This is a tumblr about music, comics, and music. And comics. Also, the home of the new webseries everyone's been talking about (albeit very quietly), SAMPLER!

And the latest of my newest batch of bound books: three volumes of post-Death & Return Superman issues. This was the era I was collecting as a kid so I have fond memories of these. 

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More new binds - this time, the George Perez Wonder Woman run. Again, another run I’ve never read but have heard nothing but praise for.

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My new Suicide Squad binds! Really excited to dig into these because I’ve actually never read the series. 

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Thanks to my comic book binding hobby I’ve been reading a lot of older comics. Among my most recent reads was a bind of uncollected issues of Denny O’Neil’s The Question series, consisting of annuals, The Question Quarterly and the like. 

I’ve also been working my way through watching In Living Color, the early 90s Fox sketch comedy series that launched the likes of Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans, and David Alan Grier, among others, to fame. 

ANYWAY, imagine my surprise when I reached this panel of The Question Quarterly #4:

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If that doesn’t seem familiar, check out this sketch from In Living Color (one of many featuring Damon Wayans as a character named Oswald Bates):

Now go back and re-read that first panel with the voice, inflection, and mannerisms of Oswald Bates. Clearly this is not a coincidence.

And if there’s any doubt that writer Adam Blaustein (no idea why Denny O’Neil wasn’t the writer of this particular issue) was a big fan of In Living Color, later in the issue is this panel:

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For those unfamiliar with the Homeboy Shopping Network, skip to 2:56 in this video (then go back to the beginning because the sketch is hilarious):



I rest my case.

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Okay, so you’ve heard the early fun-in-in-the-sun stuff, you own Pet Sounds and The SMiLE Sessions and maybe have some greatest hits comps. You heard “Feel Flows” at the end of Almost Famous, “Sail On Sailor” in The Departed, and think “wow, I wonder if there’s anything else worth checking out?” I’m here to say that yes, there is. Below are 10 songs that aren’t on greatest hits comps or movie soundtracks (I don’t think… The Beach Boys have an ungodly amount of “hits” compilations) that everyone should check out if they even think they might like The Beach Boys. 

I’d Love Just Once to See You (1967)

Super catchy, deceptively simple, and it even has a lyrical punchline! (Note: it is the first song in the video.)

Aren’t You Glad (live 1969)

Originally released on Wild Honey, this particular version trumps the studio version, thanks to a bit more oomph, killer horns, and fuzz bass. From 1968-1974 or so, the group’s live shows were a real revelation.

Slip On Through (1970) 

The opening track to the best non-Pet Sounds or SMiLE album, Sunflower, this track shows what an incredible asset Dennis Wilson was to the group, bringing in a tune with a killer groove and laying down a fantastic lead vocal. Like nothing else the Beach Boys had done, this song rocks yet, thanks to the vocal arrangement, still sounds like The Beach Boys. (Extra credit work: check out the vocals only mix here!)

All I Wanna Do (1970) 

Another Sunflower tune, this gorgeous ballad is, quite frankly, perfect in every conceivable way. Also proof that Mike Love could write good lyrics that weren’t about surfing or referencing old hits when he wanted to.

Wouldn’t It Be Nice to Live Again (1971) 

Only recently released, on last year’s Made in California boxed set, this Surf’s Up outtake is jaw-droppingly beautiful. I’m running out of adjectives here. 

You Need a Mess of Help To Stand Alone (1972)

In the early 70s the Beach Boys lineup was augmented by Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar, bringing more of an edge to the group. This is the lead track from the first album to feature the two.

The Night Was So Young (1977) 

Though Love You is a very polarizing album, it’s hard to dispute this song is anything but another incredible Brian Wilson ballad. The last verse in particular highlights one of my favorite Brian Wilson lyrical quirks: writing about putzing around the kitchen.

River Song (1977)

Though technically it’s Dennis Wilson solo, the song features Carl Wilson and drummer Ricky Fataar and began life as a Beach Boys recording, so it makes the list. Majestic, rockin’, beautiful, and everything in between. Dennis was the groups secret weapon, and I could write a whole post about how amazing his material is… and probably will. 

My Diane (1978) 

Speaking of Dennis, though this track was written by Brian, it’s Dennis’s late-70s moan that brings out the despair in this tune. An emotional gut punch.

From There to Back Again (2012)

Even more surprising than the fact that The Beach Boys managed to put aside their squabbles and release another album at all in 2012 was the fact that the album was actually pretty darn good. This track is the highlight, with some great synth work and very effective musical twists and turns. Yes, there’s a distracting amount of auto tune on the lead vocal, but ignore that and you’ve got a helluva song.

So there you go, ten tunes worth a listen from the Beach Boys. If you enjoy these, I recommend getting Sunflower first, then checking out all their albums from Smiley Smile through Holland at the very least. Love You is excellent, but it’s not for everyone, so be warned if you decide to go there. Maybe I’ll do a post with the 10 most bizarre Beach Boys recordings soon…

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  • Question: Whoooa. You did the whole comic book binding all by yourself? It looks like you just bought it and I was about to ask where you got them. - stealingyourdreams
  • Answer:

    I didn’t do the actual physical binding of the books, that was done at a bindery (Herring and Robinson specifically.) But I prepped the books (removing staples, ads where possible, back covers) and designed the covers and tables of contents for each (except the TOCs that were designed by other folks, like the Batgirl ones). It’s a lot of fun, super addictive, and a much nicer looking and easier-to-read method of handling old back issues (especially when there’s so much stuff DC will likely never reprint.) 

    I highly recommend the FAQ at the Uncollected Editions board if you’re curious about getting into it yourself. It can be found HERE.

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(via harrisonstories)

Source: thebeatlesordie
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Warning: this is long and picture-heavy. But not sexy picture-heavy.

I read a LOT of comics in 2013, and my “to read” list is massive still, thanks in no small part to my new addiction to custom binding. As I had hoped, I finished binding all my back issues, then began buying back issues of books I hadn’t read yet but had been curious about but weren’t collected (and have little chance of ever being collected) and binding them. 

What’s so great about this new hobby? Well, there’s the functional aspect of binding: it is not only easier to store bound books (putting a book of 20-30 comics on a shelf looks better than 20-30 bagged and boarded comics in a longbow, for example), they look better on a shelf, they take up far less space, and are a million times easier to read. But better than all of that, it’s the act of deciding what should be in each book, as well as designing art for the cover and table of contents of each book (yes, like many binders, I create TOCs for the books too.) When I worked for the newspaper in high school and college, it was the page design part I gravitated to, so getting to flex those design muscles has been fun, even if I’m not a photoshop expert, or even that great a designer. 

And, like any creative endeavor, part of the fun is sharing the results. So below are some pictures of many of the books I bound over the course of the year. Crazily, this doesn’t include ANY of the Batman books I bound, of which there are quite a few. 

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The first big set of books I decided to bind was my Wally West Flash run. It’s especially interesting to see how my Photoshop and design skills progressed as I went, since I did them a couple at a time over the course of months. 

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I also made title pages in addition to a table of contents for each volume:

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I can’t take credit for the TOC design, which was done by a poster at the Uncollected Editions message board. I simply had to change the text, logo, and images for each volume. 

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Like any creative endevour, there’s all kinds of things I’d go back and redo, though in the grand scheme of things it’s all negligible. For example, the color of the books changes slightly due to using different printers, and I learned various things as I went that made the newer ones match better, that kind of thing. But eh, whaddyagonnado?

But yeah, I now have a complete run of custom bound books for Young Justice, all of Birds of Prey, the Cass Cain Batgirl series, and crazily, New Teen Titans, Titans, and Outsiders (which was basically just a Titans book with a different name), among others. 

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A TOC created by another poster at the binding board, CanaryFarmer, who does amazing work:
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With the New Teen Titans binds, I wanted to match the official releases. The first two volumes had all I wanted issue-wise (even if the first volume’s actual binding was not so great), and while it was nice to get some gorgeous George Perez art in a larger format in the third volume, the contents were terrible. Thus, I made a Volume 3 that contained what the official release SHOULD have included, and went from there:

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I even tried to match the official release title pages and TOCs:image

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The Titans/Young Justice/Outsiders books (though Outsiders Vol 2 is still at the bindery…):
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More fiddling with different TOC designs:
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Diving into so many series I hadn’t/haven’t read before reminds me of when I was younger and discovering so much music I hadn’t heard before. I just become obsessive with trying out everything, devouring it, and looking for more. And with 80s/90s back issues being obscenely cheap, there’s little reason not to go whole hog. 

There were also some less massive sets I did, like this Azrael bind:
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Or these Robin books:
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The “Hero Reborn” volume was done at a different bindery, who wasn’t so great with sizing, so the spine image/text is a little lower than I’d like but oh well. 

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I tried something different for the “Hero Reborn” TOC as well:

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That volume was especially fun for the disparate sources I used, combining trades and back issues. I took the intro from a trade, for example, and put an appropriate image on the back of the TOC:

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I also met artist Tom Lyle (who drew a big chunk of the issues contained therein) at HeroesCon and got him to sign the book. He was so excited that I not only knew who he was, but wanted his signature, and showed off the bind to the folks around him.

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The last set of books I bound in 2013 were Superman-related. If nothing else, I will remember 2013 as the year I “got” Superman as a character. I had enjoyed a few titles here and there (Morrison’s “All-Star Superman”, Waid’s “Birthright”, “Superman For All Seasons” by Loeb/Sale) but on the whole didn’t get into the Man of Steel the same way I did Batman or, well, pretty much any other DC character. At some point a light bulb went off in my head and that was no longer the case.  In addition to that, I went on a huge Greg Rucka binge and subsequently won a big lot of recent Superman books off ebay that included everything from the immediate Post-Infinite Crisis stuff up through Flashpoint. So I bound Geoff Johns’ stuff and all the New Krypton material in a 5 volume set:

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I was (no pun intended) SUPER happy with how the spines came out, never having tried spreading an image across multiple books. It was a pain, but worth it. 

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The TOC was also a different design for me: simpler and cleaner:

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So there’s my year-in-review of binding. I can’t imagine I’ll be binding anywhere near the amount of books this year as I did in 2013, but I do aim to have George Perez’s Wonder Woman, the original Suicide Squad, some post-Return Superman, and the uncollected post-Crisis/pre-Death Superman done.

Kudos to anyone who read through that insane post. If you’re a glutton for punishment, here’s more pics of the Young Justice stuff: VOILA
And my thread on the Uncollected Editions forum with more pictures: ZAP!

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So I started out writing a big rambling post, and decided to break it up into a few different posts. This means there will be multiple big rambling posts. Sorry tumblr wash readers! First up: music stuff!

2013 was the first year since I believe 2006 or so that I have not released some sort of album or EP of my own songs. It was hard to make myself not feel like I was slacking, but there was no real reason to rush one out, and it seemed silly to do so if I didn’t have enough quality material (which I didn’t.) I let life get in the way, between buying a house and various other things, and I went for long bouts without writing anything, or even listening to much music, oddly enough. I did have one bout early on where I wrote a few tunes I am really happy with, and a few others I’m not as sure about, but  it was by and large a year without writing. But if there’s one thing I’ve finally accepted, it’s that writing is a muscle that must be flexed and exercised regularly. To that end, I’ve begun leaving my in-progress songs up on my computer so that each day I can sit down, play through them and maybe add a line or two (as I tend to finish the music quickly and then spend days/weeks/months on lyrics). Some days I do, some days I don’t, but at least the songs are always being worked on, consciously or unconsciously. 

I’ve also been playing and singing at home more than I have in years, learning songs I always wanted to learn, etc, to keep myself limber and learn some new chords along the way. Plus, I want to play music for pleasure more. It’s hard for me to remember that it’s okay to not have some massive goal in mind, be it a huge show, recording an album or whatever, when it comes to making music. Sometimes it’s good to just play for the sake of playing.

Performance-wise, Ice Gondola did do one show a few months back which was a lot of fun. Due to using a small lineup of professional, reliable musicians, it was extremely stress-free, unlike the CD release show of 2012, so I hope to do another in the Spring or Summer, playing the few new tunes we did at the last one, as well as some others. Perhaps I’ll even get around to doing another album, though I still have quite a few copies of Sailing Stones, so it’s not as if there’s tons of demand. Also been considering posting demos online but, again, I’m not sure there’s much demand for that. If nothing else, as previously stated, I’d like to just play more without needing a specific reason.

And of course there’s my job as bass player for Ted Stevens & the Third Rail. We recorded an album’s worth of his tunes awhile back, two of which we recently released on band camp here: http://tedstevens.bandcamp.com/

They’re killer tunes, well worth checking out, if you haven’t already.

But we’ve been playing out of town more and more which has been a blast, and I look forward to doing more of that in 2014. Just hanging out with Ted, Tony, and our roadie Dylan, on the road is entertaining, the performance part is an added bonus. 

So, in summation, musical goals for 2014:

1) write more

2) play more

3) keep on keeping on with Ted & the Railers

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  • Question: what advice do you have for someone that has had writers block for the past 6 or 7 years? - thatguywhoexists-deactivated201
  • Answer:

    ruckawriter:

    brianmichaelbendis:

    thefuckinrealest:

    danhasatumblr:

    brianmichaelbendis:

    this will sound harsh but you’re probably not a writer.  

    writer’s writer every day.  it’s ok, not everyone is.

    but if you consider yourself one, get off your ass and get back to work!! write about why you haven’t been writing .  anything.  just write. 

    "Writers block for six or seven years." What a doofus.

    (Beg to differ but) writing shouldn’t be forced, it should come naturally. As a writer myself, there have been weeks, months that I could not produce anything at all—that seemed sufficient enough to my level of satisfaction, so I’d constantly scrap it. However, after those weeks/months of absolutely nothing, when I least expect it suddenly I find myself writing the most profound words out of nowhere. Someone that has writer block for 6-7 years may go crazy trying to search for inspiration, when instead inspiration would find them when they stop looking. This may be controversial but it doesn’t make sense to put a timeline on how often someone writes before they are considered a ‘writer’.

    or…

    writing is a discipline, a practice, a religion …

    i would love to consider myself all kinds of things but unless i’m actually actively doing them i am probably kidding myself.

    Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.- STEPHEN KING

    Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed. - RAY BRADBURY

     

    Brian is right.

    Brian is being far more diplomatic about this than I would ever be.

    The excuse of waiting for inspiration leads to exactly what is described; 6 to 7 years of producing nothing. This is the difference between being a writer and someone who likes to write.

    A writer fucking writes. Whether she likes it or not, whether she wants to or not, whether she’s inspired or not. She pushes the boulder, like Sisyphus, until the damn thing rolls or shatters or reverses and crushes her. But she doesn’t sit there and wait until it feels good or it feels right or until the stars are right or anything else. Writing takes discipline infinitely more than it takes talent. That’s the dirty little secret of being a writer. You want to be a writer? Put your ass in the chair and put in your 10,000 hours and your 100,000 pages and then you’ll be a writer.

    And yes, I know how harsh this sounds. I know what it sounds like. But it’s the difference between being a writer and simply being someone who feels good about putting their words down when they feel it.

    If you want to argue that waiting is necessary, it’s what’s required, then I would offer you’re making excuses for why you’re not writing.

    Writing isn’t a profession and it isn’t a hobby. It’s a fucking debilitating illness. It’s an addiction. You either write or you don’t. But you don’t sit around waiting for inspiration. It’s a craft, and you hone it, the way you would hone any other craft — by doing it.

    Now get the hell off my lawn.

Source: brianmichaelbendis
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