In an effort to combat our occasional…okay, okay, near-constant negativity, we give you a regular feature full of nothing but love — Stuff We Like This Week. Appearing every Friday, SWLTW will recap the things that have set our little nerdly hearts aflame within the past seven days.
As first reported (I think) over at Robot 6, Dwayne McDuffie has been “fired” from Justice League of America, where even fans of the book would admit he’s had a troubled run, saddled with inelegant dictates to tie his stories and characters into whatever crossover or event happened to be the hype du jour.
My first thought upon hearing it was of a classic blog post by the cantankerous Dirk Deppey over at Journalista, in which he coined a genius term and hit upon what makes the backstage dealings at DC so fascinating and complicated at the same time:
Add to this the opaque nature of DC’s inner workings and pretty much all commentary turns to Kremlinology, reducing speculation from how the company works and what it can actually do, to little more than which apparatchik is in or out of favor at a given moment. Even comments made by creators defecting from the company need to be seen in this light: Who was giving them information about the chain of command? Their editors? How much of it is real, and how much of it is ass-covering? How many people have passed the buck up to DiDio because he’s the figurehead that they see, how many just want to protect their turf – and how many actually know what they’re talking about? The more you think about it, the more suspect most speculation becomes (including, I hasten to add, my own).
So, yeah. Kremlinology. Suspect speculation at best. Part of me doesn’t want to indulge, cause even at a high level, it amounts to gossip.
Still, it keeps gnawing at me, this Dwayne McDuffie thing. It should not have been this way.
“You’re reading Scalped, right?”
“Dude, read Scalped!”
“You didn’t pick up Scalped this week? What is wrong with you?”
“I will kill a puppy if you don’t add Scalped to your pull list.”
People overestimate how much I like dogs, which is why it shames me to say that no, I haven’t read Scalped yet. I’m asked frequently, by the online crowd, by my friends, by my comic shop employees; they all want to know if I’m reading it. Lord knows I should. Yes, I’m a Jason Aaron fan. He’s rescued the ongoing solo titles of two Marvel characters who rarely ever have entertaining, well-written ongoing solo books (Wolverine and Ghost Rider), and his breakout work The Other Side, drawn by Cameron Stewart, is excellent. I pick up what Aaron throws down over and over and over again, but have not read the critically acclaimed OMGawesome book that established him as a voice with real staying power in comics.
What am I waiting for?
Well, I’m waiting for Fables to end, bascially. It’s a strange and annoying calculus, but I limit myself to a (completely arbitrary) total of three Vertigo book at any given time. Right now, they’re Fables (spinoffs count as part of the main title, BTW), Madam Xanadu and DMZ. I cling to it stubbornly, because I can’t start a diet, I can’t drink less, and I can’t find freaking love, but I can stick to my Vertigo limit. Except for Jack of Fables. But that sort of counts as Fables. I’m so alone.
Except that the Fantastic Fangirls did the What Are You Waiting For? thing. And the thing I was waiting to read was Scalped.
So here we are.
I’ve read the first two trade paperback collections of Scalped and, I’ve gotta say, they were awesome.
Despite having a nunchaku-wielding Jeet Kune Do crooked cop/brawler as its main character, Scalped manages to be a gritty, introspective crime drama that is noir and Western at the same time. Jason Aaron’s straightforward plot and cynical, self-destructive characters are incredibly engaging, thanks in part to R.M. Guera’s bleak sepia-toned art. And did I mention that Jock does the covers? I probably shouldn’t, or else I’ll start to crave monthlies.
I mean, really. Just in that last paragraph, we have
- Jeet Kune Do
All of which are things that I love. So, thank you, Jason Aaron. I’ll be catching up with Scalped as soon as I can, and then adding the book to my pull list. Thanks for ruining my life.
When I heard about the Fantastic Fangirls‘ May blogging event, What Are You Waiting For?, it wasn’t really a matter of finding something to read or watch that would fill in a critical blank in my geek awareness. It was more a matter of choosing from the seemingly endless list of stuff I still have to consume.
I’ve never read Sandman, Preacher, From Hell, Frank Miller’s Daredevil, or all of Lee/Kirby’s Fantastic Four. I have an uncracked copy of Dash Shaw’s Bottomless Belly Button staring at me guiltily. I’ve never seen Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey, or even Vertigo. (Yes, I have seen Star Wars too many times to count. SHUT UP.)
In other words, I have a LONG way to go toward feeling fully versed in the essentials and cult classics of geekdom, and I’m the kind of guy who hates feeling like he’s missing out on part of the collective understanding because he hasn’t seen/heard/read something. So lots to do, lots to do.
For this particular opportunity, however, I decided to pick up a book I’ve owned for more than three years and never been able to get into: The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, by Bryan Talbot.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my favorite show of all time. Still. Probably always, unless someone decides to come up with a neo-CW sensation called Buffy the Vampire Slayer Kicks It With Veronica Mars, Sydney Bristow and Kara Thrace. Also, Daisy Steiner Is There.
And yet, I never got around to seeing that bit of early ’90s teen dream cinema that started it all — you know, the Buffy movie. The one with a just-beginning-to-bald Dylan McKay and cameos from whodathunkit future Oscar winners Hilary Swank and Ben Affleck. This is very unlike me. When I love something, I am generally all about absorbing any scraps of expanded universe data I can get my hands on, even if said scraps end up looking more like sloppy, crayoned renderings of the classic product. (This level of obsessiveness may or may not have led to me Googling for fanfic about a certain pairing on a certain show, the name of which may or may not rhyme with “Schmossip Schmirl,” and then reading a story based exclusively around the notion that one half of this pairing smells like strawberries. Just for example.)
Anyway. My avoidance of the Buffy movie was never meant to be one of those big, fat geek medals of honor — a red badge of nerdage — or anything. I didn’t shun it so I could loudly proclaim that I only recognize TEH ONE TRUE BUFFY. I just didn’t think it was…necessary. Joss Whedon always said that Buffy the show was Buffy done right, and Buffy the movie was sort of a not-done-quite-right false start. So why bother?
But when our friends at Fantastic Fangirls declared this What Are You Waiting For? month — ie, read/view/consume some vital bit of geekiana you’ve avoided up ’til now — I realized maybe it was time to just watch the thing. After all, how can I consider myself a true Buffy Buff if I’ve never seen her original origin story?