Friday, April 29, 2011


I felt a bit drained after my coverage of C2E2, but now that I've had some time off to work on my novel (and I've been getting my usual 2,000 words a night for the past two weeks, so I'm feeling very fucking good), I'm ready to return to blogging every day.  (Or hopefully every day.)  Mondays will be wild card day, Tuesdays will be weird fiction/poetry, Wednesdays over at the Napalm Assault will be comic book review day, Thursdays will be Cool Shit day, and Fridays will be Bruni story day, at least until I can finally unleash the DUI Diary on you.

I'm back to stomp on the terra and walk a road of bones.  Step aside, or you will be beaten like a gong.  I'm going to get drunk and review JONAH HEX (the movie) for Monday.  See you then.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Geeks: you’ve been doing pretty well for yourselves in the pussy department. It used to be for every skinny, pimpled bastard, there was a mega-ton she-thing on his arm. Now, you’re swimming in quality pussy. Keep up the good work. Addendum: there are also far too many underage girls wearing next to nothing. Stop! Your time will come.

Is it just me, or is it getting too easy to put together a storm trooper costume? The same goes for you, Ghostbusters. If it’s too easy, it’s too common. If it’s too common, it’s not fun anymore. Speaking of which, I’m glad to say I only saw TWO Jokers this year. And ONE Captain Jack Sparrow. But that’s too easy, too. If you’re locked into this cosplay thing, then at least make it interesting for the rest of us.

Quidditch players: too easy. I’d mercilessly give you shit, but everyone else already does this for me. The thing that makes Quidditch cool is flying around on broomsticks. Reality: broomsticks don’t fly, so pretending to play Quidditch is LAME. This goes for you, too, lightsaber duelers. If there isn’t the danger of you losing a limb, it’s not cool.

Listen up assholes! Brian Azzarello is the best American comics writer working in the business today! Get in line to meet him, fer Christ’s sake! I’ll gladly make the sacrifice and wait. Let’s make this happen for Wizard World 2011, or whatever the fuck they’re going to call it.

My biggest regret of C2E2: not hanging out with Jon Lennon on Saturday. I was too busy running around, going to panels and meeting writers and artists. Granted, it was all for you (and for me and my books that needed signing), but at the same time, Jon was there all day, hanging around with Leo and Cliff, and I only got to see him at the end of the day, when he was exhausted and ready to go home.

Listen, all the mad, crazy bullshit aside, Jon’s a great guy. He gives out free books, and he’s super nice, and all he wants to do is get people to read and admire his art. He got a raw deal when he tried to get into artist alley. Since he didn’t have a website up, they wouldn’t let him get a table. What did he do? He showed up anyway and pimped his book by handing out free samples. The card below is what he was giving out. I don’t think he’ll be angry with me for posting it here (since he was giving them away to sell his book; check out the website below the comic), but you guys need to get out there and pick up PRODUCT OF SOCIETY. Remember, you’re about to read the work of a CANCER SURVIVOR.

Ah. And with that, I’m going on blog vacation. There are a couple of reviews in the can, but after that, nothing for at least a month. Or maybe until I’m ready to start posting the DUI Diary, which might be sooner than you think . . . .

Thursday, April 7, 2011


When you’ve been to as many conventions as I have been to, you get used to seeing a lot of the same faces. You get a good feel for who will be there and who will not. This helps you prepare what you want to bring to get signed.

When I saw online that John McCrea, artist of HITMAN, DICKS, and THE BOYS, among others, was going to be there this year, I couldn’t believe it. I have NEVER heard of him coming to Chicago. Ever. Here was that chance to get some things signed. I had the first appearance of Tommy Monaghan in BLOODLINES that was signed by Garth Ennis at the second convention I ever went to, and here was my chance to get the artist to sign it. I was very, very happy.

I first saw him at the Dynamite panel, as my faithful readers will recall, and I spent a good portion of my Saturday tracking him down for a signing. At first he was going to be at the Hero Initiative booth, which was kind of a bitch to find. When I did, he wasn’t there yet, so I shopped around a bit. He soon showed up, but by the time I got over there, his line was capped off . . . at five people. Why? Everyone wanted sketches from him.

Which is understandable. This is a convention, after all, and he is an artist. I noticed that he was charging for sketches and autographs, but not for himself. It looked like all proceeds were going to the Hero Initiative. I was perfectly willing to pay whatever it took to get some of these books signed, but I was told that his schedule was full for now. He said that he’d be in artists alley for the rest of the day.

Which is weird, because when I went over there later, he wasn’t charging anything, meaning that Hero Initiative had just turned away money.

Anyway, a few hours later, I went to artists alley and hung around until he showed up. It’s a good thing I did, because as soon as he arrived, a line immediately formed. Thanks to my proximity, I was second in line. He then asked who was here for sketches and who was here for book signing. When he got a clear picture, he said that he would honor book signings first, since those always went fast.

I have to say, that was very gentlemanly of him. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck in long lines because of people who wanted sketches. And don’t even talk to me about the Tony Moore debacle a few years ago.

I asked him how many books he’d be willing to sign, holding up a stack. He said he’d sign them all if I gave a $5 donation to the Hero Initiative. Holy shit, talk about fair! I handed over the books and the money, and he started signing. When he came upon my copy of TROUBLED SOULS, he asked me where I’d gotten it. I told him that I’d rescued it from the garbage at the library. He said that he didn’t think it had ever been issued in hardcover, which confused him. I told him I thought that maybe the book had been damaged, and the library had sent it to a bindery to get it fixed.

And then the hilarious part began. Has anyone here seen the offensive covers to Avatar’s DICKS series? Then you’ll understand why McCrea suddenly became nervous signing them in front of a mother and her child. At first, he tried covering up the really nasty bits, but after a while, those nasty bits became bigger and bigger and bigger.

The mother turned her kid away. Inwardly, I smiled.

And then McCrea reached the Christmas special. This one depicts the main character bawling his eyes out and praying, and Satan hovers above him, his giant cock just about to touch the protagonist’s head. Above both cock and character, Satan holds some mistletoe.

Yeah, McCrea held this one as close to his chest as he signed it. When he was done, he said that he felt kind of dirty. “Serves me right, though. I drew those covers.”

I thanked him and went on my way. Later, when I got home, I saw that he’d signed across Satan’s cock, and I couldn’t help but laugh.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Come on! Admit it! Whether in his Svengoolie persona or as plain ol’ Rich Koz, you love the shit out of the guy. You loved him when you watched THE KOZ ZONE when you were a kid. You love him when he’s introducing old horror movies on channel 9, and you love him when he’s hosting THE THREE STOOGES.

But C2E2 didn’t put him in a very desirable place. Sure, he was a few tables over from Eliza Dushku, but for the most part, they put him in a place where B-level talent gets relegated. This was a place where you’ll find fans saying things like, “Hey, I remember that guy!” or “Why not meet him? He used to be someone.”

But Svengoolie is a Chicago legend, perhaps THE Chicago television personality. And sure enough, he had a hell of a long line. It was so long they had to put guards on it. They cut it in half across a corridor. It was easily the longest line I stood in at C2E2 this year . . . and it was worth it.

But you knew that. From where I stood, I could see the other celebrities in the area. You’d be surprised to know that a couple of actors from THE WALKING DEAD were there, and there was no one in line to meet them. Meanwhile, on the other side of me, I saw the massive line for Dushku. In fact, from my vantage, I could see her. Not as pretty in real life. Some people just have a face meant for TV, and she’s got it, but I’ve been with better looking women. I’m not criticizing her (or the women I've been with), but I am mentioning a disappointment.

Anyway, as I watched others go up to meet Svengoolie (and even more who just stopped by for pictures), I saw everyone walking away with autographed cards from him. I wasn’t going for that, no sir. I wanted something else signed.

As I drew closer, I noticed he wasn’t charging for autographs, which was just unheard of down here. Celebrities don’t let you go without taking you for at least ten bucks. No, Koz was signing for free.

I approached and asked him if he would sign my rubber chicken. “Gladly,” he said. He took great pains to do this, because the only flat surface on a rubber chicken is on the feet. As he worked his way from thigh to toe, I told him how much I enjoyed his work, whether he’s introducing horror movies or Three Stooges shorts.

“I have to wear a lot less make up for the Stooges,” he said.

I don’t know how he did it, but he managed to fit in both “Svengoolie” and “Rich Koz” on the chicken leg in a straight line, completely legible. I thanked him, shook his hand, and went on my way.

How many people do YOU know who have rubber chickens signed by Svengoolie? (Shut up, Monika.)

Monday, April 4, 2011


According to a high school career placement test, comic book writer/illustrator Jon Michael Lennon should have been a farmer. Thankfully, he said, “Fuck that,” and went to work on PRODUCT OF SOCIETY instead. If he hadn’t, who would have filled in the vacuum of such an artist of questionable taste?

Matthew Zingale, working toward a Masters degree, directed and edited PRODUCT OF SOCIETY [THE FILM], a look at Lennon’s life, art, and opinions, and he couldn’t have picked a better subject. In fact, he revels in Lennon, trying to reinforce the offensive ideas of the PRODUCT OF SOCIETY comics by trying to make the viewer as uncomfortable as possible. For example, Zingale leaves things in that other documentarians would edited out, like whenever Lennon coughs or pauses or loses his train of thought. There is even a scene when someone knocks on Lennon’s door, and they stop filming for him to see who it is. There are awkward silences and unsettling close-ups. This isn’t cleaned up and prettified for easy consumption; this is LIFE.

Lennon’s love of comics started with superhero books. To this day, he’s still got a thing for Supergirl (as evidenced in a scene where he holds a mini-bust of her, rubbing a finger all over her surface . . . ALL OVER). However, everything changed when he encountered books like PREACHER and JOHNNY THE HOMICIDAL MANIAC. With these two titles, he learned that comics don’t just have to be about superheroes; they can be about anything.

Armed with this knowledge, he starts making his own comic books. He says at one point that he got into this field to “draw and get laid.” Some people might find issue with his subject matter, but to his credit, he tried to do something a bit cleaner by illustrating a children’s book. He quit, though. “I have no wholesomeness in me because my soul is black.”

He is full of self deprecating moments like this. As he works on something with the TV playing in the background, he makes it a point to talk about how alone he is. He lives on his own with only a cat for a companion. Then, later he confesses to smoking too much. “No one said suicide had to be quick and easy,” he says.

He is clearly an angry man. Even though he tries to keep politics out of his work, he readily admits to being an anarchist. He makes sure everyone knows that he doesn’t play the Democrat vs. Republican game because “everybody sucks.” He says that our society is so bad off that it needs to be torn down and built anew, and considering how many people he’s killed in PRODUCT OF SOCIETY, this attitude definitely comes out in his work.

“I close my eyes and that’s the madness that comes out.” Too true.

Is Lennon flawed? Yes, but then again, so is every man. Lennon is more than just a man; despite his locksmithing day job, he is above all else an independent artist, and this is especially highlighted during the second half of this film, which takes place at Wizard World Chicago.

Lennon sits at his table, trying his best to sell his product to adults (and to avoid children whenever possible). But what happens? Not many people buy, which is the sad song of the independent artist. Granted, when all is said and done, he sells more books than he thought he would, but it’s still not enough to compete with even a small comic book company. He doesn’t break even on his work, much less make a profit. He pays Kinkos a shitload of money to print them up, not to mention whatever he spent to get into WWC, and he doesn’t even come close to making his money back.

Yet on the first day, he gives out copies of his book to his companions in Artist Alley. He gives a free book to prospective customers in the hopes that they’ll come back later and buy something. He says at the end of the film that he will keep doing this, so long as he has the money to continue printing the books.

From a business perspective, the man is insane. But he’s an artist. He arts again and again and again. He will continue to art as long as he’s alive, because this is something he loves. This is where his heart is, and that, too, shows in his work.

So the next time you’re in Artist Alley and you see Jon Lennon, stop by and say hi. That money you were going to use to pay some dipshit who has never worked for DC to draw Catwoman sucking Batman’s dick? Spend it on PRODUCT OF SOCIETY instead. You’ll save money, and you’ll save yourself from a stagnant intellectual life. More importantly, you’ll save Lennon by putting food on his table and allowing him to art again.

Directed by Matt Zingale
Produced by 13:26
80 minutes

[DISCLAIMER: In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that Jon and I have been friends for several years, and in the near future, the new issue of PRODUCT OF SOCIETY will contain a story based on an event from my own life (adapted and illustrated by Leo Perez). One of my TABARD INN bumper stickers (CHOOSE DEATH) even shows up in this film. And though it was not used in the movie, Matt shot footage of me interviewing Jon at WWC. I can, in all honesty and objectivity, say that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. If it sucked, I’d have said so, and I’d have stated my reasons as to why. Then again, I don’t see how I could have NOT liked it. Jon and I have the same weird questionable taste, which is what brought us together in the first place. This movie works because it’s the unadulterated truth. Nothing is glossed over. Jon isn’t afraid to show us how he lives, and Matt isn’t afraid to film it. Do you want to know how it is to be an independent artist? Check out PRODUCT OF SOCIETY [THE FILM], and you won’t be disappointed. You’ll also find out why I used the word “art” so strangely at the end of this review.]

Friday, April 1, 2011


Well, this year they had a bigger room, but there still weren’t enough people in there. William Christiansen and Jacen Burrows presided over the panel this time around. Mike Wolfer was supposed to be there, too, but he’d lost his voice and was not able to attend.

The first bit of news was the release of the first issue of CALIGULA (I will have a review of this up before this C2E2 orgasm is done). David Lapham is “thrilling,” according to Christiansen, so he will be working for Avatar for quite a while. Garth Ennis loves his CROSSED stuff, which is a hell of a good sign.

Ah, CROSSED. It has been, according to Christiansen, an “insane success for us.” This has undoubtedly led to CROSSED going monthly! That’s right, when the “Psychopath” story arc is done, the monthly will begin with a new CROSSED tale from Ennis and Burrows. After that . . . JAMIE DELANO TAKES OVER! That’s right, the original HELLBLAZER writer will be taking the reins!

Also, Christiansen’s “personal albatross,” the CROSSED 3-D book is done except for the 3-D effects themselves. This has been going on for a long time, but he swears that it will be out soon, and “I’m not lying this time.”

I asked him about where the CROSSED movie stands, and he says that while Kevin Spacey’s production company still has it under option, he doesn’t think it will happen. I also asked him that if they still planned to have the horsecock character in it, and Burrows said that he saw the screenplay. The character is still there, but modified. Still, he doesn’t think Horsecock will disappoint hardcore fans. At this point, Christiansen joked about giving Horsecock a spin-off series. “You know I’d do it!” All things considered, he probably would, and I’d probably buy it.

On to Boundless news. Someone asked why they’d launched Boundless, and Christiansen said it was because Lady Death didn’t seem to fit with their other titles, so why not start a sister company? The next title, coming soon, is WAR GODDESS, written by Mike Wolfer. It will be kind of like the classic ‘Nineties bad girl books, but slightly less ridiculous. Pandora, Widow, Hellina, and the rest will be in the book (in fact, War Goddess herself is Pandora), but they don’t want to flood out their fan base. They want to keep Boundless small. “Slow and steady wins the race,” Christiansen said. There will be no silly, forced cross-overs, not like with, say, the JLA for example.

Someone said they had a question about Warren Ellis’ books. “No, you don’t,” Christiansen said, as if he knew what was coming. Sure enough, he was right. The audience member wanted to know what the deal was with Ellis’ late books, like DOCTOR SLEEPLESS. A fair question, and something I’d like to know, as well. What’s the hold up? “I have no fucking idea,” Christiansen said. The covers are done, but he simply doesn’t have scripts from Ellis. “He just never fuckin’ wrote ‘em.” There is a bunch of other new Ellis stuff waiting in the wings, but Christiansen says he wants to finish up old business before bringing out anything new.

Speaking of Ellis, there is a new GRAVEL project! Sadly, Ellis won’t have a hand in it, but writing duties will be taken over by Mike Wolfer, who was with the book since the very beginning. (Hm. It seems like Wolfer is writing just about everything for them these days . . . .) This new monthly will be more about the combat magician side of Gravel. There will be a lot of kick-ass military stuff, and 18 issues have already been plotted out. Christiansen also said that Legendary still had the series under option. We’ll see if that movie ever happens . . . .

Did I mention that they have a new LIVING DEAD series coming out? DEATH VALLEY #1 is already on the market. It’s the only license they seem to have held on to. (Remember when they had the rights to Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface? Or how about STARGATE SG-1?)

Christiansen also said that they’d be putting out more webcomics, like FREAKANGELS, in the future. He didn’t clarify, but he said that either “I’m retarded or a genius.” There can’t be a lot of money in it, but it certainly gets a lot of attention. I’m sure the FREAKANGELS merch goes pretty quickly, too.

The NEONOMICON trade will be released later this year. Burrows listened to a lot of Lovecraft stories on CD while working on this one. Alan Moore, who is notoriously difficult to please, is very happy with the artwork. Even though he’s very strict with his scripts, he let Burrows play fast and loose with the Deep One. They also confessed that this sequel was never planned, that when they did THE COURTYARD, they never considered returning to this world.

THE CHRONICLES OF WORMWOOD #6 is almost here . . . AND IT’S SUPER-SIZED! Not much else was said about this one, but it was enough to give me a woody.

Lastly, someone asked about variant covers. Avatar is well-known for having an insane amount of variants, but without them, Avatar wouldn’t be here. Christiansen said that the collectors are the ones who really keep them in business. It’s surprising how much of a difference they make. Burrows added that, as an artist, one can do a lot more with a variant cover that one usually couldn’t get away with on a straight-forward cover. Good to know. I’d been wondering about this, too.

To conclude, Christiansen said that they’re doing well, it’s just that they need to overcome a lot of lateness problems. Too true. But in this market, better late than never. You know I’ll be out there buying ‘em.