Gonna write about comics and movies in later posts, but here’s some stuff.
Kanye is the greatest human being alive and I know this because he said it. I think he’s hitting a MAJOR peak in agitating white Middle Americans who feel that their entertainment should come with a sense of decorum. I feel the same way I do about Miley Cyrus — pop needs provocateurs, because I remember back when vanilla-ass Britney and Christina and N’SYNC ruled the airwaves and that wasn’t a particularly useful era for “interesting things happening.” But I’m also kind of torn about the myriad controversies — I love that they’re pissing people off, but I get annoyed at any Facebook post I see where somebody’s like “omg I can’t believe Kanye compared himself to The Troops.” But I’m also so desensitized to that stuff that I’m just like “oh, Kanye…”
Kanye’s only gotten better as he’s gotten crazier, going from doing his Kanye thing (Graduation) to inventing Drake and Future (808s and Heartbreak) to delivering the biggest sounding maximalist record anyone’s put out in forever (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) to upstaging Jay-Z by saying the most insane shit possible (Watch the Throne) to grimy minimalism (Yeezus). It’s a bit Death Grips-y, as if Ye heard No Love Deep Web and Odd Future and figured he’d take a shot at doing some punk-rap. It’s aggressive and off-putting and a downright WEIRD release for one of the biggest pop stars of the day, and I love it.
The other day I found out Kanye wears disco ball looking masks at his live shows and I straight up had to be hospitalized.
This is the realest thing anyone’s put on television since Scared Straight. I’m admittedly unfamiliar with Nico Tanigawa’s original manga — which was so popular on 4chan that it became a selling point for the tankobon volumes in Japan — but the anime is pretty much the cartoon version of Louie, being a slice of life story about an unpopular otaku with constantly deflated delusions of grandeur. It’s super funny and kind of mean, but also a worthy addition to the meta-anime pantheon with stuff like Evangelion and FLCL. Tomoko is basically Shinji Ikari for a new generation.
This Robocop Snapback From Mishka
David Brothers posted a link to one of Mishka’s lookbooks a few months ago and they got some sick stuff. Being a cheapskate, I only grabbed a couple sale items — a cardigan with an eyeball patch and a snapback with Robocop’s face on it. I look great pretty much all the time now.
The First ⅔ of The Wolverine
Rarely does an adaptation nail it so perfectly only to shit the bed so catastrophically that the headboard shatters. A majority of James Mangold’s The Wolverine plays it remarkably grounded by just plopping Logan in Japan and letting him cut through as many Yakuza and ninjas as possible while on the run with a pretty Japanese woman. It was exactly the kind of Wolverine movie we needed to set him apart from the regular X-Men movies, and pretty much all you need is Hugh Jackman and a mid-range budget. And it’s mad exciting, watching a comic book adaptation be so on-point while still being a real movie, not just a stupid reference done to appease fans.
But after all the good stuff the third act takes Wolvie to the kind of generic metal compound you see in every X-Men movie ever and the result is massively disheartening. It’s like the studio got afraid of not seeming like every other superhero movie and thus decided to be like every other superhero movie. It’s funny how the post X-Men Origins: Wolverine X-Men movies are ambitious but only in surface-level ways, and can never fully commit to their shtick. It’s always been like they don’t want to make X-Men movies but feel like they SHOULD make X-Men movies. I guess it’s hard to be daring when you’re signing off on something that costs $100 million while hoping you’ll still have a job after. Whatever!
I’m really dumb, so I love pro wrestling. It’s a mix of superhero fighting, colorful personalities, legitimately impressive physical feats, and cultural slumming. I got back into it a couple years ago for the first time since 8th grade all because of this moment and now I have one more thing to make me a social pariah, as if being a comic-book-loving vegetarian hipster-ass anime fan wasn’t enough. That said, it’s hard to like (and recommend) wrestling a lot of times because there’s a lot of stupid shit and when you watch the TV shows it’s clear that those arenas are filled with people who seem like they failed out of preschool.
Then there’s NXT, the WWE’s developmental minor leagues, the graduating class of their wrestling school who are ready to be on TV (or at least on Hulu). It’s a one-hour weekly show shot at a media production school in Orlando, so it feels like an indie promotion accidentally got bankrolled by a multi-million dollar corporation. The crowd is small and devoted — and often cheers for the people they like instead of obeying the “cheer the hero, boo the villain” rule — so there’s an overwhelming sense of positivity and community rather than a bunch of yahoos who flip out when John Cena mentions the city where they’re shooting Raw this week. Even the commentators are good and that’s pretty rare. The WWE rarely mentions NXT on its main shows, but it has become such A Thing that fans actually get worried about wrestlers that move up to the main roster. How is the flippy guy the internet loves and the dude who’s basically Zoolander going to be received by the casual fans that are just there in case Stone Cold shows up?
NXT has become the TV show I look forward to the most every week, the one that has me cackling with glee like a great episode of Community and celebrating in front of my laptop as I watch the best match of the year.
On a similar note, the With Leather recaps of WWE shows are so entertaining that I want to keep up with the shows just for the sake of the recaps. Brandon Stroud’s a really insightful dude and drops constant casual Simpsons references and anime/video game comparisons so he’s basically MY PEOPLE.
Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob
THIS. RECORD. IS. SO. GOOD.
Men’s clothes tend to be really boring and brown, but in the span of a year I’ve come to own the following colors of pants, both jean and otherwise: navy blue, regular blue, bright red, mustard yellow, olive green, prisoner orange.
This One Pizza I Had
There’s a pizza joint in San Diego called The Haven and my girlfriend and I split a thing called the Total Package (garlic sauce, brussel sprouts, caramelized onions, mozzarella) and it’s straight up Pizza of the Year if that were an accolade one could give to pizza. We were iffy about the idea of brussel sprouts on a pizza but they were roasted and halved and they actually added a lot to what’s was a really savory, flavorful slice.
I also think it’s weird that Tripadvisor deemed SD the best pizza city but after this experience it kind of makes sense.
Real Husbands of Hollywood
I’m not sure who knows about TV shows anymore (a year ago I was surprised that people I talked to knew Key and Peele), but this mock-reality show is pretty dang funny and features an ongoing feud between Kevin Hart and Robin Thicke (who sounds exactly like his dad) that culminates beautifully. Also, JB Smoove for real.
Attack on Titan
There’s really no point to The Walking Dead in any form when Attack on Titan does the same thing but much stranger. The art can be a bit wonky sometimes but Hajime Isayama also does stuff like illustrating a character’s brain as he makes a life-or-death decision in the most speedlined manga moment ever. It’s mad violent and really audacious, especially considering it’s wildly popular in Japan. Or maybe that makes sense.
The most effortlessly cool dude in the game. Any game, really.
Emerald City Comic-Con
I’m sure 2014’s edition will suck just because I enjoyed 2013 so much. I made some great new friends (90% of whom are from Vancouver), saw people from Twitter Dot Com, met up with previously acquainted comicbros, had my first face-to-face meeting with my Ghost Engine collaborator Eric Z and drank a fuckload of rum. It’s the first con I’ve traveled out of state for and it turned out to be a really great choice. It’s totally worth it if you’re into comics and don’t want the hassle of going to SDCC.
Gangster Party Line
I’d have thought any random Key and Peele sketch would be the thing to beat this year but then this happened to me.
The Great Outdoor Fight
Chris Sims calls this the best comic book of the 21st century and he’s totally right. What begins as Ray bankrolling a type of Trucknutz for your cell phone soon results in a Hunger Games precursor where Ray and Roast Beef enter a 3,000-man brawl due to filial piety and exit it due to friendship. I love me a good tournament and Chris Onstad proves that he’s the heir to the George Herriman throne with some amazing storytelling and shocking violence.
The best part is that it works in service to my favorite self-referential Achewood joke a couple years later wherein Cornelius Bear refers to marriage as “The great indoor fight.”
It’s nearly eight years old but I read this for the first time this year and immediately bought the print edition when I finished it. Go read it.