Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hang in there, baby — I've got some big news!

Sorry about the slow posting lately, guys — there have been some big things going on over here, with more on the way, and boy are my arms tired.

What? Um, sorry. I'm a little frazzled.

Aaaaanyway, I usually try to keep the focus on comics here, but since this will impact Great Caesar's Post I thought I should announce it here, too (this will be old news to Facebook pals). A couple of days ago I gave notice at work, with my last day being a few weeks from now.

There are various reasons for it, but I want to say straight out that the parting is completely amicable. No, really. I've loved the company for the past five-plus years I've been here, and leaving was not an easy decision. Still, for a variety of reasons, it's the right time. So beginning in mid-May I'll be going back to freelance writing, which is what I did for three years before taking the job I have now. (As a matter of fact, if you know of any possible freelance gigs out there, please don't be shy about letting me know!)

And just because I know something like this tends to raise certain questions, here's what I said on Facebook earlier:

Believe me, I enjoy the health insurance and regular paycheck. But sometimes there has to be something more; luckily, we've been able to put ourselves in a position where we can give ourselves a chance at that. We've prepared as well as we can, enough that even if things don't go the way we want them to, we still have the maneuverability to change direction if it comes to that. It's also a matter of over-preparation; when does it feel "OK?" When does it not feel like a risk? If we wait for that, we'll never do it. Just be sure we know what it's like out there, and we know what obstacles there'll be — like I said, we've done it before. And that time we weren't prepared AT ALL, and we survived for three years.

I realize this will probably seem foolish to a lot of people —it's a big part of the reason we've been fairly quiet about it. Maybe that makes it seem as if it's coming out of the blue, but it really isn't. When I say we've been planning it for years, it's not hyperbole or a casual figure of speech. We've literally been planning this for years. We've gone over everything that will be changed in our lives, discussed the things that will have to be dropped or modified, and we've come to a place where we feel good about it. It all looks very risky, but we've actually minimized that risk as much as possible.

Besides, we all need a little risk now and then.

I think there might've been a smiley at the end of that last sentence.

So, what does this mean for Great Caesar's Post? More content, and on a more regular basis! That's something I've been wanting to do for a LONG time, so I'm eager to get to it. There will be even more news soon (I KNOW!), so keep your ears on, good buddies, and thanks for your patience during the transition.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Grim-and-gritty is officially old and boring

This had started out as a longer, probably much more convoluted post about Mark Millar, the cult of personality that seems to have sprung up around certain comic book writers, and the apparent addiction to gore and ultra-violence that both Marvel and DC have been guilty of, but instead I'll boil it down to a simple question that I put to you, my Internet Pals:

Are people finally getting tired of it all?

I ask because I've been sensing some push-back recently, and I'm not sure if I'm actually detecting a ripple in the Force or if it's just wishful thinking. In either case, here are some things to consider:

Kick-Ass, which was hyped so hard people back in the 1920s have probably heard about it, just kind of petered out this weekend when it opened nationally. Sure, it was No. 1, but by just barely bringing in $19.8 million compared to How to Train Your Dragon's $19.6 mil. (a kid's movie that was already in its fourth week).

No doubt the hardcore Millar fans were lined up, but what about the rest of the geek chorus? Did they reject the movie the way some have been rejecting it and the comic online lately? Or is just a matter of little name-recognition and mainstream audiences being gun-shy (heh) about a movie riding mostly on its more interesting supporting character, an 11-year-old girl who curses a lot and is a ninja?

The other thing that caught my attention was the first few pages of Brightest Day #0, the kick-off to what DC promises is a shiny and new direction spanning the publisher's superhero line. A direction apparently best expressed by showing a baby bird falling from a tree, bloodily cracking itself open on a headstone and then laying crumpled on the ground, dead.

Marvel is also trumpeting the launch of the very similar Heroic Age event, noise that sounds tinny considering Millar, Brian Michael Bendis and Jeph Loeb have spent years upping the body count for the publisher while sealing it in a slick veneer of "coolz." (I feel I have to point out, as so many have before, that Loeb was responsible for the "Blob cannibalizing Wasp, like, RIGHT THERE" scene in his Ultimatum series.)

Both companies say they're paving the way to a lighter tone in their books and moving away from the grim-and-gritty aesthetic that keeps getting grimmer and grittier. And I have to wonder — are the Big Two full of shit?

Because I don't see it. And I'm curious whether other people are missing it, too, and if there is some kind of grit-fatigue setting in, like a comic book readers' version of Seasonal Affective Disorder. It bothers me because it's gotten ... stupid. And distracting. And, worst of all, boring. Bo-ring. Both publishers has created a system and style that encourages big, flashy set pieces tied together with the flimsiest of dialogue and piecemeal plot points at the expense of, y'know, a story.

(I know this isn't true of every single title either company puts out — both produce comics I love, but let's stick to generalities for the sake of this discussion.)

Now that the Big Two are promising to do things differently, how will readers react if they don't? It wouldn't be the first time either one has promised more than they delivered, but I wonder if there's more at stake this time. I kind of doubt it — fanboys have short memories and a limitless ability to gripe-and-forgive. But, man, I'd sure like to believe it.

As corny as it sounds, maybe it's time for Marvel and DC to have a little less shock and awe, and a little more aw, shucks in their comics.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Adventures in Sound: Part 20

Panel from Buffalo Speedway
Letterer/artist: Yehudi Mercado

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's official: I'm a Geek

Ah ... another day, another — hey! Where's my dollar?!

Anyhoo, if we're Internet bezzies over on the Facebook, you may already know I recently took on the comic book news editor position over at Forces of Geek. I'm pretty excited about it and trying my best while still holding down a day job. Why don't you go over and take a look? The site has also been redesigned and I just posted a short article on a couple of Superman and Wonder Woman analogs gettin' it on in a phone booth. It's big fun, so go check it out.

In the meantime, I'll still be updating here at the ol' Post (if you hear a popping noise, that's just my brains a-sploding). And keep your eyes open for even more Big News coming soon — seriously, it's crazy-time around here!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010