31 July 2011

WAITING FOR THE GREAT LEAP FORWARD

Mixing pop and politics isn't much in vogue these days, and it's certainly not because we're better off...

1. Bob Dylan - "Masters of War," (The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, 1963)
2. Manic Street Preachers - "IfWhiteAmericaToldtheTruthforOneDayit'sWorldWouldFallApart," (The Holy Bible, 1994)
3. R.E.M. - "Ignoreland," (Automatic for the People, 1992)
4. The The - "Heartland," (Infected, 1986)
5. Curtis Mayfield - "(Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below We're All Going to Go," (Curtis, 1970)
6. Billy Bragg - "Help Save the Youth of America," (Talking with the Taxman About Poetry, 1986)
7. The Blow Monkeys - "Choice?" (single a-side, 1989)
8. The Beautiful South - "We'll Deal With You Later," (0898, 1992)
9. The Style Council - "Walls Come Tumbling Down," (Our Favourite Shop, 1985)
10. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - "Ohio," (single a-side, 1970)

IGNORELAND


I was putting together a top 10 list of political songs, but then I came across what is probably the last R.E.M. song I ever paid attention to. Mainly dealing with the Republican manipulation of the Iran hostage crisis in the late '70s, the song's main message remains as valid today as when it first appeared on Automatic for the People back in 1992...

These bastards stole their power
from the victims of the Us v. Them years,
wrecking all things virtuous and true.
The undermining social democratic
downhill slide into abysmal
lost lamb off the precipice
into the trickle down runoff pool.

They hypnotised the summer, 1979.
Marched into the capital brooding duplicitous,
wicked and able, media-ready, heartless, and labeled.
Super U.S. citizen, super achiever,
mega ultra power dosing. Relax.
Defense, defense, defense, defense.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland.

The information nation took their clues
from all the sound-bite gluttons.
1980, '84, '88, '92 too, too.
How to be what you can be,
jump jam junking your energies.
How to walk in dignity with throw-up on your shoes

They amplified the autumn, 1979.
Calculate the capital, up the republic my skinny ass.
T.V. tells a million lies. The paper's terrified to report
anything that isn't handed on a presidential spoon,
I'm just profoundly frustrated by all this.
So, fuck you, man. (Fuck 'em)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland.

If they weren't there we would have created them.
Maybe, it's true, but I'm resentful all the same.
Someone's got to take the blame.
I know that this is vitriol. No solution, spleen-venting,
But I feel better having screamed. Don't you?

They desecrated winter, 1979.
Capital collateral. Brooding duplicitous,
wicked and able, media-ready, heartless, and labeled.
Super U.S. citizen, super achiever,
mega ultra power dosing. Relax.
Defense, defense, defense, defense.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

I did not do the revolution. Thank you.

SUCH A SHAME

Some pretty spot-on commentary from Maureen Dowd regarding how poorly the President has managed the debt ceiling negotiations with the political hostage-takers on the Right over at nytimes.com.

No matter what happens at this point, Americans everywhere have already lost, thanks to the President's, the Republicans' and although Dowd fails to cop to it herself, the media's insistence on allowing a fringe group like the Tea Party to dominate political discussion in this country.

29 July 2011

SMASH HIT

Have you seen this yet? One of our San Diego announcements was Frank Cho and Joe Keatinge's new Image series, Brutal. Due out next year, it does exactly what it says on the tin. And then some.

Don't you wish it was 2012 already?

HEARTLESS EMPIRE

And if you doubt that the Republicans and their supporters in the media despise ordinary, hard-working Americans, here's a wonderful quote from the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore (Warren Buffett Is Wrong on Taxes):

"The best way to balance the budget is for the economy to produce a lot more American success stories like Warren Buffett."

In other words: Get rich, you stupid, lazy Americans. That's all it takes. Just become extremely wealthy, like Warren Buffett. He's only worth, what? $500 billion? What's your problem?

The Wall Street Journal is actually a wonderful resource for learning about how the Right view America. On Wednesday, for instance, there was an insightful article about stalled job growth by David Wessel (What's Wrong With America's Job Engine?) wherein he stated:

"Big U.S.-based multinational companies are more able and more willing to hire overseas, both because wages are often cheaper there and because that's where the customers are."

The key part of that statement is "wages are often cheaper." They pay people low wages here, but what they really want is to pay even less. If they could pay people in dirt, they would, because as Wessel also notes:

"Corporate employers, their eyes firmly fixed on stock prices and the bottom line, prize flexibility over stability more than ever."

Which means, in short, "Fuck you." If you're good at what you do and you're unemployed, that is Corporate America saying, "Fuck you." Companies would rather have the flexibility to have someone do a shit job for less money or have fewer employees do the jobs of many, so that their profits continue soaring.

And these people have the nerve to claim it's the Left that is fomenting class warfare. The corporations steering our government and their hod carriers in the media have absolutely zero perspective on what the real America is like. They are completely devoid of understanding or compassion for how the majority of us live our lives. All that matters is the omnipresent bottom line, and sadly, there is a large swath of Americans who have been conned into believing these people are somehow on their side.

REALITY

Here's something for all the whiny assholes who keep saying Obama got us into this mess:

Graph courtesy of the New York Times.

28 July 2011

EVIL

It's troubling that so many people seem to think the current debate about raising the national debt ceiling is anything other than political theater. The U.S. debt has increased regularly since World War II and the debt ceiling has been raised 74 times since the early '60s. In fact, President Reagan raised it a whopping 18 times during his eight years in office. President Bush raised it seven times from 2001-2008. So far, President Obama has raised it three times.

The Republicans are making this an issue because they want to cut social services. They want to make cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, they want to make cuts to Social Security. They claim they would like to balance the budget, but that's a lie: If they were really interested in balancing the budget, they would not have pressed so hard to extend the Bush tax cuts. Had those tax cuts – tax cuts the Congressional Budget Office has shown primarily benefit the wealthiest Americans – been allowed to expire, the budget deficit would be a non-issue. But when you cut taxes and you spend 10+ years funding two different wars, well, it's hard not to have a budget deficit.

But by all means, let's continue to buy into the out and out lunacy of the Republican's assertions that raising the debt ceiling is somehow reckless behavior, or that they're at all interested in anything other than dismantling our country's social safety net. And let's keep pretending that all the people who benefit from those programs are lazy do nothings that can't be bothered to work, and that cutting social programs whilst not repealing the Bush tax cuts somehow amounts to "shared sacrifice."

I'm not going to sit here and preach that Obama is a great president. I'm actually not a huge fan. But I'm even less a fan of an entire party of scheming liars whose sole purpose is not to govern effectively, but to drive a president out of office, even if it means wrecking the country and harming their constituents in the process.

27 July 2011

WEDNESDAY GIRL

Devon Aoki

26 July 2011

THE DEATH OF YOU AND ME

Missed this yesterday, but if you haven't seen it yet yourself, here's the first taste of Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds...

CUT THE CRAP

Here's a Republican talking point that just drives me nuts: Cutting taxes on the wealthy increases job growth.

President Clinton not only balanced the budget, but created an enormous surplus. When Clinton left office, the United States had the lowest unemployment rate in 30 years. 20.4 million jobs were created during Clinton's eight years in office.

President Bush cut taxes, but the unemployment rate increased. Unemployment was at 4.2 % when Clinton left office; it was at 7.8% when Bush left office. Those tax cuts have been extended and unemployment is currently at 9.2%.

Meanwhile, profits for the very same corporations supposedly incentivized by the Bush tax cuts have actually increased over the past three years.

Republicans and their Tea Party minstrel singers claim the national debt can only be reduced by gutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, but the truth of the matter is, if the ONLY thing Congress did right now was reapeal the Bush tax cuts, that debt would quickly be reduced, thereby strengthening the economy.

And strangely enough, it's a strong economy, not tax cuts for the wealthy that actually creates jobs.

NOT FADE AWAY

Is Mick Jagger really 68 years old today? Man. One day you're strutting across the stage, shaking your ass and singing "Jumpin' Jack Flash," the next... Well, if you're Mick Jagger, it's apparently quite likely you'll be strutting across the stage, shaking your ass and singing "Jumpin' Jack Flash."

Say what you want about The Rolling Stones, but given that there's a long-standing tradition of blues and jazz men performing well into their twilight years, I think a little respect is due. When the Stones started out, there was no template for rock and roll stardom. Everyone from Jagger to John Lennon to The Who's Pete Townshend thought they'd be looking for "real" jobs within a couple years of their breakout hits. As revolutionary as they were at the time, none of them had any idea they'd soon be revered as pop culture icons. They went from being working class kids to jobbing musicians to multi-billion dollar concert tours. And what do you then?

In Mick's case, he continued being Mick Jagger. He made more music, he made some movies and he made lots and lots and lots of money. And he's stayed remarkably fit whilst doing so.

Sure, he's all wrinkly now and he dyes his hair, but I hope I can move at half his pace when I'm that age.

Jumpin' Jack Flash, indeed.

And of yes, of course there's a top 10 list:

1. "The Last Time," (single a-side, 1965)
2. "Soul Survivor," (Exile on Main Street, 1972)
3. "I Am Waiting," (Aftermath, 1966)
4. "Get Off of My Cloud," (single a-side, 1965)
5. "Gimme Shelter," (Let it Bleed, 1969)
6. "Jumpin' Jack Flash," (single a-side, 1968)
7. "Monkey Man," (Let it Bleed, 1969)
8. "Jigsaw Puzzle," (Beggars Banquet, 1968)
9. "Brown Sugar," (Sticky Fingers, 1971)
10. "She Smiled Sweetly," (Flowers, 1967)

25 July 2011

STRANGE MAGIC

The new issue of Diamond's Previews catalogue is out this week, and The Strange Talent of Luther Strode adorns its cover. The first issue is out a whole three months from now, in October, but you can let your local comic shop know you want it now.

And trust me, you do want it now.

AMY AMY AMY

It's a shame when anyone dies young, but doubly so when someone is as talented as Amy Winehouse. No matter how sad it is, though, it's fucking stupid when someone that gifted squanders her talent on drugs. I've read stuff here and there about not judging her lifestyle and whatnot, but you know what: It's fucking stupid. Period. How many actors, artists and musicians have died from drugs? Not everyone is Keith Richards. That guy is LUCKY with a skyscraper-sized capital "L."

That out of the way, I was actually a big fan of Amy Winehouse's music, and it's tragic that we're left with just a little over two dozen songs. Of those, these are my favorites:

1. "Tears Dry on Their Own," (Back to Black, 2006)
2. "You Know I'm No Good," (Back to Black, 2006)
3. "Take the Box," (Frank, 2003)
4. "Wake Up Alone," (Back to Black, 2006)
5. "I Heard Love Is Blind," (Frank, 2003)
6. "He Can Only Hold Her," (Back to Black, 2006)
7. "Love Is a Losing Game," (Back to Black, 2006)
8. "Fuck Me Pumps," (Frank, 2003)
9. "Back to Black," (Back to Black, 2006)
10. "October Song," (Frank, 2003)

24 July 2011

SUNDAY'S PRETTY ICONS

Jean Shrimpton & Terence Stamp

23 July 2011

NEW HORIZONS

Quite pleased this is common knowledge now: Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples are collaborating on a new ongoing series for Image Comics. It's called Saga, and it's set to debut in early 2012.

There's more information at CBR.

22 July 2011

TOMORROW TOMORROW

So, the CREATOR-OWNED COMICS WITH ROBERT KIRKMAN panel is tomorrow, and if you need any last bit of encouragement to attend, consider this: artist Fiona Staples will be joining us as well. You probably know Fiona's work from the wonderful Mystery Society series she did with Steve Niles, or maybe from her covers for DV8: Gods & Monsters. Whatever the case, she's insanely talented and getting better all the time...



SATURDAY, JULY 23 - ROOM 7AB
3:00 - 4:00 PM CREATOR-OWNED COMICS WITH ROBERT KIRKMAN
Image Comics partner and best selling writer Robert Kirkman (THE WALKING DEAD) is joined by Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson and some very special guests to discuss the exciting present and future possibilities of creator-owned comics. Be one of the first to hear some major announcements from the leading publisher of creator-owned comics. Plus: exclusive print for first 100 attendees!

21 July 2011

JOHNNY THUNDER

"It's an audacious story excellently told that makes the most of the comics medium." That's Neil Gaiman.

"Unlike anything you've ever seen. A magnificent five-course meal served in a single platter." That's Guillermo del Toro.

They're both talking about Turf by Jonathan Ross and Tommy Lee Edwards.

Jonathan's a celebrated media figure in the UK, but this Saturday, it's his presence on our CREATOR-OWNED COMICS WITH ROBERT KIRKMAN panel we'll be celebrating.

In case you've forgotten the details, here they are again:

SATURDAY, JULY 23 - ROOM 7AB
3:00 - 4:00 PM CREATOR-OWNED COMICS WITH ROBERT KIRKMAN

Image Comics partner and best selling writer Robert Kirkman (THE WALKING DEAD) is joined by Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson and some very special guests to discuss the exciting present and future possibilities of creator-owned comics. Be one of the first to hear some major announcements from the leading publisher of creator-owned comics. Plus: exclusive print for first 100 attendees!

20 July 2011

OUR FRANK

Along with Brian K. Vaughan and Jonathan Hickman, artist extraordinaire Frank Cho is also appearing on this Saturday's CREATOR-OWNED COMICS WITH ROBERT KIRKMAN panel.

One of the projects he'll be discussing is the upcoming
Guns & Dinos. But that's not all...

Again with the details:

SATURDAY, JULY 23 - ROOM 7AB
3:00 - 4:00 PM CREATOR-OWNED COMICS WITH ROBERT KIRKMAN

Image Comics partner and best selling writer Robert Kirkman (THE WALKING DEAD) is joined by Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson and some very special guests to discuss the exciting present and future possibilities of creator-owned comics. Be one of the first to hear some major announcements from the leading publisher of creator-owned comics. Plus: exclusive print for first 100 attendees!

WEDNESDAY GIRL

Charlotte Kemp Muhl

19 July 2011

YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET

Another good reason to check out this Saturday's CREATOR-OWNED COMICS WITH ROBERT KIRKMAN panel? The unstoppable creative force that is Jonathan Hickman.

Jonathan is doing some fantastic work over at Marvel Entertainment, but it's the uncompromising creator-owned work he has produced at Image Comics that initially drew people to this visionary talent. His current miniseries, The Red Wing, is going to be followed by the first part of his Plus! project, Feel Better Now, and then..?

Well, the details for that panel once again are:

SATURDAY, JULY 23 - ROOM 7AB
3:00 - 4:00 PM CREATOR-OWNED COMICS WITH ROBERT KIRKMAN

Image Comics partner and best selling writer Robert Kirkman (THE WALKING DEAD) is joined by Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson and some very special guests to discuss the exciting present and future possibilities of creator-owned comics. Be one of the first to hear some major announcements from the leading publisher of creator-owned comics. Plus: exclusive print for first 100 attendees!

HERE COMES THE WEEKEND

Comic-Con International 2011 is this weekend in San Diego. Image Comics will be there. Will you? If so, make it a point to stop by booth #2729 and say hi.

STARLITE

New music from Paul Weller...

18 July 2011

THE SATURDAY BOY

If you're going to Comic-Con International in San Diego this week, you'll want to go to this panel:

SATURDAY, JULY 23 - ROOM 7AB

3:00 - 4:00 PM CREATOR-OWNED COMICS WITH ROBERT KIRKMAN

Image Comics partner and best selling writer Robert Kirkman (THE WALKING DEAD) is joined by Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson and some very special guests to discuss the exciting present and future possibilities of creator-owned comics. Be one of the first to hear some major announcements from the leading publisher of creator-owned comics. Plus: exclusive print for first 100 attendees!


Why?


Well, we've roped Brian K. Vaughan into attending, along with some other great guests, so... yeah. Be there.

JUMP INTO THE FIRE

One of the best parts of my job is seeing awesome stuff before everyone else. This is from a another new title debuting next year from Image Comics.

And by "new," I mean "new."

FREE NELSON MANDELA

27 years ago, Nelson Mandela was in prison, and Jerry Dammers' Special AKA recorded this wonderful song in protest.

Today, Mandela is 93 and a free man.

17 July 2011

YELLOW SUBMARINE

Yellow Submarine is 43 today.

14 July 2011

A GOOD IDEA

I don't read a lot of current Marvel comics, but these ads are really cool:

13 July 2011

LET HIM DANGLE

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. made 10 billion dolars in profit over the last four years. Total taxes paid? Negative 4.5 billion dollars. And nearly all of that came from the U.S. government. That's right we paid them.


Current under investigation by the British government for a recent scandal involving the hacking of a missing girl's cell phone by a reporter at tabloid News of the World, Murdoch isn't having a good week. Here's hoping he has worse to come.


More here.

WEDNESDAY GIRL

Celeste Thorson

11 July 2011

SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL

Layout – layouts! – for an upcoming project.

Man, I'm looking forward to 2012!

TALKIN' WHAT I FEEL

I recently completed a second interview with David Harper over at Multiversity comics.

You can read it
here.

10 July 2011

HIT PARADE

1. Kaiser Chiefs - "Problem Solved," (The Future Is Medieval, 2011)
2. Shirley Lee - "I Remember You," (Winter Autumn Summer Spring, 2011)
3. Simon & Garfunkel - "America," (Bookends, 1968)
4. David Bowie - "Conversation Piece, (Space Oddity, 1969)
5. Thelonious Monk & Sonny Rollins - "The Way You Look Tonight," (Thelonious Monk & Sonny Rollins, 1957)
6. Velvet Underground - "I Can't Stand It," (VU, 1969)
7. Joe Jackson - "Friday," (Look Sharp!, 1979)
8. Ann Peebles - "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down," (I Can't Stand the Rain, 1973)
9. The Doors - "Yes, the Rivers Knows," (Waiting for the Sun, 1968)
10. Jon Allen - "Dead Man's Suit," (Dead Man's Suit, 2009)

MOST LIKE LEE

Jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan died way too early, at the age of 33 in 1972, but were he still around, he would be 73 today.

The Sidewinder is probably the best known Lee Morgan album, the title track his best known song. It's not a real mystery why: Both are awesome. But then, most of his albums are. Years ago, two friends of mine were disputing the virtues of jazz, and when one finally said, "I just don't like jazz," the other responded, "Then you haven't heard Lee Morgan." I'm biased, obviously, but I think you'd have to work pretty hard not to like Lee Morgan.

Often when musicians die at such a young age, I lament the fact their lives were cut short before we got to hear more music from them, but the amount of music Morgan recorded in such a brief life is staggering: 30 albums between 1956 and 1971.

09 July 2011

DON'T LOOK BACK IN ANGER

Top 10 Oasis tracks sung by Noel:

1. "Talk Tonight," (b-side, "Some Might Say," 1995)
2. "The Masterplan," (b-side, "Wonderwall," 1995)
3. "Force of Nature," (Heathen Chemistry, 2002)
4. "The Importance of Being Idle," (Don't Believe the Truth, 2005)
5. "Don't Look Back in Anger," ((What's the Story) Morning Glory?, 1995)
6. "Going Nowhere," (b-side, "Stand By Me," 1997)
7. "Part of the Queue," (Don't Believe the Truth, 2005)
8. "Waiting for the Rapture," (Dig Out Your Soul, 2008)
9. "Half the Word Alway," (b-side, "Whatever," 1995)
10. "Sunday Morning Call," (Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, 2000)

07 July 2011

06 July 2011

WHO WILL BUY

G-Man creator Chris Giarrusso has donated some signed prints in support of my friend and colleague Branwyn's involvement with AIDS Walk SF this year. There's the G-Man print (pictured above), plus another equally awesome example of Chris G.'s exemplary etchings, featuring the Color Guardians, and you can either buy one for $20 or two for $30. The only catch is that the prints will be distributed at the upcoming Comic-Con International in San Diego. (Or maybe you can twist Branwyn's arm and get her to mail yours, but be warned: She's a mean arm-wrestler!)

More info over here.

WEDNESDAY GIRL

Daisy Lowe

05 July 2011

TUESDAY SUNSHINE

Fred Perry announced yesterday that they're working with Sir Peter Blake on their latest Blank Canvas project. Blake has helped to design three different shirts, referencing the iconic '60s pop art imagery he's so well-known for, each limited to 1,000 pieces.

I'm not a huge fan of Fred Perry's Blank Canvas collections – the last one was a "reissue" project that included an "authentic" punk version of the classic Fred Perry Polo splattered with bleach – but this seems kind of cool. I guess I'll have to actually see the shirts (and the price!) to know for sure, but Blake's style seems to lend itself to this sort of collaboration more some of the previous choices.

And if Blake's name doesn't strike a chord with you, here's a quick primer: He's the guy who created the artwork for The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band LP. Beyond that, though, he's one of Britain's most famous pop artists, with a career tracing back to the late 1950s, forever linked with the '60s and iconographic targets, heart and stars like the ones pictured above.

In addition to The Beatles, Blake has created album covers for everyone from The Who to Oasis, and if you own a copy of the 1985 Band Aid single, "Do They Know it's Christmas?" – that's Blake, too.

More info on Blake's Fred Perry collaboration can be found over here.