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Comics: The Commentary Track for the January 26th Buy Pile

Posted in 104, bad ideas, buy pile, cobra, dc, failure, g.i. joe, humor, politics, ranting, star wars, wakanda on January 31st, 2011 by Hannibal Tabu
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Every week I do a column full of comic book reviews as I’ve done since March 2003 and currently published at Comic Book Resources. Then, after the reviews post, I try to come over to my blog and expand on the thoughts and ideas listed there. Sometimes it’s profound, sometimes it’s gibberish, but it’s always about comics … let’s see what we get this week!

What? This week’s reviews

THIS IS RIDICULOUS, DUDE, IT’S FREAKING MONDAY, YOU SAID FRIDAY NIGHT! Just shut up, all right? Unforeseen circumstances. I have kids. I’m busy. Shut up and read your freaking blog, I’m sleepy and still have my weekly round up of free music downloads to write for my mobile blog.

THE SEEDS OF YOUR OWN DESTRUCTION: John Steele dominated my thinking in looking at comics this week. For decades, he served proudly as a “super soldier” for US interests. Now? Sorry, hang on, [SPOILER ALERT] for people not reading Secret Avengers

Ready yet?”

… now that he’s a legitimate international terrorist working to resurrect Fu Manchu the father of Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, it really echoes the words of Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent.

“You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

Why this fascinates me is how closely it parallels real life. Today, US forces are at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, if you can set your TARDIS or Bill & Ted’s phone booth or time bubble or Wayback Machine (whatever it takes for you) and head back to 1982, when Iraq was on its way to being a staunch middle eastern ally that would receive funds and weapons and all kinds of support.

As for Afghanistan, I remember reading the issue when the G.I. Joe team went to Afghanistan, helped by their local CIA-supported pals, to try and steal a crashed experimental Russian spy plane. Of course, when they got there they ran into their Russian counterparts the October Guard and then Cobra showed its hand, but I digress. The point is that the people US troops are so enthusiastically hunting in the areas around Kandahar and Kabul would have been sharing MREs and swapping ammunition twenty-five years prior.

Not only are the “heroes” of yesteryear the villains of today (including rumors that one was a wholly American creation), they are most often armed with American weapons. The deaths happening in Iraq could not have happened without the financial, military and logistical support provided to Saddam Hussein’s regime, let alone the anemic “sanctions” levied during Bush 41’s regime (that’s George Herbert Walker Bush, not George W. Bush, doncha know) which allowed the oil trade to continue because the gas must flow, somewhere. Likewise, the mullahs hiding in caves are the sons and cousins of people trained by US spies and special forces, trained to resist the invading “imperialist” troops of another “superpower.”

The bad part is that it’s almost predictable. What’s that? The Afghans are actually resisting foreign military troops that don’t share their religious beliefs? Who could have seen that coming? Really? The Iraqi people — who got invaded back around the time Chubb Rock jumped up on the scene, by the way — aren’t accepting the American troops as saviors after they showed up and abandoned the country so recently that people still remember it? Mind boggling, I tell ya!

Now, I don’t wanna get too political, but to bring it into story and comics terms, John Steele makes an interesting analogue for Count Dooku (shut up, the prequels count, they matter) in that he was respected for his power and makes a lethal and disturbingly well-informed adversary. He’s not the first one — check out the “Ultimate Enemy” on Earth 1610, which is freakin’ crazy in a not-good way, and even Sinestro was once known as a great hero — and he surely won’t be the last.

The wonderful subversive undertone of this is that it implies that everything the “heroes” are fighting to preserve is, in effect, wholly unworthy of being saved. Which, of course, is an opinion shared by many oppressed peoples — the Black Panthers (not the poor, beleaguered Wakandans — god pound you, Jonathan Maberry, for ushering in the fall of Wakanda) or certain non-casino owning members of indigenous tribes might agree with MODOK or Victor Von Doom in saying that this regime must fall. However, when you get an Anakin Skywalker, a John Steele, or someone of their caliber — a true icon of your whole policy — and they embody Huey Lewis’ lyrics (“those who were the farthest out have gone the other way”) … well, for me, that’d make me take a good long look at what the hell I’m doing and why it can engender such hatred and resistance from even those who served under my banner faithfully.

“Hang on, John Steele is being characterized as a violence junkie, doesn’t that shoot a hole in your argument?” In that Cap also said he was — like DC’s Ennis-penned Unknown Soldier — happily used by the US to get the job done, and in Steele’s case, even publicly so. I stand by my theory — if he was willing to be called a hero, he took the role on.

ANYTHING ELSE: Well …

  • I wasn’t a fan of Macho Gomez (who was like a homeless man’s Lobo) but Deadpool is funny as written by Daniel Way. As funny as the classic Kelly run? Hell no. Still, pretty damned funny.
  • Honestly? The FF death kind of worked. I might pick up a second printing if the price falls at all.
  • I’m really tired of Osiris whining so much, and I want him to put the Shazam franchise on the map. Oddly enough, I don’t have a story idea in mind, but if Black Adam is ever allowed to return (he’s super hard to keep in a DCU because of his power and lack of restraint), I could make Osiris work.
  • Speaking of whining, I really want Darth Vader and the Lost Command to make me sit up and pay attention. Hasn’t done it yet.

THAT’S THE NEWS, AND I AM OUTTA HERE: I’m pooped and have another blog to write. Hasta.

Playing (Music): “Christian Dior Denim Flow” by Kanye West feat. Kid Cudi, Pusha T, John Legend, Lloyd Banks & Ryan Leslie)

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Comics: The Commentary Track for the January 20th Buy Pile

Posted in 104, awesomeness, bad ideas, birthday, blame society, buy pile, cheap publicity, cobra, comics, g.i. joe, marvel, whimsy on January 24th, 2011 by Hannibal Tabu
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Every week I do a column full of comic book reviews as I’ve done since March 2003 and currently published at Comic Book Resources. Then, after the reviews post, I try to come over to my blog and expand on the thoughts and ideas listed there. Sometimes it’s profound, sometimes it’s gibberish, but it’s always about comics … let’s see what we get this week!

What? This week’s reviews

YOU JUST DON’T EVEN CARE ABOUT BEING ON TIME ANYMORE, DO YOU? Look, it was my birthday … which just happened to have been the best birthday evar. If you had all that going on, you’d be late getting your unpaid blog done too. The stuff I got paid for? That was on time. Let’s move on, and I’ll try to do better this week.

CAN WE STILL NOT CALL IT A COMEBACK? If you’re inclined to visit the links to the right under “where else is Hannibal?” you’ll find that, after a year-long sabbatical, I’m back on social networking. Facebook. Twitter. Maybe even MySpace. Definitely Last.fm and Tumblr. In the words of racist jackass Michael Richards, “I’m out there, Jerry, and I’m loving it.”

Well, maybe not “loving” yet — I don’t honestly remember how I kept up with Twitter, and Facebook doesn’t seem very stimulating. We’ll see how it goes.

TONY STARK IS A SUPER VILLAIN: There, I said it. Tony Stark has released more destructive, murderous ideas on the world than anybody short of Hank Pym (Ultron) or Reed Richards (opening the Negative Zone, which essentially made the Annihilation Wave possible). He’s constantly trying to put the genie back in the bottle with middling success. He’s haphazard, he’s unprofessional, he’s smarmy, he’s resistant to oversight and I love every minute of his adventures under the sure hand of Matt Fraction. Seriously.

The only thing that redeems him is how much worse his antagonists are — Mandarin wanted to kill Earth, dude. That’s intense. Zeke Stane upgraded suicide bombers, who then blew up underprivileged little girls. Not cool. The Controller … the less said, the better. It ain’t easy being in 616, and if the guy’s saving you (today), there’s not a lotta time to think about yesterday or tomorrow.

Speaking of Pym, I’m not sure more than one of his Avengers Academy charges won’t go the villain route. He’s doing a crappy enough job as headmaster. It was good to see Tigra fleshed out (no pun intended) as a character, though.

IS THAT THE WAY THAT YOU GON’ BE-HIZZ-AVE? Chuckles is now, on record, the illest G.I. Joe ever. That’s an insanely tough race to win and gives him juevos on a scale that make Snake-Eyes look like he cries himself to sleep every night.

I’m not gonna spoil that amazing ending (although I did see the striking image online some places), but wow. That may lead to buy-on-sight status all by itself, just to see what Chris Ryall’s dangerously crafty crew of lunatics will devise next.

THAT’S THE NEWS, AND I AM OUTTA HERE: Not much else worth discussing, honestly. Off I go for DJ practice!

Playing (Music): “The Sweetest Goodbye” by Maroon 5

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Life: Older 2011

Posted in 104, anniversary, awesomeness, baby, blame society, daughter, family, fatherhood, gratitude, wife on January 20th, 2011 by Hannibal Tabu
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After a long, quiet year, I am back on social networking and a year older.

One more time around the sun

One more time around the sun

As I often tell people, despite all of its challenges, aging is considerably more appealing than the alternative, the icy and inexorable grasp of the great unknown. My predominant emotion these days is gratitude.

Admittedly, exhaustion is a close second.

This year away from you all has given me a great deal of things. When I left, I had done 11 of the proposed 20 chapters for my third novel. As of this moment, I have done 19 and a third. I’m so close I can taste it, but researching some last details have slowed me down a bit.

In the same vein, I’ve had parts of this blog written in my brain for weeks, yet I’m posting it late on the night of my birthday. C’est la vie. The best laid plans of mice and men are just as likely to fail.

Negativity and frustration are not my reasons for sharing this today. I stand with appreciation for all the people whose support have allowed me to rise above the challenges of this wicked, wicked world. First, foremost and with the most enthusiastic of cheer would have to be my wife, who is a flawless combination of striking beauty with crass vulgarity, remarkable talent and extravagant panache, limitless compassion and sassy statements. She has been my guiding star this year, my constant (apologies to Daniel Faraday) and to her I owe so very much.

I’m also greatly appreciative for the people I work with, people who’ve made it possible for me to do things that could be considered amazing. Tony Defazio and Alex Kitay of (respectively) Starlight Entertainment and Singing For Your Supper Entertainment, whose employment allowed me to retire two years ago as the karaoke host for what was named the best bar in the South Bay by the Daily Breeze. I hosted a karaoke show with no cover that, on multiple instances, had a line out the door waiting to get in. None of that could have been done without Alex and Tony’s support, nor could it have been done without the things I stole learned from Mikey de Lara, Michelle Velasco, Dana Walker Inskeep, Levi Strauss and even Percy Souder Jr.

With my day job at MIMCO, I’m more conservative with identities, but I’ve worked with some amazingly talented people who have taught me and challenged me and helped me and sang with me and laughed with me and generally made working a 9-to-5 more than tolerable and sometimes even enjoyable.

There’s friends who’ve traveled with me for decades and ones as loyal as if they had, despite only knowing me after “Obama” became a household name. There’s people who have enjoyed and supported my work financially and spiritually, people from across the nation and across the world. There’s even a “prayer group” that taught me lessons I may not have wanted to learn (especially in losing one of their number way, way too soon), but surely grew from.

Finally, I have two very special people to appreciate. One is seven years old, she’s an aspiring actress, she’s produced two of her own songs so far (one a cover of Prince’s “Starfish and Coffee,” the second a self-penned pop ditty) and is among the cutest danged people in the whole world. The second is one year old, and gave me a new lease on life, inspiring me to smile and sit still at six o’clock in the morning and just watch her experience everything for the first time. My daughters “Fuss” and “Mooch” are, in a word, amazing. I thank them last but certainly, never ever, least.

It’s 2011. In eighteen months or so I hope to be tweeting from my keynote at Blogworld 2012. I don’t think I can make SDCC again this year, but I do think I’ll be at BlogHer with my wife. Every day is another chance to make something incredible happen. Now that I think of it, I have one more bit of “thanks” to issue forth, and that’s to you. Thanks for being here, thanks for reading, thanks for however your life intersects mine.

Let’s see what happens.

Playing (Music): “It Ends Tonight” by the All-American Rejects

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