Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oh, dear lord II

Having read one of my earlier posts in the week, HOLIDAY MEN artist Nick Johnson has taken it upon himself to start referring to me as Skipper (a nickname I've somehow avoided up till this point.)

He is also agitating in favour of a scheme that would see us dress up as Gilligan and The Skipper at some future signing event. This is unlikely to happen, though I might be convinced to go as Mary-Anne.

Making matters worse, I noticed that in one of my last e-mails back to Nick I actually referred to him as "Little Buddy", only recognizing the pop cultural significance of the phrase after I hit Send.


I actually used to do an exceptionally brief comedy bit I called Dark Gilligan, back when I was in my black floppy sun/Gilligan-style hat phase. Basically, I'd lean back on something, bend my head down so the brim of the hat blocked my eyes, make like I was taking a last drag on a cigarette before flicking the butt away. Then I'd look up just enough so I could give a Clint Eastwood glare from under the hat brim at whoever was around and say, "F*** you, Skipper."

And then I'd laugh and laugh.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

On Comedy

Via Jane Espenson's blog, an episode of NPR's This American Life called A Tough Room.

The first sizable segment examines life in THE ONION's writers room. As interesting as the dynamic of the writers was the narrator's commentary, especially the remark about how the writers dissect a joke is the opposite of funny. I frequently go through that sort of process when I'm doing comedy, and generally end up at a point where I have no idea anymore whether something that was hilarious at the time is any good at all. At that point, it's nice to have editors, co-writers, or a substantial amount of time to go without looking at the work, so I can come at it with fresh eyes.

I've got to admit, there's something very rewarding about reading a bit you forgot you wrote and getting a laugh out of it.


Maybe it's time to pull THE TOKEN GOBLIN back out of the drawer and give those materials a read...


Monday, February 25, 2008

THE HOLIDAY MEN #1.7: Victory or Pizza!

Ward Foyle is back and so are...

Bringing the Ha-Ha

When working in a comedic vein, I tend to employ a blitzkrieg approach. If I think something's funny, it's in. If I think someone else will think it's funny, it's in. If I think someone else MIGHT think it's funny, it's in. Basically, if I can conceive of ANYONE, ANYWHERE having the minutest of smiles tug at their lips when reading a bit, odds are it's going in.

It's not a great approach, parrtly because I've got a superhuman sense of humour and can find something to laugh about in almost anything--a tendency which almost got me punched out in 2002 when I told a friend with family in New York that if I gave it a little effort, I could find the lighter side to 9/11. The ensuing argument pretty much defined the concept of "too soon" for me, though the idea of an appropriate time to make light of something doesn't really make sense to Mr. Bleak, here. I still get a giggle out of the dead cop's brother who said on television that his sibling "died doing what he loved." Which prompted the question "He loved bleeding?"

Anyway. In one of life's little synchronicities, today I came across two examples of laugh-out-loud funny subtractive comedy. Well, they made me laugh out loud anyway. And then I coughed. And then I almost choked. And then I coughed some more. And now I've got a sore throat. And I'm feeling nauseous, but I don't think that's related.

The first, Sesame Bleepin' Street, comes from Christopher Bird's generally quite entertaining blog, Mightygodking.

The second has been making the rounds of the various blogs I read, so I'm not sure where I saw it first. It's called Garfield Minus Garfield. Basically, someone with arguably way too much time on their hands is going through Garfield strips and photoshopping Garfield out of them. The results are surreal, sometimes reading like the bleakest PEANUTS strips as read by someone experiencing a bad acid trip. If you thought Jon Arbuckle had a miserable existence with Garfield around, wait'll you see what it's like for him without a fat, joke-cracking cat...

Laughing is good. Coughing, choking, and wanting to vomit, not so much, but I'm not complaining. Much.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oh, dear lord...

Quite outside of any conscious intent, my mind just cast Nick Johnson as Gilligan to my Skipper.

This is going to haunt me for the rest of my life.


H-MEN #1.7... almost ready. I will never give a piece a title Ward dislikes EVER AGAIN.



...was so blindingly brilliant and insightful that the person it was written in response to is giving me a t-shirt. I should ramble on about stuff I know nothing about more often, save a few bucks on my wardrobe.

(That's a joke. As anyone who read THE WHISPER OF MY SOUL can attest, my wardrobe budget can be found between the cushions of a homeless person's couch.)



Had the latest in a series of sporadic organizing/cleaning sprees this weekend. Primed the recently drywalled half of the basement, cleared a lot of clutter out of the office (part of which will end up in part of the recently primed basement, which is looking increasingly likely to turn into some kind of studio space for me), and generally didn't get a whole lot done this weekend outside of thinking a lot about an idea that's almost but just NOT QUITE coming together, and several ideas that aren't coming together at all. In the absence of pressing creative engagements, I'm casting about, looking for the Next Big Thing to concentrate on.

I hate this part of the process.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Andrew Waxes Philosophical on Videogames

Originally intended as a comment to a blog post by Zeros 2 Heroes founder Matt Toner, asking for thoughts on the notion of comics to videogame translation.

When reading it (if anyone can be bothered), it should be borne in mind at all times that my knowledge of videogames doesn't extend much further than Pong. Nevertheless, until I see otherwise, I do separate writing for videogames into a separate category than writing for traditional narrative media. The former is more involved with concocting scenarios (much like a role-playing game referee), while the latter's concerns are more on telling the story the creator wants told. Looking at it from the other end, a reader/viewer of traditional narrative media take the role of witness, while gamers are participants.

Says the guy who doesn't know the difference between a Wii and Intellivision.

In case it comes across that way, I don't think there's anything wrong with anybody taking part in those activities from any side of the equation. Most important to me is that the writing is still writing, it's just writing focused on a different set of goals than those I've generally focused on (I'd still like to take a crack at writing for a videogame somewhere down the line, something that the paragraphs I just wrote are going to make highly unlikely, I know.)

Anyway. What I wrote:

I read a quote yesterday that crystallized what it is that makes it difficult for me to engage with many video games. From an MSNBC story that starts off about a guy trying to blame videogames for the latest American college shooting spree, and turns into an examination of videogames as educational tools, by Ian Bogost, creator of a health-promoting Sims-like game called FATWORLD:

'Unlike television or even novels, instead of telling stories, video games represent systems and complicated interactions between multiple dynamics,' Bogost says. 'They're a model of the world rather than an individual story within it.'

The quality of narrative in videogames has long been their greatest weakness (IMO). Action seems to take precedence over character--you're allowed some limited roleplaying in stuff like World of Warcraft, but my understanding is that even then, except under exceptional situations, there's no defining narrative, no beginning, middle and's all middle.

At least that model has a social networking system going for it, so the big payoff doesn't necessarily need to be in the form of reaching the satisfying end of a story well-told.

If I thought they had a chance in hell of overwhelming the more traditional narrative media, I'd actually a bit alarmed by narrative-oriented videogames, which, if I'm to understand some Bioware staffers I've talked to, are constructed more or less with the desired storyline, plus a bunch of other options that will eventually take any semi-competent player to the desired conclusion via what's presumably an inferior storyline.

This is actually why I stopped refereeing live roleplaying games and started writing seriously--my players kept f#%&ing my stories up. The kind of videogames I'm describing seem designed to have the stories f'd up, which I'd think must be terribly frustrating (a frustration somewhat alleviated by a decent to substantial paycheque for what is, after all, still writing.)

It seems to me the comics that are most likely to lend themselves to videogame adaptation are ongoing, action-oriented series--ones that, like a videogame, exist more or less constantly in the middle of a story that will never reach an end. Spider-Man can fight Doc Ock a million times and neither of them will ever die (permanently). That sort of arrangement seems reasonably transferable to a videogame medium--though in that case you end up with a situation where the player might actually reach a completely unsatisfying story conclusion, having Spider-Man get killed because the player lacks the skillset to beat the villain du jour.

Still, that seems like the best, or at least the easiest, sort of comic to translate to videogame.

Less easy, or to my mind convenient, are what I'm going to call 'graphic novels' (a term I try to avoid because it unfairly denigrates the idea of the 'comic book', but which in this case is easier than constantly repeating 'comics that actually function as complete stories.')

Any story with a defined beginning, middle, and end is going to provide a number of challenges to someone trying to bring it to the videogame medium. I'm guessing the videogame fan's priorities are substantially different than mine, so provided there's a certain level of entertainment to be had in whatever journey/challenges the player has to make in the game could make for an enjoyable gaming experience.

For myself, I'd rather have an enjoyable narrative experience. And while comics and videogames both (and movies and a lot of other narrative forms, for that matter) tend to be collaborative efforts, at the end of the day, I don't have to go through the first five segments (pages/minutes) of a comic/novel/movie before I 'get it right' and am able to experience the next five. I just get the (presumably) best story the creator(s) could produce, period, end (if you'll pardon the pun) of story.

So, to finally get around to something resembling an answer to the question at hand: a graphic novel would offer easier transition to film or, depending on how open-ended the concept was, television. But the existence of an established, ‘proper’ ending could lead to problems, both technical and aesthetic (does anyone want to play a game where they know, ultimately, the protagonist/player's struggle is going to be in vain?--Not that there are a lot of comics out there that end like that, but as an extreme example of what I'm thinking of.) On the other hand, action-oriented comics that are designed, up-front, as intellectual properties with no defined ending would, I'd *think* (I'm totally talking out of my ass here, if you couldn't already tell) would be easier to translate to videogame format, while presenting potential problems when it comes to adaptation to other media (esp. movies, where some form of artificial, probably producer-mandated world-shattering climax to the storyline is going to be required--which leads to the question of how one will come up with an equally world-shattering/satisfying conclusion to each sequel.)

None of which is to say any comic couldn't be translated into a videogame. It's just a matter of what a given comic/graphic novel's owners'/creators' storytelling priorities are, how skilled/talented the people adapting a property to a different medium are, and how much money the people who see the business potential in facilitating that adaptation are willing to shell out to make it happen. I'm sure someone could make an entertaining game based on Charles Burns' BLACK HOLE. But it'd be a hell of a lot easier to make one based on The Punisher.


Monday, February 18, 2008

A Very Special HOLIDAY MEN Episode

This week at The ChemSet: A HOLIDAY MEN episode like no other!

Read it and weep. I know I'm going to.


Sunday, February 17, 2008


Having breakfast with my brother-in-law yesterday at the insanely early hour of...I don't know, it was a lot earlier than I'm usually up, let's just put it that way. Anyway, we're talking about this and that, this being hi iPod Touch, and that being blogging. He pointed out that I don't post as much these days, which doesn't feel true but I know is.

Stopping to think about it, I came to some conclusions as to why that's the case. There's only so much whining one person can do in public; stuff I'd like to talk about I can't for legal reasons; other stuff I'd like to talk about runs the risk of hurting, inadvertently or otherwise, people I'd rather not see hurt; even though I've completely written the first two storylines, THE HOLIDAY MEN, between lettering tweaks and spreading the word and figuring out how to post images and generally keeping things going in the right direction takes a lot of time out of my week (even more since Ward bailed.) T and I spent most of Friday and much of the last couple days getting this week's Very Special Installment ready for tomorrow night.

And of course, there's always, always other things I SHOULD be writing right now.

But I do feel bad about not posting more. That might not actually get me to post more, but it can't hurt.

Just for fun, here's a page of script I wrote as a favour for Jay at Happy Harbor. He's been doing a lot of speaking engagements at local schools lately, and needed a single page that could be drawn by different artists, the idea being that the kids would be able to see how different artists interpret the same script.

He didn't ask me for anything more than that--he even said it didn't need to be a finished story or anything (and arguably it isn't.) But I set some guidelines for myself, which made it a bit of a challenge. I wanted something that could be shown to kids without issues (there goes the swearing and any graphic violence.) I wanted something that involved a lot of different scripting terminology--I don't know if Jay's going to be talking about what a full bleed or an establishing shot is, but it couldn't hurt to have it in there. I did want it to stand on its own (always a challenge, again, not sure I managed it) and in the absence of heavy action, I wanted it to be funny.

This is what I came up with:

A panoramic shot of devastation and destruction on a cataclysmic scale. Buildings in ruins, smoke, flame, the whole nine yards.
1 CAP: (tech font) My first game of soccer did not go well. I was sent to live in Edmonton with my Aunt Helen.

Exterior establishing shot of a middle-class house in an Edmonton suburb. It’s a nice sunny day in July.
2 CAP: (tech font) My cousin Gavin...was not thrilled with this arrangement.

Interior establishing shot of the house’s kitchen. Neat but not sparkling, very homey.
GAVIN (eleven years old, unruly hair, dressed in shorts, t-shirt, and sneakers), is arguing, or at least trying to, with his mother, HELEN (mid-thirties, dressed comfortably but well).
Helen isn’t looking at her son; she’s focused on chopping a cucumber to add to the salad bowl on the counter. Gavin’s spluttering in impotent fury.
7 AUNT HELEN: (connected) NOW GO ASK HER.

Head and shoulders shot of a scowling Gavin. He knows he isn’t going to win this one, but isn’t happy about it.

Interior establishing shot of a pre-adolescent girl’s room. Lots of pink, lots of frills. Teddy bears and Barbies line shelves along the walls.
Sitting on the bed--which bows noticeably under the weight--is our narrator, the MAXIKILLDROID-XI (or MAXI, for short.) Maxi is an eight-foot tall humanoid robot, and every inch of her grey metal body looks like it could cut, maim, kill, explode, and otherwise do grievous bodily damage to anyone who got on her bad side. Barrels of guns, flamethrowers, and a bazooka protrude from various parts of her body; blades, both stationary and buzzsaw, cover much of the rest of her. Her eyes are green, glowing slits.
And she’s dressed in a modest skirt, a t-shirt, and socks with little pom-poms on them.
10 MAXI: (electrical tail, tech font) COME IN.

Past Maxi, head turned to look at her cousin, to Gavin, standing framed in her bedroom doorway. He’s holding a soccer ball.
Artist note: Make sure to leave sufficient room for word balloons.
12 MAXI: (ET, tech) HEY.
14 MAXI: (ET, tech) ONCE.

Head and shoulders side view of Maxi, head turned to look out of the panel at us (and Gavin.)

Same shot.
16 MAXI: (ET, tech) SURE.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Three Good Things and One Wash

The WGA Strike is officially over. And while the membership still has to vote over whether to accept the new deal, given that the vote to end the strike passed with something like 92%, it's going to get accepted.

CHUCK's season is over (boo), as is HEROES (probably best to give everyone a few months to get the taste of "Volume 2: Generations" out of their mouths.) LOST might manage an additional five episodes to add to the six that are already in the can; SUPERNATURAL is supposed to get a few more, too. Haven't heard anything about REAPER; BIONIC WOMAN is apparently dead, and I'm guessing LIFE is, too, though I haven't heard about it, either.

I heard a rumour that reality television shows' ratings in general are going down, possibly thanks to overexposure during the strike. If this isn't true, I don't want to hear it, because it makes me feel warm inside believing it is.

For myself, I can go back to having an infinitesimally microscopic chance to make some money out of H'wood, selling a spec, rather than none at all.

So that's good.



From Rich Johnston's February 11, 2008 LYING IN THE GUTTERS column:


[Green Light]The first issue of Wildstorm's "Secret History of the Authority: Jack Hawksmoor" was solicited in last month's Previews; the second in this month's. Both name Koi Turnbull as the interior artist.

The actual interior artist for all six issues will be Fiona Staples (cover artist for several issues of Devil's Due's "Sheena"). Even though she got the job well after the first issue was solicited, the plan is to release the issues on the previously established schedule.



Which means a friend of mine gets to live a few years longer, albeit possibly with a mystery headache of some sort.



The CT-Scan of my sinuses showed some mucus and a cyst, but nothing to account for the 16-month-long headache I've had. So it's getting referred back to my family doctor, who'll either send me to a neurologist or a headache specialist. On the one hand, we're back to square one, and on the other, I don't need to have any surgical procedures performed in my sinus cavity.

Sure FEELS like a sinus headache...


Monday, February 11, 2008

HOLIDAY MEN #1.6: Still Senselessly Violent After All These Years. Year. OK, Month and a Half.

Well, editor Ward Foyle was as good as his word and abandoned us mid-storyline due to a disagreement over how awful this particular installment's title is. That guy's got no sense of humour, I tell you.

Anyway. This week, things go from bad to worse for pretty much everybody, but especially Nick Klaus and the crowd of people who thought a Massacre Day Sale would be a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. Important life lessons can be learned, in:

RIP Steve Gerber

Steve Gerber has passed away at age 60. Best known for being one of the creators of HOWARD THE DUCK, Gerber also contributed numerous other characters to the comics world, including OMEGA THE UNKNOWN and FOOLKILLER, both of which, along with HTD have or have very recently had new miniseries based on them released from Marvel.

I came late to HTD; in fact, I'm not sure I ever really "got" what others got out of it (its effect on a large number of creators really can't be overstated), though I've started to recently by digging back in to Marvel's ESSENTIAL HOWARD THE DUCK trade. More than his actual work, what I really knew and admired Gerber for was his standing up for creators rights. His fight for credit and compensation for creating HTD, a character he had a connection to and remained passionate about right up till the end, was the first time I encountered the notion that creators had rights that sometimes have to be fought for.

Beyond that, HTD and Gerber inspired a huge number of comic creators, setting the bar high for what could be accomplished--or even attempted--in the comic medium, at a time when few saw it as anything other than disposable kids entertainment.

A couple weeks back, my friend Marc Bryant chimed in The Holiday Men's comments section to mention Gerber was going through some health issues and to encourage people to go over to Gerber's blog to wish him well.

I did go to the blog (which I'd read periodically for some time), but I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't comment. Looking at the heartfelt messages left by others, I found myself at a loss for words. Online communication creates a distance between people, even those who are chatting in realtime. I feared...I don't really know what I feared. That I might look crass, maybe? That my words might somehow ring hollow, or worse, be perceived or received in a manner they weren't intended? That anything I might say couldn't possibly be good enough to justify inflicting on the guy?

In any event, I didn't say anything. And I've got a feeling I'll be regretting that for a long time.

Via The Beat

Friday, February 8, 2008

Quote of the Day

"I wrote a couple of scripts about three or four years ago, because I wanted to see if I could make a living writing scripts. And then I realized that you had to deal with the studios. No matter how much fun you had writing the script, at the end of the day, you were dealing with people who had no idea what they were doing, but had no idea that they had no idea what they were doing."
John Cleese. I liked the rest of the interview, too, but that bit jumped out at me as something I should remember.

(Via Mark Evanier)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Quote of the Day

"...We have been advised to tone down the anti-studio rhetoric now that a deal might be progressing. Our negotiators have the specific task of forgetting the past and dealing only with the numbers before them. Their ability to do that impresses me greatly, but I maintain that it's their job to treat the studios like business partners and it's our job to remember who they really are. The studios are inefficient, power-hungry, thieving corporate giants who have made the life of the working writer harder from decade to decade. They are run by men so out of touch with basic humanity that they would see Rome burn before they would think about the concept of fair compensation..."

Joss Whedon, who says a hell of a lot more I find heartening, in a Rorschach from the WATCHMEN kind of way, at the link.

Nicknames I have been known and loved by.

Nicknames I have been known and loved by.
A couple of my friends are really getting kicked around the last few days. One's being screwed over by unscrupulous ex-business partners; the other's waiting to hear back from a doctor whether or not he's just in rough shape, or terrifyingly bad shape, healthwise.

Knowing that these guys have troubles that make mine look like molehills with delusions of grandeur, I find myself pre-shamed into not complaining about my sixteen-month long sinus headache, or sore back, or the Catscan I had yesterday.

Actually, I couldn't complain about the Catscan--well, I could, I can complain about anything, it's a gift--but I shouldn't. It was the smoothest medical procedure I've ever had to endure, and I've had to endure a lot of them. In fact, I was actually halfway back home when the time of my appointment rolled around. I got there early and they took me right in. I don't think that's ever happened for me before. Every medical test should be like yesterday's Catscan.

Unwilling for the moment to dwell on the awful void that is my near-perfect life (for the Perfect Life, just Add Money!), I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to write about (in public--I've got TONS of stuff I ought to be writing independently...). So what you get is this:

As some of you know, I've been writing a monthly column for Award-Winning comic retail chain Happy Harbor Comics, "Kid Drew's YOU WANT TO BUY THIS!" When he read the title of the column, my friend Marc "Marcus" Bryant (writer of THE GATESVILLE COMPANY and SHOTGUN WEDDING, two generally excellent comics cut down in their prime by the demise of Speakeasy Comics) was...less than enthusiastic about the title. The reason he wasn't enthusiastic had nothing to do with the contents of the column (which is my picks for the best bets from each month's PREVIEW catalogue--I started doing this in lieu of my Skewed Perspectives reviews because I was getting sick of writing about what I didn't like that I was reading. It's much easier to be enthusiastic and upbeat about something that sounds interesting and/or good in advance of its release, even easier when a few people actually take a chance and order something I recommended...nothing like an audience to get a writer's juices flowing...).

No, Marc's problem was with the title. He thought I'd dubbed myself "Kid Drew". And to him, that was hinky.

The people who actually read YWTBT! probably also read the HARBOR LIFE webcomic, and know that Kid Drew is a character in the strip based loosely on yours truly. Unlike Kid Drew, I don't habitually wear a Luchadore mask, nor do I try and frighten people into buying comics I like. I do, however, shove comics I like in the faces of people I think should buy them. If they find that frightening, well, that's not my fault.

Over at his blog, artist vunderkind Nick Johnson has declared me "The Pastor of Disaster." Which, given my deeply-held conviction that everything sucks, is certainly apropos. Or at least Tiina thinks so.

Kid Drew and The Pastor of Disaster are just two of many nicknames I have had over the years--a few of which haven't fallen through the holes in my swiss cheese memory. Some of them I liked, some of them I didn't mind, a couple of them I tried to convince everyone to call me because I thought that would be cool. None of them stuck for any length of time, which I believe was the point of a nickname I had in high school--one I was so proud of I even painted it on a ballcap, just so everyone would know I self-identified as "The Undefined."

Inside my high-school social group (read as: roleplaying geeks who hung out with each other), there were two subgroups: the Man-Men and the others. The Others each got unique nicknames, none of them particularly complimentary. The Man-Men were the ones who could pass as cool; they were known by the nickname "The (Insert Name Here) -Man". There was The Matt-Man, the Don-Man, a couple others. Sometimes I was granted the Andy-Man status, but mostly it was agreed that I just...wasn't a Man-Man. But neither then was I really one of the Others. I got along with all of them fine, for the most part; in some ways I was the one thing they all had in common. But I didn't really fit in either group...I was The Undefined.

Mind you, now that I think about it, most of the Man-Men eventually got into body-building and weightlifting (I recently reconnected with The Matt-Man and found out that he's been taking part in Strong-Man competitions...). So maybe The Undefined wasn't the compliment I liked to think it was...

I had several nicknames among the painters I worked with as a summer job while I attended art college. My favourite (though I have a hard time fathoming why at this point in time) was "The Human Eclipse", which generally got shortened down to "Eclipse".

Partly because I've had greying hair since my mid-teens, and partly because I dressed up to go out for the crew's annual Calgary Stampede Drink-Up (in which the boss did the impossible and made Stampede tolerable by paying for his crews' consumption of a terrifying quantity of alcohol), the boss' brother dubbed me "The Silver Fox". I imagine I was called other, far less complimentary names behind my back. I vaguely recall repeatedly calling someone an awful name (I don't remember what it actually was anymore, but it wasn't nice) for a couple days, simply because I'd never heard anyone on the crew refer to him by his actual name and had written off the nickname as an unfortunate choice made in a moment of weakness by cruel parents...ahh, the joys of the blue-collar life...

One of my closest friends in Art College made a valiant run at getting me known as "Boxcar." If that had stuck, I believe I would've taken up blues guitar.

As much as I like the idea of being known as The Pastor of Distaster, I still think the longest-running nickname I had for several years as a child is probably the most accurate.

Dad had my number from a very early age, when he started calling me "Bummer." I was fifteen before I realized "bummer" had a negative connotation.


Monday, February 4, 2008

THE HOLIDAY MEN #1.5 goes Boom now.

Basic scenario established - Check.

Characters in motion - Check.

Theme clearly stated - Check.

Time to blow something up.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Just Don't Make That Slurping Noise

Because he (wrongly) believes he shouldn't spend every spare second working on THE HOLIDAY MEN, charmingly eccentric and mildly disturbed artist Nick Johnson has decided to dip his toe in the weblog waters with his new online journal, Nick Soup. Check it out, but don't read it just before going to bed unless you like weird dreams. I know I do.


Holiday Men Commentary #1.4

It's a little shorter than usual, but my and Nick Johnson's commentary on the fourth Holiday Men installment can now be found in the installment in question's Comment Section at the Chemistry Set.


Friday, February 1, 2008

Gimme Gimme Moore, Gimme Moore, Gimme Gimme Moore

This will be the first and hopefully last time a Britney Spears song reference will appear as the subject of a blog posting.


First up, I'm told by what I'd consider the second most reliable source of information on the matter I've got available to me that the Dell pink slip delivery scenario I described yesterday is not likely an accurate account of how things happened (the most reliable source of info I've got actually works/worked at Dell Edmonton, but I haven't gotten hold of them yet.)

Apparently, Dell's planning to cut 10% of its overall workforce, which makes me wonder why they hired 10% more people than they needed, or whether they're cutting 10% of people they actual do need to do the job right and are just going to let their schlub customers wait an extra half an hour on the phone before getting to talk to someone. Probably the latter, if my personal experience of the corporate planning mentality is any indicator.

I wonder if the executives at Dell are all taking a 10% pay cut...

Meanwhile, if an e-mail I received a few minutes ago is to be believed, Exxon made $1300 a second in 2007. Viva la revolucion.


Started the day with a 77 minute documentary on "The Mindscape of Alan Moore", in which he touches on almost everything but John Constantine, which is a weird omission as the documentary filmmakers have a recurring segment featuring someone that's clearly intended to represent the character.

The great thing about stuff like Moore's comments in this documentary (and Moore's Writing for Comics essay) (and pretty much everything Alan Moore says publicly on the subject of creativity) is that, while he doesn't come right out and say it, he's effectively challenging every creator watching to aspire to heights that many (myself included, I think) don't. If he wasn't ALAN MOORE, it'd be very easy to write off his pretensions of art and his casual dismissal of work that's intended as nothing more than entertainment.

Entertainment is where most of my stuff is very deliberately aimed, partly because of the entertainment I've not felt from a lot of the more recent work of people like Moore or, say, Dave Sim. I don't mind a comic that educates as well as entertains; as a reader I've got some real issues with comics that focus so heavily on education that entertaining/engaging/exciting the reader becomes an afterthought, if that. I feel that there is value in "giving people 20 minutes of something to do while they wait to die." But then, I would, wouldn't I.

A comic artist acquaintance of mine expressed some reservations re: Moore a few months ago. Basically, he wasn't entirely sure whether Moore actually believed the stuff he was saying, or whether he was a canny businessman who effected the persona of a magician for business reasons ("I've met Grant Morrison, and know him well enough to say he's a businessman more than {a loony}.") Of course, if Moore is speaking honestly re: his worldview, effecting a persona is essentially a magical act that can transform the real person into the role they're playing, so maybe it all amounts to the same thing.

Anyway, interesting stuff, if you've got a reasonably fast internet connection and 80 minutes to kill.