hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
I've thought for a while that scanty female clothing in comics isn't nearly as much of a problem as the porntastic posing. There are male superheroes who wear scanty clothing, but the way they're posed is athletic or dynamic or casual, whereas the women are invariably lightboxed out of Maxim or some such. (Also, as I've mentioned in a post I can't find now, it's interesting to note that the male characters who go about scantily dressed are monstrous (Hulk, Thing), or they look weirdly alien (Hawkman, Martian Manhunter), or they're from Somewhere Else Where They Dress Funny (Namor, Hawkman sometimes, Thor). I figure that this ties into the cultural issue that women can show more skin in everyday life without getting laughed at than can men, so the "here and now" male characters show little skin compared to the freaky dudes or the dudes from Somewhere Else. Meanwhile, male artists who like hot women amp that up to eleven. It's amazing how much better women were drawn before the sexual revolution.)

I've mentioned on Twitter that if I were a superhero comic artist in search of reference, I would *screencap the shit* out of female athletes at the Olympics. Not just for the different body types and emphasis on athletic over hot, but for the action poses. Case in point: I just ran across this 1988 Steve Landis picture of Florence Griffith Joyner, and I've seen a lot of "women crouched over" drawings in comics, but they invariably tend toward the sexy and FloJo is in a pure action pose. It's a seriously great picture; somebody should photoshop it so she's wearing a Wonder Woman costume.

(This is me passively-aggressively linking it so somebody can do that.)
hradzka: (peej reads news)
Short shameful confession: I was actually sorely tempted to get into a Twitterfight with Gail Simone recently over the recent kerfuffle over an issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA. (If you haven't heard, Cap and the Falcon show up at a Tea Party protest and casually diss them, with the Falcon concerned that he'll be attacked because they're clearly a bunch of racist wackos, etc. The Tea crowd took considerable exception, and Marvel apologized and said they'd change the signs in the trade, to take away the link to the Tea Party movement.) Simone spent a good bit of time writing some remarkably harsh stuff on Twitter, some of which actually rather pissed me off. Which is pretty surprising, because Simone tends to be evenhanded and when she isn't she usually makes me *think,* not raise an eyebrow and go, "Wow. Really."

Brendan McGuirk makes an argument at Comics Alliance that Marvel had nothing to apologize for. I wanted to quote some bits of McGuirk's thoughts and add a few thoughts of my own, because I think this article expresses pretty well the nature of (what I see as) the problem. Read more... )
hradzka: (plane)
This just in: Rich Johnston is a coward.

What's more, he's a weaselly and despicable one.

If you don't know who he is, Johnston runs Bleeding Cool, which is the successor website (and current host for) his long-running comics news and gossip column, "Lying in the Gutters." One of his recent posts mentioned the attempted murder of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who was one of several Danish cartoonists to draw Mohammed in contravention to Muslim religious law. As you may recall, this innocuous gag (very few of the images were in any way critical; most were very mild jokes or weren't jokes at all, just drawings of a bearded dude) resulted in death threats and riots, during which major news outlets that have cheerfully run everything from pictures of crucifixes dunked in urine to gruesome war photography to photographs of Amy Winehouse tied themselves in knots to cover the stories while avoiding running the cartoons.

On New Year's Day, an axe-wielding fanatic -- who had, in a feat of staggering chutzpah, claimed asylum on the grounds that he would be persecuted in his home country -- broke into Kurt Westergaard's house. Westergaard locked himself in the bathroom, which had been fortified to serve as a panic room. Police arrived and shot the attempted murderer, who survived. This is where Johnston comes in. He posted about the attempted murder. Quoth Johnston, at the conclusion of his post: "The cartoon in question featured Mohammed with a bomb-shaped turban. No i’m not reproducing it here. I like my door axe-free, thank you very much."

Seven posts earlier, Johnston had provided his thoughts regarding the comic-related Visual of the Year. Among his candidates... )
hradzka: (wonder woman 2)
Found on Heromorph, which has some amazing 3D renders and some really bad pornography, a "none of the above:" a really amazing manip of Wonder Woman by "joshmc."

Seriously, it's amazing. )
hradzka: (cameron undone)
I never knew there was a terrible story behind the naming of Skippy peanut butter.

And I mean it: really, really terrible. The kind of terrible you can only get when you combine an unscrupulous business and a powerful government.
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
McFarlane Toys occasionally does lines in the "Twisted" vein, which means they take public domain characters and create horrifying action figures of them that look like something out of a typically overdrawn 90s comic book. I usually don't think much of these things, but if you haven't seen it, character designer Jeffrey Thomas decided to do a riff on the idea, and he drew some pretty amazing Twisted Disney Princesses. My favorites are Cinderella, Snow White, and Ariel.

ETA: He also did this, and man do I wish it was real and I could watch it right now.
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
The Marvel/Disney animated musical, THE IRON MERMAID, is now complete with the addition of Obadiah Stane's big musical number.

Yes, I have done gone lost my mind.
hradzka: (tony stark)
Blame [personal profile] dafnap, [profile] sotto_voice, and [personal profile] prosodi for this one. Originally posted in comments under flock, now inflicted on you here. The Disney acquisition of Marvel taken to its logical extreme, with that heart-warming animated musical, THE IRON MERMAID.

TONY STARK:
Hey, buy my missile
it's really neat
it blows up stuff like you wouldn't believe
here, General, have a scotch -- I'll drink while I'm strolling.
Free booze thrown in
with every sale
no wonder my lawyers always turn pale.
Call Obie at home, deal's done, now I'm rolling...
I took over dad's business at twenty,
I'll sell you the guns for your wars.
Have I had Maxim girls? Oh, yeah. PLENTY.
Did I call them again? No, what for?
I get to sleep with the hottest girls,
though I'm not one of those beta fellows
who call a girl or take her out -- what's the word? Right. "Twice."
I drink like a fish, and abuse my friends,
I've got an airplane with stripperdesses,
I guess you could say that I'm not --
oh, whaddya call it? Right. "Nice."
What's that ahead, a bump in the road?
holy shit, I just heard something explode!
oh goodness me
I think I see
a hole in my chest...

I'm not that brave when I'm in a cave, being waterboarded,
I'm not unique: in a week, I could be dead --
so Yinsen says, and so I guess I'll have to build an arc reactor,
working harder, make powered armor, punch in some heads --

Now Yinsen is dead, and the bad guys too,
I'm going home, gonna eat cheeseburgers,
and maybe I'll even -- what's the word? "Change!"
Maybe it's strange,
But maybe somehow,
I'll be a hero, starting right now --
I'll stay up at night
and work by the light
that glows in my chest.

This was when I realized Obadiah was Sebastian. )
hradzka: (wtf)
Disney bought Marvel Comics! On Twitter (#disneymarvel) everybody is goofing around on the possibilities for what this means. Here is my pitch for the Disney/Marvel miniseries:

Uncle Scrooge buys the Marvel Universe. This is utterly staggering for all concerned. Donald can't believe that even *Scrooge* can buy a *universe,* J. Jonah Jameson is howling that there's no way the universe he lives in can be sold to some duck, and the Marvel Universe super-villains are extraordinarily put out. They've been trying to conquer the universe for so long that they're appalled to find out that some rich dilettante just up and bought it for cash.

The Daily Bugle sends a team over to the Disney Universe to interview Scrooge. Jonah insists on going along, and he and Scrooge wind up in a screaming argument that nearly escalates to a Disney-style fistfight. Jonah winds up in jail next to the Beagle Boys, who are astonished to learn from him what resources the bad guys in his universe can bring to bear.

After a jailbreak involving them, Jonah, and some other Disney villains (Ursula and Cruella DeVille flirt brazenly with Jonah, now their hostage, throughout), and a quick stop in the evidence room for some of their universe's more nefarious items (e.g., the oil lamp containing the now-genied Jafar), the Beagle Boys make their way to the Marvel Universe, where their arrival is noted by none other than Dr. Doom. After a brief summit, Doom is alternately impressed (Ursula) and appalled (the Beagle Boys) by the caliber of villainy the Disney Universe has to offer. He rounds up a number of other Marvel villains, and proposes the revisitation of an old idea: ACTS OF VENGEANCE, the supervillain gift swap in which everybody attacks each others' archenemies. And what a line-up!

Cruella DeVille vs. She-Hulk (a legal thriller!)
Ursula vs. Namor!
The Beagle Boys vs. Spider-Man!
Jafar vs. Dr. Strange!
and more!

And meanwhile, while the major powers of the Disney Universe are occupied -- because Mickey, Donald, et al. head over to the Marvels to try to put a stop to the goings-on over there -- Dr. Doom seizes the clear field left by the Disney villains who're battling the heroes of the Marvel Universe and makes a play to seize the Disneyverse for his own. This means, of course, he must fight the person who is obviously the central figure of the Disneyverse. Obviously to *Doom,* anyway.

Uncle Scrooge vs. Doctor Doom.

You KNOW you want to see it.

(Hmm. Maybe Ursula should hook up with Galactus.)
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
A couple of comics notes:

POWER GIRL is everything I ever wanted a Power Girl series to be. I hug it to pieces.

BATWOMAN: Everybody is praising BATWOMAN's art. I am damned if I can see why. It is visually striking, yes. It is also completely fucking impossible to follow. I like my comic art to be clean and simple and effective; admittedly, one sequence in the latest issue has Batwoman doped to the gills on hallucinogens, so there might be an excuse for going off the rails visually, but the rest of it is not much better. And I'm not sure if I find the heroine an interesting character yet. That said, I thought the sequence where she and Maggie Sawyer both turned up to the Obligatory Big Gala in tuxedos and wound up dancing together was pretty cute, even if TPTB torpedoed Maggie's long-running relationship just so they could smush her together with Kate Kane.

BATGIRL: it's not all bad, I guess, but -- hey, remember that bit in BATGIRL #50 when Cassandra Cain explicitly said that she fought for the Bat, not Bruce Wayne? Yeah, apparently you don't work at DC Comics, 'cause it looks like nobody there does. Cassandra Cain continues to be the most misused and miswritten character in the Batfamily, and possibly the entire DC Universe. Sigh.

I downloaded Comixology's iPhone app, which allows you to download/buy/read comics online. So far I have read precisely two comics, both free, and I gotta say it's a mixed bag. Yes, it's nice to read comics on the go, but 1) the ecomics cost way too much and 2) the interface is ill-suited to the material. Lemme explain #2, because it's their major problem and could well be an appkiller. You read Comixology's e-comics a panel at a time. You cannot scroll around the page. You can zoom on a given panel, and you can tap on the screen to move forward or backward, but Comixology has decided how you are going to read the comic and will move you around the page one panel or part-of-a-panel at a time.

The dedicated comics fan will have immediately spotted the problem: this makes the app highly dependent on the panels being neatly separated and self-contained. It'd be great for Golden Age or Silver Age comics. Today? No way. Just to name one example, Batwoman would be completely impossible to read on it, because you can't scroll around. Even comics that aren't up to Batwoman's level of panel anarchy suffer: one (dreadful) comic I read had a panel that came off very weirdly. Incomplete, as if part of a punchline was missing. It took me a moment to realize what it was: the part of the panel that featured the (lame) gag didn't fit into the Comixology panel view -- and of course I couldn't scroll over to see it, not that it was funny enough to want to.
hradzka: (wonder woman)
Back home from travels, for now. One of my more interesting experiences during the trip was taking an eleven-year-old girl (middle daughter of friends) to a comic book store for the first time. This actually arose through cunning and subterfuge. I love to give books to kids, but this particular kid has been a reluctant reader because of pretty severe learning disabilities. Lately, she's developed a strong interest in STAR WARS, which has been a gateway to STAR WARS kids' books. She loves to draw, though, and this naturally made me think "Comic books!" (I cut my teeth on TINTIN and ASTERIX with a healthy side of BATMAN, which explains more about me than many other formative influences.) But she tends to shy away when encouraged in something, or given it head-on. So I had to be subtle.

HER. "So what are you doing today?"
ME. "Dunno. Thought I'd go to the comic shop later."
HER. "Can I come?"

Well, THAT was easy.

The store was her local one, which -- ARE YOU LISTENING, RETAILERS? -- had a kids' section *right up front.* We walked around the store in general, too, and I showed her various things. This, I cleverly thought, is where I tell her about girl superheroes. She asked which ones I liked, and I said (because I'd had a fannish undertaking in mind involving the characters), "Well, I like Power Girl and Starfire."

"Oh," she said. "What do they look like?"

And I said, "Um."

And shortly thereafter I found myself thumbing through TEEN TITANS trades for a low-key picture of Starfire, thinking, "DEAR GOD WHY DID I NOT SAY 'ORACLE' or 'MANHUNTER?'"

(For the record, a new-to-comics eleven-year-old girl processes Starfire as "the lady with the hair." God bless you, George Perez, for giving Kory more than two one outrageous aspect.)

She decided against any of the DC SHOWCASE volumes, as their size was too intimidating, but picked up a STAR WARS comic and the first issue of SUPERGIRL: COSMIC ADVENTURES IN THE 8TH GRADE.
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
So Marvel's got MARVEL DIVAS and DC's got DC SIRENS or something, apparently. I haven't been paying attention to it, but neither of them seem to be pleasing my flist. The only one I've glanced through is MARVEL DIVAS, which is kind of tooth-grating in that there are a couple of glimmers where you say, "Oh, hey, I see how this could be a half-decent comic, if they only changed pretty much everything about it." DIVAS is a laughably transparent SEX AND THE CITY rip, and Marvel apparently thought this would appeal to the female reader. I won't deny that a lot of women apparently really like SEX AND THE CITY, but the flaw is that *the vast majority of these women do not read comics or find themselves in circumstances where they might buy one.* So, of course, Marvel's doing promotion that reaches outside traditional comic avenues for this untapped audience, right? ...

*crickets*

Yeah. So this makes no sense. The people who would like this don't even know it exists, and the women in comic book fandom are going to find it annoying as hell. I really wish that Marvel would just pick up that bit from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN SUMMER SPECIAL with MJ, Clea, Scarlet Witch, Millie the Model, Hellcat, Marvel Girl, and She-Hulk taking on the Enchantress. Oh, well.

So, a question: who's on your all-female comic book team? I think for DC I'd go with Power Girl, Mary Marvel, Empress, and Onyx. Mary Marvel and Empress both having magic-based powers might be a little bit eh, but I think it could work. And I liked Onyx's appearances in the Batbooks; it'd be fun seeing her as the only non-super person on a superpowered team. Maybe they could recruit Spoiler, too; get her out of the Batbooks for a while and be her own character.

Or go the other way, and have the superpowered person be the odd one out. Okay, maybe I'm crazy, but listen to this line-up: Manhunter, Mary Marvel, Onyx. Two cynical-as-hell normal people and one peppy, optimistic super. Bonus points if they all have to live together, and Onyx has to put up with Mary being chirpy at disgustingly early hours while Onyx fumbles for the coffeemaker.

Marvel, I'd go the other way. Have a team of A-list superheroines... who don't fight crime. They act as mentors and advisers for young, up-and-coming superheroines, who do. Or decide they're not cut out for it. Basically, a coffee-club organization to give advice to girls developing superpowers. The focus is on the kids, who form and dissolve various efforts at superteams, but the big heroines make guiding appearances. (To me, this organization is something that the Invisible Woman would head up.)
hradzka: (rex the wonder dog)
One of the things I appreciated -- actually, the main thing I appreciated -- about the late, lamented scans_daily was the boundless discovery. That's true of the larger comics blogosphere, but scans_daily was frigging huge and you never knew what weird shit somebody might post. If not for scans_daily, for instance, I wouldn't be hunting back issue bins for copies of KNIGHTS OF BROADWAY.

If I made any contribution worth remembering to scans_daily, I think the below post, originally made January 12, 2007, was it. Enough to resurrect it! Because everybody on my flist should know... Rex, the Wonder Dog.


Your eyes do not deceive you. The dog has a lasso.


Impressed? You ain't seen nothin' yet.

THE ADVENTURES OF REX THE WONDER DOG ran for 46 more or less bimonthly issues between 1952 and 1959. The issues typically consisted of two Rex stories, a single back-up story that rotated briefly before being quickly filled by the adventures of Detective Chimp, and a couple of prose pages about dogs.

The premise was simple: Rex, a decorated military K9, was given to young Danny Dennis by his father, an Army Major, and before long their lives were full of increasingly crazy adventure. In the first issue, Rex's wonder feats were limited to stuff like jumping out of windows or over walls, identifying bad guys -- the usual.

That didn't last. I blame the dinosaur.

In issue # 11, Rex faced off against a Tyrannosaurus. It was a watershed moment for the series. After that, all bets were off. By the time the book ended, Rex was traveling to alien worlds to act as an interplanetary spy and serving as a mount for a tiny human in another dimension's steeplechase. And those weren't the weirdest moments in the series.

Think I'm kidding? Read on. )
hradzka: (wonder woman 2)
Just wanted to throw this out there: I haven't seen anybody mention it, but BIRDS OF PREY's latest issue did something that made me extraordinarily happy. THE CLOCKTOWER IS BACK.

Well, sort of; it's not THE clocktower, the one that Babs lived and worked in until it was blown up in the course of a dumb story arc. I was heartbroken when that happened, as were so many fans -- yes, it's nice to have Babs and crew out from under the Bat-umbrella, but... Clocktower! You had to love it; the place was a great Babscave, because its above-ground (waaaaaay above ground) location served to emblematize Barbara Gordon's self-imposed isolation and distance from the world even as it contrasted her with subterranean Bruce. That perfect marriage of character and home turf doesn't happen much. Character-X-drops-by-the-Clocktower fanfic became a glorious cliche for a reason.

That clocktower, alas, is gone. Babs and company have set up shop on the West Coast, in the high-tech setting of Platinum Flats. Naturally, something mysterious is going on. The good news: Platinum Flats isn't far from Star City, which means appearances by the much-missed Black Canary. The better news: Babs has set up a new tech company to bring in some dough and give the Birds a front.

Its name? Clocktower Systems.

There's something great about reading a comic book and getting a gentle hat tip that says, "Yeah, we know you loved that particular something, 'cause guess what? We did too."
hradzka: (snoop)
Got a couple of comics I'd been thinking about -- no, I didn't make the comic store; a couple of trades came to me via the good folks at Amazon.

Jane Irwin's VOGELEIN has a beaut of a premise: a clockwork fairy makes her way through the modern world, with the help of human friends who wind her up. I'd picked up a preview excerpt of the second volume at a con somewhere, and it really worked for me.

Unfortunately, the rest of the book doesn't quite hold up to it. It's quiet, sure, but there's a difference between quiet and not enough happening, and Irwin doesn't do a good job distinguishing between the two. The storytelling is too deconstructed; scenes go on for too long, the scene-setting takes more preeminence than the storytelling. Also, the book suffers from noteitis. There are so many footnotes and behind-the-scenes things in the back that it's just eye-rolling, and you really don't care -- you don't really need to know that all the musicians in an Irish session scene are based on real people. And who they are. And what they do for a living. And from whom they learned. Some scenes have a real charm -- there's a bit with a wild fairy taking milk from an offered bowl that's a delightful page -- but the charm eventually wears a bit thin. Maybe the first volume had a little more oomph to it.

Kazu Kibuishi's DAISY KUTTER: THE LAST TRAIN, by contrast, is endlessly delightful. The pictures do most of the storytelling, and the plot is not complex, but the storytelling is terrific, and the art and characters are just charming. Daisy Kutter lives in the New West, which is an awesome place with trains and high noons and robots and single-action revolvers that fire unlimited amounts of ammunition without reloading -- I mean, it's pretty much *my* ideal place, so I'd get the book for the setting alone. (Think steampunk meets spaghetti western, and you've got it.) But there's also a charming and adventurous heroine, and warm character humor, and scenes where people shoot robots with what looks like a seven-foot-long ten-gauge shotgun, and these things are not bad. There's a lot of behind-the-scenes and tribute art in the back, but unlike Irwin, Kibuishi doesn't over-explain it -- most of it passes without commentary -- and so it works. Daisy Kutter is an ex-outlaw whose ex-partner is now a sheriff, and when she gets hired to pull an outlaw job, wackiness ensues. Definitely check it out. There's a little too much violence and spicy language for me to hand it to a kid, but the kid in me loves it anyway.

Rick Veitch's GREYSHIRT: INDIGO SUNSET. And all I have to say is, HOLY CRAP. If you like mystery/detective comics, buy this. If you like superhero/drama comics, buy this. If you like comics books, just go buy it, and thank me later. GREYSHIRT first saw life in Alan Moore's TOMORROW STORIES, which just contained endlessly wonderful and entertaining Eisner-esque adventures. I saw this, got it on a whim, and I don't think I've enjoyed such a stimulating, entertaining, beautifully constructed ride in years. You don't have to know anything about Greyshirt to pick up the trade. In fact, I couldn't think of a better introduction.
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
Before I read Fantagraphics's POPEYE reprints, I honestly had forgotten everything about Wimpy except that he loved hamburgers. Maybe that's all I'd known: like most people in my age bracket, I only knew Popeye and his friends from animation. But then the Fantagraphics books came out, and I got them, and I dang near had a heart attack. Because they're *brilliant.* Funny, sad, touching, thoughtful, satirical, surprisingly adult. Popeye became an incredible favorite of children, as writer/artist E.C. Segar acknowledges in the strip by portraying children as Popeye's friends, but he wasn't a safe friend -- he was a rough sailor who loved shooting craps and getting into fights, who made money hand over fist and then spent it all just as quickly, who had a terrible weakness for women, particularly "brunecks;" who would show the kids a good time by buying them more candy, ice cream and hot dogs than they could eat, causing every child in town to have an epic bellyache. Popeye was fun because he was rough-and-tumble, a little bit dangerous. He would never make it onto today's comic pages. Never.

Case in point: Wimpy.

Wimpy loves hamburgers, right? He has that catchphrase: "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." The reason he's always saying that is that Wimpy is stone broke. He is utterly overextended financially; the guy's credit is in the absolute toilet, and he's always seeking to borrow more. He's Segar's Mr. Micawber, but while Micawber is always sure something will turn up, Wimpy is forlorn and adrift in the world. And if you take pity on him, try to help him out or make things better for him in some way, Wimpy will turn right around and take advantage of your good-naturedness. Because that's his nature. And yet, he's got a tenderness and vulnerability to him: Wimpy is a sponger, but he's also a sad clown. So his repeatedly-burned friends can't help but love him. He is a sad, lonely character, in part because he deserves to be.

I love Wimpy. Here are two Sunday strips featuring him. Click on 'em to see larger.

Wimpy gets a gift, and sleeps over. )
hradzka: (donuts?)
Um.  Wow.


Popeye the Sailor: Seafarer. Prizefighter. Exhibitionist.

(Also, you should all go buy Fantagraphics' POPEYE collections right now. GLORIOUS.)
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
This post made me realize what the Marvel Universe should do with Dazzler when they inevitably revamp her concept. There's only one solution for a heroine so much of her time: *she's an accidental time traveller.* She fell forward in time from the 1970s, and now, like Howard the Duck, she's in a world she never made!

...if they haven't introduced Ultimate Dazzler yet, they should totally do this. Trust me, it'd be awesome.
hradzka: (pointy teeth)
In my last post, I mentioned that old-time radio had led me to hypothesize about the use of narration, and captions, in comic books. Briefly, there are two kinds of narration that you'll find in dramatizations: observer and participant. Observer's narration is provided by an omniscient, disembodied individual not represented in the drama, while participant's narration is provided by somebody who's actually there. Typically, the former is third-person, while the latter is first-person.

Radio shows -- dramas, in particular -- employed both of these forms. Which type you got depended on the show. THE LONE RANGER and SUPERMAN used observer narration. The observer was particularly helpful to describe things that were going on that would be difficult to convey in dialogue or with audio cues -- in Superman's first radio adventure on Earth, for example, the narrator describes Superman as hovering in the air over a city in Indiana. The show used audio cues -- "Up, up, and awaaaaaayyyyy!!!" and the sound of rushing wind -- to convey Superman's flight, but conveying Superman hovering in space when he didn't have anybody to talk to there was a little more difficult. The narrator for THE LONE RANGER might describe a horse chase, or describe what various characters were getting up to offstage. Participant narration was common in the detective shows; DRAGNET is narrated by Jack Webb's Joe Friday, and YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR is narrated by the insurance investigator himself. (I think that's why we think of the first-person voiceover as such a part of the hard-boiled genre: it has less to do with film noir than with radio.)

So, where do comic book captions come into it? )

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A POEM EVERY DAY

The collected poems from my descent into madness year spent writing daily poems are now available from Lulu as the cheapest 330-page book they would let me make ($16.20). If that's too pricey, you can also get it from Lulu as a free download, or just click on the "a poem every day" tag to read them here. But if you did buy one, that'd be awesome.

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