The reason you beat dead horses is simple: because the only people who are going to get out of this thing clean are the ones who arrive at the Gates of Hell wet-past-the-knees in boots of blood, proudly saying that they never gave up believing that there was value to be found in constantly stomping into a corpse felled by delusion and stupidity. In the same way that no one fondly remembers the “good taste” version of sex, there’s little to admire in the man or woman who continually searches to find what they believe to be worthy of praise. Like some kind of grotesque garbage picker, they paw and clamber into the fleshy folds of a decayed carcass, forever turning to the horrified mass of disgusted humanity with wild-eyed pride every time they find a scrap of skin, barely chewed, holding it out with wet, shaking hands, and they are so proud! and they are so sure!
You have to steel yourself for those moments, those moments when a terrified editorial head looks upon the exhausted faces of the soldiers-the librarians, the booksellers, the readers–who have kept him alive for so long, you have to be ready with your jackboots as he opens his mouth and tells you in that quavering tone that we are in a new Golden Age, that the dawn has broke and the charlatans and carnivores have been brought low. Square up, king soldier, and bring him low.
Let Abhay Khosla give you THE FACTS THAT YOU WILL NEED ——————————————————————————– So, as TMZ has delicately reported, one of the Green Lantern characters owned by DC comics has come out of the closet. Green Lantern Alan Scott, the blonde one, was revealed to be living a homosexual lifestyle on an alternate Earth in the recent issue of some comic or another. This was apparently a trending topic on Twitter, a topic of discussion by the Twitterati.
I thought that was exciting, so I went and checked what was being tweeted. Here’s a sample:
(145) DC Comics chooses to rewrite The Green Lantern as a homosexual. Rumored they will change his name to The Pink Nightlight.
(146) L0L @ the green lantern being gay now. WTF? This fool said he gon be known as the pink nightlight now …haha
(147) The Green Lantern? More like The Pink Lantern or Pink Nightlight.
(148) Someone just had a Major Freudian slip in regards tO #AlanScott”Did you hear about the #PinkLantern #GreenLantern ?” so eMbarrassed
(149) Y ahora #GreenLantern será #PinkLantern o cómo?
(150) Your sexuality is finally validated by corporate marketshares- rejoice!#pinklantern
(151) DC Comics messing with nearly 50 years of comic tradition. Green Lantern is now Pink Lantern. Sorry, couldn’t help it.
1. My favorite is probably that last one, #151. I like how he “couldn’t help it”– he’s like James Brown, being held back by his entourage. If you’re going to be an unfunny bigot on Twitter, at least be the James Brown of Unfunny Twitter bigots, I figure.
2. Second-favorite? I’d go with #72– “Green Lan….PINK Lantern.” I like that little dance of the seven veils Salome over there did, before revealing the Prestige of the awesomest joke ever that Pink Lantern surely is.
4. Pink jokes essentially refer to a practice of the Nazi Party, who forced homosexual men to wear pink triangles before exterminating them in concentration camps– a symbol that the homosexual community only later reclaimed in defiance of this attempted mass-genocide.
5. There were a few people who went with Chartreuse Lantern jokes. There were even more jokes about Green Lantern being helpless against wood–but I approve of those in that they refer to boners. Gay or straight, bonerz are pretty hilarious, if you think about it. They’re just so hopeful.
6. I think what I learned from this, more than anything, is how Twitter has reduced humanity into a Zucker Brothers set-piece– you know, like in Airplane 2 where you’d see all the different newscasters around the world responding to some wacky bit of tomfoolery? Whenever a tweet is in another language, it’s basically just that Zucker Brothers routine for me, albeit one enacted by Nazi-sympathizing homophobes.
7. AM I RIGHT?
AH, THAT WAS MEATY. LET’S TALK ABOUT SOME COMICS NOW
Harbinger #1 By Joshua Dysart, Khari Evans, Ian Hannin Published by Valiant It will be almost impossible to tell if this comic is a coherent, entertaining read if you happen to have read those first few original Harbinger issues, and if you’re a certain age, you absolutely did read those first few original Harbinger issues: along with Dr. Dre’s The Chronic and that comic where Neil Gaiman’s Death character put a condom on a banana, Harbinger was delivered house-to-house in an outreach attempt to make sure all comics readers owned a comic featuring an unlikeable overweight female protagonist that was constantly treated like shit. It isn’t that Josh Dysart’s new stab on Harbinger is a straight up retelling of that particular masterwork–some parts are a little more complicated, while some parts are little more convoluted–but that there’s so many bits and pieces pulled in that the comic becomes a series of leapfrogs between a bunch of moments that kinda-happened-that-way. It’s a queasy experience, unhelped by art that, even at its best, is absolutely horrible.
The Incredible Hulk #8 By Jason Aaron, Steve Dillon, Frank Martin Published by Marvel As has been pointed out by Tim O’Neil, this issue of Hulk is the movie Crank, repurposed as a dumb Hulk comic bewilderingly drawn by Steve Dillon, an artist who seems to be cheekily registering his understandable disgust with writer Jason Aaron–who has never met a Preacher subplot he could resist ripping off–by refusing to draw the Hulk any taller than 5’10, making parts of this comic wholly dependent on coloring, which is a bad idea in and of itself. And while some might complain that hey, the movie Crank has already been badly ripped off in one of those terrible post-Ennis Punisher Max stories, it’s a somewhat futile protest, as the movie Crank was basically the movie Speed, with Jason Statham’s forehead encompassing all the craziness of Dennis Hopper combined with the crackerjack personality of a bus. But hey, “character has to do some action repeatedly or: consequences” is probably one of those proto-stories that Joe Campbell talked about, back when Joe Campbell’s name meant more than “the guy Star Wars fans bring up when they want to feel like the last twenty years weren’t spent in the service of a filling the coffers of a tinpot megalomaniac, born without a human chin.” Honesty break: the Punisher’s stupid beard has totally grown on me!
Godzilla #1 By Duane Swierczynski, Simon Gane, Ronda Pattison Published by IDW One of the nicer thing about making Godzilla comics has to be that there’s nobody who is ever going to give you a hard time for doing a bad job, because it’s a Godzilla comic, and how good could it ever be anyway? He’s a monster that knocks over buildings and sometimes breathes fire. Sure, there’re a few thesis papers fans out there obsessed with the atomic-panic aspects of the original story, but learning how to ignore the psychotics is one of the many jobs of today’s itching-towards-mainstream creative types, it’s jostling up there with “craft desperate pleas for attention in the guise of a professional manifesto” and “be a useless piece of shit constantly.” See, Godzilla comics just have to feel like they’re a better way to spend one’s Godzilla-related time than playing the video game Rampage or watching that Matthew Broderick movie. That’s all they have to be, because unlike a Spider-Man fan, or a Star Trek obsessive, American Godzilla fans have never had it that good, and are therefore in a choice position of expecting very little. That aside, this may still not be what they’re looking for: Godzilla seems to be cast as the story’s villain—I don’t know if that’s against the rules. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a funny, entertaining, and extremely well drawn piece of entertainment. Building said entertainment mostly off the work of Simon Gane, an artist who has been around long enough to have a Tom Spurgeon article on his resume, the comic’s story is free to detonate a cliche on nearly every page. There’s a gay marriage that ends in a former mercenary renouncing his vow of pacifism for the sake of revenge for the loss of his family, friends, and fiance—who dies in his arms. And that isn’t even the issue’s main character, just a bit of opening texture that is returned to on the final page, when the actual main character–a Bruce Willis/Lee Marvin/Jason Statham hybrid–calls him up in a get-the-team-back-together moment tuned so loud you can practically hear writer Duane Swierczynski laughing in the background. It’s a nice start, and like most off-brand comics, that’s probably all it will be. But get real: everybody knows how this story is gonna play out, and ain’t nobody allowed to be disappointed by how predictably a Godzilla story plays out.
Fantastic Four #606 By Jonathan Hickman, Ron Garney, Jason Keith Published by Marvel Comics This is the “Fantastic Four does the movie Innerspace” comic, but without a scene where a male character finds his own baby and looks at it. It’s a great example of Today in Comics, actually–a well-told done-in-one that rewards a second read. It’s also not that interesting, overly serious, and derives its emotional resonance from the fact that they’re still using the same character as a mailman as they did back in the 1960s. Suck on that lollipop for a second: they don’t even have the stones to let the Fantastic Four’s elderly mailman die. Like, what if those people at MTV Geek are right? What if Willy Lumpkin, the fictional character, is alive, and he’s being made to get up and prance around, endlessly delivering the mail to a building that’s endlessly under attack? What if he finally had gotten a chance to sleep, the kind of sleep that is forever, the kind of sleep any Fantastic Four fan or creator would be willing to provide a sick dog, and then all of a sudden he was woken up by a smiling Ben Fucking Grimm and that smug ass Reed Richards piece of shit and they said, “Well, here’s one more you owe us! Better get out there and deliver the goddamned mail, you never-gonna-get-to-die old man!” That’s not what heroism is about, people. That’s not what Marvel Comics used to be about. It is what it’s gonna be like for Stan Lee though, and that’s kind of great, actually. Like, he’s gonna bite it, and we’ll have to sit through some really obnoxious speechifying–at this point, he’s definitely gonna be in the Oscar reel, you can rest assured Disney is gonna make that happen–and Groth or somebody like Groth will write some hardcore collar-tugging type of essay taking his mourners down a peg, but then, the first Marvel movie that comes out after they’ve slid what’s left of his gutsleeves into whatever above ground mausoleum pool they’ve got planned for folks of his stature, you’re gonna see his holographic image thrown up alongside whatever the fourth Thor sequel is called, dancing a jig like he’s Bruce Willis in The Last Boy Scout. That’s that guy’s future, that’s Willy Lumpkin’s present, and they’re gonna pay for it with our cash. Not mine, of course. I’m an INDUSTRY TREASURE.
In this two-part interview, Gary Groth talks to Spain about Catholicism, working in a factory, rebelling against authority, teaching, the underground comix movement and Zap, and Nightmare Alley. Continue reading →