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Now Thatís Rich 5 - Your Talk Of Teeth Upsets Me

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Welcome to another installment of whatís turning out to be the most enjoyable part of my day. What is that you say? The column? Thatís right, the column. This thing is more fun to write than well, anything. Iíd like to hear from you so please e-mail and post on the message boards. Currently you can post messages under the Silver Soapbox section (link at the bottom of the column) and you can e-mail me by clicking the link with my name above. Iíd very much like to read what you guys have to say about the stuff I cover or just general comics stuff. As Iíve pointed out (on more than one occasion) in this column pretty much anything goes as long as itís not harmful to the eyes. Indeed, itís very important that itís not.




I got an unexpected call from a friend of mine today. Iíd never talked to her on the phone before and I noticed how different she sounded on the phone than in person. Just a little observation I made that I found interesting. Anyways, I thought about it and I found that the reason for that must be that when youíre around people you know, you donít pay attention to the sound of their voice. The phone changes all that as when youíre talking to someone on the phone you have only one voice to listen to and you do so intently. I donít know if Iím making any sense, but listen to peopleís voices, their intonation, how the way words are arranged when they speak and incorporate it into your stories. Stephen King and Brian Michael Bendis come to mind as being very good at recreating the way people talk. Itís a good tool to making your stories that little bit more authentic. That is, if thatís the angle youíre going for. Lots of stories work with dialogue thatís not realistic but is still extraordinarily well done. The 1960s Batman TV series comes to mind (which we can indeed call extraordinary).




Damn, I should turn down the music thatís blaring from my speakers, I canít think to U2ís ďPride (In The Name Of Love)Ē. Oh, good itís almost over. A couple columns ago I promised you a bus ride story. I rarely take the bus anywhere since everywhere I go is close to my house (seems kind of lame in retrospect). The story goes that I was traveling with a friend of mine to this East Asian Mall to pick up some discount CDs and movies and as we step onto the bus, the bus driver starts yelling at us, telling us that our transfers canít be used on this line. Surprised (and mildly disgusted at the cityís transport system for hiring people who yell at you) I yell back at him saying that we always get a transfer on this line and itís always fine. He scratches his head and then starts cursing under his breath and letís us get on. On the way back, surprise surprise we get the same bus driver. Remembering us, he doesnít even give us a glance when we enter. His spider sense mustíve gone off when we came onboard as all he says is, ďyou donít have to payĒ. I, being the infrequent commuter that I am was quite surprised but I realized his reasoning several hours later. ďIs there a point to this story?Ē I hear you asking. As usual, there is. Donít let people treat you like youíre worthless. And that ladies and gentlemen is the bus ride story. You learn more and more about people everyday it seems.




Speaking of people, I was at the dentistís a few weeks ago. Now thereís people whom you just love to hate. Oh, sure they mean well, with all their talk of: your teeth look so much better routine but thereís always a hint of disgust in their voice like here comes another fuck whose brushing sucks. Dentists and related personnel also just love shining that excessively bright reflective light at you (more into your eyes than anything) with an evil glint in their eyes that says: look who has the power now, bitch and then afterwards they hit you with a big fucking bill. I was there for a painstaking forty-five minutes and they charged me something like a hundred fifty bucks! The insurance pays for half of it or so but still, they make tonnes of money. They donít even do most of the work; a nurse or a hygienist or whatever you call them does. Iíve always been impartial to dentists since my Mom was one. Since she quit, I just said screw it and went on a verbal rampage against their wicked ways. Anyways, Iím beginning to understand why a dentistís talk of teeth upsets most people. They treat their jobs like itís some kind of religion; with their strange talk and the way they make you keep your jaw open for half an hour. Itís quite upsetting indeed.




Some notes of interest this week on the comic front. The first is that The Ultimates shipped a month and two weeks since the last installment instead of the usual two months. Iím glad that this title is getting back on track. I just donít get what people are bitching about. Every issue thus far has made me either laugh or contemplate the material. The slow pace, the detailed characterization, the character motivations, the generally intriguing plot and the fantastic artwork, which is always beautifully realized and is always worth the wait. I never thought I could find a mainstream comic (or any comic for that matter) that blends all these so well. I was a little iffy two issues ago with the new aliens direction Millarís going in, but this latest issue focusing on the Waspís pain and Captain Americaís old ways of doing things that donít work anymore in present day society was neat. Thatís some great characterization I wish I could see more of in comics. If you donít care about the characters you wonít (for the most part) be moved by the plot, no matter how well crafted. The only other comic that I find that same level of characterization and inventiveness in is Grant Morrisonís New X-Men.

Come to think of it, more and more books are being dropped from my list. Batman thus far hasnít interested me in the least, but Iíll give it a few more issues, 100 Bullets reads better in trades, as the plot is so complicated I always ended up reading a few back issues before I could start the new one, and unfortunately Tangled Web was recently cancelled. Now there was a book that turned out some great stories every month. You might horribly bash me for thinking Batman is a dull book but the thing is, I donít have any attachment to the character since I didnít grow up reading North American comics. Itís purely entertainment and I loathe such things. I greatly enjoy stories that are very entertaining but beneath all that it has to have something more. Why so? Simply because entertainment in general is so expensive these days, you gotta know where to best spend your hard earned money.

This year is Vertigoís ten-year anniversary. Throughout the years theyíve published a lot of great books and have pushed some unique, original and oftentimes controversial stories into publishing. Myself, being the fan that I am of many Vertigo books recently went out and picked up their ten year anniversary preview, Vertigo X and was surprised by a few of their upcoming publications. Letís take a look at some, shall we?

First off is Neil Gaimanís highly anticipated new graphic novel Endless Nights, which is a collection of short stories about the different Endless characters, somewhat featured, but never really looked at in depth in the original Sandman run. The previews throughout the book arenít very long but give you a decent impression of what to expect. In this case, the writing is very nice; in the narrative style that Gaimanís known for. Suffice to say, at least from the previews, it looks very good and has some neat imagination. The art again is a hit and miss for me with Manaraís painted artwork coming off as the most attractive than the other two featured here. But never the less, Sandman has never really been a focus on the artistic side of things but on the great plots and dialogue. Thereís also a rather long interview with the man himself after the preview.

Some other cool previews include Dave Gibbonís new graphic novel The Originals. Itís nice to see his art again and here at least from the previews it looks very stylized, very dark and gritty and the writing is well done too. Not a lot of artists can write well, and vice versa. Exceptions to the rule are John Byrne and Frank Miller (discounting the Dark Knight Strikes Again stuff, mustíve been blind when he drew that). The preview doesnít give much of the story though but it looks very cool. The other thing that interested me was a new graphic novel by Warren Ellis called Orbiter, which didnít really have a full-length preview. The only reason it looks interesting is because Iíve enjoyed reading all his work and he has yet to disappoint, especially when heís writing sci-fi. There are also some rather humorous Warren Ellis, Brian K. Vaughan, Peter Milligan, Dave McKean and Garth Ennis interviews. And some more previews youíll have to go check out for yourself. A lot of stuff in there looks interesting. Itís time to start saving my money. Itís good to see Vertigoís not changing in terms of quality control over the next year.




Next column, Iíll be getting all philosophical with the meaning of life (not the Monty Python movie mind you), some time travel theories I have (and some good time travel comics, books and movies that you must go read and watch).

On a completely unrelated note, Iím writing this on Monday and U.S. President Bush has just revealed his 48 hour plan. Scary stuff.

Have a good week and Iíll see you in two.

R.F.


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