I hate the Idiot Nerd Girl meme because it’s not just a meme in the diluted ‘net-slang sense. It reflects and recycles and reinforces a bundle of more traditionally defined memes: the sticky and tenacious subtexts and cultural dogmas that justify and normalize misogyny and harassment and make the geek community so seethingly toxic to female members–and especially female newcomers–that it doesn’t even need a formal gate to keep them out. Idiot Nerd Girl is the throwaway byproduct of a culture that regularly responds to criticism from women with flurries of rape threats.
Jack Kirby was born Jacob Kurtzberg on August 28, 1917. He died on February 6, 1994. He would have been 95 this year. He began drawing comics sometime in 1936, which means he spent nearly sixty years drawing comics. He created or co-created characters like Darkseid, Captain America, the Fantastic Four, and Mister Miracle, and he left an indelible stamp on dozens more. Considering how much DC and Marvel both owe to Kirby, whether from utilizing characters that he created or co-created in everything from comics to movies to underwear or from simply using the visual language of superheroes that he relentlessly pioneered, it’s more than fair to say that Kirby is one of the greatest and most influential artists out there. In fact, that’s an understatement.
To not know his work, to actively ignore what he brought to the medium, is a mistake. Study Kirby. He’s a legend for a reason. His storytelling, action scenes, plotting, and more are all more than worthy of your attention. Take a look around his catalog and I bet you’ll find something to love.
And speaking of myths, what modern-day city do you think comes closest to maintaining a myth-like status in contemporary imagination? New York, Chicago, London and Paris find themselves written into so much speculative fiction - directly or in conglomerate - that it seems folks have come to equate some modern urban population centers with lost kingdoms and hidden empires...
Surely it’s New York, right?
Television New York is at least as wondrous and fictional as Arabian Nights Baghdad, wouldn’t you say?
A magical land where unemployed twenty-somethings can easily find enormous affordable housing, and where the water is so enchanted that you will soon discover that what the rest of the world had been calling pizza and bagels are actually shit and shit salad!
Let's see, I bugged you about this once and I can't recall if you ever took the time to answer it, so I'll axe again: I've read all sorts of origins of the "Pallas" in "Pallas Athena"s name, but I've never noticed a consensus opinion on where it actually comes from or what it represents. What's your take on it?
This is one of those questions that I’m not sure we’ll ever know the answer to, and there are lots of theories.
That said, obviously all the “in-continuity” answers—Pallas being the name of a friend of young Athena whom she accidentally killed and then assumed her name as tribute or whatever—are pretty clearly later aetiologies (i.e. retcons) to explain the mysterious name.
I’m of the opinion that the most likely explanation is that the deity we mainly know as Athena was originally named Pallas and that the name “Pallas Athena” is a corruption of “Pallas Athenaia,” i.e. Athenian Pallas. Meaning we, as often, have it backwards, and that the goddess is named from the city and not vice versa.
I don’t know if that’s a satisfying answer, but I’m not sure that, short of the advent of time travel, that one really exists for this question.
What are your go-to comfort reads (or movies or any other media)?
I think the answer is cartoons. When the day is over, all I really want to do is watch a good cartoon to relax. Recently, these have included Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Adventure Time, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Fleischer Popeyes, Gravity Falls, Teen Titans, Avatar, and, yeah, that one pony one.
But I’ve kind of watched all of them and I’m sad that Cartoon Network doesn’t put any of their content on Instant Watch, because I don’t have cable, so I have to sit here and wait until they put out a full season DVD of Regular Show or Young Justice.
Are the two Hector Plasm collections on Comixology the entirety of published Hector Plasm output?
Almost. There’s one other story—Palamon’s Conundrum—that was originally published in Popgun vol 1, and which is not collected in either De Mortuis or Totentanz. It will, however, be part of the third book, Fantasmagoriana, whenever that comes out.
One more note: there is actually some other Hector material not included in the digital version of Totentanz. Comixology cut like ten pages of material for reasons I’m not sure about? I know part of it was the text piece at the end, including the translation of Danse Macabre, but they typically cut text pieces and letters pages, so that’s not super surprising. But I think they also cut comics by John Campbell and Dean Trippe, as well as a Jack o’ Lantern stencil with illustration by Ed Tadem and text by me, drink recipes with gorgeous illustrations by Jess Fink, and maybe an illustration by Scott Wegner with text by me? I’m not entirely sure which ten pages they cut.
It was your birthday? did you have a good time? did you get to have any birthday cake? in what ways do you think the celebration of the passage of time according to human perspective as marked by birth represents a innate desire of mankind to fight against the decay and chaotic, fracturing powers of time?
Yeah, yesterday was my birthday. I share a birthday with HP Lovecraft.
I fear that if I talk too much about my experiences with birthdays I will sound very maudlin and self-pitying, so it will suffice to say this: my birthday yesterday was the same as basically all my birthdays, in that I got up, went to work, did some errands, and read about John Fogerty on Wikipedia. The marked difference in yesterday’s birthday is that I did not receive any emails that made me want to do a suicide.
As to your last question, I won’t answer directly, but I do find it interesting that the Spanish birthday greeting—feliz cumpleaños, i.e. “happy completed years”—doesn’t seem to celebrate hitting a milestone or anniversary, but rather congratulates you on having survived another year.
This is a great and difficult question. I can say for sure that 70s Kirby is my favorite Kirby, though I have relatively recently gotten pretty stoked by the Simon and Kirby Sandman strip from Adventure Comics in the 40s. Still, 70s Kirby is pure and unadulterated power and vision, where every word spoken is a powerful declaration of intent and meaning!!! So it’s definitely from that decade.
I love everything he did at DC in that time—Fourth World, Demon, OMAC, Kamandi, to a lesser extent The Losers (never been a big war comic fan)—but I think I get the greatest joy out of reading his Jimmy Olsen stuff despite the re-drawing controversy, just for the great ideas and my very real, very sincere love of Flippa Dippa. Kirby and Superman were such a great match—men of vision, optimism, a progressive heart, and faith in the future—it’s kind of a shame he didn’t do more, though it’s probably best we were constantly getting new ideas out of him.
But all that stuff from Jimmy—Transilvane, Goody Rickels, the DNA Project, Dubbilex, the Guardian, the return of the Newsboy Legion, also Darkseid you may have heard of—just killer comics in my estimation.
I haven’t re-read this stuff in a while, but my impression upon first reading it is that I like the stuff from Kirby’s return to Marvel EVEN MORE than his DC tenure. Captain America and Falcon? Madbomb? Bicentennial Battles? Arnim Zola? Hot-cha-cha-cha.
But even more than that run on Cap, I love love love Kirby’s Black Panther. So many hot ideas and colorful characters zinging back and forth. All that stuff with the collectors and King Solomon’s frog etc is so great.
I completely love the Black Musketeers. Somebody ask David Brothers if that is racist. I hope not, because that shit is awesome. I would love to see them return.
So I’m going to go with Black Panther, even though I realize that is a dark horse choice over something like Fantastic Four or Kamandi.
That confused the hell out of me when I first started talking to you, the whole "is that his real name?" thing. But now if you were to tell me your name is something else I'd never forgive you. People should only use one name online. Love, Doc
Are these boxing gloves my hands? Is this mask my face?
This ain't no question but pleeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaase write a sci-fi novel secretly about linguistics. It would make the linguistics major in me jump for joy.
I don’t think I have enough science juice in me to write a for real science fiction anything. I mean, I can balance a redox reaction, I know Newton’s laws, and I know that the stages of mitosis are prophase-metaphase-anaphase-telophase, but all that futurism shit is way beyond me. I don’t even know what the next iPhone will be like. Will it…will it have a microwave function? This is my prediction for the future.
There’s a reason I call the genre of my comics “fictional science” rather than “science fiction.” (Also “fictional history.”)