday. I didn’t have any other comics or graphic novels sitting around that I felt like reviewing either. There’s plenty of stuff irritating me about comics lately, but they’re not irritating me to the level where I feel like I want to spend an evening writing anything coherent about them.

I’ve had trouble feeling really motivated to work on this blog lately. Reviews, reviews, reviews — what’s there to get interested in, right? And my insights into the comics world are probably not very worthwhile either. And working on the blog three times a week just takes away an evening when I could be working on my Great American Novels.

So why keep writing at all? Well, it’s sometimes a lot of fun to write about comics — even when you’re reviewing bad or mediocre books. And I really like the idea of having an online space where, if I really need to, I can rant about anything I feel I need to.

Plus I’ve actually heard from people who said they liked reading the blog. Most of the time, I feel like it’d be so easy to quit — but when you’ve got a couple of fans, it makes you feel like you’d be depriving them of your glory.

I suppose I shall just have to soldier on — but not today. Probably a bit later this week…

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Hard Traveling

HardTravelingHeroes

Well, I should start out saying I’ve got a nice chunk of wonderful news — it’s looking quite likely that I’ll soon be able to buy a house and move out of my apartment. It’s been almost a year of looking at houses and getting the best ones sniped out from under me by investors, but, cross your fingers, knock on wood, I think I’m close to being able to close the deal on a nice place here in Denton.

It comes with a bit of bad news — namely, I’m going to be too busy some evenings to get any blogging done. I’ve got documents to peruse, emails to send, old bills to shred, books to pack, and many, many other chores to attend to before I can get moved. And stuff like that is going to have to hold precedence over the blog from time to time.

And I think today is going to be the first time I’ll have to skip a post so I can focus on other chores around the apartment. I’ll try to limit them as much as I can, but sorry to say, blogging will sometimes have to lose out to real life concerns.

For the sake of including some actual content in here, let me toss out the following observations:

  • I finally got to watch HBO’s “True Detective” series over the weekend, and thought it was just dang great. Part of it was the fantastic acting and mystery, part of it was the cool hints of cosmic horror, part of it was the rural Lousiana scenery, which I got to see for the first time last Christmas and which I’ve been wishing I could see more of in recent months.
  • This roundtable discussion of the Wonder Woman costume from the upcoming Superman/Batman movie is pretty good for the discussion of what works and what doesn’t in the uniform, but it’s also lots and lots of fun for all the tangents about the coolest WW costumes and interpretations.
  • The bright side of this is that there’s no way that wastes-of-protoplasm Opie and Anthony will ever make it back on mainstream radio again.

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Thoroughly Bored

Sorry, y’all, I just didn’t feel like blogging anything Monday or Tuesday, and I don’t much feel like it today either. But we’ll do this anyway.

The problem is that I’m feeling almost completely bored by comics right now. Maybe it’s just the stuff I got last week, but almost everything felt like it was just marking time, putting together another 22 pages so they could sell another comic. I know they can’t all be works of perfect art every week, or even most weeks, but almost everything felt dry and dull.

My set of horror comics last week felt like the worst of the lot — they were all long-running series, and nothing particularly scary happened in them. Seems like a problem you get in any horror longer than a short story. Short stories are almost perfect for conveying horror, but once you start working with horror novels, or with long-running horror series, you gotta work a lot harder to get the scares in, and you gotta keep bringing your A-game to keep your story scary and creepy and shocking. And none of last week’s horror books were bringing their A-game.

And I was gonna go ahead and review the two other comics I had that didn’t bore me — but then I started reading them again, and I thought, ya know, they were really kinda boring, too.

Am I gonna be bored with comics from now on? I hope not. I hope it was just last week’s comics, I hope it’s just summer doldrums, I hope it’s just me feeling apathetic and unproductive.

But for now — ehh, I’m gonna go read a real book.

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Computers Are the Worst

Ultron

Yeah, isn’t it great when your computer service goes completely kaput?

What’s even better is when you call ’em for service, get the Cloyingly Helpful Computer Voice that talks you through all the usual reboot procedures — shut down your modem, shut down your computer, shut down your router. Of course, I’d done all those in the morning when I first noticed the problem, but I gamely went along with the Cloyingly Helpful Computer Voice’s suggestions again. What the hey, can’t hurt, might help. There was no improvement, though, so I figured, okay, finally, I’ll be able to try to schedule some time when a repairman will come out and look at the problem.

But nope, this time, the Cloyingly Helpful Computer Voice wanted me to start reconfiguring the wiring on the back of my machine. You want me to do that — turn the computer around so I can reach the back, unplug wires, and replug wires — while I’m trying to stay on the telephone? Screw you, Cloyingly Helpful Computer Voice.

Seriously, Charter Communications, when you get to that point in the troubleshooting process, shut down the Cloyingly Helpful Computer Voice and put a real person on the line so they can get more relevant and helpful information or figure out when they can send someone in the fix the lines. We all know at that point that it’s not a problem on my end — it’s always a problem on your end.

Long story short — no blog today, and we can all blame Charter Communications for our lack of comic book goodness.

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Best of 2013

LongHalloween4

Oh, I can never keep a hiatus going as long as I say I’m gonna, can I?

It’s the end of the year, and this time, I don’t feel much like enumerating the best comics of 2013. Too many of the best comics are getting cancelled, or they’re published by a certain comics company that I prefer not to read anymore. So instead, let’s talk about how awesome I am. I know, I mostly do reviews, and they’re mostly pretty boring, but sometimes, I do get to do some blog posts I’m pretty happy with. Here are my favorites from 2013.

Hmph, just nine posts in 12 months? I’m slacking off, ain’t I?

Here’s to a better 2014, no matter how unlikely that may be…

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