Good evening everybody, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed your weekend. Welcome back to THE TRIPLE W, a sort of Pure Mood primer of sorts, a wide-ranging post where you can find the other places around the net I’ve been in the previous week. It’s a weekly catch up in the life of Erik Robinson, in which I’ll begin with general ramblings, move on to some linkage, offer a few quick thoughts on comics, movies, books and music, and close up with a look at the week ahead.
WHERE I’M AT
I’m a real dweeb about politics/current events, but that’s not something you want to shove down somebody’s throat on a comics blog. That being said, my country of residence and birth Canada has outlawed wearing masks to political protests, something that, needless to say, bummed the hell out of me. I mean, I can’t even begin to comprehend how anybody could view this as anything but a complete disrespect to the public’s right to dissent. I have a personal connection to this specific act of abuse of power – despite the fact that the superhero concept often centres on masks and created identities, and the power in justice of anonymity and a literal symbol for hope (not that I agree with vigilantism, but superhero justice is not, to me, a literal message) – but my best friend and co-host of the Pure Mood podcast, one Zane McLean, once created a minor controversy in the small town we grew up in for wearing face paint publicly. Not offensive face paint, not face paint that threatened anybody or hurt another person, but face paint that he chose to wear to express himself. I kinda thought we could all agree that wearing masks or face paints is okay? Anyway, without spending too much time on my uninformed soapbox, I just have to say…wow. Depressing.
Speaking of Zane, and we’ll talk about this on the show I’m sure, he loved MAN OF STEEL, and our decades long friendship has been thrown into a spiral because of it. Only the sweet and tender therapy of throwing quarters into an old SNK machine could mend the words we threw at each other. I’ve never felt more ashamed leaving a restaurant than this week, realizing we had just subjected an entire staff of hard working people (not to mention other patrons) to a heated geek debate about Superman.
All of my weekly webcomics have been updated – if you want to find them all in one place, you can go here – in BEKKO, our titular and ultra-groovy hero tries to talk his way out of trouble, whileCaia goes for dinner with an old friend and ancient feelings and resentments bubble up to the surface, Meager Man takes a free ride, in the RP we fight an alien and argue, and three more entries of comics inanity in GAP FEER. I talked about two comics at MARVEL DISASSEMBLED this week – X-MEN LEGACY #12 is a pretty interesting interplay of a series that sets itself apart from the mainstream but still plays by its rules, while CABLE AND X-FORCE continues to redeem Hope and provide plenty of excitement, while kind of neglecting its title character. Also, don’t forget I post a lot of illustration, fan art and sketches at my tumblr – http://www.thepuremood.tumblr.com. I’ve got drawings of Zibarro, Eleanor Freidberger, Yves Klein and more!
We ain’t done with Superman yet! Michael May wonders what the hell we’re thinking when we claim ownership and understanding of giant corporate mascots, while the amazing talented actor and completely unbearable person James Franco talks about his thoughts on MAN OF STEEL. I have to say, I don’t really think he says anything of interest – he mentions the struggle the movies currently have in competing with other mediums (I don’t think it’s the medium as much, y’know, the siren song of free everything that is the internet) but I do think it’s worth reading for his perspective being a man who knows the ins and outs of working on a superhero franchise. Finally, Mark Waid explains just how DC contracts work – from royalties to free movie tickets. I honestly did not know creators recieved any sort of compensation or characters they created for the Big Two, however minimal. He also gets into MOS. Carla Hoffman says some really interesting things about AGE OF ULTRON, the weirdest Marvel event yet, and the grumpy old fan Tom Bondurant looks at JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000, the Legion of Superheroes and JLI.
WHAT I’M INTO
This is one of the funniest comic books I’ve ever read – this ranks up with PEANUTS or the Archie comics for most audible laughs while reading. Chester Brown sees the woman he lives with growing further and further away from him, until they find themselves no longer a couple, merely room mates. Brown is shocked to discover that he enjoys it – in fact, he begins to think he only ever had a girlfriend because society pressured him to. Before long, he’s convinced that love is a fabrication. Fellow Toronto cartoonists Seth and Joe Matt argue with him over card games and walks around the city. It’s hysterical stuff, Brown portrayed as a man devoid of emotion, but things change course when the human need for sex starts calling. Brown begins to question his moral stance against prostitution, and the book slowly devolves into an argument for the legalization of selling sex. Though a large half of the book isn’t much more than a treatise, it’s still very interesting. I’m no libertarian, and I responded with, I think, what most romantics will – Brown argues that we should be able to sell our bodies because we OWN our bodies, but I couldn’t help but thinking that I am my body, as much as I am my mind and every other thing. That being said, it’s a must read comic – hilarious, brilliant cartooning, challenging.
DAGGER BEACH – John Vanderslice – this is a very interesting record, a tribute to David Bowie’s DIAMOND DOGS and the mourning of a failed relationship, an examination of isolation and heartbreak and pop music’s redemptive qualities. After his wife left him, Vanderslice wandered into the woods in search of an answer, and this is what came out. Very powerful lyrically, even if it’s more interesting musically than it is engrossing. RECOMMENDED TRACKS: “Songs for David Berman”, “Would You Possibly Rock and Roll With Me?”
ANTENNA TO THE AFTERWORLD – Sonny & The Sunsets – If you’re looking for music to read 70’s cosmic Marvel to, here be it. Sonny & The Sunset’s previous albums have been country records, but this is mind-warping psych. That being said, clearly you can take the boy out of the country etc., because you can really hear the influence. From a surreal spoken word conversation played over whimsical instrumentation to bigger-than-life pop expanse, this is a really great record. Essential for fans of the genre. RECOMMENDED TRACKS: “Dark Corners”, “Green Blood”
HOWLIN – Jagwar Ma – a record like this reveals my old man sensibilities – something that shifts from genre to genre, mood to mood, often fails to engross me. I think there are songs on HOWLIN that are fantastic – but as a whole, I was dissatisfied. Of course, the Long Play is dead, and maybe I’m just clinging to an old format. Shuffled songs on an iPod are how things work now (and have for a long time), but I still crave a more uniformed work. Ah, how stupid I bet I sound! Okay, HOWLIN is really good – a pretty fun cry of hope, an album that uses electronica, midcentury R/B and pop and reggae to make a point about the joys of women and partying. I have to be honest, I enjoyed the introspective final track the most. RECOMMENDED TRACKS: “Backwards Berlin”, “Let Her Go”
LONG ENOUGH TO LEAVE – The Mantles – very fun and jangly pop record, a fun trip for mod heads or fans of the Kinks or the Byrds. Jangly, sunny stuff – not neccesarily a record of depth, but I’ve been having a blast playing it. Catchy! RECOMMENDED TRACKS: “Raspberry Thighs”, “Hello”
THE DUSTED SESSIONS – Date Palms – What a beautiful record. Expansive, empty and hollow in a really gorgeous way – this is the desert brought to life sonically. If you’re a fan of film westerns, this is a record that explores those themes of loneliness in just as beautiful and powerful way. Beautiful music, with tracks that climb past the ten minute mark but never bore. RECOMMENDED TRACKS: “Yuba Source Part II”, “Exodus Due West”
YEEZUS – Kanye West – I’m not sure what to say for a record as big as this one! Frankly, I enjoyed it. Being a dweeby LoSH fan, am I even allowed to talk about Kanye West? Anyway, I’ll say some quick thoughts anyhow – some cool stuff about fame, power, stereotypes and corporations – music as revolution – and some really gross sexist stuff, including an insane line about Asian women that you kind of have to hear to believe. RECOMMENDED TRACKS: “Blood on the Leaves”
EMPTY ESTATE – Wild Nothing – Fun, glittery dream-pop. I like Wild Nothing a heck of a lot more than some of their contemporaries, to be honest! Basically, if the cover art looks like something that appeals to you, you’ll dig this EP as much as I did. RECOMMENDED TRACKS: “The Body in the Rainfall”, “A Dancing Shell”
LOVE TRIANGLES HATE SQUARES – The Computers – Okay, the opening track wins best title of the year, and is also a heck of a bullet to the head! This record will pump you up, punk-pop to blast freely and without shame when you’re all alone and feel like you could conquer the world. Carries a lot of different influences than previous records to – a lot of ’60s pop and R&B sounds, actually. Oh man, this record. I am into it! How are The Computers not as big as The White Stripes? RECOMMENDED TRACKS: “Bring Me the Head of a Hipster”, “C.R.U.E.L.”, “Disco Sucks”, “Single Beds”
I’M YOUR MAN by Slyvie Simmons – Holy cow, I knew NOTHING about Leonard Cohen’s life. I mean, I knew the broad strokes. The fasting, Roshi, hanging out with Irving Layton in Montreal, the obsession with Lorca, etc. But honestly, the Scientology? The garment industry? I never really understood the impact these things had in Cohen’s life, or that they played any part at all. Especially his Jewish upbringing – it was a much larger part of his life than I frankly imagined. Simmons’ writing is great – she keeps you engrossed through long pages detailing recording sessions, contrasting lyrics with Cohen’s life at the time, showing us just how many takes Cohen to get things the way he wants, and just how much material he leaves unreleased. I especially love her focus in the early chapters on Cohen’s unique place in 60’s/70’s pop music – as Simmons puts it, Cohen was in his mid thirties, practically ancient by those standards. A great biography.
FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD – I think PACIFIC RIM looks like a pretty terrible film, but Del Toro’s interview on the Q had me questioning my harsh judgement. His love of the kaiju genre is genuine, and his arguments for pop culture as serious art moved me. As he listed his favourite rubbery monster movies, I found myself inspired to go on a bit of a binge. FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE EARTH was easily the best of the lot of them – a really thrilling story about nuclear threat and scientific anxiety – the two staples of the genre – while also a touching ‘little boy lost’ story with pure ’60s camp spectacle to boot. The heart of Frankenstein is brought back to life after the events of Hiroshima, growing a new body around it that grows at a colossal rate. Meanwhile, in the midst of a Japanese mod rock house party, a dinosaur trapped under ground for millions of years emerges. Excuse me while I get nostalgic, but boy do I miss how real trash movies used to look. The slick CGI spectacle of a modern trash flick is so cold and impersonal, but the humanity of a giant Frankenstein’s monster and a dinosaur destroying miniature buildings is immensely touching.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
Because the madman and I will work together to rule the world! Thanks for reading, and let me know if you got any sort of enjoyment from my ramblings about the past week. In the week ahead, be here to see me talk about Archie, Ryan Choi in ‘Chronicles of Comics’, a new episode of the Podcast, and a lot more. Meanwhile, new entries in all my webcomics, and more reviews at MARVEL DISASSEMBLED. Now, you may have noticed Zane never fulfilled his promise with the video game writing thing. I’m not sure he ever will. He does plan on starting this week, so here’s hoping!
Now, what are you watching/listening to/reading/loving?