…can you find an Asian cop in an In-n-Out burger at 11:30 at night.
This might be a tad uncouth to mention, but coming from Bahston, where your cops are generally named “Mickey O’Shea” and “Doyle McShaughnasey” I didn’t realize how surprising it’d be to see an Asian police officer.
Remember the twist I mentioned at the beginning of this conversation, this is what I was talking about. MJ unknowingly beat Mephisto at his own game. By agreeing to MJ’s terms, Mephisto has actually wiped himself from ever having been involved in their lives. In fact, looking at it linearly, those four issues never happened. Along with the wedding, “One More Day” and Mephisto have been wiped out of continuity and Peter and MJ never made that bargain.
Ooooooh, me hears something breaking.
Joe Quesada on the secret brilliance of “One Moment In Time” and “One More Day.”
OK, Joe, I need to be square with you: I hope one day to work for ya or Marvel. I confess, like a large number of the fans, I didn’t quite care much for OMD, for reasons that I’m going to not get into here. Still, Brand New Day has been handled well you guys have proven your point admirably: Spiderman doesn’t need to be married to tell great stories (I might add that he doesn’t need to be SINGLE either to tell the stories you told, but I might just be being contrary).
Now, I read OMIT and I have to say, I didn’t much care for it. Not because there was anything outright wrong with it, it just seemed… redundant. Explaining the mechanics of an event that was unsatisfying. It just didn’t seem relevant. Still, you’re the EIC, you tell the stories that you think we as fans need to read.
My word of advice though: don’t bait the fans and don’t be self-congratulatory. You got a lot of good will by old-fashioned hard work post OMD and I think most of the readers who were irked by it were happy to get passed it with decent stories and art. All this picking at the sweater that is OMD is uncomfortable and irritating. It was an idea, you implemented to some effect, LEAVE IT THERE. You don’t need to (and in fact, CAN’T) prove to the haters that they should thank you for hat you consider a well-crafted storyline that they simply don’t like. Haters gonna hate.
I wanted to post this as anonymous, but
i decided that I'm ready for the world to know. Dearest friend gray, I accept your affinity for lovers of the same sex! While am 150% heterosexual, I understand that you are not. It is totally fine that you consider yourself to have the same sexual disposition as David Bowie, minus the sex with women. I know understand what you meant everytime you said you were going "bear hunting) All the power to you!.
He speaks with a wisdom that cannot come from anything but experience.
Quick Rundown: there was kind of a joke twitter campaign to have Community’s Donald Glover play Spiderman in the upcoming reboot. The issue? Donald Glover looks like this:
and Peter Parker, up until this point, has been drawn to look pretty much like this:
Cue nerds FLIPPING THEIR SHIT.
I love this whole thing so much. It’s kind of great see people, mopping the proverbial sweat off their brow, trying to defend their covert racism by insisting that their issue is that the character wouldn’t be followed “faithfully” if he was black.
Hey, racists: IT’S A TOTALLY ARBITRARY LINE. What is being “faithful” to the character? What defines Spiderman? Is it him wearing glasses? Is it him having an aunt named May? Is it him wearing the same exact silly vest that Steve Ditko drew on him back in the 60s? It is him talking about how much he loves Aunt May’s wheatcakes?
The fact of the matter is, there are all sorts of things done to update or revise or reinterpret a character, issue to issue, year to year, and maybe 90% of them go unobjected to because they are all seen as honoring the core sensibility of what we perceive “Spiderman” to be. The character of Spiderman/Peter Parker is not EXACTLY the same character that appeared in Amazing Fantasy 15, for better or for worse. Things change, big things. He got married. He got unmarried. He AGED.
Why aren’t we up in arms that he’s being played by ANYONE, not say animated, or even just left alone as a comic? Sure this is not a dramatic leap (you can argue that comics are a representational media and meant to represent reality in some way), but baggage may have shifted during the flight.
And every comic fan who cares enough about the character to have opinions about his interpretation at some point draws a line in the sand and says, “These are things I think are important about Spiderman. Change them, and I don’t consider it, at heart, Spiderman.”
I’m not trying to get people back down. I just want them to admit that their understanding of the character is that Spiderman MUST BE WHITE and that this is what makes them uncomfortable about the whole Donald Glover thing. It is because a black man would play a character they feel MUST BE WHITE.
Donald Glover said a great thing about the whole incident. I’m paraphrasing, but it was along the lines of, “Spiderman’s a kid growing up poor, in Queens, no parents, taken care of by a sickly aunt, an’t he’s supposed to be WHITE? That’s kind of ridiculous.” He’s 100% right. All of those things (to this humble fanboy) ARE the essence of the character, and NONE of them are white exclusive.
What he touches on, in fact, is more interesting: whether we like it or not, all of those things are actually more believable as part of the BLACK experience (at least from a modern perspective). As a former NYC native, I can attest to the fact that Queens has changed quite a bit since Stan Lee’s day (if it was ever that way at all, and not just the product of media whitewashing) and seeing a black (or latino, or korean) take on the character is, frankly, more believable from a modern perspective.
Then again, this is all assuming that the consensus is that him being young, poor, in Queens, no parents, taken care of by a sickly aunt are what defines him. Maybe they aren’t. Maybe it’s just about a kid slinging webs. Maybe it’s the costume. Maybe it’s the storyline “Kraven’s Last Hunt.”
The point i’m making is that IT’S ALL SO INCREDIBLY ARBITRARY. We can argue until judgment day, but it’s all subjective. And that subjectivity, if leading you to a conclusion that, indeed, SPIDERMAN MUST BE WHITE (because so-and-so drew him that way, because he’s “always” been white) that is, indisputably, a RACIST and arbitrary assertion. So yeah. Enjoy that.
Got to LA. Anxiety is starting to kick like a mule; the cold, quiet desperation sneaking back into my gut. Maybe it’s bad memories, maybe it’s just the feeling of arriving and my issues catching up; they were only a mile or so behind me.
Can’t outrun yourself. Just gotta dig it and let it hit you sometimes.
“Women: I like the colors of their clothing; the way they walked; the cruelty in some faces; now and then the almost pure beauty in another face, totally and enchantingly female. They had it over us: they planned much better and were better organized. While men were watching professional football or drinking beer or bowling, they, the women, were thinking about us, concentrating, studying, deciding- whether to accept us, discard us, exchange us, kill us or simply to leave us. In the end it hardly mattered; no matter what they did, we ended up lonely and insane.”—Charles Bukowski
I’m in Selina Utah. Club wag has a cracked radiator, supposedly a pretty simple fix. While a part of me is squeamish about putting another few hundred bucks into the van (not an obscene amount, just enough to give pause) given it’s not great on gas and probably ill-suited to wherever I end up (San Fran, LA), all my shit (and by that I mean everything important to me in this world) is already in the van, renting a car for the rest of the trip would probably be just as expensive, and I learned my lesson buying cars in the middle of nowhere.
Driving through the desert in Utah. Club Wag, while soldiering on admirably, is basically a giant oven without AC. I’ve resorted to wearing a wet t-shirt on my head and shoulders to keep from passing out.
*OK, So I’m not down with this whole Youtube Cover phenomenon, and I feel the need to explain my reasoning.
Now, I want to stress that I support Youtube as a music distribution system. I absolutely support both established and up-and-coming artists using it as a tool to drum up fans/support/label interest/publicity/debut new material/distribute music videos. I believe Youtube has revolutionized the music industry almost as much as file-sharing and I think most of this is GOOD (this is not taking into account the specter of corporate ownership that is slowly rearing its ugly head now that Youtube and Google are one in the same , but that’s a different rant. Don’t be evil, my ass…).
I will, however, draw the line on Youtube cover videos. This shit needs to stop.
Covers have existed since the first caveman wrote a song about hunting antelope and the second caveman, having heard it, decided to sing it for his friends on the other side of the valley. I’ve never been a huge fan of covers because, frankly, for a long time I wasn’t very good at the guitar and thus wasn’t good enough to play them, or at least play them well. This insecurity I twisted into hubris: If i’m going to spend my time putzing around on the guitar, getting better at an unfamiliar instrument, it was ONLY going to be in service of my own material. I recognize this is self-serving, but it’s served me quite well over the years as a songwriter, forced me to be incredibly productive (if you can’t be a genius, be prolific…).
That said, I understand why people are attracted to playing covers. It’s short hand, a coloring book; it’s a way of taking part in music without having to spontaneously generate your own material. The framework is there, you just need to color it in a bit. People do this to varying degrees; either with relatively faithful renditions or with elaborate re-imaginings. It’s a decent way to break into music if you’re a novice or jumpstart creativity if you’re feeling a bit writersblocked. I get all this. I’ve been known to drop a cover or two in my sets myself.
My real objection comes with it becoming a sort of cheat-code for young musicians. Call me author-centric, but I feel the highest exhalation of music is to express creativity. While it’s not impossible to be creative with a cover, you’re using someone else’s language and you need to be aware of that. You’re tapping into the expectations, pre-established feelings and ideas that are attached to the cover and have been so by the hard work of the author/artist. It’s a tricky place to be and can easily be abused.
The band Pomplamoose I will give a certain amount of credit for their ingenuity, both in their EXTREMELY disciplined aesthetic and their ability to really reinvent songs, but the conceit of their videos (EVERYTHING IN THE VIDEO IS LIVE, NO LIP-SYNC, OMMMMMGGGGGGGGG) I find more grating the longer they stick around in the cultural zeitgeist. It feels masturbatory, like in 80s hair metal band videos when the camera zooms in on the guitar player’s fingers as he shreds on a sick solo, only for an ENTIRE FUCKING VIDEO.
"I guess I kinda don’t like how there’s such a pedestal for music culture and especially for band culture," Jack Conte said in an interview with All Songs considered, “It just feels fake; it feels like smoke and mirrors. I feel like music doesn’t have to be like that. It can be something that’s very normal and very accessible.”
I guess I see that and, ideologically, I agree. But I think the message might be lost in translation. The showing of the minutia of building the song doesn’t really make it seem transparent; there’s still a magic in the assembly. Besides, the entire thing is too precious (my favorite word these days), the look of demure confusion on the singer’s face as she nerd-chic mugs for the camera the height of irritation. Plus their new song with Ben Folds and Nick Hornby might be the worst song ever written (I think this might be Ben Folds’ fault though).
Still, I will confess that I actually rather like their covers (sonically), and at least they are disciplined with their videos. That in mind, I take aim at the omnipresent videos of the dude/chick with an acoustic guitar (or something even more precious like a ukulele) sitting in his dorm room, across from his macbook, doing a bad version his favorite song by _________. I find this repugnant, moreso every day. In the service of full disclosure, I’ve even done one of these, my crappy cover of Autoclave. I dislike it because, frankly, it’s so fucking easy. It’s literally the least amount of work you can do related to music. You don’t need a mic, you don’t need your own song, you don’t even need to leave your room. It’s like watching someone jerk off.
I take exception to the pandering aspect of it. A fan can now pay homage to his favorite band, and fans of that band will now be drawn to THEM, leaving comments like “ZOMG I LUV THIS SONG!!1!.” The feedback loop has been twisted in on itself, an Ouroboros. And, since record labels are desperately trying to stay on their feet after being mortally wounded, these fan videos are in turn jumpstarting careers! People are getting “hand-picked” to be sign, tour, thus circumventing the entire musical Darwinism that is building a fanbase based on your original material. They skip the question of the depth of their creativity and go straight to the most sellable part: the “personality.”
Then there are the trends. Not just the slew of acoustic Lady Gaga covers every time a new video debuts. I’m talking about the more subtle trends in covers of original artists who have been the most bolstered by Youtube: the Death Cab for Cuties, the Ingrid Michelsons, the Julia Nunes, the Garfunkel and Oats. These are artists who maybe have few notable hits, perhaps little to no radio play, but poorly done covers of which abound. This I find frustrating because, in a way, the separation between those writing the songs and originally performing them and those covering it seems to be at it’s thinnest. I suspect this is what makes them such prime targets of covering: they are built on the conceit that the average shmuck could have done this and thus, the average shmuck feels free to take a crack at it.
Sigh. There is a part of me that feels ambivalent. Maybe I feel like I might be biting the hand that could (potentially) feed. Perhaps my views on this are out of line with my usually populist, DIY-oriented sensibilities. Maybe I’m just jealous of the success of Youtubers. Maybe I feel like a grumpy old man yelling at a VCR.
I want to really, really make clear: I don’t think music on youtube, whether professional or amateur, is the problem. I think it’s amazing, the next evolutionary step, propelling music to strange and potentially wonderful places. I guess I just worry about the same thing every old-vanguard worries about when a new technology takes the skill he’s worked at for years out of his hands and thrusts it into the hands of the masses: I worry that it’s making people lazy, that it’s limiting their vision instead of expanding it. I worry it’s becoming this massive teat for young music lovers, feeding them endlessly regurgitated sounds until all the music they know and love is totally self-referiencial. I worry that the send of “community” that comes from covering a beloved song is creating scared, creatively stunted artists that have never felt the ESSENTIAL pain of rejection and self-doubt.
Yes, I understand there are some lovely guitar players, some people with gorgeous voices that might never have put themselves out there, might never have thought they could. Showing that YES, it IS possible, even for YOU, Joe/Joan Everyman to make music IS a vital revelation, but I feel like kids are getting there and then stopping, missing the equally vital revelation that lives just beyond the trees: that YOUR ORIGINAL MUSIC can be just as interesting and vital and moving as anyone elses. The curtain is being pulled back on the mechanics of MAKING music, but kids are still assuming that they can’t write their own material. Internet music culture runs the risk of being stunted by this.
I truly believe in the Darwinism of fear that ensures that, if you got something to say, you better say it loud and proud. You need certain doors closed to you, to make you burst through other ones with greater fire and desperation. I believe that an artist lives in open defiance of culture and socialization. I believe fortune favors the brave. If there’s one thing I wish I was more of, it would be being brave and brazen in myself instead of kowtowing to what I thought others wanted from me.
"People think that all of these things have to be done by geniuses behind huge desks or at the top of skyscrapers," says Dawn from Pomplamoose, "but you can just go online and do it yourself."
I couldn’t agree more. I want young people to be able to think that as easy as it is to cover someone else’s song, it’s JUST as easy to write your own! It’s just not as likely to be “favorited.” But, in the end, it’s YOU. You either sink or swim on your merits, which is both heart-crushing and the ultimate triumph. Fuck, if Justin Beiber can do it, SO CAN YOU!
This concludes my rant for the evening. Viva Musica.