Jonathan Lethem likes Marvel Comics!

The comics Karl and I actually relished in 1976 and 1977, if we were honest (and Karl was more honest than me), were The Defenders, Omega the Unknown and Howard the Duck, all written by a mad genius called Steve Gerber, and Captain Marvel and Warlock, both written and drawn by another auteur briefly in fashion, Jim Starlin.

Jonathan Lethem, My Marvel Years

cover of Omega the Unknown #5

You cannot fake that level of geekdom. Easy enough to pretend to have liked Howard the Duck, but Omega the Unknown? No way. It’s one of those comics you’ll only known about if you actually care about comics, or were reading them at the right time. One of those weird little comics Marvel threw out in the mid-seventies for a few issues, only to cancel when the newsstand returns came in.

Cambrian Kawaii

kyoot weird little Cambrian monster

This should restore some sanity points, after the mindsquick of the previous link. Yes, these are “scientifically accurate toys based on the half-billion-year-old fossils of the Burgess Shale of British Columbia”, as the website has it.

If somebody would like to buy me an early birthday or late Christmas present, these would not be rejected out of hand…

Bloody Norm

Norman Geras says, in the course of writing about Bush’s war:

To give a crude analogy here: if someone burgles a house and her only motive in doing so is greed, I will approve of her action if, in order to bring off the burglary, she finds she has to release a terrified family from the grip of a bullying, violent and child-abusing patriarch. I will not think that what happened was overall bad because it was – ‘in essence’ – a burglary; or worry, in my approval, about the burglar going on to burgle others. If she does, we can disapprove of – and oppose – that.

Whereas I don’t think, to give another crude analogy here, that a mob war should be thought of as a public service, even if it clears the streets of some deserving scumbags.

Hacked off at the BBC

Let’s rag on the BBC for a bit then, eh? There are a few things about the BBC that cheese me off no end.

For one thing, for a non-commercial organisation they sure do put a lot of ads. Why the fuck do we need to be reminded forty times a day that this new exciting programme will premiere in two days? By the time it finally comes on I’m sick of it already. Not to mention that usually they’re so obnoxious that you want to shoot everybody involved after the second time you’d seen them.

And the programmes being advertised are often no better. How many fucking shows do we need to have where some nice upper middle class white couple gets their room redecorated, their garden done, their clothes revamped or their life sorted out? Yes, they can be entertaining and obviously are cheap to make, but after the fifth variation on a theme I’m sick of them.

Let’s not even mention Fame Academy.

Another cheap format that should’ve been discontinued by now: celebrity quiz shows. Have I Got News for you should’ve been stopped after Angus Deyton was fired. When it was good, it was very very good, but it only looks tired now. The same goes for Buzzcocks, which has had all of the interesting music celebrites by now and is now reduced to the third backup singer for Atomic Kitten.

A related format is that of the celebrity nostalgia shows. I Love 1999? What the fuck? Various non-entities talking about how much they liked four years ago? Or what about Grumpy Old Men? Various baby boomers whinging about all the predictable stuff you’ve heard your parents complain about too often already.

But at least there’s still Eastenders.