Sunday, March 20, 2016

Process Bits

Welcome to the eastern edge of the west. It's been unseasonably warm here, to the point that we have really had no winter whatsoever. It bodes much ill for a hot summer and large, swarmy bugs. You're worried about the Zika virus? Maybe you should worry more that you can wear shorts and flip-flops for weeks in Kansas in February.

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Sometimes you're not ready. You think you are, your friends tell you are, but the reality is something else that's not been built up in your fevered imagination.

It happens to everyone.

There are gatekeepers in every venue, creative or not. These gatekeepers are meant to keep a certain standard. Sometimes one agrees with the standard and when the gatekeeper tells you you're not ready it can hurt. A deep wound that cuts to the bone, maybe even into the bone, but it's a wound that can heal if one allows it to. Those gatekeepers are not always the true arbiters of 'taste' such as it is but some can certainly put on airs.

When I've run into gatekeepers I always treat them with respect. They may not be willing to let me in right then but some day there may be a time when I could. And it's always nicer when you're remembered for good things than something not so nice. So I shake the gatekeeper's hand, acknowledge their authority and try to learn from the experience. While I may not agree with the gatekeeper's assessment it's best to not fight it. There are other ways, after all, to circumvent them and gain entry into a less exclusive club.

To be clear, editors fall into that gatekeeper role and authors are on the outside. Again to be clear, an editor is not trying to keep you out but rather making an effort to maintain the standard. If that standard is honesty and integrity, then I'm all for it. If it's something else, then that's another story.

Don't be hard on the gatekeepers unless you're absolutely sure they're the only way in. If there's a way around and your aesthetic doesn't match theirs but it matches those already inside, then find another way.

Clear as mud, I'll bet. But all life is interpretation.

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Marvel's THE CHAMPIONS was one of my favorite comics when I was a kid. It's the unlikeliest, even for Marvel, super-team ever: Hercules, Black Widow, Angel, Iceman and Ghost Rider? In L.A.? Ultimately that's why it didn't work, because it wasn't set in the rest of the Marvel Universe in 1975. Even we here on the plains thought it was weird.

But I liked it a lot. I liked the dynamic of the team and these heroes didn't have a regular mag. It was a LOT of fun and lived too short a life. The modern title that reminded me so much of The Champions was Warren Ellis' and Stuart Immonen's NEXTWAVE Agents of H.A.T.E. I was reminded of that this week so you get to go scuttling off in search of both. You'll be rewarded with excellent reads and terrific art.

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The perfect martini is dirty and made with vodka. Here's a recipe:

One part olive juice. (We like Merzetta's martini olives in vermouth. If I'm having a martini out I'll get blue cheese stuffed olives.)
Two parts dry vermouth (we use Noilly Prat)
Four parts Ketel One vodka

Combine the above in a shaker with two standard ice cubes. Put the lid on and shake until the sound of the ice cubes is greatly lessened or gone.

Put three olives on a skewer in your martini glass(es)

Pour your martini over the olives and enjoy.

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I'm reading Philip Jose Farmer's A FEAST UNKNOWN because I never could find a copy of it when I was a kid. Also I reread John Byrne's run on Fantastic Four, and Matt Wagner's MAGE The Hero Discovered. Are these three titles related? Maybe. Alan Moore certainly seems to have take Farmer's ideas to heart and maybe Byrne and Wagner have both integrated certain elements at different times. I don't know, I'm no scholar.

But I've enjoyed the hell out of all of them.

(And yes, I'm more than aware that Warren Ellis borrowed liberally from Farmer for a lot of Planetary, which is one of my top five all time favorite comics.)

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Finally I watched/binged on Marvel's Daredevil season 2 this weekend. Without spoiling it for anyone who wants to take their time with it, it's very good. Here's what I said on Twiter:

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Keeping it a bit short this week. I hope you've had a good weekend and the coming week has interesting things in store for you. For me, I'm ready for the new beginning that's Monday. Lots on the horizon folks.

Lots more to come.

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