Currently Reading: NELSON by Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix
Last week I was hunting for new podcasts to add to my subscriptions for next year, and one I tried (and subsequently added) was MAKE IT THEN TELL EVERYONE. They had a podcast interview with a writer/artist/cartoonist Woodrow Phoenix, who I unfortunately was not familiar with.
But listening to the podcasts, and viewing snippets of his work online, I quickly ascertained that this was a creator to become familiar with asap.
I immediately ordered his acclaimed books NELSON and RUMBLE STRIP.
NELSON just came in and, yep I was right to rush out and purchase it. A bit of an experimental graphic novel, as 54 writers come together to tell something of a jam-piece of a story.
The back cover describes it as such :
“NELSON is a 250-page collaboration between 54 of the UK’s most exciting comic creators. It is an unprecedented experiment to create one complete story [from 54 distinct visions] -a collective graphic novel.”
Each artists gets to illustrate one day, one piece of a day in a character’s life, then it jumps one year, and the next writer has to pick up the threads of these characters. As it goes on through all 54 artists, 54 years of a person’s life are revealed.
It’s a genius idea by Editor Rob Davis, and turned from idea to reality by co-editors Woodrow Phoenix and Rob Davis. As someone who grew up loving CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE style books as well as the WILDCARDS style books, NELSON’s experimental and experiential nature plays to my loves and my joys. A few pages in and I’m loving it.
Get your copy here:
Looking back over the ten year history of this blog I’ve praised my share of podcasts, and seen quite a few shuffle off this mortal coil.
2015 seemed to be a volatile year, with many of my long standing podcast favorites either no longer releasing episodes on a regular schedule or hanging up their mics.
Among some of the great ones that seem to be on hiatus or done are:
- HORROR ETC
All of these shows are and were great, and will be missed. And join other great departed podcasts such as:
- INDIE SPINNER RACK
- GEEK SYNDICATE
- MONDO MOVIE
- FREQUENCY OF FEAR
But I completely understand, these podcast and blogs, while dearly loved, require HUGE expenditures of time and energy, and sometimes… life gets in the way. And considering most of these podcasts are not a revenue stream, it is understandable that when the effort exceeds the rewards… it’s time to stop doing it. What is amazing is that some of these shows have gone as long as they have.
All that said, you may or may not still find old episodes online. I recommend grabbing them if you can. SIDEBAR particularly interviewed some great artists, and for those interviews to be not easily accessible, seems… a loss.
INDIE SPINNER RACK had the best interviews with both Alan Moore (One of the greatest and most influential writers in the comics/graphic novel medium – it is a crime that companies, marvel and dc, are releasing books missing his name , and shorn of his insightful interviews. the reasons for this are both well documented and trivial. yes, alan moore can be something of a bridge burner, but his brilliance makes him worth the effort to mend those fences. when he passes off this mortal coil, as we all must, no one wants to be remembered as the company that stole his characters, and froze him out of work. pay alan moore and get him at least authorizing director’s cut versions or writer approved versions of his most celebrated works. it’s one of the reasons i will not part with my swamp thing paperbacks, it is because later introductions are devoid of his introductions, which are as entertaining and informative as his stories. )
and Stephen Bissette (Who remains to this day, with his run on swamp thing, one of the greatest and most influential artists to work in the medium).
So the above are the podcasts lost in 2015. Here are some select podcasts enjoyed in 2015:
Head over to the German Music Magazine GROOVE and pick up two of the best mix tapes of 2015:
DECONSTRUCTING COMICS – anytime you get the chance to hear Stephen Bissette speak, take it. Not only one of the great superstar artists of the 80s with his game changing work on Swamp Thing, but simply an informed, erudite speaker on a number of topics.. including the history of horror and cinema. This Sept 2015 podcast is a recommended listen. They also have an episode of huge interest to any fan of either Edgar Allen Poe or Richard Corben. They also offer a Transformers episode that offers reviews on recent transformer comics.
THE DOLLAR BIN (Also a show that appears to be on indefinite hiatus) had a couple intriguing episodes in 2015, one covering HIP HOP FAMILY TREE, and one with Golden Age artist Allen Bellman:
And if these guys really are done producing new shows, some of their classic shows that you want to get, while avaiilable, are:
I grew up on Steve Englehart comics and you don’t get today’s sophisticated comics, without first going through him. One of the first to help transition comics from kids entertainment to college and beyond entertainment.
Not one, but two interviews with one of the most elusive, and one of the most talented and innovative writers in comics, Christopher Priest (His SPIDERMAN VS WOLVERINE remains one of the joys of my collection, as well as his excellent run on BLACK PANTHER and QUANTUM AND WOODY).
A Bob McLeod interview (Made important because Bob McLeod’s work on the NEW MUTANTS is burned into my brain. That fight with the New Mutants and the Sentinels in a mall, blew my mind as a kid. And as an adult, those images still define for me what great artwork and storytelling should be.)
So quite a few of my favorite podcasts slowed down or completely stopped in 2015. However when one door closes another, as they say, opens.
So some podcasts I started listening to in 2015, and have added to my subscriptions are:
- THE COMICS ALTERNATIVE- Their monthly preview episodes helped me all last year put in my monthly comics order
- INKSTUDS- Interviews with Comic Book Creators… some really indispensable interviews.
- READING LIVES- Interviews with Writers… LOVE IT.
- WTF- I think without argument the most listened to and successful podcast, with guests from comedians, musicians, actors, and now a sitting president, Marc Maron out of his garage has created podcast as both high art, and passionate conversation.
- FILMSPOTTING:SVU- Reviews for the streaming age
- GILBERT GODFREY PODCAST – I do not find Gilbert Gottfried funny, but his knowledge and love for classic film and television, means he interviews people I want to hear, and he has had some GREAT gustd this year. Thankfully co-host Frank is there to get the podcast back on track when Gilbert starts amusing himself and no one else
- FAT MAN ON BATMAN- Kevin Smith’s love for the creative process and all things Batman… is an addictive listen
- HOUSE TO ASTONISH – A comic book podcast from across the pond
AND WRAPPING UP MY 2015 REVIEW, WANT TO GIVE ACCOLADES TO SOME OF MY FAVORITE, AND LONGEST RUNNING PODCASTS THAT ARE STILL GOING STRONG. ALL AWARD WINNING PODCASTS (they all won my Welles Award a few years back, and in my mind have been award winners every year since):
- CGS – Comic Geek Speak -one of the oldest podcasts, and with great losses, and welcome additions, still an eagerly awaited listen
- 11′ OCLOCK- One of the most informative and jam-packed and fun of any podcast. The chemistry these three have… works.
- B-MOVIE CAST – Love this podcast on classic, crazy, genre cinema. Wonderful chemistry between the hosts.
Well folks, that is the podcast scene here as 2015 ends and 2016 takes the stage. Please use this list to see what was special about those shows we lost, and to jump aboard and support those we still have.
Thanks for reading and be well!
From Redd Fox to Bob Newhart to Bill Cosby to Eddie Murphy, here are the best comedy albums of all time:
If you have to start with one album, start with Bill Cosby’s WONDERFULNESS, just hilarious. Now I know it’s popular because of the controversy to demonize Bill Cosby. Here’s my first, last, and best measure on Bill Cosby, it is a line from a Sam Peckinpah movie… “When you side with a man, you stick with him and if you can’t do that, you’re like some kind of animal.”
When I was a kid growing up in the 70s and 80s it was Bill Cosby who defined so many of the opportunities and enjoyment and broke so many of the barriers to pave a way for a young, punk kid like myself and millions of others to dream bigger, aspire better.
From an accomplished college sports figure to a ground breaking televsion actor in the beloved ISpy series to a world acclaimed commedian to a producer of kids’ television shoes (FAT ALBERT!), to a great, classic series of 70s movies, to a really groundbreaking 80s television series,to a civil rights and human rights fighter, and economic fighter…. the accomplishments of Bill Cosby are staggering for any ten people, but that he fit all this into one life… is the stuff of legend. To call him a Renaissance Man is apt.
Is he guilty or innocent of these accusations?… That’s for a court of law to decide rather than this televsion lynching the American Mass Media has been fond of with prominent people of color. This assassination by media is out of proportion, by a generation grown and raised on the tearing down of idols.
Guilty or Innocent, a man’s falling down must be weighed against his standing up. And if many of us presume to not have committed the perceived sins of Bill Cosby, neither have those same rock throwers committed the triumphs and the groundbreaking accolades of a Bill Cosby. We are none of us Saints, and most of us Sinners, but I posit that the good Bill Cosby has done, is larger and grander than the good his detractors have done.
You want to stand in judgment of a man’s evil, then you have to be capable of also judging or equaling his good, and none out there speaking against Bill Cosby have fought as tirelessy as Bill Cosby to make the world better… and Cosby has made the world… for punk kids like myself… better.
I heard the comedian Sinbad, a man who knew and learned from Cosby, state the same, he can not judge on some strangers’ accucations, but only on how Cosby impacted his life. And for Sinbad, and myself, and generations who grew up in a world precipitously devoid of opportunities for people of color, Cosby’s impact is overwhelmingly to the good. Cosby always used his talent and his resources to carve out such opportunities for others.
And now because of suspect accusations, that if true hints at someone who needs counseling over incarceration, all that good is what…. forgotten? Made Moot? You strip him of honorary titles? Really?
Here is the secret to those of you misguided enough to think that way… the price of greatness is sometimes perilous and steep. The soldier we thank for his service is back from blowing off some kids face, the president we applaud… has rained down fire on civilian targets, the sports figure you idolize is an adulterer and flawed father…. none of us are saints, and most of us are sinners, and the best we can hope to do is weigh a man’s good and his bad, and decide which part of that equation touches us the most and be ruled by that.
How you view the soldier with blood on his hands, depends on whether you are close to him or close to those he killed. In an imperfect world it’s the best we can do…side with those who have sided (if only tangentially) with us.
As a young kid turning into a young man, Cosby gave me the gift of laughter, of hope, of options, of the pleasure of seeing TV change into something more representative of the ethnically diverse nation it was supposed to speak to. So I can only judge him based on that, his personal failings beyond that are perhaps for those close to him or affected by them… to be offended by. And if criminally liable for a court to determine, however, where this shouldn’t be played out is in trial by media.
Shame on those schools and organizations quick to pull bestowed honors based on the lip service of media’s mob.
“When you side with a man, you stick with him. And if you can’t do that, you’re like some kind of animal.”
So that ends my rant and stance on Bill Cosby. His albums are still hilarious, and his achievments… still achievements.
Here endeth the lesson.
10 Favorite Podcasts for week ending 25 July 2015! Enter any of the below into your podcatcher of choice (I recommend PODKICKER) and start enjoying!
11 O’CLOCK COMICS -Mix three family men, a Broker, an Illustator, a programmer, and a knowledge of drinks, and a love of comics, and great personalities, and you get a show that is always one of the most enjoyable week in and week out
B-MOVIE CAST – Year after year, consistently one of my favorite podcasts
WTF WITH MARC MARON – Hands down the best podcast currently being made. His TV show is likewise one of ths best.
FATMAN ON BATMAN with KEVIN SMITH -fun, irreverant interviews and coverage on all things Batman by filmmaker, comic writer, podcaster, actor, Kevin Smith.
SIDEBAR COMICS, ART, POPCULTURE – great chemistry and knowledge between the hosts, and great art, comics, media talk
KCRW’S THE TREATMENT WITH ELVIS MITCHELL – Best movie interview show
FILMSPOTTING SVU – covering all Notable items on Netflix, Amazon Prime, streaming, on-demand
NERDIST WRITERS PANEL
GILBERT GOTTFRIED’S AMAZING COLLOSAL PODCAST – The least interesting thing about this podcast is typically Gilbert Gottfried’s ‘humor’ but really interesting guests and the encyclopedic knowledge of co-host Frank Santopadre on classic hollywood makes this a great listen.
There is a line I quote a lot, but it’s because like many quotes, it’s a truth in it that endures, and is applicable to many. And it is definitely applicable to me.
I’ll quote it here again…
“You writers live too much out of the world.” –Graham Greene’s THE THIRD MAN.
Here’s the thing about the world, there is always some new atrocity the 24 hour news cycle is waiting to feed you. Someone’s misfortune that, with crocodile solemnity, they are eager to spread before you like some banquet, some forbidden feast, for you to put your snout in and snuffle.
I know people who make a home in-front the TV when the latest atrocity breaks, and they ‘tsk’, and ‘cluck’, and they make the expected exclamations of “horrible” this, and “what’s this world coming to” but you get the feeling it is more rote than real.
That ‘real’ left town many atrocities ago, and they have yet to notice that what remains is something that watches for reasons less altruistic than information, and more hungry than concern.
I can’t do the 24 hour news cycle. I gave up on networked TV a long time ago and haven’t looked back, or particularly missed it. Too much of CNN or Insert News Station here, and I have to get away, I have to move, I can’t watch people suffer.
I’m old school that way.
I believe in heroes to rescue maidens, and Knights to slay dragons. And I’m fool enough to believe we can all be heroes… all of us. In small ways, and personal ways, and local ways.
But the 24 hour news cycle inundates you with a world’s wrongs, many wrongs too horrific and large and endemic for you to change.
So there becomes a war within you between the desire to change what you can, and the 24 hour news cycle that indoctrinates you, numbs you to a world beyond your time, or means, or scope to change… a news cycle that tells you “relinquish hope, relinquish the idea of days without horror, relinquish the lie of action, be a spectator, be a consumer. Live in the world we give you, the way we give it you.”
And reduce all your rebellions to a tsk here, and a shake of the head there. That’s what the 24 hour news cycle says to me if I watch it too long.
I have to pick my battles. I have to pick my fights. I have to narrow my atrocities. And some days I have to have no atrocities at all. It’s the only way I can live without rage all the time.
I have to have the courage to change the things I can, the strength to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Not being a part of the 24 hour news cycle, using the Internet to consume news in my time in my way, means sometimes, if I’m embroiled with my life, and the people in it and around it, the real news, then I may not consume another man’s definition of the news… for days on end.
I find I’m a better man for not being suckled every moment on the teat, and rage, and hate, and horror of Rome the metaphorical. I find I’m a better, calmer man, and people find me a calming, even soothing presence, and it’s because the nightly news is not on the back of my eyeballs when I look at them, I look at them without the media’s biases or fears, I do not fall asleep to Rome’s tirade, and I do not wake to her gnashing.
And that has made all the difference.
I think too many, especially the young, who not yet having learned the value of their own life much less anyone else’s, internalize Rome’s madness, drink deep and long of it, and adopt the American past time of mass murder; as if it was no more than a fashion you could put on. Killing for hates handed down to them like ill fitting suits, and reasons not understood by them, killing with no real sense.
No real sense.
Not understanding really, that killing is easy, but the hole it leaves is large, and affects so many. That every life… even the most paltry, took a million million miracles to breathe air into, and you can never know how even the most unworthy life, might, if no more than via tangential fate, give us a painter or poet or astronaut or hero. And with one bullet you can unwind innumerable tomorrows, kill innumerable tomorrows, and we are all the poorer for all those doors closed. All those lives changed. All that unneeded pain, piled upon all our souls.
We are all… by these atrocities, broken and put back together, broken and put back together, broken and put back together. But each time there is less of us, and less of us, and less of us.
Until, we are so removed from every step we took toward the light, we find ourselves mad, hopeless animals, penned in a coliseum, screaming for the fall of blood. Our souls are fragile things, that can bloom or wither, depending upon what they are fed.
So resist the 24 hour news cycle. Resist assumptions. And seek out things that will feed the better angels of your nature.
You might find the link below, a thing for feeding your soul. I did.
I must first state I am not a President Obama apologist. As an Independent I have taken him to task for what I feel is the dismantling of Liberties, and his paying back his corporate backers by selling generations of Americans into debt, to bail out a stock market comprised of companies that should have been allowed to burn.
That said, even with those we disagree… we must find that common ground where we can, so if we can not agree with their choices, we can at least perhaps understand the making of those choices.
If we can relate to each other as more than ‘them and us’, see politics as less bloody warfare, and more people all honestly looking to make their home, their neighborhood, and their nation better… if we can see ourselves as tied by our commonalities first, then our differences become strengths rather than sticking points, ripping our nation and our world apart.
So I ask you Republican, You Democrat, You Independent, You Man, You Woman… to listen to the following pod-cast.
And take away from it, the parts that will make you better.
I was feeling such insufferable rage in the wake of the Church Shooting and what I saw in the media’s handling of it… However, I listened to the below pod-cast, and the easy grace a President of the United States brought to a moment devoid of all grace… and I could breathe again, easy deep breaths. And I could see beyond the pumping of my own rage.
A long term fix? No.
But only death is long term. In life we must take the fleeting moments of grace when we can find them. And use that grace to empower us to end atrocities one person at a time.
You might find in the below pod-cast something hopeful.
ENDANGERED SPECIES- Slow Netflix Night, and despite the atrocious poster, the name Eric Roberts and the premise of a scifi/horror flick intrigues me enough to give this a try. The first thing that strikes you is how incredibly dated the film seems.
Indeed despite the film having a production date of 2003, it looks far more like a film from 1983, with dated special effects, and an anemic budget to match, and borrows from more well known scifi films of the 80s and 90s. But those negatives aside, it moves at a quick clip, and there is some originality here, an unexpected environmental twist that makes the movie keep till the end.
Grade: C-. Horrible and misleading poster, but worth a look.
TUSK- I remember when Kevin Smith did the on-air little joke on his pod-cast that would become this film. The joke on the pod-cast was hilarious, and having seen the film, it should have just remained that pod-cast joke. It’s hilarious as something Kevin Smith is describing on a pod-cast, but the film is ultimately just exceedingly distasteful as a finished product, and backs itself into a miserable and ugly corner. Grade: D-.