Thursday, April 12, 2007

Only 50% relevant today

-Very useful dialogue at Howling Curmudgeons about the interaction between fans and pros on the internet. I give Mark Waid a lot of grief here because I think he's earned it, but the fact remains that he writes two of the handful of DC/Marvel comics I bother following. I really do like his writing when he's on. But I still want to see him fight Dan Coyle. I might even be willing to hold my nose (literally! ha ha!!) and attend a convention in order to see such a sight.

Anyway, the comments lead to a discussion of which creators manipulate the internet to their advantage (Simone, to some extent Priest) and which ones have done basically the opposite (Byrne, of course). Someone also makes the argument that this kind of fan-pro interaction is practically inevitable, given that the absence of letter columns in DC/Marvel titles have made the internet the only viable option for creators seeking feedback. I tend to disagree here--I think the decline of the letter column has more to do with the advantages of the internet for fanboy bellyaching than editors' distaste for letter columns. I also think it's a little curious that the bigger alternative-type creators don't have the same net presence as their mainstream and ground-level counterparts. You don't see Chris Ware or Jaime Hernandez wading into the miasma in the same manner as Dan Slott or Stuart Immonen. Then again, Ware and Hernandez don't have new books coming out every month. (I'm prepared for the flood of counter-examples to this generalization, so let it rip!)

Anyway, it's a thread of discussion I'd like to see some other blogger types address as well.

-I was going to say something about how I was disappointed in the last issue of All-Star Superman, but then I went and read Jog's brief review and now I think I need to re-read it. Jog also suggests a unifying theme to the series which I had noticed more as a motif, I guess. But maybe it's something deeper than I had thought. Hmmm.

-Via Chris Mautner, who I cannot thank enough for bringing it to my attention, Doom: the comic. Anything I write wouldn't do it justice. Just read it.

-Utterly, utterly unrelated to comics: I'm a regular shopper at Trader Joe's, though I can't say I recommend doing all one's shopping there. They are a good place for snacks and convenience foods, though. So, because nobody asked for it, here are a few reviews of things I've bought there recently:

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna w/ Multigrain Noodles: It's a frozen, family-style entrée; the package recommends microwaving over baking. There's a definite roasted flavor to the vegetables, but I somehow doubt that the cauliflower was every really roasted. The tomato sauce was pretty decent, and the noodles were not as overwhelming in their multiple granulation as one might fear. They're comparable to the Barilla Plus line of high fiber noodles. There wasn't much besides tomatoes between the layers of these noodles. Pretty decent for a microwavable lasagna, but I suspect there are better options out there for your $5.49.

Peanut Satay Noodle and Pad Thai Noodle Boxes: These are in the shape of a Chinese take-out box and are not refrigerated. The noodles and the sauce are in two separate pouches; you take the noodles out, break them apart, pour the sauce over them, then microwave for two minutes. That's about as convenient as I can imagine, but (shockingly) you pay for the convenience in flavor. The Pad Thai bears little resemblance to the Platonic ideal, or even the vegetarian version of the Platonic ideal, of this dish; it is, however, better than Trader Joe's frozen version. It's also better than the peanut satay noodles, which are fairly bland. The noodles in both cases are a little gummy, but not as bad as one would imagine from pre-cooked rice noodles (perhaps because they're not really rice noodles, but a rice-wheat hybrid noodle). If you have the inclination, you can probably whip up a superior concoction with a half a package of genuine rice noodles and some commercial Thai-style peanut sauce for about the same (prorated) price. It certainly wouldn't take much longer than microwaving this. But if you're in an office or have a fear of boiling water, this is better than a lot of similar options.

Supper Nutty Toffee Clusters Cereal: Very, very tasty cereal. I love cold cereal, and this is my current favorite. What catapults Supper Nutty Toffee Clusters ahead of the pack are not the toffee clusters (which are tasty but not overwhelming), but the inclusion of Brazil nuts, which are an incredible addition to the cold cereal palette.

Peanut Butter Coated Chewy Granola Bars: Trader Joe's regular, uncoated chewy granola bars are typical specimens for that subcategory of bar-format granola. I greatly prefer the harder, Nature's Valley style, to be honest. But the addition of peanut butter goo to the underside of the bar transforms it into a very desirable product. The chocolate-coated variety is also good, but not quite as good.


Dan Coyle said...

I think Waid's great when he's "on"... only he hasn't been "on" since... 2000.

No, scratch that, The Brave and the Bold is pretty good. More Gooder than anything else he's done in years.

And I'm interested in John Doe, if it ever comes out.

matches said...

I've been getting those microwave Thai things, too. They're not great, but they're cheap and easy to make.

RAB said...

I tend not to buy too many prepared foods these days, but I'm planning a trip to Trader Joe's soon so I appreciate the reviews -- we definitely need more food discussion on comics blogs. You've warned me off a couple of items I might have been tempted to try, but on the other hand I'm certainly willing to get the Toffee Clusters cereal.

(N.B.: A trip to the Trader Joe's in Manhattan is something that requires advance planning and a whole free afternoon to spare, because the checkout lines are insane.)

The thing about this whole discussion of interaction between comics pros and fans online is that no one seems willing to step away from the comics world to recognize a simple datum: there are people who act like dicks (sorry) online no matter how they act in other circumstances. It's just a fact, and you see this in every area of interest; in no way is it specific to comics. (Or even entertainment media with "fans" and "pros" -- my mom is a diabetic, and she sees these exact personality conflicts play out in online forums between diabetes sufferers and reps from the American Diabetes Association.)

You always get the guy who's gratuitously abusive because something online doesn't seem as "real" to him as a face to face meeting or something in print. You always get the guy who lets a dozen positive comments or friendly questions pass by unanswered, but cannot let a single criticism go. That last one is especially pernicious -- if you only comment when something makes you mad, of course people will assume you're mad all the time. But this is human nature, not the nature of comics.

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