Brainiac On Banjo #043: Adam’s Not Strange

I see that our friends at DC Comics are bringing back Adam Strange again.

Yeah, I know. He’s pretty much always been around since his creation 61 years ago. But with DC’s Escheresque approach to continuity, it’s hard to know for sure. It was announced last week that the space hero with the amazing pedigree will return next year in a new Strange Adventures series, courtesy of the team that brought us last year’s award winning (and deservedly so) Mister Miracle series, Tom King and Mitch Gerads, with Doc Shaner joining in on the fun. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #043: Adam’s Not Strange”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #047: Racism Is The New Orange

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #047: Racism Is The New Orange

Perhaps you recall way back last Sunday when the most notorious bigot of the 21st Century told four members of the House of Representatives to go back where they came from, where they should be trying to fix those shithole countries (to borrow a phrase he applied to such lands eighteen months ago) instead of annoying him.

The optics aren’t good here, but let’s face it: we are a nation that is completely polarized. This president really could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue near his tacky Trump Tower #1 and not lose support from his base – which is somewhere between one third and two-firths of the American electorate. He could then try to have sex with the bullet hole (to borrow a concept from my old pal and editor Paul Krassner) and, even if he couldn’t get “it” up his base will gladly hold it for him. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #047: Racism Is The New Orange”

With Further Ado #051: Blah Blah at the Nerd Prom

With Further Ado #051: Blah Blah at the Nerd Prom

You can make the argument that Comic Conventions are just big Pop-Ups, designed to promote all manner of geeky and unexpected treasures. Or you may say that they are more akin to treasure hunts. After all you just know that that one old comic or exclusive toy is out there somewhere on the dealer’s floor. For so many entrepreneurial businesses, they are the ultimate trade show: commerce wrapped up in the showy fashion of focused nerd-dom. To others, comic conventions are a way to scoop up amazing bargains. (Nobody likes diving into the bargain boxes more than me.)  Continue reading “With Further Ado #051: Blah Blah at the Nerd Prom”

Brainiac On Banjo 042: This Joke’s On You

Brainiac On Banjo 042: This Joke’s On You

I just concluded a scientifically-ridiculous survey and the results are staggering. I still have not met a single person who is looking forward to WarnerMedia’s new Joker movie.

Reportedly, this latest incarnation of our favorite playing card-based villain has nothing to do with any other Joker in any version of the character in any manifestation of any of the overpopulated DCUs. The authenticity of that remains to be not seen. But it appears this DC-logoed movie has less in common with the comic book legend about to endure its 80th birthday than it does with James Bond playing baccarat at the Casino Royale.

That’s okay. The most overused character since Wolverine (who, I believe, showed up in a Planet Terry story arc), I can’t recognize The Joker from one bloated comic book story to the next. Great character, dumb character, confusing character… well, I never met the guy. And seeing that for the past 29 years Warners has been disinterested in making a Batman movie worthy of the cellulose acetate upon which it’s memorialized, I really don’t care. I’ve given up. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo 042: This Joke’s On You”

So Long And Thanks For the Fish, Man #042: Sticks and Stones

So Long And Thanks For the Fish, Man #042: Sticks and Stones

Not long ago (as in, a little over a week or so), Unshaven Comics tabled at a would-be decently attended Comic Con near the home of our resident writer and sell-o-matic Kyle Gnepper. Due to his proximity to said con, versus both Unshaven Matt and I being several hours away — and because the show wasn’t slated to demand a full court press by our little studio — we as a company agreed to let Kyle fly solo. Color me a shade of confused then, when checking in with Kyle after the first day of said show, that the unflappable Mr. Gnepper called me in a state that could only be described as quite flapped.

“I really wish you guys were here…” he started — with an unmistaken quiver to his normal timbre. At first I figured (nay, hoped) that his desire for backup was due to insane amount of demand. But alas, the now-shook-salesman reported that the show itself was more than a little problematic. Low attendance due to a then-moved metropolitan festival perhaps led to a lack of local fan support. It happens. But Unshaven Comics has suffered through a constrained con every now and again. Kyle continued. “It’s our neighbor. He… uhh. Well…”  Continue reading “So Long And Thanks For the Fish, Man #042: Sticks and Stones”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind 046: Life’s Little Killings

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind 046: Life’s Little Killings

According to the Washington Post, last week 17-year-old Elijah Al-Amin of Peoria Arizona stopped by the Circle K convenience store on his way home from work, one of the two summer jobs he held. He had been listening to rap music in his car, according to 27-year-old Michael Adams, who is not a fan of the genre. Indeed, rap music makes him feel “unsafe.”

Adams feels this way because, according to him, he had been attacked “by people who listen to rap: specifically, blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans.” Adams did what many unreasonable people might do under the circumstances: he leaped out with his pocketknife at the ready, he slashed Al-Amin’s throat and then, for good measure, stabbed him in the back.

Al-Amin staggered out of the store and died by the gas pumps in front. Adams said he was being “proactive rather than reactive” and that his victim did nothing to provoke him. That’s quite an admission from a guy who had been released from prison two days earlier – without access to medication. You’d think he’d know better. You’d think he was nuts. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind 046: Life’s Little Killings”

With Further Ado #049: A Rose By Any Other Name

With Further Ado #049: A Rose By Any Other Name

I’ve known Rose Del Vecchio, and her co-founder Jenny Cheng ever since they participated in my Fangirls Lead the Way panels. Together they run an innovative company called FanMail.com. A forward-looking Geek-focused company with an entrepreneurial streak a mile wide. The things that strikes you immediately about Rose is that she’s the real deal. As San Diego Comic-Con approaches, it’s important to catch up with Rose, a person on the front lines of both entrepreneurism and geek culture.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #049: A Rose By Any Other Name”

Working Title #020: The Usefulness of Memory Lapses

Working Title #020: The Usefulness of Memory Lapses

I have now coasted past my 70th birthday and have acquired the rights of geezerhood, one of which is a variable memory. I forget things. Not everything nor am I making claims to senility (yet). But sometimes some things drop out and that isn’t necessarily bad.

I suspect I acquired both this trait and outlook from my mother. Every year she would re-read Death Comes For the Archbishop by Willa Cather and at the time I didn’t understand that. Why re-read a book when there are so many out there she had not yet opened? She told me that, due to lapsing memory, she didn’t always remember the plot and so had the pleasure of discovering the story anew. I have since discovered that pleasure for myself. It’s not simply re-reading books that I like but forgetting some the plot details. Mysteries work well with this; for example, I have read every Nero Wolfe mystery that Rex Stout ever wrote (and a few that he didn’t) and I am currently re-reading them. With some (not all), I have forgotten who-dun-it and that’s okay. The real pleasure is not in the unravelling of the mystery but in time spent with the characters, especially Nero Wolfe and his assistant, Archie Goodwin. I’ve really come back for the interplay between them. The resolution to the mystery – indeed, of most mysteries – is very secondary for me compared to that interplay. I would argue that’s true for most mysteries; when Arthur Conan Doyle introduced us to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in A Study In Scarlet, we’re not deeply interested in who the killer is but in how Holmes catches him. I would argue that Doyle’s deepest interest also is not in the killer although he spends a great deal of time in the killer’s backstory. The identity of the murderer and the workings of the plot are there to drive the story and to give us an excuse to visit with our friends, the main characters.  Continue reading “Working Title #020: The Usefulness of Memory Lapses”

Brainiac On Banjo #043: We’re Not Getting Mad…

Brainiac On Banjo #043: We’re Not Getting Mad…

All your children are poor unfortunate victims of lies you believe / A plague upon your ignorance that keeps the young from the truth they deserve. – Frank Zappa, “What’s The Ugliest Part of Your Body?”

For those who have been following the long and lingering death of Mad Magazine, a couple days ago things took another turn for the worse when it was announced that after two more inventory-burning issues, the legendary publication would stop running new material.

That’s sad. 67 years ago Mad changed the nature of our culture, being the first comic book to confront our nation’s culture and its many foibles head-on. It was an important part of a vital movement in the 1950s spawned by innovators such as Lenny Bruce, Dick Gregory, Second City, Ernie Kovacs and Moms Mabley. Mad was all the more important by being the first specifically oriented to those not yet old enough to vote. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #043: We’re Not Getting Mad…”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #045: Fireworks

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #045: Fireworks

Happy Fourth of July, our national celebration of the time a whole lot of immigrants and their offspring told the guy in charge that they’d had enough of his shit. It’s a great American tradition.

It has become quite hard to celebrate this majestic event when our coward in charge and his underlings in ICE, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, the Republican Senate caucus and their fellow travelers literally are torturing thousands of children and their parents.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, holy shit, pick up a newspaper and stop paying attention to the most-excellent professional liars at Fox. All kinds of horrible things are being done to children in your name, and it does not matter who they are or how they got here. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #045: Fireworks”