A few people (well, okay, two) have mentioned that the blog is getting busy enough that it’s actually occasionally hard to follow everything. So I thought I would start trying to do a weekly roundup, both of business here and of my articles elsewhere. And, what the hey, I’ll throw in a couple additional links when I think of it. So here we go:
On the Hooded Utilitarian
I had two Wonder Woman related posts, one about WW creator Marston’s not very good novel, the Private Life of Julius Caesar and one about Bob Haney and Jim Aparo’s Batman/Wonder Woman team up
Kinukitty tried to figure out how squicked out she was or was not by the skeevy age differences in the yaoi manga Kiss All the Boys.
Finally, I posted my review of Mandy Moore’s album Amanda Leigh, which ran on Madeloud with some of its snark excised. And finally, I posted this week’s music download mix, featuring Chopin, Beyonce, Ol Dirty Bastard, and Johnny Cash, among others.
Over at the Comics Reporter, Suat has a lengthy and really entertaining article about how mainstream writers are overhyped while mainstream artists are underappreciated. I think this is my favorite bit:
Pia Guerra’s response to Brian K. Vaughan’s sparse and determinedly straightforward scripts (as presented at the back of the Y: The Last Man collections) are illustrations conveying as little mood or sense of place as is present in Vaughan’s instructions. The comic is left to succeed purely on the basis of Vaughan’s ideas and lively dialogue. That these ideas are at various times boring, nonsensical or just plain irritating is beside the point — I’m focusing purely on Vaughan’s mastery of the formal tools at his disposal. Vaughan’s stories in the early issues of Y are nearly bereft of devices unique to comics filled as they are with unsophisticated story structures, flat panel to panel transitions and the rote use of splash pages at the end of each issue. If anything, Y reads like an easy to understand sales pitch for comics-illiterate movie executives. Little wonder then that the words HBO and Y are so often uttered in the same breath.
I had a bunch of writing on music run this week. Over at the Knoxville Metropulse I reviewed the stellar new Raekwon album and the mediocre new album by the Vivian Girls. My essay about the greatness of Kitty Wells and the shittiness of Alison Krauss which ran on Culture 11 a while back, was reprinted over at a nifty site called Splice Today.
Splice today also ran an essay by me about Ukrainian nationalist black metal band Drudkh in which I explain why I like them even though they probably approve of burning my relatives:
I’m not trying to make the case that Drudkh is evil and should be banned. Rather, my point is that they seem clearly to be drawing from a nationalist milieu, which is proto-fascist if not actually fascist. And, moreover, it’s that milieu which gives their music its inspiration and its power. Microcosmos starts out with a Ukrainian folk tune on traditional-sounding instruments, and the whole set has a definite folk tinge-the riffing sonic blast on “Distant Cry of Cranes,” for example, is shot through with syncopation and melodic tinges that evoke traditional Eastern European music. This is made even more explicit halfway through the song, where the maelstrom falls quiet, and we get an acoustic guitar break leading into an almost funky dance segment. Similarly, the weird minor harmonics on “Decadence” (a thoroughly fascist-friendly title) point to folk sources. Even the classic rock soloing on “Everything Said Before” is under-girded by an odd, off-kilter rhythm, as if a village-full of toothless peasants had set upon and cannibalized Jimmy Page.
Finally, my comixology column is out today, in which I claim that Beyonce is really the best-selling super-hero of our time.
Super-hero comics are overwhelmingly made by, for, and about white guys. This is so thoroughly the case that you can actually watch the desperate, embarrassed scramble for a more multifarious façade whenever a property gets transferred to a different medium. Nobody gives a damn about John Stewart in those little pamphlet thingies, but on the tubes? He is Green Lantern, fanboy, because, hard as it is to believe, in the real world out there beyond the direct market people come in different shades and shapes and sizes, and gratuitous, pig-headed segregation is actually kind of bad for business.
Tom beat me to this one, but I really enjoyed Shannon Garrity’s article on the history of the Comics Journal.
Tucker has a great article on Cry for Justice, wondering why exactly DC thinks it’s an especially good idea to gratuitously murder scads of gay characters all at once.
Dirk dances on Paul Levitz’s grave as the latter is pushed out of the top job at DC.
And I haven’t read this, but am looking forward to it; the incredibly knowledgeable Jacob Austen writes about finding the first ever Michael Jackson recording.
So let me know if this is a useful innovation or not, and if so I’ll try to make it a regular thing.