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Comics: Torturing The Weak And Stupid For My Own Amusement (and Profit)

Posted in 104, bad ideas, blame society, buy pile, comedy, comics, fandom, randomness, ranting, snark on September 27th, 2013 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, if I feel like it, 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!

Actual email I got after my Buy Pile reviews posted on Thursday, September 26th (profanity edits are mine)…

holy f***, we get it, you like transformers. if fables and transformers weren’t on the shelves you’d have to drop the industry entirely. time for a new reviewer.

Hh. My response.

Hello!

Thanks for writing in.

Also, thanks for reading the column, especially (in the last month) the glowing reviews of Saga, Sex Criminals (brand new this week!), Astro City, Batman #23.2, Chew, Lazarus (only on issue #3) and Kill Shakespeare.

Hold on, you might think Kill Shakespeare is too much like Fables. Well, at least there’s the other wildly different comics not involving giant robots or classical literary characters during one of the most diverse and engaging periods in the entire history of comics.

Thanks again for writing in!

Earlier this month, my pal John Layman went to war with … honestly I can’t remember the guy’s name, or what his website was. Anyway, some reviewer wrote up John’s book and said that something happened in the book, something that absolutely did not happen. John went after the guy, demanding an apology. The guy hemmed, hawed, played at “really being a big fan,” and all kinds of foolishness, but would not retract and did not apologize for the actual clearly provable offense. It reminded me of this, even if tangentially, because John’s incredulity at this ill-informed person on the unpaid side of the screen somewhat mirrored my own.

just some of the comics i've reviewed glowingly ... not that some people can be bothered with facts ...

Everybody won’t like what I like. I know that. Some people hate read my weekly column and gnash their teeth that I get paid to do this while their (in their minds) clearly superior opinions languish in perhaps lesser seen corners of da intawebs.

I get it. I’ve felt the same way at times. I’ve echoed Kanye’s thoughts, “damn, these ******s that much better than me?” reading names of new writer assignments and multimedia deals off of Twitter accounts. I remember even staring, gape jawed, at Roger Ebert (spirit bless his soul) when he completely misunderstood the film Biker Boyz. I’ve gritted my teeth when reading licensed properties that saw me through puberty, wishing I was turning in the script and cashing the check so things could be the right way. My way. I understand all of that.

What I don’t understand — and being raised in the south never really understood — is the lack of civility. I may think (and do) that 2 Chainz is the worst thing to happen to hip hop since the word “recoup,” and if asked, I’d be happy to say the same (and have, via Twitter), even directly to him. However, angrily volunteering my opinion, especially with profanity … what’s that supposed to accomplish exactly? Did this guy believe I’d look at the screen and say, “My god … he’s right! Well, time to write up a letter of resignation and stop doing the job I’ve done consistently for longer than my stepdaughter has even been alive!”

It’s not just the “more honey with flies than vinegar” issue (which I had to learn and strive to apply all the time, another reason I talk about the work, not the people, because I don’t know them). It’s basic human decency, the fundamental idea of going out in the world without trying to start a fight that serves no purpose and returns no profit. I write these reviews for three reasons: I love comic books, I get paid to do this, and when I do it lots of people take a look at what I’m doing, which is all good for a writer. It’s a business relationship and I do try to approach it in a professional manner. Any effects of antagonism upon people are purely accidental, but my laughter at their reactions is often quite genuine and intentional.

It’s not like hate mail even bothers me — I kind of love it, because I don’t really know how to process the admiration of others. Bad wiring somewhere in my head, I guess. I know what to do with unprovoked hatred, though. Black guy, survives growing up in the south, that’s a very early lesson. In laughing at it, I still can’t comprehend the thought pattern that goes into it … which brings us here I suppose.

To be fair, I don’t understand much of human behavior. I am able to write characters due to observation, but most people I know don’t even know why they do things. Most of that kind of foolishness, generally, has the common decency to stay out of my inbox. Funny old life.

Playing (Music): “Speechless” by Lady Gaga

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Politics: Hannibal Will Not Vote, You Can’t Change That

Posted in bad ideas, blame society, effectiveness, god, life, politics, privacy, snark, society on November 7th, 2012 by Hannibal Tabu
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Now that there’s no chance I can be blamed for trying to affect the outcome of probably the most expensive election in history, here’s some stuff I haven’t said in literally dozens of Facebook comment threads over the last few weeks.

I grew up in Memphis, and saw the sites where King was slain before I was ten years old. My mother was a Black Panther. I am aware of and respect every element of our struggle for freedom.

I will not vote.

I am not registered. I doubt I ever will be, and I turn 40 in January. I will not participate in this farce with crying Afghan orphans and the end of personal privacy and the shredding of constitutional rights and the rest. Bad enough I’m forced to pay taxes practically at gunpoint (especially when one of the candidates — under Democrats or Republicans — did not). History will be very forgiving of the current administration, which in fact has a laundry list of accomplishments as long as my arm.

History is more forgiving than I am.

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I am not telling anybody else not to vote. I am not decrying the farcical nature of it (although in a blue state it would be easy to, even on the laughable propositions). I just won’t be a part of it. In the words of KRS, “I like to ask these politicians, ‘would Jesus vote?’”

He would not. He’d be in the streets making things happen. This tactic is not my tactic. This battle is not my battle, and all the pretty words and grainy 1960s photos and cross posts will not change it.

I do, however, find it all a fascinating story, almost as interesting as watching Homeland. As with all things, your mileage may vary, but I’ll be glad to see these exhortations in my timeline disappear.

Some of my reasons …

1) I will never do jury duty. Jury duty is exclusively for registered voters. I believe the criminal justice system of the United States is irreparably broken, and have spent my life avoiding any form of participation in it.

2) In the words of KRS-ONE, “whether you vote for the lesser of two evils, you vote for evil/politics and god are not equal.” I’m striving towards the concept of Dr. Ron Daniel, who posited the idea of pockets of Black people becoming “ungovernable” — exempting themselves from public services, standing secure without the “protection” of the police and so on. I’m not there yet, but plan to be before I’m retirement aged.

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3) Moreover, let’s say I get all presidential. I could vote for the rapacious businessman or I could vote for the guy who did this.

I’m out. Don’t involve me in that foolishness any more than the taxes that I don’t have enough guns or paperwork to stop (yet). This election in particular isn’t important because of how many things the candidates share in common as centrists appealing to the more extreme elements of their parties. The Supreme Court justice issue? Meh. The idea of “balancing the budget” or fiscal responsibilty? Right, sell me another $400 toilet seat cover to hide the funds for your secret rendition facilities. Whatever.

4) In the words of Talib Kweli, “conditions in the ‘hood never changed with the president.” I had a friend from South Africa, who told me that even after the Afrikaans regime fell, “it didn’t matter if the boot on my neck had a Black foot inside or a white one, it was still a boot on my neck.” I feel similar. Presidents are just characters on another TV show.

5) “What about local elections? You can effect things there!” Meh. I’ve dated and known many people who worked in local government and see exactly where the money goes and what happens. I’d again be better served working towards becoming “ungovernable.” Or doing it the mafia way and just kidnapping and punching the kidneys of people the elected officials find valuable. Even when voting for something makes sense, it’s possible to get people to work against their own interests if you have enough money and determination.

6) “So many people sacrificed for you to have this right!” Thanks. They also — in effect — weakened the growing Black infrastructure that many in corporate America saw as a threat to their own economic hegemony by demanding integration while not reminding their constituents to maintain their own (would-be “ungovernable”) systems. My mom was a Panther. I get it. I disagree with their strategy while respecting their intentions. It is my belief that they fought for me to have a choice. I am using that choice. Dissent is a stance.

7) I don’t want to. I don’t want to vote for “my” next American Idol, I don’t want to vote to see if the Joker will kill Jason Todd, and I don’t want to vote for anything else, all of which (on a long enough timeline) matter about as much to me. I accept that I am a de facto prisoner of war categorized as a “citizen” (ha) but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna get Stockholm Syndrome and play along with the charade.

I also covered all of this two years back.

So there you have it.

Playing (Music): “Salute Your Solution” by the Raconteurs

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Poetry: Relentless [#napowrimo2011]

Posted in blame society, napowrimo, narcissism, poetry, randomness, ranting, snark, writing on May 6th, 2011 by Hannibal Tabu
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Mmm. Yeah. 30 poems in 30 days … maybe not when launching a new niche pop culture phenomenon like Komplicated. Whee. What’s worse is that I stumbled just four poems from being done. Argh. Anyway …

Extra trips are never a concern for the determined.
Collected grocery bags
piled on floor or seats
never an impediment.

Like crimson ants
following chemical breadcrumb
laid down by identical trailblazers
Thought of “how much work”
forbidden distraction.
One foot follows one before,
another step right behind
religion of momentum
shark science
leaving complaints and cessation
for grasshoppers and others
not so driven to build.

“Inexorable”
By Hannibal Tabu

Oy. Just a pit stop between doing big things like booking Tracie Thoms for an interview on May 29th. You know, like you read about.

Playing (Music): “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5

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