Monday, February 27, 2012


Meet Cynthia Barris. She is a hot, up-and-coming model, and she has just booked the shoot of her life: Claudio, the most controversial fashion designer in LA, wants her to pose for his new release, and a documentary director wants to cover the whole thing, from the start of her day till the end of the shoot. Everyone stands to make a lot of money, especially Cynthia’s greasy, underhanded manager.

Everything starts off pretty well. Cynthia hits all of her marks, and Claudio is impressed with how things are going. The photographer, Phillipe, an odd bird who likes to wear pajamas everywhere he goes (except he never sleeps in them), especially to shoots, where he likes to get naked so he can capture the perfect deer-in-the-headlights look that so many people think is so hot, is reveling in the job. Even Peter, the documentary director, is having a blast getting it all on film for posterity.

And then Cynthia dies of a freak overdose in the middle of getting her picture taken. Oops! Claudio stands to lose billions of dollars (to say nothing of the financial loss of everyone else), so they come up with a plan: keep shooting her. So the model dies? So what? Does that have to stop the photo shoot?

Ivy Levan has the hardest role in this film as poor Cynthia, or more to the point, Cynthia’s body. For more than half of the movie, she has to play like she’s Bernie from WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S. She does an excellent job of portraying not just a hunk of meat about to start rotting, but a beautiful hunk of meat about to start rotting. She isn’t afraid to tackle some of the more difficult scenes, like when a reluctant costumer has to struggle to get Cynthia into her underpants. Or when the slimy drug dealer/jack of all trades sets her up in various contraptions to make her look like she’s still alive. Or even the scene where gas builds up in her, so they have to . . . SQUEEZE IT OUT OF HER. This, of course, leads to one of the funniest fart scenes in cinematic history.

Steven Berkoff puts in a wonderful performance as Claudio, who is absolutely insane with ego. When we first meet him, he’s going on and on about how people worship at his temple because he knows how to make everyone beautiful. And when Cynthia dies on set, he gets angry with her, thinking she’s asleep. When someone finally mentions that she’s dead, he asks the person if she’s a doctor. Answered in the negative, he responds, “Then how do you know?” He then offers to fly in a doctor to make sure . . . from Paris.

When you get right down to it, there isn’t a likable character in the cast. They’re all scumbags looking out for numero uno. Jeremy London, who plays Cynthia's manager, seeks out every way he can make money out of a situation. He even offers to take care of Cynthia’s body overnight for the second day of the shoot by taking her back to his place and keeping her in a tub of ice. (This doesn’t work out quite so well. He has to drive her back the next day, but she’s too stiff, so he ties her to the roof of the car like a Christmas tree.)

The only one of the cast who puts forth an effort to be humane is the sound chick for the documentary director, and in the end, it’s pretty clear that she has her own reasons for doing so. Even the director himself sells himself out in the act of encouraging Claudio's audacious scheme, all in the name of getting good footage.

All of these performers are the perfect vehicles for Philip Alderton’s script. He covers the LA modeling scene so well, and even though he uses all of these characters to lampoon that world, going so close to over the top that they almost become parodies of themselves, there are times when they have stark moments of truth. Phillipe, in one of these moments, just comes out and says, “This industry is about sex.” He says that if they started using thicker models, regular people would start complaining about them being too fat to grace, say, an advertisement.

The only problem with this movie is the style. It’s the dark comedy equivalent of horror’s found footage subgenre. They’re trying to sell this to us as a true story, that this is the actual footage that everyone thought had been destroyed. Yet . . . in the movie itself, the story came out anyway. So why was the footage supposedly destroyed? Claudio's ego is so fucking huge that he told the world Cynthia was dead and all of those pictures were of her corpse. If you’re going to try to trick your audience into believing something like this, perhaps you shouldn’t go quite so big.

We recognize some of these actors. We know that Claudio doesn’t really exist. We know that no such story ever came out. Found footage movies rarely work; the thing that’s supposed to make them work is if the audience buys into the story. With DROP DEAD GORGEOUS, that’s impossible. TMZ and E! would have been all over this in real life.

Once you get past that supremely stupid blunder, the movie is really amazing, and it says a lot about not fame, as one would think (although it mentions a few things about fame), but about the world of fashion, about what they sell and how they sell it and how far they’d go to sell it. Don’t miss this excellent dark comedy.

Written and directed by Philip Alderton
Produced by Phase 4 Films
90 minutes

COOL SHIT 2-23-12 (Yeah, I know it's late. Sorry.)

AMERICAN VAMPIRE #24:  I can’t tell you how happy I am to see Skinner Sweet alive and well.  And as far as protagonists go, they don’t come more intense than Travis.  He is pretty fucking serious about putting Sweet down.  Just look at the scenes of him in the asylum, and how he gets out.  Not to mention that, after Sweet pounded seven shades of shit out of Travis, Travis is still eager and willing to continue fighting, almost beyond the point of common sense.  I’m so glad I didn’t give up on this series after Sweet “died.”  I just hope Scott Snyder has a good excuse for taking back his death.

THE TRANSFORMERS:  ROBOTS IN DISGUISE #2:  Have I told you about how much I fucking love this new direction TF is taking?  Yeah, okay, I don’t mean to go overboard, but I’m constantly getting a hard-on for this book.  This time, Bumblebee is sooooooo paranoid about being assassinated by the Decepticons that he preemptively takes out Starscream the ONE AND ONLY TIME Starscream has ever told the truth to an Autobot.  Well, the thing is, Ratbat is indeed planning to have Bumblebee killed, but now that Starscream has talked . . . well, read the book and find out.  And why would Starscream sell Ratbat out like that?  Hm, do you know Starscream?!  Here’s a hint to his powermongering abilities:  in this issue, he joins the Autobots.  How fucked up is that?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

COOL SHIT 2-16-12

ROAD RAGE #1: I knew I’d like this one well before I picked it up, and not just because Stephen King and Joe Hill are listed as the writers. I’m very familiar with their adapted story, “Throttle,” so I already dig the characters and the situation. (Quick note: King and Hill just approved of the story; the guy who adapted it to the page is Chris Ryall.) And come on, let’s face it, this is a wet dream come true for horror fans. Father and son working together? Who could pass it up? I first encountered it as the audio book read by Stephen Lang, and I have loved it ever since. It was originally a part of an anthology, HE IS LEGEND, a collection of stories inspired by Richard Matheson. This one was inspired by DUEL, which will be adapted next for this title. So . . . am I turned-on by this? Like a motherfucker. The only problem is Ryall is a bit rushed, so some really good exposition goes right out the window. When these bikers start getting killed by the guy in the truck, I don’t give a shit about any of them. He also cut out one of my favorite exchanges from the story, about a four-letter word for something one character does to another’s mother. (The answer: GALL.) Still, it’s a good primer for King, Hill, and Matheson’s work, so check it out.

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION #1: The more I hear about the new G.I. Joe movie, the more I want to see it. I think it might just kick the shit out of the first one, and this movie prequel helps reinforce that idea. Mainframe gets taken hostage by ninja (as we learn in this issue, the plural of “ninja” is “ninja”), and Snake Eyes and Roadblock fail to get him back. In fact, Roadblock get so pissed off he decks Hawk and gets locked up for it. Also, they’re not afraid to kill Joes off. Charbroil goes out in a pretty nasty way. The only drawback: Storm Shadow’s still alive. Fuck that pussy shit. Kill off the guy, and don’t do any take-backs.

WONDER WOMAN #6: This book flounders a lot. It’s hard to say whether it’s good or not, but the current issue has a pretty cool concept. Wonder Woman is manipulating Poseidon and Hades together in an attempt to get something that she wants. Not bad, Azzarello. Not bad. The only thing is . . . do you miss writing for HELLBLAZER? Is that what this Lennox fellow is about? Because let’s face it, aside from the whole being built of stone thing, he’s Constantine. Come on. A blond, chain-smoking trenchcoated Englishman who knows his way around magic and sardonic one-liners? Why didn’t you just use Constantine? Get him out of that awful JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK book.

THE TRANSFORMERS: MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE #2: Goddam, do I love the direction this franchise is taking! Rodimus is still trying to account for everybody after their ship nearly exploded, and in the meantime, Skids, the theoretician of the group, gets to battle robots with giant swords. Cyclonus is inducted onto the team, and . . . and . . . I’m giddy. They even have a list of the crew on the last page. This could very well be the best series in the entire run of this book, and I’m even throwing the G1 stuff in there.

HELLBLAZER #288: I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited for this. Wait, actually I can: approximately 200 issues. John Constantine versus the First of the Fallen once again, and this time, the blue collar mage has chosen to take the ultimate gamble: the Devil’s Wager. The First gives him the chance to convince his sister to leave Hell, and if he succeeds, they’ll be rushed out. However, if he fails, the First gets Epiphany’s soul. And there’s a catch: any promise made in Hell must be honored in the land of the living. To add to the mess, Constantine’s evil twin is hanging around Cheryl in Hell (mostly because it’s entertaining). I cannot tell you how fucking happy I am right now. Comics have been really good to me today.

Friday, February 10, 2012


[NOTE: As much as I wanted to make this one a Forgotten Comic Books column, I just couldn’t. Far too many people remember this one, even if it was brutally murdered by bad sales when it should have been elevated beyond measure as the greatest DC book ever. Still and all, if you have ANY ambitions of reading Garth Ennis and John McCrea’s HITMAN series, you might not want to read this. Here there be spoilers. Ye’ve been warned. Eh, what the hell. I’ll warn you before we get to the big spoilers. Read on.]

Do you know what I would do if I ever found myself in a position of power in the world? If my name is ever big enough to hold clout in the creative industries, I hereby pledge to make a TV series out of the greatest DC comic book ever published (even better than JONAH HEX, and I hold that title in high regards): HITMAN. You see, I’ve long stated that my favorite comic book of all time is PREACHER, but I miss HITMAN so much more. It ended long before it had to. This book, well, it couldn’t go on forever, but it could have gone on a lot longer than it did. It’s just that not enough people were reading it, which makes no sense to me. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, they’re all unworthy of their readership. Well, maybe not Batman, but the rest can go fuck themselves.

You know the best part? I could probably make this TV series on network channels. Sure, there’s a lot of violence, drinking, smoking, and people acting far below an acceptable moral level, but there’s no cursing. There’s no nudity. Writer Garth Ennis even figured out how to make the no-cursing thing seem realistic: the guy who curses the most swore to his dying mother that he’d stop. Therefore, “fuck” and “shit” doesn’t exist in these pages.

I wouldn’t get any big names for the main characters, but I know the series inside and out. I know the characters. I know what makes this a great series. I would make this right, and you would all love it. I’m willing to bet that if I count you among people I would honestly call a friend, you would LOVE this book. Love it like no other. Because if I don’t think you would like this book, I would deem you unworthy of friendship.

Fuck it. The real reason I’m writing this is because I miss HITMAN more than ever, and I want to talk about it. If you’ve never come upon Tommy Monaghan before, I’d like to introduce you. If you’re familiar with Tommy and the boys at Noonan’s, it’s time to reminisce.

Once upon a time, a newcomer to American comics named Garth Ennis, who was only known for writing HELLBLAZER at the time, and his close friend and longtime artistic collaborator, John McCrea, took over the helm of THE DEMON from Alan Grant. The timing was perfect, because shortly after they started, they got the chance to take part in DC’s crossover at the time, Bloodlines. You might remember that this was when a bunch of aliens came to our planet and attacked a bunch of humans. Most of the victims died, but some of them developed superpowers and thus became the new generation of DC superheroes.

The future writer of THE BOYS, Ennis knew even then that he didn’t care for superheroes, so he took the opportunity, in the second DEMON annual, to introduce the world to the hitman with a heart of gold, Tommy Monaghan. While getting ready to take out a big-time mobster via sniper rifle, a Bloodlines alien named Glonth attacks his target. Unfortunately, Glonth notices Monaghan and attacks him.

The mobster is unlucky and dies. Tommy is . . . well, more fortunate. Instead, he wakes up in a hospital with x-ray vision and the ability to read people’s minds. It’s a bit hard for him to control (he wears a pair of sunglasses, even at night, to give him that extra layer so he doesn’t have to spend his life looking at people as skeletons all the time), and it hurts like a bitch (so he spends a lot of his time drinking to kill the pain). But with these newfound abilities, he adopts the name Hitman (although he never uses it himself ever again) and exclusively takes on metahuman jobs. Well, okay, he still takes on mobsters for pizza and beer money. But mostly, if you’ve got a pesky supervillain hanging around, he’ll take the job.

In Tommy’s first adventure as Hitman, he goes to the wake of the mobster Glonth killed, mostly to kill the mobster’s sons, a set of conjoined twins who have put a contract out on Monaghan’s head. In an orgy of blood and violence, Tommy kills one of the twins (which leads to a pretty funny story later on in his life) and meets Etrigan for the first time (also something that will lead to more hilarity down the line).

I don’t know if Ennis meant for Tommy to be a recurring character, but the fans spoke, and he became very popular. He made a couple more appearances in THE DEMON before Ennis ended the book. [HERE’S THAT SPOILER WARNING] In Tommy’s last appearance in the book, he took part in one of the awesomest story arc conclusions ever. He helps Jason Blood, Etrigan’s human host, steal the Demon’s heart. Etrigan, ever popular for his rhyming speech patterns, suddenly loses his playful nature and starts speaking straightforwardly for the first time ever. Now, Tommy’s a pretty questionable sort, but let’s face facts, Etrigan is actually evil. So it’s only natural that Tommy would want to help put the Demon down. However, when he sees just how helpless Etrigan is, he can’t help but add insult to injury . . . BY PINCHING THE DEMON’S CHEEK AND CALLING HIM A BIG PUSSYCAT. (Oh yes, that move does indeed lead to more insanity later. Tommy has made himself an enemy for life with that little move.) [END OF SPOILERS . . . FOR NOW.]

Shortly after the demise of THE DEMON, Ennis and McCrea were given the chance to let Tommy have his own monthly book. In April 1996, HITMAN #1 was unleashed on the world, and the DCU was never the same. It begins simply, with these words: “My name’s Tommy Monaghan, and I kill people for money. It’s a living.” He then goes on to kick off his first story arc by puking on Batman, accepting a job to break into Arkham Asylum and kill the Joker, and battling with a multi-armed Nazi monster called the Mawzir. Hot shit! And over the course of the next few years, SHIT JUST KEPT GETTING BETTER!

Welcome to the Cauldron, which is essentially Gotham City’s version of Hell’s Kitchen. On a particularly dingy street corner squats Noonan’s bar, proprietor Sean Noonan. This is where Tommy Monaghan and all of his friends hang out. We learn over the course of the years that Tommy was an orphan left on Sean’s doorstep as a baby. The bartender then raised young Tommy up alongside his own son, Pat. Sean, a retired hitman himself, pretty much caters to other hitmen. Pat doesn’t go down that path, but he’s more than happy to help “manage” Tommy’s business. Also present are Ringo, Tommy’s main competition and also one of his closest friends, and Hacken, who talks a good game but is ultimately Gotham’s biggest moron. Later on, an old friend from Tommy’s days in the Marines joins the cast, Natt the Hatt, who also, it turns out, is a hitman.

Let’s not forget about Sixpack, the resident drunkard. He believes that he’s a superhero, and he certainly dresses like one, but to give you an idea of what he’s like, he once got drunk and passed out in an alley in the winter, pissing himself. Later, he thought he’d been in a battle with Mr. Freeze. Yeah, he’s like that.

And he’s not alone. He’s the leader of Section Eight, the greatest superhero team to ever grace a comic book page. For example, among their ranks is the Defenestrator, who carries a window with him for the express purpose of throwing evildoers through it. Then there’s Flem Gem, who spits radioactive gunk at bad guys. And how about Dog Welder, who welds dogs to criminals’ faces? But my favorite of all is Bueno Excellente, who fights crime with the power of perversion. Meaning, he sneaks up on the bad guys and rapes them.

With such an august cast, how can you ignore this book? It’s so batshit crazy and off the wall that it is IMPOSSIBLE to ever get bored with this book. And to top it all off, none of these characters are safe. Guess how many of these guys are still alive at the end of the series. Go on. Guess. I’ll tell you a bit later on.

The adventures these guys share are incredible. Remember the time Tommy went up against Nightfist? Yeah, you know the guy. He’s the vigilante who takes on drug dealers . . . so he can steal their drugs . . . so he can do them. Or how about when the Green Lantern stopped by Noonan’s and revealed himself to be a cheapskate? I’ll never forget the Zombie Night at the Gotham Aquarium. Who would? A mad scientist decides to make a bunch of fish and penguins and walruses into zombies?! But I really hold dear the Ace of Killers story arc, when Etrigan returned to Gotham. Catwoman was in on that one. Tommy was real fuckin’ glad to have x-ray vision for that one. [SPOILERS AGAIN] Remember when I said that Tommy had made an enemy for life with that face-pinching incident? Etrigan came back and bargained hard. Some of you may recall that was how he got his heart back. Of course, his grand scheme of betrayal almost got Tommy and Natt killed, but it gave us one of the more memorable characters back from the world of THE DEMON: Baytor. Come on, you know Baytor. Everyone knows Baytor. He goes on to become the back-up bartender at Noonan’s, where the only thing he will ever say is I AM BAYTOR! [END OF SPOILERS]

Tommy and the boys even managed to get in on some of the bigger DC crossovers, like the Final Night, when all the hitmen were stuck in Noonan’s, discussing the time they came closest to getting killed. Shit, Ennis even managed to get Tommy in on the 1,000,000 crossover. Remember that one? Where all of DC’s creators tried to envision what the millionth issue of each book would be like? Seeing as how Tommy is a mere mortal, there is no way in hell he’d be still alive for the millionth issue, so . . . Ennis came up with this time travel thing which has to be read to be believed. (Best part about this one? Look at the cover below. TOMMY IS LIGHTING HIS CIGARETTE WITH A LIGHT SABER!)

I’m not going to talk about every storyline they went through. They’re all awesome, and if you haven’t read them, you need to. It isn’t always about humorous violence and blood orgies. Some of them are pretty serious, like when Tommy finds out who his real father is and, in response to his sister being murdered by the old man, he goes to Ireland to kill the bastard. Or when Tommy goes up against bloodthirsty SAS soldiers, and in the aftermath, he becomes so ashamed of his lifestyle that he and the boys hire themselves out to what they believe is a good cause: a war in another country that turns out to be royally fucked. Or the time when Sixpack actually does save the world.

But for each of those times, something ridiculous happens, like Tommy going back in time and facing off against a T-rex.

And it all leads up to the final storyline, “Closing Time.” [SPOILERS HERE, AND THIS TIME, I FUCKING WELL MEAN IT.] Readership of this book was so low near the end that DC had no choice but to cancel it. However, they were gracious enough to let Ennis bring it to a logical conclusion. Boy, did he ever. Remember how I said very few of these guys are still alive by the end of the book? Only a handful make it. Tommy is not among them. Of Noonan’s boys, only Hacken remains standing at the end. Well, Baytor, too. He’s still tending bar in Sean’s absence. Of Section Eight, only Bueno Excellente still roams the earth.

When it comes down to it, all who remain are Tommy and Natt, trying their best to save a poor pregnant woman who has been targeted by a metahuman regulatory committee. Pinned down by sniper fire, Tommy gets his hand blown off, and as he and Natt run away, trying to escape, Natt gets shot in the chest. They run for the helicopter that’s going to get them out of here, but Natt falls down, unable to continue. Tommy could have easily gotten away. No problem.

But he’s a loyal guy. He goes back, guns blazing, intent on saving his best friend’s life . . . and he gets gunned down for it. The final panel of issue 60 shows Tommy and Natt, blown to shit, breathing out their last.


So, what does it take to make a good Tommy Monaghan? Quick wit. A lot of charm. A healthy dose of devil-may-care with a pinch of heart-of-gold. A lot of love, but a good reserve of hate on call, just in case. And loyalty. A lot of that.

Six years later, Garth Ennis and John McCrae gave us a gift. You see, a while ago, Ennis was supposed to write a JLA special in which Tommy guest starred, but it never happened. DC condensed it to two special issues, and we got the pleasant surprise of seeing Tommy in action once again. In November and December of 2007, we got the JLA/HITMAN crossover, in which Superman tells a reporter the story of how Tommy Monaghan saved his life and the lives of Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and the Flash when a new strain of Bloodlines aliens came to their moon base. The final five pages of issue two are the perfect epilogue to Tommy Monaghan’s story. Read it and see for yourselves.

Here’s my gift to you: a list of all of Tommy Monaghan’s appearances. Not all of them are written by Garth Ennis (as Tommy is owned by DC, not by his creators), but I think you’ll enjoy them all.

THE DEMON #43-45 and 52-54
HITMAN #1-60 (obviously)
HITMAN #1,000,000
JLA #5

Happy reading! I leave you with this final word on HITMAN:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

COOL SHIT 2-9-12

FERALS #2: David Lapham runs rampant once again with his new werewolf book for Avatar. As with last issue, there isn’t really anything remarkable about it, except for a stunning amount of gore. To be expected from a guy whose credits include CROSSED and CALIGULA. The only new development is that our protagonist, Walnutt, is apparently the suspect of the gruesome mutilations, as his semen was found in two of the victims (not surprising, since he’d fucked them both in the recent past), and due to the werewolf attack at the conclusion of last issue, he, too, is one of the Garou. Since he’s sworn to destroy the original monster, it’s pretty obvious where this is going. Considering Lapham’s ruthlessness, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

DICKS #1: YES! YES! YES! DICKS is back! Well, kind of. Avatar is reprinting all of the previous issues before they get to new DICKS about a year or so down the line. In fact, this is the second time they’ve reprinted this issue, except this time it’s in COLOR. Somehow, this makes it even more obscene than usual. And the best part: they reprinted the extras from BIGGER DICKS #1! (In case you don’t know, DICKS was originally put out by Caliber. Avatar bought the rights and reprinted all four issues with extra stuff, hence the title, BIGGER DICKS.) Trio the Fucking Whore is back, as well as Mick O’Lobb and Buddy Wizer, to say nothing of the Wanker’s History of Wanking. Seriously, if you’ve never heard of DICKS, this is your chance to get in on the ground floor. (Well, technically it’s not the ground-ground floor. That would be TROUBLED SOULS and FOR A FEW TROUBLES MORE, the books that got Garth Ennis and John McCrea started. Dougie and Ivor were minor characters in the former, and the latter was pretty much a cleaner version of the first DICKS storyline. But you’ll never find those books, and they’ll probably never be reprinted. Besides, you don’t need to have read them to enjoy this.) Do not hesitate. Get down to your local comic book store and get a copy. Get the offensive cover before they’re all gone. You’ll suck my dick to thank me later.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Well, what do you know?  Cemetery Dance finally printed and shipped the two volumes of THE CENTURY'S BEST HORROR FICTION.  For those who don't know, these books contain 100 short stories, one for every year of the 20th Century.  Currently, I have a bunch of stuff on my plate, but as soon as I finish it all off, I'm going to review each and every single one of these stories.  One story every weekday.  Keep watching this page for developments.


I remember a while ago, a lot of my friends were getting excited over an online social network called MySpace, and they were practically begging me to join. I showed a great deal of reluctance, mostly because I’m not too big a fan of the Internet. I don’t even have it at home right now. I just use my connection at work and at the library. Back then, I mostly used it for email, which even I have recognized as a day-to-day important technology.

Most people use the Internet for porn, or for pictures of cute kitties. To each their own.

I’ve come around slightly since then, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Many of you know that my friends eventually talked me into joining MySpace, and I did recognize its potential as a way to get to know people. To be entertained. And also, to entertain.

But one day . . . MySpace didn’t seem quite so important. Everyone was talking about Facebook instead. Why? What happened to make MySpace an online graveyard?

Has anyone been back to MySpace lately? Just to see what’s going on? Or even out of morbid curiosity? I have. Anyone else who has, as well, knows what the problem is. Who else is still hanging around MySpace on a regular basis? Whores. MySpace is a society of whores, and that’s where things went wrong.

I’m not talking about spammers. I’m talking about something even more insidious. Let me tell you how things went down for me, and we can compare notes afterward.

I decided, when I joined MySpace as Tusitala (for purposes of my magazine, TABARD INN), that I would befriend anyone who sought me out, provided they weren’t spammers and they were 18 or over. (I only ever broke my second rule twice, and they were exceptions for family members.)

I learned a lot about other publications through MySpace, and as a result, I managed to get published in a few other magazines. Pretty cool, right? I made friends with a lot of fellow writers, many of whom were really nice folks. But then . . . there were a few other writers I noticed who weren’t really interested in making friends.

They were interested in making sales. You know the kind of people I’m talking about. The only time they ever sent out bulletins or posted blogs was when they were trying to sell something.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve promoted stuff through social networks. There’s nothing wrong with that. But when it’s the ONLY thing you do? That makes me suspicious. Also, a bit nauseous. I’m supposed to be talking to people online, not marketing robots.

So when my friends started trying to convince me to join Facebook instead, I gave in. Fuck it, right? Except this time, I decided that I would only befriend people who were actually interested in having fun and getting a laugh out of the online society. No more acceptance of people who were interested only in pimping their shit.

As a result, my use of Facebook (and Twitter, when it comes to that) has been a lot happier.

However, I’m starting to notice something that threatens the haven of Facebook and Twitter. More and more, companies are using social networks to advertise. They offer deals to people only if they send a friend request on Facebook. Get fifty-percent off if you follow us on Twitter.

And sure enough, many of you fall for it. That’s your business. As for me, I’ve pledged never to have any dealings with companies like Bank of America or McDonald’s or Coca-Cola or even Jim Beam online. I’m much happier for it. But I sense a lot of you are going to have a falling out with Facebook over this pretty soon. I can easily see Facebook joining the MySpace society of whores.

I have only one rule when it comes to social networking, and perhaps you can benefit from this: these places exist for making and maintaining friendships, not for making customers. Promote your stuff, but remember to be human. Have an opinion every once in a while. And don’t forget to have a few laughs.

Speaking of opinions, I’d love to hear yours in the comments below.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

COOL SHIT 2-2-12

THE BOYS #63: Listen up, motherfuckers. If you’re not reading this book . . . I’ve failed you. I don’t know what else I can say to get you on board. I think I’ve gushed about every issue of this book since I started doing Cool Shit. Well, if you’re still (somehow) on the fence, there are only two issues left after this one. A shit-ton of longtime characters die in this issue. High profile characters. The Homelander’s plan is finally in full swing as superheroes attack Washington. He does such an efficient job because he has tricked both the Boys and Vought into fighting each other while he goes off and kills a bunch of politicians. Butcher is his usual charming self, while Hughie makes a decision which might damn him. Frenchie suffers a little while the Female . . . well, she kicks the shit out of a lot of people, which makes her very happy. This book is so hot, it scorched my hands while reading it. We’re headed for an all-out, fucked-up, gorefest of an ending. Butcher’s going to Washington, you see, and he’s going to get his longtime wish: a final showdown with the Homelander, the superhero who killed the love of his life. Get your head out of your ass and read this book. It is hands down my favorite ongoing series. I haven’t been so excited about a series since, well, PREACHER.

LOCKE AND KEY: CLOCKWORKS #4: Speaking of books that will end soon . . . although don’t worry. Joe Hill’s not nearly as close to the ending as Garth Ennis is with THE BOYS. (This one has nine issues to go.)  As with the previous issue, we get more of the back story of the Locke family, and what exactly Rendell Locke did that irreparably fucked up his group of friends. The pieces are all falling together. We’re almost ready for the final stretch of this story, now that we know how Caravaggio became the creature in the well. It is Rendell’s final magical act as a child, to create a key that will give all of his friends a piece of magic to carry with them for the rest of their lives, even though it’s forbidden by the rules of the house in which he lives. Wait until you read his plan and how it gets fucked up. In case you couldn’t tell, this is my second favorite ongoing series.  (My third is THE WALKING DEAD, which is nowhere near the end, if ever they reach an ending point.)

And now, before I finish up, I’d like to give you another installment of SHIT SHIT. No, I’m not going to talk about that bullshit INFESTATION 2: TRANSFORMERS book, although I should. They’re actually advertising it as steampunk. The fucking nerve . . . . And I’m not going to talk about the new WINTER SOLDIER book. Doesn’t Brubaker write enough CAPTAIN AMERICA books? He needs another one? No, what I want to discuss is . . .

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO: IDW really needs to bring a stop to this book. I thought it was a cool idea at first, seeing as how my second favorite series when I was a kid was G.I. JOE. Since the title was so popular, why not bring the original series back and pick up where they left off? Well, I now know why not. This is a nostalgia book, nothing more. The stuff that happens in it might have been cool to little-kid me, but it all seems kind of stupid to my adult brain. Also, we have three perfectly good G.I. JOE titles going right now, full of awesome stuff that I occasionally talk about here in Cool Shit. I’ll admit, it’s sometimes fun to see the old Cobra Commander in action, but that alone does not make this a good book. Sorry, Mr. Hama. I genuinely like your stuff, but just not this. Please stop.