Sunday, June 28, 2015

Conversations with Friends

Juan Muñoz, Last Conversation Piece

I'm sitting across from James at a hookah lounge in Astoria. It's about 2:30 in the morning. James has revived some since getting out of work at 11:40, and now we're discussing dystopian fiction, The Economist, "Two Bad Neighbors" (The Simpsons), and the chronic grievances of the progressivist (which have lately come to include vituperative disagreements between progressive cliques).

I pass the hose to James and he leans forward and rests his elbows on the table.

"Listen," he says. "I'm going to give you James's Three Predictions for 2015."

"Shoot," I say.

He holds up a finger. "One. In the next six months, there will be another national outcry over the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of police officers."


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Smarter than the average bear?

A grizzly bear's brain. (From special interest site

Last night a friend replied (via text message) to some belabored joke I'd made (via text message) implicating dill pickles in the HUAC sessions, saying "Patrick, you are smarter than the average bear."

I don't know about that. Is it the mark of an intelligent man to be thrown for a loop by some conversational callback to a cartoon animal from the Dark Age of American Animation?

Smarter than the average bear. What does that mean, anyway? I'm not certain that human intelligence and ursine intelligence are commensurable magnitudes. Let's ponder this for a minute.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A (Very, Very) Quick Look at (One Scene from) Doom 2099

I swear I'll shut up about Marvel 2099 after this.

A completely unscientific poll (two respondents were surveyed; one of them was myself) has verified that the best title in the Marvel 2099 line was Doom 2099. The premise alone is pure gold: Dr. Doom mysteriously reappears in 2099, alive and well, but with some unaccountable memory holes. He resumes control of Latveria and enacts a plan to, in his words, instate himself as the architect of the world's future. And the thing is, the world is such an awful mess at this point that a global hegemony under Doom would almost definitely be an improvement. Doom 2099 casts the hammy megalomaniac as a benevolent dictator and antihero, and it's a blast to read.

At this point, if Doom 2099 is remembered for anything, it's for being the springboard for the career of Warren Ellis, who takes over the book from John F. Moore after issue #26. But Moore does a wonderful job at the helm, which came as a surprise to me, having already seen how problematic and glum his X-Men 2099 shaped up to be. I have to regard the two books as a kind of dialectical pair: X-Men 2099 is about a bunch of hard-to-like good guys (with some flecks of badness) who always lose; Doom 2099 is about a charismatic bad guy (which some flecks of goodness) who always wins.

Rather than review Doom 2099, I'd just like to share one of my favorite scenes. Like any event in a comic serial, some context must needs be supplied.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Funny Pages Footnote

I'm pretty sure everyone running a webpage with any kind of pageviews counter finds themselves checking their stats compulsively, even when there's really nothing at stake and they have no plans to examine or put to use their findings. I know I do.

While I was peering at Beyond Easy's stats some hours after throwing up yesterday's yesterday's post, I noticed someone had visited the archives to glance at this post from 2013, where I consider whether it's worth my while to keep doing comics at all. Between someone else discreetly pointing out how habitual these mini-crises have become with me, and what yesterday's comic implies about my talent for getting caught up in in loops, I feel more than a little absurd.

But it is pretty funny.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Return of the Funny Pages

In lieu of a post, I'd like to point you towards some updates over on the ol' comics page.

Parts three and four are forthcoming—probably. Given how irregularly I do comics these days (and an irregular webcomic might as well not exist), I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't just hang it up altogether and double down on writing, which comes much easier to me than illustration.