Celebrating the Unpopular Arts
 

What I bought, read, watched, or otherwise consumed – March 2022

In our age it is not sex that rears its ugly head, but love. (John Fowles, from The Magus)

COMICS

Out of Body by Peter Milligan (writer), Inaki Miranda (artist), Eva de la Cruz (colorist), Sal Cipriano (letterer), and Mike Marts (editor). $16.99, 102 pgs, AfterShock.

Milligan tells a story of a psychologist who’s in a coma and, through astral projection, tries to find out who tried to kill him. It’s a clever story, and there’s a villain who likes to eat souls that aren’t quite alive and aren’t quite dead, so he’s coming for our hero, and Milligan is smart enough to make this a psychological drama as well as a thriller, and he never does quite what you expect because he’s a good writer. Miranda’s art, especially when he gets to go all trippy in the astral plain, is excellent. It’s just a well done comic.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Never trust a man wearing an olde-tymey diving suit!

Second Chances by Ricky Mammone (writer), Max Bertolini (artist), and DC Hopkins (letterer). $16.99, 101 pgs, Image.

Our main character is named LeBlanc (a loaded name in more ways than one, as it turns out), whose business is setting people up with new identities. Someone from his past shows up, and everything hits the fan. This is a nifty action-adventure, with plenty of violence but a nice mystery at the center and an more-interesting-than-you-expect resolution. While the story is good, Bertolini’s art makes the book even better. He’s phenomenal, handling the action beautifully and kinetically and using the black and white to excellent effect. Mammone is certainly interesting, but I really want to see what Bertolini does next.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

That’s gonna leave a mark

By the Horns volume 1: The Wind Rises by Markisian Naso (writer), Jason Muhr (artist/letterer), and Andrei Tabacaru (colorist). $19.99, 195 pgs, Scout Comics.

In this fantasy comic, a woman named Elodie is hunting unicorns because her husband was killed by one, but it turns out there’s a lot more crap going on in her world, and she ends up having to fight with some unicorns against a bunch of evil wizards. It’s a standard quest/video game, with new levels and bigger bosses, but it’s more thoughtful than you might expect, and Elodie is a fascinating character, and the story takes some nice twists and turns. Muhr’s art is amazing – he reminds me a bit of Carlos Pacheco, and he handles the action wonderfully and gets to create all sorts of superb magical creatures. The coloring is superb, too. It’s a complete story, too, so don’t let that “volume 1” scare you off – I suppose it could have more, but it’s still a complete story. It’s lots of fun.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Sounds like a plan!

Stake volume 1 by David A. Byrne (writer), Francesca Fantini (artist), and Joel Rodriguez (letterer). $19.99, 147 pgs, Scout Comics/Black Caravan.

In this book, vampires live openly among humans, but some aren’t too keen on sharing, so there’s an agency that helps keep them in line. Angel is a prodigy vampire hunter, which means of course that she can break all kinds of rules while she’s in training and still get away with it. Still, this is an entertaining comic, as Angel and her mentor – a vampire – hunt bad guys and Angel live-streams it. It’s a good look at how the world might work if vampires existed. Fantini’s art is amazing – she has a terrific fluidity to her line, and some of her layouts are genius, as they help the flow of the action immensely. She’s just cartoony enough that some of her excesses – the drag queen is a bit over-the-top, but, I mean, duh – fit well into the more “realistic” version of the world. She uses colors very judiciously (mostly red for blood, but not always), and it works very well with the black and white. This is another book that stands alone, but the nature of Angel’s job means there could be plenty more. We shall see.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Kids today think they’re soooooo clever!

Snelson: Comedy Is Dying by Paul Constant (writer), Fred Harper (artist), Lee Loughridge (colorist), Rob Steen (letterer), and Cory Sedlmeier (collection editor). $17.99, 135 pgs, Ahoy Comics.

Snelson is an older, white, male comedian, so he thinks he’s being “canceled” all the time in this caustic comedy. Snelson is not actually a bad guy, just kind of a jerk, and Constant does a nice job showing the world he lives in, why he might think he’s not allowed to be who he used to be, why that’s all bullshit, and what he can do about it. Through it all, he manages to keep the book funny (not always light, but usually funny) and keep Snelson kind of a jerk even as he becomes more sympathetic. The book isn’t subtle satire, but that’s okay, as it’s still relevant and entertaining. Harper’s art reminds me of Richard Corben’s a bit (that’s a good thing), and he does some very cool stuff with faces, making them rubbery and cartoony at times to get his points across. It’s quite excellent. So many artists I haven’t seen doing excellent work this month! Sheesh!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

How dare he belittle our lovely, lovely internet?!?!?

None of these are particularly bad comics except, sadly, The Worst Dudes, which kind of lives up to its adjective. Surprisingly to me, the best of them is The Few and Cursed, a post-apocalyptic supernatural Western. Usually I’m not really down for that sort of thing, but it’s quite good, with creepy giant crows, a mysterious red-headed hot gunfighter (she has to be hot and a redhead, of course!), and fantastic art by Fabiano Neves. The Astro City book is also quite good, but it’s definitely a primer for new stories, so it doesn’t really stand on its own too, too well. It’s still nice to see it back! All the others are entertaining, certainly, but with enough flaws to keep them from the top of my list. You know the drill! As usual, I have a problem with DC and its “Black Label,” which seems to me just a way to have their superheroes curse without making it actually “mature” or even allowing Amanda Conner, who knows a thing or two about drawing attractive people, draw anyone naked (and there are some opportunities in the book for it). Shit or get off the pot, DC. If you’re going to have a “mature label” book, use it, and stop getting freaked out by people complaining about the Shadow of the Bat(-Penis). Anyway, pretty good comics all around.

BOOKS

Marillion Misadventures & Marathons: The Life & Times of Mad Jack by Mark Kelly. 258 pgs, 2022, Kingmaker Publishing Limited.

The keyboardist of Marillion has written his autobiography, and I’m interested in all things Marillion, so I picked it up. Even if you don’t like Marillion (for shame!), this is a pretty good book if you’re interested in bands and how they function. Kelly isn’t the star, so he’s not completely egotistical (he’s a bit, but not more than most), so we get to read about the way a band works that feels more even-handed than if the singer or guitarist (the usual ego-driven components of a band) were writing about it. Kelly joined Marillion early on (he wasn’t a founding member, but he was their first addition after they formed), and he started out very good friends with their original lead singer, Fish, so he’s able to give nice insight on how the band functioned back in the early days and how it fell apart when they got a bit bigger. He’s also able to explain how bands don’t make much money even if they’re doing well – Marillion was never a huge band, but they had enough hits that they should have been doing better, financially, but of course, there are always rapacious elements around bands that take what they can get from them. Kelly, obviously, has his own point of view, and I imagine Fish’s is much different, but Kelly’s account of Fish’s departure feels fairly even-handed, and he doesn’t seem to take the easy way out by blaming it all on Fish. He does a nice job explaining how the band became financially solvent after some desperate times in the mid- to late-1990s (when they released some terrific music but were having problems making money), and of course, Marillion is famous (?) for being one of the first bands to appeal directly to their fans to pay for their music before it was even recorded – Kelly, if he’s telling the truth about his contribution to the idea, basically invented crowdfunding, so good for him! Ironically for an autobiography, Kelly fails a bit in writing about his personal life – he takes a fair amount of the blame for his failed relationships with a few women and his older children (he claims he’s learned and his much more present with his younger children and stepchildren), but it’s odd that he seems to skim over the way some of the relationships failed, as he writes about being married and relatively happy on one page, and then maybe a page or two later he’ll write about how he moved out because the relationship was in such dire straits. I don’t care too much about that – I’m much more interested in the band – but it is a bit weird. It’s not a great book, but it is pretty cool if you’re a Marillion fan, and even if you aren’t, you might be interested thanks to the window in the music world that Kelly provides.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi. 289 pgs, 2020, Henry Holt and Company.

This is a clever murder mystery book that contains several murder mysteries, which is nifty. A young woman tracks down a reclusive writer who lives on a small Mediterranean island because the publishing company she works for is planning on bringing out a new edition of a book of short murder mysteries he wrote 20 years before. He’s a mathematician who came up with a formula for writing great murder mysteries, and his book had seven of them. This book begins with the first story, then shifts to the woman interviewing the author, and then we get another story and another conversation, and so on. The book is set in the early 1960s, and the mathematician’s book came out in the early 1940s, and while it seems like the dates might be a bit arbitrary, they’re not exactly. Of course there’s more to it than that, as there’s a mystery in the present as well that stretches back to when the dude wrote the stories and why he left England to come to the island, but that’s part of the fun of the book. The mysteries are clever, too, as they each present a situation as part of his “formula,” but they’re very different from each other. Pavesi does a nice job with the writing – it’s lively and fun, and he does a pretty good job dropping clues into the writing so when things start to come into focus, we can see where he was leading us. It’s not exactly a “fair play” mystery – you might be able to guess at some things, but that’s all they’d be, guesses – but there are some good clues to some parts of the solutions. I really don’t want to give away too much, obviously, but it’s a very well done series of murder mysteries (the Agatha Christie homage is particularly clever), so if that’s your bag, you might want to check this out.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. 514 pgs, 2006, Penguin Books.

Pessl’s debut is a dense mystery, a bit pretentious (I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad word, you should know), but still pretty good. Her main character, a teenager named Blue, tells the story in first person, and Blue can be a bit much, as she’s well-read and likes to refer to the many, many books/movies/articles she’s read/seen over the years to relate to her current situation. Some of them are real, but I know at least one of them is fictional (I imagine most of them are), because it sounded intriguing, so I looked it up, and was a bit disappointed to find out it was fake. Anyway, her father is an itinerant professor (her mother is dead), so he wanders the country lecturing, yanking her out of schools all the time. In her senior year, she finally ends up at a school for the entire year, and she meets a teacher who takes an interest in her and she joins the circle of students who congregate around this teacher. We know at the very beginning that the teacher dies during the school year, and the book is about what happened and what was really going on with the teacher and the kids. There are a bit too many red herrings in the book, and Blue’s interactions with her peers aren’t as good as her interactions with the teacher, but Pessl focuses on them more, which is a bit annoying. But it’s a pretty good book, and the mystery is pretty clever, and Pessl doesn’t resolve everything, which makes it feel more real even as it gets a bit fantastic (not in the sense of supernatural things, just things that are a bit hard to believe). It’s pretty interesting.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

TELEVISION

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel seasons 1-4 (Amazon Prime). My wife had watched this when I play tennis, and she enjoyed it, so when the fourth season showed up in February, I suggested we watch the entire thing to catch up. It’s a pretty good show about a housewife named Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) whose husband, Joel (Michael Zegen), is trying to be a stand-up comic in 1958 but isn’t very good at it. After a dull set, he admits that he’s been cheating on her and leaves, despite her being nothing but supportive of his middling career (he has a job at a plastics company, but it’s very dull). Incensed, she heads to the club where he performs and does an impromptu set, which is brilliant. The manager of the club, Susie (Alex Borstein), recognizes her talent and convinces her to try to do comedy full-time, with her, Susie, as her manager. The show is about Midge’s attempts to be a stand-up comedian, but also about navigating society in the late 1950s/early 1960s (the fourth season ends in the winter of 1960), as well as showing us New York Jewish society of the same time. It’s a good show – often very funny, especially Midge’s routines, where she swears frequently and discusses sex frankly – and it looks amazing – Midge is a fashionista, so her clothes are always on point, and the scenery is stunning as well – and the cast is very solid. Zegen has redeemed Joel quite a bit, as he’s not a terrible dude, just someone who made some stupid choices. Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle are wonderful the Weissmans, Midge’s parents, Kevin Pollak and Caroline Aaron are terrific as Joel’s parents, Matilda Szydagis is hilarious as the Weissmans’ put-upon maid, Stephanie Hsu is very good as Joel’s new girlfriend, Luke Kirby as Lenny Bruce does excellent work, and Jane Lynch as Midge’s bitter rival is superb. The show rises and falls on the relationship between Midge and Susie, however, and Brosnahan and Borstein are amazing in their roles. The writing doesn’t always work – Midge seems to veer too much between brilliant and stupid, while the show falls into some of the same tired plot tropes that all shows fall into – but for the most part, it’s a fascinating show. I have some questions about the amount of cursing and sex talk, mainly due to the social circumstances in which they occur. My father, who grew up in coal country in northeastern Pennsylvania, always tells us that they would curse a lot, and I have no doubt about that, but cursing and sex talk seemed restricted more to certain social circles, not just as a standard way to speak. It’s very curious, and I’m sure someone smarter than I am would be able to explain the (possibly) anachronistic way of speaking that some of the characters employ. All in all, it’s a pretty good show. I don’t know how far they plan to take Midge, but it appears she might have figured some things out at the end of season 4, so we’ll see!

Resident Alien season 2 … part 1? (SyFy). So I guess this is only the first part of season 2? And it concludes this summer? How weird. I hate when shows do that. Anyway, this isn’t quite as good as season 1, mainly because there’s less of a malevolent presence – the government has backed off a bit from trying to find out what’s going on with Steve the Pirate, and even he’s not really trying to lead his people to Earth to destroy it. He’s still a jerk (which is a good part of the show’s charm), but he’s decided that maybe he shouldn’t get the Earth destroyed, and he spends a good part of the season trying to get a message to his people telling them to back off. As always with television shows that need to fill time, we spend a lot of time with the ancillary characters, which isn’t terrible but isn’t necessarily why the show works. The cast is still very strong – Sara Tomko does an excellent job as Harry’s (platonic) friend, Corey Reynolds and Elizabeth Bowen as the sheriff and deputy have a great relationship (not really great in the show, but they’re fun to watch), Judah Prehn as the kid who can see Harry as an alien is less annoying this season (he’s in the show a bit less, which might be the reason), and the rest of the cast does good work. The show takes Harry and Asta to New York, which is a fun road trip (those scenes were filmed, I assume, in Vancouver, as the show is filmed in British Columbia), and we get more with the human Harry and his shady dealings, which appear poised to become a bigger part of the show. It’s just annoying that they split the season, because it feels incomplete. And they killed Harry’s octopus friend, voiced by Nathan Fillion, which was sad, as he was very funny. I mean, I know Fillion is already on a show, but doing some quick voice work can’t interfere too much with that!

The Cleaning Lady season 1 (FOX). This is a decent, slightly ridiculous melodrama, in which Elodie Yung plays a Cambodian-Filipino doctor who comes to Las Vegas to get a liver transplant for her sick son but then the donor pulls out of the deal and her visa expires so she’s an illegal alien working with her sister-in-law (who’s also undocumented) as a, you guessed it, cleaning lady while she waits for approval to get her son into a stem cell treatment trial. Her husband is in Manila, trying to get a visa to join her. One night she witnesses the son of a powerful Armenian gangster murder a dude, and the gangster’s Mexican right-hand man is going to kill her but she convinces him to let her clean up the mess, and when she’s really good at it, he decides to give her a job. Phew! The FBI figures out pretty quickly what she’s doing, so they try to use her to get to the gangster, but the right-hand man, played smolderingly by Adan Canto, is helping get her son into the trial and into surgery for a new liver, so she doesn’t want to betray him (that’s he’s hot has nothing – nothing – to do with it!). It’s a fun show, full of ridiculous plot twists, although we’re supposed to be sympathetic toward Yung because she’s doing all this for her son, but toward the end of the season, she starts doing things that make her a lot less sympathetic. Maybe they’ll fix that in season 2? It’s not a great show, but it’s not bad, and it’s unusual to see a show that deals so much with undocumented people, even as melodramatically as it is in the show. Plus, the fact that there’s only one Anglo main character is pretty keen, too – the fact that the main gangster is Armenian, for instance, allows them to get into the struggles of the Armenians a bit, just a bit, but still. That’s really the best part of the show – that there are so many unusual perspectives on the “American” dream and what it means to people. So it’s not a great show, as I noted, but it’s pretty good.

MUSIC

Of Monsters and Men, Fever Dream, Republic Records, 2019.

I liked the first two Of Monsters and Men albums, but Fever Dream, their third, is amazing. I don’t buy a lot of music these days because I just can’t keep up, but I’m glad I got this, because I liked it so much. There’s really only one mediocre song on the album (too bad it’s the penultimate one!) and only one other less-than-excellent song (too bad it’s the final one!), but the first nine songs are so brilliant that it doesn’t matter too much. Dreams are a motif throughout, which is kind of neat – the songs aren’t necessarily about dreams, but they come up in the lyrics a lot, which helps give the album an overall theme even though it’s not a concept album. The album gets off the a rousing start with “Alligator,” all high-pitched guitars and thudding drums, with Hanna singing the weird lyrics that are anchored by the album’s title in the chorus, but the album really takes off with the next two songs, “Ahay” and “Róróró,” the two best songs on the album. “Ahay” is a quasi-love song, with Ragnar singing the main part, with Hanna coming in late with a piercing cry that complements his baritone beautifully. The music is lush and haunting, and the chorus is gorgeous: “You think you know me, oh, do you really; something you do, something I say – we don’t talk about it.” “Róróró,” on the other hand, is as funky as the band gets, with a nice ticking drum part that becomes pounding hoofbeats during the chorus and Hanna is tempting someone to keep up with her but not allowing herself to get too intimate: “Oh what a shame ’cause I know with open arms I could hold it all.” The song ends with a plaintive wail: “Do you want it / Do you want it to be true / Do you need it / Do you need it to be truth / Do you need me to tell the truth …” The rest of the songs tend to alternate between calmer, more contemplative songs like “Waiting for the Snow” (“Have I said too much, did I love too hard?”) and “Stuck in Gravity” (“Staring out the window / Looking at the rainfall / Hoping for starlight / Head is still an animal”) and more upbeat songs like “Vulture, Vulture” and “Wild Roses.” The former has a nice, menacing guitar part, while the latter builds to a triumphant chorus backed by a dancey beat: “Oh roses they don’t mean a thing, you don’t understand, but why don’t we full-on pretend?” The two savage love songs on the album come one after the other: “Sleepwalker” begins with Ragnar singing “I start a war, no time to think about it, it might blow over soon” before transitioning to a more esoteric “You make me feel like a ghost walking around, talking in my sleep,” which coincides with a nice jazzy drum and ethereal piano. “Wars” follows that song, with the devastating chorus: “I love you on the weekends, but I’m careless and I’m wicked; I love you on the weekends, it’s a cruel war,” which sounds even more evil thanks to the lush, disco arrangement. As I noted, there’s not really a bad song on the album – the penultimate one isn’t great, but it has its moments, and the final one is pretty good. I love the weird lyrics, the nods to sleeping and dreaming, and the music that echoes like it’s itself inside a dream. This is a superb album.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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Let’s take a quick look at the “Classic” Reprints I bought in March!

Papercutz has the Asterix Omnibus volume 6, which, as usual, is just a nice collection of three volumes. These keep trucking along!

The only Marvel one I got this month is Conan the Barbarian: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus volume 7, which also just keeps trucking along. Two more, I think, and the set will be complete!

Dark Horse has EC Archives: Tales from the Crypt volume 2, with more fun 1950s horror comics. I still don’t love the glossy paper they use, but at least they appear to be trying to keep the coloring consistent with the original stuff.

Rebellion/2000AD has another “Misty” collection with Misty Presents: The Jaume Rumeu Collection. I had never heard of Rumeu before this, but man, the art is nice in this book.

PS Artbooks continues to slowly bring out their work, and this month we got Strange Worlds volume 1, with more coolio Golden Age work. I dig these collections, but they come out so infrequently!!!!

DC finally shipped the Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (aka All-New Collectors’ Edition C-55) Tabloid Edition, the original of which, I’m sure, I could have found in my actual comic shop for 5 bucks, but whatever. I also got Superman: The Man of Steel volumes 3 and 4, because I missed volume 3 for some reason and had to re-order it. Byrne keeps on keeping on!

Fantagraphics brought out Tops: The Complete Collection of Charles Biro’s Visionary 1949 Comic Book Series, and boy howdy, it’s a staggering book. It’s huge, for one thing, and absolutely gorgeous. It has a bunch of essays about the book and it reprints the two issues, which were extra-long. Very cool stuff.

Finally, Outland Entertainment has the Warlock 5 Omnibus, which reprints an obscure 1990s comic. I guess Cullen Bunn loved this book back in the day, so he finagled to get it reprinted. It’s actually quite nice-looking, so I’m looking forward to reading it … some day. Man, I have a lot of things to read!

Sigh. Now it’s time to take a look at what I spent in March. Double sigh.

2 March: $218.12
9 March: $338.39
16 March: $432.80
23 March: $132.21
30 March: $110.14

Total for March: $1231.66 (last March: $562.89)
YTD: $2762.87 (last year: $1639.44)

Goddamn it. Welp. On we go!

Here are the publishers:

Action Lab: 1 (1 graphic novel)
AfterShock: 3 (1 single issue, 2 trade paperbacks)
Ahoy Comics: 1 (1 trade paperback)
Archaia: 2 (1 graphic novel, 1 single issue)
Boom! Studios: 1 (1 trade paperback)
Caliber Press: 1 (1 trade paperback)
Clover Press: 1 (1 trade paperback)
Darby Pop: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Dark Horse: 12 (1 “classic” reprint, 3 graphic novels, 4 single issues, 4 trade paperbacks)
DC: 5 (3 “classic” reprints, 1 single issue, 1 trade paperback)
Dead Reckoning: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Fantagraphics: 4 (1 “classic “reprint, 2 graphic novels, 1 single issue)
Humanoids: 3 (2 graphic novels, 1 trade paperback)
IDW: 1 (1 trade paperback)
Image: 9 (3 single issues, 6 trade paperbacks)
Marvel: 4 (1 “classic” reprint, 3 single issues)
Outland Entertainment: 1 (1 “classic” reprint)
Papercutz: 1 (1 “classic” reprint)
PS Artbooks: 1 (1 “classic” reprint)
Rebellion/2000AD: 1 (1 “classic” reprint)
Scout Comics: 4 (4 trade paperbacks)
SelfMadeHero: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Source Point Press: 1 (1 trade paperback)
Titan Comics: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Vault Comics: 1 (1 trade paperback)
Z2: 1 (1 graphic novel)

The year’s totals:

Ablaze: 2
Action Lab: 1
AfterShock: 9
Ahoy Comics: 2
Amulet Books/Abrams: 1
Antarctic Press: 1
Archaia: 3
AWA Studios: 3
Black Panel Press: 1
Boom! Studios: 5
Caliber Press: 1
Centrala: 1
Clover Press: 1
Darby Pop: 1
Dark Horse: 22
DC: 8
Dead Reckoning: 1
Drawn & Quarterly: 2
Dynamite: 1
Fantagraphics: 6
Floating World Comics: 1
Graphic Mundi: 2
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 1
Humanoids: 5
IDW: 4
Image: 24
Invader Comics: 1
Little, Brown and Company: 1
Marvel: 19
NoBrow Press: 1
Outland Entertainment: 1
Papercutz: 2
PS Artbooks: 2
Rebellion/2000AD: 2
Red 5 Comics: 1
Scout Comics: 6
Second Sight Publishing: 1
SelfMadeHero: 1
SitComics: 1
Source Point Press: 1
Titan Comics: 2
Top Shelf: 1
Udon Entertainment: 1
Vault Comics: 1
Viz Media: 1
Z2 Comics: 1

**********

You may have noticed that I was a bit brief with the comics section this month. I do that last, because I have to read everything I buy before I can determine the five best, and you notice how much I got in March, so it took me a while, plus March and the early part of April have just been shitty, so I’m really not in the mood and it’s already halfway through fucking April. I really like writing for this blog, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve been in a pissy mood for weeks now, and I just can’t get into a good writing mood recently, so I’ve been behind. The Comics You Should Own reposts are easy, because I’m doing any real work, but the latest new one has been taking forever, and it’s for a short mini-series, so God help me with the next one, which (I think) will be a 100+-issue series. I hope I get out of my funk by then!

So I apologize for being so late with this. It’s been a time. My older daughter needs a new wheelchair, and so the company that makes it submitted a request to the insurance company. They approved it except for the metal loops that attach to the bottom of the chair to which you tie straps on buses and vans to hold the chair in place. This, they claimed, was not “medically necessary,” even though she can’t go on a school bus without being strapped in, and she kind of needs to go on a school bus. So we appealed it, and that process took a long time through continual fuck-wittery on the part of the insurance company and some on the part of her doctor. Finally, the insurance company got everything they needed for the appeal … and still rejected it. I left them a long, expletive-filled message on their voice mail, which I’m sure won’t spur them to call me back explaining their decision (despite my challenging them to justify it, I also said they wouldn’t because they were, and I quote, “fucking cowards”). We can pay for the attachments out of our own pocket, but we shouldn’t have to – first of all, we pay premiums to them every month, so they could easily pay for it, and second of all, both my daughter’s physical therapist and her pediatrician – both of whom are smarter than whatever bean-counter denied the claim – said they were necessary, so we shouldn’t have to. So that’s been stressing me out. Then my younger daughter fell behind in school because she had her wisdom teeth out and missed more days than we anticipated. She’s fragile at the best of times, and in the past few weeks, she’s been spiraling a bit. We think we’ve been able to figure it out and make sure whatever meds she’s on are helping her, but that’s stressful, too. So, yeah. Not a great month or so.

I did, however, get my “Late-Night Talk-Show Host” Apocalypse statue, and It. Is. Awesome:

I got it a few weeks ago, and everyone at the comic book store mocked me, except one dude, because he has taste. It’s surprisingly heavy, too, which is nice. I love it, and can’t wait to put it on a shelf where it will stand proudly!

Last month I posted a few photographs from February 1992, because that was when I got my own camera and started taking pictures. Let’s move on to March, when I was still in Melbourne studying (not much, but technically, I was in school). In late March I went off to Tasmania with three friends of mine, because I scheduled my classes so I had Friday and Monday off (because I’m clever that way). We jumped on the ferry and headed south and drove all across the island. The first picture is on the western coast, just me hanging out by the ocean. The second picture is at Port Arthur, the famous prison. The last two are photos of Hobart from Mount Wellington, which I wrote briefly about in my post about Phonogram. It was a good long weekend!

Thanks for bearing with me, everyone. I hope your lives are going well – I can’t complain too much, as we’re all healthy and generally happy. It’s just that occasionally I get in a funk, and usually I come out of it pretty quickly. This one has lasted longer than usual, and it’s vexing. I’ll be all right.

I hope everyone is enjoying the spring. The weather here remains nice, but we can feel the ridiculous heat slowly creeping in. Soon it will be here, and the mild winter will be forgotten!!!!! Oh well – such is the price you pay for living in Arizona! Have a good day, everyone!

11 Comments

  1. Bright-Raven

    OUT OF BODY I lost interest in by issue 2.

    STAKE I managed to get through the first story arc which you’re reading collected, but I pretty much lost interest in by issue 3.

    ENGINEWARD I lost interest in by about issue #8 but I finished the run.

    1. Greg Burgas

      I have an office where I “work” on the computer, and my wife doesn’t care about it. I have a bunch of comics on bookshelves and lots of toys/action figures on the shelves and lots of prints on the wall, and she doesn’t care. If I tried to put Apocalypse on a shelf in the living room … yeah, she’d probably object to that!

  2. I started “Special Topics in Calamity Physics,” then I stopped. After about 100 pages consisting of Blue’s clever observations and not much else there seemed no point in going on.
    I really enjoy Mrs. Maisel, not least for showing that she’s working to be good. My first thought after her initial drunken rant back in S1 was okay, will she be able to do that consistently sober? Instead of making her a natural genius, the show captures the effort involved.
    On the downside, i found the S3 end infuriating. It’s completely idiot plot — Midge has to realizes she’s crossing a line with the big stand-up routine — and served mostly as a reset so she’s not getting too successful (similar to what happened at the end of S1). But I’ll still get to S4 eventually.

    1. Greg Burgas

      I’m very vexed by television writing these days, as we know some characters aren’t “regulars,” so whatever is going on with them isn’t going to last (i.e. Zachary Levi) and the characters can’t change too much, so Midge making the same mistakes is annoying, I agree. The nice thing about season 4, without spoiling too much, is that we do see some consequences of her stupidity, so that’s nice.

  3. Terrible-D

    I’ve been considering Warlock 5 ever since I watched a YouTube review. The guys channel is called strange brain parts, if anyone is looking for even more comics reviews.
    I’m not huge on statues or toys, but I do remember considering that Apocalypse statue. Good choice sir.

  4. John King

    I first encountered Warlock 5 back when I was job hunting and spotted issue 5 (the real one with Argon’s robotic head) on a market stall – tried it and was impressed that it was good and different from everything else.
    Sadly the series went sharply downhill after issue 13 after the creators had a falling out with the publisher followed by legal battles over the rights, and the replacement writer and artist leaving and….
    I picked up the collection a year ago (first printing)
    It includes 2 issues which had previously not been printed BUT having 2 issues worth of unpublished material and not having a publisher for more than 30 years meant the creators had no motivation to keep going and bring the story to an ending so we are left with something of a cliff hanger ending.
    I believe Cullen Bunn’s relaunch takes place after an untold resolution

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