Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Zinemakers of the world, unite and take over

I've been interviewing a ton of local comics creators this week for an upcoming feature in Westword, Denver's Village Voice paper. It's reminding me just how empowering and amazing it felt the day I printed up my first minicomic, all those many years ago. Mine had shitty art, a bad attitude, and the production values of a takeout menu. But it was the tiny spark that snowballed into my current career--lord, am I really calling it that now?--and I can trace a direct line from that first crappy little zine to the work I make a living off of now. I'm the last person in the world to say DIY is the only way, but it's a great way, and I never would've gotten anywhere without it. And even if I hadn't, that raw self-expression and owning of some small fraction of the media would have alone been worth it. Hats off to all you cartoonists and zinesters out there, big and small. You rule.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fishing (for quotes) with John

Yesterday I did a phone interview with John Lydon for The A.V. Club. I asked him about the imminent PiL reunion tour. He started talking about Alcatraz and Zen rock gardens and fixing his roof and how he likes to get drunk and listen to his own records. Awesome.

The whole experience reminded me of this American Bandstand clip, one of the weirdest, coolest moments in TV history. Best part: When Lydon gets all up in the camera and uses some nasal spray. Second best part: When Jah Wobble introduces himself as THE Jah Wobble...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spark nearer, ultoptimate!

Over at The A.V. Club we do a regular series called Better Late Than Never?, in which we examine pop-culture classics that one of us writers, for some odd reason, never got around to reading/watching/hearing. This week I take on Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange and ramble on about Kubrick, punk rock, being young, getting old, and how much of a difference that controversial 21st chapter really makes.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cheerios and Dystopia

I've been thinking a lot lately about post-apocalyptic pop culture, and I remembered that Thundarr The Barbarian, one of my favorite Saturday-morning cartoons when I was a kid in the '80s, was bluntly, brutally post-apocalyptic. Between Thundarr, The Day After, and NBC version of Damnation Alley, it's no wonder I grew up obsessed with the end of the world. I also never realized that Thundarr is a weird, soupy mix of M. John Harrison's Viriconium cycle, Fred Saberhagen's Ardneh books, and (duh) Star Wars.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Batman Lambert 3: City of Lost Sidekicks

It takes Batman Lambert mere seconds to prepare the child's body. Squatting atop the freshly shucked corpse, he sculpts the boy's intact epidermis into a moist, translucent nest and in it deposits the eggs that will one day boil and burst and bathe Port-au-Prince in a new architecture, a new geometry, a new life. I will rename this city Robinopolis, he vows, although he can no longer remember who or what Robin was, nor why he should care.