Monday, December 31, 2007

Reflections On 2007

That's it. We now sit on the last day of 2007 wondering where the hell did the year go. I have no answer as to where it went, but I can remember some of the highlights for me, and I'm not interested in the low-lights, so don't even bring them out. Sadly though we lost a few on the way, James Kemsley is still a raw wound in a lot of minds, Marshall Rogers left a void that can't be filled along with others. So, in no order at all, here's some of the things that made 2007 something to remember for me.


Without a doubt Ben Cousins. Rarely has an Australian footballer flown so high and fallen so far and with a resounding thud. Still he isn't the only one to screw up, and let's face it, drugs aren't as bad as rape or assault, yet some footballers can do both and not only are they retained on a squad, but are lauded as champions of the game - go figure. Arrested in Perth on drugs charges, Cousins was dragged before the public sans his shirt, with his tattoo fully in sight. Going from the reaction of virtually every female I know and a lot I don't, Benny would do well to market these shots as posters. They have everything, hard body, bad boy being led into the cells, drugs, you name it, it's there. Put it out Benny, you'd make it to more walls in female bedrooms than paint.


Two way tie. Forget the majors. Marvel's Civil War just dragged on far too long and had a totally bizarre ending. Add to that the fact that now Marvel want everyone to believe that their favourite heroes are potential Skrulls just adds insult to injury. DC fired their shots with 52 and Countdown. Again, too long and too convoluted. If you missed an issue then you were lost. It makes me wonder, if Stan Lee and Jack Kirby pitched the Galactus trilogy today then they'd need at least a twelve issue mini-series, plus related spin-offs, to tell a story they wrapped up in about two and a bit issues. Sad really.

For my money the comics I enjoyed the most came from people I know. Danger's Dozen #1 was well worth the wait. Interesting story to leap onto and stellar art by Norm Breyfogle. Publisher First Salvo is onto a winner here and I can't wait to see the remainder of the series and beyond. With a host of artists lined up for further projects, including Alan Weiss, Bob Almond, Ron Frenz, Bart Sears and many more, the Salvos are only going to get stronger in the market place. I urge everyone to get behind them and read the comics - you'll not regret it.

Clifford Meth had given me the heads up on Snaked a while back. I'd seen nothing about it and managed to get issue #1 last week. It's exactly what I expected from Meth, confronting in parts, foul language and scenes that made me squirm. Add to the mix some stunning art by the all too talented Rufus Dayglo, all housed inside a cover by Ashley Wood and you'll see why you can't go wrong. Forget the over-hyped, poorly drawn and written crap issued by the majors, go down the road to the smaller companies and get some genuine gems.


Hard call. The Joshua Tree box set came out recently and it's amazing. Led Zeppelin's The Song Remains The Same remastered box set is far better than I expected. Both are worthy, but for my money this prize goes to U2's Popmart DVD. Coming on the heels of one of the bands better albums, Pop, and let's face it, it's probably their last great album despite some fans, including the band, attacking it as poorly conceived, poorly executed and with bad songs. However any album with material like Gone, Do You Feel Loved, Mofo, Wake Up Dead Man, Please, Staring At The Sun - you get the idea - is always going to be a killer and Pop remains a genuine highlight in U2's recording career. The resulting tour, for all it's flaws, was an exercise in flash and glitter and it was always going to be near impossible to get anywhere near the sight and sound assault that was ZooTV, but the music was there and it was entertaining. You walked away from a Popmart concert knowing you got your moneys worth. These days the band tour with a minimalistic set, charge extraordinary amounts of money while preaching about poverty, well you get the idea. The Popmart DVD shows a band on their last great tour.


I'm only going on what I've done here mind you. The interview that I was the happiest with posting was an interview that I didn't actually do - the Vinnie Colletta interview. It landed in my lap, it was transcribed and copy-edited and it caused a huge stir all over the internet. It gave a great insight into the inner workings of Marvel at that point in time and I'm sure it upset a few people, in fact I know it did, which is what a good interview/article is supposed to do. Great stuff really and I'm looking to speak to Jim Shooter at any stage to get his views on things.

I was more than happy with the Larry Lieber interview. It showed Larry as being a man who's often overshadowed by his more famous sibling, and I was told that it captured Larry perfectly. To have people email, people who've known Larry for longer than I can imagine, telling me that was icing on the cake. Other interviews that I loved doing included Bob Budiansky (because I've always wanted to speak to him), Norm Breyfogle and Steve Mitchell (both alone and together), my close pal Alan Kupperberg, Fred Hembeck, Frank Springer and frankly everyone I've spoken to! I'll be continuing interviewing people and posting the results, for free, for as long as people are reading them.


Charles M Schulz by David Michaelis. It upset a lot of people, especially the Schulz family, and on reading it it's easy to see why. After six years of research and working with the Schulz family things didn't come out exactly as the family intended. Instead the book showed Schulz as a man who was unsure of himself, who flirted with girls and who had the odd affair. So what? In short it showed Schulz to be all too human and not a myth. It was a cracking read and I enjoyed it, and I'm still buying the Peanuts books.


Everyone! Seriously, I only had a few encounters this year with idiots both in person and on-line, and in each case I stuck to my guns and told them what I think of them. To be fair I've not reduced myself to the level of the gutter, unlike some people I know, and attacked shoddy work, poor quality books and material not worth the money. It'd be very easy and often the time has arisen when I've wanted to, but I've held off. One more push from a few people though and I will unleash, but there's a whole year for that.

So, again in no order at all, these people, and more, are my people of the year.

My darling other half - without whom etc etc etc
Kat and Geoffrey - my biggest supporters
The Friday Night Drunks - they know who they are, so do the temperance societies.
Mah gurl Michelle, for being a right royal pain at times.
The Alans - Kupperberg and Weiss - always challenging, always there with the right words at the right times. Without them life would be far less interesting.
Norm Breyfogle - as close as I've gotten to anyone on-line. Norm is a brother to me and part of our family, even to the point where we can now properly argue...heh
Clifford Meth - damn good guy.
Michael Netzer - for being Michael Netzer. If I have to explain that then you'll never understand it.
Steven Bove - he knows why. May it only get stronger and more notorious.
Thad Branco - for getting me while I was down and making me see that one pack of idiots do not beat anyone.
Peter and Mike - they put the fun into going into a comic store again, plus there's no-one else I'd dress up in a Chewbacca suit for.
Kevin Patrick, Spiros Xenos, Peter Ivan and Robert Thomas - they continue to push and encourage me to hit goals. Guys, that book will be happening this year.
Steve Cohen - for making the Gene Colan list fun again. And to clarify for the two people who fail to understand, I never said never, I just said not while a certain idiot was running the list.
Everyone I've spoken to, interacted with and interviewed, including, but not limited to, Dave Simons, Bob Budiansky, Fred Hembeck, Frank Springer, Tony Isabella, Jimmy T, Mark McKenna (where's that interview man?), Bob Almond, Tim Townsend, Bob McLeod and the entire Inkwell mailing list, Steve Rude, Alan Grant, Paul Neary, Ron Wilson, Jeff Jaworski, Al Bigley, Dick Giordano and a host of others. Without you guys doing what I do would be a lot harder, and the support that I've been given has been appreciated more than I can ever fully express.

Onwards and upwards people. Let's make 2008 something to remember. Bring it on!

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