Monday, September 29, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
WRONG. The rumble in the jungle turns out to be a lemon in the world wide web of comics reviews. Among the continual-stylized faction of Madripoor, this is seen as a one shot out of the timeline, a sidebar tale. In other words,a commercial piece of shite by those who swear on everything green. Another title from Marvel moolah-spawning team-up. Take a winning formula and milked it till kingdom come. Last heard, Hulk is being done a Wolverine. Yet another origin tale...
Here below, THIS is the David/McFarlane Hulk/Logan KA-WHACK-KA-DOOM no holds barred and i-think-your-mother-is-fat, muscle rippin, ligaments snappin smasharoonie!!!!
A good story. That's what the tution teacher preached. It always start with a good story. Otherwise even ephiphanic art will crumble. Words of wisdom. Send your kids to THAT tuition teacher if you don't want them to grow up morons! Hulk says so. (Hang setuju!!!)
Till that Joe-Fixit story get posted by a true green/gray hulkomania fan, this is how a good story panel should sound and it doesn't hurt (not a bit) that the art smashes:
Time was, it was existentially cool to joke that Godot would actually turn up compared to waiting for La Tey. Today, in a freakshow of abnormal alchemy, La Tey came. Before Godot. (And fully dressed, without any pink gorilla entourage/appendage.) Today La Tey even met Godot at Parklane. Finally they met. These blokes could have been twins separated from birth and none would be the wiser. La Tey said Godot's dialogue were very readable. (!) Godot reminded La Tey he has yet to arrive. Now La Tey will attempt to wait for Godot. We at Madripoor can only hope the waiting won't be that long for La Tey to pen a piece while he waits for Godot.
While La Tey went into fits of laughter, the Sienkiewicz-like art cover was quickly liberated. John Mueller. He of Judge Dredd painted covers fame. With industrial art inside not unlike Simon Bisley. With a storyline not unlike SIN. About a race of genetically engineered porcine-slaves. About the execution of a outspoken comrade. About this homicidal pig hellbent on vengeance against heaven. About rebelling againsts masters and a quest for truth behind the injustice of society. A definite plty-art collection. La Tey insisted it was a pig comic and went into convulsions, frothing at the mouth. That was a little premature. We turned a corner and went to Uncle Bob's. There La Tey met Mice Templar. About these rodents on a crusade. (!) To make the day complete, La Tey was stampeded by the Elephantmen. While La Tey was covered in dust and elephant dung, I remembered Richard Starkings and those elegant lettering from time past in the adventures of that x-couple. I could have told La Tey it was bad karma to laugh at a pig but decided not to. I mean pigs are vegetarian right? Moral of the story: Never laugh at a buddhist. Even if it is porcine. (and no, La Tey will not get to read OINK.) (never)
At Jeremiah with a pounded but not stirred La Tey. Smelling of Elephants, Mice and Porcine. He had a caramel machiatto to sober up. I drank my usual brew. Black. Then the ol' canuck decided to make an apperance. Logan! Time was, Logan owns the bar. Heck, Madripoor too. Now he's hardly here. Time now, in the X-world, one Brit is remaking the X-titles look retro with steampunk art and zeppelins. And let me remind the boys and girls out there who have never studied history: Wolverine is Canadian and never Aussie!!! Good grief, today's generations will be the death of me. Next they are going to claim Bats shared the same basement as Ironman....(!) (Believe me, there is already a following) Anyway, Logan back at Jeremiah. Speaking french and growling about a spoilt vacation in Brazil. He proceeded to drink dry the pub. La Tey and myself respectfully observed from a distance. Larry Hama came back from the dead to translate. Time was, every one-shot of Logan goes down like rocket fuel. Short, sharp lines with depth-charge warrior's honor drama. Then some marvel hacks decide to sell on the berserker rage and did that to death. Then some more marvel hacks decided to sell wolvie like wrestlemania and sold-out the sabretooth vs wolvie to death. Then later marvel hacks decide to re-origin the re-origin of the ret-conned origin of wolverine and last heard wolvie is still in origin phase. Time now, the marvelous hacks in marvel has run out of ideas. So, a fresh untainted wolverine story after years of freefall. First the ART. Continental and clean-type-lines not unlike FREAKangels, which means unadulterated from marvel stereotyping. Which means, it's not a bad thing. Logan looks like a bloke. He even got a new soundbite: WOCK! The infamous but done to death snikt only appeared as an afterthought. Good. For once, the fight scenes were mortally human. Dude's arm got slashed by Logan and three bloody slash lines were seen in the next panel on that arm. Damn right. The humour's back too. Logan having a good time. Kicking ass. Getting kicked in the ass. Peppered in bullets and dragged through the streets. Washing up on the shore. naked. Making a call at a publik phone booth. Also naked. The wordless panels are back too. The cameos name check of Elf & Cykes(!) got me smiling. One, a fun-beer guzzling, compadre. The other, a so serious, no-love-lost team leader. This archival trivia! Throw in a storyline of human desperation. Throw in a bit of fantasy. Throw in a an ending where the words are sparse but where the pictures speaks Logan's mind. And you get Wolverine: SAUDADE.
EPILOGUE: I was telling La Tey about a new way to fill in the UGAMA section in employment forms. Now why no one ever thought of it earlier? I mean it is so right to write: "The Death of God" under religion for that is where all basis for beliefs begins. God's Death. La Tey nodded. He said it is novel. A new way to be different. Must be the coffee. Or the elephants. Or both.
Pltypus at Jeremiah. Having a good time. La Tey last seen at the bus stop. Waiting for Godot.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Ho ho ho...bosh!zap!rip!krikk!yank!wunch! (we learn our english from comics.)
No holidays at Madripoor. Every stinkin day is a celebration. Get it?
this article was written in ransom. Hulk promised to smash if he doesn't get a page.
Hulk says use Colgate for Dental Health
A love remembered. A love lost. A life saved. A life broken. A protective father. A faitthful daughter. A regret. Throw in a psychoanalyst. A rabbit. (dead) An ironman. (half-dead) A cave in the outback on a rain soaked night. I think this is what the continual-stylized faction in Madripoor will term "Soap Opera". The best part in all of this? The one and only time a small font, unbold 'boink' was heard from Hulk's massive hands. That landed on the damsel in distress. A panicky Hulk went into doctor mode and applied first aid. (!) Did I mentioned a whole 7-Eleven store was torn up so that the Hulk can lay hand on a First-Aid box? A laugh-out-loud-centrefold. The coup de grace? An immortal line not found anywhere else, "HULK SORRY". (!!!)
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
I met Dosty in Kino. Time was, I was still hanging out with Murakami then. I mean these transplanted Japs are nuts. One thinks he is the new-cool. The other assumes he’s the voice of literature. Let me attempt an explanation.
So Dosty at Kino. He’s this typical Jap, balding and crumpled-shirt type with a Siberia backpack. He has the gulag unshaven look down to a pat. He look constipated and as expected unhappy. He was hanging out with Blake and I knew Blake. As I noticed that he has set up camp on the perimeter of all that is Blakean, I decided to get some cheap laughs with that other Jap, the self proclaimed new-cool. But before that, I noticed that Jap Dosty was a engaging a she-student-type-typically-bespectacled. As in all Dosty talk, buffoonery unintentional:
“This IS literature.”
Jap Dosty appealed passionately to she-specs and all that would listen.
“This IS literature.”
Jap Dosty, wild eyed unshaven shaman from the land of the setting sun.
“This IS literature.”
Jap Dosty, I think he’s going to burst a valve if he doesn’t come to a point. Jap Dosty must’ve heard me and implored the she-specs,
“You must EXPERIENCE literature.”
Jap Dosty, what’s your point?
‘This IS literature.”
Hey, sashimi Dosty, Enough already!
Of course by now, Jap Dosty has the full attention of the she-engineered-bespectacled B. Arts(honk!)
“Have YOU read the Notes From Underground?”
Man I tell you this Jap Dosty, this man has all the hooks! Of course she-specs have not read the Everest of literature.
Now the clincher we all been waiting for:
“THE UNDERGROUND MAN. THAT’S ME! I AM LIKE THAT!”
(a…what?) (…gack! * * *) (huh?)
For all the trouble. All Jap Dosty want was a cheap lay. And he had to invoke the Everest of literature to spike his cheap shot. Moral of story? Japanese should not read Dosty. Dosty don’t eat sashimi. Therefore Japs who read Dosty should eat shit and die.
The problem with guys today? They have forgotten how to woo women. So they end up with unnecessary books and way too much introspection against the injustice of society. So they take on the sufferings of the world and wallow in their spite. So they get inflicted with penile erectile dysfunction. Then their he-stock get crystallized. So they start thinking they are the messiah that she-folks of the world has been waiting for. Dream on.
The other Jap. Murakami. The new cool. All he wants is a blow job and a whiskey. Can be in any order. He said so. Many times. In most of all his books. Now you know why Japs will cross the sea of Nippon and traverse the land of Genghis Khan just to transplant themselves in that shit backyard of sub-prime mortgage disaster. All for a blowjob. Now THAT is literature!
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Interestingly, outside of Irish literature, the drunken Russian buffoon is possibly one of the most familiar caricatures of an entire nation. Even Garth Ennis included this in "Mother Russia" with that drunken sob in the pub declaring the demise of Glorious Mother Russia (because of the lousy vodka that he was served). The drunken Russian buffoon doesn't just walk around puking on everyone's shoes. He makes a scene by delivering a long-winded speech on nationalism, church-state separation, the afterlife, forgiveness, the existence of God, the foulness of his own sins, etc. That is what makes the drunken Russian buffoon such an interesting character. It is the dregs of society as philosopher and priest. Drunken mutterings and exclamations as sermons and vodka as the Communion Wine. Dostoevsky, as the prophet of society's refuse, writes best when he gives us polemical speeches by these drunken sods.
Some "authorities" used to entertain the opinion that Dostoevsky wrote his dialogues haphazardly, according to his whims and fancy. Thankfully, this "authoritative" theory was disproved by the discovery of Dostoevsky's diaries; in which was found pages-after-pages of experimental dialogues that he never used. Dostoevsky is such a great novelist because he was a great observer of life. He hung around drinking holes listening to drunks, gamblers and derelicts. Everything that he observed went into that diary of his. That was the seriousness in which he took his craft. Nothing was haphazard or happenstance. He worked long and hard to perfect his abilities writing "buffoonery" dialogues. This was Dostoevsky's art and with it, he bequeaths us a most precious gift - a picture of Russia (or humanity, for that matter) as seen through the eyes of its lowlifes and derelicts.
This is possibly the reason why Dostoevsky's novels endear themselves so much to me. He does not write for the nobles who belong to the higher echelons of society. Nor does he write for scholars and priests. Dostoevsky wrote for the common-man who followed his novels as they were published part-by-part in the local papers. Like Dickens, he wrote as a commoner to other commoners. He did not consider himself so "pure" that he will not "eat and drink with sinners and publicans". More than any other novelist, Dostoevsky's works are meditations on our Lord's declaration that He did not come to save the healthy but the sick who needed the Divine Physician. Reading Dostoevsky, one gets a glimpse of the truth behind the parables that many derelicts and lowlifes will come from the East and the West on that Day and sit in the seats that have been prepared for them but the so-called "sons" of Abraham, the self-declared "righteous" (because of his affiliations to a race, a sect, a university, a church-group, a denomination, etc.) will be cast out.
"Do not be afraid of anything, never be afraid, and do not grieve. Just let repentance not slacken in you, and God will forgive everything. There is not and cannot be in the whole world such a sin that the Lord will not forgive one who truly repents of it. A man even cannot commit so great a sin as would exhaust God's boundless love. How could there be a sin that exceeds God's love? Only take care that you repent without ceasing, and chase away fear altogether. Believe that God loves you so as you cannot conceive of it; even with your sin and in your sin he loves you. And there is more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ten righteous men - that was said long ago. Go, then, and do not be afraid. Do not be upset with people, do not take offense at their wrongs. Forgive the dead man in your heart for all the harm he did you; be reconciled with him truly. If you are repentant, it means that you love. And if you love, you already belong to God... With love everything is bought, everything is saved. If even I, a sinful man, just like you, was moved to tenderness and pity for you, how much more will God be. Love is such a priceless treasure that you can buy the whole world with it, and redeem not only your own but other people's sins. Go, and do not be afraid." - the Elder Zosima assures a repentant widow who murdered her old husband because he constantly beat her. (BK 1.2.4)
Dostoevsky's Lord is the One who, with his last breath on the cross, forgave the penitent thief. Dostoevsky's God has inexhaustible mercy even for the most damning sinner who truly repents. The Elder Zosima's words encapsulates the beliefs of Dostoevsky and we can see this same element reappearing throughout all his works. Dostoevsky's God loves the unlovable, the prodigal, the publican, the drunkard, the prostitute, the adulteress, the blasphemer, the unlovely.
Lofty religionists have, throughout the ages, made it a display of their felicity by proclaiming their love for mankind. These same lofty religionists also do not spare their anathemas when the smallest member of that same "mankind" they claimed to love irritate them in the smallest measure. Their attitude is best explained in the following excerpt:
"I love mankind, ... but I am amazed at myself: the more I love mankind in general, the less I love people in particular, that is, individually, as separate persons. In my dreams, ... I often went so far as to think passionately of serving mankind, and, it may be, would really have gone to the cross for people if it were somehow suddenly necessary, and yet I am incapable of living in the same room with anyone even for two days, this I know from experience. As soon as someone is there, close to me, his personality oppresses my self-esteem and restricts my freedom. In twenty-four hours I can begin to hate even the best of men: one because he takes too long eating his dinner, another because he has a cold and keeps blowing his nose. I become the enemy of people the moment they touch me... On the other hand, it has always happened that the more I hate people individually, the more ardent becomes my love for humanity as a whole."– BK 1.2.4.
It is such a joy reading Dostoevsky because of his piercing honesty in his examination of man's deepest motives. Perhaps it is only one who has searched the hearts of man so much who understands man's need for redemption. Perhaps that is why it is so comforting that such a one, who has observed the ugly pretensions of man so acutely, also speaks so much about the availability of grace, of divine forgiveness and tearful penitence. It is no wonder that Russian students confess to being able to retain their Christian faith through the years of Communist rule because of the availability of these novels. Reading Dostoevsky is a deeply spiritual experience.
I'll be 32 years old this Wednesday. Among the things that one picks up as one ages is this loathsome cynicism that is displayed in one's words and attitudes. I look at the underlining, the margin notes, the highlights in this old copy of "The Brothers Karamazov" and I find it hard to identify with the simplistic and naïve "ME" when I first read it when I was 20. Do I really know better 12 years later? Have I really grown any wiser 12 years later? More cynical - definitely. A loathsome cynicism, like I mentioned. Maybe rereading this old novel will help to wipe away some of that loathsomeness - I certainly hope so.
Sitting quietly before Mother Mary does "something" for Pltypus. I have no doubt about that. Pltypus wrote some beautiful entries (when he's not making silly jokes about "fat people" that is - it was only funny for the first 2,384th times he did it!) some weeks back after reading Jurgen Moltmann. He wrote about the crucifixion as the central theme, event, "crisis" (crux) of Christian thought. I think that I'm beginning to see some glimpses of that.
Next stop - Cameron Highlands. Hopefully Gerard is still alive. And Glyn. And Stephen from whichever alternate timelines.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Some months back, I visited an old man in the Cancer Ward, SJMC. He's in his 70s/80s and was undergoing chemotherapy in the Cancer Ward. We talked about books. He's got a huge library at home with thousands of books. He started reading "the classics" only after his retirement but he never stopped. He doesn't read English so it took him some time to hunt down all those books in Chinese translation. His favourites include Cervantes' "Don Quixote", Gogol's "Dead Souls" and anything by Tolstoy. My wife and I helped him to get the Chinese translation of Tolstoy's Journals and he gave me his treasured copy of Gogol's "Dead Souls". It is a joy to meet someone who's so obviously enraptured by the simple act of reading.
Finally, a toast to Glyn. [Is the bloke still alive?] I remember giving him my copies of "The Idiot" and Tennyson's poems. :)
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The artists that Pltypus adore are great artists - Sam Keith, Ted McKeever, Jon J Muth, Kent Williams, Bill Sienkiewicz, etc. but my personal preference are for those artists who are comic-book storytellers first and foremost. People like Mike Zeck, for example. Or Neal Adams and the Buscema brothers. Or Paul Gulacy, Barry Kitson, Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, George Perez, John Byrne and Kevin Maguire. Or the Kuberts and the Romitas. I generally don't go for stylized art when I can help it. Truth be told, I usually pick up a book to read without even noticing the art very much until several rereadings later.
Comics are not coffeetable artbooks to showcase an artist's works. Comics are comics first and foremost. The story is all and the best comic artists are those who can tell the story best. I was flipping through the J.M. DeMatteis book, "Kraven's Last Hunt" (aka "Fearful Symmetry") this morning. The artist was Mike Zeck. The work was as beautiful as it was emotional and clear. DeMatteis wrote a deeply psychological story from the perpectives of the characters' inner psyche (Kraven's mad search for honour, Spidey's love for MJ, Vermin's hunger, etc.) Mike Zeck illustrated the external of it while working in perfect harmony to gel in with DeMatteis' monologous caption boxes. In my mind, it was a perfect collaboration and the work danced. In times like these, who needs a movie. The experience of reading a book like that where the writer comes up with a solid story and the artist doesn't step all over it by showcasing his "stylized art" - where the story and the characters take centerstage, well, nothing compares to that. That, my friends, is comic-book magic!
Sam Keith on Batman or the Dennis O'Neil / Neal Adams stuff? I think you know the answer to that one. Stylized artwork does not equal to "superior COMIC-craft". It's simply stylized artwork.
Uncle Bob: The same guy with the mean bat logo tee mentioned in the last post. He saw me lugging Kieth bats around and said he don't like the art. Said bats looks too cartooniistick. Whatever that means. Said uncle said he liked bats neat. Like Neal Adams neat. Told me to buy Dark Victory instead. "The one with the red cover". How can you not like this man? He took a neat look at me and summarized that I liked my comics funny. Lobo funy. How did he tell?! Man, I tell you this guy is a genius! From a time past, from a world neat, where Batman was Bob Kane, please to meet you Uncle Bob. (Now, do us all a favor and change that goddam fraggin undersized mean bat tee!)
PENDATANG spotting at Jeremiah.
Not sure if you heard that wolverines are very territorial animals. I mean anywhere where they have pooped or scented, is declareed terra exclusiva only for them who think they are best in what they do. So if for interstellar unknown reasons, this acid-veined, chinese eyed dude with shiny black suit happen to walk into wolverine territory - it's clobberin time! First the accusation: wolverines have been here since claremont so have an undeniable right to claim status. Next the judgedreddment: Aliens with chinese eyes and foul breath dripping with acid are from far and away and will not even be famous 'cept for the space stripping scene of Ms Weaver, therefore aliens are pendatang. Next after next, comes the denial: No, wolverines will not apologize for pooping all over and claiming territory. This is wolverine's unhygienick birthright! There's no arguing against such OXFORD logic.
another PENDATANG spotted
All exposed at Jeremiah. Even Bats. Just because you look mean and have red fur and have a cult following of a different kind in comics-dom, you are labelled. Pendatang. I mean holy leotards, furball here ain't gonna have a Dark series or a Dark movie or a Dark return. Heck, best furball can hope for a is a mini series with 8-pages that ends up forgotten. But you can only hope so much. Furball + sharp teeth + foul breath = Pendatang
ANOTHER PENDATANG SHORTS: Meanwhile down south in SIN-sin land. Another pendatang story. The serangoon gardens 'middle class' snobs sent a petition to the gahmen protesting the conversion of a school to housing for foreign workers. said this will endanger the wimen folks and daughters in the neighbourhood. (say what?!) Them 'middle class' folks swore the influx of pendatang-pendatang into the neighbourhood will devalue the property potential. (again what?!!) Them 'MIDDLE CLASS' folks at serangoon gardens are the powdered momma boys and the pentaksub with their B. Sc (honk!) with their driven cars and their engineered lives.
I stay in a gahmen subsidised flat. Matchbox houses not unlike old puchong. There are no pendatangs in this area. Only your friendly neighbourhood hard workin sunshine type with very tanned skins. Smile...
A danger to women & kids? Moi? Heck, I keep a pet hamster for Pete's sake!
SAM KIETH at Jeremiah. A damn fine bat artist. And don't let Uncle Bob tell you otherwise. Logan, Bats, Scratch, Alien (Part 2?), Venom - having a good time.
I am fraggin blasted but (thank-gawd-awfully) at peace with everything. ('cept Hamid & the tuition teacher)
WHY LOBO? Lobo is therapy. Lobo is like snapping the neck off the fraggin bastiches who puking pisses your butts off. That can be your boss if you like. That can be the bloke that work with you. That can be the moron in the comic shop who had never heard of Ted McKeever. That can be the new moron hamid. That can be pendatang ismail. Heck, you can put anybody in the face with the snapped neck. Yes, therapy.
HOW TO BE A COMIC GURU: So I am back in the comics asylum. Time was I bought all my Logan/Wolverine/Patch at this shop in Paradiz Center. Then came came the big wave. Then comics stopped. Time later I caught the X-flu, I bought all my X titles there too. Then time forgets. The Paradiz was a re-de-reformatted. Comics shop a-fragilli-shifted. Then came Borders & Kino. The people got a-fraggin-lazy. Then you can actually be a-Ellis-fragified in a matter of weeks courtesy of Kino well stocked shelves. So much for comics asylum.
HOLY SMOKE! I SAW BATMAN: Time now, I found the shop again. Just one block away from the original location. I knew I like the place soon as I entered. Uncle Bob/Blob at the counter was wearing a batman tee with a mean bat logo. (BLOB + Bat Logo + Michelin Man = Damn fine comics shop owner!) It's always warm to meet real life Mike Mignola's puffy gaslight Batman. Heck, even the tuition teacher is decked in Punisher tee!
Bats Alive! Uncle Blob with the mean bat logo.