Archives for the month of: July, 2013

weiner

A friend of mine suggested several popular figures for me to depict as pandas. Among her suggestions was NYC mayoral candidate and sexting champion Anthony Weiner, depicted here with his incredibly supportive wife Huma Abedin. If you are interested in seeing more of Weiner, you may want to check out these graphic images of his penis. If you are not interested in seeing his penis, I strongly suggest you don’t click on that link and click on this link instead. While drawing the disgraced politician, the Flaming Lips’ “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song” came on and it got me thinking about the Flaming Lips, no strangers to sharing pictures of weiners, and I came up with a little play on the Yeah Yeah Yeah Song.

flamingweiner

(to the tune of “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song”)

If you could use a digital camera to take a picture of your dick,

would you do it?

YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH, YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH

If you could share it with your base on the internet,

would you do it?

YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH, YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH

If you could write explicit messages to women who aren’t yr. wife,

would you do it?

YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH, YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH

If you came thinking about me and wanted to tell me about it,

would you do it?

YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH, YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH

And so we cannot know ourselves or what we’d really do

With all your power

With all your power

What would you do?

If you tell the public that you’ve cleaned up your act,

would you do it?

NO NO NO NO, NO NO NO NO

If you could treat the Palestinians with a small amount of respect,

would you do it?

NO NO NO NO, NO NO NO NO

Are you crazy?

croppedweiner

with all your power

wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah

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watchmencollageb4

When the “Before Watchmen” project was announced in February 2012, I had only recently rekindled my love affair with comic books. My first on-line contribution to comic book discourse came in the form a fanboy-type suggestion. I’d just finished The Long Halloween, Hush, and Jeph Loeb’s run on Superman/Batman, so I innocently posted a comment on a news article that I thought Loeb should contribute to the “Before Watchmen” project. Within seconds, I received a scolding from some other random netizen about how Jeph Loeb would only bring death and rape to the Watchmen universe. At the time, I hadn’t familiarized myself with Loeb’s Ultimate contributions in the Marvel Universe, so I didn’t really understand what the other commenter was talking about. I also didn’t think death and rape were out of place in the Watchmen universe. Watchmen is one of the touchiest subject in comics and its touchiness is largely manufactured by the comics and comics news industry, particularly by Alan Moore himself. I’ve discussed Alan Moore’s diva-like behavior on this site before and that’s not my intention here. I’m using this space to share my thoughts on the “Before Watchmen” project and will try to do so in as much of a Moore-Gibbons vacuum as possible. The series have been collected in four beautiful hardcover editions- like nearly all comics, I tried to avoid this series until they were all collected in trade editions.

bwm

Here’s the short version:

I really liked “Before Watchmen” and think the haters either didn’t read it or read it with their minds already sown up tightly by their off-putting and thinly developed cultural elitism.

bwm

Here’s the long version:

“Before Watchmen” does the comic book magic- taking the familiar and making it feel new. Looking at the original and looking at the prequels feels as radically different as looking at Golden Age comics and Silver Age comics. The comic medium has matured and it can clearly be seen here. The seriousness with which all of the creators approached this project with is apparent in every panel. The art is a serious departure from the tiny paneled original series. Similarly the text is less cluttered and more experimentally displayed than in the original.

While the four volumes could be read in any order, I will discuss them in the order that I read them, which worked well for me.

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN-SILK SPECTRE

Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner should work together as much as possible. Their styles capture an essence of sequential art that other artists miss, a humanity unique to the comic book form. Cooke’s Minutemen story is largely the story of Hollis Mason, the original Nite Owl, and his struggle with the dark side of costumed crime-fighting. His unfortunate crush on Silhouette, the awkwardness of Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice’s relationship, the commercialization inherent in Silk Spectre, Dollar Bill, and the Minutemen project itelf- all of these issues are seen through a somewhat existentialist Mason’s eyes as he comes to grips with the hypocritical society to which he belongs. Moving from the original Silk Spectre to her daughter makes the transition to Conner and Cooke’s Silk Spectre story logical. The mother-daughter relationship is explored, bringing to mind toddler beauty pageants and the millions of other ways parents suffocate their children, but with superheroes. Laurie runs away to find her own destiny, looking in LSD-riddled 1960s San Francisco. She encounters an enemy that Thorstein Veblen would certainly appreciate and causes her mother plenty of grief. While reading it, I sort of expected Mina Murray from LOEG Century 1969 to cameo in someone’s acid trip. I highly recommend this volume.

BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIAS/CRIMSON CORSAIR

Len Wein works with several artists to provide more complete accounts of the Crime Busters’ Ozymandias and the Minutemen’s Dollar Bill. The bulk of the collection is the Ozymandias story, which relates most closely to the ultimate plot of the original series and explains Moloch’s role in everything clearly. Jae Lee’s art is top notch. If you compare the still amazing art Lee was doing for Namor twenty years ago to his work in Ozymandias, you can see how Lee has mastered his own style and how working with colorist June Chung bring his pictures to a whole other level. The art from The Curse of the Crimson Corsair and the Dollar Bill one-shot are very different from Lee’s high art style. Crimson Corsair sports the gritty pulp art of horror comics while Dollar Bill features colorful art that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Before Watchmen: Minutemen/ Silk Spectre collection. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy the Crimson Corsair story, but I didn’t really enjoy the Black Freighter stuff in the original series.

BEFORE WATCHMEN: NITE OWL/DR. MANHATTAN

J. Michael Straczynski pens three great stories here: Nite Owl, Dr. Manhattan, and Moloch. The Nite Owl story features the best recreation of Rorschach and a stomach-turning villain more suited to Rorschach’s brand of justice than Nite Owl’s more moderate approach. The Dr. Manhattan story delves into the practicalities of Shrödinger’s cat, modal realism, parallel universes, and the nature of time. The final product is a successful experiment. The final story told in this collection Moloch ties closely to Len Wein’s Ozymandias story. It’s a good villain story- in addition to my controversial stance that “Before Watchmen” is a worthwhile idea that was brilliantly executed, I’m also excited about September being Villains Month.

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN/RORSCHACH

I really like Brian Azzarello especially his Wonder Woman stuff. However his contributions here sit weirdly among the other ones. The Comedian story reads like an Elseworlds Watchmen story, one where the Comedian is best buddies with the Kennedys. In Azzarello’s telling, the assassinations of both brothers are pivotal moments in the Comedian’s development as a character, but they run contrary to previous incantations of the Comedian, such as:

comedianandjfk

or

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Despite contradicting the original comic and Zack Snyder’s more blatant assertion that the Comedian played a role in John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Brian Azzarello’s Comedian is a compelling read rife with dark humor and a rich understanding of the Kennedys and how the military industrial complex matured in the decades following World War II. I also really like Hearts and Minds. While Azzarello’s Rorschach is also an interesting, it fails where Straczynski’s Nite Owl interpretation of Rorschach succeeds. Azzarello scripts Rorschach like Batman while Straczynski captures the fractured poetry of Rorschach. While writing of Rorschach disappoints, the art does not. Having worked with Azzarello on Luthor and Joker, Lee Bermejo brings his artistic strengths to every disgusting wound, stain, insect, and bodily fluid in Rorschach. Fans of Bermejo’s work will get lost in the gory detail and reborn with each breathtaking sunset.

bwm

In conclusion, I recommend all four volumes and strongly discourage arm-chair critics from attacking this project until they’ve given it a chance.

blurredpandanoi

Here’s another panda series. It’s a small one based on a few male recording artists who make pretty different music. The series starts with a picture inspired by Robin Thicke and friends’ somewhat tacky video “Blurred Lines.” For the hashtag, I used Futura Condensed Medium and it looks pretty close to me. If you know which font was actually used, I welcome correct answers or even speculation in the comments section.

blurredpandanohash

Next we have a musician of significantly more talent and humanity, one of country music’s greatest, and a damn good story-teller Hank Williams, Sr.

hankwilliams

The last in this series, at least for now, is Mr. Dynamite himself the Minister of the New New Super Heavy Funk Mr. Please Please Please The Hardest Working Man in Show Business besides Ron Jeremy Soul Brother Numero Uno James Joseph Brown, Jr. james brown

If there are any figures from history or pop culture you’d like to see depicted as pandas, you can email me at: waynexiaolong@gmail.com

BraunLantern

Atlanta’s beloved science fiction convention Dragon Con will be coming at the end of summer and I will be presenting some of my ideas about the historical significance of the Green Lantern. Any of you who have looked at the timeline know that I’m pretty serious about the Green Lantern and its relationship to the American identity. I will be presenting on how Cold War realities and imagined realities appear through the Silver Age Green Lantern. It should be part of two tracks. I know one of them is the Academic tracks and I assume the other one is comics, but there isn’t a comics track mentioned on their website yet, which is weird but don’t worry. There’s a whole page devoted to comics related stuff where you can see some of the creators who will be attending and other practical information. I’m excited to hear that Darwyn Cooke, Amanda Conner, and Jimmy Palmiotti will be attending. I read the first two Before Watchmen trades and really enjoyed them. The Minutemen/Silk Spectre one that Cooke and Conner worked on is wonderful. Their art is quite special in superhero comics. The New Frontier is one of my all-time favorites, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Darwyn Cooke is probably the top on my list of people I’d like to discuss the implications of the Cold War on the Green Lantern with (besides Gil Kane, Julie Schwartz, et al. who were creating GL in the Silver Age).

If you’ll be attending Dragon Con this year, I hope you’ll check out my panel. There will lots of pictures, argument fallacies, and over-reaching. I will dress sharp, but I won’t be doing cosplay. I appreciate the cosplay in others, but it’s not really my thing. I think I could pull off Yorrick from Y- The Last Man.

I’m not sure what my panel will be called, but you shouldn’t have too much trouble identifying it as there probably won’t be too many panels on the Cold War and the Green Lantern. In all likelihood, it will be in the same room as all the other comic book panels which is where I will probably be for most of the entire con. I hope there will be a lot of academic programming because I prefer joining discourses over fandoms.

censoredbirdo

Today I posted a series of twelve illustrations based on characters from Ninetendo’s beloved Super Mario franchise. Because of their mature nature, I am choosing not to post them on the home page. If you would like to see the full, uncensored images, please click on SUPER MARIO NUDES and enjoy this celebration of some of the Mushroom Kingdom’s most memorable characters. All of these pictures feature nudity and should only be viewed by an appropriate audience. If you feel uncertain about viewing these pictures, you might as well not look at them. They’re cute pictures, but it’s not like you’ll be missing out on Dostoevsky.
I hope you like them.
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