Monday various

  • J. Michael Straczynski quits writing monthly comics, declares future is in original graphic novels. Warren Ellis discusses some of the figures, the actual dollar amounts that might be driving Straczynski’s decision. Financially, it may be a smart decision. But Ellis also adds, not unkindly, the following question:

    What I’m wondering is what happens the first time Joe writes an OGN that isn’t a new iteration of the biggest heritage brand in comics [Superman] with the concomitant press coverage and bookstore push.

    It’s an interesting move on Straczynski’s part, and it will bear watching — both in reader reception of his future projects, and whether or not other monthly comics writers join him. But I think it’s too soon to call this a harbinger of things to come, no matter how troubled the monthly comic book might be as a format.

  • A Canadian Jersey Shore? Can I nominate Red Green to play the role of Snooki?
  • Attention, writers: whatever you do, do not sign a contract with this man. No, not John Scalzi, but that “prevaricating hustler” and “master of bullshit” James Frey, who Scalzi talks about further here. Seriously, there are some pretty terrible publishing contracts out there, vanity presses dressed up like real publishers or outright scams from which no book emerges, but this is still pretty egregious — and exactly the sort of thing MFA programs should be teaching their students how to avoid, not facilitating by offering those students up as Frey’s misguided recruits. [via]
  • A typographic anatomy lesson [via]
  • And finally, a haunting tour of the abandoned — and soon to be demolished — Six Flags New Orleans [via]

Monday various

  • I think John Scalzi has it right about this health care bill that passed in the House yesterday:

    As such there was no real political or moral philosophy to the GOP’s action, it was all short-term tactics, i.e., take an idea a majority of people like (health care reform), lie about its particulars long enough and in a dramatic enough fashion to lower the popularity of the idea, and then bellow in angry tones about how the president and the Democrats are ignoring the will of the people. Then publicly align the party with the loudest and most ignorant segment of your supporters, who are in part loud because you’ve encouraged them to scream, and ignorant because you and your allies in the media have been feeding them bad information. Whip it all up until health care becomes the single most important issue for both political parties — an all-in, must win, absolutely cannot lose issue.

  • Meanwhile, Poppy Z. Brite has some harsh things to say about David Simon’s new HBO show Treme. The title of her post should tell you exactly how she feels about their filming in her hometown of New Orleans. It raises some interesting questions — namely, are some wounds too raw to be fictionalized, much less re-enacted for television in the same place? And what, if anything, is Treme‘s responsibility to the neighborhoods in which it films? Is it meeting that responsibility, just by bringing jobs and revenue to the city? (After all, you can’t please everyone, no more how sensitive your approach.) Can Simon, as an outsider to the city, even hope to do the tragedy that was Katrina justice? Frankly, you couldn’t stop me from watching this show, and I think if it’s handled with even half the depth and honesty as The Wire, it could terrific and emotional television.
  • Paul Di Filippo has the line-up for the ultimate Beatles-reunion band. This is either a terrfic or terrible idea, I’m not sure which.
  • Oh great, a book of inspirational quotes from Sarah Palin. I can’t fucking wait. [via]
  • And finally, I’ve mostly avoided all these Chatroulette videos (and the site itself), but Ben Folds’ live-show use of it was surprisingly awesome [via]: