Super Friends: Spider-Man & Obama

spider-man barack obama

Marvel Comics recently did a special inauguration team-up of Spider-Man and Barack Obama. To say Marvel is cashing in on the presidency would be a gross understatement. But then again everyone is cashing in on Barack Obama… buses, t-shits, Starbucks. Anyone and everyone is making money off the 44th president. Since, President Obama himself is a devoted Spidey fan, the special Marvel issue only seems natural. I just don’t know if a comic book is the place to make a political statement. Actually, that’s untrue, comics are great places to make political statements, V for Vendetta for example. I just don’t think comic books are the best place to make money off of this particular political statement.

It definitely just seems that Joe Quesada has dollar signs in his eyes. They rush out and they reprint and reprint a special Spider-Man issue, but what message are they really sending out? At one point in the comic, Barack is all like, “You the dog, Spidey… pound it.” I have to say it seems a little racist to me. The issue was written by Zeb Wells, a writer I have no animosity towards, but is generally known for his whiteness. Fans at comic-cons often walk away muttering, “That is the whitest human being I have ever seen.” Zeb is a shade away from transparent! I’m not saying he’s a klan member, but bumping fists with Spider-Man, Zeb? Really?

I’m actually a little surprised they didn’t have a double-duo attack of Sarah Palin and Doc Ock. Although, I do have to admit that the one politics in comix that I did enjoy was that Lex Luthor was President of the DC universe during George W. Bush’s stint in the White House. Other than that, comics should just stick to telling good, fun stories. That’s something that I’m always latching onto the fact that comic books have lost any degree of having fun.

Although, I’m looking forward to the super-sized issue of the Incredible Hulk vs. William H. Taft.

Hulk vs. Taft
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Addition Through Subtraction

I was reading through an old story, and it was brutal. Just terrible. Sometimes I read a story and it finds a way to surprise me. I’ll say, “I am really like so clever.” “I might very well be the most brilliant man alive.” “I’m like Jesus in writing form.” This last story all I heard was, “I’m a total hack!” Maybe, “Tom Cruise in writing form.” Bland and self absorbed.

So, I decided to just cut as much from the story as I could. I managed to cut about 500 words, and since there wasn’t much story to begin with 500 words was a good amount. I can’t see how the story could have gotten much better though. It moves along a little faster, which is only a relief because I can get to the end sooner. I wish I could cut more, but then I start to lose too much of the plot (what little plot these is).

Maybe, I’ll just bury it for future generations. They’ll appreciate my Tom Cruisiness.

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A Little Taste of Flash

I’ve been exchanging flash fiction with a friend (500 words or less), this was my first offering. Enjoy.

What to Say

They say Frank Palmaro married a dog. A chocolate lab with a sad drooping mouth. They say the chocolate Labrador’s name was Jezebel, and a wanton pup to say the least. Pictures were taken, wedding photos. I never saw them myself, but I heard about them and most stories were pretty much the same. Frank beamed in a gray tuxedo, complete with top hat and tales, and Jezebel with her almost blackish wagging tongue and a pristine white bonnet.

“I heard Mr. Palmaro married a real bitch,” I said one night at a bar named The Black & Blue. An easy joke followed by an easy laugh. Afterwards, I noticed Frank Jr. two tables over, he grumbled or sneered in my direction, and I expected a sock in the month most the night. It never came.

Dog in Tuxedo

They say Frank Palmaro was in it deep. With both the mob and the FBI. They say Frank Palmaro killed a no talent bookie with pinking shears and the blood spurted in almost heavenly raindrops. They say Frank planted the bomb in Victor Kerensky’s jacuzzi. Victor entertained two underwear models at the time, who had previously posed in the Asbury Park Press. He flip the switch for maximum bubbles and blamola, bras flickered in the wind. They say Vic blew up through his roof and ran around a man on fire.

I saw Frank once at my doctor’s waiting room. He was thin looking and sullen. He read Highlights Magazine and tittered to himself two or three time. Jezebel wasn’t with him and he was waiting for a ride. He probably had a mental examination where he “woofed” softly when asked how many days of the week. Maybe, he had rabies or ticks. A rectal exam or kidney stones. Frank Jr. arrived and nodded my way, neither friendly or angry, an acknowledgment of existence.

I saw Frank on TV. I was in my kitchen drinking a glass of water and not paying too much attention. I lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply. Frank was with his lawyer and smiling, laughing. His lawyer had been on television a lot lately, always stroking his black dyed goatee. They say his lawyer was a 1-800 kind of sleaze, but he was good and clever and rarely went to trial. They were talking in front of mics sporting various local network logos. Frank’s lawyer clasped his shoulder. Maybe, Frank and Jezebel will live happily ever after. Frank Jr. was behind them talking on his cell with only a hint of a smile.

I had seen Frank Jr. again at The Black & Blue. He stepped hard on my foot and looked at me like I was supposed to do something. I didn’t. My buddies say I’m a pussy. “Next time,” Frank Jr. said and I shrugged.

I stubbed out my cigarette and dropped it in my glass. The phone rang and startled. I switch off the TV and picked it up. It was my doctor results.

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Sent Out a Story

I sent out a story today, I haven’t really sent out much in the past couple of years. It’s easy to get bogged down in the defeats, but I don’t think that was really the case. I used to send stuff out all the time in undergrad, it was kind of a weird formula of the worse I was as a writer the more I sent out work. As I got better, the less and less I sent out. While, the magazines never beat down my door, the rejections were generally getting better and better. You’re not so terrible. Could be worse. Hang in there, sport (with a little characicature of a cat).

I sent out to the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. I usually don’t send out to sci-fi mags because a) I’m not a science fiction writer and b) I don’t like science fiction writers. To me, most sci-fi writers are talentless hacks who like to pat themselves on the back. “Don’t you see… the robots have three laws. Three, I say, I say.” Pat, pat, pat. More concerned with the concept than the content. But this was a weird little story that just didn’t have much of a shot elsewhere.

What was it?

Oh, just your average grave robber who dug up prom queens to build a 4 dimensional lover. Yeah, probably not for The New Yorker.

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Upcoming Projects and other Writing Diversions

Besides a novel that has never come together, other projects I’ve been working on include an old timey radio play and a comic book. As of this moment, both are about as unfinished as the novel. These projects though interests me so much because they’re both things I can do myself. I can go to Kinkos and print out my own comic, and I can record my own radio play. Will anyone else care or ever see these things, well, that’s yet to be determined. I would imagine no.

My problem with the comic is that I can’t really draw. However, my bad drawings do have a certain style. While, not skillful or particularly chocked full of talent, they have a nice eccentric quality. A little bit like Sunday comics being forced into a graphic novel format. I have a few panels drawn but it’s going slower than I’d like.

Chunky Butts

Oh and there’s one last project. The thing I always joke about is a script for Chunky Butts. Chunky Butts is a fat camp movie, your average fat is fun kind of flick. So, for there’s a bunch of lovable fatties at Camp Chunka-Butta-Wanna (an old Indian name). And that’s about it. I’m sure there’s some sort of race or fart off. I imagine a fat mascot cat named Burritostein that does a lot of fat cat dancing. Of course, I’ve never written a single word of Chunky Butts. It has just become my automated answer.

“So, How’s the book going?” They ask.

I answer, “Oh, I’m working on a screen play now… Chunky Butts. It’s my life’s work.”

And then they say, “Oh.” And give me that look like how could I have squandered away so much promise. I shrug and smile… because that’s what I’m good at, wasting my gifts. Of course, at Camp Chunka-Butta-Wanna, we learn that it’s not about how other people feel about you, but how you feel about yourself.

And this fatty feels like dancing… heeeey.

Currently reading: Million Little Pieces

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On Eating and Writing

Robert Louis Stevenson
So, why blog about writing? Well, I’ve been working on a novel for 3 years, and have made only the most minor of headway. I’m at, maybe, half way through, 150 pages or so. Of course, 150 pages sounds like a lot to all those who haven’t gotten beyond the first page, but after this amount of time it comes out to about 5 letters a day. You know there’s an old saying by Robert Louis Stevenson that goes, “Anybody can write a short story – a bad one, I mean – who has industry and paper and time enough; but not every one may hope to write even a bad novel.” I find this very true. I just want to finish my terrible book, so I can at least say I finished it.

As to the blog, I figured writing about writing might actually spark some, well… writing. I have to do better than 5 letters. Look I’ve already done 800! I’m on a roll turning letters into words, words into sentences, and sentences into what I pass off as paragraphs.

I’m not expecting much, I’d like to be favorably compared to George Foreman… a man now best known for his sandwich eating abilities than anything else. I’d like to walk down the street someday and have people say, “Hey, isn’t it that guy who wrote that thing?”

“I don’t know, but he eats a hell of a sandwich. You should see him kill a hoagie.”

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