A few weeks ago in my first Busted Knuckles column I was throwin’ out educated words on folks hidin’ behind screen names. Response on that was pretty good. Even the few that didn’t agree with me were man enough to write me and tell me their point of view as well as givin’ me their real names. Made a couple of new friends in the process.

That got me thinkin’ about a few other things in the world of comics that have changed in the last ten years.

Letters to the editor, fan letters, letters of comment? whatever ya wanna call em’. In case ya don’t know, that’s part of the way I busted into comics. I was a regular letter writer from the late 70s through the 80s. Had close to 200 letters printed in most every comic during that time period. It got my name known with editors and made other crucial comic book connections for me.

Nowadays most comic publishers have dropped the letter columns. I understand and all, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Everybody is doin’ the online forums and such? email, even instant messaging. Fast food of words. Like fast food? it’ll make ya fat and lazy.

Writin’ a real letter had quite a few healthy things goin’ for it. It made ya pay attention to the words ya used. There were no short cuts and cute little smiley faces. Always try and remember that those little smiley faces are are only used by girls and guys that should be girls. A little known fact is that Satan invented those things. In case ya also didn’t know? Satan wears a dress.

Real letters were well thought out and had substance. Letters that made points. Those points were backed up with facts and thoughts that took more than a microsecond to think of. Letters were looked at as a representation of the person writing it. If the letter looked good, then you looked good. If more people would look at their letters and emails as a seduction, then more folks would get laid instead of screwed.

Writin’ a real letter also got folks off their fat ass and made em’ go to the post office or at least to the mailbox. I know most of ya out there have a bunch of old comics. You should take the time to get a few of em’ out and really look over the letter columns. Check out how they have something to say. If ya go back far enough you’ll find the likes of Frank Miller, Tony Isabella, Gary Groth, Todd McFarlane, Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, Mark Waid, Chuck Dixon and many more of your favorite creators and editors that used to write letters? Before They Were Stars.

In one issue of Marvel’s The Cat, you’ll find a fan letter from Frank Miller. In an issue of the Incredible Hulk you’ll find The Comics Journal‘s Gary Groth talkin’ about what a big Hulk fan he is. There’s some issue of Supergirl that has letters from me, Todd McFarlane and former DC Editor Kevin Dooley all on one page. The list goes on and on.

Like the rest of ya, I really enjoy technology. I also like baked beans, but ya don’t see me eatin’ em’ everyday. Moderation is the key? that an usin’ what brain cells ya got left. The magazines and papers that still print letters have a leg up on the forums. You can read it when you go through the things they write and not have to worry about a bunch of computer shorthand that only aliens understand.

I’m afraid that if this world keeps wantin’ everything microwave fast that women will really have somethin’ to complain about when it comes to sex. There won’t be enough liquor, splints, and string to keep things up and even. Drag those knuckles, my brothers. Write those letters.

Something else I wanna talk about. How come nobody is doin’ any interviews with all the guys that used to run Marvel and DC back in the 60s, 70s and 80s? I’m talkin’ about the former editors, creators and fellas on the business end of things. It was a different world then. Not sayin’ it was better or worse, but it was different. It was the first generation of fans that ended up running comics. Somebody should be pitchin’ tents up the butts of guys like Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, Tony Isabella, Jim Shooter, David Kraft, Tom DeFalco and others. Somebody that knows how to interview and write a feature article should be gettin’ down and dirty with these boys and lettin’ the new younger generation of readers, fans, retailers and creators know what has come before. What’s made it okay for them to be in this industry.

The history of the first nuts to take over the asylum should be heard. There’s a lot to be learned from it. Most of it would be good stuff to hear. Right now you’re sayin’, “Ok, Beau.. you want it? you write it!” Naaw, I’m a man that knows his limits. I wouldn’t do it justice. Gonna take someone smarter than me? ‘sides? I’m a little on the lazy side. But there is my request. I buy comics? I can request.

Couple of Movie notes here. Go out and see Bad Santa. It’s brutal. It’s funny and it’s very mean. I loved it and found it to be the Flint Henry story put to the screen. For those of you that haven’t ever known or met Flint, he is one of the most brilliant artists not gettin’ regular work in comics today. He is the editor at Sketch Magazine. Flint’s art credits include Grimjack, Scout, Man-Bat, Law Dog, Dogs Of Danger, and other books you have really missed. Billy Bob Thorton’s character is Flint unleashed.

Master and Commander. Real men. Real ships. Real fightin’ and lots of drinkin’ by real fightin’ men on real ships.

In January the fine film Open Range will be comin’ out on DVD. Now, I’m not much of a fan of Kevin Costner’s sappy romance movies. He just can’t pull em’ off. BUT? you saddle up and get to see Open Range. One thing Costner has is respect for the western. He proves it with Open Range. It is one of the most beautifully shot films around. It tells a manly story with one of the best shootouts since The Wild Bunch. Thing is? it makes sense. It shows what real friendships and loyalty is all about. It shows ya how romance and courtship should be handled. I cannot recommend it enough. Robert Duvall is amazing as always and makes ya wish and hope ya grow up to be just like him. The clothing and gun work is the most authentic since Tombstone.

While I’m wastin’ your time talkin’ about that kinda stuff here are a couple of CDs I suggest ya try.

Dirt by Mark Selby. If I could sing and play guitar this is the stuff I’d wanna do. Manly bar room rock and roll. This is his newest CD. His first one is just as good if not better. “I’m The Lucky One” is a rock classic in the makin’. The song “Dirt” proves he can really write a song. If ya love great vocals and that Rolling Stones soundin’ guitar, get this.

Mescalero by ZZ Top. When have ya ever bought a ZZ Top CD and gone wrong? Lemme answer that for ya? never. This one will take ya back to Tres Hombres. The title cut “Mescalero” will remind ya in sledgehammer form why ZZ Top is another word for testosterone. It’s loud and if it were to take shape as a man, it’d be all over your girlfriend like a cheap tube top. They say all kinds of Spanish stuff in it that I don’t understand, but I know it’s gotta be somethin’ about beatin’ up clod-heads and makin’ women wanna buy ya beer. Buy it? be a man!

I just got back from Mid-Ohio Con in wintery Columbus, Ohio. I managed to dodge the sniper that has been tryin’ to pick people off the loop 270. I’ve been dodgin’ bullets for years. Glad to see my schoolin’ has paid off.

They had around 6000 folks show up so they say. The ones that didn’t come by the IDW booth I had my hired henchmen run down? made sure they had a poster of The Shield which comes out from IDW Publishing in January 2004? buy or die. I also forced many signed Wynonna Earp Postcards on folks. A lot of arms were twisted that weekend. I felt at home.

Ran into the usual suspects and convicts of comics there. The students of thuggery included the likes of Paul Jenkins? one of the few Brits I allow to live in this great country of ours, Brian Michael Bendis? and his lovely family. A fine friend and a real gentleman. Mike Oeming? next to Ed McGuinness, one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. Dan Davis, Bobby Hickey of Sketch Magazine, Darryl Banks, Sean McKeever, the ever funny Paul Storrie, Steve Lieber? another fine non-criminal, The boys from BMA Toys, and loads of TV stars that ya either forgot about or never heard of.

Two of my favorite retailers were there? Gib Bickel of Laughing Ogre (Columbus, OH.). Gib got his haircut and almost looked like a non-primate. Gib’s got a great store with a staff that knows what they’re talkin’ about. Paul Mullin from Comic Book World in Florence, KY. Nobody gives better deals that ol’ Paul. If ya can stand to look at his ugly face for very long, his deals are worth the pain.

Then there was show promoter Roger Price.He had the red carpet and the king’s crown waiting for me? then I found out that it was for Alan Davis. Those crummy Brits are always stealin’ my stuff!

Bob Ingersoll and Tony Isabella made sure they tormented me. I swear those two are evil elves from some sorta Bad Santa Broadway show.

One of the nicest and most under rated guys in comics was nothing but a gentlemen to me… Thom Zahlmer. He needs better friends than Price, Ingersoll and Isabella.

If ya ever get the chance, go to Mid-Ohio Con. It’s a great show to see stuff and relax. You can also spend time with me and hear all my newest lies.

Just wanna take a moment to thank all the folks that have emailed and called me since Busted Knuckles has started. I really appreciate your thoughts, good and bad, on the stuff that I’ve expelled from my pie hole. I hope y’all continue to have fun readin’ it. A special thanks goes out to Mark Edwards and Bill Maffle. They were nice enough to send me some real manly beer coasters from Texas bar they seem to almost live at. I hope you boys never get kicked out. The coasters look great. I love a good armadillo. Cindy Chapman was also in tune with the Texas boys. She sent me a Guinness Christmas beer coaster from an Irish pub she was at over the Thanksgiving holiday. I’m sure that Ireland will never be the same, Cindy. Mucho thanks!

How much news coverage do ya really want about various X-Men projects? X-Men news is as over saturated as a pair of Depends in a rest home. Who really needs to know every time one of those character’s sneeze? Marvel: focus more time and effort on lower profile titles. News reporters: ask about other titles. Readers: check out other titles. Show em’ who really really holds the power.

There are a small circle of really good retailers out there. I’d love to see those guys get the respect from publishers and distributors they warrant. As far as customers of really good retail shops go? spread the word to as many as possible that your retailer cares and runs a great place. It starts with you.

Strange Couples. I’d like to see more of em’. I’d love to see a series of comics where there are two writers workin’ together on the same story. Now I’m not talkin’ about people with the same approach and writing style. I’m talkin’ about an “opposites attract” kinda’ thing. Ya grab one of these small indie writers an hook them up with someone that’s really known for mainstream superhero stuff. Ya connect a balls to the wall action writer up with one of these bunny huggin’ PC writers, Hell? I’ll even hook up with a polite, warm tea sippin’, dental nightmare, British writer. I think there could be some fun and very interesting stories come out of something like this. Somebody needs to have some fun in comics.

Well, that’s about all the ramblin’ I’m gonna submit ya to this week. I’m sure your head is poundin’ as bad as my heart when someone teases me and says that they are gonna make Grizzly Beer again. Next week I’ll be a little more focused and deal with a matter of manly importance. Remember to choose the comics you buy as carefully as ya choose your friends and foes in a telephone booth fist fight.

I’m here if ya need me. I’m not that hard to find.

Your amigo,

Beau Smith
The Flying Fist Ranch
P.O. Box 706
Ceredo, WV. 25507

About The Author

Beau Smith

Beau Smith is a writer for Comics Bulletin