Imagine my surprise and complete humility this morning to do my usual round of checking in with all the media outlets and finding little ol' Long Shot included on the list of another bloggers list of noteworthy blogs. Big ups to Longbox Graveyard once again. More details about this prestigious award can be found at the just-provided link, and right here just a couple of grafs ahead.
Aside from being honored by inclusion, it's also a handy impetus to do some fresh writing today. And here my plans for the day only included working on a story idea that germinated over the weekend. The plate is filling up pretty quickly, and thank goodness for that. Idle hands and whatnot.
Acceptance of the award comes with a few rules and regulations. "There's always a catch," i bet you're thinking. Well, yeah i guess. But these are good ones. So let's get through those first.
1. Gratitude to your nominator and a link to their blog, in the Long Shot's case Longbox Graveyard. Thanks, Paul!
2. Choose 10 or so blogs that inspire, entertain, or interest you and provide links to them. By doing so, you nominate them for the selfsame honorific. Definitely dig that. Here's my list, in no particular order:
1. Longbox Graveyard, of course.
3. Piran Cafe
4. Pet the Dog
10. Food One
Some of these are more prolific than others, but all are worth a look-see if you ask me which, in a sense, you did by nominating me for Reader's Appreciation. So nyah nyah.
3. Answer ten questions posed by the blogger who included you on their nomination list. Ooh! i love answering questions. Let's do that, shall we? They're comics-related questions too. Every time i try to get away, they pull me back in!
1. DC, Marvel, or other? Which comics publisher is your favorite?
Excellent question, and a terrific opener to get the proper frame of mind for the rest of them. Had to think long and hard on this one for sure. My first inclination is to go with Marvel. Growing up, they formed the bulk of my comics reading habit, primarily through the influence of my older brother's collection. To this day, pound for pound i probably read more Marvel stuff than anything else. The characters always came off as more grounded to me, more visceral and relatable. On the other hand, and this is apparent in my Top Ten Favorites examination, DC heroes figure prominently. And then there are The Rest, publishers whose works might not abound in my history of fanboy-dom but nevertheless put out great stuff that hold special places in my heart. i'm looking at you, Dark Horse, Oni Press, and AAA Pop!. Now, the big moment. Envelope, please.
Obligatory drum roll...
DC Comics. And here's why. While it's true that Marvel's heroes have that relative semblance of realism that i enjoy on a day-to-day basis, the fact is that there's simply more DC stories that stand elevated above the rest. More than likely it's because of, rather than despite, their characters' status as larger-than-life heroes. The best of DC stories take these mythic, god-like heroes and put them in situations where all their power amounts to very little in the context of a grand saga. Marvel characters are accustomed to facing personal adversity, and regularly have to overcome their faults and foibles as well as whatever baddie giving them grief. For the most part, when i'm reading DC stuff it's mostly a matter of when the hero is going to triumph, rather than if. But the stories i like the most turn that paradigm on its ear and leave you wondering if this is going to be curtains for the star of the show.
2. Who is your favorite writer or artist currently working?
Wow...another toughie! How does one go about answering this? Comics creators are as varied as the costumed creatures whose worlds they define. Right off the bat i'm going to split the decision asunder and narrow the field to artists. If i may invite controversy, i've always held to the notion that the artist part of the team is more vital to the medium. After all, without the art, a comic is essentially a short story. How dare i, as a writer, trivialize the writers' impact on a comic book?! Hey - i didn't say it wasn't important, but if you ask me, an artist can make a meh story into a great read, while a subpar graphic representation can turn what may be a profound tale into a chore to muddle through.
That certainly doesn't make the choice any easier.
Mike Allred. There, i said it.
Why? Because they guy's work is just plain fun and strikes at what the heart of comics is - colorful, exciting, and a visual treat. He's given me a great time over the years and continues to this day with his work on Fantastic Four. Thanks for staying so ginchy!
3. Who is your favorite writer or artist from the past?
Jack Kirby. 'Nuff said.
4. What superhero do you think makes the best team player?
In my head, i'm chuckling while considering Moon Knight. i've been working my way through a terrific run by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, who brought one of my favorite runs of all time with their work on Daredevil. Their too-short take on the Fist of Khonshu had his fractured psyche having hallucinations of Captain America, Wolverine, and Spider-Man giving him advice and Moonie co-opting their costumes and gear in a wonky war against the new Kingpin of Los Angeles. How's that for team player?
All that aside though, i gotta give this one to Spidey. For crying out loud, he was the star of Marvel Team-Up for nearly 15 years, appearing in 141 out of 150 issues. As the everyman of the Marvel Universe, he provides that perspective in so many situations whether it be global intrigue or cosmic threats to all reality, and is the guy who's still in awe of his place in the pantheon of heroes.
5. Whose superhero costume do you hate the most, and why?
Can i say all of them? More than once here at the Long Shot i've mentioned my inability to fathom the leap in logic from gaining extraordinary powers or abilities to donning garish costumes to fight crime at night. Granted, some make more sense than others, but that disconnect will forever niggle at me.
If i have to say just one though? Hmmm...
A mutant and thief, why he dons a pink and black body suit with cowl and metallic shin guards i'll never know.
6. If you could bring one title back from comic book limbo what would it be?
This one is easy - Mister Miracle. Scott Free wriggled his way to the #9 spot of my Top Ten Favorites list for his superb costume (one of the exceptions to my usual dislike of them), fun adventures with his wife, and general rebellious attitude and humor.
7. What's the best comic book cover you've ever seen?
Another easy one.
8. Comic book action figures - way cool, or a step too far?
Given that dichotomy, i have no choice but to say "way cool." And why not? i'd be lying if i said i didn't have oodles of them as a child. Heck, the first time i had my own apartment, the living room decor featured wall display racks with comics and a handful of figures.
Yeah, i had the Doom Roller. And the Turbo Cycle. And all the figures too.
9. What was the best comic book single issue that you read in the last 2 months?
The Question #1
Crusading journalist and philosopher and urban shaman who communicates with cities. Sign me up.
10. Finally, the age old question: if you were writing, who would win a fight between Superman and Hulk? What's your logic?
You know, a friend and i were literally just discussing this a few days ago. The geekiness comes full circle. Lots of what ifs on both sides of the battlefield here.
On one side, the most powerful hero on earth, hands down (unless facing a mortal with Kryptonite gauntlets and a serious chip on his shoulder).
On the other, the strongest one there is, whose alter-ego once put a bullet in his mouth in an attempt to end his own life and, thereby, the monster he becomes. The monster spat the bullet out.
Both my friend and i decided that ol' Jade Jaws would be the victor in this particular match-up. It's well documented that the angrier he gets, the stronger he gets, and you know what makes Hulk angry? Pretty much everything. Some dude whose credo is fighting the never-ending battle is going to have his hands full living up to that with everyone's favorite gamma-irradiated rage beast. Never-ending is the key here - Hulk would not give up, go down, or weaken as the fight progressed. Quite the opposite. Heat vision, freezing breath, and supersonic punches would only fuel his strength and endurance and prolong the fight. We're talking Doomsday style combat here, and we all know how that turned out the the Big Blue Boy Scout.
After a fight that could go on for days, my money is on a defeated Superman. When the smoke clears and the dust settles on the decimated remains of whatever locale the fight ends at, Supes is down for the count and an exhausted Bruce Banner kneels over the inert form of the Man of Steel left wondering why he couldn't just leave the big guy alone.
4. Ask ten questions for my nominees to answer. Fair enough, i've developed quite a penchant for asking questions through my journalism education, Long Shot interviews, and a general curiosity about...everything. Ready, nominees? Here you go:
1. What's the one thing you most enjoy, that most clearly defines your interests in life?
2. What was your biggest accomplishment in 2012?
3. What's your biggest goal in 2013?
4. Work for yourself or work for an established, reliable company - what's your preference?
5. You are transported to a fantasy realm (think Middle Earth) via a magical amusement park ride - do you quest to return home or remain in this land of swords, sorcery, and good vs. evil?
6. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
7. Social media - brings society together or isolates us behind computer screens?
8. Man's reach - exceeding its grasp, technologically speaking?
9. The future - moving towards dystopia or utopia?
10. Name one of the following, your choice. Favorite and why: movie, song, book/comic book, city, TV show, stand-up comedian?
5. Include the Reader's Appreciation Award logo on my site. See top of page
6. Contact my nominees to inform them of the great honor they've received, and invite them to keep the flame burning by making their own nominations. Great, something else to do today. Just kidding - it's my pleasure and the least i can do for the folks whose work i enjoy. Keep it up everyone!
* * * * *
That was a lot of fun, and thanks again to Paul O'Connor of Longbox Graveyard fame for including me. The blogosphere is fairly new to me, but i'm enjoying the hell out of it so far. It's given me the opportunity to connect with a lot of really cool people all over the world, and feeds my ego to put my meager writings out there and see that people actually read them.
Now let's see what else i've got on the agenda today. Work on that story i mentioned earlier and...oh yeah - my next interview is tonight. i've remained clammed up about this one for a while, because i didn't want to jinx it. And even now i'm pretty hesitant to mention it because it hasn't taken place yet. But i've been keeping in touch with the interviewee and it's planned to go down this evening.
i am incredibly super-stoked to let you know that i'll be speaking with someone i've been a fan of for 15 years now - Jim Mahfood!
When i made my list of folks i'd like to interview for the Long Shot, i put his name on the list as, well, a long shot. Figuring that someday, down the road when i had established myself as a reliable and respected journalist/writer/blogger, i'd hit him up. Instead, i decided to shoot for the moon and Jim was totally cool about it.
Even as i wrote that last paragraph, i was overcome with a bit of dread. What if i just jinxed myself and the interview falls through?! You know what, sometimes you gotta say what the f**k. i'm excited and i wanted to tell you about it. Sue me.