05th Aug2004

Comic Wisdom Via Spider-Man 2

by Will

“Sometimes, to do right, we must give up the things we want most…even our dreams.”

Uncle Ben, Spider-Man 2

29th Jul2004

Comic Run-Through: This Week’s Offerings

by Will

Let’s talk comics. A friend once commented I ought to have a a comics sections, seeing as how they’re so important to me. So, while I build that part of the site, this’ll have to do. Let’s review a couple of this week’s offerings:

Avengers #500: There’s nothing like a “milestone issue” to shake things up. A book lasts 500 issues, someone’s gotta die to commemorate it. This issue had 3 confirmed deaths, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Man, I LOVE Bendis!

Astonishing X-Men #3: When they told me Joss Whedon was gonna write X-Men, I thought, “Great, ‘Buffy’ with mutants!” I was being sarcastic when I said this, but I’ve learned that i really like Whedon’s writing style. You definitely see the Buffy in it, but who cares? Anyway, this issue had Beast vs. Wolverine. Never really seen that conflict before. Hope I never see it again.

Amazing Spider-Man #510: This book is the clusterfuck of the week. You mean to tell me Gwen Stacy was pregnant?!! All those years ago, she ran off to France to give birth to kids we’ve never heard of? I know that time has actually passed in the Spider World, but I never thought THAT much time had passed. Peter was about 15 when bitten, and I figured he was late twenties now. Well, Gwen’s kids are back, and they’re out to kill Peter Parker. They seem a lot older than the maximum age of 12 that they should be. Let’s see how this one pans out. GWEN HAD KIDS?!!!

X-Statix #25: The group & The Avengers form a truce. When the dust settles, the X-Statix team considers disbanding. No, this isn’t a big deal. They do this after EVERY major adventure. in fact, it’s to be expected every 5 or so issues of this book. But this time it’s for real, ’cause the book’s cancelled. Better enjoy those last 2 issues…

Excalibur #3: Marvel must really want me to hate Charles Xavier. They’ve gone back to this whole Mutant Martin Luther King persona for him that I’ve never really cared for. And Genosha’s always been a shitty locale. Who thought a book about mutants in Genosha would be entertaining?!! For the uninitiated, here’s an analogy for ya: the theme of this book is the equivalent of having Holocaust survivors go back to the camps, and run them themselves. It makes no sense. Nor does this book.

I leave you with this great & poignant quote from the Powers #1 letters page:

“i swear to fucking god, if wolverine becomes an avenger I am going to kill my family. How much shit am I supposed to take in my life??? Why is this happening to me??!!” -skeetboy

22nd Jul2004

Comic Movies, Bank Breakup, and the MP3 Site Of Mine That I’ll Probably Forget About

by Will

I’m too lazy for a big post right now, but I figured it was time for an update.

Quick Thoughts:

– Bryan Singer’s directing “Superman”. Yah! …Which means no “X3”. Boo! There goes the X-Men movie franchise..

-Jessica Alba as Sue Storm in “Fantastic Four”? She’s cute and all, but I hate to admit I was more excited when I heard Jessica Simpson was up for the part…

-I started Driver’s Ed this week. Really forgot what it meant to be 15 yr’s old. No, I was NEVER like that, but it sure is weird. i don’t even get these kids. I made a “California Dreams” reference, and the room went silent. Crazy, young whippersnappers…

-Apparently, there’s a Green Lantern movie in the making, but Warner Bros is gonna make it a comedy, and they’re currently talking to Jack Black about starring in it. For every “Spider-Man”, there’s a “Howard The Duck”….

-I ended my sordid 5-year marriage to M&T Bank, due to “Irreconcileable Differences”. When the teller asked why I wanted to close the account, I simply told him, “You know…I just really don’t like you…I mean, the service is terrible, I’m tired of the charges, and you all had a monopoly where I went to college. But now….I just don’t want this anymore.” Best (and only) break-up speech I’ve ever given, thank you very much!

-For you comic kids out there, pick up The Pulse #4. One of the HEAVIEST and MOST POWERFUL talkers in recent years. Very little action, but really adds something to the whole Spider-Man franchise, especially if you’re a continuity buff like me! I LOVE Bendis!

-And for those of you who’re curious, my songs ARE up now, but the links aren’t working for some reason. I made the HTML tags myself, and I was quite proud, but they don’t seem to want to work. So, for now, just copy the URL’s and enjoy my bootlegged goodness. AND, if that doesn’t work, hope on over to http://www.freewebs.com/williambrucewestmusic/

Go easy on me, ’cause it IS a template, but it’s my first personal foray into site building. I made sure to make it the CHEESIEST, most CLICHE site around. It’s got a midi and a bubble effect. All I need now is a counter, guestbook, and a bunch of Hello Kitty shout-outs to all my girls in my ballet class.I’m not even sure it’ll stick around, but I really needed a place to store these mp3s. So, click and enjoy. Or hate. Either way, drop me a line and tell me what you think.

-Go see “Anchorman”!!! Funniest thing I’ve seen in ages. Funnier than Sealab, Family Guy, or Best Week Ever. Even if you hate those shows, GO SEE IT!!!

30th Jun2004

The Best Comic Book Movie Of All Time

by Will

So, saw Spider-Man 2 today. All I can say is WOW. I’ve always said that the first Spider-man was “The Best Comic Book Movie Of All Time”. I was wrong. Spidey 2 now holds that distinction!

I LOVED the opening sequence where the main plot points of the first movie are conveyed through Alex Ross’s artwork. I hate Alex Ross, ’cause I’ve heard nothing but accounts of him being an asshole, but the man does have a right to be. There’s no competition in his realm; he is THE painter in the world of comics. Photographs couldn’t have told the story better than his scenes, so I felt that was definitely an incredible aspect of the movie.

I can’t even get into what makes it great, but it’s the fact that we’ve all been or are Peter Parker. The everyman whose life just doesn’t go as he’d wish. We all make promises we intend to keep, but things just get in the way. The only difference is that we, as real people, don’t have as good an excuse for these faults as Peter does.

Anyway, great story. Really felt for Alfred Molina. He’s just a guy who had a passion for science, and in his pursuit of a dream, lost everything he held dear.

Still hate Kirsten Dunst. She’s the worst part of the franchise. And is it in her contract that she MUST be wet and bra-less @ least once a movie? Most guys wouldn’t complain, but I’m tired of this frumpy snaggle-tooth being forced in my face as a “sex object”. Hell, whoever plays Betty Brant is MUCH hotter that Kirsten Dunst.

Is it just me, or do we ALL know a “Harry Osborn”? Some privileged kid who wants nothing more than to fit in and be successful, but ends up pushing people away because of false bravado and theatrics? Cornell was full of them…

I also loved the cameos, like “Queer As Folk”/”I Love The ’80s” star Hal Sparks in the hilarious elevator scene. Or “Chappelle’s Show’s” Donell Rawlings (“Man, he stole that guy’s pizzas!”) Or Joy Bryant cheering Spidey along. And of course, the obligatory Stan Lee “I’m here ’cause I created this f-ing character” cameo. All of these were unnecessary, but as a pop culture guru, they added to my experience.

My only gripe is that Raimi seems to fixate on obnoxious themes each time around. The first movie had all the forced post-9/11 “Don’t F— with NYC” imagery. This movie has a “Godzilla -B Movie” feel to it whenever someone screamed. You had the “Look @ Camera.Freeze.Scream. Run Towards Camera Screaming” scenario. Especially in the hospital scene. The whole Terrified New Yorker role was HIGHLY exaggerated, but it didn’t take much away from the movie. Now, the countdown begins for Spidey 3 in May 2007.

I wonder why no one approached Raimi to breathe life into the Batman franchise. I swear, Spidey is really edging Bats off my hero list. If Chris Nolan disappoints me with “Batman Begins”, I’m scrapping my Bat Signal and using the parts to build web shooters (For you non-comic readers, Spidey actually has mechanical webshooters for his webs; unfortunately, Hollywood thought it’d be better if the webs came out of HIM for the movies, hence why you have no idea to what I’m referring.)

28th Jun2004

Spider-Man: Remixed

by Will

In honor of Spidey 2, go here: http://www.newcomicreviews.com/temp/spidey/

Somebody took old newspaper Spidey strips and gave them new dialogue. It’s kinda offensive at times, but hey, what isn’t? And it’s funny in a sick and twisted way!

17th Jun2004

Callboy Engagements, The Boss?, The Lemon-Lime Union, “Planned” Parenthood?, and Hater Gal Pals

by Will

Random Things That Have Been On My Mind Today:

-So, it seems that ALL of Next Call are engaged! Seeing as how they’re only about 3 and 4 years older than me, it’s kind scary. Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy for the guys, but it’s like some weird longitudinal study coming to a head. I swear, like 8 of ’em got engaged in the past 2 months. Is there some race I don’t know about? Is this one of those Callboy traditions y’all forgot to tell us at the Chariot? Someone explain this to me!

-What exactly is Bruce Springsteen “The Boss” of?!!

-Why are lemon and lime always bunched together? What bastard did this to them? Now, it seems that they’re inexplicably linked, with no lives of their own. What if lime wants to go solo? Did anyone ever think of that?

-Why is it called “Planned Parenthood”? I’ve yet to hear of anyone going there because of a “planned” event. But I guess, “Shit, it broke!” or, “Damn, I ain’t even got my GED” wouldn’t look as professional on a sign…

-Girls, do NOT go shopping with your friends. I don’t care how long you’ve known them, or how much you’ve been through. Bottom line: your friends are bitches. They may act like they like you, but they only like you a little less than they like themselves. You’ll never be equal. Case in point. When shopping, so many girls’ll tell their friends: “You look GREAT in that! It’s SOOO Cute.” No, it’s not. She just wants to look better than you, and she’s ensuring that by exploiting your vulnerability. Most of the time, that dress just really accentuates your rolls or your “Christmas package”. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that region you hate most about yourself. And this dress doesn’t hide that. But Jill won’t tell you. Oh yeah, Jill’s also been going down on your boyfriend. Who’re you gonna look cute for now?!!

-Excelsior! to Marvel Enterprises! After a rough decade, y’all have finally gotten out of bankruptcy. With Spider-Man 2 coming in a few weeks, things can only get better. Yet, with all the shittier movies you’re planning, like Man-Thing, Iron Man, and Elektra, I’m sure we’ll be hearing another bankruptcy announcement in a few more months…

14th Jun2004

True Story: Swear To God – A Review

by Will

So, I’m slowly becoming what I fear most: a fanboy. I always wondered what would happen if I withdrew from society and found my sheer enjoyment in life in the pages of comics. I knew it would be a sad, hollow, existence, but I also knew that many people lived this life. Well, I think I’m joining that crowd.

No, it’s not that my life is THAT pathetic, but I do keep finding myself intrigued and inspired by things I’ve read in comic form lately. No, I’m not talking X-Men or Batman (Although I still love you, my Gotham Savior).

No, my comic of the moment is “True Story: Swear To God”, by Tom Beland. TS:STG is a cute, romantic tale of how Tom, a cartoonist from CA, met “The One” during a fluke trip to Walt Disney World. Unfortunately, Lily, the love of his life, was a journalist who lived in Puerto Rico, meaning their long-distance relationship would take place over 15,000 miles. Tom personally illustrated the entire story of their courtship, much of it on the plane ride home from their initial meeting, and it’s all presented here. You really get taken along for the rollercoaster ride, and you completely empathize with Tom.

It’s nerve-racking when you’re waiting for Lily to come to CA for Tom’s brother’s wedding. It’s endearing the way Tom reveals exactly what’s on his mind during their first magical night, fearing he may never see Lily again. It’s hilarious as Tom sticks out like a sore thumb in PR.

I realize it’s not a book for everyone, as I’m trying to get my mom into it, and she’s just not feeling it. I swear, though, this story made me cry. It’s not sad, nor happy, but it’s beautiful. It’s simply a beautiful tale.

I think it really affects me because I know it’s based on a true story. A true story with a happy ending. Yup, Tom and Lily are married & living in Puerto Rico now. Although I never saw the movie, I think I know how Jennine felt whenever she watched “Life Is Beautiful”; The whole thing about how love can persist even through the hardest circumstances. By no means does Tom go through anything as harrowing as the Holocaust, but that whole “love pervading despite obstacles” angle really seems to apply here. Anyway, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this to anyone. You don’t even have to like comics, but it’s a cute & heartwarming tale. And I certainly don’t feel like such a curmudgeon anymore since reading it…

10th Jun2004

Brad Meltzer, Identity Crisis, Bad Ideas, and Jim Mahfood

by Will

Yesterday, I met novelist Brad Meltzer. Wonderful guy! You’ll never meet a nicer guy in comics. Did I say comics? Well, yeah. While Meltzer is currently on the New York Times Bestseller List for his work, such as “The Millionaires” and “The Zero Game”, he’s also been dabbling in comics for the past few years. His latest masterpiece is called “Identity Crisis”.

“Identity Crisis” follows a murder mystery in the DC Universe (Superman, Batman, but no Spidey or Wolverine). While the ID of the vicitm isn’t the focal point, the mystery IS. This storyline promises to shake up the world of comics for years to come. Now, they ALWAYS say this, and it’s RARELY true, but I really believe that it’ll be a great story, consequences or no.

So, I read the issue last night and was DYING to call James and tell him about it, but since he has a “No Spoiler” clause in our contract, I knew he’d jump through the phone and strangle me like I was a Cornell Republican or something. Anyway, I KNOW he’s gonna hate who the victim is. PLUS, LEX LUTHOR’S FRIGGIN BATTLESUIT WAS IN THE BOX!!! THE PURPLE AND GREEN ‘SUPER POWERS’ SUIT!! HE’S ALIVE….Sorry James, guess you can just call me “Joe Sabia”…

Speaking of comics, if anyone has a nice little neighborhood comic shop, I implore you to try to find a copy of Bad Ideas #1. It’s written by Jim Mahfood and a bunch of other guys, and basically they’re making fun of all the dumb ideas people submit to them when they’re at conventions. “Why don’t you guys write an anime story? Why don’t you write about a comic fan who meets a really hot girl and they both get powers?” These questions and others are answered here, in hilarious fashion. Also, the art’s by Mahfood, who has an awesome underground graffiti style going on. To see more of his work, check out http://www.40ozcomics.com

03rd Jun2004

Was That You, Lady Deathstrike?

by Will

So, yesterday in the store, this stunning girl came in. Not supermodel stunning, but incredibly captivating. She had amazing skin, the “cliche lower back tattoo”, low rise jeans, the works. But here’s the stuff that really made an impact. She had a pierced navel, causing me to notice she also had all these little scars across her stomach.

Not C-Section scars or stretch marks or anything, but definitely scratches. In fact, she looked like she might’ve been one of Wolverine’s victims or something. They had healed, but there were still all these errant claw scratches on her. She had beautiful eyes, although she rarely made eye contact. She walked up to the counter, and handed me a belt she wanted to buy. A surprisingly feminine belt, considering she seemed kinda badass. On the counter, as she was about to pay, she put down her backpack and her ….motorcycle helmet!! This chick was awesome.

As she walked away, my manager walked by her, and looking at me, said, “That’s one hip chick! She looks kinda like…Lenny Kravitz”. She walked out of the store with her Aviator glasses on, helmet in one hand, and backpack in the other. When she was gone, I knew I should’ve said something to her. Not like, “Wow, I should’ve gotten her number!” Anyone who knows me knows that’s not how I think. I would’ve loved to have had a conversation with her because I KNOW she had a story to tell. With her style, her scars, and just the scenario, I think I may have met one of the most intriguing people to cross my path in some time. Plus, I REALLY wanna know where the scars came from.

04th May2004

The Return of Lippart!

by Will

Today’s Episode: “The Citadel of Herndon” (A 2-Part Adventure) Episode #: 05102201

Special Guest Stars: Tam, Darien

Returning Cast Member: Eric Lippart

So, it started out as any other Friday. I was kinda excited ’cause when I got to work, I noticed I was stationed in the fitting room, and that’s my favorite station. No, I’m not a pervert, but I always have funnier stories to tell about the fitting room. The next thing I know, there’s Tam. For all of the uninformed, Tam’s my pseudo-cousin. Very long story. Regardless, H&M, on Mean MILF Island, was the last place I expected to see her. Anyway, she was just shopping for stuff for her trip to Miami. Apparently, she’s been working hard lately, and decided she deserved a vacation. *&^%ing successful people with their *&^%^ing successful plans! We chatted and we’re supposed to hang out sometime this summer ’cause she’s on all kinds of guest lists for clubs and parties. It’s weird how we’ve gotten closer in recent years, when we used to be kind of warring. She had the pseudo-street cred, while I was a laughing stock Alphonso Ribeiro.

After she left, he walked in the door. I didn’t notice him at first. In fact, I wondered, “Who’s the sketchy guy leaning by the pillar?” I had to run out to do a price check, and that’s when I noticed. LIPPART. Yeah, we’d talked recently, but I hadn’t actually seen him since October. He was certainly a sight for sore eyes. The first chance I got, I finagled my 15-min break, even though we were 15 minutes from closing. We chatted and tried to make plans for when I was done with work.

When I got back in the store, Bridget, one of the girls who works there, asks, “Who’s your friend?” In a tone I didn’t really like. “What the hell kind of question is that?” I fire back. “He’s my boyfriend! Is THAT what you want me to say?” Yeah, I know it was a bit harsh, but I didn’t like her tome, and you’ve got to meet her to understand this girl. She’s young. She’s 18, but she’s still “young”. Kinda immature. I just wasn’t in the mood. Turns out, though, she thought Lip was cute. Wanted the 411 on him. (Do people still say “411”?). The more I told her (He’s got a good job, Master’s degree, etc), the more she was into him. I decided to have a little fun, so I just kept pouring it on. She doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell, but it at least made the time pass quicker.

Once done, I met Lip and his friend Darien at Silver Diner, where we discussed South Park and our mail-order bride of a waitress. Once that was done, we weren’t really sure what we were going to do next. We dropped off Darien, and then it was off to Eric’s.

This is when it got weird. Since I hadn’t seen him in awhile, I really didn’t know what to expect. I had a feeling that must be akin to how a girl must feel when she’s on the way to some guy’s house she just met in a bar. The whole, “Am I gonna sleep with him? Well, I’m headed to his house, so I must plan to sleep with him debate”. No, I wasn’t thinking of it along those lines, but I was curious, “Am I going home tonight, or am I sleeping in Lip’s guest room tonight?” I didn’t care either way, but I just wanted to be sure before I missed the last train back to MD.

So, we’re headed to his place, and I see what I can only describe as a citadel. I’m about to ask him what it is, when I notice we’re headed for it. In fact, we pull up right to it. Turns out, he lives in said citadel! I forgot the name of the development, but it is one of the sweetest places I have ever seen! And it only gets better inside. I am SO impressed with his decorating skills. I may have introduced him to H&M, but someone else introduced him to Pottery Barn and the Bombay Company! I couldn’t have decorated any better. in fact, it just motivated me to want my own place to try my hand.

Anyway, I’m getting off track. So, he’s giving me the grand tour, and I can’t believe my eyes. The flat screen TV, the faux fireplace, the courtyard view! Why is this man single, I ask? I told him he needed to post pics of the place online, and any woman’d want him. His place looks as if it has a woman’s touch, but he did it all himself. Definitely a place any woman would feel comfortable in.

Then, I find out there’s a super market, McDonalds, Subway, Gold’s Gym, Chuck E. Cheese’s, Irish Pub, and many other specialty shop SUPER MINI-MALL right across the street. Every convenience was thought of. Everything right at your fingertips. We go to the pub, Ned Devine’s, and have a few drinks. It was at that point, I realized I wasn’t seeing MD that night.

We went back and watched Kill Bill, which looked almost as amazing as it did in the theatre, thanks to Lip’s amazing entertainment center. I passed out and had the best sleep I’d had in days.

Saturday, we watched X2 and had Chinese, while Lip looked for job postings at his company. He’s trying to help me out by looking for anything in HR. We mainly spent the day watching Queer Eye and Batman, til that night, when we went back to Ned Devine’s. At around 2 AM, he drove me back to MD.

All in all, it was a great weekend, and I’m sure I left out some stuff, but that’s the main gist of it all. I’m just glad to have him back in the cast.