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Friday, November 04, 2005


1975: Brave & Bold & Bob

Can you feel it? Can you feel your ass being kicked? Kicked savagely, without mercy? Can you feel yourself being forced by a lunatic into a fight to the death with a friend? Can you feel a spiked gauntlet crushing your jaw into splinters as it rips the skin clean off your face? Can you believe how many fricking logos are on this cover?

Brave & the Bold #118 was my introduction to a lot of things: the comic book version of Batman (looking nothing like he did on TV, I might add), Wildcat, Jim Aparo (to whom I've already written a valentine) and Bob Haney.

Oh, Bob Haney. Did I realize in 1975 how different, how special, okay, how utterly retarded this man's comics were? If "utterly retarded" is a synonym for "awesome" then yes, yes I did. I was 4 years old. And Aparo/Haney was the gold standard.

Haney's stories weren't merely stupid, or simply nonsensical. They were fucked-up fever dreams of the highest order. Intra-title continuity and character consistency didn't even make past the cover of a Haney comic. And internal plot consistency didn't fare much better. Batman snapping, and running off the kill the Joker after one crime too many. Batman sauntering down the street in broad daylight rapping about how much he "digs this groovy day!" Native American terrorists trying to sabotage a bicentennial train holding the Declaration of Independence. Batman being rescued from a well by Hitler (or maybe Satan...or maybe they're the same thing!!! Aaaiiiiieeeee!!!) Batman being sent through time by a recent issue of Brave & the Bold. I could go on about what "happens" in B&B #118: poison, a race against the clock to find a weird little dog with the antidote in its bloodstream, an ending that obliviously, egregiously contradicts the Joker's origin as the Red Hood, but pretty much the central awesomeness is right there in that cover, and the idea of Batman and Wildcat (separated by different earths in different "vibrational dimensions" in every other comic but never in Haney's) whaling the motherhumping shit out of each other as the Joker looks on in a state of downright sexual ecstacy. The only better fight I can think of is in John Carpenter's They Live, when Roddy Piper and his friend spend 15 minutes trying to kill each other with 2x4's because the other guy won't put on Rowdy Roddy's glasses. Worthy of Haney himself, that scene.

Thirty years have gone by, but Haney is no less wonderful to me, despite (or perhaps because of) my eventual awareness of his bizarreness. Every time I read a new Haney comic from that era (and thank goodness, I still have about a dozen 1970s B&B's to get) I starting yelling to my wife "This is the dumbest comic ever! This is the dumbest thing I've ever seen!" she asks if this is meant as criticism. Of course not. Many--hell, most comics are better, but no comics make me happier.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I don't get it

As a relatively compulsive news consumer, I like to think that I am well-informed and at least smart enough to explain to another person what the key stories of the day are. Now, however, it seems like those days are over. The White House has finally made me admit that I don't understand what the hell is going on.

I finally got around to reading the profile of Brent Scowcroft in the New Yorker (it takes a little while for it to get all the way out here to San Diego, and we have a new baby, so those are my excuses). By the end of it I was completely baffled. There's a part where the writer points out how many connections Scowcroft has to the current White House: his best friend's son is the President, Wolfowitz was a protoge, Secretary Rice was a protoge, Cheney was a good friend, etc. I think I even missed a few. Despite all this, no one in the White House has been willing to listen to this guy AT ALL. It's just bizarre. Who would do that? I don't get it.

And another thing - how does saying that a guy might have been sent to Niger partly at the request of his wife amount to a smear? I understand why outing Valerie Plame is against the law, and I understand it as an attack, but I don't get how it undercuts Wilson's credibility. Are we supposed to think he's less manly because his wife may have influenced the decision to send him to Niger? Do real men go on trips against the wishes of their wives? Are we supposed to take from it that he must have a secret agenda because his wife is a secret agent? I am totally baffled. And yet it is reported over and over again that this was a "smear" against Wilson.

During the 2004 election season, one of the reasons I was excited to get rid of Bush was that we would finally get to find out what the hell had been going on for four years. And that was back when I actually believed there was going to be a coherent explanation! Now I am beginning to think this group is just bonkers.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


35% Approval

CBS: "Bush's rating is higher than Richard Nixon's was at the same point in his administration."

We would also like to point out that Bush remains:


Dream Press Conference Questions

Q: Mr. President, when the CIA story first broke three years ago, why didn't you call the White House staff together and simply ask if anyone was involved? Why didn't you fire Mr Libby after he was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice?

Q: Sir, when was the last time you drank alcohol? And a follow-up if I may, when was the last time you fell off your bicycle?

Q: Mr. President, a few days ago when NBC's David Gregory asked you if you were embarrassed by the Libby indictment, you silently, and I quote, "glowered" at him. My question is, do you feel that as President you should not have to answer uncomfortable questions? Do you believe that the President is an elected figure answerable to his fellow citizens, or an imperial figure answerable to no one?

Q: Mr. President, a 1991 dissenting opinion by your newest Supreme Court pick, Sam Alito, implies that a husband owns his wife's uterus. Another Alito decision assumed that a man's wife and 10-year-old daughter, strip-searched by police, were his property for the purposes of a search warrant limited only to the suspect and his possessions. Do you agree with these decisions? Does "W" still stand for "women"?

Q: The past five years have seen a government asleep at the wheel as terrorists attacked our shores, followed by a bungled war, and a shamefully botched response to an epic natural disaster. In that same time frame, no administration officials have been fired, or even admonished for their failures, although a few have been pushed aside for not exercising enough. Numerous ex-officials, from Paul O'Neil to Lawrence Wilkerson, have described you as disinterested and vicious, and your White House as a thoroughly corrupt cabal of political hacks and obssessive liars. I guess I don't really have a question, I just wanted to point that out to you.

Q: Earlier this year, Senator Dick Durbin was excoriated by the GOP for using the term "gulag" to refer to American detention of uncharged enemies in Gitmo and around the world. Today we learn that the CIA is running a secret "Soviet-era" prison in Eastern Europe. Is Senator Durbin owed an apology?

Q: Sir, your approval rating is at the lowest point of your presidency, your second term agenda is in shambles and your two most recent Superme Court picks have revealed you as both a shallow, insecure little man who loves having his ass kissed by spineless flunkies, and as a pathetic puppet of the extremist right wing of your party. I have a two-part question: first, why are you such a worthless piece of shit? And second, why do you suck so much?


Jack Kirby Hiatal Hernia Wednesday

Still nothin'.

Soon I'll take a three-day retreat to the Blue Area of the Moon to write another steaming batch of poemy about Whiz Wagons, Wyatt Wingfoot and Wundagore, but not this Wednesday.

Hey, I just realized that "High Evolutionary" has seven syllables. Haiku!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I Maintain It's a Completely Fair Generalization

Q: Now that a judge who happens to be a Democrat has been removed from Tom Delay's criminal case for being a Democrat, is it safe to assume that Republican judges will be likewise barred from presiding over the case?

A: Texas is a worthless fucking armpit that should be given back to Mexico, by force if neccesary, with an apology to the rest of the country for making us put up with all their horrible bullshit for the past 8,000 years. What about the artists, you say? I admit, Leadbelly, Big Mama Thornton, Kinky Freidman, Scott Joplin, Buddy Holly, Beyoncé, Roy Orbison, Roky Erikson, Richard Linklater, Kelly Willis and 1970s-era ZZ Top are only a few names on a mighty impressive list, but they are no match for "swagger", those stupid hats, "Don't Mess With Texas", smugly cancerous political corruption that gleefully turns everything it touches into shit, George "W is for Fucking Asshole" Bush, etcetera, etcetera. To point out that say, Mississippi or Utah is a worse state is only to confirm that Texas isn't even able to be the best at being the worst.

You know, I feel I've really contributed something constructive to the national discourse here.

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