For a friend i worry that i take for granted

Seamus P. Burke my dude, my homie,my bredrin and all them other affection words that i could use.

Seamus is a fella i’ve known since before i’ve really gotten with twitter,at this point it feels like i’ve known him forever,the grey man, the only guy i know of who can make grey hair and black nails work and flaunt it.

Before we got aquainted i was just a fan reading along to Oh Goodie! chuckling at some of the references  that one panel of James sitting alone miserable and in a daze in that small toilet is a image that’ll live with me cause I’ve been in that lonely space before.

No One Cares is a brisk thoughtful bit of slice of life that i like to,it’s odd cause i’m not the hugest fan of those kind of comics cause it feels like they repeat themselves very frequently but all it takes is the right combination of humour and melancholy for me to be engrossed in what a person has to say.

“What a horrible night to have a curse” is a riff on Castlevania 2 one of the clunkiest and weirdest sequels to come out of the NES era there’s enough absurdity in it to make it stand out from your usual gaming webcomic but not enough that it just becomes a chore.

We both share our own frustration as being people with foreign names who people mispronouce alot of the time,i love your stories about growing up in Chicago and your stories about your family and how you pretty much played the biggest gamble in moving out to Portland.

You was the person i confided in about my diagnosis when i was still trying to figure out what it all meant for me at that point in time,i still remember when you came out with that piece about your own difficulties at the time i was struggling to find people who identified with what was going on with me i went to this summer club at a secondary school not far from my college but it’s hard to really feel like you belong when you’re the oldest person there.

So to see that and especially to see you go in the detail about it,the exhaustion the frustration and especially the paranoia as you described it “being trapped in a permanent feeling of did i leave the gas on?” to say it meant alot to me is an understatement.

But this post also serves as my own personal apology to you,my man as i feel like i’ve been taking your friendship for granted neglecting and not really talking with you. I’m really happy to see that you and April are still together, we’ve both lost one or two mutual friends who were important to us for things out of our control,not to mention both our countries are throwing out the baby with the bath water and it’s only 2 months in.

There were alot of times were you could contact me and i would either quietly shun you or you probably haven’t heard from me for months at a time, but it’s not because i suddenly didn’t like you i was just not really in the mood to talk to anybody, either wanting my own bit of solitude,i know i’m not the nicest person but there’s alot of people who i’ve come in contact who i think about how they’re doing alot and you’re definitely one of the people who sticks out to me the most.

My good friend Seamus.

There’s been some personal turmoil on your end and i see that you’ve set up a patreon, those youtube videos you’ve been making are good man keep it up as somebody who grew up with a game boy it means alot to see you cover them not only that but to start off with Tetris,that’s a power move in my book.

It’s really nice to know somebody else whose a creative and be able to say that i’ve sort of grown and changed alongside with them i regret that this past year i haven’t been catching up with you as long as i should but the fact that you’re still out there and giving the good fight makes me happy.

Tell April and Jen Van Meter  that i said hello and i hope they’re doing alright, maybe this week we can catch up and shoot the shit about what’s been going on both our ends.I feel proud to know you.

props to you man.

feel free to contribute to his Patreon :https://www.patreon.com/spburke

RIP to a master

Jiro Taniguchi drew like he had all to lose.

He could be tender, he could be harsh he could be sexy and he could be fluid and he did it all with the same clear precise penstroke

The Walking Man is often advertised as something of a feel good manga but i feel that it lacks the kind of on the nose sentimentality that alot of those novels tend to have. What we do get is that rare story that makes you appreciate the little moments of everyday. I’m generally a big fan of people making art out of something utterly mundane.

But whenever i think of The Walking Man i always remember that panel of him sitting in the tree with the trees branches and leaves,spread all about it’s a gorgeous panel maybe one of my favourite panels in all of comics.

Then there’s Benkei in New York a downright goulish collection of stories centered around a Japanese artist who works as a hitman in his spare time.

it’s along the same lines of his other pulp crime works like Hotel Harbour View which reads like you’ve arrived at the end of a  novel but with only  shreds of the story that came before it.

Benkei is darker in tone compared to Harbour View but it never goes into schlock value, on re-reading the novel the thing that stuck out to me the most was the experience of being an outsider in a city that no longer exists. That city being the ghost of the old grimey New York City.

There’s a swordfight in Chapter 3 that is kinetic harsh you can feel the movement coming off the page as swords collide and items in the museum are knocked over,most artists only have one or two but there’s 3 of those kind of jaw dropping moments in that same chapter if i could recommend one of his works that and Walking Man would be the two i would shout about to the high heavens.

Taniguchi felt like one of those rare artists who was always one book off from breaking through to the mainstream he wasn’t a forgotten pioneer who through rediscovery was acknowledged as part of a lineage in manga history  like Yoshihiro Tatsumi or one of the heavy hitting pioneers like Koeki.

Taniguchi drew like he knew if this was his last work it needed to be something worth remembering,and that’s something i’ll surely miss.

 

For the 4 guys burning in hell who matter of me alot

I wish i was as deadpan as Joe McCulloch

I wish i was as decisive as Matt Seneca

I wish i was as surgical as Chris Mautner

and i really wish i was as funny and uncompromising as Tucker Stone

I think the moment i truly fell in love with Comic Books are burning in hell was listening to Tucker talking about Animal Man :http://comicsinhell.libsyn.com/now-thats-what-they-call-a-squawkfest

He never mentions the aspects of the comic that people tend to bring up (the twist at the end,the importance it has to comics Vertigo etc) he’s read more comics than a grown man would like to admit he’s seen through the marketing,the exhausting Team comics enthusiasm and Grant Morrison’s quite frankly embarrassing attempts to position himself as “one of the good ones” in comics so he’s able to exactly talk about it as what it truly is. A comic made and marketed for smart college kids.

It was that episode that spoke to me the most in part because it confirmed a number of suspicions i had at the time about the Vertigo line,Amazon approved comics that i was reading at the time and gave me a new found sense of perspective that hell i don’t think i was even getting from friends at the time about comics. I felt like i was able to break off from these easy entry points and get to the works that were really more geared towards my interests and not pretend that i wanted to talk about these books that have been discussed a thousand times over. Thank you Tucker to hear somebody say that out loud means alot in ways that are hard to describe through words.It mean that i wasn’t alone nor that i was wrong in my thinking.

Joe is probably the one i feel the most kinship to in terms of taste but granted i’m of that generation of late 90s Westerners who went to anime and manga over comics at a time when much of the old comic were handwrining over how to classify them(and letting their jingoism and racism show but that’s for another time). Sometimes it’s the episodes with the comics on the surface i would find the least interesting tend to be the most intriguing of all just due to how well he’s able to explain a point by the way he brings in historical context where the authors work, always succinct and to the point so as not to waste anybody’s time.

That and he has a sense of humour that can be so deadpan that it’ll put you through the loop before you get to the punchline, hearing him and Tucker express both confusion and hilarity at Garth Ennis’s Red Rover Charlie is a highlight for me ( https://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/12/04/live-from-the-comic-shop-2/)

I’ll admit to have sent Joe some of my embarrassing earlier attempts at writing including a review on Andrei Rublev i did what feels like ages ago on here,thanks for taking some pity on me Joe,i’m certain that review must look terrible now.

I think i could listen to Chris talk for weeks about  this and being a parent and family man is a perspective i find really vital, we’ve long gone past the point where the first and 2nd generation of “fans” have also grown up with their beloved mediums and pop culture iconography, the nerds won arguably for worse but it’s no longer out of place to still be into things the way was decades ago where it was just expected for people to grow out of such things.

Chris’s voice is vital to me for that not just because of his insight (hearing him talk about Blutch’s Peplum) was a joy for me but also because voices like that are more vital than ever both to bring new people into the medium,thank you sir.

Then there’s Matt always the one with the worst mic of the 4 but the way in which he’s able to draw you into understanding his perspective is second to none always enthusiastic to talk about comics among like-minded people and sometimes just as scornful as Tucker when talking about comics he doesn’t like “It makes Blankets look like the Dark Knight returns” is one that sticks out for me.

Also shout outs to Matt for saying Judge Dredd looked like he was pulling the Thizz face in Day of Chaos i was dying of laughter when i first hear that.

Comic books are burning in hell is the kind of podcast i would’ve loved to have done if i had read comics from childhood they’re cynical towards industrial complex of the “Big Two” but in a way that accepts the machine for what it is despite how reactionary, out of touch and clueless many of the people are, smart and speaking from a place of people who know what they’re talking about not just because they’ve read the issues but acknowledge the obscenity of money in a field such as comics that has been in decline.

But also because they’re funny from the anecdotes about Tucker’s daughter kicking him in the face to Joe’s story about using two large shopping bags full of bags coming to the conclusion that “Comics have always been repellent to people and always will be”

To Joe,Matt & Chris disguising the lurid works of Suehiro Maruo even the recent episodes from Joe and Chris about the conventions you do get gems along side the insight,real insight not the kind you see in games where somebody from a forum claims they know what Nintendo should do for their next business quarter.

I suppose this is that thing that podcasts do in comparison to radio whey they create something in real time that draws you in,podcasts draw you in with the topic of what the show is about and then keep you as a fan more so because of the personal stories.but these stories feel valuable to me because they helped me become more critical as a fan.

It’s through these 4 i was introduced to other other writers whose writing on comics who in one way or another despite different or idiosyncratic opinions unlike alot of people i came to The Factual Opinions through their podcasts than their writing (hang tight Witske,i know you’re going through it man hang in there i love how much you love Nick Nolte) some of these people i know can’t stand one another but i value what they have to say.

If you want a good example of where this comic is at it’s best listen to this episode:http://comicsinhell.libsyn.com/conservatism-needs-your-help-and-so-does-barnaby

The first half of this episode is as much a dressing down of the comics industry that like it or not people who have been into and followed mainstream comics know we’re guilty of contributing to this system but for me is something of a satisfying rallying cry to hear somebody call out and expose hypocritical conservative writers and “geek culture” at large who at a time when a rambling editor of a white nationalist website is one of the 3 most powerful people in the world still talk like their underdogs. There are people who saw the darkness coming a mile away it’s just too many chose to willfully ignore it.

I would’ve chosen the episode where they took hacksaws to Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor partially because it’s such a masterclass in exposing broadsheet approved mediocrity but also selfishly because it came out on my birthday.

Thank you guys thank you for your efforts i’ll still keep listening and reading both as a fan and as somebody who would like to get to your level of articulation and knowledge.

*Zev Love X voice* “Who Me?”

I probably should’ve done this while the iron was hot but the combined 3 pronged monster of depression, thoughts of death by 50 something year old Yorkshire bred fascist and using video games as a coping tool, have been in my way.

But this introduction is less for the one or two people who already know who i am and for the people coming to this through my friend Tegan O’neils 13th anniversary post on The Hurting (http://whenwillthehurtingstop.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/thirteen-years-of-terror.html)

She’s somebody whose become a good friend to me overtime and a person that doesn’t make this venture feel like a complete waste of time.thank you for those of you who took time out to read my piece about Tegan in all honesty it was a surprised she even mentioned me in there but after the nightmare of a day i had when that piece came out strangly enough things got better for me after that.

So what i can i say about myself i’m 22 years old, i try to be open to others despite hating showing my face on the internet, i read alot hated Twitter before everybody else did and currently trying to get my issues sorted as the island i live on(that being the UK) collapses all around me. I’m really bad at talking about myself as i tend to be private but in the last 2 years i try to be more open around others and try to disregard that thought of me being “the most miserable man in the room”. also i listen to ALOT of rap music, no ‘one rap album’ a year shit from me

I’ve been a guest on a couple podcasts so if anybody is interested and want sort of a highlight reel of the stuff i’ve leant my voice to i can put a list together if anybody would like to.

I started this blog as an idea from my AS Mentoring advisor Sarah she’s really the main influence behind this and at the time i wasn’t sure whether to or not,she also showed me a site that worked as a way to make possible money off of this but whether it’s due to my laziness or being exhausted alot of the time i haven’t sat down and done the planning (might have to reach for the dreaded patreon *lighting strikes*) as of right now she’s still in Jerusalem doing humanist ministerial work, i’d be lying if i were to say that i didn’t miss her but last i spoke to her she’s doing well.

As of right now as some of you have noticed i’ve been doing my “For Alto” pieces these have both been my way of showing proper respect and adoration to people who have influenced me especially in the last few years to become a better writer and a person to think smarter try and be funnier etc and it’s my way of saying “you matter to me whether you notice it or not and thank you” later on in the week i might put all those pieces together in one place so people can find them easier,but right now for me the most important thing is that they’re written and out there

But it’s also like everything else on here a way to work on my pen game,to sharpen what skills i have and like some of my favourite rappers to get thoughts and ideas down while they’re still fresh and too put my thoughts down in exactly as i see them.

I know nobody ask me to do this but i felt it would be nice to do, keep an eye out and feel free to comment on my stuff i like talking to people. thank you and have a nice day

P.S. for some of you prepare to feel “uncool” and “really white” because there will be alot of rap/black music related talk on here.

For the guys who were right even if it didn’t alter the morass of sadness

I miss Jumping Nothing, Jumping Nothing was good.

It was a wrestling podcast done by 2 and later 3 men for whom as much as they felt passionate about the medium as much as they had varying different opinions on the wrestlers, the nature of crowds at shows at the end of the day they were still 3 grown men talking about professional wrestling.

Wrestle Kingdom 9 was the PPV that got me back into watching wrestling again for better and worse i had missed most of the card but caught it just late enough to catch Tanahashi V Okada, i had tried before to watch some New Japan but alas as a broke yout who didn’t understand Japanese and didn’t fuck with forums there was no easy way for me to find any of their shows.

Despite hardly knowing anything about the feud i was still caught up in the pagentry of it all and felt that this was the perfect opportunity to get back into it of course there’s no way i could ever reclaim the feeling of joy i got as a child but with older eyes i felt in a way able to appreciate it now that as an older person i had better insight and more importantly the disposable income to really get into it.

I stumbled on Jumping Nothing through a friend retweeting them i hooked from the moment i heard the music and that i wouldn’t be hearing any sub Powerman 5000/Reel Big Fish hang over of the early 2000s music but also the personalities of its hosts.

Karl was the closest to a straight man the show got able to bring mention of philosophers into the equation but without any of the pretention or laughable attempts to “legitimise” wrestling like so many had done before he was the person i was most familiar with because of his prior podcast work.

Michael was the more conflicted equal parts hating the very medium he wasted most of his time watching and understanding but at the same time loving it due to how much it has given back in terms of entertainment and joy, has a laugh like somebody who just saw a family drone bombed before him. He was the one i felt siding with and relating to as far as a partaker in the medium and fandom the most.

Cathal was brought in around the “3rd season” and was just as insightful as Karl and Michael but felt like a soothing presence amongst all the bridge burning. Partly joined because of his embarrassingly loose connection to Fergal Devitt but sometimes could prove to be just as caustic and insightful as the other two hosts.

For me the best episodes of Jumping Nothing always had a looming sense of melancholy like waiting back to hear news if a family member had died in a plane crash. Sometimes they were able to fight against that melancholy and highlight the best parts that wrestling has to offer “Finn Balor Is From Where We’re From” is equal parts national pride,talk about booking decisions,stories about brutal early matches and Kota Ibushi being shit talked on Twitter .

“Roddy Piper Is Dead, Hulk Hogan May Never Die” is as much a heartfelt tribute to a legend beloved by a wide variety of people who never quite got his due and compares him to the man who all even now despite living out his years in desperation a hobbling mess of his former self and despised by everyone still towers over the industry in terms of recognition and and how much he raked it in.

But at their darkest listening to an episode could leave you feeling hollow.

if there’s one thing of all the things said on “Wrestling Fandom Is A Woe-Filled Morass of Desperation” it’s Michael’s anecdote about staking your pride as a man and asking your dad to watch professional wrestling with you.

Listening to the episode for people more in the know than me while listening to it you cant help but think of all the stories of the actions of various meth heads, ex-cons, people with lack of social skills, murderers and hopeless circus freaks that make up the wrestling business, dirtsheets lacking any dirt to find, the ugly exploitative nature of Youtube shoot interviews,the low expectations of quality from the matches themselves and most pathetic of all the  barely hidden desire to try and make it some kind of nerdy youtube cottage industry like gaming has,but with a far smaller audience.

I still think of the moment when Michael says “it’s a dark declining world , why are you trying to salvage it?”

So to Karl,Michael,Cathal thank you for both making me smarter not only in terms of understanding wrestling but also in terms of understanding just how fickle,craven and pathetic the adult male portion of wrestling fandom can be at it’s absolute worst.

I’m kind of certain Michael feels some weird way about this because he’s been very vocal in the past about how my kind of people (that is over earnest anime nerds) have ruined most of wrestling fandom but WWE in particular but i can let it slide cause i know he’s a nice guy at his core and i agree with him wholeheartedly.

It must be both strangely invigorating and sad to know that you 3 and maybe the 10 or so people who listened to your podcast where to only ones who knew that Donald Trump was going to run America into the ground but so it goes i guess.

I’m sure looking back on it there’s alot of info that hasn’t aged well but Just wanted to give my thanks to you three.

For the person whose still hurting but seems to be happier

Tegan O’neil

I feel honoured to call you a friend

Somebody whose company i’ve grown to like especially since the remainder of last year,somebody who i think is funny ,caring thoughtful even in your most contrarian ass moments (sorry you can’t pay me to think Batman and Robin is good) and somebody who always approached comics no matter how banal with a sense of knowledge behind them,maybe not as acerbic as Ms Horrocks but with as much weight and introspection behind it.

I think it was through hearing Joe Mculloch mentioning you on an episode of Comic Books are Burning in Hell i thought to myself “that sounds like an interesting person worth looking up” so followed that thought through, you was still going through your “PEARL IS BAE” phase which i’m sure looking back on you regard with some kind of embarrassment, but i saw no issue with that.

We talked somewhat then i was surprised to see that you even followed my ass since often times when certain writers follow me i think “wow you people have paying jobs and have your name attached to things why are you interested in me?”.

This and the fact that we’re both 2 bookworm weirdos who were only kids in a sea of friends with siblings makes me feel like we’ve got some kind of mutual understanding despite our age difference (although who am i kidding most of my friends are older than me).

As much as i still hold alot of venom for Marvel your the person that made me ease up on the venom there’s still alot of things i can’t forgive them for but it’s not like i want to throw Stan Lee through a window now. Same goes for saying Watchmen might not be as brilliant as an adult or when you were 15 or hell just saying that Bukowski was shit.

Just the fact that there was somebody hell people who were willing to say these things that i had lodged in my head for a long time felt so affirming that i wasn’t ruining the fun of others for wanting to say these things.

I remember the day i finally decided to read that first piece you wrote, grey day i was feeling bitter didn’t want to talk to nobody or even speak to anybody,i watched Throne of Blood and Ikiru back to back in the same day,so to break my abstinence from Twitter i decided to check into see what i missed.

Saw that you tagged something up the top and felt that i had to read it at that moment, i read the whole thing the suicide attempts,your connection to the Star Wars prequels before they became the easy go to joke for pasty white nerds,your marriage all in that same measured voice i’d associate with  and then when i got to the end i’ll admit i was taken a bit aback not badly but it just felt like the end of a previous lost life and the start of something anew.

I sent you a message after i read it but me being me when i send stuff to people whose work i like i feel like i have to walk around on eggshells around them,so as not to creep them out.

Will the hurting stop for you? i don’t know but from talking to you it seems that it’s eased up, as for me i’m still going through it and i lack your sense of perspective. There’s alot of people i’m fearful for right now and i was fearful before it felt like the world had changed again in my lifetime,yours is one of the voices i’d like to still be around.

I know i’m not a nice person either as my mother would say i don’t do niceties but you’re definitely somebody who right now makes me want to do better and find more likeminded people.

I hipped my pal Tom onto your stuff you should talk to him just as contrarian as you and as funny, i think you two would get along pretty well.

i hope to still  see you on the arse end of these next 3 years.