Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hey! Go to this show!

Bang Camaro plus Leslie and Sound and Fury at the Double Door (1572 N Milwaukee Ave), today, Thursday September 25th in Chicago, Illinois. Doors at 8:00, show at 9:00, a mere $10 to get in... how can you go wrong?

I should mention I am performing it in. For real this time. ROCK!

Also, Bang Camaro just posted a new song at their MySpace called "She's Gone Critical"... I'm pretty sure I heard this song during soundcheck on their last tour and they referred to it as "Girlfriends in Space," which in my opinion is a cooler title... but it's a sweet song no matter what. You can hear it at

Anyway, hope to see you at the show!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'd like to announce a new blog project.

I'd like to. But I've got nothin'.


Okay, sorry. Here we go:

I was talking to my friend and fellow Chicago Camaro Choir (C3?) member Andy over the weekend, and he mentioned that he was thinking about starting up a blog specifically for and about C3 (yes!) members and goings-on. I told him that I thought this was a stellar idea, and he ran with it, making the excellent Chicago Camaro blog at There's already a few posts up there, mostly recapping the awesome events of Lollapalooza that, if you read my blog, you'll know I missed out on (and I totally made peace with that but, not gonna lie, the fact that they got to meet KG makes me more than a little jealous).

In the future, you will probably see posts from me on that blog over yonder, and I'll definitely keep up some Camaro posting over here as well. So please add it to your "favorite blogs" list if you have one... or make such a list and then add it if you don't. The link will also be over on the right-hand side of this blog permanently (as soon as I finish this post, that is).

And since we're on the topic, I thought I should pimp a few more of the blogs that I've taken up reading since my first post on the matter when I started this here blog. So, with puns a-blazin, here's a few more reads you might want to check out:

- For news on the comics industry and pop culture in general, this blog can't be beat. (Sorry, that one's kind of obvious, but honestly I consider this site, part of the Publisher's Weekly webring, essential reading for anyone interested in the comic business. And it updates a ton!)

- Found by following a link on the above site, I am totally awesomed by this blog. (That one was even more obvious. What can I say? These are easy names to work with. It was harder to work in the actual names of my friends like in the first post... but I don't personally know the people who do these blogs).

Alright, to make up for it, I'll try one for me.

- This guy may not Garknow too much, but I like it when he posts funny videos.

How was that?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jesus Christ, how about some good news?

I mean, I would really like to hear something positive right now. Between the stock market plummeting, Hurricane Ike, houses exploding in Munster, and Frank Miller single-handedly trying to destroy comics, is there anything freaking happy to say about the world? I feel like Adrian at the end of Watchmen, sitting in front of his massive display of TVs, looking at all of the shit going on and knowing that one way or another, catastrophe is coming.

I actually went to and typed in "is there any good news?" on a whim. And it sent me to this site, the Good News Network. Top story: "Toyota Joins Climate Group to Cut Corporate Greenhouse Gases."

Well, it's not much. But it's a start.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Goodbye! Metallica am very good band!!!

Death Magnetic am not released today. Me am so very excited! Me did not know they could ever release something more exciting than St. Anger, but now me don't see it!

Me admit, me not crazy about early Metallica. Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and ... And Justice For All am boring, simple, tuneless records. But they am really start to turn it around with black album!

... Okay, me must admit, me kind of hate Load. But me cannot get enough of Reload (Maryanne Faithful's voice is heavenly!!!). Then they am not release Garage Inc., which was artistic but dull, and then S&M, which was completely necessary and skinny!

But then. Best album am ever released come out. St. Anger. Me am never spent me money on something so full of driving rhythms, excellent solos, and precise, meaningful songwriting. St. Anger am masterpiece! Me love St. Anger so much, me listen to it every day since me buy it! Me think that St. Anger a sign that Metallica should continue making music forever and ever.

That why me so excited about Death Magnetic. Me am cannot wait to hear how it continues the subtle themes set up in St. Anger. Me am going to go wait in line at store to buy it right now!!! Me will listen to it for the rest of me life!

Metallica rocks!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Here are some things I learned from Las Vegas.

1. The two best places to eat in Las Vegas if you are not rich are Ellis Island for the $6.95 steak dinner and the Rio Carnival World buffet. I actually already thought this already, but this trip confirmed it.

2. It can rain in Las Vegas. Seen it with me own eyes, I did.

3. The Bellagio has a really nice display of flowers in its lobby. ... What?!

4. Fort Wayne is an infinitely worse place for a retailer summit. The two Diamond summits we've gone to in the past were way more gaming-focused than this one, probably because Alliance Game Distributors is based out of Fort Wayne. At this summit, people actually talked about things we care for... COMICS! Also the free swag was geared a lot more toward a store like ours. And there was TALENT. On hand for the weekend: Brian Michael Bendis, Billy Tucci, Terry Moore and Jimmy Palmiotti. Which leads me to point four...

5. Jimmy Palmiotti is an incredibly awesome guy. I'm not a real big fan of his writing, I must admit (Countdown soured me on a LOT of people). But he's a really good artist, and on top of it, he may be the nicest comics professional I've ever met. He was signing promo copies of his new Jonah Hex issue at the DC booth Monday and I sheepishly asked him if he wouldn't mind signing my Kevin Smith Daredevil trade, which he did the art for. Not only did he sign the thing but, without me even asking, he drew a sketch of Daredevil on the front inside cover! It was incredible, man. Jimmy Palmiotti, you rock.

6. Indie comics need more support. This summit filled me with an intense desire to stock more Dark Horse, Image, and other third-party titles. I think it's partially because these companies make a real effort to talk to the retailers, explain where they're coming from, and help us out with promotional material. Dark Horse, especially, are great guys with great products. The company that impressed me the most, though, was...

7. Radical Comics needs to be famous now. I'd venture most of us haven't even heard of Radical Comics. That is a sin that Stand-Up Comics intends to rectify post-haste. Radical's only had a couple series out thus far... Hercules and Caliber, a western retelling of the Arthurian story. Take a look at these books. From a purely visual standpoint, they are beautiful. Radical was kind enough to give us free copies of the complete series so we can read them and see how the story is, but I'm guessing from the level of care they put into their product that it is awesome as well. They have a lot of great books coming down the pipeline, which Stand-Up will be carrying and promoting. On top of that they are really superb people that truly care about the business and are also very friendly (they even gave me some fantasy football tips... in fact I didn't understand what a RB/WR truly was til I talked to some of their staff). It is a mark of a really invested business that when they ran out of free copies of their books Monday, they had someone drive up from LA with a truckload to pass out on Tuesday. I'd have to say that Radical had the most impressive showing at the Vegas Summit. On the other end there is...

8. Marvel Comics just doesn't care about retailers. They had almost zero presence at this show, including a booth that had but two folded-up promo posters thrown across it, and almost no staff. They will make excuses as to why their booth was completely empty all weekend. "There was miscommunication with Diamond" was the party line. Hm. Well, they knew when the show was, and they knew when their PEOPLE should be there... why not their display? And if Radical, a super-indie company, can have their guys drive free shit out to Vegas on a few hours' notice, can't Marvel do a little something? Listen, I felt a little bad for Marvel because they totally got attacked at breakfast on Tuesday (the supplier Q&A)... late books was the topic, and the crowd of retailers was angrily yelling that editors need to do their jobs better, even being fired if they miss a deadline for a death in the family or something like that. That is a little extreme, but it does touch on the point that Marvel, as a company, does not seem to have their shit together. And it's really telling that the rep Marvel sent to this convention, David Gabriel, would not address the issue of late books at all, instead passing the buck to editorial. Well, David, you're the rep to the stores here. You need to be able to say something other than "it's not my fault," which is really all you were interested in saying... about anything. The thing is that Marvel has us by the balls because almost every comics store anywhere has a devoted throng of Marvel Zombies banging at their doors for the latest drawn-out crossover. But if Marvel was an indie company, I'd say they'd be doomed to failure. Thumbs down.

9. DC has a really interesting Sgt. Rock series coming out. I never would have thought I'd want to read a Sgt. Rock book, but here we are. Billy Tucci's got a series in the works about a group of Japanese soldiers from WW2 that have to go in and save Rock and co. when they get trapped in a bad place. It's called Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion. This is based on a truly story of a Japanese regiment that always got the shit jobs because that's what the US government thought they were good for in that era. The amazing thing is that, to help promote this book, Tucci and DC brought a couple of this regiment's surviving members, and one of them even signed promotional posters with Tucci. I'm not gonna lie, this was really moving... and damn good promotion too.

10. I think I can tell prostitutes apart from other scantily-clad women. I'm gonna say it's the high-heels. Not many people would choose to wear high-heels while walking down the Strip, right?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I love Las Vegas.

I seriously fucking love it. Like, it's my favorite vacation spot that has ever existed ever ever. And I'm leaving for there tomorrow morning at about 6:15 AM... hooray! The sweetest thing is that I'm going for work because there's a comic book retailer conference running September 7-9, so I get to charge almost the whole trip to the company credit card (which, yes, is kind of like using my own money, but it just feels better). I won't be playing poker with the company's money, but I could... apparently gambling can be a tax write-off because it can be construed as "networking." Ah, tax loopholes.

I noticed something weird earlier, while trying to figure out if I can make all my luggage carry-on (I can!), and I thought I would share. On the website of the TSA (the Transportation Security Administration... a branch of the federal government) they have a neat little table that lists questionable items and whether or not it's okay to bring them on the plane. You can see it here (and it's nice to see that there are very few "no"s). One of the weirdest items on the list, though, is a category called "Toy Transformer Robots."

Really. Go look at the link. Go ahead. You'll see it.

Now, Transformer toys are permitted on planes (thank God!). But the weird thing is... why is this an issue? Like, the only other toy items listed are toy guns, and this is a totally reasonable question when it comes to whether or not these should be on planes. But Transformers? Who actually lost sleep over whether or not it was okay for their kid (/24-year-old business partner) to bring his newly-acquired Universe Galvatron toy on the plane? This is just so weird.

On the other hand... would you want THIS on your airplane?

See you in a few days!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Awesome news: Super Mario RPG is now available on the Wii Virtual Console!

This makes me really happy. Do you guys remember this game? It is wicked fun. Me and a few friends were obsessed with it in junior high. As you might have garnered from my earlier post on (Final) Fantasy Football, I am a bit of an RPG nerd. I am also a Nintendo nerd (there's a reason the Wii was the first of the current-gen systems I bought--I love Nintendo's characters!). So combining the two... how can you go wrong?

I mean, really. I thought maybe there was some nostalgia-colored glasses making me love this game, but I just spent about an hour playing it, and it truly does a great job, in my opinion, of combining the Mario franchise with tropes of an RPG. Everything from play style right down to the music is an interesting mix of these two worlds. And it's a Square game from the 90s, which probably means it's excellent anyway (among my top five video games is Final Fantasy VI/III US, released by Square in 1994... this decade also saw Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Evermore, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy Tactics, Xenogears, Chrono Cross, and Final Fantasy VIII... okay, let's forget about that last one).

And this game was more or less unavailable to those of tiny pocketbooks until a couple days ago... a quick search of eBay shows it's gonna cost you about $50 to gamble on a used copy and $100 to get a mint-in-package version. Of course it's only $8 on the Wii. This is, obviously, a steal.

Nine times out of ten, if you ask me what I think the best current-gen gaming console is, I'll say XBox 360... which is probably the right answer. But the Wii definitely has its benefits, and the virtual console is one of the big ones. The ability to play classic games for relatively cheap is pretty stellar, especially when it's classic games you haven't seen for years. Good job on this one, Nintendo.