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In this episode Matt and Phil continue their way through Phil’s favorite songs of 2013. Phil also discusses Shia Labeoourofiu (sp?)’s secret plot to destroy everything Phil loves. The guys also discuss kickstarters and some of their favorite podcasts. Also, they respond to a listener question about what books they’re reading. And Matt finishes the episode off by talking about one of his favorite websites.
Episode 20 of the show is now available at the libsyn site. CLICK HERE to go there for the download. You can also download the show from iTunes.
To start the show off, we talk about a few tracks from Phil’s “Best Songs of 2012″ mix. We discuss the song “The House that Heaven Built” by the 2-man art-punk group Japandroids, the expansive folk-pop song “Danse Caribe” by singer-songwriter Andrew Bird, and the pop song, “Some Nights” by Fun. Lots of joking around ensues. We round out our music segment by talking about the unexpected wistful folk song “70 Excuses” by Somalia-born hip hop artist K’naan. Matt has some stuff to stay about the graphic novel series, Akira, particularly Volume 4. Akira is a dystopian sci-fi masterpiece by Katsuhiro Otomo. Then Phil talks about the animated series Avatar the Last Airbender, which he recently watched in its entirety. Then somehow we get sidetracked and start talking about the Matrix movies, steampunk, and cyberpunk.
Believe it or not there is a new episode of bombast podcast on the way! One thing we talk about is my best songs of 2012 mix. Although we only talk about a few songs on the show, here is the full track-list (with some links to YouTube so you can listen, too:
1. ”The House That Heaven Built” by Japandroids from the album Celebration Rock
2. ”The Jig is Up” by El-P from the album Cancer for Cure
3. ”I’ll Be Alright” by Passion Pit from the album Gossamer
4. ”Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free)” by Lupe Fiasco from the album Food and Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Part 1
5. ”Lost” by Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra from the album Theatre is Evil
6. ”Danse Caribe” by Andrew Bird from the album Break it Yourself
7. ”Some Nights” by Fun. from the album Some Nights
8. ”(If) You Want Trouble” by Nick Waterhouse from the album Time’s All Gone
9. ”Below my Feet” by Mumford & Sons from the album Babel
10. ”Lost River” by Murder By Death from the album Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon
11. ”Morning Sheets” by Patrick Watson from the album Adventures in Your Own Backyard
12. ”Fox’s Dream of the Log Flume” by Mewithoutyou from the album Ten Stories
13. ”70 Excuses” by K’Naan from the album Country, God or the Girl
14. ”good kid” by Kendrick Lamar from the album good kid, m.A.A.d. city
15. ”Still Life With Hot Deuce On Silver Platter” by Titus Andronicus from the album Local Business
16. ”Staring Down the Sun” by Further Seems Forever from the album Pennyblack
17. ”Ask” by Sharon Van Etten from the album Tramp
18. ”Varúð” by Sigur Rós from the album Valtari
I just realized that I put the pictures of me in my terrible Robin costume on the Bombast Facebook page, and on my flickr, but I had never put them here. Looking at these pictures, I’m remembering what a great time I had at San Diego. It was a blast!
Robin and Wonder Girl
Robin, Robin, and Hawkeye
Robin and Johnny the Homicidal Maniac
Boy am I glad that it’s Saturday. I’ve passed a sleepless night, and I am just now passing through to the other side. Right now, my thoughts are suddenly accompanied the sunlit view outside my window. Right now, my thoughts are suddenly accompanied by the dim awareness that at this particular moment, ‘normal’ people are now joining me in consciousness. I’m a night owl by nature, but due to my job I wake up at 5:30 every weekday. I could easily stay up late every one of those 5 days, but I try not to, because at the age of 29, the effects of a late night (even more so when it’s followed by a workday) are MUCH greater than they were at the age of 22. So anyway, I passed a sleepless night. Not because of any worry or stress, but because of a series of bad decisions. Let me list them.
1. Taking a nap after work. I was tired, but I shouldn’t have hit the hay as earlier as I did. Anything earlier than 7-8ish is risky.
2. After waking up from that nap, I didn’t go back to sleep within 2 hours. I’ve learned, that if I miss that magic 2 hour window, I will become fully awake and alert, and and that point, I’m spinning the roulette wheel. But anyway I did it. I had laundry that I just had to do, and I had to go to the video store, and then I had to make a lengthy call to a close friend. On of the ‘fun’ components of living with my ADD is poor impulse control. If I always live with the conviction (or the reality? maybe.) that if I don’t something NOW I won’t do it ever. Yeah. Who’s got poor planning ability? yeah, this guy.
3. Bad food choices. If I stay up long enough, I get hungry. I made myself a PBJ. Which is okay. But I was still kinda hungry, so I had two burritos and a lot of cheese. Worst idea of MY LIFE. Let’s just say that by the time I actually got tired, I had a stomach that was so obnoxiously unsettled, it was impossible to sleep.
So anyway – I spent the night listening to podcasts, trying to read Morrison’s Animal Man comics from the 80s, watching youtube music videos so I could test and see if the buzz around Frank Ocean is deserved, and to make sure I wasn’t confusing Drake songs with Kid Cudi ones. Or Kanye West ones. I feel like I also did a million other little things.
During the night I also did some blog reading -from one of my favorite bloggers, David Brothers, who writes out his thoughts at 4thletter.net. There are a couple of blog posts there which were soo good, I just had to share them. Those 2 posts are the reason I decided to write this post at all.
The first one was sparked by a news report of an alleged worker riot/disturbance at a Foxconn Factory in Taiyuan, China. This was originally reported on September 2012. Read the blog post HERE> Foxconn Riots: “Tell-Lie-Vision distorts your vision”. I’ve gathered up the choice quotes; these are the ones that grabbed me.
“The impression is that Apple is the biggest offender here, and those other guys are small time in comparison. Here’s a list of Foxconn clients I pulled off Wikipedia: Acer Inc., Amazon.com, Apple Inc., Cisco, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola Mobility, Nintendo, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba, and Vizio.
They’re ALL compromised and we’re all compromised by extension. Not just Apple. A significant number of personal electronics are made at Foxconn. That Kindle you bought your mom, your old Nokia flip, that blu-ray player you watch your HD porno on… the poison has deep roots. I’m writing this post on a MacBook. I just went for a run using an iPod Nano. I was watching youtubes earlier on my Sony Google TV box-thing. I was reading comics on my iPad last night. I benefit from the exploitation of others, we all do. And I think this style of journalism actually hurts awareness of that.”
This is a sobering thought, but it’s worth thinking about. Those of us in the first-world that benefit from the wonders of consumer electronics, don’t consider the societal costs of these products and the global economic system they come out of. These societal costs can hit hard for the people in the third world that actually assemble these wonders of plastic, anodyized aluminum, gorilla glass and silicon. And maybe we should. At least, I think so.
From there he makes a leap to some thoughts about the way this kind of journalism works.
“This type of thing shows that even factual reporting is a game, whether it’s the news gleefully playing along and encouraging the Obama birth certificate controversy or… do you remember the shooting at the Empire State Building a few weeks back? It was immediately termed a mass shooting and the think pieces started rolling out about gun control and how we’re messed up as a country. Turns out, the mass shooting was actually one guy shooting one other guy and then being killed by the police, who also managed to shoot nine bystanders in the process. It’s not the mass shooting that anyway said it was.
Meanwhile, nineteen people were shot in Chicago that weekend, a number that they match week after week after week. But that’s not marketable enough to go above the fold. It’s sad. Complex did a horrifying memorial for the teenagers who’ve died in Chicago this summer. “Between the first of June and the 31st of August, 152 people were killed. Of those, 38 were teenagers.” Scary, right?”
I don’t know what I can add to that. I think it’s dead on-target.
The other post by David Brothers is on a much different wavelength. While I was casting around for ways to use up my hours of insomnia, I watched a popular R-rated comedy that along with the jokes, awkwardness, and gross-out gags, had interspersed moments of heartfelt drama. It was quite well-done, and the moments where the movie had a MESSAGE, and the characters had to face their life, hit me like a ton of bricks. I mean they demolished me. I identified with the character soo much, and What they were going through felt like exactly what i’ve been going through for a while, for 10 months, at least. I cry easily at movies, and the label of something being a ‘comedy’ is no protection for me. (This is especially the case when I am over-tired, confused by a late afternoon nap, and unable to sleep. Haha, oviously, right?) The second David Brothers article I’m mentioning here relates to this experience. He talks about a comic story available online (Boxes by Dustin Harbin) and the effect it had on him. You can read the article HERE > Dustin Harbin’s “Boxes” Is Real Talk. Here’s the money quote, at least for me:
“I read Boxes and I get that weird bad/good feeling that you get from watching movies or reading books that make you cry. It’s sort of like the feeling I associate with horror movies, a “Bad things are about to happen” type of foreboding, but with the benefit of knowing there’s an answer at the end, or if it not an answer, confirmation that you aren’t alone. A creeping/comfortable feeling, maybe, or brutalized/validated.
The bad feelings that you get from the work, the lumps in your throat and identification you feel, hurt, but they also confirm that someone else is feeling what you feel.”
Go read that post. And go read Boxes. I don’t think you’ll regret it. As for me, I think I’m going to get some sleep.
Episode 19 of the show is now available at the libsyn site. CLICK HERE to go there for the download. You can also download the show from iTunes.
This is a pretty mellow show, but I think it’s a good one. John Porcellino is the cartoonist between the long-running King-Cat mincomic series, and many collections and other books. One of them that Phil and I (Matt) recently read is Perfect Example, a true-life high school story, that has been described as a coming-of-age story which reads like a “goodbye to the familiar Road trips, drunken concerts, and late-night make-out sessions.” According to cartoonist Chris Ware, “John Porcellino’s comics distill, in just a few lines and words, the feeling of simply being alive.”
We caught up with John Porcellino before he went to SPX, one of the mainstays on the indie comics convention calendar. Phil and I talk with John P. about self-publishing, what he gained from his art school experience at NIU, the difference between the early days of alternative comics (the 80/90s) and now. We also talk about doing comics for the love of it, and learning from the artwork (it really applies to writing, drawing, and music, as well) while you are making it. And since we share the stateline region with John, I had to ask him about the changes from living in an urban/suburban environment to living in the more rural environment of South Beloit.
John P’s website is H E R E
Episode 18 of the show is now available at the libsyn site. CLICK HERE to go there for the download. You can also download the show from iTunes.
SPECIAL CROSSOVER EPISODE! If a podcast can have friends, then the Pod People Podcast is one of the best friends that Bombast has. If you don’t know, that show has a focus on Young Adult fiction, and for this episode, we cross over with the hosts of Pod People, Emily White and Vic Caswell. We start off the episode with a round of the game show, “Hip Hop Artist or Superhero?”. From there, we move on to Matt’s homework assignment for the show, which was to get a date and go to the GZA concert, how to pick up chicks while buying tires, and we talk about Phil’s novel, “Peter Brown Goes to Boston”, and Phil talks about Emily’s YA novel, “Elemental”, which he just finished reading. We also talk about a tendency of male character in YA to be what girls wished guys were like, and we compare that to unrealistic women characters in superhero comics. If you listen further, you’ll find out the reason that Phil needs to go see a Twilight movie in the theater, and you’ll hear Mat ramble on about the Bill Murray movie, “What about Bob?”. We round out the end of the show with the epic topic, Sexiest Male and Female Superheroes. The topic does derail briefly into a disagreement about Tim Burton’s “Batman Returns” (1992). We laugh a lot during this episode, and I hope you enjoy it, dear listener, because we had blast recording it.
Episode 13 of the show is now available at the libsyn site. CLICK HERE to go there for the download. You can also download the show from iTunes.
Matt wasn’t around to record the intro, so instead Phil got to record with a special guest, time-travelling brain-damaged era SINBAD!!!
Let’s just say that Phil’s been a fan of Sinbad for a long time.
Once Matt finally shows up, he states some very unpatriotic opinions about America vs Canada. We talk about the olympics, both the Canadian and the hip-hop version. We also move on to discuss comic ratings vs their intended audience. After that, we receive a visit from special guest gollum/smeagol.
Phil: So, Matt and i were sent a copy of “The Bends” by Charles Pazos to review on our website. I think we’re both excited to get a submission like this.
Matt: Yeah. It’s really cool to get somebody’s work to review or promote.
Matt: And if we knew what we were doing to a greater degree, we would have a review policy published on the website, haha.
Phil: That sounds like a job for you to figure out. I guess to kind of summarize the book a little bit, it’s kind of a dark, noir-feeling sort of book.
Matt: It’s a crime story – I guess it’s in the near future, although there really aren’t any high-tech science fiction elements.
Phil: It has some parts that definitely draw comparison to Frank Miller — especially his work on Sin City — and even Quentin Tarantino.
Phil: There’s some cool gadgets in the book, but overall not too much sci-fi.
Matt: It seems like Charles Pazos is trying to set up a world that he can play with in the future for more stories.
Phil: Definitely. this book feels like one small story within a larger story. It feels like some of these characters are intended to come back in a big way. I think that the main characters are these two hit-men. I love those guys.
Matt: What, just hitmen in general? Or these characters in particular?
Phil: Well, it’s always good to have a few hit-men as friends, but these guys are pretty cool.
Phil: When I brought up the Tarantino-esque feeling of the book, I mostly meant the conversation that those hit-men have in the car on the way to their job.
Matt: Oh, okay. That really felt like a Brian Bendis-type scene. Like in some of his Avengers comics where the Avengers are sitting around a table, eating and talking in the mansion.
Phil: Hmmm… okay, i guess i can see that.
Matt: Or in Powers where the two main cop characters are driving around and having some little mundae conversations while they try to solve a crime.
Phil: I’m definitely amused by any conversation these action types have when they’re not in the middle of a mission. It worked for Tarantino, it worked for Bendis and it works for Pazos.
Matt: The part that just has the two hitmen talking is kinda similar to the scene at the beginning of Reservoir Dogs, where the guys are all in the diner before the action started.
Phil: I think by the end of that scene you have a pretty good idea of who the hit-men are, and they’re actually pretty different from each other.
Matt: Really? I didn’t get that from it.
Phil: Well, one of them likes sushi and the other doesn’t. There’s more to it than that, but I don’t want to give away too much of the book.
Matt: You’re always afraid to give away too much of a book. To back it up, the story starts with a child support hearing in a courthouse, and then we move on to the hitmen, as they go about their mission. They have some kinda fun little banter, and we discover they’re both Colombian, or Colombian-American
Phil: Yeah. At first I thought that the father at that hearing was going to be the main character.
Matt: And we learn a little about their shadowy boss.
Phil: Donovan, the rock star.
Matt: Not Donovan Leitch, who hung out with the Beatles and wrote Sunshine Superman, and Mellow Yellow. Although it would have been cool if it was. I may even have enjoyed it more!
Phil: I see that our interpretations of this book differ a bit.
Matt: Haha! They talk about this shadowy crime-boss and his grandiose vision of himself/possible mental illness. That part of the story kind of made me groan inwardly; it just felt kind of cliche for some reason.
Phil: Yeah, it was a little frustrating to have that much of a set-up for a character that doesn’t directly affect the rest of the book. I do hope that we get to see more of him in the future. I want to see more of how his empire works, and I want to see him in action.
Matt: This eccentric figure that’s standing somewhere offscreen, combined with the feeling of a world that’s building up this end-of-the-world feeling, seemed like something that’s been seen before.
Phil: Well, it’s been seen before because it works. but for me, it mostly works if this book is a prologue to something else.
Matt: It also seemed like something where the writer may have been patting himself on the back a little for adding something strange and original to a crime story.
Phil: It’s fine to have a few issues of Daredevil where they’re talking about the Kingpin. eventually, we do need to see the Kingpin in action.
Matt: I don’t need weird elements in my crime stories, but I guess the ambition of it is something to praise. Also, I am curious to see where Pazos goes with his work in the future. This may be a prologue to something else – the word ‘one shot’ is in the title.
Phil: Matt wants normality in his crime stories.
Matt: Yeah, I think that’s true. The reason why I enjoy EdMcBain is how grounded the police work is in his books. And one of the reasons I enjoy George Pellecanos books is they feel so well-grounded they almost feel like travelogues of the back-alleys of Washington DC.
Phil: That’s an interesting point. I think that The Bends is a book that seems much more realistic than, say, Batman or Daredevil, but it’s still a bit more out there than a lot of prose crime stories.
Matt: They’re a definitely a lot of odd, stylized crime stories in movies too- like certain Tarantino movies, or John Woo. But anyway, back to the story at hand…
Phil: What did you think about the art in this book?
Matt: My issue with the banter of the long conversation scene – is that I feel that, at least personally, I didn’t feel like the dialogue gave me a reason to care about the characters. I wasn’t enjoying it a whole lot, but when it got near the end, there was an internal monologue where one of the characters talks about how he approaches his life and his work as a hitman, and it really made it come together and made it work for me. I was like, “THIS is what makes this character unique.”
Phil: Yeah, it takes a while but it gets there.
Matt: Anyway, back to the art -did you have anything you want to say about the art?
Phil: It was done by putting illustrations over stylized photographs. I’m mostly impressed by the rendering of the photographs into the backgrounds, but the juxtaposition definitely gives a striking effect. It makes the characters pop out a bit more.
Matt: Yeah, the characters are drawn, and the backgrounds for the most part seem to be photographs that were altered into something more graphic and more soaked with mood by using photoshop. I’m curious to know how that was done, I know from my experience using photoshop, that it wasn’t just some easy 1-step trick that everyone knows about.
Phil: Yeah, I’ve had some experience screwing around with pictures like that, and it never turns out that well.
Matt: The art is very clear, and it ‘reads’ well – it’s usually very easy to tell what’s going on. Which I think is priority 1 when you’re making comics art.
Phil: Exactly, and it’s not easy to do when you’re doing art in black and white.
Matt: And there are some backgrounds drawn more by hand, like the interiors of cars, which I know are a pain to draw and get right. The characters are very simply drawn and just slightly cartoony.
Phil: Yeah, they’re kind of boxy a lot of times, which works for me. I like the way that the cartoony looking characters pop against the dark, gritty looking backgrounds.
Matt: I think it works on a practical level, but I found the characters to be a weaker part of the art, and there was some awkwardness to the staging of the characters.
Phil: You mostly see the characters straight ahead or at a profile.
Matt: There were some action scenes where it seemed like all the characters were drawn in profile, and it got to be a little monotonous.
Phil: You don’t get much of the 45 degree turn, or from above or below.
Matt: And also, while I’d say that Pazos does put his best effort into it, it takes a really good artist to make a long conversation in a car visually interesting.
That’s the reason that when you watch Law and Order, and they interview suspects and witnesses in their homes and places of business, the people are always busy doing something. They’re calming a baby or cleaning their house, or trying to fix a vending machine in the convenience store they work in.
Phil: I never noticed that, but you’re right. I always get annoyed when they’re doing something else. I always wish someone would tell them to quit doing the laundry until the police are done asking questions. Yeah, in general I’d say it’s a good job for his first work. Definitely more successful than my first work (which was never completed) or my second work (which was never completed). I would like to see more so that some of these characters can go further. I’d also like to see how the events of this story set off another larger story. We also need to get a good protagonist, someone that the audience can view the world through, not necessarily someone that is going to fix everything, but at least someone that we root for.
Matt: And maybe it might be nice to see how this might work in a story that was larger, but with a little tighter focus. I thought the protagonists were okay, just that the interesting character traits were revealed oddly late in the proceedings. I’ll even say that the lettering didn’t annoy me, and I’m a huge lettering snob.
Phil: I really liked the lettering of the police sirens.
Matt: Well, we’ve started talking about lettering… probably a sign we should wrap up the review…
Phil: Uh-oh. Oh, I thought that was about to be a rant about comic sans or something.
Matt: Haha, no. But I’d like to thank every self publishing comic creator that knows better than to use comic sans in their comic.
Phil: True dat. I definitely also want to give a big thanks to Charles Pazos for letting us read and review his book, The Bends. if you’re interested in reading it for yourself to see what we’re talking about, it’s available on graphicly.
Matt: Its available digitally for now, and I think he plans to release a print version in the future. The way I think graphicly works, if you have an iphone or Android smart phone, (or an e-reader) just do a search in the store for The Bends –One Shot. You can also buy and read it online at the graphicly website on your computer, or read it through facebook.
Interested? Check out “he Bends: One Shot” by Charles Pazos H E R E
in episode 16 we handle our latest listener review. before this gets too far, i’d like to submit some evidence for the prosecution:
but we’ve probably talked about falkor too much on the show. it’s time for us to settle this. with a poll.
we move from there to talking about how phil and matt have each tried to pick up ladies recently. phil tried the 90s approach
while matt tried a much older approach
we also talked some more about matt’s experiences at comicon and we got to hear from some of matt’s friends that went with him.