diflucan 2 doses

Tom’s fault

Brian Hibbs

I haven’t been writing lately for maybe a million reasons: been lazy; Ben’s started school again, throwing my schedule back into adjustment; Mercury is in retrograde; I fucked up in posting something, and have been gunshy since; trying to focus on my actual business (the one that makes me money); I’m just not feeling oh so much of the current output of my biggest partners; I’m just a very very bad man — take your pick, they’re all part of it.

I’ve actually mused on “shutting down” this site — well, I wouldn’t get rid of it altogether, but maybe it’s time to admit that hoping that people will write for free (since advertising pays about $20/year to each contributor) doesn’t really fit the internet in 2010. I dunno.

(though, Jeff and Graeme’s podcasts are pretty awesome, damn it)

But Spurgeon “called us out” today, and made me feel bad enough about it that I thought I should at least post SOME kind of review while I try and figure out how to get my groove back, so here is a trio of books from this week…

5 DAYS TO DIE #1 (OF 5)


Ah, here’s to synchronicity: two weekly five issue mini-series that share a common theme spelled out in the titles, arriving exactly the same week (in a five Wednesday month)

Before I talk about content, let me note that weekly almost-anythings are not the greatest sales idea in the current climate — absent some sort of retailer protection (like partial returnability or the like), such things are utterly and completely doomed to have insignificant orders and support, and almost certainly aren’t going to make them up in reorders because of the mechanical realities for most retailers in restocking. Because of how we do reorders, there’s basically no chance of me getting restock on a (theoretical) sellout of #1 before #3 arrives, and FOC (in the case of the Marvel series) doesn’t work either because we’re currently FOCing #4 this week… and #1 has been on sale for (as I type this) 41 minutes now.

Plus, most retailers really don’t like or want mini-series, especially short short ones like 5 issues — we have every expectation that the collection on these is going to come much sooner than later, so why stock any inventory on the periodical? There’s no real way to make any money of it, especially on a weekly series (see previous para)

In the case of Marvel’s, specifically, I also want to call out how the book was solicited — as “HEROIC AGE ONE MONTH TO LIVE #1 (OF 5)”. The actual object that shipped? No HA branding anywhere to be seen, and it is suddenly called “1 Month 2 Live” (thanks, Twitter!), which really scans as a Long-I “live”, and sounds more like a popstar live tour than anything else. When checking in the books yesterday afternoon, I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t find the book on the invoice (alphabetically “1” comes before the letter “o”… let alone the letter “h”) — it took me a couple of minutes to puzzle out what the original title should have been.

Anyway, yeah, same basic premise involved in these two books — a guy living an unhappy life finds out he’s terminal, must figure out a way to deal with that.

In the IDW version, we’ve got a pulpy crime take — Writer Andy Schmidt gives us the hardboiled stuff, and Artist Chee goes all monochrome with it (though, really, the book is in color, just seldom more than one per page), but I found my credibility strained from post-diagnosis moment one — the protagonist is told he has five days to live, IF he stays in bedrest; otherwise he’s likely to die faster. Plus, if that wasn’t enough he has whiplash too. So of course he gets into a physical altercation in under 5 minutes, and is shown in a violent shootout later that day… but to no ill effects.

More generally, I wonder how often someone is told they have a month or under to live when they have no symptoms otherwise — the IDW take at least gives a somewhat plausible explanation of a car accident, but we’re meant to beleive in the Marvel take that he’s had terminal cancer for a while, just didn’t know it. That doesn’t actually happen, does it?

The Marvel version, which will, strangely, have five different creative teams over the five issues (say goodbye to a satisfying TP read, then!) is, this issue, by Rick Remender and Andrea Mutti. Remender’s script is unremarkable, but moves things along briskly, and Mutti’s art is very “Marvel house style”: reminding me of, mm, Paul Ryan, maybe. Because it is a Marvel comic, in the Marvel Universe, of course the protagonist gets superpowers (from, ahem, being force-fed medical waste by central-casting junkie/robbers) — though, in a pretty uncanny bit of plothammering, one of the robbers turns out to be working for the “big bad”, and doesn’t realize he’s hunting for the protagonist…

Both comics were competant, if uninspiring, but I think I liked the marvel one a smidge more — in the IDW one I just couldn’t get past the in-an-accident-gets-up-and-is-fine staging, while that’s a fairly natural superhero trope. Plus the Marvel one was a bit denser of a read. But they’re both, essentially, OK stories.

NAMOR, THE FIRST MUTANT #1: So, here’s the thing: if you want a monthly ongoing regular comic series to work (and this is billed as a monthly, ongoing book, not a mini), then you need to introduce your protagonist clearly, establish a goal (or goals) for them, and show us thier supporting cast and world so that we have a reason to want to come back for the next issue (and the next FIFTY after that!)

What you kind of don’t want it to do is start off in the middle of another crossover, and spend all of your time dealing with what appear to be unimportant plot points from that crossover while not really establishing anything about your protagonist whatsoever.

Like: what’s all that (in the title) about Namor being “the first mutant”? That’s not mentioned or referenced especially in the text, nor does it seem to be particularly relevent to anything that’s going on in the actual plot. I mean, you and I know what they mean by that, because we’ve been reading comics forever, but I can’t imagine what a theoretical “new” reader would make of the supposed setup here at all.

If you haven’t read X-Men comics in the last few weeks, I’m not sure that you’d get what Namor’s doing, or why it would be important — he’s trying to get Dracula’s severed head? Why? THIS comic doesn’t tell you.

The “supporting cast”, such as it is here (I can’t name one character involved, less than 8 hours after reading it) are generally unlikable, and don’t like/respect Namor at all, who is portrayed, as usual, as a complete asshole, anyway.

While the art by Ariel Olivetti is terrific (as usual), I can not, for the life of me, understand who this book might be aimed at, other than absolute X-completists who will feel compelled to buy it because of the word “mutant” in the title.

(which, by the way, even Marvel doesn’t seem sure what the book is called — the indicia and cover agree on “Namor: the First Mutant”, but the “next issue” page seems to believe it is called “X-Men: Curse of the Mutants — Namor”)

Either way, as a discrete unit of entertainment, this was, well, EH, I guess, since I’m not hot on utterly unlikable protagonists; as the first issue of a monthly, ongoing series? AWFUL.

VERONICA #202: There’s a new cute boy in town… and he’s GAY! That’s pretty much all there is to this, other than lots of characters trying to trick/punish Ronnie for her vapid selfishness. Which is fine.

There’s really not much in the comic about being gay… which is really probably fine, given the target audience of Archie comics. Really, I am more interested in the possible socialogical ramifications of “America’s Most Wholesome Teen” comics having a gay character WHERE IT IS NO BIG DEAL.

It shouldn’t BE a big deal, duh, obviously, but if I had to point to one thing in the whole universe that makes me think that all fifty states will recognize Gay Marraige in my lifetime, I might offer this as Exhibit One — the absolute and complete casualness that everyone (well, except Ronnie, but that’s because she’s frustrated she can’t get at Archie through the new kid) accepts and welcomes the gay character suggests to me that the cultural shift already happened, and it is just a matter of time before the laws of our land catch up to it.

The problem with the comic, to me, is that the New Gay Kid, Kevin Keller, really doesn’t seem to have much going for him characterwise. In fact, they make the really really weird decision to have his most notable characteristic to be precisely that of Jughead — he can eat a whole lot (but, I guess, not get fat) — in fact, he has several eating contests with Juggie to really underline that. Oh, and I guess he likes texting (presumably to his boyfriend, but it is underplayed) Ultimately, I don’t see where this character goes next, or what role he plays that Jughead couldn’t handle just fine.

I’m so not the target audience for this — I’d personally call it pretty EH — but I have to admit that Archie has got me looking at more Archie comics in the last year than I’ve read in the prvious decade, combined, so they must be doing something right Mamoroneck…

That’s what I have for you today, Tom — as always, what did YOU think?


58 Responses to “ Tom’s fault ”

  1. * – we used to get Futurama on terrestrial TV – the channel that shows Simpsons. They bowdlerised it in such a haphazard fashion that characters would jump and stutter like an old CD, just so we wouldn’t have to hear a dirty joke.

    Of course, then, Hollyoaks would come on and it would be like watching an FHM spread.

    Anyway, I complained about it. And got gently patronised.

    Fast-forward to last Tuesday, and SMALLVILLE.

    Now I flipping hate Smallville. But I never miss an episode. I hate every fanwanky nod to DC “continuity” (I could not bring myself to read that Tiny Titans comic for the same reason. And it marred my enjoyment of Brave and the Bold.), I hate the non-motion, the lazy melodrama. The Justice Society! For the love of pete! Flipping Watchmen done right, eh? Only, for some reason, Hawkman is the only one of these old bastards never to age! And suddenly after five years, somebody remembers that Chloe’s mother is mentally ill! Clap clap clap.

    I mean, yes, I love Erica Durance, she’s the only good thing about it, she’s the best Lois Lane ever, blag blargal bar. And despite it all, I love Cassidy Freeman, who has been playing with quiet menace the only lesbian supervillain – oh, Scandal and Knockout. Never mind – but suddenly, after two and a bit years, suddenly Everything You Know Is Wrong, and I’m all like, goddamnit!

    Zod. You Bawr-sterd. NEE-UWL BE-FOWAH ZHOD. I hate him and I love him, and every time I watch it, I am reminded why bringing back Kryptonians en masse (or at all) is a really stupid goddamn thing to do. Not even Justine Batman could make that work.

    Where was I?

    Oh! They edit that, too. If you see it in the daytime, it’s edited, so that all the punches are cut out – most of the violence, actually – and our precious little minds are well and truly protected from goddamn Superman.

    Only last week, they edited the night time version, as well. Now, I’m pretty sure they do that as a matter of course, but the edits to last week’s show – the one where The Sandman is kidnapping the Kandorians, only it’s not The Sandman, it’s a NODNODWINKWINKGASMASKGLEE – were of such violent and ragged quality that the whole climax of the show was ruined. Seriously, it was like reading a comic that an angry slobbering dog has had a go at.

    Anyway, I gets me dander up, and I write another blistering letter of complaint – knowing full well that they were probably going to enjoy it. (I mean “ignore,” but I have to respect the typo.)

    Next day, I get a response. “Sorry you felt bad, yes it was the edited show, don’t call us.” I don’t think it was supposed to sound so dismissive, but what, really, were they going to do? Change their editorial policy?

    But the kicker – the absolute kick to the cock – the thing that made me wonder if they weren’t just fucking with me:

    The sender was a superhero.

    The name on the email – I won’t share it with you – was the secret identity of a C-list Marvel Superhero. And not a common name, when I think about it.

    It was like recieving an email from fucking Razorback.

    So it’s not all great, is what I’m saying.


  2. I just saw Stewart Lee live the other night, bought his new book the next door, it’s the closest to an autobiography you may get, it will be text book reading for a new generation of comedians I imagine.

    On the topic of Skins, Stewart Lee’s interview about it by Charlie Brooker is a perfect encapsulation of why I do not have any interest in it.

    Also, I am old and my kidneys are filled with sand.

    Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe/Newswipe is of course amazing. You Have Been Watching is crippled by tv gameshow format.

    While in Edinburgh last month I saw Simon Munnery, his sketch show Attention Scum! is up on youtube, well worth watching.

    British comedy wise The Inbetweeners is the best thing in ages. I haven’t caught up with the IT Crowd, currently watching Life on Mars.

    American shows: The Green Room ep 3 is fantastic (Dana Gould/Andy Dick/Brendan Burns/Andy Kindler guest).

    Australian: Frontline is pretty great, predates the Office but is comparable in style, with a media focus.

  3. Now that my kid gets me up at the crack of fucking dawn everyday, we watch the Canadien (see: On-topic! It’s a territory still, right?) teen soap-opera edgemont. So sweet. One of the main girls is a young Kristin Kreuk (see: On-Topic!) who was Lana Lang on Smallville. I had to do some internet searching to figure out where I recognized her from.

    As for British comedy
    A) Abhay, how do you find/watch these shows? Sometimes on FO, I see y’all talk about things like Thick of It, or some of the more obscure Herzog documentaries. When I try and track it down, (I am totally internet stupid, the only thing I can think to try is Netflix) they don’t have it. I am totally curious how Matthew can reccomend a show to you and then three comments later you have already seen it. Does Beverly Hills just have the most kick-ass On Demand ever? I live in New Orleans, and all I get is Treme, which has bored me to no end.

    b) re: Steve Coogan. I don’t remember where I read this, but there are some funny ass comments from Courtney Love about that guy out there in the inter-ether. She is super fucking bitter about the fact that all of her drug problems are his fault. ALL OF THEM! He has apparently made it his mission in life to wait for Courtney to check out of rehab, and then hang baggies of meth over her head like mistletoe.

  4. (I kind of was curious about those Smallville JSA shows… I like the JSA but I’ve always been pretty okay with never having seen an episode of Smallville… It was just that initial ad campaign always flashes in my head– it was, like, Superman with his shirt off in a corn field, showing off his pecs to the corn… that ad campaign: not really targeted to me…)

    “Australian: Frontline is pretty great, predates the Office”

    Oh, that does sound good– sounds like a Canadian post-Larry Sanders show called the Newsroom I was obsessed with in the early 00’s (though I heard the creator Ken Finkleman ran it into the ground in the later seasons– strange guy; sort of inspired in equal part by Shandling, Fellini, and Chris Morris, which is not always the best combination…)

    “Abhay, how do you find/watch these shows? Sometimes on FO, I see y’all talk about things like Thick of It, or some of the more obscure Herzog documentaries”

    I’m no Herzog expert like Tucker or Joe– Joe’s obviously the guy to ask about Herzog. But most all of Herzog is on Netflix on demand– it feels that way, anyways. He’s certainly made some good ones.

    As for British comedy generally: Youtube has oodles of stuff. Youtube is– it’s really getting difficult to remember a time when Youtube didn’t exist. And except NBC, most people aren’t very hostile or they don’t have the time or budget to take things off that site. Entire episodes of many, many thing end up on Youtube. A guy like Charlie Brooker, say, whose work can be cut into smaller pieces– there’s oodles of Charlie Brooker on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHun58mz3vI got linked here and there this year, say). Most of his Screenwipes are on youtube, say– entire episodes! The Stewart Lee bit on Skins that’s been mentioned is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd-szRoYe_E. Not a funny bit but… (Stand-ups– unbelievable tons of stand-up on there). (It’s the first place I go when I hear about a new band anymore…)

    (Though I don’t think that zombie show Brooker did is on there– Dead Set…? I *liked* Dead Set. If Walking Dead can be as good as Dead Set, dang, that’d be pretty good… Though Dead Set was fast zombies, which…)

    And then beyond that– you know: there’s people who put things on the internet in a less authorized manner, which also makes a great many things accessible. There are entire invitation-only websites that are nothing but British television– I don’t belong to them, but… I suppose there are moral issues there, but…

    You know: I’ve seen things on the internet where it’s American teenage girls who apparently watch nothing but Korean soap operas… You can build the culture you want on the internet, which… is complicated because… what does culture mean then, but… You know…still!

    Really, if you can find out about something, anymore– it’s on the internet SOMEWHERE. When I was a kid, you’d have to HUNT for things, or do without. Or just not know about things. But… That era seems done but maybe I don’t understand all that net neutrality talk enough…

    But comedy’s one of those things– only a few people can REALLY do work that’s worth seeking out. Comedy’s just too damn hard. Statistics say some of them are going to live outside of the country, so… Or after the Office– when the Office was broadcast over here– I remember just thinking, that a show like that didn’t just come out of nowhere. That’s not how art happens– you know, there were a zillion punk bands before the Sex Pistols or the Ramones– they just didn’t know they were punk bands yet. After the Office, I found Spaced, and once I found Spaced, shit…

    Plus: there’s always market forces pushing for mediocrity. Like: there’s not really a mass audience for most of this stuff– no one was in any hurry to broadcast the Thick of It before In the Loop hit. Like: there’s too much to just rely on BBC America, or that might not ever make it to BBC America. And some of the stuff BBC America selects is just … incorrect choices (My Hero– what were you guys thinking with My Hero??? 6 series!)(Or that godawful show about the stewardesses…?). But there isn’t a mass audience for MOST of the stuff I wind up nerdy about, so, yeah, the internet…

  5. Aaahhh- Youtube. That does sound like a good place to start. I have watched oodles of Jackass stuff on that Youtube thing, you would have thought I would have checked that on my own. But no…

    Spaced I liked. My wife puts on the DVDs every time she cleans. Even though she’s seen the whole series fifty-leven times, still goes back.

    As far as internet morality is concerned, well, I don’t have a lot of personal problems with all that. I tend to lose everything I own once or twice a decade, and most of the stuff I get off the web, I already owned at one point or another. I actually have a harder time thinking of new stuff to check out, as opposed to being overwhelmed by the availability of new choices. If I find something new I like, it just tends to make me look out for anything new that the creator(s) might put out in the future. Which I then buy. Seems like effective advertising more than the nebulous bread-stealing I often see it characterized as.

    I understand, intellectually, that Latrell Sprewell has a family to feed and all that. You’d think those rims of his would be able to support a lil’ one or two, but what do I know.

  6. Or that godawful show about the stewardesses…?

    Oh, Jam! I know you did not just disrespect THE HIGH LIFE!


    Oh, Dearie Me! Graeme probably knows where you live!

    “Superman with his shirt off in a corn field, showing off his pecs to the corn”

    Ah, now, I’ve seen Lois doing this in promos for the next series. Not with her top off, obviously, and frankly she looks more exasperated than distressed, but seeing as the whole series has really been The Secret Origin of Lois Lane, I figure this is where she finally Lanes up.

    And My Hero…in our defence, the first episode was really good? And the nurse was really hot? And the Doctor character was in the JLA: http://www.jla.co.uk/presenters/hugh-dennis

    (Hugh Dennis’ OUTNUMBERED is very popular over here, although I cannot attest to its quality)


  7. Ever since Channel 4 started their own 4oD Youtube channel, shows have been getting yanked across the board. The Thick of It, Snuff Box, & Nathan Barley were all on until about a year ago. It doesn’t help that they block it here in the US. So thanks for the torrent references I guess.

    Brooker’s shows and oldies like BrassEye & The Armondo Iannucci Show are still up as are Marenghi & Man to Man.

    Gavin & Stacy and Green Wing get raves from the Mrs. but just feel like other shows I have seen and abandoned. Free Agents is good, not terribly ha-ha funny though. Niles from Buffy says dirty words a lot. No Heroics wasn’t bad, it had a fat Nathan Barley who couldn’t get laid. That guy is writing The Runaways movie for Marvel now.

    I tried The IT Crowd and could barely make it through an episode, waaaay to broad & laugh-tracky. A horrible pile of ticks and voices.

    every few months I remember 15 Stories High is up and watch one or two then forget again.

  8. “Oh, Jam! I know you did not just disrespect THE HIGH LIFE!”

    No– it was a Sky show called Mile High. It was like half-soap-opera, half-drama, half-*terrible*-comedy, which … doesn’t even add correctly, mathematically speaking. Was that Alan Cumming in those High Life clips, though? There was more than one show about flight attendants…?

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