Saturday, October 24, 2009

An Open Letter To Alan Moore

"I was noticing that DC seems to have based one of its latest crossovers [Blackest Night] in Green Lantern based on a couple of eight-page stories that I did 25 or 30 years ago. I would have thought that would seem kind of desperate and humiliating, When I have said in interviews that it doesn’t look like the American comic book industry has had an idea of its own in the past 20 or 30 years, I was just being mean. I didn’t expect the companies concerned to more or less say, 'Yeah, he’s right. Let’s see if we can find another one of his stories from 30 years ago to turn into some spectacular saga.' It’s tragic." - Alan Moore, on DC's Blackest Night

I have always been a big fan of yours. I feel the way you changed the landscape of comics was a monumental step towards giving the medium the credibility and gravitas that has made it so successful. I respect your opinions about people carrying on your work, not caring for their making sequels and adaptations of stories best left untouched.

It is with the utmost respect that I must say, Alan, you really are a crusty, grumpy old bollocks.

Give us a break, man. You are a genius, your writing is some of the best ever produced in (and out of) the medium. Your eight page stories were more entertaining than most of the 22 page stories coming out at the same time, and they STILL stand the test against most everything else written since. But you can't do a fantastic story that prophesies the end of the entire shared universe that people talk about decades later and NOT expect DC to eventually go there. This is demonstrating that you, in an eight page comic book back-up story, have pretty much shaped the destiny of an entire comics universe. Yet you have naught but vitriol to offer.

For God's sake, man, are you THAT incapable of taking a compliment?

We get it: most people writing comics today aren't as creative as you were, and continue to be. But to put an idea out about how the future of a comic cosmos will eventually be snuffed out and not expect future writers to take that idea and expand on it... I guess, because Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, that all other tragic romances are rubbish, because they're just repeating the same theme?

What's contributed to a common continuity can, AND SHOULD, be expanded on, if the story is compelling enough. It's the Catch-22 of being a genius, Alan; your work is accepted as the definitive piece of fiction, and others are going to expand upon that. For you to be so blind as to scold DC for expanding on your plot point, either you misunderstand the impact that your simple eight page tales had on the comics community, or you don't understand the importance of a shared universe.

I continue to admire the unadulterated genius of what you've gifted to the literary community, and thank you for all that you have brought forth and shared.

Kenn Beck

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Am So Depressed...

True story.

I am parked down by the beach today, eating my lunch. I am backed into a spot, facing East, and a red corvette convertible is parked on my passenger side, facing west. The driver of that Vette and I both have our windows down. He appears to be a shaven headed, stocky, middle aged man in his mid to late 30s (no, it was not a mirror). I hear him speaking very loudly on his cell phone, and, while not actively listening, it's sorta impossible for me to not overhear some of what's being said.

He first makes mention about how it's nice to help people heal and all, but his talents could be used elsewhere. He then tells the being on the other line, "I mean, what kind of healer are you gonna go with, I bring a sense of humor to the party."

The use of the phrase "healer" strikes me as unconventional, so I assume he is a practitioner of alternative medicine, like acupuncture, or massage therapy, or tantric sex therapist. He then explains how a healer with his skills is in demand, and that he can find a place in another group no problem. I take it to mean he's having difficulty wherever he practices medicine, and is looking to shift to another office.

I hear mention of what sounds like his group's "rate schedule" conflicting with his, and I take this to mean that he doesn't think they charge clients enough for his services, or certainly aren't compensating him to the level that he desires. He goes on to tell the other party that he knows of several groups that are seeking his skills, and he's due to make a decision sometime soon.

He begins to discuss the make-up of the organization he's currently working with, and bemoans the fact that they seem to be highly disorganized, and again makes mention of their schedule being a mess, especially with their rates (except it almost sounded like 'raids'). He then goes on to tell the listener that he's one of the best there is, and his group knows it, but he's done messing around with them. He's gotten offers, apparently, from groups with cool names like Axiom, all of whom recognize his superior skills and would be very pleased to have a healer like him working with them.

By now I have created an image in my head of this healer next to me, striding confidently into a medical convention, representatives of other firms flocking around him with offer sheets, sort of like a baseball free agent, and I am starting to question my view of the medical field. Could it really be like this, with doctors trying to shift offices, threatening his medical group with his departure? This guy was obviously a rock star of the medical world, and I felt a bit of admiration for a doctor who had that kind of confidence and success, sitting right next to little old me, sharing this small stretch of peace and quiet.

But something's not right. The pieces aren't fitting, and I don't know why. Something isn't kosher in this image.

Then he says something that punches the first shaft of daylight through the dark night of illusion. "Everyone says I'm so good that I should be on a 1st server."

Huh? Server? "Did he mean 'be a 1st responder'?" I wonder to myself. Maybe it wasn't alternative medicine. I listen further, hearing him again name guilds that he might be heading-

Wait a minute. Did he just say joining a guild? That'd definitely be alternative medicine, then, but-

He then mentions their rate schedule, except this time, I hear it as "raid schedule." Which is, of course, the way he said it the first time, because this jag-off isn't a doctor, he's talking about his role as a healer on World of Warcraft.

As I sit trying to keep my jaw from hanging open like one of the undead, Captain Personality shifts topics. The girl on the other end of the line is, to him, "a real doll." He says that soon, she'll find herself on the East Coast, and when she gets here, she'll want to check out the Long Island beaches, and he'll be here to show her around. He tells her she's not like the other chicks from the server who call him all the time and say "oooh, you're the best" (which this schmuck actually says in a sing-song girly voice). She's more down to Earth, and he can't wait to hang out with her.

I have been waiting 6 HOURS to get home and post this. I feel like I'm looking at the back of a Highlights for Kids magazine, looking at the "what's wrong with this picture?" page that has already been filled in.

A.) Captain Cheese Dick is so impressed with his abilities as a healer in a fucking MMORPG that he's threatening to take his services to another group.
B.) There are other groups in that MMORPG that are actively recruiting him.
C.) He thinks anyone is going to believe that chicks are calling him and saying "you're the best" based on his video game prowess.
D.) He thinks anyone is going to believe that chicks are calling him.
E.) He's telling a chick he's actually speaking to about the other chicks who call him.
F.) He is so in love with himself that he is singing his own praises to a girl he has never met before, and expects that there will be muchas smoochas when she finds herself on the East Coast.
G.) He is taking the time to engage in a phone conversation with someone he has never met before over his prowess at a video game.

Even losers are more successful than me.

Fuck. My. Life.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Things and Stuff

So life has been pretty tumultuous for yours truly as of late.

Here's the ketchup:

June: My beloved Southampton College announces it is closing it's doors, beginning my slow downward spiral.
July: I get laid off from my design job after training three news designers because the company is, and I quote, "overstaffed."
Aug: My mother loses her last tenuous grip on what's right and wrong.
Oct: My grandfather dies.
Oct: Best friend's bro gets into motorcycle accident from which he has yet to fully recover.

May: My last game as a softball coach, the best job I have ever had.
Aug: Southampton College closes, ending my association with the College and the athletic department after 12 long and wonderful years.
Aug: I become unemployed for the second time in two years.
Oct: The Chicago White Sox win the World Series!

Feb: The Steelers win the Super Bowl!
Apr: I begin working for Nike.
July: I very quickly stop working for Nike.
July: I begin working for the bank.
Sept: My softball team DangerZone wins it's fifth and final league championship.
Oct: My father dies.
Nov: I am diagnosed with a disease generally found in canines.
Dec: I go out on medical disability due to stress and exhaustion.
Dec: Three days after I return, my brother's car is flipped by a brainless truck driver who missed his exit.
Dec: THREE DAYS AFTER THAT, a truck runs a red light trying to get into WalMart, gets hit by a car, and then smashes into my car. It is an accident the effects of which I feel to this day. My brother was in that car, too.

Jan: I officially begin my physical therapy. I will end up missing four months of work, and it will be another 8 months in the tenth ring of Hell- er, the Riverhead branch of the bank- before I can work full time again.
Mar: An old crush from school reconnects via mail and email.
June: She comes to visit. We begin dating four days after she arrives. The catch? She is from Denmark.
July: She leaves after almost two months, overstaying her original plan by a full month.
Nov: A steroid/cortisone injection brings me the first true pain relief I have known since 2006.
Dec: Christmas brings my Danish girlfriend back to the states for another three wonderful weeks.
Dec: I begin to work full time at the Blue Point branch of the bank.

Mar: The bank changes ownership, name, and sanity. The company that acquired us treats us like one of Lenny's pets in Grapes of Wrath, not knowing what to do with us and hurting us in it's attempts to figure out how to run a bank.
Apr: My cousin Randy passes away, the first of 22 cousins on my father's side to die.
May: I take my first international journey to the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany.
July: I have LASIK surgery, eliminating my 24 year dependence on corrective lenses.
July: The pain begins to resurface in my back.
July: My girlfriend, having applied to enter our country legally, is denied. Millions of rotten illegal bastards have far better luck.
Aug: Her spirit crushed, my girlfriend decides to abandon her dream of coming to America, and our relationship ends as a result.
Sep: I meet another wonderful beautiful girl online, and we begin dating shortly afterwards.
Oct: My new girlfriend reveals she is very likely moving back to California after this school year.
Nov: One year to the day after my first injection, I receive another, giving me temporary relief from my pain again.
Nov: My new girlfriend and I break up.
Dec: Christmas is not fun.

Feb: The Steelers in the Super Bowl! Again!
Apr: My ex-girlfriend and I get back together.
May: I take my first cruise, which is actually the first extended vacation my siblings and I have taken together in our adult lives.
July: My ex-ex-girlfriend and I break up again.
Sep: My lawyer reveals that the original offer from the guiltiest party in my lawsuit was never committed to on paper, and they fired the lawyer that made the offer.
Oct: My siblings and I have the first real falling out in our adult lives, over a video posted on Facebook and it's effects on those in our friends lists. It's a miserable time to be me.

OK, so now you can see what's gone on. And now you can see why I am desperately in need of a win. I've done a pretty decent job (in my own estimation) of helping people and trying to make the lives of others better in whatever way I could. Now, it's time for Karma to roll up and give me a nice big kiss.

I'm waiting.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Be Aware...

Change is coming...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Next Big Thing...

You need to watch this. Some good stuff coming out of Scurlbomb Enterprises.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Who Watches The Watchmen?

I was in sixth grade when Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' masterpiece began hitting the shelves, but I didn't read the entire series until it was fully collected in trade paperback form a year later. Since that first moment when I saw Rorschach fighting for survival in prison, I have been waiting for this movie. 22 years later, I have been rewarded for my patience.

I am grateful that all previous iterations failed to get made, because I feel that they would have fallen far short of what this movie needed to be. The movie landscape needed movies like X2 and Batman Begins to ready the movie going public for the exploits of the Watchmen (a team name never actually used in the comic).

Hailed as a groundbreaking social deconstruction of the comic book super hero, the four color iteration of the Watchmen was revolutionary and one of the most relevant and important comics ever released. A simple murder mystery that transforms into a globally impactful suspense thriller, Watchmen showed that comic books were indeed not just for kids anymore. Those looking for that type of impact from the movie will be disappointed.

The average movie goer with no knowledge of the comic book roots might find this movie a little confusing and very long. Flashbacks in a movie can be confusing enough, but when the flashbacks are history changing events, like America winning Vietnam and Nixon being elected for a third (and eventually fourth) term, it can leave viewers feeling like they are missing the joke. But they should still be entertained by the mix of mystery, action, violence, drama, and intelligence that the story conveys.

Rabid fanboys will be screaming over the altered ending, but rabid fanboys scream about every movie that doesn't follow their favorite comics panel for panel. These are the same people that complained because Hugh Jackman is far taller than 5'1, as if Wolverine's HEIGHT is what defined him. The ending actually wraps things a little tighter, keeps the story a little more self-contained, and is, in my opinion, an alteration worthy of comparison to writer Alan Moore's own brilliant conclusion.

The character interaction is stupendous. From the aloof detachment of Billy Crudup's Dr. Manhattan to the maniacal determination of Jackie Earle Haley's Rorschach, most of the actors captured the true essence of the characters they were portraying. Only Matthew Goode's Ozymandius fell short, seeming more like a cunning business man overdosed on Prozac rather than the charismatic pinnacle of human intelligence and physical development that Adrian Veidt should have been.

Of particular interest was Patrick Wilson's portrayal of gadget based hero Nite Owl, who transforms from a scared retired crimebuster into the confident man of action he once was.

The nostalgic soundtrack combines with the impressive original score to perfectly accentuate the breath-taking visuals, crafting a world that matches the tone of Moore's dystopian landscape.

For the true comic book fan who knows that not every panel can make it to the big screen and that even the best stories can be enhanced without destroying them, this movie is 22 years of anticipation made worth while. Who watches the Watchmen? I do, and proudly.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh my God, they killed Twitter!

You Bastards!

But seriously, folks, what form of electronic communication is still functioning at 100% today? With everyone in the Northern Western Hemisphere in a country with drinkable water and no Prime Ministers was trying to tune into the inauguration today, and this reporter was no exception. (Yeah, I called myself a reporter, deal with it.)

But even Twitter cannot handle the overload a full 5 and a half hours later AFTER the actual inauguration. I guess everyone in America is trying to post their thoughts, attempting to be the one voice of history.

History will remember none of us. But we will remember it.

I felt a real sense of optimism and pride wash over me today, pride that we've seemingly overcome one of the stupidest, most petty boundaries in the history of the world. Optimism that this guy can actually deliver on half of what he has promised. And I like the fact that he didn't say everything is rosy. He knows what we all know: the US is in the shitter right now, and it's gonna take some hefty plunging to unstop the drain and get things flowing again. Roll up your sleeves, America. We only have four years to make sure this looks like it was the best idea we've ever had.