It is currently Wednesday night and I’m officially stumped regarding this week’s topic.

Several possibilities came to mind initially, but upon preparing to spew random thoughts on paper, tying everything loosely together with a clever title or prevailing thread that connects the scattered pieces into a cohesive whole…the realization gently set in that none of the terrible ideas I’d brainstormed would make for a particularly interesting column. So instead of faking it (which I’ve never done before of course)…I’m being honest and admitting that for whatever reason this week I exist in a state of perpetual confusion.

Waxing philosophical over the endearing qualities of the oversized Ultimate Spider-Man hardcover was the first idea. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this collection since its announcement months ago, considering that the first thirteen issues of Bendis’ re-imagining of Peter Parker’s virginal superheroic exploits was one of the most brilliant and entertaining character arcs I’ve seen put on paper. And it was a damn Ultimate book. (For those that don’t know…the Ultimate line is the work of the devil snaking his influence throughout the comic industry, asserting his evil influence and ensuring that the rabid fanbase has well written books by well-known creators that are unencumbered by the continuitous tangle of convoluted history that results in unreadable product.) How dare those worthless bastards?

And then, with Wizard’s Ultimate Special in my secret stash this week I was inspired to write a grand expose on how the Ultimate line isn’t Marvel’s soul-trading arrangement with the underworld…but I subsequently lost interest. And the damn Spider-Man trade is a week late anyway.

The roommate suggested I write about the Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back movie and examine the truth contained in its thinly-veiled sarcastic rants against the prevalence and influence of the message board…and the dangerous miscreant that sometimes frequents them. But I thought that addressing that topic would take me two whole paragraphs. And that would be stretching it.

I also want to spill the proverbial beans about the pitches I’ve got out there that are pending perusal…but I’m superstitious about this whole thing so the mouth remains closed for the time being.

Then I thought about writing Haters Be Hating 27 or whatever number I’m on by now. But nothing seems to deserve the exclusive and vehement platform that HBH affords. Will someone please piss me off so I can prepare a coherent rant?

And I’m not ready to talk about the Alan Moore Challenge quite yet.

Screw it…I’ll finish this tomorrow.


It’s Thursday night and naturally…the afternoon presented a couple of potential topics twenty or so hours behind schedule. Go figure.

Saw the pilot episode of a new crime drama called The Shield on the FX cable channel the other evening, and didn’t even realize until this morning’s shower that the creators utilized a characterization method that I included in the pitch that was finished a couple of weekends ago. The pitch I said I wasn’t talking about. The difference a day makes.

The Shield revolves around a tough cop leading an elite squad of heavy-hitting ball breakers to clean up the streets by any means necessary, which seems to involve a periodic twisting of the rules that prompts his captain to refer to him as, “Al Capone with a badge.” The hook is…the audience is torn between excusing his overzealous tactics and hating his guts. And the show’s creators seem intent on evoking as much grey area as possible. Though an irritable asshole, the show’s protagonist does show decidedly human traits, making him almost likeable. Then the bastard does something sufficiently shocking that makes you hate his guts again. An interesting dichotomy. Hopefully it’ll continue throughout the series’ run.

I proposed a similar train of events in my latest pitch which hinges on the possibility that one can build a better villain.

One can identify a certain formula in comics, particularly those of a superhero nature. Costumed villain with teeth tightly clenched attacks the city with a giant robot, monster, or missile, only to be thwarted by the noble hero determined to foil this latest transgression. And then it happens again…and again…and again. And the bad guy never quite gets it…if the heroes don’t know where you are and what you’re doing…they can’t burst into your secret lab, knock the shit out of you, and throw you into the nearest cellblock.

The pitch involves a collection of characters that understand the most obvious of principles…one can’t hit what they can’t see. An organization whose methods hold more similarities to secret governments than to some self-professed Legion of Doom or Society of Super-Villains just waiting for the heroes to drop the hammer on them, allowing events to continue in an endless circle. In the process, we learn not to despise the “bad guys” who have the same concerns we all have…family, self-esteem, work.

Then they kill some innocent people and we feel bad about not wanting the bastards dead the whole time.

Welcome to world domination for the twenty-first century.

And that’s all I’m saying.

Meanwhile, a creator is taking serious issue with a recently announced price hike on the critically-acclaimed project he writes that no one seems to be reading. Any self-respecting web surfer that knows where the online comic hot spots are will stumble upon it soon enough, and read what is an interesting viewpoint followed by an equally interesting proposition. It’ll be fun seeing what the recipient’s response will be, and how some worthy products may receive some well-deserved promotional assistance. It’s even PADing out the news section at SBC…

We’ll see…check it out and gaze upon something literally unheard of in the history of the comic message board…unanimous agreement. I’m getting the chills already.

And go buy Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and Spider-Girl…the best books you aren’t reading.

And watch FX’s The Shield if you have the necessary cable hookup.

And come back next week…I just had this idea…

Brandon Thomas

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