-The thing that surprises me most about the Vince Colletta letter that's been making the rounds? The neatness of his handwriting. It's just much better penmanship than I expected from the infamous inker. As for the interview transcript: I just quit reading after a while. It seemed too much like an end-of-the-show Saturday Night Live skit:
VC: I told Galton that Jim Shooter was a saint, and that the editors' complaints were unfounded.
INT: But they were legit complaints! Shooter shoved Michael Higgins' head into Carl Potts' aquarium! The fish were flapping on the floor!
VC: Yeah, but Galton doesn't know that, right? I'm trying to save Shooter's job.
INT: Oh, yeah. I get it.
VC: So anyway, Galton tells me he heard that Shooter was calling Hobson a drunk.
INT: Ooh, that's not very nice.
VC: Who cares?!? I'm trying help out my buddy Jim. It's irrelevant.
INT: It's still not very nice.
VC: Okay, whatever. So I tell him that Shooter didn't understand how big companies work.
INT: But that's not true! Shooter is a genius of corporate intrigue!
VC: GOD DAMMIT, I know that's not true!! Christ, aren't you paying attention?
(Repeat for five minutes, ending with Colletta killing the interviewer and/or himself.)
Man, I'm going to laugh if the interviewer turns out to be fairly well-known in the comics community. Let me rephrase that: I really, really hope the interviewer turns out to be someone well known in the comics community.
-There are some things worse than being a superhero fan. All hardcore fans are pathetic on some level; I'm always shocked at the degree of deep, personal injury that some Marvel/DC fans evince when their favorite characters somehow diverge from their ideal type (which is, of course, a completely subjective thing depending on the pathetic fanboy in question, thus in turn assuring us that someone's always going to be unhappy about the color of Hawkman's suspenders). But seriously, I think Transformers fandom might be the most damning indictment of Western culture to date. Not that there's anything more ridiculous about the concept than any other object of fannish passion--actually, it's a really great concept for a toy line aimed at young boys. But man, I'm floored by the efforts of Transformers fans to somehow synthesize the disparate mythoi of this particular intellectual property into one true narrative-- it puts DC fans to shame, frankly. These guys have done so much with so little.
Really, is there any other group which has built up such an elaborate fan culture based on such triviality? Is there any cultural significance to the Transformers beyond nostalgia?
-I'm really shocked that freeloaders sitting in the manga aisle is a genuine problem, rather than a calculated effort by bitter Marvel/DC apologists to discredit manga sales in bookstores. I really have never encountered this. Bear in mind that I only go into the big chain bookstores once or twice a month. I do see people browsing the manga all the time, and they do occasionally get in my way, but I never see them just sitting around reading stuff. You know where I do see that? My local comics store, which even has a couple of chairs for the purpose. Actually, the only patrons who've ever truly annoyed me as I was browsing for manga were several RPGers who were talking loudly and ignoring my dirty looks as I tried to peer around them.* Not really annoying, more like embarrassing: One time a teenager shopping with her mother asked me what kind of manga I liked, but I didn't really want say, "The kind with teenagers struggling to survive after an earthquake or tsunami or something." I think I might have mumbled something about horror manga and moved along. Maybe I'm just a prude--I worry what people think when I'm the only adult male in an aisle crowded with teenage girls. Especially when I have to ask one of them where the tentacle rape manga is. (Just kidding! I know where it is.)
*Actually, the RPG fuckers at certain comics shops are exponentially more annoying than anyone I've encountered reading manga at the bookstore. Thankfully my retailer doesn't sell that stuff, but I do encounter it when I'm buying comics while at home or visiting the in-laws. Do these people have jobs? They seem to be in these stores all hours of the day, quoting Family Guy dialogue and drinking Diet Rite while lasciviously caressing their 10 sided dice with their greasy, stubby fingers, coated orange from hot wing sauce. Or, if you happen to be in the main Mile High Comics store in Denver, they're all goth kids.
-Little did I know that Dr. Doom was so well-versed in the Legion of Super-Heroes and the complicated fan-professional politics of contemporary DC comics. The fact that I'm not reading the current LSH thing in JLA/JSA is really a testament to how much I really don't want to read anything written by the Geoff Johns of 2007 and the Brad Meltzer of all of recorded history. Steve Flanagan confirms that this is the correct decision.