The Intermittent

Why Are You Still Here?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

TRUTH IN ADVERTISING REQUIREMENTS

To anyone who has come here for the promise of brilliance: that, wasn't really, uh, true. Whatever brilliance there is here is buried among pages on pages of ignorance, incoherence, and improper grammar. But of course, having been duly warned, you're welcome to go prospecting for whatever nuggets there are, here.

For real brilliance, right out in the open, go here, or here, or here.
|

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

HERE COMES SICKNESS

Sick today, yesterday too for that matter. I've taken a bullet for you, Mr. And Mrs. elderly American; I didn't get my flu shot and now I'm paying for it. Or maybe it's just the effects of being in a battleground state; the toxic residue of six weeks of non-stop campaign commercials. We had deceptive ads tied to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing well before the new Wolves ad. It does take a toll.

Anyway. In between my orange juice, I got around to reading 1602. It's...not as bad as it's been made out to be. Not the most hearty of endorsements, but still. 1602 is worth a read, if approached with the right expectations. It is not a deep work; its concern is simply in telling a good tale rather than deconstructing superheros. Of course, it is only intermittently a good tale, though the parts that are good are very good; I respect any story that (SPOILERS) has the guts to put Dr. Strange's head on a pike. It suffers, though, from trying to work in waaaay too many characters. The Magneto subplot doesn't add much, and is in fact largely dropped towards the end of the book; Gaiman spends four issues setting up, as if for the first time, the Xavier/Magneto duality, only to have it peter out. Additionally, once it sets its mind on Mighty Marvel style superhero smackdown action in period drag, well, there's a reason I don't read many superhero books. A story more focused on what is a fairly interesting setting, and the characters more fully integrated into that setting (Fury, Strange, Daredevil) would have been a substantially stronger read.

The art is also problematic. Kubert is a nifty artist on a contemporary superhero book; he is much less so on a period piece. His natural tendency is to have characters pose and flex; flexing is not something I associate with the court of Queen Elizabeth, frankly. His character designs are also hit or miss; good work on Matt Murdock is undercut by frankly silly X-men designs. Spandex looks odder than normal when contrasted against period costume; see also the design for the Vulture, which is essentially the original character design. It's distracting; it's hard to get into the seventeenth century mindset with the Vulture flying around like the third rate character he is. If you're going to reinvent the characters, do it right; see, for example, the cover art to the series, which is everything that Kubert's is not: stylish, a compliment to the story, consistent with the period details. Though if the story was done scratch board style we'd still be on issue two.

The above makes 1602 sound like a bad book. It's not. I don't regret the time I spent reading it. It was mostly fun. Take it for what it is, have a good time with it. Go in expecting Sandman two, though...well, that's a recipe for disappointment.
|
METAPHORS AREN'T SCARY

Dorian laments the fact that vampires and zombies have been defanged, as it were, by the fact that these beasties are used to push dodgy metaphors. Which is all well and good; I'll gladly join the good fight against bad metaphors. Where Dorian and I might part ways though, is whether good metaphors should replace the bad. Frankly, I don't think they should; at least, not if what you want is to create a work of horror. Metaphors relate things back to human concerns, things people can understand. True horror is all about the alien; it is about things that are beyond human understanding, beyond the natural order. Horror should resist metaphor. It should simply be. Unique, unknowable. If the horror can be understood by looking at the context of our everyday lives, how scary can it really be?

Now, of course, very interesting movies can be made using horror tropes as metaphors for other things. Lots have been. But those movies are not, frankly, horror films; they're social critiques dressed up in horror clothing, not that there is anything wrong with that. But if I want horror...I'd rather have a movie that puts forward the undead as a malign anti-human presence than as stand-in for some observable problem in my life.
|

Thursday, October 21, 2004

AND WE WANTS IT

Speaking of Paul Beatty, if anyone out there has a copy of Big Bank Take Little Bank they want to get rid of, please, please, shoot me an email. I'd gladly pay a bit of cash for it.
|

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

BUT WE'RE AN ADULT IN DOG YEARS

Birthdays abound, this site's among them. Today is the one year anniversary of The Intermittent, though we really only have about four months worth of content to show for it. Electronic milk and cookies all around; the big bounce house and the pony ride are around back.
|
LIGHT NIGHT LINKBLOGGING

My output has been even sparser than usual lately. Yes. True. Blame Fable, which has devoured my life the past week, stupid addictive video crack that it is. Could be worse, I suppose; I could have the capability of playing GTA: San Andreas, which would likely lead to a divorce and unemployment.

So, to win back the hearts and minds of my readers, I offer some token links.

Look! The comics blogosphere is big enough that we get to have our very own Wonkette; by which I mean, of course, someone with the chops to get away with a bunch of dick jokes.

The Howling Curmedeons talk about Gerard Jones. Jones is a vastly underrated writer, similiar in that respect to, say James Robinson. Jones did a Martian Manhunter mini that was really quite excellent; sort of a fifties sci-fi paranoia kind of thing, in somewhat of the same vein as the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but with more panache. He also did an interesting Batman mini with the much missed Mark Badger, though Badger really sort of stole the show on that one. Badger did sort of have a flair for that; his page layouts and design sense was so strong it did tend to overwhelm the story on occaison. Still, you got to respect a man who writes a Batman mini in which jazz appreciation is the lesson of the day.

In honor of the poetry theme that Ed is passing on:

Why that Abbot And Costello Vaudeville Mess Never WorkedWith Black People
by Paul Beatty

who's on first?
idon't know, your mama

Yeah, it's not Robert Frost. But then again, Frost never made me blow milk out my nose, so call it a draw.
|

Thursday, October 14, 2004

YOU GOT TO KNOW YOUR CHICKEN

Once every month or so, I get hits from people looking to find out how to open their own Harold's Chicken Shack franchise. To all such people dreaming dreams of greasy piles of lard and hot sauce money: I don't know if Harold's has any franchise oppurtunities. Sorry. I actually never really much liked Harold's. The unknown mystery substance in the hot sauce (MSG? Paint thinner? Liquid Vibranium?) never much agreed with me. And anyway, I was always more of a Maravilla's man, in the Old School way out by Midway Airport sense.

So. Good luck on the franchise hunt, but I'm not going to be a patron.
|

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

THIS RAINBOW IS A PROMISE

Soon: less hopped up political blather on my part, more half informed comics nonsense. Upcoming is a bout of biblical comics blogging, as I hope to take a look at Kyle Baker's King David, Giffen/Hampton's Eden, and Testament from Jim Krueger and a kitchen sink full of artists.
|
NINE OUT OF TEN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS SCHOLARS AGREE: HENLEY HAS IT!

And while we're referencing Mr. Henley, don't simply take his word that we're not safer without Saddam in power. Take his words, plus the collective words of 650 of the nations International Relations professors.

Now sure, some of these folks are exactly what you'd expect. Damn hippies, through and through. But many, many more.....aren't. At all. Folks like John Mearsheimer, Steve Walt, Charlie Glaser, Jim Fearon, Stacie Godard, Barry Posen, Christopher Layne, and Richard Betts are pretty much all as far away from hippie as is human possible without talking like Moose from Riverdale. All of these people, and many more on the list, are very comfortable with using military power in the right context. These aren't people who view conflict in moral terms as a general matter.

And they all think that our "current foreign policy is overwhelmingly negative for U.S. interests."

I bet I know who the first 651 folks up against the wall will be, once we start dealing with traitors like we should.
|
WHAT GOOD IS MONEY IF YOU CAN'T INSPIRE TERROR IN YOUR FELLOW MAN?

Reading through this John Holbo piece (found via Jim Henley), I came across this quote by Irving Kristol:

"Prescriptions for elderly people? Who gives a damn? I think it's disgusting that...presidential politics of the most important country in the world should revolve around prescriptions for elderly people. Future historians will find this very hard to believe. This isn't Athens. This isn't Rome. This isn't anything."

Okay. Duly noted. So what is, um, the Roman thing to do? Kristol the Elder:

"What's the point of being the greatest, most powerful nation in the world and not having an imperial role?"

Oh. This imperial role thing you speak of....what is it?

"It's natural for the United States to play a far more dominant role in world affairs....to command and give orders as to what is to be done. People need that. In many parts of the world--Africa in particular--where an authority willing to use troops can make a good difference."

Well. Glad we cleared that one up. Incremental changes to make life better for Americans? Bad. Trying to transform the world by blood and iron? Good. I'll grant the latter will be a hell of a coming attractions piece, but I can't say as I want to stick around for the feature presentation (short version: trying to use U.S. troops to forcibly impose democracy? Bad idea).

This whole line of thinking makes my head hurt. I listen to The Monkey King prattle on (and on, and on) about tax cuts. It's our money. Got it. But our lives? Ah, those are chits to be spent greasing the wheels of human progress. The fuck? What is that? You’ll fight to let us keep our money, but you reserve the right to tax our very lives? Good to know that dragging me and my family into your world transformative project is less odious than a slightly higher marginal tax rate.

It does, I suppose, explain the Republican fetish for abolishing the estate tax; since they plan on killing a whole lot of us, our kids might as well get some benefit out of it.

I shouldn’t joke. This is scary stuff; these are the words of someone who believes in Struggle with a capitol S. This is a secular urge towards religion, some notion that the world can be perfected. Didn’t these people read their Hobbes?

Idiots.

Incredibly powerful, incredibly dangerous, likely to be re-elected idiots.
|

Friday, October 08, 2004

A GIFT, FROM ME TO YOU

Found out last night at the Eisner/McCloud lecture that the followup lecture is by Chip Kidd and Brad Metzler. Yes, THE Brad Meltzer. A question and answer session will follow. Now; I've never read a Meltzer book, comics or otherwise. But I'm given to understand that some of works are...problematic. At best.

So. If you have a question for Meltzer, pass it along in the comments suggestion, and I'll try and get it answered for you.
|

Thursday, October 07, 2004

BEHIND THE TIMES IN MY OLD HOMETOWN

Just found out that Will Eisner and Scott Mcloud are doing some sort of speech/workshop event tonight. Why was I not informed earlier? This will require some schedule juggling....
|

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

Gah. Watched the Cheney/Edwards debate; I know, I know, I should have known better. It's not as if I can plead ignorance as an excuse. But still-- what a depressing spectacle that was. Two near perfect specimens of politicus sleazius: both approach the Platonic ideal of everything I despise in an elected leader. In the words of Kent Brockman, democracy just doesn't work. And yet it's the best we've got.

One thing in particular has stuck in my craw. Bush in the past, and Cheney tonight, have pushed the idea of "staying on the offensive" as the winning stratagey in the war on terror; if you belive their ads, failure to stay on the offensive invites further attacks on the country. Nice little soundbites, plays into the whole war and sports metaphor thing that always seems to work so well. The funny thing, though, is that it echoes so eerily the thinking of military leaders prior to World War One. In 1914, leaders across the continent thought that the offense had the advantage; that the best way to win the war, even a battle, was to strike first, hard. Qouth General Joffre, the 1914 state of the art in French strategic thinking was that "The French Army no longer knows any other law than the offensive...any other conception of war should be rejected as against the laws of war." (scroll down for the quote). Which leads, naturally, to the idea of preemptive wars; if going first is the winning move, you make damn sure you go first.

The theory didn't work out so well in practice; technology--in particular advances in rifles and the newly widespread machinegun--was such that any sort of offensive operation was essentially a suicide operation. Oops. There is a direct line between the French cult of the offensive, the Verdun, a mountain of corpses, and, if one wants to be stretch a little bit, the end of France as a major player on the world stage.

Anyway. I know that we're not supposed draw historical parallels that don't feature Bush starring in the role as Winston Churchill, and I'm dubious of historical analogies generally. The world is certainly different now than it was back in 1914. But still. It's just sort of odd that the President cleaves so strongly to a strategy that is so, so....

French.
|
ON THE RANGE

Man, there sure are a lot of sacred cows wandering about the comics blogosphere these days, aren't there?
|