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Vincent S. Moore Presents:








PREAMBLE RAMBLE

As usual, welcome to the Omnium Gatherum. The place where I, your not so humble writer, talk to you about all kinds of things and subjects.

We have a lot to get to this time out, so I won’t babble on for too long.

But, you know, I do have a question. Last time, I asked for the women of color to write in or post a comment about racism and sexism. Well, the silence in response nearly beat me to death. Which means that a) I have to promote the column much more and b) those lurking readers didn’t feel they should answer.

I can’t have that.

So, I want to open things up a bit. I’m asking for all the readers of this column (and I mean those I don’t pay or have seen those naked baby pictures of me) to either write in or post a comment. Show me you are out there. Suggest some topics for me to discuss. Recommend books, music, movies, and comics. Something, anything.

A writer does not exist in isolation. Even if some of y’all hate me (I hear my little rant concerning When Fangirls Attack still is my most read column), I would like to hear from you. Scratch that, I’d especially like to hear from the haters. If I piss any of y’all off, tell me. Not that I’ll change what I do but I may figure out how to focus in on the hot topics and get some fires really burning.

Anyway, enough begging and shilling, and onto …

OUR TOP STORY TONIGHT

Are You In It To Win It?

Part Three

This time out, I am concluding this series gathering resources for those who wish to enter the comics game and hope to do more than waste time and money.

Again, this is by no means a truly comprehensive list. While it may not be entirely impossible, such an exhaustive listing is beyond the desires and capabilities of your humble writer to complete. Also, as I’ve come to understand, pursuing creative endeavors is a never ending process of learning, unlearning, and relearning. This series is just the beginning for myself and for anyone else getting into the comics biz.

I’ve saved the best for last, as I will stick to the art side of creating comics.

Presumably, those who want to draw comics have been drawing most of their lives. But there may be a few of you out there coming to the art side late in life. Maybe you’ve just discovered comics or you’re a writer who is frustrated, daunted, or whatever other emotional blocking state evoked by the prospect of trying to find an artist to draw your epic graphic novel. Or maybe you are feeling your art is stuck, that what you are producing looks nothing like what you aspire to.

My hope is that any of those cases apply to you that you will find something of use here. Also I simply think it is a good thing for anyone creating comics to have some familiarity with all aspects, just so you know what to expect and what to look for.

For most of the history of comics, there have been two approaches to becoming an artist. One is going to an art school of some kind. The other is being self taught. Neither is preferred over the other. It all depends on you which path you choose. George Perez, for example, is largely self taught, as was Jack Kirby. Both Alex Ross and Burne Hogarth benefitted from going through formal schooling.

The Joe Kubert School is the only school I know of that has as its mandate to train artists for comics. They even do correspondence courses these days, so you can learn from them wherever you are in the world.

However the most basic form of art training is simply the act of drawing everyday.

Once I overheard a professional artist advise another artist that if he wasn’t drawing at least four hours a day at least five days a week, he had no shot at breaking into comics. That sounds reasonable to me. Even if your desire is to create comics of an indy or alternative bent, devoting oneself to the time necessary to master basic art skills, to forge a style of art that will appeal to your potential audience is important.

Another way of training oneself to draw is tracing photographs. Now, in recent years, this has become almost a cause célébre amongst various voices and bloggers across the internets. That this is a lazy way of producing comics. I have no opinion on this topic per se, but when no less a comics great as Neal Adams recommends this method as an important learning tool, I can’t help but think that this is a non-issue. A couple artists I know use this method to help them master anatomy, perspective, and even designs. So I say give it a try if you are finding yourself stuck in your artistic development.

I will also assume that many of you have artists you want to draw like. In more formal terms, these are your role models. While there is nothing wrong with starting out this way, you will harm your future development if you don’t counterbalance copying someone else’s work with drawing from life, from the world outside your window. I strongly believe in and often urge young artists to find the balance. Whether they are in school or not. Have role models that motivate and inspire you but search for your own artistic voice as well.

As I said, there are both well schooled artists and self taught ones in the comics business. If you can afford the schools, by all means go and enjoy and learn what you can there. If you are choosing to travel the self taught route, then I have a number of great books to suggest that will help develop your art skills. These books might also be of use to those going to school.

First up is Betty Edwards’ Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain. I would actually recommend this to any writers that want to learn how to draw for themselves. This book is an excellent place to begin the journey of art. Edwards’ methods are based on her studies of the differences between the left and right hemispheres of the human brain. She points out that most of the ability of draw is located in the right side, a side that is more spacial and nonverbal. The many exercises in the book help to develop the shift between left and right modes of thought, thereby growing one’s drawing ability. After working through this book, you will find yourself in a better position to master other drawing skills. And if you don’t think you can draw, you most definitely will see improvement after using this book. There is also a workbook that goes with this that expands on the number of exercises.

Switching gears to the opposite end of the spectrum, I discovered the many books by Lee Ames while crawling through Amazon.com one day. An artist with a very varied career (Ames once drew the Firebrand comics in the Golden Age as well as working for Disney), Ames started a series of art books for children of all ages under the title of Draw 50. Nearly thirty books later, the Draw 50 series offers a simple way of expanding one’s ability to draw. Each book in the series focuses on a particular subject, like dogs or cats or famous faces or famous cartoons. For page after page, Ames shows you how to build up from simple shapes and lines a complete image. So you go from a circle to a bird in nine steps. The book Drawing With Lee Ames is both a compendium of the best examples from the earlier books as well as a number of new examples to copy. What Ames demonstrates in his books is the sort of drawing skills a successful comics artist will need: to be able to look at a blank piece of paper and create something from nothing, with or without any kind of reference. Using Ames’ books in concert with some of the others mentioned below should accelerate your skills in no time.

Another classic series of art books are those by Jack Hamm. Whether it’s Drawing The Head & Figure or Drawing Scenery or How To Draw Animals or Cartooning The Head & Figure, you can’t help but to find something useful in Hamm’s work. He is another artist that walks you through his examples step by step, demonstrating his method of creating drawings. While the books and the subject matter is definitely old school and a product of the 1950s, it doesn’t make the lessons taught any less valuable.

The same applies to Andrew Loomis’ books. Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth lives up to its title in numerous ways. The tragedy is that all of Loomis’ work is out of print. Copies of his books often fetch high prices on eBay. If you are diligent, you may be able to find copies for download on the internet. Normally I wouldn’t recommend such action but it is a necessary evil given that no one has seen fit to bring these highly prized and praised books back into print. Perhaps it is because one of the books, Fun With A Pencil, contains some racially insensitive material. Again, Loomis is a product of his time. I’ve seen the images in question and can write them off as typical of a white American male of the early 20th century and move on to learn from the man.

When I first looked at the art books by George Bridgman, I was amazed and impressed by the detail and dynamics of his work. Then, as I started looking into Ames’ work, I noticed the similarities in their work. It made sense as Bridgman’s books were used in many art schools as teaching tools. Bridgman’s style is perfect for those who wish to draw superheroes: kinetic, full of energy even at rest, powerful. I could go on, but you get the idea. Unlike Loomis, Bridgman’s books are in print, courtesy of Dover, in inexpensive editions. They are the perfect size to take anywhere and the perfect price that no one should able to say they cannot afford to have a set in their collection of art books.

Speaking of someone perfect for aspiring superhero artists to study, Burne Hogarth comes to mind. Hogarth’s work on the Tarzan comics strips of the 1940s through the 1960s showcase a master of the human form in action. His instructional books--Dynamic Anatomy, Dynamic Figure Drawing, Drawing the Human Head, Dynamic Light and Shade, Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery, and Drawing Dynamic Hands--are visual masterpieces and gold mines of information for any artist.

And I can’t go without mentioning the classic primer How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way by Stan Lee and the late, great John Buscema. By no means is this the perfect book. But it is a place to start, which is what a good primer is supposed to do. In simple step by step lessons, covering a wide variety of topics, Buscema and Lee walk young and young at heart hopefuls through the many skills needed to draw superhero comics in specific and comics in general. Seeing Buscema’s graceful, dynamic line in its raw form makes this book worth buying alone. Which makes Lee’s contributions a wonderful bonus, showing the master showman at work, pimping the Marvel method as the acme of comics creation. That ability to sell ice to eskimos is one that will serve one well if you can pull it off with same style as Stan The Man.

I can’t ignore the current craze and obsession with manga, Japanese comics. I’m not a hater of manga by any means. And I do see how many of the younger artists showing work at conventions are being influence by manga. Naturally, to capitalize upon the trend there are seemingly an endless supply of How To Draw Manga books in your neighborhood chain bookstore. The most famous and ubiquitous series of books are those produced by Graphic-Sha, covering a wide variety of subjects. Although drawing women seems to be the most popular subject matter, but that doesn’t surprise me. What I like about these translations of Japanese instructional books is the clean line used in all the models and examples. These books give the artist plenty of things to draw which in turn develops their ability and skills. The Let’s Draw Manga series isn’t as comprehensive as the aforementioned How To Draw Manga but they do cover a couple different subjects. That makes some of the LDM series worth buying as well.

Not to miss out on the trend, DC Comics got into the instructional book game in the last few years. Klaus Janson, a great ‘mainstream’ penciller and inker of such works as Daredevil and The Dark Knight Returns, won the honor of putting together not just one but two books in this series. Both The DC Guide to Pencilling Comics and The DC Guide to Inking Comics use Janson’s vast talents to teach the basic mechanics of creating comics. The format is much the same as the Lee/Buscema book, as are in many of the how to do comics books out there, but that does not lessen the value of these two books. Besides, anyone reading these two books should be looking for what Janson says that Buscema does not. Even in covering the same subject, two different books will find different tacks and angles to discuss. Janson does that well, twice.

When I was young, I could find all kinds of books on how to draw. When How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way came out, I learned how the craft of making art in comics broke down into two tasks, pencilling and inking. Despite the brief explanation of it therein, I never felt inking was explained well. That was until this book, The Art of Comic Book Inking by Gary Martin, came out in 1997. It was followed a few years later by The Art of Comic Book Inking 2nd Edition. Martin, long time inker of Steve Rude on Nexus, takes the reader through the art of inking not only through examples of his work but through following the steps in inking a typical page by many other inkers. Names such as Terry Austion, Brian Bolland, Mark Farmer, Scott Williams, and others share their techniques, giving any aspirant inker a number of different role models to choose from towards creating his or her own inking style. Both volumes are worth checking out.

Finally, just a few resources on what I consider to be the other aspect of art in comics. Namely, the lettering and coloring.

First up is The DC Guide To Coloring and Lettering by Marc Chiarello and Todd Klein. At first, one might think that combining these two topics in one book would be doing each a disservice. That is not the case. By seeing how color can be used in comics next to how to design the lettering, one sees how every aspect of comics creation--writing, pencilling, inking, coloring, and lettering--is impacted by and, when done well, interacts with the others. Master colorist and painter Chiarello briefly walks the reader through the basics of color theory and how it applies to comics storytelling. While multiple award winner Klein demonstrates both the old school and new fangled tools to create the text and graphics that make comics comics. An excellent concluding entry in the DC Comics Guide series.

Modeling both How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way and a typical comic, Comic Book Lettering the ComiCraft Way by Richard Starkings and John ‘JG’ Roshell breaks down exactly how they do it at ComiCraft. Starkings, the man many hold responsible for first using the computer to create comics lettering, explains how he came to letter comics and how he first saw that using the computer would be a time saving and ultimately creatively freeing tool. This book is short and sweet, explaining what makes good lettering, showing how the computer is used, and many other things. Yes, in the end the book acts as one big ad for ComiCraft’s services and for sale fonts. Again, this models what Stan The Man did and continues to do well. So, who can blame Starkings for wanting to follow in the footsteps of the master?

Lastly, even though it may be out of date, Digital Prepress for Comic Books by Kevin Tinsley is still worth having. Tinsley covers a lot of ground, including computer lettering and color separations, in this short book. Just enough information to get one to understand how to prepare their comics for print using the computer. The information can be very technical but Tinsley does his best to explain everything simply to the reader. This is worth adding to your comics creation library.

In the end, as at the beginning, what I’ve listed here and in the preceding parts are my choices and opinion.

Who am I? Well, I am a professional editor working on projects coming out through various publishers over the next few months. Plus, many of these books I have in my own collection and use in various ways in my various day jobs.

Are they the only resources? No. There are many I didn’t mention because I don’t have them, I’m not familiar with them, or I didn’t think they were very helpful. Also there are groups out there like the Comicbook Artists Guild or CAG that are designed to help aspiring comics creators learn their craft. Look them up. Tell them I sent you.

Are the ones I mentioned the best ones? I obviously think so. I also think it depends on what one’s goals in comics are. Even if you are of a more indy/alt comix bent, knowing how to tell a story or how to draw a human being to look like a human being will take you farther than not knowing such things.

And without a starting point, without knowing what one’s goal truly are, the journey into comics can be and will be much tougher and rougher than necessary.

This list is a good starting point.

Everyone’s goals in comics are different but wanting to do one’s best, to make the best comics of whatever type one wants--manga, superheroes, art comix, science fiction, mystery, cross genre stuff, etc.--should be everyone’s main goal.

That way, you will be in comics to win.

BOOK(S) OF THE WEEK

Sorry to do this to you folks, but I’m going to cheese out on y’all again here. I just think I’ve talked about enough books for this week. Don’t you? Besides, I’m in the middle of a book that will bring some fire to my next review. What is it? You’ll have to come back in two weeks to find out.

ALBUM(S) OF THE WEEK First off, I need to make an apology. I pulled a bonehead last time. When reviewing Rush’s Snakes & Arrows, I assumed that the Lerxst Lifeson listed at composing the instrumental “Hope” was a son of Alex Lifeson. It is actually Alex Lifeson himself using one of his many stage names. If I were the Rush fan I claim to be, I would have known that. Or I would have looked it up before allowing my statements to see print. So I apologize to you readers, to Marc Mason my editor who puts up with my nonsense, and to Mr. Lifeson himself.

Secondly, I must apologize to you readers as I’m going to cheese out on the music review this week as well. I want to do more reviews of new music, either by new bands or new releases of old favorites. But the budget doesn’t allow for that right now.

Next time, though, I will give a review of the new album from one of my favorite bands, King’s X, which hits stores as this goes to press.

FEAR AND LOATHING, HOPE AND WONDER ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL 2008

As expected by everyone, Hillary Clinton won the West Virginia primary by a large margin. Her victory there provided her campaign with an opportunity to continue making its case for her greater electability versus Barack Obama to many working class Americans. That is, to those white Americans that cannot completely fathom the existence of a Barack Obama.

Clinton spent the rest of the week continuing to make her case. Too bad that for just about everyone else, the Democratic campaign is essentially over in everything but name. That everyone is waiting quietly in the wings to crown Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for President.

However, Clinton’s victory and one other minor event this week showcased Obama’s one remaining problem with his running for president. That other event, minor though it was, took on national significance simply by being picked up by the national news wires. Down in Marietta, Georgia, a local tavern owner found a way to express both his fascination with and subconscious disdain for the Obama campaign by printing up t-shirts that say Obama In ‘08, featuring an image of Curious George above the statement. To this man’s mind, he was making a cute little joke, as he thought Barack Obama looks like the famous cartoon character. The plain spoken honesty of the statement almost covers up the fact that African Americans have been referred to as being monkeys for the entirely of their time here in America. Surely, as a Southerner born and raised for many years, this man could not claim to not have known about such things. Yet claim he did.

So Barack Obama has a much more difficult task ahead than running against the Republican nominee John McCain. That task is going to be confronting the sudden manifestation of the hidden racism in America, particularly amongst those hard working white voters that Hillary has staked out as her constituency and her reason for still running for president.

Pundits have started to mention the Bradley Factor quietly but not enough to bring to issue to the forefront of most Americans’ minds. Also they just haven’t talked about, well there is no gentle way of putting this, the Cracker Factor Obama’s campaign will bring out in the months to come.

Much hay has been made of those protesters who’ve shown up at Clinton rallies, carrying signs telling her to go cook some breakfast or wash some dishes. And rightfully so. Whatever its excesses, the feminist movement has been a valid one. Any woman should be able to live the kind of life she wants. Hillary is living out the promise of that movement, although I think she is a terrible example of the feminist movement. Still, she can run and should be able to without hearing nonsense from stupid dudes who aren’t even brave enough to talk their head openly.

Much has been said about these voices, but nothing has been said about Obama bringing out those racist voices.

Perhaps because until the Rev. Wright controversy (which still strikes me as being disingenuous on the part of many Americans; I mean, this is the country that produced Malcolm X; what makes anyone think that such voices have completely disappeared just because some of you out there happen to have a black friend or two?), Barack Obama had pulled off the great American Magic Trick: he had transcended race. With his words, with his manner, nothing about him reads as stereotypical African American. Even the “weird” name doesn’t scream out black militant to most Americans; it just says foreigner to them but doesn’t activate the same response a Spanish sounding name would. Obama wasn’t black, not really. That was why in the early days of his campaign, many African Americans couldn’t back him. He didn’t read as one of them. Once he did, or once he started winning, and the idea of a black man, an African American, becoming president two generations after the death of Martin Luther King Jr. caught fire amongst them. They started to believe in the dream anew, that their voices could be heard and respected, the common dream of all living beings. That’s why in all those primaries, blacks have voted almost universally for Obama. It isn’t merely some black loyalty things that whitey just can’t understand. It’s King’s dream made flesh and bone and standing on a podium right in front of you.

But that very dream walking has scared and will scare many white Americans. Because for two generations, as the many riots that have occurred have shown, many white Americans are waiting for the other shoe to drop. They are waiting in fear of black people taking some kind of revenge upon them for, oh, I don’t know, slavery and Jim Crow and million other injustices perhaps? As long as Obama wasn’t Black, that fear slept in the backs of their minds, hoping to never awaken.

The Rev. Wright hit the airwaves and the internets and the fear broke out like a plague.

Between that fear and the fear that lame duck motherfucker George W. Bush and wacky John McCain have been spreading this week of a cabal of terrorist groups salivating at the concessions they just know they will get from an Obama presidency, no wonder Obama is bringing out the racist t-shirt makers.

It’s not like we have tons of issues to face. The rising price of oil. The housing crisis. The credit crisis. The general malaise and upswelling of doubt most Americans feel. The health care crunch. Naw, we don’t have real problems to face. Our fear of a black and brown planet is the only real issue we must face. The kind of fear that only great white daddy can handle. Because that black fellow would give away the store or that bitch will be forced to prove her bitchiness by blowing up everyone she can on sight.

Fear, fear, fear.

Fear and loathing are running amok in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. Fear of everything and anything. And loathing of ourselves mostly, which translates into loathing of the rest of the world. Because it’s their fault, damn it, that America sucks right now. If those Chinese didn’t make such cheap and deadly products. If those crazy A-Rabs would just give us all the oil they got without trying to bleed us dry for it. If those other crazy Persians would just stop trying to nuke Israel. If, if, if.

Still, the race goes on. Still, the fear and loathing live in the heart of most Americans. Yet the hope and wonder are starting to live there as well. If we can only hold on to until the new day dawns.

If only we could.

COMICS OF THE WEEK

I would like to apologize for actually being able to do a comics review this time out.

I’ll admit I can be lame, but hopefully not that lame.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows I’m primarily a fan of superhero comics. That was how I came into comics and it’s the genre of comics I often prefer to read.

Of course, the last decade has been a weird time for superhero comics. With audiences shrinking but movies booming, the superhero as a genre has been put through some changes. Especially as disasterbation comics have come to rule the roost for the most, with big summer events raining down upon us like Hurricane Katrina. For those of us that just want to read about some superheroes saving the world with a dash of soapy opera added in, that kind of read has been harder to find. At least from Marvel and DC.

Thankfully, Image is still around, and enough creators that love superhero comics have been able to thrive there.

One such writer is Jay Faerber with his book Noble Causes.

Noble Causes chronicles the adventures and romances of the Nobles, the world’s greatest superhero team. A family just any other, except the whole powers beyond those of ordinary mortals thing, the Nobles struggle with celebrity, supervillains, and crazy relatives with a style all their own.

Faerber recently put the book on hiatus to retool it, to change things up so we readers don’t get comfortable with it and neither does he. Now the book is back, with a new look, a slightly different cast of characters, and the same trials and tribulations.

Noble Causes #s 32 and 33 came out at the end of April, showcasing this new direction. Aided by artist Yildiray Cinar, colorist Ron Riley, and letterer Charles Pritchett, Faerber introduces us to the new status quo for the Nobles with an ease and style that puts many other books to shame. In a manner of three pages, we are dropped into yet well introduced to what’s going on. In the five year gap since the end of the previous storyline, Doc Noble, family patriarch, has remarried to Olympia whose two children Minutiae and Surge are now part of the team. As is Doc’s first wife’s bastard child Frost, the family black sheep. Doc’s oldest son Rusty still exists as a brain in a robotic body but he’s somehow becoming more and more mechanical all the time. Doc’s daughter Zephyr and her new (to us) husband Slate Blackthorne, member of the Nobles’ opposite number The Blackthornes, round out the team.

If you don’t know what any of this means, don’t worry. These two issues are the perfect jumping on point for new readers. Plus with several volumes of trades in print, you could catch up to the story in no time.

Noble Causes is the book the Fantastic Four could grow up to be. As the lines of family blur and mix together, the drama heightens. Although Faerber promises to up the adventure aspect of the series with this new take, I hope he keeps the soapiness that made this book the perfect thing to read.

I recommend Noble Causes highly. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed. And if you are, well, I apologize for that too.

MOVIE(S) OF THE WEEK

For a change of pace, I actually made my way to the local movie theater (The Bridge Cinema in Westchester, CA, by the way) this week. With all the buzz going around, especially at the local comics shops, about how good this film was, I had to see for myself. Besides, I wanted to see the following movie anyway.

Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau, starring Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, and Gwenyth Paltrow, is the blockbuster first film produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures. And it lived up to its hype and to the word of mouth I’ve heard every time I went to work at Comics Ink.

Iron Man presents the classic 1960s hero in a modern context for today’s audience. The story opens with Tony Stark, playboy/industrialist, being escorted by a group of soldiers in Afghanistan after demonstrating his latest weapon system. An attack by a terrorist cell kills all the soldiers and leaves Stark mortally wounded and in the custody of the terrorists. They want him to build them a copy of his latest weapon before they kill him. What Stark ends up building is the first version of the Iron Man armor.

I could go on, but why spoil the rest of movie for those few who may not have seen it as of this writing.

The point is this movie works. We are closing in on a decade of superhero movies being produced by Hollywood. In that time, we’ve seen Spiderman, the X-Men, the Hulk, Hellboy, Superman, Batman, and others come to life on the big screen. There have been hits and misses and terrible flops Catwoman along the way. Despite the usual sign of Hollywood stinkiness of having four writers, Iron Man presents an update of the origin story and shows a hero in the birthing.

All of the cast are perfect in their roles. Downey Jr. is Tony Stark, playing the role of overgrown, spoiled golden boy from some kind of sense memory. Howard is as rock steady as usual portraying Lt. Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes, the government liaison to Stark Industries. Paltrow channels her inner Katherine Hepburn to play Stark’s gal Friday Pepper Potts with all the sass and spice of those classic broads of days gone by. And Bridges plays Obadiah Stane, our villain, with a subtlety that usually isn’t done in superhero movies, making the watching of his performance the real gem in this film.

Iron Man isn’t a perfect film. There are moments where you can tell certain things were limited by time and/or budget. Such as Tony Stark’s home workshop. For all of the cool gadgets you do see, you feel that a billionaire industrialist/genius would have a much bigger workshop in his house. It’s not like he couldn’t afford it. But you get the idea the writers and director felt that making the workshop simply a part of his car garage made the situation feel more like the average guy who works on a hot rod in his spare time (something that Stark himself does in the film).

Iron Man shows how the superhero concept is really an aspect of the great American Myth, as best exemplified by Horatio Alger’s many tales of rags to riches through hard work and pluck. That through a combination of hard work, opportunity, and ingenuity (plus a ton of cash), any man could be a superhero in his life.

Again, this isn’t a perfect movie. I’m tired of complaining of those wonderful moments of Magical Negroism that show up in films. Like how Dr. Yinsin, a generic Middle Eastern character, gives his life to help out Tony Stark. Or that Howard’s Rhodey risks his career at certain points to save Stark/iron Man. I’m tired of pointing them out, of noticing them, yet it is difficult to ignore such things as well. Hopefully when Iron Man 2 rolls out, it will live up to the promise implied by Rhodey’s wistful stare at the prototype armor and statement of “Next time.”

I also know Iron Man offered a chance for the ladies out there to complain about the gal Friday-ism of Pepper Potts and how Hollywood isn’t providing any superheroines at the cineplex for the ladies this summer. While I didn’t feel that Paltrow was in any way cheated by this movie, I can see and understand those feelings. But, I find it, well, ironic that not one of feminist bloggers I’ve read mentions the fact that the climactic action in the movie, usually performed by the hero, is performed by Paltrow’s Potts. That when it comes down to it, the Damsel In Distress actually saves the Knight In Shining Armor. That felt like a feminist moment to me, but I could be mistaken.

Please, everyone, if you haven’t seen it yet, go see Iron Man. And if you have, then like me, you are already planning on seeing it a second or third time.

THE TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT THIS TIME

Let’s go back to those obnoxious t-shirts I mentioned above. The ones with Curious George pimping for Barack Obama.

As I said, Obama’s campaign is starting to make loud that usually quiet racism that exists in America. This shirt is just one of the early signs we can see.

But the problem with pointing out how racist this bar owner is for making the shirts is that those who would agree in private but not do so in public are being drawn to his side.

As of Friday, the man had sold out of shirts. Despite protests and negative press. I don’t know who bought them or why but the very act of trying to shame and publicly break Mike Norman served only to promote him and his silly and sad shirts.

Was it wrong for him to make the shirts? I say yes because Mr. Norman just cannot fool me into thinking he had no clue linking Obama and Curious George was racist. Sorry, I just don’t buy that bridge.

Was it wrong to make this a national news story? Hell, yes. Because it promoted the shit out of an idiot and his bar.

For Barack Obama and his supporters and for the media, the smarter tactic should be to ignore such ignorance. Don’t promote it. Don’t even talk about as if it were the most important news of the day, that it would shatter the globe itself if not reported. Just leave this sort of thing alone.

By not leaving it alone, this story will linger for weeks. The shirts will show up on eBay, fetching high prices. Mr. Norman will be encouraged to come up with something even more daring and outlandish, just to get more free press while claiming his free speech rights.

Let’s just keep on keeping on, as my grandfather used to say. This wasn’t news, but it has become spectacle.

GOOD DAY, GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK

Okay there, folks, we’ve come to the end of another Omnium Gatherum. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I’ve sweated, er, um, enjoyed bringing it to you.

Next issue, I hope to move to lighter topics and to get back to doing what I do best. Namely, pissing off all the wrong people.

Until then, everybody take care of themselves.

Namaste.

Vincent S. Moore



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