Now we've come to a Crossword...

Given the cross country travel games of my youth or the little downtime I have nowadays with a full time job, part time writing gig, and countless social engagements (*gag*) - I used to reach for the tried and true Word Search to get me through those few moments of boredom. It was easy in that sense that I knew my mind would not have to flex to much and I could feel accomplished by completing the puzzle.

When Word Searches were not available to me I would begrudgingly pick up the Crossword, hoping I would be able to fill in at least 1/8 of the thing and it would occupy my time more than frustrate it.

The frequency of Crossword puzzle interaction increased as I became more accustom to picking up the PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY and the PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER every Wednesday and Thursday respectively - the 2 free local papers in my area. These papers afforded me little entertainment after the sex columns and the sex ads, and that entertainment was the Crossword.

I'm just going to say that the WEEKLY Crossword is mostly impossible to me. I have had the rare occasion (once actually) of completing a little over a 1/3 of that puzzle. Like I said, I'm a novice dammit! The CITY PAPER however, holds just enough pop culture flair and intelligent themes to both challenge me AND make me feel like "I is smart!"

JONESIN' is the name of the Crossword I hold dear, written by one Matt Jones. His clues range from the usual Crossword fodder ("couple in a celebrity rag" - ITEM) to the obscure reference to the TV show What's Happening or recent Sci-Fi classic The Matrix. I started out slow; at first I was able to complete them only with the help from my intellectually superior roommate. Then I started finishing 1/3, then a 1/2. Sometimes only the longer words would allude me.

When I finished my first JONESIN' I was elated. I felt like it was my first time scaling some huge precipice. Yes I'm that much of a geek. After that I started doing Crosswords any chance I could get, all this practice honing and keeping my skills sharp for each Thursday, the new CITY PAPER, and the JONESIN' Puzzle. And yes, there were those times that I couldn't finish it, a time or two I didn't even come close. But I have solved the JONESIN' Crossword more than any other, and for that it will always hold a special place in my heart. Thanks be to Matt Jones, who gave me something to do during Chinatown bus rides to NYC and 3 transfer commutes to work on public transportation.

PICTURES: Top Right: My puzzle from today's CITY PAPER, completed in less than an hour.
Bottom Right: A treasured MySpace message from Matt Jones, the author of JONESIN'
Click the Title of this Column for more info on JONESIN'


Make mine MoCCA !

Saturday was spent at MoCCA con in New York City. The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art holds a 2 Day convention that is tailored to the alternative comics scene which affords an entirely different vibe than your usual Wizard World fare. No wrestlers, no porn stars, and about half in attendance AND exhibiting are female.

We attended 2 panels, “Paul Karasik on Fletcher Hanks” and the “Drawn and Quarterly Cartoonist’s Showcase.” Karasik is known most prominently for his work on Paul Auster’s CITY OF GLASS, a translation he worked on with David Mazzucchelli. Paul’s lecture was both hilarious and enlightening while discussing the subject matter of his latest book, the golden age cartoonist Fletcher Hanks. The over-the-top stupidity (I’m using this word because Karasik used it in his description) of Hanks’ works is something to admire in the vein of Ed Wood – a comparison drawn upon by Karasik himself as well.

The Drawn and Quarterly panel consisted of Gabriele Bell and Anders Nilsen; both used a slide projector to present one of their cartoons. Kevin Huezinga was also on the bill but he was unable to attend which rather upset me because it was rumored that he was going to present a story from CURSES – a book I read and enjoyed. Bell’s story even had sound effects provided by a friend. I was not familiar with Bell prior to this but her major work is the full-sized comic LUCKY and her contribution to the monthly anthology MOME. Nilson is someone I hold close to my heart, as it is the first alternative comic my boyfriend recommended and I read in its entirety. Anders also contributes regularly to MOME.

The panels were held at the museum proper; the space is both impressive and depressingly small. I admired the diversity of the crowd; it was more like attending an art gallery show than a comic book panel. These people obviously see comics as an intelligent art form and that is something that mainstream comics can learn something from.

Some mainstream names were spotted at the con as well: Bob Schrek (DC Exec) and Will Denis (editor at Vertigo) were floating around, Brian Wood (DMZ) was set up as well.

We ended the evening at "The Dangerous MoCCA After Party" @ R BAR in support of dear friend Rob Reilly, who contributed to the comic, MAULED #4 by Manual Comics. Kaiju Big Battel co-hosted the party so the bar TV’s were broadcasting some live Kaiju action and one half of the tag team Los Plantanos made an appearance.

All in all, a great and eventful experience. We’re already planning for next year’s MoCCA. It’ll be a lovely weekend in NYC – shall we plan for it kittlings?
My GALACTUS intrigue continues, I have moved onto PARABLE by Stan Lee and Moebius. This is a SILVER SURFER story and I was wholly impressed by this Prestige Format story; both Lee and Moebius exhibit their mastery of this particular comic book format. Moebius’ use of color and refined simplicity of his faces and expressions actually produces a calming effect on me despite the subject matter. Galactus is letting helicopters plummet blindly to earth and all I can think is “pretty colors man, so nice and soothing to look at!” This may be a weird recommendation for a comic book but you will not be disappointed. Lee’s story is biblical in its nature and just as interesting as Moebius’ art.


Bonnaroo Haiku and Wizard World Philadelphia Showdown.

In Regards to Bonnaroo---
While I did receive a few pics and words about Bonnaroo from MAURA, STEFAN slacked on the Haiku mission. I did receive these final two however :

from MAURA - 6/16
The dirt from my toes
working its way to my nose
I need a shower

MAURA - 6/17
You'll not feel the drown
Trippy Chocolate Water
American Campers

Here by far is my favorite submission from Maura; a picture with the caption "This is a guy..."


And in my neck of the woods, WIZARD WORLD PHILADELPHIA came in like a lion and out like a Liger - which is probably my favorite animal. While my convention news is few and far between, I can say with complete confidence :

-Joey Quesada has lost quite a few pounds and is looking great

-Mike Oeming beat David Mack in an arm wrestling match for charity

-Brian Michael Bendis is eerily accurate in his description of my boyfriend's (and Internet Famous Jacob Lyon Goddard's) personality

-Darick Robertson had to cancel. We missed you Dare!

-I didn't see Michael Turner nor talk to Jimmy Palmiotti and I regret both of these things.

-I am intrigued by GALACTUS.

-I met and got a picture with Hayden Panettiere from HEROES in the Marriott lobby. Even with huge platform heels on, I was taller than her. She is gorgeous. I'm sorry but I have a girl-crush on her. She smelled pretty. Here is the slightly blurry phone pic.
You can see more pictures at my PhotoBucket Account. Also a little photo thread going on over at Mike Oeming's Message Board, So CLICKETH HERE!
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Bonnaroo Begins...

Today is the 1st day of the 3 day music festival in Manchester, Tenn known as BONNAROO.

You couldn't pay me to camp out for 3 days with those jam-band lovin' hippies - but I would be lying if I said I wasn't jealous of all those peeps that get to spy headliner's THE POLICE in all their reunited glory.

I have sent 2 of the "Ze Wretched All-Stars" (that would be the elaborate name I've given my band of friends) to Manchester with the mission of writing me a Haiku every day of the festival to relay the most interesting parts. Although today is technically the beginning of Bonnaroo, my friends were down in Tennessee yesterday waiting for the gates to open. Here is what I received from them via text message :

6/13 From STEFAN -
Sun is shining bright
in the wal-mart parking lot
waiting to go in

From MAURA -
Stuck in Wal-mart
waiting for bonnaroo please
I just need some sleep.

More on Monday. For us East Coast Filthaelphia geeks, we've got a little Wizard World Philadelphia action going on. Enjoy the weekend kittlings.
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