28 May 2011
27 May 2011
26 May 2011
25 May 2011
24 May 2011
23 May 2011
22 May 2011
2. "William, It Was Really Nothing" (single, 1984)
3. "This Charming Man" (single, 1984)
21 May 2011
20 May 2011
19 May 2011
18 May 2011
17 May 2011
6/21 Seattle, WA - Neumo's
6/22 Vancouver, BC - Fortune
6/23 Portland, OR - Doug Fir
6/25 San Francisco, CA - Bimbo's
6/26 Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
(w/Yellow Magic Orchestra)
7/12 Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Bowl
7/14 Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
7/16 Toronto, ON - Mod Club
7/18 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
7/19 Washington, DC - Rock N Roll Hotel
7/20 Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
16 May 2011
15 May 2011
12 May 2011
I was chatting with some friends about Free Comic Book Day and we wound up sharing stories about collecting comics when we were younger. That got me thinking about something I'd written years ago, when I was managing editor of poor, doomed nextplanetover.com, and while it's not exactly a hot button topic at the moment, I thought I'd dust if off and share:
I was never made fun of for reading comics when I was growing up. Which is in no way to be interpreted to mean "I was never made fun of when I was growing up," because I was. I was tall, skinny and awkward, I had braces, and since my family had moved to the Pacific Northwest from the South, other kids thought I talked funny. Of course I was made fun of.
But not because I read comics.
In a way, that's kind of a shame, because that's the kind of experience that would no doubt make for some highly entertaining reading. Unfortunately, while I managed to get into a decent number of violent and bloody fist fights throughout elementary school and beyond, I never had the piss beaten out of me because some young sociopath-in-the-making was upset that I was reading the latest issue ofMarvel Team-Up. It just didn't happen, and I'm truly sorry if you've been waiting with some eagerness to hear that it did.
The thing is, most of the kids of the kids I went to school with always seemed to think comics were alright. Not all of them read comics, mind you, but whenever they saw myself or one of my friends reading comics or drawing characters like the Hulk or Iron Man in the margins of our workbooks, they were usually pretty interested. They wanted to know what was happening in the stories, they wanted to know if we wanted to draw comics ourselves one day. Frequently, someone would ask to read an issue ofAmazing Spider-Man orIncredible Hulk and there were even instances where a comic or two would mysteriously disappear only to turn up a week or so later in some, ahem, interested party's desk.
What happened most of all, however, was that other kids would ask one of us to draw them a picture of...well, just about anyone. Spider-Man. Captain America. The Thing. Superman. Sgt. Rock. Wonder Woman. Casper the Friendly Ghost. Some other kid in class, but dressed as a superhero or a witch or something equally silly. And my friends and I were always happy to oblige, because as much as we enjoyed reading and looking at our comics, nothing could beat sitting around drawing. I don't think any one of us even gave the slightest bit of consideration to actually writing or drawing comics professionally at that point—we just loved to draw.
At one point during elementary school, other kids would actually pay me and a friend of mine, Jerry Watson, to draw original covers for existing comics. We'd been drawing new covers for comics we'd lost the real covers to for a while and that was something that apparently impressed some of our classmates. They'd bring in tattered old copies ofAvengers or Fantastic Four, we'd flip through them to get some idea of what was going on in the story and then Jerry and I would draw and color a new cover and tape the atrocious little masterpiece to our client's coverless comic for the bargain basement price ofone dime. One week, we made a whole dollar.
I'm not being modest when I say these replacement covers looked uniformly terrible, though I can still picture the horrific image of "our" cover to Incredible Hulk #189 today and believe me, Herb Trimpe was in no danger of losing his job to either of us. Ever. It's not that we were bad artists—by all accounts both Jerry and I drew better than average for eager young lads of nine or ten—but we had no sense of composition, no eye for color. And we were coloring with crayons using a bizarre technique in which we would color our work (rendered in pencil and ballpoint pen, of course) and then scratch off as much of the crayon as possible to give the colors a less crayon-y look. Thinking back on that practice now, I'm not certain there was much of a difference, but guys like Jerry and our friend Robert Thomas swore by it.
Anyway, this was the environment I grew up on comics in. I know—it sounds like I was raised with Anne of Green bloody Gables or something, but that really couldn't be further from the truth. My school was smack dab in the middle of what has traditionally been considered to be one of the worst neighborhoods in Tacoma, Washington. A lot of the kids I went to school with came from troubled homes and some of them were already hardened beyond belief. By the time they entered fourth grade, there were fights, kids stole from one another, and I quickly lost track of how many kids would arrive as new students only to quietly disappear a month or so later. Though I have fond memories of living there, Shangri-La it was not.
But no one ever bothered me about comics. When we were instructed to bring something to school for free reading hour and I brought comics, no one—not even my teachers—said a negative word about it. If I showed up for school with my homework in Mead folders bearing images taken from various Marvel comics, the other kids asked where I got them. Same with my Marvel lunchbox. Comics were all right. Comics were cool. No one thought they were for dummies. No one really associated them with geeks or losers or nerds.And that's not to say that I wasn't any of those things. I certainly don't feel that was the case, but I had problems with kids who didn't like that I got better grades than them or who thought my shoes looked stupid or who just plain hated the way I looked. I even got in a fight once because I wouldn't admit that the Doobie Brothers were the best band in the world. But whenever I hear someone roll out that old chestnut about how comics have always been "socially unacceptable," the province of the boy at the back of the class, perpetually unable to master "real" books or get along with other kids in any kind of meaningful way... Sorry, but I just can't relate.
11 May 2011
10 May 2011
09 May 2011
This one is kind of cool, because each participant gets to choose from six different standardized Q&A forms. I chose the set of questions dealing with my profession ("The Work Questionnaire"), so it wound being a bit of a look back as opposed to the typical "this is what's going on with Image Comics right now" sort of thing...