Comix Chic

I make no secret of the fact that in the last two years I've fallen hard for comics. I collected as a young teenager in the dawn of the Image days when the market was booming with pomp and circumstance. Though I didn't know it at the time, that was a huge bubble that popped shortly after I started collecting avidly. At one point, there were actually two comic stores across the street from one another in my little suburb town of Lake Oswego and even though I hadn't been in either for a while when it happened, I was sad to see them both close their doors. In one case, the whole building was just knocked down.

The comics I collected in those days were mixed, but it was all super hero stuff. Having re-read almost everything I own in this second coming of comics, a lot of it is crap. Then, I was more obsessed with the habit of collecting. You don't want to know how much money I wasted on sports cards before comics. I didn't even care about those damn things. That was just compulsive. Actually, my grandpa and I would play baseball card rummy: Instead of suits, you'd match cards of people from the same team. A child older than five could have probably read the team name of his opponent's cards from the back.

Anyway, getting back into comics was very much an escapism because I had graduated college, was living at home and wanted to occupy my time. I'd started reading a number of manga in college because I'd caught the anime bug and, most times, wanted to read the source material for series I enjoyed. But my new full-fledged foray into comics came with The Sandman. Without exaggeration, it is the greatest comics achievement ever. From there I hit all the other big name series: Preacher, Concrete, Transmetropolitain, Lucifer, Books of Magic. At the same time, I fostered an appreciation for the alternative scene. My Mom had gotten me a copy of Maus back in my first phase because in her mind it was a way for my love of comics to have some real impact rather than good guy fist meeting bad guy face (she was right, by the way). Daniel Clowes, Paul Pope, Craig Thompson, Jason Lutes, Paul Hornschemeier, Doug TenNapel, Kyle Baker... I've discovered a lot of incredible artists. And you'd better believe I was foaming at the mouth for the McSweeney's comics edition.

But just yesterday I struck gold. I was scanning the comic section at Powell's on Hawthorne when I found the Vol. 2 #1 of Raw Magazine. This is the magazine Art Spiegelman started and where Maus was originally published in serialization. This is from 1989 and it is exactly what the McSweeney's edition is today - just 16 years older and subversive rather than celebratory. I haven't even begun to read it, but let me tell you it's a find. As I was telling the clerk (who frequents my coffee shop) how excited I was, the fellow just down the counter asked me where I found it, hoping there might be other copies. No such luck, fellow. No such luck.


R.I.P. Mpu (April 2-11)

Oh, Mpu, I barely knew you and now you are gone. On the first full day in Costa Rica, where I am currently on holiday, Mpu and his older brother DigiCam were stolen right from under my nose. The subject is still sore, so I won't elaborate. But the fact remains, my tiny, wonderful and expensive digital toys are gone. Is this a sign from God? Am I not meant to partake of his technological spledor? Should I shave my head and become some manner of ascetic, spending my days in contemplation of non-technology (aka "nature")? I hope not.

The larger question remains, will there be an Mpu2? The ipod is never something I coveted, and yet, having just barely tasted the possibilities it presents, I may be hooked. The camera is a no-brainer, though I may take some time to consider different models. But I just don't know... Either way, I'll spend some time generating the funds to cover my losses. If I knew how to start pity pay pal donations, I might do such a thing because I have now gotten my first comments from "anonymous" readers, meaning some people might actually be reading this on occasion. Particular thanks to those wonderful people. And for the rest of you, as always,

Thank you for reading.


The continued saga of Mpu

Can I just say how much I love craigslist?

The ads I placed with my tale of ipod case woe actually got a response from a kindly man willing to GIVE me an extra skin he had just lying around. So I went an picked it up from him on Thursday where he works, which was mere blocks from the house I grew up at in the burbs. And you know what? It's exactly the skin I was looking for. I was expecting some gaudy pink monstrosity - which in itself would be awesome because of the story - but instead it is sleek and clear and has that part that covers the input so you don't get it all linty in your pocket. Fantastic.

To further the wheel of karma, I turned right around and offered the skin I mistakenly purchased for free. Not an hour later, someone claimed it and I will pass it on to them today. Of course, he works at Vinton studios, just a block away from my coffee shop. I've probably made him crepes before. This is out of the whole craigslist community. Think of the odds.

I tell you all of this to prove a point: I believe the universe is random, but there sure are a lot of coincidences. But more importantly, there are a lot of kind people.

Thank you for reading.


I pod, therefore...

I have joined the anti-social elite by finally obtaining an ipod musical device. I have named it "Mpu" after the AI satellite in episode nine of Cowboy Bebop, my favorite anime series. Dorky, yes. But not nearly as dorky as the fact that you can also use Mpu as an anagram for Music Player Unit. Wow. I am a such a nerd.

But not only am dorky, I'm also stupid. Because I want to protect my investment (thankyouverymuch) I went to purchase a nice rubbery case to keep Mpu safe. Firstly, let me say I'm dreadfully disappointed with the selection of such accessories. I there is no perfect combination of features. The either have the screen protector AND an annoying clip, or neither. And the colors suck. AND their overpriced starting at $20. So, after settling on a clipless model assuming I could figure some way to also protect the screen, I now realize it is for the 40gig model, where I have the 20gig. I'm not foolish enough to mistakenly purchase a "mini" accessory, but nobody told me the normal ipod models were different sizes! Sigh.

So, not that this will help at all because nobody sees this, I have made a few posts at craigslist to emplore the good people of Portland to bail me out. But should you stumble on this and feel generous/helpful, I'd love any assistance. Honestly, it's not a huge deal. But it's the principle of the thing.

Thank you for reading.


Ding Dong...

Well, the Pope is dead. I have absolutely no moral feelings on this either way. The simple fact is, I am no longer last in the celebrity death pool I'm in. Sadly, it's not like this tragic loss came without expectation, so I've a ways to go before taking the lead. If Jack Osbourne kicks it though, I'll net three points for unexpected checking-out. Honestly, though. I'm not sure how Courtney awarded each person point values. I think it's purely age, which is a little boring. A mutually agreed upon scale of likelihood would have been better.

Moving on to exciting news of the living, last night I had the pleasure of seeing one of my pet bands, alaska! The exclamation point is part of the name, as is the lower case "a", both of which made them a bitch to write about the two times I've put them in various newspapers. This is was my third time seeing them, and sadly the least fulfilling. They were only allowed a 30 minute set at the beginning of a concert for Ash and The Bravery, both of whom I knew nothing about prior to last night. Though I was unfulfilled by the show, I was able to pick up a pre-release copy of their second album. My first impressions are that it lacks the variety of moods shown on their first album, but it does go more passionately into dark and mystic sounds. The lead singer/guitarist Imaad Wassif comes off as a moody, fragile fellow with explosive energy and capable of channeling his emotions into his music with hypnotic effect. The man is literally a scarecrow and as he thrashes about on stage, I am deeply concerned he will break himself.

Another blogger I read was at the show for Ash, and he described alaska! as "dismal." This first struck me as an insult, but honestly it is dismal music. I suppose that's just its appeal to me. And just as I wasn't enthralled with Ash because they are totally new to me, he was unimpressed with alaska!. The way my head works, I need to decide I like something. I'm rarely moved by pure emotion and taken with something in the moment. There must be a process. An introduction followed by a courtship and then, after many many flowers, love.

Thank you for reading.