27 November 2007

Post of (many) posts

While operating this blog, i've run into a lot of 'ideas' for entries that never came to fruition. Most of these idly floated away into nothingness, but a few got started as new entries... and i'd like to collect those here -

(20 April 2006)
I am a wiki-maniac.

*this was obviously a brilliant idea for a post... it was going to be all about how i was (momentarily) obsessed with posting on wikipedia... which didn't end up being totally true...

review of "The Walking Dead"
(6 June 2006)

The Walking Dead (Vol. #1-4)
Image Comics
Reviewed by : Seeger
Reviewer’s Grade : C-

When my set of all four volumes (thus far) of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead first arrived from amazon.com I was positively giddy… I’d heard nothing but good things (from reviews that evidently were written by his mother) and was thinking I was coming into a world of Romero-level zombie thought in this exciting new series.

BUT, instead, what I found was a cliché-ridden work of zombie survivor fiction that’s been told too many times, and always in the same way. Kirkman does not help his cause in the introduction to Volume 1 when he writes:

“To me, the best zombie movies aren’t the splatter fests of gore and violence with goofy character and tongue in cheek antics. Good zombie movies show us how messed up we are, they make us question our station in society… and our society’s station in the world. They show us gore and violence and all that cool stuff too… but there’s always an undercurrent of social commentary and thoughtfulness.”[1]

Even casual fans of zombie films and literature see such societal critiques at work, but for Kirkman to explicitly make such a blatant statement in the introduction to his first volume bodes ill for the whole run and is a sign of what’s to come. Kirkman suffers from over-writing and an often painful lack of subtlety, a trait shared by artists Tony Moore (Vol 1.) and Charlie Adlard (Vols. 2-4).

The story traces police officer Rick Grimes who awakens from a coma in an empty hospital some days (28 perhaps?) after the zombie necropalypse has hit earth. We follow Grimes as he heads home, discovering his old neighborhood mostly abandoned and slowly discovering the new world order. Through contrived conversations with another survivor and a horse we learn about his wife and child (which we also found out about several panels earlier in the artwork), who he leaves town to try and find.

Kirkman shows disrespect to his readers by having to spell out every notion in words. He seems to not trust his artists, who in turn seem not to trust him (using the most extreme ‘surprised’, ‘angry’, ‘sad’ looks in any frame they want to express emotion). Some of his frames are so full of words there’s almost no room for characters to walk around in them. When his characters fight, their dialogue feels like an 8-year-old at play: “I’m going to blow your head off” says one survivor to another at one point, presumably before she is about to blow someone’s head off.

With all its negatives, though, the most frustrating thing about The Walking Dead is its amazing potential. The artwork, when it’s not painfully obvious, is quality black and white, which adds to the bleakness of the world the characters inhabit. The covers, all done by Tony Moore are beautiful, if a bit repetitive and the splash pages, few and far between are used very effectively. Walking Dead is at its best when Grimes is wandering alone and there are two or three wordless pages in a row, capturing the voiceless zombie threat more perfectly than any conversation can, but Kirkman again finds a way to spoil many of these with a speech bubble filled only with “…”.

Kirkman is asking very interesting questions about humans living in extreme circumstances, I just wish he could sometimes avoid asking them right out loud.

[1] Kirkman, Robert. The Walking Dead: Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye. Introduction. Berkeley: Image Comics, 2005.

*this post may actually have been posted... but it's listed as a draft. Regardless it first appeared on fourcolor.org, a now defunct awesome comic blog.

Michaels or Sorkin
(30 September 2006)

Sitting here this evening watching (what i think is) the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, i am quickly realizing that the fake SNL on Monday nights this season is a hell of a lot more entertaining than the actual SNL. It's all part of the recent TV phenomenon of to create shows about what folks wish their real work was like. To my knowledge, the tradition started with Ally McBeal & on with David E. Kelly's other shows, where he made shows about what we all wish our lives were like. Boston Public tried to show what teachers wished their lives were like. The Practice was a dreamy lawyer's life & shows like The West Wing and Gray's Anatomy follow the same model, where we watch every week and see people doing what we wish people in their positions were doing, were being. More real.

The first episode of Studio 60 had Judd Hirsh, essentially as Lorne Michaels apologizing for the past years of network cowardice and selling out the material for political correct-ness and sponsor friendliness. The question, though, is whether SNL (or any show) was ever any kind of idyllic challenging, comic programming that we like to imagine once existed (and has been since lost.) And i think the easy answer is no.

*i vaguely remember thinking of this tv commentary... Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, woo-hoo!

Line Up
(25 December 2006)

The American Spirit of Christmas is alive and well this year and i would like to take this opportunity to try and educate us all how we can make a slightly better world.

We Americans have an abysmal habit for forming a line. Everyone is so interested in winning the line lottery, sneaking into the new register that just opened up, beating a total stranger to the check-out & we all suffer for it. While i'm surely not the first person to point this deficiency out, i was so struck yesterday at the liquor store by how uncivilized we all are, that i feel it's my Christmas duty to try and fix this.

Step 1:
Everybody chill out. You are not that important & an extra 45 seconds out of your day is a small price to ask for universal harmony. Don't be so discontent with where you are in lif(n)e that you are constantly looking at other lines to see who's going faster or slower than you are. Line envy is just where the trouble starts.

Step 2:
(this is the hardest step) - we need to work toward a more civilized queue.

*oh yeah... here was when my blog was going to change the world, on Christmas Day, no less)

Turn my pants into shorts
(30 March 2007)

It's March in Omaha, which means the sun is shining (onto the sun porch), it's occasionally uncomfortably hot both here and outside, and despite the idyllic weather, none of the bars in town have their outdoor seating set up yet.

Early on in our tenure here in Omaha, brooke heard a statistic on the radio (almost certainly false, but nonetheless exceptionally compelling) that Omaha had as many sunny days per year as Fort Lauderdale (or Fort Knox, or perhaps Miami Beach... i can't remember any more). On first moving to Omaha this seemed like an apollionic blessing. Omaha seems to have a lot less of the heavy, bleak, gray season that i remember growing up in southern Wisconsin, and later in Iowa and Minneapolis. Almost every memory i have of Clinton is gray-colored

*this was before i lived in milwaukee again...

Total Sell-Out
(31 May 2007)

Due to the fact that i don't actually have any fans, or anyone really who pays that close of attention to what i do i am officially announcing that i am (or would be, rather) a total sellOut. If ever, any of my future work is of any value to any one with more money than me i will sell it...

But, moreso, over the last few weeks i've been desperately trying to whore out every bit of my life... With a looming move floating overhead, we've been trying to sell as much of our stuff as possible.

*think i covered this one

your time is almost up
(16 October 2007)

While i should be reading Gloria Anzaldua's i'm sure glorious essay "Entering into the Serpent", i find myself instead updating my facebook page. This isn't to say that facebook is to blame for the eventual failure of my students... Colbert's exciting announcement

* Here i was trying to get out of teaching... which i think i've done admirably since...

Bowl Prospector
(21 November 2007)

Evidently, i'm now a fine art collector.

*I was totally going to blog about this... a few weeks ago brooke & i went to a non-profit event called Feed Your Soul, put on by Brigette's company, America's Second Harvest... At this event there was a silent auction on pieces of art shaped like bowls... We won two. Evidently, the Milwaukee Art scene is full of cheap bastards...

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