Tag Archives: El Devo

Fancy red sequined tights.

Last night Alberta voted. Well, less than half of Alberta voted. The rest of Alberta was apparently too busy to vote. Too busy to pay attention long enough to realize our current government has been our current government for 32 years. 32 years. 32 years of decreases in health care wages, of investing in education, or boorish Premiers and oil soaked kick backs….ok, so the oil soaked kick back MAY be just a guess, but the rest is true.

This is why I like comic heroes. This is why I can identify with those young men and women who dream for better worlds and wish for a change. I understand Moore‘s intense frustration with our current society’s apathetic nature, except for when it directly affects them. Everyday I hear complaints about road conditions, about municipal gov’ts not being given greater autonomy, school closures, health care, emergency waiting lines….This can be changed! This can be different. It’s not like everyone has to don a cloak and a wicked mask. There need not be a superman, an x-men team, a captain America…There just needs to be involved people who care about the place and the society they live in.

I just finished off Invincible. A very cool trade El Devo lent me.  The simplicity of the art work is a nice throw back to the days of yore, with simple comic printing and good clear lines. The story also has me pretty hooked. A young teenage boy with superpowers using them for good. I like that there is no apparent motivation inherent yet. Other than Dad’s influence, there is no explanation for why. The possibilities that are there in future issues have my curiosity piqued. I really like the teenage awkwardness as well. The multiple scenes’ of mistaken girlfriendness is pretty cute and relatable

Another thing I like about comics. They are for the most part fully relatable. Who hasn’t thought of being a superhero? Even if it is for self serving efforts. Pulling out my fancy red sequined tights and a tight tank to solve the political injustices of the world has crossed my mind more than once…

 I was in Calgary the other week and picked up a few back issues of Classic X Men at my most favorite used book store, Wee Book Inn on 17th ave and am surprised at how much I really liked them. I can fully see why young boys and girls would anxiously await the next issue. The cliff hanger endings and intense situations are brilliant. The art is fast and quick and has you searching for detail, a clue, something. Issue 29 came out in ’88, a period of much tension between the former USSR and most of the rest of world, yet this comic had a story which revolved around Piotr Nikolievitch Rasputin aka. Colossus returning to Russia, his home land. There was no evil crime fighting, no bad guys, and no tights. There was only one instance of heroic action and that was it. Instead, this was the real deal. Fighting injustice goes beyond fancy tights and big muscles. How does one choose between doing good as a superhero that isn’t recognized by any gov’t and put right persecuted in his own country and being able to do nothing, forced to deny your true self? It would take a super hero to figure that out.

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who are we?

Its 12:09 on Thursday evening, or Friday morning depending on how you look at it. I am yawning wider than I thought my jaw could go and have had app. 3.5 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours, including the 1/2 hour nap just taken.

Why this late night post? Busy fighting crime and saving the world, am I? Nope. No Spiderman web slinging action for me, just bad attempts at Yoda references. I am currently running in my university’s student election’s and it is campaign week which means speech’s, talking to everyone you know and checking facebook upteen times to check the status of your group. It also means battling the constant anxiety of inadequacy or external perceptions of who ‘you’ are.

These past couple weeks have had me thinking much ado about…well…nothing. Ok, not nothing. Superhero’s. Average Joe/Jane by day and Superman by night? Possible? Do my friends/colleagues/pets have secret identity’s? Probably not, but being a supehero can be more than donning a pair of red tights and a kickass cape, or having your symbol shone into the night sky. El Devo lent me the Daniel Clowse Caricatures novel,which is just about ordinary people. Incredibly ordinary people. People more ordinary that the most ordinary people in my life. This desire to make the ordinary into extraordinary is interesting. In The Watchmen, Moore and Gibson highlight the average day job of being a superhero. It is about more than just fighting crime sometimes, it is about your intention and your motives. Rorsauch was killing the bad guys yet he WAS the bad guy. Moore wrote about auto mechanics and nerds, women with midlife crisis and sexual needs, rape and marrige. These all happen everyday. What doesn’t happen everyday is donning an owl suit and saving people from a fire. However, very ordinary people do very heroic things everyday.

At my fine institution of higher learning there will be a fundraiser held next week to raise awareness and much needed money for the homeless issue in this city. This is heroic. This is what saving lives is. Looking around you, I bet you couldn’t say who has spent time homeless, or one paycheck away from being homeless. Yet, it is more common than many think. Yet, we all have the power to combat this. To become everyday superhero’s.

So, in my election mode mind at 12:23 am I sit here wondering what I could be doing. What could be done. I ran for office because I believe in something. Something that is worthwhile putting my studies on hold for, something that is worthwhile long days and too short nights. Neglect of my friends and family. Something which I cannot name quite yet.

I found a couple cool links and articles on the very ordinary afflictions of very extraordinary super hero’s.

Religion, sociology, and feminism are all ordinary ideas and ideals that we have all encountered in our lives. I guess it isn’t any different in the comic world.

The more I get into comic literature, the more I see its direct reflection of and influence by society. Moore’s hyper political nature and Clowse’s almost boring plot lines are just what we see everyday. Only this way, there is change. There is a difference made. There is a good and a bad. A right and a wrong.

There is always someone asking who are you.

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your AD here

I just recently have gotten into this trade, The Sandman, and am so far really digging it. I have only brushed the surface of it so my report is minuscule in judgement thus far, but judgement is leaning towards enjoyable.

I obtained this particular book through what I have dubbed ‘the magic of the comic lovers guild’. The comic lovers guild does not exist in any concrete or even socially acknowledged way (to the best of my knowledge) but is present. People who love comics really love comics and are more than happy to share that when they see the chance.

During a class at the great University type establishment I attend I had pulled out my ever ready copy of The Watchmen to get to my ever buried copy of The Iliad. Throwing The Watchmen on the table, I proceeded to be a diligent student and think nothing of it. Fast forward a couple days later and a classmate of mine who also frequents the coffee type establishment I work for (the city I live in is pretty small…) mentioned The Watchmen scene and suggested a couple different trades as well as some help in finding some very cool stuff. Turns out this very cool classmate worked at a comic book shop in Calgary and was more then happy to lend me the afore mentioned The Sandman.

Comic lovers LOVE other comic lovers. I am not sure why I am surprised, but the first couple times people got super stoked when I would reference a line or a something from somewhere that was related to comics, I was a little off gaurd. I cannot think why I wouldn’t expect it. Comic lovers are lovers. They go to comic con’s, get dressed up and pin point which issue of which line got them into comics and collecting. In the years I have known El Devo I had yet to see him as excited about anything as he got when showing my his collection.

images.jpg (this is how excited El Devo gets….pretty intense heh?)

Most of my life I had been surrounded by complete music nerds who would get equally jazzed when they see someone wearing a Band of Horses Tee. This level of obsession over a facet of culture is not new to me by any means. In fact, it seems like this new love of mine is in constant competition with the time I normally spend checking out new music, or reading blogs or music mag’s. Instead I find myself looking up info on references made in these endlessly clever and satirical works of art. If any one knows of any off the beaten path indie bands also doing comics….let me know. K?

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Oh man…

So, this weekend (precisely – yesterday) I had my geek out/comic book session with El Devo. Fan-tastic. Like any good mentor, he took me to the beginning of how he developed his (very intense) relationship with comics. Boy, oh boy what a lesson. Going through all the universe’s and the different streams in Marvel was enlightening to say the least. There is so much out there, I am feeling a bit over whelmed. Where to start? How can I even begin when there is so much that came before me!

He did lend me some awesome trades with a nice cross section. Frank Miller’s Batman, Daniel Clowse (famed writer of Ghost World, although he lent me Caricatures which is proving to be a easy read and not nearly as insightful and interesting as I was led to think.) A Marvel universe cross over trade, a Alan Moore publication I have never even heard of and a bunch more.

So, I essentially have my work cut out for me, which is great to say when “work” is reading comics. For real.

Now, onto to something incredibly important. There is the most awesome GWAR reference ever. Page 21 of chapter five in The Watchmen there is a great reference to GWAR in the second last panel of the page. What is GWAR you might ask? Well, in The Watchmen GWAR is an acronym standing for “Gay Women Against Rape”. More currently known, Gwar is a band which I cannot genrify aptly but can be described somewhat by a trash metal/shock rock/glam rock type group whose main appeal is the outrageous costumes, crazy erratic, somewhat grotesque behaviour and a stage show which has become infamous for the amount of (supposed) bodily fluids which are sprayed out continuously throughout the performance.

Now, in the information available to myself via the World Wide Web I have yet been able to find anything actually and significantly linking The Watchmen and GWAR together.

The band formed in 1985 (according to their official website, which has an awesome mythological type bio available, a good and entertaining read for all) and according to both the website and wikipedia GWAR’s name came from shouting out “Gwarggghhhh” in every show which adhered itself nicely to their particular brand of entertainment.

The Watchmen was published in 1986 through DC Comics and Alan Moore very much strikes me as the type to pick up what GWAR puts down. So, in my typical rational and completely logical fashion I have put two and two together. GWAR formed in 1985 (ish) and The Watchmen would have been in the process in 1984/85/86 to be published in 1986. Ergo this leads to me think only one thing: Alan Moore loves/loved GWAR and when opportunity presented itself, he would (of course!) be beside himself with glee to reference this then obscure group of entertainers/musicians.

Until I find something to prove me other wise, this is what I will believe.

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Comic book date

I have found a brilliant mentor. Lets call him El Devo. Someone well versed in the art of lovin’ the comic books. Plus, he is going to give me all his old ones! Stoked.

I have to say, when I first started out on this expedition I was incredibly nervous. I still am. This is a very touchy subject to many a person and I would hate to ignorantly step on any toes. I would only hope that my deep need to understand this crazy world and my total devotion to this discovery makes up for my huge abyss like lack of knowledge.

On another note – I have traversed some comic web sites recently and for a bunch of nerds, there are some very crap-ola websites. For real. Next post – top ten BAD comic book sites and top ten GOOD comic book sites. Just for some nice balance.

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