Monday, February 26, 2007

My Road To NY Comic Con 2007

Note, this should have gone up Saturday, but I was really tired after I came home, so it goes up now.

After waiting 3 months and regretting not going last year for even longer, today, Saturday the 24th, I finally made the trip to the New York Comic Con. Comic Con, while primarily a comic book convention, is a huge pop culture festival, with representatives from movies, TV, comics, video games, anime, manga, and more present. As far as I know this is one of the most important festivals in the field, only paling in comparison to the huge annual San Diego gathering (which I have yet to go to…maybe one day…). Anyway, here's a recap of my day:

The festival started at 10 AM today, with people being checked in as early as 9AM. Of course this means I rolled out of bed at 8:30, expecting to beat the early rising crowd (those fools). I unfortunately was going alone, because Pete DiSilvio made up some excuse about being broke…you know Pete, Oliver Queen was broke too, and did he give up? No, he dated Black Canary.

Anyway, I still had hope that at the festival I would run into one of the many Nonsensers that were also going, and hopefully I wouldn't be alone the whole time.

So, I arrive at the Javitz Center around 11:00, with the perfect amount of time to make the DC panel at noon…at least I thought. To my horror the line to get in was spanning a five-block radius from the building. Perfect. "Don't worry, it's moving fast" the security personal said. Meanwhile an hour later, I'm still on the line. Well, forget about that Noon panel…I guess I'll read what happened in it at Newsarama. If it weren't for the on-going witty comments coming from the couple behind me about the monstrous line, I don't think I would have kept my sanity. Thank you mystery couple, you made me laugh numerous times, even though you don't know me, and you probably thought my odd laughter was creepy, and an obvious sign that I was ease dropping on you. Sorry.

So, finally I get into the building a little after 12. I'm not sure what the line was for exactly, since they didn't scan my ticket or anything, the security guard barely looked at it and sent me along. I hope the line out of the building isn't that long as well…

At first entrance onto the main floor, I'm completely overwhelmed by…everything. All around me are booths full of people who probably could tell me incredibly obscure facts about forgotten comics like the exact issue number that Beefeater first appeared in Giffen's JLE (it's #20, contrary to what is written on wikipedia. I have the damn issue). Not to mention the crowd. If there were at least 500 people on that line waiting, there was at least quadruple that inside the place. I felt like I was sleepwalking while shifting through the aisles and past the clusters of people with witty T-shirts. I pass at least 3 Stormtroopers and two Supergirls, one of which had no business being dressed up like Supergirl. Lines formed out of nowhere for artist and writer signings. I've never seen people rush to a line so quickly just to spend 2 minutes telling one man how much you loved their work and for them to hand you back your comic now officially unreadable because of a bunch of illegible big marker letters written across the front of it. I made my way to the back of the floor, staring at all the booths in front of me with disbelief. The number of independent retailers selling comics from "The Golden Age" or shitty copies of bootlegged videos astounded me. One seller had a bootleg DVD set of "Heroes" labeled "The Compete First Season." "But the first season isn't even over yet…" "Well, it's every episode up until the last one, and it's $60. I can bring it down to 50, but that's it." I could also watch all the episodes free online.

I started counting the number of girls I saw dressed like Harley Quinn. There had to be at least 7, including one girl who didn't look any older than 7. Harley was probably the second most popular costume there, only trumped by the aforementioned Supergirls. Wow were there a lot of Supergirls. If the past serves any purpose, it's that I've learned that there are a good number of girls who don't like comic books, and think conventions like this are only for geeky nerds, but honestly, at one point, I'm almost positive there were more girls than guys in the building. And I mean gorgeous girls…any stereotypes people had about girls that like comics could have been broken by just stepping foot in the place. Wow.

WARNING, Rant starting: Now, I'm not even counting the girls that were working booths, many of whom were clad in absolutely nothing. I'd never thought I'd say this, but that actually offended me…me! I mean, these girls are obviously trying to appeal to a stereotypical portrayal of the male comic book nerd, you know, the porn addict who melts at the sight of a pretty girl talking to him…and well, I thought it was a little wrong. The fact that some of these girls were walking around handing out fliers trying to convince people to buy stuff from their booth while only wearing what looked like body paint really pissed me off. I couldn't believe it. I mean, there was a Playboy playmate there at the convention signing autographs or something, and she was dressed quite well…much better than these girls. You know, I'm just going to stop complaining about this, because I'm probably just shooting myself in the foot here…either that or you're all going to think I'm gay. Rant over.

Anyway, after I found a bathroom, because I had drunk too much water, I started wandering through Artist Alley. In the booth marked "Jimmy Palmiotti" sat J.G. Jones. This was confusing to both myself and apparently him, since at times he was telling lesser-informed fans that he was Jimmy Palmiotti. Jones has been doing amazing work as the cover artist of 52, and well, I wanted to tell him that (and now I'm starting to understand those fanboys rushing for autographs earlier). So I approached him and said "Now what is JG Jones doing in the booth that is marked for Jimmy Palmiotti?" To which he replied by saying the exact thing back to me, in an exaggerated version of my voice "That's my best impression, sorry." Wow. J.G. Jones just mocked me. Anyway, this developed into a very interesting conversation about how I loved the 52 cover that was Batman fighting the dragon, and how apparently I'm the only one who understood that was a reference to the famous St. George fighting the dragon and was representing Batman fighting his inner-demons. (I don't believe I'm the only one who got this, but that's what he said.) I also asked him if that was a clue for upcoming issues of 52, if that means Batman will be fighting Richard Dragon? "No, but that's a good interpretation of that."

After J.G. Jones I found the creators of "Action Philosophers!" where I had another very interesting conversation, which resulted in me jokingly threatening to sue them if their comic wasn't good. I'm such a jokester me…

Wondering around trying to find some of the Nonsensers, I went through a bunch of the booths. The Cheerleader from "Heroes" was signing autographs, as was Gary Coleman. I got pictures with Kyle Baker and Chris Claremont(who I also managed to piss off), as well as tell Rags Morales that he draws a great Black Canary. Jimmy Palmiotti (finally at his booth) drew a quick sketch of Jonah Hex for me and signed it. That was cool. I stopped by the "Masters of Horror" booth, and had a poster signed by all 6 directors there, including John Landis. This was kinda funny because I told Landis that even though this was a Masters of Horror booth, I preferred his comedies like The Blues Brothers and Animal House, to which the director next to him (I'm sorry, but I don't know his name) said jokingly "Well, fuck you man" and signed the poster "Fuck You Billy". That was awesome.

Bill Plympton signed an autograph for me, and I had a fun conversation with one of his, I guess assistants about the costumes some people were wearing to the convention. "I'm shocked that I've only seen one Slave Leia" I said. "Yeah, and no Black Canarys." (I know, I know). Past the aforementioned top two costumes of Supergirl and Harley Quinn, there were quite a few assorted Jedi walking about, as well as an abundance of people dressed like Anime characters. It's interesting to try and comprehend the dedication some of these people have to Anime characters, and their desire to look exactly like them, no matter how unhuman the character might look. I mean some of them had white paint above their eyes just to make them look bigger; and the amount of gel and coloring in some peoples' hair… Honestly, humans don't look like that for a reason. Becoming a carbon copy of your character doesn't work. Though it does a certain surreal aspect to the whole thing…hell, looking at the crowd at an event like this is like getting a lesson in post-modernism.

Other than them there were some really cool costumed people wandering around. There was a Superman and Batman that looked like what would happen if Alex Ross drew real people (that's not a compliment by the way). There was a Blue Beatle, a Flash and a Green Lantern, all of which I got a picture with. At least three Spidermans, all in different versions of his costume. A really cool Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn combo. A 30-year-old man trying to be Aqualad, skin tight clothes and messed up wig and all. Honestly, he looked like a transvestite in that getup (and Aqualad's a guy!). There was also a skin tight Aquaman running around with very visual nipples. I wonder if it was Joel Schumacher. Boba Fett didn't seem out of place at all, and neither did an almost perfect looking Jean Grey/Phoenix. But the best costume there had to go to a man dressed as the Golden Age Vigilante. Now that's an original costume. Honestly, who would want to be the Vigilante? Who would think to be The Vigilante? That guy's officially entered my book of cool.

Oh, and there was also Skelator. An out-of-work Skelator. Awesome.

During my conversation with Bill Plympton's aide (and Plympton himself at intervals), another fan came up and asked if Plympton could draw him a picture of a man fighting a shark. Apparently, he's asked every artist there to draw a picture of a man fighting a shark, and he's trying to fill up a whole sketchbook of it. This man has just made my official cool list as well. Plympton's aide went on to tell us about how last year someone had every artist draw a picture of Marvel Comics Tigra (I assume even if they are from DC). I didn't even know there were Tigra fans. I didn't even know Tigra was still alive until I saw her used in "Civil War". That guys cool too, cause now he has a whole sketchbook of Tigra drawn by different artists.

I kept on checking Keith Giffen and Peter David's booths at Artist Alley, but they never showed up. I wanted to go meet Paul Dini but I never got around to it. I was really tempted to go up to Rob Liefeld and tell him that I love his work and I would love it if he drew me a picture of Captain America, you know, the one with the insanely large muscles, but I figured I wouldn't be able to keep a straight face while saying it, and the joke would be ruined. There was a table set up for Opie and Anthony and Ron and Fez, but none of them were at the table. That was disappointing. Jim Shooter had a table too…I'm not sure why.

After searching for him all day, I finally found the DC comics Sandwich board guy, and got my "Jimmy Olsen Must Die!" and "WWMMD?" pins. That being my final accomplishment of the day, I began to get ready to head home. As I'm walking out, I see Art Tebbel, Editor-In-Chief for Nonsense, (one of the Nonsensers I had been looking for all day.) Figures, I only find him as I'm leaving.

It was a fun day at the convention. I bought some nice comic books (I finally have every copy of "Chase"!), and I met some great comic book creators. Plus I have a picture with me and that guy dressed as Vigilante. That's so cool.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Let's Analyze Bad Lyrics--Keep On Loving You

Hello and welcome to a new edition of "Let's Analyze Bad Lyrics" Today's bad lyric criminal is REO Speedwagon, and their "love" (?) song "Keep On Loving You".

I was listening to an oldies station today when I heard "Keep On Loving You" (sandwiched between Joan Jett's "I Love Rock n Roll" and Bryan Hyland's "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini"). Prior to this, I had heard the song numorous times before, but never did I really listen to the lyrics. Let's have a look, shall we? (My comments are in parentheses).

You should’ve seen by the look in my eyes, baby
There was something missing
You should’ve known by the tone of my voice, maybe
But you didn’t listen

(Uh oh, this looks like trouble! And by the fact that the main protagonist in this work, probably a male, is giving his female "baby" counterpart numerous warnings that she should have known better, I get the feeling that he is very angry at her, and worse things, like beatings, are soon to come. Also, by the use of "maybe" it appears that he's not even sure if "baby" should have known by the "tone of [his] voice". Well, let's see what happens next.)

You played dead
But you never bled
Instead you lay still in the grass
All coiled up and hissin

(OH MY GOD HE DID BEAT HER!!! He hit her, because she didn't understand what he was saying when he yelled at her...or looked in his eyes. She proceeded to pretend to be dead, but that didn't fool the main protagonist, he knew better because there was no blood. (There should always be blood). Also he compares her to a snake. I'm intrigued enough to go on and read why he's mad at her.)

And though I know all about those men
Still I don’t remember

(Ok, he knows that she cheated, but yet, doesn't remember? I get it now, he hit her because he's mentally unstable!)

Cause it was us baby, way before then
And we're still together

(I'd guess not for much longer.)

And I meant, every word I said
When I said that I love you I meant
That I love you forever

(He even tried to say it with his fist! How can you not believe that?)

And I’m gonna keep on lovin you
Cause its the only thing I wanna do
I don’t wanna sleep
I just wanna keep on lovin you

(Now he's raping her! Over and over again, even though his "baby" is begging him to go to sleep and get away from her. This isn't a love song, it's a song about an abusive relationship.)

And I meant every word I said
When I said that I love you I meant
That I love you forever

(So, to clarify, when he said he loved you forever, he meant he was going to rape you forever...and I'd presume that playing dead won't make any difference to him. It hurts? Well, you should have thought of that before cheating should have seen the warnings when you looked in his eyes.)

And I’m gonna keep on lovin you
Cause its the only thing I wanna do
I don’t wanna sleep
I just wanna keep on lovin you

So as we see, "Keep On Loving You" is not a love song at all, but actually a song about a psychotic main protagonist that caught his female counterpart ("baby") cheating with MANY other men (note, he doesn't say just one, but ALL those men. She was a damn whore), and then beating and raping her as punishment. It's a song about revenge, not love.

What I find funny is that this song was played at my cousin's wedding a few years back. I guess no one looked at the lyrics before picking it out.

Ah, the joys of actually reading things...

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Insomnia and the impending apocalypse

It was around 5 in the morning last night. Or is that early morning? Whatever. I was laying in my bed; I couldn't sleep again. I was spinning around the sheets, constantly staring at my alarm clock. "Maybe if I stare at my clock the time will go backwards." Alas, that did not work. In fact it did the complete about your bad luck.

I started flipping through channels on my TV, thinking that maybe there would be at least something interesting to watch during my insomnia. There was an episode of the X-Files shock there, there was also some show where they were selling ten year old pennies at 35 dollars a piece. I wonder if I can do that. I mean, I have a whole jar full of change...who knows what I can sell that for...

Random thoughts shifted in and out of my head. "I was sleepy right before I got to bed, how am I not tired now?", "Just wait, right when I find something to watch, I'll fall asleep", "Which is the worst news of the week...Boston being full of idiots or Joss Weeden not doing the Wonder Woman movie anymore? Boston...definitely Boston." And as I remembered how much I don't care about the Superbowl, Showtime flickered onto my TV...and then, well...I don’t know how to describe what I saw. It wasn't just was exactly what we always feared American culture would succumb to. It was what we had been warned about, by everyone from T.S. Eliot to Mallard Fillmore... It was...Pauly Shore and Carrot Top in the same movie. I instantly hit the "Info" button on my remote to figure out what the hell this monstrosity was...I had actually heard of it before: "Pauly Shore is Dead" which his career hits rock bottom, so he fakes his own death to regain popularity. And it works...after everyone thinks Pauly is dead, he is hailed as a comedy legend...well, until they figure out he's still alive. Then they throw him in jail. I'm really not sure why either...

While in jail he hangs out with Todd Barry, Tommy Lee, Heidi Fleis and the ghost of Sam Kiniston...and I assume learns a valuable life lesson (ironically) and probably gets his "career" back...I'm not sure...I passed out around then...Believe me it was for the better, because if I had to hear one more "Heeeeeeeeey Budddddddddy" a blood vessel in my brain probably would have popped, and blood would have shot out of my ears.

The worse part was...this was a Pauly Shore movie, which with a little research I found out he directed...and featured cameos by the likes of Woopi Goldberg, Britney Spears, Kurt Loader, Matt Pinfield, Sugar Ray, Limp Bizqit, Tom Sizemore, Carson Daily, the aforementioned Carrot Top, Kato Kalin, and Ja Rule (none of which surprise me as they all suck), but also Bill Maher, Ellen Degenerous, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Dr Dre, and Snoop Dogg. Why guys, why?

Oh and he compares his own comedy lovingly to Sam Kiniston...either that or he really hates him.

Needless to say, this movie has scarred me for life. It was the equivalent of the Kent State Massacre on screen. They just kept on shooting at me for no reason at all. Over and over again. At the same time though, I couldn’t look away from it. I was amazed at Pauly Shore's ability to say, without even laughing, that he has a fan base. Maybe he is a better actor than I had previously thought. The movie did provide an interesting question, which I still am thinking about this minute...what is the difference between Pauly Shore and Adam Sandler? Not that much, other than Sandler's from New York...but they both do annoying characters and voices, and they both have done a bunch of shitty movies, and they both are comparably better when paired with Rob why does Adam Sandler have millions, while Pauly is parking the cars at his mothers Comedy Store? I don’t know...but I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that Adam Sandler made Happy Gilmore, and didn't make Encino Man. Oh, and people hate Pauly Shore.