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Thursday, June 30, 2005

It Takes A Nation of Millions

Last night I slept for fourteen hours, and woke up feeling much better, thank you. I also woke up feeling the urge to do some politico-blogging. Now I realize that this is not exactly my idiom, so feel free to skip this one. I'll be back tomorrow with my thoughts on who would win in a fight between Daniel Larusso and Bruce Leroy, but for now I'm filled with NPR-induced rage.

I found out on the Connection this morning that today was the last day for Chinese citizens to register their blogs with the government or risk being thrown in jail for writing things on the internet.

I don't exactly fall into the demographic that the media refers to as "the Bloggers." I've never broken a story about a gay porn star who asked softball questions to the President at a press conference, and I don't generally inform anyone about anything beyond the wide world of the Punisher. And as such, I wasn't going to write about this because the comedic potential of throwing people in prison to rot for the rest of their lives is fairly low. But as my friend Brandon pointed out, I can write about it without being locked up, so why not?

The whole thing strikes me as infuriating. I'm always aware intellectually, somewhere in the back of my mind, that the words "China" and "Human rights violations" will always be inextricably linked, but--like a lot of people, I suppose--I tend to forget about it.

The same thing has happened in Iran, where there's a guy who's been locked up for years for blogging. And I'm pretty sure that prisons in the Middle East are probably all in the running for the coveted "Worst Place in the World" title.

But in China, there's already dozens--dozens!--of people locked up for the simple act of going online and disagreeing with the government, which employs thirty- to fifty-thousand people for the sole purpose of going online and tracking these "cyber-dissidents" (as Dick Gordon called them) down so that they can be arrested.

That's what turns my stomach the most. I mean, I realize that these are people just doing their jobs and trying to get along in the world, but still: When it's your job to rat out your fellow citizens for what should be basic human rights, that's a bastard thing to do, and it makes me sick to think about it.

As you might've noticed, I write things on the Internet. And by no coincidence, I'm also a pretty big fan of free speech, so the whole situation is especially worrisome for me. Not that it would particularly matter in my case. I mean, unless the government got the idea that I was using "Ghost Rider" as a codeword for "democracy," I doubt I'd get in too much trouble.

Which all comes back to make me wonder about my own writing. It's not perfect here--there's the story about the Secret Service giving Seanbaby a hard time and I'm always worried that my feelings about Wolverine are going to land me on some watch list--but by and large, I can write about whatever the heck I want to.

Having an audience of sixteen (half of whom are looking for pictures of Marla Sokoloff) helps, too.

And yet, while I could be doing something meaningful, like those cats on the other side of the world are risking their lives to do, I spend all my time talking about Count Dante. So I have to wonder, am I wasting the opportunity to write something worth a damn?

Here ends the obligatory political blog. Tomorrow: Count Dante!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I'm So Excited... I'm So... So Scared

Today I spent an hour trying to convince someone who had never seen it that Saved by the Bell was the single greatest television show to ever appear on TBS. This is another one of those signs that I'm well and thoroughly wasting my life, but as someone who has seriously considered purchasing the DVDs, I'm well past that point right now.

That might be why my stomach hurts so much that I think I'm about to die.

Actual update tomorrow. The Wild Bunch is on.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Irony in Action

I've got that wretched "Hollaback Girl" song stuck in my head and I'm considering throttling myself with my own shoelaces. But then again, time's tough all over.

In my younger and more vulnerable years, whenever I got to feeling like taking my own life with footwear, I'd just pop open my wallet and take a look at a clipping I kept with me at all times.

I'd found it in the local paper, and had to read it three times before I could get through the whole thing. At first it was shock that made me have to go back, then utter horror, then, finally, hysterical laughter.

The article itself was only a few paragraphs long, as though the AP copywriter had to get it all typed up in one breath before he completely lost it. It concerned a murder investigation in Florida which had taken an unexpected turn. The principal of the investigation was a young lady whose husband turned up dead under mysterious circumstances, leaving her as the prime suspect.

Exacerbating the situation for the merry widow was that when her home was searched, it was found that she and her Late Husband had been producing and selling lovely little items called "Crush Videos," wherein the wife would take a small animal (such as a bunny rabit), and step on it until it was dead while the husband filmed. They sold these videos, of course, over the internet.

No, seriously. It was and remains--despite fierce competition--the single worst fetish I've ever heard of.

But the best part of the article, and the reason that the police had started investigating Stompa in the first place, had been the murder of her husband, who was crushed to death. In his own driveway. By his own truck.

I kept the article to remind me that even in this brave new world that has such people in it (that's a total of two pretentious literary references for those of you keeping score at home), sometimes the wicked get exactly what they deserve.

Which is what I can only hope will happen to the genius scientists that have unleashed The Undead upon us all.

Special Guest Update: Why Mike Autry Sucks

I'll be honest with you, folks: I'm not in the mood to write tonight. But as my pal J. Kern told me, "Mood is a thing for cattle and lovemaking, not writing!" He then proceeded to pluck out a tune on his nine-string baliset, but the point was made.

Fortunately, I have a guest update ready to go for just such an occasion, written by the man, the myth, and the legend: Mike Autry himself.

All right, don't blame me if this shit ain't funny, thought provoking, or whatever it is you typically come here for. I ain't Chris. I can't deliver any of that weird shit that he puts on his site, like Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, Kung-Fu ballroom dancing, and nude pictures of John Cassaday. I also don't work in a comic store, so I don't have any customer-monkey stories, and I have minimal comic knowledge. Chris has forgotten more about comics than I've ever known. All I have to offer is self-defecation.

See what I did there with the word deprecation? I used defecation instead. That was my weak attempt at humor. Damn it, that was fucking pitiful!

Look, just go away. Chris won't mind. Seriously, it don't get no better than this. You’ve already contributed to his web page traffic numbers, so come back tomorrow when he's back. Don't waste your life reading this rubbish.

Still here? Stupid, aren't you? I tell you this shit sucks, and you just keep on reading. Like it's gonna all the sudden get better and I'm gonna spout out something with a point. I have no point. I’m making this shit up as I go. Chris asked me to write something for his ISB (800 fucking words... like that’s gonna happen) and I was flattered. (See? Just another example of why I suck.) I was flattered, until I thought a little harder about why he did it. My first thought was, "He's so damn lazy that he can't even write his own blasted on-line diary, or whatever it is. Wretched fucker." Then I decided against that idea, he seems to put a lot of effort into this thing.

Then I thought, "What if this is all just another ISB gag? Maybe I'm no different than the Box of Punishment. Maybe he’s just so intrigued by how ridiculous I am that he’s putting me on display. Man, I really suck." It was at that point, that I started thinking of all the reasons I suck. Chris gave you "Reasons I Might Be Gay" (Reasons he might be gay that is... I ain’t gay, you bastards). So I give you "Reasons I Suck" (And my sucking has nothing to do with my being gay, which I’m not. Am I coming off as homophobic? I’m not.)

  • Today I sang a Garth Brooks song... and that ain't all. I knew all the words.
  • I can’t tie a tie. I have like five of them and I have to wear one about once a month. So I keep them tied and just slip one around my neck and tighten it up.
  • I often read sentences 3 or 4 times before I understand them.
  • When we moved into this house my wife demanded that the cat stay outside because of its long hair. I told her not to worry and that I’d shave the cat. I got the shit scratched out of me. The cat got a square inch bald spot and dropped off at the China Buffet.
  • My family and I were watching American Idol. The following conversation took place:

    "Constantine sucks."

    "No he doesn't. You’re just jealous."

    "f that loser wins tonight, I'll run to the mailbox naked and sing Scooby-Doo."

    The bastard won and my wife made me wear underwear.
  • I watched American Idol.
  • I e-mailed Tug and asked him to put Ultimate Champions on my sub. The April edition of Wizard said it was hot.
  • I bought a 9.8 CGC copy of Alpha Flight #1, 1983. I will not reveal for how much.
  • I bought a CGC book.
And there are so many other ones that I can't even decide which ones to give.

So that's it. What, you thought I was kidding? You thick headed bastard. You just had to read it didn’t you? And look what it got you: not a damn thing.

--Mike Autry

Note: Mike Autry does not actually suck. Although that whole thing about the CGC'd Alpha Flight does make me wonder...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

HeroesCon '05: Liquor Makes a Man Mean

Yesterday at about this time I was drunk and angry, and I'm not sure if I've got any friends left. You'd think I'd learn from past experience, but here I am. I ended up going up to the room I was crashing in earlier than anyone else and scribbling five pages of vitriolic spite onto the hotel notepad. I thought about adapting it into an ISB post, but really, it's better for everyone if I just leave it crammed into the envelope.

I did my drinking as the cap to my day at HeroesCon, where I ended up selling one (1) copy of The New Adventures of Jack Kirby and one (1) copy of All Part of the Master Plan, netting myself a grand total of $2.75. Not exactly what I'd call an unmitigated success, but hey, the weekend was young, and at least SOMEONE bought it.

I ended up drawing up rules for a HeroesCon drinking game to be played in the con proper (see a guy dressed as a pirate? Do a shot!), but alas, I couldn't get my drink on until I was well and surly.

The day did have its moments, though. I got to meet James Kochalka and get a sketch of Computerfist, and I'm happy to report that he came off every bit as charmingly strange in person as he does in his comics and CDs. I also got a great sketch of Owly and Friends from Andy Runton, who was also nice enough to take a copy of Master Plan when I gave it to him.

I also got to meet and get a sketch from Scott Kurtz, who really is one of the good guys. He drew Conan for me, and also took a copy of Master Plan. We are now Internet Buddies 4-Ever.

Unless he does the sensible thing and throws it into a drawer and promptly forgets about it.

Speaking of Internet Buddies, one of the highlights of the day was when Radical C was harrangued by a guy who probably has access to Wizard Spells of at least 6th level. Seriously, if you've never seen a man in a tunic take a knee and start lecturing a man with advice about how he's never going to make it and how he should just give up and do pages online to hook the "college kids" who will subsequently demand "dead tree editions," I can highly reccomend it. It'll brighten your day right up.

But the true highlight, the one that I want to write a folk song about so that kids in the future will learn about it, was a conversation I witnessed between a fan and a pro, whose names I won't use here.

PRO: ... So what I'm saying is, I don't really like to do con sketches. I mean, if you want me to draw you something, email me and we'll set up a commission piece. But if you want a con sketch, then I'll give you a con sketch, but it is what it is. And it'll be a con sketch.

FAN: Well, can I get a con sketch then?

PRO: Sure, sure. But let me ask you... how much do you want to pay me?

FAN: Uh... twenty bucks?

PRO: Fine. Who do you want?

FAN: Hawkeye.

PRO: What?!

FAN: Hawkeye? From the Avengers?

PRO: Ff. I don't even know what that guy looks like.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Midnight Badminton

I'm drinking a Gatorade right now for the first time in years, and let me tell you: It's delicious. Why? Because I can feel it replacing the essential electrolytes that I lost whilst playing sports.

Yes, shock follows shock here on the ISB. I not only left my chair, but broke a sweat in a competitive physical activity.

It all started when I got a call from Brandon's roommate, Alex, with whom I've hung out three, maybe four times in my entire life. This is at 9:30, and he's been drinking.

"Chris," he says when I pick up the phone, "Is it still a barn if it isn't red?"

Let's pause and reflect on that, shall we?

So I try to convince him that barns are like people, and they come in all colors, but he was having none of it.

(Note: Whilst looking for pictures of barns, I ran across the blog of a "Happily Married, Happily Spanked Wife." It's my Marla Sokoloff problem in reverse.)

Now while I'm dealing with this, Brandon walks in, completely unaware that his roommate's on the phone upset about multicolored agrarian structures. So I hang up, and Brandon gets talking about how he was playing Badminton today.

"Oh yeah? I was pretty good at that in school."

"Want to go play right now?"

"... Well hell yes I do!"

So we decide a doubles match is in order, and I use Caller ID to call Alex back, and we demand that he comes with us, telling him to assemble a crew. Unfortunately, he's at some gal's going-away party, and even though I got on the phone with her and turned on the charm, she wouldn't leave her party to go play badminton with three strangers.

So we swing by and throw Alex in the car, and then go to the park where Brandon assures me that we can use the tennis courts, despite the large wooden signs above them that read "COURTS CLOSE AT DUSK." Kind of hard to play with no lights, you know?

We walked across the street to the new courts, but those were on lockdown. The parking lot, however, was well lit, and we decided the hell with it, let's just play one-on-one-on-one in the parking lot with loosely defined boundaries.

It was so fucking extreme.

Now I'm super-pumped to sell my book at HeroesCon.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Warning Signs

I'm not going to write anything tonight. Why?

Because I'm so tired that I just realized that Archie's inability to choose between Betty and Veronica could be because each girl represents a different faction of the socialist class war. Veronica, beautiful coal-haired daughter of a wealthy industrialist, offers Our Mr. Andrews a life of wealth, while Betty, with her ponytail and working-class parents, is clearly the proletariat.

Then I made this picture:

Viva Riverdale! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

What Are You People Googling?!

So due to the massive traffic that Jim's hilarious Villains United Parody recieved, he assured me that I'd be getting "around 5,000 hits," and tantalized me with the prospect of Gail Simone reading my opinions on, say, why Martin Cove is the greatest living actor in America.

I promptly told Jim that he was crazy, and that I'd be lucky if I got five. And judging by the fact that yesterday's update--The New Reader Friendly Jump On Now installment, in case you missed it!--only has three comments, I feel like my instincts were on the right track.

Especially since one comment's from Phil and the another's from me.

But I finally gave in to curiosity and installed a hit tracker last night. It's the same one Mark uses over on his blog, and since he's a lot funnier than I am, I figured I'd follow his lead.

Uh, you should still buy my book, though.

Anyway, I installed it last night at around two in the morning and checked it when I got up this morning at nine, and I was pretty surprised to find that I'd gotten around a 140 hits.

I was also pretty surprised to see that 93% of them had been from Google Image Searches for Marla Sokoloff. Now don't get me wrong, Marla Sokoloff is an absolutely beautiful girl who appeared on "the practice" and Desperate Housewives, and I've GISed her a time or two myself. But considering that I don't actually mention her name in the article in question, and the picture's a link to another site entirely, it's a little odd that I'm Google's #1 Result.

A few other GIS results of note: "old kung-fu pictures" and "Count Dante," obviously, but my favorite of the whole lot is "Truth Fist," which leads to this image. Also, for some inexplicable reason, "bratwurst."

Now the keyword searches, however, is where it gets really weird.

You wouldn't believe me on most of these if I told you, so here's a screenshot. Apparently my liberal use of profanity has done a lot for my online standing, and I'm also not the only person who remembers Xuxa.

Strung together, they seem to reveal a lot about the type of people that are stumbling onto the ISB. For instance, just below where the screenshot cuts off is--I swear--a series that goes "sketch her gwendolyn underwear ass" which can only be a reference to the First Reason I Might Get Sued by Marvel.

Of course, that's nothing compared to what Scott gets over on his site I mean, he once got a hit off a google search for "Ghost Rider Supervisor Columbia."

I'm pretty sure he's going to have business cards printed up with that on them. I just wonder what happens when he has to report to Ghost Rider Corporate.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The ISB: A Visitor's Guide

Hey, check it out: I got linked on SilverBulletComics. It's, uh, all the way at the bottom, and it's only on there because Jim was nice enough to use some of my jokes, but still, that's something.

So as the ISB moves one step closer to Total Internet Domination, a link like this could mean that upwards for four new visitors could be reading tonight's update. So if you're one of the ones who actually clicked on through, allow me to welcome you with a little rundown on what the Invincible Super-Blog is all about. And what better way to do that than by ripping off the awesome Scott Pilgrim?

Chris Sims
Age: 22
Rating: Totally Gay for Gail Simone

I work in a comic book store, which is pretty awesome, except when I have to deal with customers I don't like (see "The Cap'n," below). Fortunately, there are also customers I DO like, like Phil, who suggested that instead of just yelling about how awesome Count Dante is at the store, I put it on the internet. So I did. But really, the ISB's origins go back further than that, as this early installment shows.

I do some writing beyond the ISB as well. I worked with Phil on our mini-comic, The New Adventures of Jack Kirby, which is based on the premise that we like to imagine the King of Comics fighting nazi robots and dog-men. I also wrote a story for Phil's western anthology, Gone to Texas, and I've got an upcoming project involving a team of supervillains and our 16th President.

I like reading, Public Radio, and biscuits.

So that's pretty much me in a nutshell, but considering that this blog's written with an audience of twelve people in mind, there's a lot of in-jokes. So let me catch you up with this handy Glossary of Terms.

Box of Punishment: Okay, so this one time I decided to read every single Punisher comic we had in the store, so I put them all in a short box and read them over the course of a month. It's been suggested that I do a Box of Vengeance for Ghost Rider, but after 294 Punisher comics, I'm a little wary. The day I finished it, my girlfriend broke up with me.

Cassaday, John: A darn fine penciller. And seriously? The most handsome man I've ever seen.

Chad: Also known as Radical-C. One of many that I refer to as "my main man." His comic, Dr. Impossible will rock you.

Count Dante: Martial artist and comic book huckster who advertised his "Dance of Death" in gems like Western Gunfighters #29. Due to the fact that you can't talk about him without the words "death match" and "explosive device," he is the coolest man who ever lived.

ISB: The Invincible Super-Blog. You're reading it right now. Not to be confused with the Indiana School for the Blind, the Salvation Army's International String Band, and the inexplicably named ISB Community Bank.

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter: The second greatest movie of all time.

Karate Kid: The greatest movie of all time.

MG3: MG3, or "The Snake Charmer" as he likes to be called, is usually mentioned in my Saturday night updates, because I usually hang out with him. He really, really loves Star Wars, which occasionally causes conflict due to my personal views. He also enjoys drinking and Starman.

OMAC: The single greatest comic book character ever created.

Pulido, Brian: My nemesis. Although I will admit, he's paid his dues.

Scott: Scott's a friend of mine who used to work at the store. He likes comics to an unhealthy extreme, and recently bought a cup that was the subject of much debate. Whenever I mention him, I link to this picture, which never gets any less funny. To me, anyway.

Sweater Guy: Smooth as silk, man. Smooth as silk.

The Cap'n: Formerly known as Cockeye McGee, this guy resembles a cross between Ben Franklin and the Quaker Oats guy, and is the source of many of my most harrowing customer interactions.

Tug: Friend and coworker. He enjoys calling me "cock" and referring to my "hamitude." He laughs despite my tears.

Wizards and Villains: The name I use for the comic shop at which I work so that I can make fun of The Cap'n and others without fear of legal ramifications. It was originally Scott and Chad's name for the Earth-3 version of the shop.

And that's pretty much it. Now if you like what you see, why not send me two bucks and get your own copy of All Part of the Master Plan: The Best of the Invincible Super-Blog?

And if your name happens to be Gail Simone, I might even send you one for free.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Seisatsukan, Shinjuku: The City That Never Sleeps

I was driving around with my mother this afternoon when she said a sentence that I don't usually hear. "Hey Chris," she said, "You want to play some mini-golf?"

Yes, miniature golf: the sport of miniature kings. Despite the fact that I live relatively close to Myrtle Beach, the Miniature Golf Capital of the World, I haven't played in years. At the very least, not since the Putt-Putt in the SMT closed down and became an Enterprise Car Rental, an establishment far less friendly to waving golf clubs around.

Fortunately, due to her boyfriend's grandchildren, Mom was hep to Intimidators Indoor Fun Park, a place that thought it would be a good idea to draw attention to their go-kart track by naming themselves after a racecar driver who died in a crash. Even so, I could not resist the sweet siren song of 18 holes of miniature excitement, so in we went.

I'll be honest with you: the place was pretty ghetto. I'm pretty sure that at least four of the obstacles could've been more challenging had they been plugged in, but considering the final score was 60 to 74 (I won, thank you), we were pretty challenged as it was.

Also, the bathroom was easily one of the three worst I've been to this year. It's called "restocking the toilet paper and soap," folks. Look into it.

But I can forgive all of these shortcomings for one simple fact: The place was an honest-to-God Arcade.

Aladin's Castle closed down a few years ago as part of the ongoing plot to make sure nobody ever has fun in this town again, and even though the place was a shithole, I was sad to see it go. As a child of the '90s, I spent my share of Saturdays pumping quarters into Street Fighter II and wishing I had enough money to buy the sweet denim jacket with Wolverine airbrushed on it down the hall.

But this place... this place had it all. Air hockey. Time Crisis. Time Crisis 2. Some crazy Japanese game about cowboys shooting tin cans. And yes, brothers and sisters, it had Police 911.

Police 911 was the object of an intense fascination at the shop last year. Tug and I used to walk over to the Mall for lunch, have a slice of pizza, and then spend the rest of the hour dropping quarters into this game, even though I knew I'd be limping around for the rest of the week because of it.

Let me explain: The deal with Police 911 is that it's a shooting game, like your Lethal Enforcers or your Area 51. But unlike those games, you actually have to dodge bullets.

And I'm not talking about pushing down a pedal to make your guy duck behind a rock, I'm talking an arcade cabinet with sensors that can tell where you're standing, and will shoot you if you don't physically duck down. It's awesome. But if you're a person who doesn't engage in a lot of, you know, movement? It will fuck your knees up hardcore. So you have to decide whether or not it's worth standing in a public place doing stretches in front of a video game before you pretend to be a guy dressed like a crossing guard who shoots mobsters.

Which it totally is.

Current Status: Awesome

It's one-thirty in the morning and I have absolutely no idea what to write about tonight, so let's get a little bit self-indulgent, shall we?

Today, I learned that if you have a job that doesn't really require you to do much--say, the type of job where you can generally stand around and read comics for eight hours in between scribbling customer quirks into your Moleskine notebook so you can write about them on the internet later--having a PSP will prevent you from doing anything that remotely resembles work. Here's a true story of how I'm the worst employee ever:

Tonight, just before closing when only the Gaming crowd was hanging out, this bunch of guys who I know casually were checking out the figures in the Warhammer case. I'd just finished losing a game of Kung Fu Fighting to Ben (bastard utilized his unstoppable Dragon Sword style) and gone back to playing Twisted Metal when I heard one of them say: "I totally need to build a Space Marine army."

That's when I looked up from my video game and shouted in my best hair-metal-by-way-of-Ben-Folds voice "SPACE MARINES ARE FOR LOSERS!"

I also learned that if you want to put a gigabyte of pornography on your PSP, you should be prepared to shell out a hundred and forty bucks for a memory card. As a corollary to this nugget of truth, I learned that yes, I'm prepared to do just that.

This is what is referred to as "a cry for help." I'll keep you posted.

But the learning didn't stop there, friends. I also learned that Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim is awesome, that if I ever have twins, I'm naming them Gideon Stargrave and Acheron Hades, regardless of gender.

Also, thanks to Brandon, I now know that I'm not the only person who thinks Batman should fight Mike Jones.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

You May Never See Me Again

Guess who got a PSP today.

Click to Sho-Nuff Size it! (Ladies, please control yourselves) Posted by Hello

I haven't even played a game on it yet and it might be the coolest thing I own.

I mean, did you know you can put porn on these things? Waitasecond... Scott just told me that I could download episodes of Justice League that haven't aired in America yet and THEN put them on my PSP, and I just popped like sixteen boners.

God bless you, Japan.

Friday, June 17, 2005

This Man, This Cup

So Scott bought a cup today. Now for a normal human being, this wouldn't have been anything to remark about, but since this is Scott we're talking about, it was less a man purchasing a drink container and more a man's war against himself.

This is why Scott--a man who has expressed his desire to have wax statues made of all of his friends on several occasions, mind you--needs his own blog. Everything's a senses-shattering struggle with that guy, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. He started talking about it at lunch today, and the story was so compelling in its nature that when we were done eating, I went out to his car to check out the cup for myself. What brought it up to this epic status was that Scott seemed to be absolutely disgusted with himself for buying it.

He says he debated it while standing there in K-Mart, and I for one believe him, especially since he explained that he bought it for a specific purpose (drinking while watching movies) and that using it for any other purpose (say, drinking whilst working) would be catastrophic.

It's wider and shorter than a normal glass, see, which makes it (again, in Scott's own words) "perfect for sipping." But the fear was there, even from the beginning, that instead of using it exclusively for movie-related drinking, he'd eventually mistake it for a glass to use at other times when the sheer wideness of the cup would overwhelm him, with disastrous results.

I can only speculate on how long he stood in Housewares, pondering the benefits of cup ownership, but if I had to hazzard a guess using what I know of Scott, I'd say it probably took around thirty-four minutes and he probably thought about Ghost Rider no less than eight times.

But in the end, he bought the cup despite the risks. "What put me over the top," he says, "is that I turned the corner and saw that they had matching bowls. And I saw it and thought 'now that's a popcorn bowl."

And not only did he buy it, but he made a conscious decision to find the most garish color they had, a little shade that the printing industry refers to as "cosmic orange."

I found the story so fascinating that I asked him about it tonight--ten hours after our original conversation. Apparently he bought a two-liter of Pepsi solely for the purpose of testing it out, and I got the results:

"It does accrue condensation like a mofo," he says, "but it's got more texture than I gave it credit for."

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Re: Batman, Among Other Things

I quite liked it, actually. Not to spoil anything for you cats, but yeah. Highly enjoyable. Of course, there's a few scenes, and some of the one-liners were rough(and even the ones I didn't ilke weren't all that bad), but that's movie Batman for you.

You know, I saw all four of the previous Batman movies in the theater, each one with my dad. And while I was far more easily entertained when I was, you know, twelve, I'll always feel bad for dragging him to see Batman and Robin.

And speaking of, my first girlfriend owned the soundtrack to that movie. I remember going through her CDs when we first started going out and thinking: "Cripes, there's a warning sign."

But regardless, Batman Begins gets big ups coming out of the theater.

Now onto other news: As the store's team for HeroesCon '05 grows like the roster of the Avengers, I've been kicked back to Reserve status.

That's right, I'll no longer be attending in a working capacity. However, Phil's setting up (alongside my main man Chad "Radical C" Bowers), so you can buy The New Adventures of Jack Kirby and Gone To Texas there if, by some miraculous chance, you read my blog but don't live in the immediate area.

I'm still planning on going up and spending the day there all day Friday, and hopefully I can get someone to buy my book. And speaking of buying my book...

Click to Adverti-Size it! Posted by Hello

Ah, the sweet smell of commerce.

Give me your money, you cretins!

Monday, June 13, 2005

If You Loved Me, You'd Bring Me Biscuits Today

Almost burning the house down and spending a week covered in fleas, here's the reason I should never be left alone for a week: In the past seven days, I have had five meals consisting of Fried Chicken. And what's more, I've eaten at Church's, KFC, Popeye's and Bojangles (twice!).

Oddly enough, the chicken itself is just a secondary concern; I'm just in it for the biscuits. But still, you can't just go into Bojangles and order a plate of biscuits without their delicious cajun-style chicken, so I wouldn't be surprised if I had a heart attack in the middle of this post.

Therefore, in the interest of both conserving my energy and focusing my chi to help my beleaguered arteries, I have decided to compose a series of fried chicken-related haikus this evening. Maybe they'll inspire you to have some. Or if you're Rob Lindsey, perhaps you'll feel compelled to write a biscuit-related song cycle. Either way, enjoy, won't you?

Bucket of chicken:
Meat and bone in a neat stack.
I ate all the skin.

Bojangles' are best.
But Popeye's are pretty good.
Biscuits are awesome.

Once, I became parched.
Sixty-four-ounce Mega Jug.
Now I have to pee.

Parfait in buckets:
Dessert. Why did I bother?
Biscuits are better

Now it's dinner time.
What do I want? God help me!
More Bojangles, please.


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Worst Week Ever

Astute readers might have noticed that there was no update last night. I spent a couple of hours doing the layouts and punch-up writing for All Part of the Master Plan: The Best of the ISB, and by the end of it I was pretty sick of my own writing. And you can be sick of it too when you shell out two bucks for thirty-two pages of recycled fun at this year's HeroesCon!

Not that you missed much from me taking the night off. Let's face it, I haven't exactly been the font of comedy that I usually am, but hey: I've had a lot to deal with this week.

Wolverine's pathetic outbursts aside, this has probably been the worst week I've had in quite a while (and here begins the obligatory Whiny-Blog).

I was sick, for one thing, which is never fun. It was so bad that I called in to work only to spend the day covered in fleas.

That's right, I said covered in fleas. Due to a combination of recent heavy rainfall in this drained swamp I call the SMT, my mother's dog running out of anti-flea medication, and the fact that she's also taken to feeding these three stray cats, my humble abode has been infested. I've set off a total of four flea bombs in here, but like a poor marksman I just keep missing the target. So if I really want to kill them, I'm going to have to go down there... I'm going to have to go down there...


Sorry. Got lost in a Shatnerism there. Anyway, it's rough.

Then on Thursday, first thing in the morning, the register broke at work so I had to record everyone's purchases on a legal pad. It wasn't hard, just time-consuming, and I had to deal with Dr. and Mrs. Obvious all day asking if the register was broken. Eventually I just told them that we were having a drill to test whether or not we'd be able to still supply comics after the impending Apocalypse.

But then, yesterday, the whole thing came to a head with a new chapter in the ongoing saga of Cockeye McGee--or as the inimitable B. Flake suggests we refer to him henceforth, "The Cap'n."

Now I know you're tired of hearing about this guy, but trust me: Every time I see him it's some fresh horror. If it's not a lecture about Jedi self control or the Napoleonic wars, it's a cowboy hat two sizes too small for his head, or in Saturday's case, the worst shirt ever.

This thing was so bad that EVERYBODY was asking me about it. Phil, MG3, Felecia, they all came to me, because a lesser man would've allowed it to drive him insane.

Picture, if you will, a flesh-colored polo shirt made out of some sort of stretchable terrycloth. And brother, it was stretched. It was pulled so tight across his considerable girth that the v-neck made by all three unbuttoned buttons (yes, all three unbuttoned) stretched all the way to the top of his stomach, revealing a veritable forest of chest hair that I'm pretty sure was the source of his power.

In fact, when he was at the register ("Do you have anything that will put things together?" "... You mean glue?" "Yeah, hah-hah, that's the stuff!"), I was so distracted by the Forest of Power that I couldn't even make eye contact.

Not that Eye Contact is a treat, mind you.

And yes. Flesh-colored. And as Phil said, whenever you caught sight of him from the corner of your eye, you thought he had taken his shirt off.

But on the bright side, I think it scared my sinus infection away.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Murphy's Law

Okay, I'm going to say something that's going to sound a little crazy, but I want you to bear with me.

RoboCop vs. the Terminator is awesome.

Click to Robo-Size it!

Yeah, I know, I had my doubts too when I heard Chad and Tug discussing this one. Longtime readers will remember that I have a sort of checkered past where RoboCop is concerned, but I've recently had to admit a soft spot for the guy, now that I'm not being told at every turn how great the movie is. And I mean, it's a Dark Horse Liscensed Property Crossover Extravaganza, and we all know how those can go down. I mean, back when I was a Harley Quinn completist, I got four issues of Joker/Mask, so I've been burned before.

However, I hadn't taken into account these two guys you might've heard of called Frank Miller and Walt Simonson.

Frank Miller's Frank Miller, so there's really no need to explain why that's exciting. I mean, yeah, his past efforts with RoboCop haven't all turned out that great, but still. He's Frank Miller.

And as for Walt Simonson, if you don't already know why that guy's so damn cool, it's pointless for me to try and explain.

Essentially what happens is this: The freedom fighters of the future find out that it was human mind merged with technology that allowed SkyNet to gain sentience (Gasp! That sounds like RoboCop!) so they send someone back to the past to take ol' steel-britches out before he can lead to the destruction of the future.

This, by the way, is the first of like nineteen trips through time in four issues, because when you hear "versus the Terminator," you want to see some people going through time.

So the Terminators come back through time to stop her from killing RoboCop, then RoboCop kills the Terminators, then RoboCop kills himself, then the Terminators save RoboCop, then RoboCop hides Alex Murphy's soul inside SkyNet and waits for a chance to take over a Terminator factory in the future and then builds an entire frigg'n army of RoboCops and kills a LOT of Terminators.

It is literally everything you could possibly want out of a fight between RoboCop and the Terminator. And it even has a last-page shocker.

It might be the best two dollars I ever spent.

Friday, June 10, 2005

One More Time

Just in case you forgot:

Click for a SPECIAL ENHANCED VERSION! Posted by Hello


Still pretty bad.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

How To Write Comics, Lesson 1

Don't do this:

Click to Awful-Size it! Posted by Hello

Jesus, Brian...

There's a short list of things that Wolverine should never, ever say. This would be one of them.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I Had Sinatra on Line One, and Baby, He Wasn't Croonin'

I called in to work today, which allowed me to have two remarkable insights:

1. This might be the weirdest thing I've ever seen. Be sure to click on the picture to see the video, it's well worth it. And yes. Hadouken is involved.

2.Comedy Central will let you down in a heartbeat.

In the past twenty-four hours, I've not only caught flashes of the stomach-churning Blue Collar TV before I grabbed the remote, but I saw crap I didn't even know they were still showing. I mean, there was an episode of Drawn Together on last night, and I was pretty sure that by now someone would've taken those tapes on the perilous journey to Mount Doom to destroy them in the fires that created them. But apparently not.

This afternoon I caught a few minutes of the short-lived parody Straight Plan for the Gay Man, which is funny for slightly less than a few minutes at a time, and, to my surprise, Kid Notorious.

In the likely event that you don't remember it, Kid Notorious was the animated sitcom based around noted Hollywood sociopath and former cokefiend Robert Evans and how hilarious he'd be as an animated hollywood sociopath and cokefiend. Shockingly enough, it was godawful, and quickly yanked from the After-South Park timeslot that Comedy Central will throw absolutely anything into in the hopes that it'll get big enough ratings so they can afford to re-up their broadcast rights on C. Thomas Howell's classic "Soul Man."

I mean really, Comedy Central. What's next, more Frank Leaves for the Orient? I'm trying to fight off a disease here and you're not helping.

In fact, I blame this shoddy programming for driving me so temporarily insane that I almost burned my house down. See, there was a fishbowl full of matchbooks sitting on the coffee table right next to a box of kleenex, and when I looked up and saw this bastard, I just had to burn something.

And those Kleenex burn fast.

Send Chicken Soup

Either it's gotten to the point that I'm hallucinating, or I saw a man riding a moped side-saddle on the way home tonight. Regardless, I feel terrible. So move along, you cretins. There's no fun to be found here today....


Click to experience the fury of Jewish Vengeance...

Yeah. Like I said. Nothing to see here.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

My Onion Bloometh Over

My cold continues to hang out, and right now I feel like somebody kicked my ass. Seriously, my stomach and jaw ache and I can barely stand up. So if you've been kicking my ass while I was sleeping, KNOCK IT OFF!

I went to the local Outback Steakhouse for dinner with mom tonight. We don't usually eat there because it's ridicuspensive, but she had a gift-card and I thought some of their potato soup might ease my aching throat.

The food: Delicious.
The Decor: Ehh, not so much.

Theme restaurants are always weird, but when you go to, say, Planet Hollywood, you're indulging in a fantasy. With Outback, there's a layer of authenticity implied by the fact that there's an actual place called Australia that you can go to. Heck, you can even be king if you make a deal with a Phantom Zone Criminal. And sometimes girls from there post on the ISB!

Above our booth, there was a framed print that read, in part, "Ah well, I suppose it has come to this," a sentiment I couldn't help agree with as I looked over the menu. I mean, "Aussie-tizers" and "Bonzer salads" are bad enough, but calling the Bloomin' Onion an Ab-original Treat? Cripes!

It's enough to make a man go crazy. I mean, this might just be the disease talking, but I've seen more authentic dialogue from Captain Boomerang, and that guy's named CAPTAIN FRIGG'N BOOMERANG.

I don't know why it bothers me. Maybe it's because the last time I heard the word "aboriginal" was when I was up in Canada, and Melanie's mom pointed out their local Aboriginal Centre.

"You guys have aborigines up here?" I asked. "Oh, wait, you mean Indians. Yeah, I guess you can't call 'em Native Americans..."

Saturday, June 04, 2005

I Don't Feel So Good

My throat hurts, I've got a wicked Red-Bull induced caffeine headache, my stomach's sore, and there are some stray cats around my house that I'm fairly sure are plotting against me.

Long story short: I don't feel well.

But rather than let my illness stop the ISB from approaching total internet domination, I'm going to do like Blade says and use it to bring you tonight's topic: The top five diseases in comics.

I'm not counting real-world maladies in this one. I mean as far as diseases go, Cancer's pretty tough as it is without throwing Ronnie Raymond, Deadpool and Mar-Vell in the mix.

5. The Legacy Virus
If you were reading X-Men comics in the '90s, chances are you've got at least a passing familiarity with the Legacy virus. And if you weren't, well, aren't you lucky. Basically the Legacy virus killed a bunch of mutants, which I guess was a bad thing since it never got around to offing Marrow or Gambit. It's probably one of the most recognizeable diseases to originate in comics, but unfortunately it involves both Cable and Stryfe. Downgrade.

However, it was cured when Collossus sacrificed his own life for the betterment of others, but he's back now and that probably makes Kitty Pryde feel weird about all that sex she had with Pete Wisdom. Upgrade!

4. I-Life
I'm not sure if these little guys count as a disease since they have arms, legs, a giant eye, and civilization, but considering that they're also microbes that go into a human body and change things around for their own purposes, I'm wiling to let it pass. Created by a scientist as a way to befriend diseases and convince them to stop being such jerks, the I-Life have the misfortune of running into Spartacus Hughes and end up having to hijack a woman named Sharon Jones to make her a "bio-ship" while at the same time freeing her from the control of the World's Richest Pervert.

Grant Morrison rules.

3. That Cold Peter Parker Had That One Time
Yeah, that's how lame the Legacy Virus is. It got beaten in the rankings by the common cold. Now while the cold is a real-world ailment, I can guarantee that no cold you've ever had has resulted in getting two chicks at once.

See, it's Valentine's Day, and Peter's accidentally made dates with two super-hot Daily Bugle staffers. And, being that he's Peter Parker and has the worst life ever, he can't keep his date because he's busy getting blown up by the Vulture and laying in a snow-covered trash-heap all day, and that's bound to lead to illness. So the girls get mad, Peter trades his Spider-Man costume for a bum's coat and scarf, and gets home just in time to deal with two angry ladies. Fortunately he's hallucinating by this point, and the ladies like that sort of thing. In your FACE, Flash Thompson!

2. The Clench
Let's face it, folks. I don't care how cheap the rent is, nobody should live in Gotham City. I mean, after two plagues, an earthquake, and Jeph Loeb, you'd think people would get the hint and move to somewhere that didn't have red skies. But alas, they didn't get the hint. Not even when the Clench swept through.

An offshoot of Ebola that was engineered by Racer Cool to screw up Batman's Tuesday, the Clench killed a ton of people who have never starred in their own comic. It was tragic, I assure you. Now while it's otherwise unremarkable, the Clench does have the distinction of being the only disease cured by Batman. Which means that a man who occasionally has trouble with this guy's word problems cured ebola. There's hope for everyone!

1. The Hourman Virus
Released into the year 1998 as part of Solaris the Tyrant Sun's plot to destroy the past from the 853rd Century, the Hourman Virus is the best disease in comics. Maybe it's because it's a semi-sentient techno-organic virus from eighty thousand years in the future that just seems to screw up the Internet and make you really mad for a while, or maybe it's because it gave the Atom an excuse to make double-entendres about Oracle's lymph nodes, but I think it's probably another reason.

It's probably because it was created by Grant Morrison, and that guy's cooler than anyone you'll ever meet in your entire life. It's a fact!

Guess What?

The Great Comics Re-Bagging Project reached the N box tonight while I watched the last episode of Wonderfalls, and I noticed something:

Nightwing is really frigg'n gay.

And for the love of Pete:

You win this round, fan-fiction.