On the Hooded Utilitarian

The week started off with my review of Wonder Woman #18 of the Marston/Peter run, which I compared to John Carpenter’s Christine.

Vom Marlowe continued her perusal of Batwoman.

I sneered at The Long Halloween.

KInukitty explored her tortured love affair with Kazuna Uchida’s I Shall Never Return.

And I reviewed the collected black and white Zot.

And you can see the tracklist and download my Thrash by Thrash mix here.

Next week, by the by, we are doing a bande desinee roundtable, with special guest blogger Derik Badman.

Utilitarians Everywhere

Over at Comixology I compare comics sales figures to those of other entertainment products.

Also to my surprise, big-event books appear to actually outsell big-event CDs and DVDs. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sold more than 8 million copies on its first day on sale in the U.S., which makes Lil’ Wayne’s 2.8 million albums over a year look pretty puny. And, of course, 8 million copies is just about the total bookstore sales for all graphic novels in all of 2008, according to Brian Hibbs’ figures. Obviously, Harry Potter is exceptional…but Dan Brown’s most recent book was also selling in the hundreds of thousands on its first couple of days. Breaking Dawn, the last Twilight book, sold 1.3 million copies on the first day.

I talk about some of my favorite less successful contemporary R&B albums from the last ten years or so at Madeloud. Among them, Brandy’s Afrodisiac:

The commercial failure of this album is altogether a mystery. Brandy and Timbaland — how could that go wrong? The problem isn’t the music, anyway; this is indisputably Brandy’s best album…and it may be Timbaland’s as well. Brandy’s rich, resonant, slightly burred vocals fit perfectly with the washes of sound in Timbaland’s mature style. Far from being overpowered, Brandy instead becomes the most potent effect in Timbaland’s arsenal. On “Who Is She 2 U,” Timbaland opens with some patented funky/goofy stuttering and then Brandy slides in with her patented heart-stopping vocals, one of the sexiest sounds in R & B. The whole album’s like that; idiosyncratic genius and funky wit fused with absolutely unironic heartbreak and desire. Maybe Brandy’s fans just weren’t ready for her to go avant-garde and Timbaland’s weren’t ready to see him embrace the sincerity of the slow jam. Which is said fan’s loss; this is one of the great syntheses of black music in the last twenty years at least.

I review The Anthology of Experimental Chinese Music at Madeloud as well.

And I have an enthusiastic review of the great new Mariah Carey album up at Metropulse.

Other Links

I’ve been reading a bit of rock critic Carl Wilson. Some highlights are his article on why only hipsters make fun of hipsters, and also on why for indie rock class is more important than race.

Shannon Garrity is doing an epic series of posts on yaoi; this one about why yaoi is popular is a balanced and thoughtful look at the subject.