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Commentary Track for the January 20th, 2009 Buy Pile

There were a number of challenges with this week’s column due to a variety of influences. It was my 37th birthday on Wednesday, and my normal inclination for my birthday is to stay in bed the entire day. That was unlikely, given that I drove my stepdaughter to and (if memory serves) from school and also had some interesting times with our new daughter Ella, who doesn’t exactly sleep during what mortals call “night time.” So, sleep deprivation, up front.

Then, I made the announcement that I was retiring, Jay-Z/Jordan style, from social networking for 365 days as of Wednesday, also. Given that, in many ways, I practically lived online, that was an amazing challenge to even consider, much less engineer. So there’s all that.

Up until the last moment, I wasn’t even sure I was gonna go buy comics. The comic store was, luckily but challengingly, not in my bed. It was also cold and nasty out. I may have been drunk. It’s hard to remember. But, there were no fewer than three Buy Pile regulars, so out I went.

I really like the working class grit of Gravel and when Warren Ellis feels like it, he can turn out one hell of a procedural. Toss into that his avowed and easily provable love for all things British and a dash of magic and murder, well, that’s just good. I do wanna see more of the verve and sass that made the founding members of his Minor Seven, as the two that appeared here didn’t do much, but otherwise I love the idea of “the king of all magic” being a kind of foot soldier who simply put one spell in front of another (yes, I’m wearing that metaphor out) until it all worked out. That’s something I can relate to.

This crossover in Incredible Hercules is taking a little bit of time to get there. I said it. I love the interplay between Herc and the always entertaining Amadeus Cho (possibly even more as a hapless hero than as a nascent villain) and adding Athena and even a prepubescent Zeus to the mix was surprisingly effective. The creative tension there — Amadeus’ flustered charm, Hercules grinning certainty, the planning skills of Athena and Zeus’ incredulity at it all … that’s good stuff. Really, though, the pacing could pick it up just a step.

Speaking of great ideas, Warren Ellis is chock full of them. Interdimensional flying vikings. Teleporting super powered busy female spy. How could you not love that? Ditto for Fables, which was good but likely also a little slow.

But to the meat of the matter — no read pile? No bile and vitriol for anything, not even Transformers: Bumblebee or Phantom Stranger? No grudging nods for Incorruptible or Doctor Voodoo? Nah. Too much work, especially for my birthday. Easy to get back on the horse next week.

But yeah, that social networking thing? Crazy. Two days out, I already feel the pangs of it. In the elevator at work, I didn’t reflexively click to Twitter on my phone. I turned off SMS updates from everybody — no Tweets, no MySpace messages, nada. My phone has been eerily silent.

I’m not sure I dislike it.

But anyway, kind of introspective this week. I didn’t get forty mil like Conan, but I’m okay, a year older and hopefully getting a little smarter as I go.

Playing (Music): “All The Above” by Maino feat. T-Pain

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