When desirous of a means of getting insight into a person’s mindset and where they are any given point in time, I’ve always thought it would be a good idea to go through their journal.
The taboo nature of going through someone’s recounting of their day and their innermost thoughts and desires relative to it.
The only electronic text whereupon we get that same level of taboo connection is sadly after some sort of tragedy. Whether it’s Leelah Alcorn’s suicide note, or some white devil cracker motherfucker’s manifesto after shooting strangers, we only get horrible receipts of pain and anguish. Only after the fact, when it’s too late. I think it’s an innately American flavor of schadenfreude, where the fine notes are the way You: The Intelligent And All-Knowing can shed light on this scenario after it’s been picked apart by others.
Fuck that shit, I’m too narcissistic to care about other people’s takes on events. I’m pretty set in my outlook. I interrogate myself.
I look around my life and say, do I have such receipts? I’ve deleted a great deal of my electronic writing and the like from earlier in my life. Someone could hunt it down. Even that shit was a cipher though. As a writer, it’s hard to do diaries. There’s something else I could write that would be a better use of time, or means with which to become better at dealing with whatever is bugging me at the time. Why bother?
What about actual receipts then? A good look at who I was at the time and what I was after sorta festers in the piles of single issue covers and paperbacks and hardbacks of comics. No matter what state I’d be living in, it was a fair guess to say I’d grab one graphic novel at minimum.
So let’s start a series where we’ll look at those. They’re like tombstones, effigies and signal fires that kinda elucidate on who I was and what I’m about and where I was going. Other times, they were Gay Jack Off Fantasies. Who among us is without sin??
The New Avengers Annual
Marvel Comics: Brian Michael Bendis, Olivier Coipel
This cover got signed at one of Brian Michael Bendis’ few comic book convention appearances. At the time I looked like a sad twink, and while retaining these traits to this day they were pretty much raging back then. This comic proves that at some point Luke Cage was doing great… before the event Civil War. Eventually, Luke would become a rebellious leader of the superheroes resisting being registered on a superhero list for training and deputization by S.H.I.E.L.D. which is basically completely sensible, as he is probably the only black man who doesn’t fear being shot, given he is impervious to damages. It does not seem prudent to, you know, go along with being on a list and monitored. But that all comes later. Right now he’s a member of the Avengers, and the wedding is relegated to the end of the issue. It’s some of Coipel’s uh… weaker pencils. Stan Lee officiates their wedding I guess. Jessica and Luke have had a baby by this annual and Jessica reflects on the nature of words’ meanings, while rejoicing that their wedding hasn’t been attacked. Luke smiles a lot. Comics!
This was a time where Marvel was The Shit. It was also a budding moment of loving minutiae and hating its utter and complete nonexistence in cape comics. How come there ain’t cape comics where Captain America would love to fight but some sort of Super Constipation just waylaid dude? The world hangs in the balance while an erstwhile Avenger is just WebMD’ing ways to solve Steve Rogers’ Super Soldier Serum Enhanced Anus not being able to expel poop. If they can’t find out, The World Is Doomed. Who else would lead the Avengers. Bucky?!
Anyhow, yeah. Events comics just seemed to fill some sort of void video games couldn’t in the sense that a degree of imagination is needed to make cape comics work as an adult, and seem serious inside your mind. It’s a bunch of perverts with their genitals snugly wrapped in composite rubber and pleather.
I’m not saying that “to read comics is to become that asshole” but hey you know, I didn’t get laid a whole lot in those days. It was a time of getting drunk and playing Team Fortress 2, working in government buildings installing wire as a private contractor and proceeding to consume more alcohol until—one night.
It was a Ventrilo room, I think. Yeah. I got a bunch of comics from my pull box, ate 3 “Go Fuck Yourself” Double Quarter Pounders and drank moonshine/Gatorade. I played Civilization 4 with a friend from Germany. Moments later I vomited and saw fit to deem the vacuum cleaner as the best way to clean that mess.
Again, I’m not blaming superhero comics for this? On the other hand its hard to imagine that happening to someone that didn’t read a whole arc of New Avengers.
Kick Drum Comix #2
I bought this comic for my friend Jake, and had it signed by Jim Mahfood. It was at the same convention as above. Jake is a nice guy. I’m pretty sure he knows Japanese, and may be able to do interpreter work. I don’t know, it’s been awhile; I hope he’s doing okay out there. That convention in Seattle was nice. Matt Fraction complimented my Where Brooklyn At shirt. I had a misprint of Scalped that Jason Aaron signed and then asked where I got it. Bruce Timm told really bad jokes. Frank Cho was talking about ass shots while signing a huge pile of books, which I’m guessing were his collected drawing of asses from many different franchises, as well as originally conceived asses.
I have never read Kick Drum Comix. It looked interesting. It’s dog eared now and I feel like an asshole. I have never consistently been able to give it to Jake. Every time I visit and see him I’m incredibly drunk and boom, fall asleep somewhere. It’s like a depressing party trick.
Multiple Warheads: Downfall
This is a comic by prolific comic artist Brandon Graham, which has a bunch of stories that focus on a character named Sexica. That’s a cool ass name but in the same token that’s a fuckin’ dumb ass name. Does she like sex? Yeah, yeah I think that is a safe bet. She smuggles organs. I remember buying this from an ex’s comic shop and the guy behind the counter was really insisting I buy the huge collection of either….Multiple Warheads or King City. That guy was going too hard at me when I was pretty adamant about what I was gonna buy.
I was openly doing the woman thing and it was really a mixed bag. For all I’m told about the West Coast being super tolerant, I had a bad go at things and my life was turning into a fucked to death multiple pile up with no survivors.
This comic was a good reprieve. It’s an early example of Graham doing smaller, contemplative storytelling and also some great hardcore porn featuring a werewolf man. Sexica gives her boyfriend a second cursed werewolf penis after smuggling it in an Asshole Device. It’s actually one of my favorite drawn instances of a girl getting a double stuff (if you actually need this explained to you, its when there’s a phallus of some sort stuck in both the butthole and the vagina hole) At some point there’s a 9/11 joke. There’s some sketches at the end I dug. Marian Churchland’s realistic take on Sexica and Nikoli. His art has a lot of great manga sensibilities while also being very, very dense and loaded with small details which range between innuendo and fart/poop jokes. It’s very difficult to walk away from that collection of images in a bad mood.
Bad moods were abound that year. I did survival sex work and man, I don’t recommend it. I don’t remember wearing much that wasn’t from thrift stores and eating much that wasn’t from food banks. Lately, I sorta recount what led to that and now to my present day exile in rural Michigan. This state sucks ass. The point of reference is always comics, always extended sessions of staring, wondering where you’ll wind up, or who you’ll wind up as.
I’m pretty happy with how the latter’s gone, to a point.
Comics have their own case to make to me, nowadays. I dropped out of purchasing them in the last, what, five years? Shit wasn’t polarizing enough for me. Nothing stuck out. Getting old means you sort of refine what you’re about? As wishy washy as you once might’ve been, you can really commit to something you care about, you settle less.
Maturity is overrated though. Moving forward with this, I kinda want to go back to a time where I couldn’t make a solid decision. That’s more interesting than when you’re confident. Much in the same way you identify with Spider-Man, that’s where you’ll find the stuff you like seeing others experience. Where I’m at now, anytime I look back at this it’s not at myself but instead a familiar person. I can’t wrap my mind around the decisions they’d make, or how, in retrospect.
Though, I kinda like looking back and seeing how he’d squirm.