Archive for Stuff about Scott

The Final Issue

Transmetropolitan59

Friends, I’ve decided to shut the blog down.

As I’ve said more than once in the past, I don’t have a lot of love for this blog. Most days, I really kinda hate it. It doesn’t have a lot of readers, which isn’t that surprising, because almost all I write about is comics reviews, and no one really enjoys comics reviews. The only reason I do them so much is because they’re easy, and it’s much faster to knock out a couple reviews every other day than to do something more complicated.

And even saying reviews can be done quickly, they can’t really be done quickly enough. Working on the blog generally takes a few hours of work, and those hours could’ve been used more productively. Every day that finishing a blog takes ’til bedtime, I have to consider all the projects I could’ve been doing in that time — writing on more fun or substantial projects, reading books, even working on household chores. Those all fall by the wayside because I spend too much time blogging.

It doesn’t mean that I’m not feeling some regret and trepidation about quitting it. I’ve been working on this thing since June 2007, and that seems like a pretty long time to keep a blog active. I’ve written a few things I’m quite proud of, and I’ve always liked the idea of having a platform online where I could break out a good rant if I felt the need. But I also feel that the downsides of working on the blog now outweigh the positives, and it’s time to bite the bullet and shut it down.

I don’t plan on completely shutting it down, honestly — I’ll stop writing on it, but I’ll maintain it. Keeping the domain name ain’t very expensive, and I’d like to keep the site around, partly so the few cool things I wrote will still be around, and partly because I may someday feel like ranting about something. It’s always possible I may want to start blogging again someday, although right now, that seems awfully unlikely.

It’s been interesting to look back and think how much the comics industry — or at least my reaction to the comics industry — has changed over the past eight-plus years. When I started out, I was a complete DC fanboy and read very few books by Marvel. Nowadays, I read relatively few DC books — I’ve still never gotten over the New 52 reboot, and I don’t think the quality of the comics has leveled up to what it used to be. And I read a lot more Marvel books now, because they’re doing a better job of creating the diverse storytelling background that all publishers are going to need going forward.

And it has been really great to see the comics industry catching on — with the occasional neanderthal backslide — that they need to have better female characters to appeal to women readers. It’s also been great to see male readers reading comics with those female characters — great comics are always worth reading, no matter who the stars are. Now hopefully, the industry will step up their game even more on the diversity front. There have been improvements everywhere, but we can’t afford to forget that comics readers come in all ethnicities, all sexual orientations, all gender types. There are ways that the comics industry is pulling the rest of the entertainment world along into the future — I hope they can maintain that march forward.

I will miss getting to read along with y’all as we watch the ongoing robo-tragedy in “The Vision.” I’ll miss reading with you as we follow the fun in “Unbeatable Squirrel Girl,” “Howard the Duck,” “Lumberjanes,” “Spidey,” and “Ms. Marvel.” I’ll miss getting to enjoy the creepy horrors with you in “Harrow County,” “Revival,” and “Alabaster.” I’ll miss discovering new wonders with you in the pages of “Silver Surfer,” “Astro City,” and “Atomic Robo.” I’ll miss following along with you as we learn what finally happens at the end of “Bitch Planet,” “Rat Queens,” and “The Wicked + the Divine.” I’ll miss discovering new and wonderful comics together with you, and watching where the comics industry may finally end up. But I reckon y’all are going to do fine without me reading reviews at you week after week.

So y’all keep spreading the good word about good comics. Read the new stuff, read the old stuff, read superhero comics, read all-ages comics and horror comics and fantasy comics, read literary comics and silly comics. Read comics you love, and evangelize about how great a good comic book is. You’ll be amazed who you can sometimes convert into a dedicated comics fan with the right bit of comics evangelization. But whatever you do, keep reading the good stuff, and don’t be afraid to have fun with your comics.

I’ll see y’all when I see y’all.

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From Bad to Worse

CharlieBrownFootball

Y’all, I’m feelin’ low, and I ain’t got no desire to review comics.

I mean, I can give you mighty quick reviews of the pitifully few comics I picked up last week. The Sandman: Overture #6 is well-written and pretty, but complicated, and if you haven’t been following it, you won’t understand anything. Wait for the trade. Revival #33 is, like the rest of the series, really good, and you can only repeat that so many times before it starts getting dull. American Vampire: Second Cycle #10 is, frankly, something I hope gets wrapped up soon. This was a lot better when it was more personal horror, not focused on vast global conspiracies.

There, that’s done.

I got a trick digestion that only acts up on the weekends. I was already losing money hand over fist — and that was before I just got my house payment jacked up an extra hundred bucks a month. (My folks are already offering to give me money, and I’m already telling them no, because by this point in my life, I should be able to handle my own bills.) My job is very bad and shows no prospects of improving. Yes, all told, those are minor worries, compared to the hardships millions face worldwide.

I really shouldn’t be bothering with this blog. It gets very, very few readers, and I could be spending my time doing more significant and more enjoyable writing. On the other hand, I don’t really want to give up the blog — it’s nice to have a platform I can rant from, even if no one ever reads it.

Plus sometimes it’s fun to write about fun comics. But today is not that day. Today is a day for worrying about jobs and money and ulcers and how slow my Great American Novel is coming along…

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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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This, That and the Other

I got a whole big bucket of stuff I wanna talk about today, and comics reviews ain’t even a one of ’em.

ITEM 1:

FantasticFour1

They’ve announced the cast for the rebooted Fantastic Four movie. And for the most part, my lone reaction is a colossal shrug — I’m not very good at mass-media consumption anymore, and I didn’t recognize the names of any of the actors. But what’s really got certain members of the racist douchebucket fanboy brigade up in arms is that Johnny Storm is going to be played by Michael B. Jordan, a black actor.

There are two proper reactions to this: braying mockery or really excellent commentary examining race in the comics.

Ultimately, this is about smart casting — Jordan is a well-respected actor, it gets the movie a quick pop of controversy, thanks to the never-shutting-up racist population, and it gives comic book movies the opportunity to grow out of the These-Are-Only-For-White-People niche they’ve been locked into for too long.

ITEM 2:

FunHome

A bunch of bigots in the South Carolina legislature actually want to cut funds from a university for suggesting students read Alison Bechdel’s brilliant “Fun Home” graphic novel.

One of the legislators, a Republican from Greenville, SC named Garry Smith said, “One of the things I learned over the years is that if you want to make a point, you have to make it hurt.”

And one of the things I’ve learned over the years is that if you find a moralizing Republican lawmaker in South Carolina, you’re pretty damn certain to find out that he spends his free time having sex with barnyard animals. All it takes is enough patient research into Rep. Smith’s background.

ITEM 3:

TI994A

I’m looking forward to the next week or so here in Denton — it’s the beginning of GeeKon, a celebration of all things geeky and awesome. It’s mostly geared toward college students, but I hope I can enjoy some of the events without anyone complaining too much about the middle-aged fat guy in the crowd.

I’ll probably end up missing out on a lot of events — some of the film screenings will be taking place during work hours, and some of the other events are really geared so strongly toward geeks in their 20s that I think I’d feel much too awkward being in the audience — but I’m really looking forward to the UNT Comics Studies Conference, which focuses on academic approaches to comics.

And finally…

Dillweed

Greg Abbott is a dillweed.

A racist, sexist, homophobic, cowardly dillweed.

When I take over this state, Greg Abbott is going to get escorted to the nearest state line and told to get out and not come back.

And when it comes to the nearest state line, I intend to start measuring from Galveston.

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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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My Brain Hurts

BigHeadFlash

Sorry, folks, no blogging from me for today. I got stuck with a screaming headache most of the day yesterday and could barely stand to look at the computer screen.

I don’t even think I can blame the long weekend, as I spent the whole time being restful and quiet. Probably just one of those my-brain-doesn’t-want-to-blog-so-here’s-a-headache headaches.

I’ll make it up to you. Okay, I won’t actually make it up to you, but I reckon I’ll blog another day instead.

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Thanks for Nothing, Charter Communications

Sorry for the lack of content lately. It hasn’t helped that I haven’t had a lot of inspiration for comics blogging. And it really didn’t help that Charter Communications, my Internet provider, suffers from frequent slow connection problems. Usually just for an hour at a time, but yesterday, it was all evening long. Rebooting the modem multiple times didn’t do diddly. I wasn’t able to even check e-mail ’til this morning.

But that’s Charter for you. Probably not the worst company in the country, but that’s just because they don’t kill puppies, sell poisonous baby formula, or publish DC Comics (trying to figure the right profit margin, I reckon).

I’m not even sure there’d be any point in trying to contact ’em, ’cause this is how it’d go:

Charter: “Did you reboot the modem?”
Me: “Yes, rebooted the modem and the router. Even rebooted the computer, even though there’s no reason rebooting the computer would have the slightest effect, but I knew you douchemooks would want me to do that.”
Charter: “Can you reboot all those things right now?”
Me: “No, I can’t. I’m at work.”
Charter: “Can you go home and reboot all those things?”
Me: “No, I can’t. I’m at work. I have a job, and they’d rather me not spend half the day jumping through hoops for you. Have you checked for any outages? Maybe you need to boost the signal at the line nearest my apartment? That’s what you had to do last time there was a problem like this.”
Charter: “We never have outages. We never admit fault. The problem is obviously on your end, because shut up, that’s why. Bye, remember to pay your bill on time!”

Maybe this’ll be a continuing problem in the evenings from now on, but I hope not.

In happier news, though still non-comics-related, I’ve been losing a good deal of weight. Not sure about the actual poundage, but I’ve had to tighten my belt two notches, which is certainly a good sign.

And the seemingly-abandoned cat from next door, which I was considering adopting despite serious cat dander allergies and an un-catproofable house, just to keep it from starving to death or freezing in the winter, has already been adopted by one of my neighbors. I gave the guy the cat food I’d bought this weekend to encourage him to treat Kitty nicely.

Okay, here’s some comics-related stuff. You guys like horror comics, right? Nod your head, of course you do. Well, Amazon is currently selling giant collections of the horror art of Richard Corben and Bernie Wrightson for relatively cheap. Frankly, they were pretty cheap already, but the current discounts make ’em a lot more affordable. So check ’em out if you love beautiful horror art and if you can spare the scratch.

See y’all later, when I’ve got bloggable stuff to write about… and if my ‘net connection holds up.

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Adjust your Calendar

Well, now, here’s the thing.

A couple weeks back, I came home from work and had a great idea for a story I wanted to write — not something for the blog, but something I could potentially send in to publishers and get money for. But before I worked on that, I had to write up the next day’s blog post. And by the time I spent the usual hour or two cooking it together, I was sick of sitting in front of the computer and not much feeling like doing anymore writing anyway.

Then the same thing happened the day after that. And the day after that.

Many a week goes by where I don’t have time to write because I’ve got to work on the blog. Heck, it’s even hard to find time for gaming or reading or lots of other fun things.

Of course, I could still find time to write, I’m sure, but the blog is becoming a too-convenient excuse, and so I’m seeing it less as something I enjoy doing, and more as something that’s an unpaid, low-readership, somewhat odious, and mostly unshirkable responsibility.

And that way leads burnout.

I’m not interested in quitting the blog — it has its own intangible rewards. But I’m also not real happy that it seems to control so much of my free time.

So this is what we’re gonna try: I’m going to cut my blogging back from five days a week to three. You can expect blog posts here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I might still post something on Tuesdays or Thursdays, if there’s something particularly interesting I want to talk about. But for the most part, posts will appear on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays only.

Let’s see how this works out, ‘kay?

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