Archive for Pessimism Never Fails

A New Year of Horror

Well, it’s 2009. Not really feeling thrilled about it. One thing I learned long ago — every year is always worse than the last. There’s no reason to celebrate the new year — it’s just a reminder that time keeps passing, and that all our hopeful dreams for the future will inevitably end up as ashes and dust.

I came up with some predictions last year at this time, and they were generally wildly off-base, as most predictions are. The problem was that I tried to mix some optimism in with the pessimism, which isn’t a mistake I’ll make again.

Short-and-simple predictions:

Dan DiDio will stay on at DC, and Joe Quesada will stay on at Marvel. They’ll continue to make rotten comics, because their movies will make money, and their stockholders only care about how much money the movies make, not whether the comics are any good or not. Movies are big business — comics are small business.

More comics cancellations on the way, all for comics that don’t suck. Readers seem to hate comics that are good, and with the worsening economy, the publishers won’t be willing to stick with comics that don’t sell.

More giant crossovers on the way. Because the last thing you need in a rotten economy is a giant crossover that forces readers to spend their dwindling leisure dollars on badly-written crossovers that will be ignored next year anyway.

Bankruptcies ahoy. DC may be safe, because they’re part of Time-Warner. Marvel is a smaller fish, so they may be on shakier ground — on the other hand, the movies make lots of money, so that may help a lot. Lots of smaller publishers are probably on the verge already. I have no idea which ones, ’cause for some reason, they won’t let me look at their budgets and account info. But I think we’ll see some of them go belly-up.

Is that enough predictions? Probably so. Let’s hit a couple quick reviews. And just to stick with the bleak, depressing, pessimistic, staring-doom-in-the-face mood I’ve been working with, let’s look at a couple horror comics.


Crossed #2

We follow our small pack of survivors as they continue to try to avoid the attention of the Crossed — people who have become infected with a condition that turns them into psychotic, sadistic serial killers. The only way to tell one of the Crossed from a normal person is the bloody cross-shaped rash that develops on their faces. Anyway, our survivors make a narrow escape from a group of gun-slinging Crossed in which one of their number are injured by gunfire. They also discover two things about their adversaries: first, that the Crossed sometimes turn on each other when they can’t find anyone else to kill, and second, that the Crossed aren’t just giggling zombies — they can think, they can plan, and their strategies are, while twisted, dangerously effective.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Have I warned y’all before that this is not a comic for kids? I’ll do it again. Parents, feel free to enjoy this comic for all its horrifying, depressing beauty, but don’t go thinking all comics are for kids and leave it with your child’s Archie books. There’s nudity here, there’s a great deal of violence, there’s adult content galore. I’m not saying it’s a bad comic — this is an absolutely excellent comic. It has everything you want in horror, and one of these days, it’s going to get made into an outstanding horror movie. I highly recommend it for adults. I just don’t think you should give it to the kiddies.


Necronomicon #4

Well, I missed several issues of this one, but it looks like innocent collegian Henry Said is in over his head. The people he thinks of as his friends have captured an eldritch elder horror and plan to torture it to learn of its masters’ plans for the Earth. Henry’s compassionate nature leads him to wait ’til no one’s looking, then he frees the creature. This sets the Miskatonic University crew against him, and the creatures may still try to destroy them, despite Henry’s kindness. And more trouble is on the way — Henry’s football-loving friend Maxey may have been co-opted, the horrendous Mi-Go are still active, and the girl Henry loves, Rachel, is slated to have her brain removed and transported to another planet. Can Henry survive when a war between the Mi-Go and the shoggoths erupts around him?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It really is a tribute to the writing on this that I was still able to catch on to what was going on and enjoy the heck out of it, even though I’d missed the entire middle of the story. You’ll get the most out of this story if you’re already pretty familiar with the pulp horror of H.P. Lovecraft, but if you aren’t, the story and plotline are still pretty clear. (And if you’re not familiar with Lovecraft’s cosmic horror yet — get ye to your local library or bookstore and start reading his stuff!)

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Your Depressing News of the Day


DC’s outstanding “Blue Beetle” series is being cancelled.

One of the books that I’m most disappointed about in that regard is a book like Blue Beetle, which we are cancelling. That’s a book that we started with very high expectations, but it lost its audience along the way. Recently, we felt that it was standing on firmer ground, and was getting a more positive response. The problem is that the firmer ground and positive response is not enough to keep the book afloat. So unfortunately, we had to cancel that series.

This comes on the heels of DC cancelling “Robin,” “Nightwing,” “Birds of Prey,” and “Manhunter.” That’s an awful lot of prominent and well-regarded comics to toss onto the trash heap.

Of course, the problem is that DC is a business, and “Blue Beetle,” no matter how much critical acclaim it’s received, just hasn’t sold well. And with the economy on a screaming downslide and everyone worried about rising unemployment, flat wages, and everything getting more and more expensive, leisure-based businesses, like comics, gaming, electronics, etc., are cutting back.

It’s really kinda hard to fault DC here. They’ve given “Blue Beetle” lots and lots of time to find an audience, and for some reason, the audience has stayed away. I wish they could keep giving it more chances, because I love the book. I love the El Paso setting, I love the focus on Hispanic culture, I love all the awesome characters. I’ll miss the book enormously, and the comics industry as a whole will be worse off for losing it.

So read the single issues while you can, pick up the trade paperbacks while you can. DC’s best monthly comic is riding off into the sunset soon.

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Just 364 Shopping Days Left…


Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to December 26th, or as I prefer to call it, International Seasonal Let-Down Day.

You’ve been stuffed full of turkey, ham, and sweet potatoes, and you still have another two weeks of leftovers to look forward to. And after you’re done with the leftovers? You get to diet. Not that you’ll actually lose that weight, but you gotta do it anyway.

Your presents were nice, but you’re already a little bored with them. You’ve got gift cards and Christmas cash to use, but you also know your credit card bills are coming. And rent’s coming due, too.

You have to take the tree, the lights, and all the decorations down.

Uncle Ronnie was both shirtless and drunk before noon yesterday.

Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward Men completely failed to materialize for the 2,007th year in a row.

The coldest, most miserable part of winter is still ahead of you.

And if you’re like me, you have to go back to work today.

So no real blogging today. Just work.

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