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@@@@ Q & @ with HOTWIRE’s Steve Pugh! @@@@ Previews: THE MIGHTY & MIJEONG! @@@@


Well, AICN COMICS: SHOOT THE MESSENGER is your weekly one stop shop for comic book -EWS. What’s comic book –EWS? Well, it’s our hodge podge of everything not reviews here at AICN Comics. Sure you can find out the @$$Holes’ critical opinions of your favorite books every Wednesday at AICN Comics. But here, you’ll find special reports such as previews, interviews, special features, and occasionally news gathered here from our online brethren at Newsarama, CBR, Wizard, etc. Sure those guys are the best at reporting news as it breaks. Click on the links for the original stories. This column cuts the crap to run down all the vital information for those of you who don’t follow it as it comes in, and serves it all up with that special ingredient of @$$y goodness.

Hey folks, Ambush Bug here with another Q&@. This time we’re chatting with Steve Pugh, who has a new miniseries from Radical Comics coming out called HOTWIRE: REQUIEM FOR THE DEAD. Check out what Mr. Pugh had to say…

AMBUSH BUG (BUG): So tell us a little about HOTWIRE: REQUIEM FOR THE DEAD #1.

STEVE PUGH (SP):Well, it’s a science fiction near future ghost story disguised as a police procedural. The basic gimme is that ghosts exist, they’ve always existed, but up till now they haven’t really been a problem. For some reason they've started coming out of the corners and roaming into the cities, coming out of the crevices and corners of the world. They hang around and attract and cause a low form of trouble and angst, things tend to happen around them, so a ghost crime department is set up within the metro police to deal with them. For the most part the ghosts are seen as a pest and not a real problem. Alice Hotwire is the exorcist in that department and she's head of the small necro-forensics department.

BUG: The comic is one of those genre twisters. Where there difficulties involved in blending sci fi and the supernatural?

SP: The basic pitch was “Ghost CSI.” The ghosts are in the city and the city is very recognizable, very contemporary. They haven’t really changed the way that society works, they don't impact on most peoples lives. They are kind of an unseen presence for the most part. People, if they do see them, avoid eye contact. They’re creeped out by them and they just stay away from them. So there’s not a lot of interaction. The ghosts obviously act as a metaphor for various dispossessed and shunned minorities, immigrant populations and there's a couple of parallels with how people react to the mentally ill too, the way they look through them or past them. They also are ghosts, of course, and have various cool and weird ways of interacting with the population. There are meddling spirits that take hobos for joyrides, possess them, and make them dance. There are wandering spirits that are looking for lost loved ones. And of course there are more dangerous forces at work too; something is happening within the city that's causing the ghosts to suddenly become a huge and dangerous problem. So the way we work in science fiction is to have a very recognizable city and to overlay that with the ghosts and the futuristic technology to deal with them.

BUG: So this isn’t really the far future we’re talking about?

SP: No, it’s supposed to be a very recognizable environment. Desktop and laptop computers have given way to cloud computing and gadgets like the iPhone, people don’t really have access to custom, open, technology, everything is sealed away in neat little "task machines" that limit your access to basic stuff. Alice grew up in a community of technologists and futurists, knowing how to program and custom build computers —she knows computers, how they work, and the shadowy stuff you can get them to do, but in this world she’s no outlet for it. She’s got no way to use her skills, and falls into her job as the police exorcist by accident because it's a way of getting her hands on some real technology and gain access to all the cool stuff. Necro-forensics has full access to all of this great technology, and she’s really interested in taking it apart and seeing how it all works. Dealing with ghosts is almost a byproduct of her interests in getting her hands on this stuff.

BUG: It’s been a long time coming for HOTWIRE to actually see print. Can you tell us a little bit about the long road the property has taken and how it ended up at Radical?

SP: Sure--way, way back, I had just been offered a run on ANIMAL MAN at Vertigo. A lot of the artists in the UK were feeling, and contributing to the buzz of Warren (Ellis) being the next big thing, and he was just starting to get some traction in the UK. We met on the convention circuit and I said to him that if he got an offer from a publisher, I’d be up for doing artwork on it. Sure enough Warren gave me a call a while later and said “What do you want to draw?” And I said, “Uhm…motorbikes, girls, and monsters.” so he wrote HOTWIRE, i drew it, and it was looking really good. But the publisher went under before it was finished.
Since then, I've kept gravitating back towards the character. Trying out different looks for her, writing short stories, just as a hobby, a warm up before doing the day job. Along the way we had a few offers to reprint and finish the original story, but by that time Warren had become established and didn’t want prototype/old work to come back to haunt him. So eventually the deal we struck would be that I would create a story based on the work that he did, but take the blame if it sucked!

BUG: Warren Ellis is in the credits of this issue. What part did he play in the making of HOTWIRE?

SP: It’s a difficult to divide credit exactly, there's some completely original characters and ideas in the new HOTWIRE, but there's also a lot which is very recognizable from Warren's original story. The motivations have changed for a lot of the players. Alice's situation has changed 180 degrees. In Warren’s original, she was a very in command, respected agent; someone the other police officers respected, even feared. In my version, she’s down-trodden and disrespected, and she can't count on the support of any of her colleagues. She's managed to alienate almost her whole department through her obnoxious and elitist attitude-most of them just want to just push her out of a window.
Alice, I hope, is an interesting character in her own right. I didn’t want her to fall into the trap of having a Lara Croft, invincible, butt-kicking, karate fighting Amazon. That’s not what the character is. She’s an outnumbered, outgunned underdog in every way. And she’s only got her smarts and some cool technology to see her through.
I also didn’t want it to be one of those stories where you have a really exotic, fascinating foe and a dull flawless everyman hero. I really tried to balance it out so both sides can carry their half of the story.
In the original, the ghosts were caused because of a disastrous scientific experiment, but I thought, “Why not just have them be actual ghosts?” it makes the story more straightforward, and that the reason why they are so prevalent now is that they are attracted to the electro-magnetic fields of the cities. Refrigerators talk to the food stores and cars talk to weather satellites, and the huge soup of wifi signals is creating a field that is energizing the ghosts, and it attracts them to the cities. It gives a naturalistic explanation of how ghosts are there, without adding unnecessary complexity to the story.

BUG: A lot of people know of you as an artist. But for this book, you put on the writing cap. What’s it like wearing both hats?

SP: Well it brings a lot of problems, but it solves a lot of problems too. I'm working for Radical and that creates a lot more flexibility than the situation at the big three companies. Instead of a written script, I was allowed to scripted out HOTWIRE in storyboards. I was able to place out the dialog and the action and the conversations all in one go, and it was a much more satisfying experience. I’ve always been jealous of how a writer artist like, say, Will Eisner was able to work, where there was such a close relationship between the writing and the drawing. Because no matter how close the relationship between the writer and artist, there’s always a schism between how they see the story and characters unfolding. It certainly gave me a lot more confidence to do the artwork because I knew exactly what expression the characters were conveying or what their motivation was. Of course, I had to make some adjustments. I had never written something this substantial before and on a technical level I had to learn how much I could actually fit into a book. So I had to cut some scenes, but I was able to put in most of the ideas I had planned out.

BUG: Ellis is known for being a writing machine. Did he give you any writing tips while making this comic?

SP: No, no, no. Hahaha. Warren’s far too busy to go create competition (however minor) for himself.

BUG: Ha!

SP: Actually, in the past, he's actually encouraged me to write. I did some self published stuff in the UK and he was very supportive of it.

BUG: What type of research goes into a comic like this, one steeped in so much sci fi and horror?

SP: Research wasn’t a problem, really, because I had been squirreling away ideas for HOTWIRE for years. I'm a packrat for fringe science stuff; every time I hear of a cool new chemical compound with a great name and an interesting use, or an interesting new theory, I save it and put it away as a possible springboard for a story. When I use pseudo science in HOTWIRE, I’ve tried to keep it from being too ridiculous. I want it to have at least the ring of truth, and avoid using words that I don’t understand! Interestingly enough, Alice doesn’t believe in ghosts so she's the first to call it hokum. She thinks the ghosts are some phenomenon that is yet to be explained, but that it’s ridiculous to consider it to be something supernatural.

BUG: How about you? Do you believe in ghosts?

SP: Me? Do I believe in it? uhm…do I believe in ghosts? That’s a very good question. If somebody swore to me that they’d seen one, I wouldn’t treat them as an idiot. But I remain skeptical. Skeptical but open minded.

BUG: OK. Fair enough. What were the influences as far as design when it comes to the technology of HOTWIRE?

SP: I’ve always been mad-fascinated by technology and design. While everyone else is watching the movie, I’m there thinking, “I LOVE the way they've articulated that robot's head!” I’m very much into how things are put together. I’m always sketching. I have little notebooks from when I was a kid. I remember when SPACE 1999 was running; I’d always have my notebook and was quickly trying to draw the guest spaceship of the week.

BUG: The art for this book is amazing. It’s a bit of a departure from your past work. Can you tell us a bit about your process? How long does it take for you to create these gorgeous pages?

SP: Way back, I'd done a strip for 2000AD with Garth Ennis called STRONTIUM DOG, and that was full color painted pages. It was kind of the prototype for the art style I use in HOTWIRE, and I’ve always wanted to come back to it. Originally the techniques I used were pretty crude; it was hacked together with spirit markers and coloured pencils and it took forever. If you made any kind of mistake, the whole page was in danger because it was almost impossible to make patches or big corrections invisible. So it wasn't a practical way to go, but I always had it in mind to come back to it. Recently I painted a book called SHARK-MAN which allowed me to revisit the style, and combining the old technique with all the new digital stuff I'd learned made the whole thing more practical to do. I’ve always been a bit of a control freak with my artwork and I was always annoyed that the originals just never looked quite as good in print as they did on the boards. I’ve never really been comfortable with line-work, I always wanted to work in full tones; either shades of grays or full color. I’ve tried digital technology that has really made this possible now.

BUG: Having worked with pretty much every big comic book company out there, do you have any stories (good or bad) regarding your time at Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, or 2000 AD you’d like to share? It seems like you’ve been in comics for quite a while…

SP: Aww, man. I saw myself described as a veteran comics creator the other day and I was so upset. I'm never gonna win best newcomer now!

BUG: Ha!

Well, it’s a thrilling life in comics. You sit in a room for hours and eventually you finish a page. It’s usually the writers who have all of the fun. I do know that I must have been on the hate list of all the production departments. I always inked my own stuff and I didn’t really use pencils. I went straight to inks and I’d draw directly on the boards and the ink would build up and I’d use liquid paper to white it out. In the end, I would have these great big rugged boards that proved to be quite mountainous; full of ink, paste, and white-out. And production would have to sit them under their cameras and try to get a good scan off these irregular pages. They were used to beautifully slick inked pages and mine looked ratty, and very homemade, covered in parcel tape and staples! Haha. Punk pages!

BUG: Haha! Radical’s known not only for its spectacular art and fresh perspectives, but also for their cross promotional work. There have been announcements regarding feature films being made for other Radical books like HERCULES, CALIBER, and FREEDOM FORMULA. Can you talk about any movie news here on AICN in regards to HOTWIRE?

SP: Well, nothing would make me happier. There’s certainly nothing I can tell you about right now, but of course, Radical is pursuing outlets for film. But I’m just concentrating on getting the book done. And if something comes of it, then I’d be very, very happy.

BUG: HOTWIRE is being promoted as a miniseries. Do you have plans to return to the Alice Hotwire after this miniseries is finished?

SP: In a shot. I’d be happy to work on HOTWIRE forever. I really enjoyed it. The great thing about the premise of this book is that it's wide open for almost any kind of story. There can be sad stories, comedy stories, high adventure. It really is a big deep well to mine from.

BUG: Last chance: why should everyone buy HOTWIRE?

SP: Because I’m putting everything I’ve got into it. This is a book that doesn’t exist to just take up space on a shelf. This is a book that everyone involved feels very passionate about. It’s great that it is finally being published. A lot people care about Alice and a lot of people want to see the book done right. Everyone wants to put out a really good read. Whatever happens when you buy this book, you’re not going to feel gypped. It should be a lot of fun and it should be a good ride.

BUG: Well, it definitely shows everyone’s put a lot of work into this one. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer the questions.

SP: No problem. Thank you!

BUG: Look for Steve Pugh’s HOTWIRE: REQUIEM FOR THE DEAD #1 in stores in February.

It’s the Bug again back with more previews from our precognitive spinner rack. This week we have a preview from a book that we’ve hyped up quite a bit here at AICN: THE MIGHTY. Pete Tomasi, Keith Champagne, and Peter Snejbjerg’s super hero epic is finally here and here’s a final sneak peak at it before you have a chance to pick it up yourselves when it hits the stands.

THE MIGHTY bursts onto the racks this Wednesday!

Next up is an indie treat from NBM ComicsLit called MIJEONG. This original graphic novel is by artist BYUN Byung-Jun. It is a beautiful tragedy full of wounded characters that looks to be a visual buffet. Click on the images below to see what I mean.

This 240 pg B&W original black and white graphic novel is definitely on my list to read for Indie Jones when it comes out. Look for MIJEONG in stores in April.

Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 2, 2009, 9:14 a.m. CST


    by Bill Brasky

    Here's to Bill Brasky!!!

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 9:28 a.m. CST

    DC's "The Mighty"

    by Bill Brasky

    I will pick this up on the chance that it is not a stereotypical piece of leftist comic book writer propaganda. Hmmmm... Don't you think that most people in the industry have read 'Red Scare', 'American Way', or any other run-of-the-mill limited that has come down the pike over the last 8 years? (Funny how these ideas kind of go away when a left-wing loon is the Pres). Remember the Reagan era 'Captain Atom' relaunch? Another attempt by vile fascist Americans to create a government superweapon. Captain Atom got away but they sure a shit found a way to produce Major Damage or whatever the fuck his name was. Typical.Leftist.Bullshit. I'm surprised that there isn't a Super Che' comic book out there already...but I digress. Bottom line: If DC wants to be refreshing instead of tired with this new "The Mighty" comic book, they should move toward a Captain America type character. Cap has been fighting the good fight for years. Sometimes he'll take the suit off if he disagrees with the powers that be (like he did back in the '80s, ahem... when Reagan was President) but for the most part he is a good and noble symbol of a great nation. My bet? This will be another retread, anti-American, bullshit idea by a bunch of morally corrupt, idealess, socialist, British scumbags.

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Yeah, cuz Pete Tomasi is a british commie.

    by SleazyG.

    Oh, wait, he's an American of Italian descent who's from New York. And he has no problem writing ass-kicking military characters in GREEN LANTERN CORPS.<p> Typical Rightist Bullshit: take a subject--*any* subject, no matter how far removed from politics--and make it about you licking the flop sweat off Ann Coulter's adam's apple. Or Rush's, if you prefer someone more feminine.<p> It sometimes helps to have even the *slightest* clue what the fuck you're talking about before you attack someone or something in a public forum. Take your political hackery and cram it sideways, pal.

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 11:27 a.m. CST

    "Let me show you the power of money unleashed!"

    by Laserhead

    That battle-cry almost made Final Crisis worth it, for me. And that's Batman's real superpower, when you think about it.

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 12:52 p.m. CST

    the mighty mighty bosstones

    by ironic_name

    the comic!

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 12:55 p.m. CST


    by most excellent ninja

    No Batman's ultimate power is having the most badass score in history. No superhero sounds more badass than him. It's late. but i still make sense.

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 12:57 p.m. CST

    Need Final Crisis #7 review NOW!

    by most excellent ninja

    damn I need that review.

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 1 p.m. CST

    excellent ninja I"ll give you my review.

    by The_joker

    It sucked and nothing really happened. 7 issues of pointless.

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 2:06 p.m. CST

    Can I just say

    by Joenathan

    how happy I am to see the red states back to being disenfranchised and marginalized like they should be. I am just so happy about that. God damn, its gonna be a good four years.

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 2:15 p.m. CST

    Final Crisis 7

    by WavingFlagsInSpace

    So, so disappointing.<p>Can anyone tell me what is going on with DC editorial at the moment? I will happily concede that Grant Morrison is a 'big ideas' man and sometimes these don't translate well but why did Didio stomp around with big heavy boots on when Morrison presented his ideas for RIP and Final Crisis?<p> Anyone...Fry? Fry?

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 2:36 p.m. CST

    Government conspiracy isn't just left-wing

    by Continentalop

    I mean, during the 90s conspiracies involving the government and anti-government beliefs were everywhere, and this was during a Democratic presidency. I mean, it isn't a coincidence that the X-Files happened during the Clinton years, nor is it coincidence that militia memberships rose during that time. <p> Comics have always played to reader’s sense of powerless, and as the age of the average reader changed, so has the cause of that sense of powerless. When it was for children, it was merely physical powerlessness, hence the fantasy of being strong and capable of doing incredible feats. When the age moved up to teenagers, the cause was the generation gap and the feeling of being looked down upon. Well, now the majority of buyers are adults and what makes them feel powerless? The government. The reason for feeling this way could be to many taxes, to many regulations, a feeling of being disenfranchised, or having a government that you can’t trust or doesn’t obey the constitution. Whatever the reason, that is why heroes nowadays always seem to fight the government, because they represent us, the powerless, taking on something that many feels push us around (of course this might change under the Obama administration).

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 3:19 p.m. CST

    Final Crisis

    by ChocolateJesus

    I've read the first three issues, and if you don't think anything happened, then you're just a fucking idiot.

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 3:38 p.m. CST

    You haven't read the last four issues, though...

    by SleazyG. you're a fucking idiot for attacking people when you don't know what you're talking about. The first three were the good ones. And by the end of the seventh we find out that, in fact, very little of import happened, and everything that happened took place in the stupidest, most convoluted, least worthwhile possible.

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 4:01 p.m. CST


    by most excellent ninja

    No I don't need to know what happened(I was the first person to review it in the world) I just want these guys opinions.

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 4:10 p.m. CST

    ChocolateJesus Ha

    by most excellent ninja

    wait till you get to the rest.

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 5:25 p.m. CST

    "left-wing loon"

    by hst666

    Obama is completely centrist. I say that as a liberal. I wish he were a lot more liberal. What about Obama's political decisions are not completely mainstream?

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 5:26 p.m. CST


    by Snookeroo

    Good points all -- though I might add that the early comics didn't address just (children's) physical powerlessness -- Siegel and Shuster's Superman fought corporate greed, power and corruption as well as crooked politicians.

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 5:37 p.m. CST

    Hotwire looks like they put a hell of a lot of work

    by Snookeroo

    into talking heads. The Mighty looks like it could be interesting or very easily go into "been there, done that" territory. Mijeong has a nice illustration style; too bad the storyline seems like such a pathetically reaching attempt at shock value.

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 5:52 p.m. CST

    Hey Joe

    by Homer Sexual

    I think you are being sarcastic, because I believe you are from Montana. I remember this because I am also from Montana. I would say Montana, which is pretty red but actually went for Obama this election, is ignored by both parties. Except that most Montanans have strong feelings about social issues like gun control, and I guess abortion, religion, etc. And, sadly, a strange desire to hunt in national parks. <p> I am very proud to be from Montana because we don't like people (like the govt) to tell us what to do and I grew up with a ton of personal freedom. That's what I like about Montana. <p> But now I live in California, and if you want to talk about being marginalized, disenfranchised and in fact pretty much actively dumped on for the last eight years, we fit that bill. <p> Ok, now that FC is all over, it does sort of seem to be back to status quo, but it's hard to say. Give it time. In a couple days there will be a review and we can discuss FC till we all get darpal tunnel.

  • Feb. 2, 2009, 8:01 p.m. CST


    by Continentalop

    That is true, but you forget that Superman appeared in 1939, the end of the Great Depression, so a lot of Americans, including children, felt powerless against the big corporations and the crooked politicians. I am sure they heard their parents railing against them all the time.

  • Feb. 3, 2009, 7:19 a.m. CST

    SleazyG...You are a british commie...

    by Bill Brasky

    When did I accuse you of being a commie? Typical Leftist Bullshit: Anyone (oh, wait, I'll use *anyone* because * is the new ") *Anyone* makes a statement that doesn't fit with your interpretation of what should be discussed is bashed, called a racist or political hack, and then insulted. And don't forget to throw me in with Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. You fucking moron, I hate both of them. But that doesn't matter to you does it? You wanna tussle with me? Fine. 'The Mighty' looks like it will be another government-superhero-gone-wrong story. I was pointing out that this story is tired, politically influenced and not inspiring. 1. Its a fact that the comic book industry (and I wasn't talking X-Files or any other type of medium) is filled with liberals. A large majority of these liberals happen to be from Great Britain. They push their agenda and force us (comic book readers) to listen to their political views using stories that are thinly veiled attempts at social commentary. Its been done many, many times. It is getting TIRED. 2. Read the blogs of many comic book writers today. Most of them read between a cross of Carl Marx and Ralph Nader. Its the reverse of your 'Ann Coulter and Rush.' So that tells you that any story involving the military, government, Hydrogen bombs and superheroes will most likely be a politically left-leaning, and thouroughly anti-American story. 3. This story is not inspiring. Don't we want a little escapism in our fiction any more? I want to ROOT for a character...not feel sorry for him or angry at the evil Rumsfelds of the world who turned him into what he is. (I'm sure that somewhere around issue 8, we will find out that someone actually pushed this sailor into the water so that he could be transformed into the superweapon that he is today.) Stories about this kind of government abuse, while important, have been overdone. SleazyG it looks like all you wanted to do was "attack someone in a public forum." Well, before you do that again, why don't you actaully READ the post that you are attacking. Then you can take YOUR political hackery and cram it up YOUR ASS.

  • Feb. 3, 2009, 7:31 a.m. CST

    I've Decided To Become A Commie

    by Buzz Maverik

    Better late than never, right? So I'm a Commie Come Lately, so what? I can't be a British Commie because I think you have to prove that you can do a job that no other British Commie can do to join, and unfortunately there are several who can mess up comic books as well, if not better, than I could.<p>First thing as a Commie: cigars. Excellent cigars.<p>Next: I've stopped trimming my eyebrows. In about a month, I expect to have that Eastern Block strongman look. Call me Marshall Buzz. <p>Finally, I'm building a wall. If you'll notice, all the best Commies, that Commie in crowd, if you will, all has had a Wall of some sort. The Great Wall of China. The Berlin Wall. My wall will have a Wal-Mart on it, btw.<p>But that's not that I'm a Commie, I will have to name my own name, get myself blacklisted, and scowl when I'm honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Oscars someday.<P>Being a Commie isn't easy, but it's fun.

  • Feb. 3, 2009, 7:36 a.m. CST

    Stupid Lack Of Edit Feature

    by Buzz Maverik

    If you read the posts of others as closely as I do, you'll say, "Why does Buzz say stupid lack of edit feature? Man, why does the Starbucks dude always ask me if I want room for cream in the coffee that I've just ordered black?"

  • Feb. 3, 2009, 10:17 a.m. CST


    by Snookeroo

    1938.<br><br>But I get your point.

  • Feb. 3, 2009, 10:56 a.m. CST

    So in other words, Brasky:

    by SleazyG.

    Your initial post made a bunch of false, baseless attacks, and then when I called you out for it you made some more. None of them, of course, have anything at all to do with Pete Tomasi or THE MIGHTY, but you needed a handy soapbox so you beat the guy up and then tried the same with me for pointing out you're a dick.<p> Well, sorry, but you're a dick and nothing in either of your posts has anything to do with Pete Tomasi or with THE MIGHTY.<p> And as for how you're "sure" issue 8 of the unpublished series will turn out--WTF? You're THAT sure of your own bullshit? Based on "stories about this kind of government abuse"? Because you already know how this 12 issue maxiseries will go, month to month, and what it's about, and what Tomasi has to say?<p> I read your posts. Both of them. I also understood the words in them and the intent behind them. You came here, attacked something we were featuring for no reason, and then cried like a little bitch when you got called out on it. Suck it up or go home and cry to your mommy.

  • Feb. 3, 2009, 11:45 a.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    I am not to Montana. I've only driven through Montana. The only time I ever stopped was at a rest stop outside of Cheyanne. I took a big dump there and then I moved on.

  • Feb. 3, 2009, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Not only am I not "to" Montana

    by Joenathan

    But I'm also not "from" Montana

  • Feb. 3, 2009, 12:06 p.m. CST

    How the mighty have fallen - the paranoid style in American comi

    by dead-battery

    Bill was beligerent but his point is well taken. When Hofstadter wrote The Paranoid Style in American Politics, he was, indeed, referring to the right but the left has long owned that style. Dow Chemical (Vietnam) is today's Halliburton (War on Terror). While the X-files hit it big during the Clinton administration, the show's owed its intellectual and artistic provenance to the 1970s, when aftermath of Vietnam and Watergate America proved a fertile ground for movies involving dark and complex government conspiracies, e.g., The Conversation, Three Days of the Condor, The Parallax View. The 1970's also saw directors striving for "realism" in archetypal American narratives. e.g., the detective story in Chinatown and The French Connection; the war movie in MASH and Apocalypse Now (1979). It took longer for this paranoid style and need for grittiness and realism to leach into the American Comic book. I came of age at that transition point, enjoying the (mostly) traditional portrayal Cap. of Marc Gruenwald, as well as the dystopian paranoid style of Alan Moore (especially compelling to a teenage kid convinced that the world was indeed against him). Age brings a degree of cynicism. At a certain point, it is hard to read the comics of our youth with the same eyes. To be able to so, even for a short while, would be a gift. As I get older, and became more conservative (in the Burkean sense), the fact that a medium I enjoyed some much as a kid has (without comment) become another front in a culture war where the winning side seems to have embraced the paranoid style, and half-baked anti-Americanism, is plain depressing. Bill's frustration and anger (however trolly and belligerent they might seem from someone viewing the world from the opposite side of the fence) stem from the unrelenting tide of comics steeped in the left wing paranoid style, moral relativism, western self loathing, and strongly Marxist. Many of these comics (as Bill observes), but not all, come from English writers, steeped in the cultural relativism, western self loathing, and radical philosophy, that have made a mess of their native country. Frankly, most of these comics (by either british commies, or fellow travellers and useful idiots of a different national origin) are tiresome, unoriginal, and often far more adolescent and trite than the traditional narrative they have long since supplanted. Anyway, here's hoping that Bill is wrong and the Mighty bucks the trend.

  • Feb. 3, 2009, 1:11 p.m. CST

    What leftism?

    by hst666

    The works of Mark Millar aside, what comics are you referring to. Government conspiracies are not inherently left or right, so what leftism do you perceive in modern comics? Or does anything that suggests the US is less than perfect offend you?

  • Feb. 3, 2009, 2:51 p.m. CST

    I am beginning to rethink my stance...

    by Continentalop

    ...But I do agree that government conspiracies are not inherently left or right, I do think there is a leftist slant in modern comics. Partly do to the fact that some writers are British left-wing radicals, but also do to the fact that comics is an artistic medium and artist usually bend to the left (film, pop music, theatre, etc.) The majority of being in the police departments and business world are right-wing, so we are not surprised to hear them rant off about the left-wing conspiracies of PC-ism, socialism, and my favorite, reverse racism and discrimination against white men. <p> However, it is hard for me to defend something like Captain America: Red, White and Black or Captain America: The New Deal. Man, those were "blame America" moral relativism and historical revisionism. <p>

  • Feb. 3, 2009, 3:23 p.m. CST

    The ghosts obviously act as a metaphor .....

    by dead-battery

    "The ghosts obviously act as a metaphor for various dispossessed and shunned minorities." - Steve Pugh. Clearly, the man must be voting conservative. Anyways. Marvel's (pre-Bru) Cap in the post 9/11 age is a good modern comics disseminating tired left wing tropes and critcism of the U.S. (As a liberal, you may agree with those tropes- not arguing merits, which is a seperate debate.) LEFTIST TROPE NO. 1: WE ARE THE TERRORISTS. In Captain America: The New Deal, in the terrorist (who is pretty much the protagonist)declares: “Tell our children then, American — Who sowed death in their field — and left it for the innocent to harvest? Who took their handsd, their feet?” Neiber doesn't bother counter this, nor this: "I am a messenger-here to show you the truth of war. You are the terrorists!” LEFTIST TROPE No. 2: 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB. In The New Deal, Captain America seizes a CATtag. He later confronts SecDef: “You tried to hang one of these around my neck...The terrorists I fought in Centerville all wore them — these CATtags." LEFTIST TROPE NO. 3: (MORAL EQUIVALENCE) AMERICA THE GUILTY. Cap. visits Dresden to learn all about American War Guilt for WWII. Because, you know, Dresden (in the midst of a bloody worldwide struggle to defeat Germany) and 9/11 (terrorists killing office workers) really, the same thing. TROPE NO. 4: (MORAL EQUIVALENCE) AMERICA THE RACIST: Red, White and Black, Cap mythos now includes fact US first tested the super soldier formula on unsuspecting black servicemen. “It’s necessary to see if our methods apply to the inferior races.” One group of black soldiers is put on a cattle car (just like the jews) and the rest are gunned down. (Because, you know, the Holocost and Tuskeegee the same thing. (At least according to Joe Al' Quesda).

  • Feb. 3, 2009, 3:40 p.m. CST

    Poor, poor red america

    by Joenathan

    I always find it funny that when the Conservative Reds talk about Anti-Americanism, all they ever really seem concerned about is anything that doesn't put white christians first... funny, huh?

  • Feb. 3, 2009, 4:57 p.m. CST

    All the problems of the world solved

    by dead-battery

    In just one AICN Comics talkbalk! Joe. Hey, I'm actually from New England, not Texas. Lived in Europe for a while. So I'm no "Red". Don't drive a pick-up. Spend my spare time in a rock band playing heathen music and I can't remember the last time I picked up a bible (and that shouldn't matter anyhow). I do, however, believe in an enduring moral order. So shoot me. In it's true form, Conservatism is really not about identity politics (which is a form factionalism, a danger to the republic.) Your "white christian" is in many ways a boogey man, used to focus greivences and justify the greater expansion of government in order to create heaven on earth. These white christianist boogeymen (and their brothers and sisters of all demoninations) are often to be found on far off bloody battlefields protecting, not opressing, you, from those who feed from the same trough of anti-american philosopy and totalitarian waters lapped up by their unlikely bedfellows on the far left. At the end of the day, I believe in fair and reasoned debate on issues of import, but disagree with blinkered anti-Americanism found in some comics (and everywhere else in this society), because I believe it is corrosive and focused on tearing down, rather than building up, what has been a bulwark (for all it's failure) and engine for good in the world. Everything that is enginered has only so much design tolerance - sooner, wear at tear beyond what it is designed for will cause it to break. Societies are no different and one full of citizens who view it as fundamentally flawed, and with the same naked antagonism as it's enemies, will see it fail or fall.

  • Feb. 3, 2009, 5:50 p.m. CST

    Are we talking about the same government

    by Snookeroo

    that can't even make sure our peanut butter doesn't have salmonella in it? Given that level of incompetence, I have a hard time believing they can keep interstellar spacecraft under wraps, seed the clouds with chem trails, or manipulate the populace to be Stalin clones.<br><br>Just sayin'.

  • Feb. 3, 2009, 5:51 p.m. CST

    Those aren't leftist tropes.

    by SleazyG.

    They're crap storytelling, and there's a huge difference. And just for the record, my left-wing, liberal, patriotic, all-American ass dropped that shitty Jon Ney Reiber arc and refused to buy TRUTH. They weren't leftist, they were trash, and they got the middle finger from me because of it. I feel no more guilt about Dresden than I do about Hiroshima, and I sure as hell don't want somebody who's supposed to represent the best of the American spirit crying like a little bitch cuz we were mean to the Nazis.<p> I still have to point out, though: the whole left/right argument was brought up here in the context of Pete Tomasi's THE MIGHTY, which has nothing to do with Steve Pugh's HOTWIRE. Pugh may be a British leftie (and unlike some, I say that without judgment) but Pete Tomasi just isn't, and I want his story judged on the merits of the story, and not some reactionary shithead's spastic and baseless attacks.

  • Feb. 3, 2009, 6:26 p.m. CST

    Deadbattery, you have convinced me...

    by Continentalop

    ...The more I think about it the more I am convinced of an "Anti-American" slant in Marvel comics. Besides the examples you mentioned, you forgot about General Ryker in the Hulk storylines (because you know the American military is evil and would have no problem experimenting on its soldiers) and when the Red Skull took the identity of Dell Rusk in Avengers: Red Zone storyline and plans to wage war on Wakanda after staging a terrorist attack. I guess they would be LEFTIST TROPES No. 5 & 6: The U.S. Military is a fascist, evil organization and that the American government staged 9/11 to take over the oil fields in Iraq. <p> But I will say part of all this leftist rhetoric might go back to my original assumption: the feeling of powerless. That is what superheroes do, empower those who feel weak and helpless. And if you were a liberal and/or a democrat the last eight years, I can see how you would feel a little powerless and bitter Losing two elections by a handful of votes will make you feel very disillusioned by the American people and its government, especially when that elected government does everything you are against such as invading a country that never attacked us to lowering taxes for the richest. So what do you do if you are a liberal or leftist comic book writer? Do what comic book creators have always done: create comic book characters who represent of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield, the neo-cons and the rest of the right wing you hate and have the heroes vanquish them. If you couldn’t get the rest of America to see how evil they were in the real world and lose an election, at least in the comic book world they can be defeated. <p> Of course this doesn’t excuse bad writing, or horrible historical revisionism and moral relativism, but it does explain why we have more stories in the last eight years that “attacks” the American Government and the Military. <p> But I also agree with SleazyG that Pete Tomasi’s THE MIGHTY should be judged on its own merits, and comics shouldn’t be forced to undergo an ideology purity test (unless we are testing for pure awesomeness, then I support such a test).

  • Feb. 4, 2009, 6:55 a.m. CST

    reactionary shithead...

    by Bill Brasky

    Oh new favorite TBer. Who is the 'reactionary shithead'? It seems that you are the only one of those here at the moment. Now that you've gotten your hand slapped by someone much more skilled at pronunciation; while he wrote the thought process that I was trying to convey (belligerently), you are doing the reactionary dance and conceding every point that dead-battery is making.<p>I don't give a fuck if Pete Tomasi is an Italian American (like me, for instance) or a Leftist Brit. The fact remains that for the most part, the comic book industry has leaned so far to the left that it is about to topple over. 'The Mighty' has anti-American grafitti written all over it and you can "Cry to your mommy" all YOU want but I guarantee that this book will be filled with the LEFTIST TROPE that Dead-Battery mentioned above.<p>Here's to Bill Brasky!!!<p>and here's to a pro-American comic book for once!<p><p>also, it's funny how Quesda's Marvel has moved the Uncanny X-Men to San Francisco...I guess the Mansion in Westchester is just too...Conservative?

  • Feb. 4, 2009, 7:31 a.m. CST

    No Such Thing As Government Conspiracies

    by Buzz Maverik

    It's all a bunch of hogwash to get us through our boring days...Well, off to another boring day of remote viewing for T.A.N.K. I keep seeing Osama in a cave. My boss is a jerk. "Which cave, Maverik?"<p>Like I can tell one Afghani cave from another. It was the same thing with Sadam. "Which hole in Irag, Maverik?"

  • Feb. 4, 2009, 7:33 a.m. CST

    No Matter Which Side...

    by Buzz Maverik win if you DON'T get your politics from comic books. Let your views form from life. Not saying anybody here doesn't, so put 'em back in your pants, but...