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Saturday, April 01, 2006

AFD 2006: chris's vulnerable emo blog

[For the weekend of April 1, visitors to the ISB were instead greeted with "chris's vulnerable emo blog," and an allegedly heartfelt, earnest review of Ultimate Spider-Man #78. Here it is for posterity, along with the header logo that ran for those two days, but click here for the full effect.]

usually, i only talk about graphic novels by Jeffery Brown, whose raw, emotional work is totally not insipid or self-indulgent at all, but unfortunately, the market's still dominated by the so-called "super-heroes."

i'm not sure what kind of loser is out there actually reading super-hero books, since most of us should've grown out of the hulk punching iron man or whatever by the time we hit seventh grade and got our first Cure albums, but whatever. the only thing that matters is that sometimes they get super-heroes RIGHT.

and that's why you should all go out and get a copy of Ultimate Spider-Man #78. or at least leaf through USM volume 13 while you drink some coffee at Barnes & Noble.

writer Brian Bendis is probably the only comics writers you should be reading. unlike a lot of the hacks out there, he can write five titles a month without suffering an immediate and noticeable decline in quality. and what's more, in this book, he's totally redefined spidey for the modern era by having the stories consist of the same head-shots over and over, accompanied by repetitive dialogue that doesn't come off as forced OR make a mockery of his earlier work.

even better, he infuses the stories with emotion. that's why i like this story in particular, even better than the thrilling "Ultimate Carnage" storyline. after the events of #71, which was probably the single best comic since coheed put out second stage turbine blade and had the single best moment in modern comics when peter cries in his basement, we get a story that doesn't feature any super-villains or fighting at all.

instead, we get this:

it's powerful stuff. i mean, we've all been there, right? crying in the bathroom, wondering why melanie a girl left us and stole our stuff broke our heart. it's raw emotion in a way that spider-man doing something like, i don't know, lifting a pile of wreckage that even thor couldn't lift couldn't even come close to.

and bendis isn't afraid to keep her in that bathroom for sixteen panels, incidentally. that's masterful pacing.

when she finally pulls it together enough to get to class, she sees peter, who shows us all why we like him so much.

at first, this might seem like peter's just being a petulant jerk to his teacher, but he's right: he could teach that class, and that teacher could never understand what peter's dealing with in his life. nobody could understand.

after that, mj goes to the mall, and bendis gets a chance to show off his amazing ear for teenage dialogue with scenes like this:

that's totally like me and my friends when we hang out to play old nintendo games and listen to death cab.

anyway, mj ends up going to a show with a guy she meets at the mall, mark raxton. i'm pretty sure he's an original character for the series, but he's somehow even cooler than geldoff, who worked as a great metaphor for how explosive we all are just beneath our calm surfaces. plus, raxton plays guitar, and so we hear some of his music which--unlike the way a lot of comics writers treat music--totally sounds like a real song that would be great to hear. check out these lyrics:

"You're my molten maaaaaaaaaaaannn!! /
And I'm melting on youuuuuuuuu! /
Yeeeaaarrgghhhhhhh!! /
Molten mmmmmaaaggrrgghh!!"

its like he he captured all the intensity of my chem on the page.

anyway, mj ends up making out with him in his car before deciding she's still in love with peter, which is the most true-to-life thing in the book. because, i mean, sometimes your girlfriend will go down on make out with some guy in his car, but that doesn't mean i can't forgive you.

we can still be together forever.

Current Mood: malaise
Current Music: Reggie and the Full Effect - Fought and Won One


Blogger Mark W. Hale said...

i never knew a spiderman comic could be so raw........

those bright colors are a mask for true pain........

4/01/2006 12:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I weren't already busy crying to my Dashboard Confessional albums, I would cry at the resplendent beauty of this entry.

4/01/2006 2:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

like my chemical romance and taking back sunday bendis is unafraid to show the raw nerve under a blanket of sandpaper that is life as suburban teenagers with shallow pointless lives.

i'm a little disappointed by his reluctance to show pete or mj cutting themselves in their bedrooms while sobbingly singing along to drive-in, but i'm pretty sure that it's coming. i trust in bendy to keep the book true to life.

4/01/2006 6:10 AM

Blogger Azrael said...

Know that I too have experienced my fair share of self pity and malaise. With this Peter Parker I sympathize.

4/01/2006 7:38 AM

Blogger Earth-2 Leigh said...

As great as Bendis can be (check out Powers 31 -- I want that hair for my MySpace picture!), I think Peter gets naked far too often to truly be emo.

4/01/2006 1:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to hate those new Marvel covers because they didn't tell you what was going on in the story. Then I realized...they do.

4/01/2006 4:43 PM

Blogger Jim Shelley said...

Beautiful, simply beautiful! I bow at your genius!
Probably your best article yet!

4/02/2006 8:47 AM

Blogger Skalded said...

Ha, funny stuff. Nice review.

4/02/2006 7:54 PM

Blogger joncormier said...

Yeah, kids doing coke in the high school bathroom stalls. How "au currant."

4/03/2006 10:01 AM

Blogger Earth-2 Leigh said...

I feel like a dope for having to ask, but what's the header image from?

(Word verification: ralfy)

4/04/2006 3:07 AM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

Jeffery Brown's new Every Girl is the End of the World For Me.

Kevin likes it. I hate it. Comics Blog Civil War! WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?!

4/04/2006 8:31 PM

Blogger Earth-2 Leigh said...

Mom, Dad, stop fighting!

I mean, thanks. I thought the style looked familiar, though I've never actually read any of the Jeffrey Brown. Perhaps I'll get a book or two from the... well, you know.

4/05/2006 2:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aggh! God!! Five days later and the name Tandy Bowen has finally worked it's way up from the place in my brain where I was storing 1985, doing who knows what damage in the process. Screw you, Bendis! And screw all of you bastards who are always trying to break up Cloak and Dagger! They have something magical! WHY CAN'T YOU BE HAPPY FOR THEM?!? Since you're all always trying to get rid of Dagger I can only assume that you envy her and long to take her place as the lone spark of light lost deep in Cloak's cold, dark, hungry embrace, feeding him your warmth. But you can't! He's a fictional character! You have to get over your fictional gothswirl crushes and just let them be what they are, a cheesy comic-book theme couple!

(God, I think that broke something in my brain. All I can think of now is Madame Web being attacked by the Juggernaut!)

4/05/2006 3:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a emo blog too its http://emoequality.blogspot.com/

7/15/2006 10:29 PM

Blogger JYD said...

Absolutely wonderfully awesome. Unfortunately, I read it at work and was laughing far too loud as the managing director went past. Ah well.

Been reading the entireity (Is that spelt right) of your blog these past few days and I just want to say that I thoroughly enjoy it - I once again have 3 blogs to read on a regular basis since the demise of Dial B.

Keep up the good work, very entertaining stuff.


11/13/2006 12:01 PM


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