Monday, February 27, 2012

Red Lanterns #0

I'm quite excited to read a new comic series by Peter Milligan. And not only do I get to read one new one, I get two with Justice League Dark as well! Two in a row even!

I don't know how good a writer Peter Milligan really is. He did a fantastic job with Shade the Changing Man. I found something about Shade's odd, tentative, destructive, crazy romance with Kathy George beautiful and uplifting. Enigma was also well-done but I don't think I was at the proper place in my life for it to mean a whole lot to me. Years later I read N. Scott Momaday's Ancient Child and that book took hold of me in the way I think Enigma might have had I read it at a different time. But it was one passage in Rogan Gosh that really bonded me with Peter Milligan.

When I was just a kid, possibly around ten to twelve years of age, I was sitting on the toilet. I remember this moment clearly because I began thinking about time and about death. I was raised in a household that gave no thought to religion one way or another. It just wasn't a factor. And I was thinking about reincarnation because I was desirous to have something more than this. But try as I might, I could not recall any past lives. And I realized what good was living again in another life if I couldn't remember me, Jeff Good, in that life? So I tried to cement myself in that place and time for all time. I concentrated as hard as I could to make that moment last forever. Did it work? Who knows. If it did, that poor kid is still on the Goddamned toilet.

So that was that memory. And then many years later, I read this in Rogan Gosh: "Ah heard of a fella down Memphis way, called Wild Bill Osiris. They rekken he keep gittin' deaded an' keep gittin' hup again. Folks say when Osiris gits reborn he becomes a cock-slinger called Horus Thuh Kid. But is it Osiris or Horus Thuh Kid thut's alive? Ah mean, whut foxes me is thuh continuation of personality...'coz if'n yuh reborn an' yuh can't recall a frigid coyote 'bout yuh preevus existence, yuh might jus' well be dead."

You know, we all have those moments. It's why we cherish literature as much as we do. It's that constant dialogue with others, living and dead. It's finding things in common. It's realizing we're not alone no matter how alone we always, inevitably, are. It's that connection that makes literature truly awesome (awesome in the real sense and not in the California sense).

For an introvert and a hermit, connecting to others through literature (and television and movies as well. I'm not Pop Culture elitist by any means!) means a hell of a lot more to me than gluing a cell phone to the side of my head or a text messaging machine to my lap. And of course this blog is part of that. I read. I write. You read. You write. We all connect.

Let me just say, though, for clarification's sake, that this blog was originally thought up as a way for me to remember each of the 52 storylines I'm reading from month to month! I figured if I wrote about each story and had an easy to reference place to see plot points, I wouldn't have to reread the last few issues before reading each new issue as it came out. I don't know if it works yet because I'm still so far behind in my reading I'm still reading issues 1-4 of every title before getting to 5 and 6! And the sevens start coming out next week! Fuck.

While I'm rambling about literature and pop culture and the reason for my blog, I think I'll discuss another aspect of this blog that is important to me. Any regular readers may have noticed that when I'm wondering about something, I usually just leave the question out there instead of instantly searching the internet for an answer. Unless I specifically mention that I'm searching the web for something, I tend to avoid going to it for information. I like keeping what I write authentically me and the knowledge (right or wrong!) that's in my head. I hate that term, 'authentic', but well, fuck, that's what it is. What I write here is, for the most part, what I would be able to bring to a conversation with someone about comics while face to face with that person. I will use references that I have on hand though! Like pulling Rogan Gosh down from the bookshelf to get the exact quote I wanted. Or going for my Who's Who binder to look up some facts about characters I'm currently reading that I don't know a lot about, like Firestorm.

My friend Brent and I wrote a web comic many years ago called Future Retard. While I'm sure many people read it and thought it was a Dadaist mess of random ball-eating jokes, it was actually a very clever science fiction story. The Future Retard lives in a society that can instantly access any information at any moment. So he has no need to retain any information. With the ability to do web search at everyone's fingertips at all times, nobody needs to retain anything anymore. We're a society of future retards and nobody has any idea what anybody else actually knows. Especially online when you can be an expert on everything and just pretend that you pulled it straight from your head instead of typing it into Bing.

I'd like to avoid that for as long as I possibly can. The advantage of actually having knowledge in your head is that you can make connections between all of the various stupid ass facts you've accumulated. If somebody asks you something about Star Trek, you can easily go online to find out what you need. But by having the Star Trek information crammed into your head already, now if somebody mentions a passage in The Bible, you can reference how Kirk went through the same thing on Wrigley's Pleasure Planet. See? Now you're awesome at parties (awesome in the California sense and not in the real sense).

And now that I've rambled on like that, I think I'll change the title of this post to Red Lanterns #0 (the title that you thought it was always anyways! Ha ha! Reality is subjective!) and start actually writing about the Red Lanterns comic book next post.

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