Habitrails, What Happens Later, Peter Gabriel’s i/o, Moar Blueski Codes, RIP Mike of Mike’s Amazing World, Carol Miller (and making the call, sending the email, and writing the letter), and A Little Hüsker Dü, As a Treat
Content Warning (CW): death (Mike’s Amazing World of Comics)
Y’all, why didn’t you tell me that Habitrails are completely bananas now? They’re like if a first-generation iMac did it with Pixar!
With that, I say good morning and welcome you to whatever the hell this thing is these days.
I just got done watching Meg Ryan’s What Happens Later, which I’d been looking forward to since I saw the trailer. I don’t know how I feel about all of it yet. A lot about the story and dialogue didn’t stand up well to scrutiny even as I was watching it (between the continuity issues that develop in adapted works starring two actors playing roles a dozen years younger than they are, some of the cliches of stage plays, the fact that it told a pretty heteronormative story, when it didn’t have to within the context of the work, and the fact that both characters could’ve been written with greater nuance in general), but it was a film that I wanted and still want to like, and at the very least, it felt relatively harmless and well-meaning (which may sound like me damning the film with faint praise, but you’d be surprised how often I’m looking for a film that has those qualities, but isn’t quite full-on Hallmark kinda stuff, and just can’t find anything; there’s more room in this world for harmless and well-meaning than perhaps most people realize). The leads (Meg and David Duchovny) both made me want to care about them, even with the shortcomings of the material firmly in mind, and it’s filmed and lit beautifully. I sort of expect the actual critics and aspiring critics of the world to do a pretty good hatchet job on it once it’s more widely seen, but I don’t know that it’ll be a fair one, and I do think that it will find its audience, even if that audience doesn’t end up being me in repeat viewings (again, it’s probably too soon for me to tell on that).
Every song of Peter Gabriel’s i/o is out now, and the album gets its proper release on Friday. If you want to hear the tracks before then in the order they’re intended to be released in, which, mercifully, remains the chronological one, I made playlists of the Bright-Side and Dark-Side mixes (the physical release will include both, and there’s an expanded release with Dolby Atmos “In-Side” mixes that’s also being released) to hold you over until the album properly hits streaming services.
Getcher blueski codes!
As with the last one I put up, first-come, first-served. I should have another soon enough, though.
I am very sad about the passing of someone I never talked to. Over the past year and a half, thanks to reader Nancy enlightening me to its existence very late in the game (it’s existed for a quarter century, apparently entirely the work of one person, who I and most folks only know as Mike or dcindexer, who put 40 hour weeks into it as a hobby project for over two decades), I’ve spent untold hours researching things at Mike’s Amazing World of Comics that were…more than comics. Their Newsstand section has helped me contextualize a great deal of my childhood by giving me an understanding of what books were happening in the background (and often, the foreground) as I was living it, and also how I was led to read those books, in terms of personal preference, market visibility and corporate decisions. In some ways, a person who was really just documenting his comic collection at the start of his endeavor has helped me figure out certain things better than most of my therapists have, and alas, I’ll never get to thank him for it.
His death hits pretty close to home for me for other reasons, too, particularly that Mike was apparently only a year older than I am. Most of the cultural touchstones he describes as his in his shorter origin story and the two parts of his longer “Origin of a DC Fanboy” are very much the same as my own, though he ended up having the resources and focus to do far more extraordinary things in the service of building his comic book collection than I have. We got used to people living longer for a while, so 50 just feels too damn young now.
For now (and hopefully, far into the future, as the site currently claims we will), we still have the documentation of his life’s work with us, and I don’t know if he and I would’ve necessarily gotten along just because we liked some of the same things, but it still feels like a huge loss of knowledge, experience and, yes, love that comic fandom and the wider world has fairly quietly experienced this week, and on a personal level, again, I don’t like it when folks leave before I have a chance to thank them, or to talk to them about what we do have in common. In this case, to some degree, it couldn’t be helped, because Mike apparently went no-contact with most of the Internet years before his passing and years before I found his site, but it’s things like this that motivate me to tell y’all to at least try to make the phone call, send the email and write the letter, because someday, it won’t be an option anymore, and to also walk the walk on it myself, however daunting that can be, admittedly, by reaching out to people like Carol Miller.
I wrote to her late last week, both with interview questions that I’d thought up without a venue for the interview in mind, and also, more importantly to thank her for her impact on my life, which I did at polite but thorough length. If you’re wondering, no, I haven’t heard back from Carol, and I’ve no idea if I ever will (and it’s totally OK if she never gets around to it, as she’s a busy person who deals with a great deal on a day-to-day basis), but I felt like I had to try, as she’s another long-time part of my world from a distance who’s loomed large of late. Between the shows of hers I’ve caught some of recently (she’s still great), my long-term memories of her being her self-described “Professional Lifelong Friend” to anyone within broadcasting distance, and my read of her book Up All Night: My Life and Times in Rock Radio over this past summer (which covered her life and history well, but not as much of her likes and dislikes, or what she loves about doing the job now, and her plans for it in the future), I still had things I wished to know about her, so I just asked. If she decides to answer (and I did give her the option of doing so on background, so it might not be anything I can ever really share, but I also told her about my not-so-commercially-viable outlets like this one and I need new hobbies. and offered those up as venues), that’ll be an incredible gift. If not, then she still knows that there’s one more person out there who appreciates and respects her work, and really listens when she’s doing a weather report and does something like making a sharp turn into the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination and our Pavlovian response to anniversaries of events like that in the middle of it before finishing the forecast, without ever really losing her flow or running long.
Seriously, whenever possible, famous or not, big or small, even if it’s just a deal where one of your friends is really good at something like parallel parking or remembering songs no one remembers or playing darts or somesuch, or always seems to show up when you need them to even if they don’t know you need them to, or whatever it may be, tell the people in your world that you like and respect that about them, while you still have the opportunity to do it.
That happy thought (and pretty solid performance that I’d never seen before) should just about do it for this morning. Perhaps next time, I’ll offer up the cat’s and my review of the Good Burger franchise, as we watched both films together over the past week, but I don’t think I have it in me today. I should be back soon, with MOAR. Because, until there isn’t, there is always MOAR. Until then, stay safe, be well, and don’t take shit from anyone.