Here's the text of the review from the June 1999 issue of The Comics Journal (#213, the Carol Lay interview is cover-featured). The actual review is in black text, my rebuttal comments are in green (though whenever I hear "rebuttal" I have this image of Homer Simpson mooning the audience when he gave a "rebuttal" on the show some years back), and links are provided where references are given.
I feel honored to have been chosen one of the worst. My audience is just a bit different from TCJ's, which apparently explains why they didn't like it. I figure that if such a respected anti-mainstream magazine doesn't like what I'm doing, then I must be hitting the right target audience. On the same hand, I don't read TCJ and never would have found out about the review if someone with a comp copy hadn't told me about it. I guess that's symmetry.
HERE THERE BE FANBOYS (AND WORSE)
Let's begin with a cautionary tale: the five tackiest comics-related sites on the internet, as selected in the clutches of a paritcularly rotten mood. Let's hope this burst of bracing bad taste prepares you all straight away for the depravity and squalor that can lie in wait out there, just aching to drive the unprepared comics reader instantly mad, so that, in the end, you'll be utterly convinced of the need for this column's benevolent guidance ad nauseum for the foreeable future. (And besides, it's fun to disparage.)
5) HEY KIDS! COMICS!: THE OFFICIAL MICHAEL GRABOIS HOME PAGE
[note: the original page in the article has since been moved, this is the new location.]
|The title of this site begs the question: are there a dangerous spate of unofficial Michael Grabois home pages out there? But seriously, it's difficult to put this site down, as it's obvious the author has put a lot of hard work into maintaining a fine, free resource for Legion of Superheroes fans. But what the fuck; this site takes the word "fanboy" to a new level of meaning. Let's trash it.|
| ||When I first put my page together back in 1995, I saw tons of "unofficial something-or-other pages" so I jokingly made mine the Official Michael Grabois Home Page. But it's been something else -- "Wizard Imps, Sweatsock Pimps, and Interstellar Mongrel Nymphs", from a Bruce Springsteen song -- for probably a couple years now. I still have occasional links back to my main page that call it the OMGHP, so I suppose that's what they looked at. But the "official" tag was never a part of this page.|
These excerpts from the featured San Diego Con diary, for instance, sound like they could have been satirically penned by a gleeful Daniel Clowes:
| ||... or, as was the case, written as a fanboy who was at his first SD con. I suppose I can't fault them for picking at my writing style, but they did go out of the way to selectively choose items from the con report that makes it sound much worse than the full report really was. You be the judge. First paragraph is from Day 1 of my con report.|
Talked to Denny O'Neil at the DC booth about Batman and the JLA; he said 'Oh, no, you're from the Internet, right?' Jim Drew showed us his 'Dune' action figures he's going to make into Bouncing Boy, Star Boy, and Livewire. KC started a roundrobin 'chat' on paper, while team 'Legion' kicked butt on on-line trivia. Total bill was almost $200. Afterwards, we went back to the Marriott where we could hear ourselves, and we talked Legion stuff until midnight: sales, the Real Ending to the SW6 storyline, marketing dept. screwing up LSH promotional items, characters, history, internet, etc. Then we called it a night... Whew.
| ||OK, so it was a Legion dinner. I'm a Legion fan; what else do fans talk about at a comic convention when they're with other fans of the same work? Next paragraph is from Day 2.|
Picked up my first buy of the con: seven of the eight LSH Slurpee cups from 1973 for 3 bucks each (I'm only missing Mon-el). I beat Troy McNemar to the table by about 2 minutes, so he got the duplicates.
| ||I have since picked up the Mon-el cup. But what's wrong with this? I dunno. I was writing the con report like everyone else in rec.arts.comics.* does after a con, and it's customary to mention the names of other rac* regulars. Next is from Day 4.|
Stopped off at the DC booth at the end of the day to meet everyone, saw Vernon Harmon in his Wildfire costume. I had already seen Leman as Cosmic Boy, Damage, and Mon-el, but missed him as Superboy, Dragonmage, and Captain Marvel Jr. Wound up debating Kevin Dooley about Hal Jordan.
| ||Of course, what they don't mention is that it was a friendly disagreement, not a vehement argument. Oh well, that wouldn't sound as good.|
Helpfully, in a related article, the site warns:
Remember to SHOWER EVERYDAY and CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES at least once a day. I know there's a lot going on [at] the convention, but that's no reason to ignore personal hygiene.
| ||Yeah, it looks stupid all by itself. But it was written by (then-)AP's Matt High, not by me, and it was only one of 25 different suggestions for first-timers at a big con. Still, it IS good advice, even though it's not always followed at conventions.|
In the end, though, you can't help but fall under the charming spell of the Legion of Superheroes drinking games included on this site, wherein players are instructed to "[drink once if...] someone misspells Ayla, Luornu, Imra, Cargg, Bgztl, or Shvaughn. Twice if someone mispronounces Ayla." Give in. Don't even try to resist the simple enchantments of the "Test your Tyroc IQ" game, the helpful guide to the "real" ages of Legion of Superheroes members, and the self-described "Anal Retentive Mike Grell Checklist" (a project future art historians will doubtless thank us for). As an anonymous comment in the site's guest book says, "you PEOPLE ARE PRETTY SCREWED UP BUT ITS [sic] KINDA COOL".
| ||He doesn't mention the Bill Sienkiewicz checklist, however, perhaps because Bill has done work for TCJ before (covers, interviews, etc.). The last quote from my guest book, by the way, is from my Drinking Game page and not my comics page.|
The other sites reviewed in the column:
4) THE DEFINITIVE X-MEN EROTICA ARCHIVE at http://members.tripod.com/~sneal_ and WONDER WOMAN AND FRIENDS at http://www.thevalkyrie.com/stories/wonder/wonder.htm
3) CATHERINE YRONWODE'S LUCKY MOJO at http://www.luckymojo.com/
2) THE HEART OF THE DREAMING at http://cello.qnet.com/~raven/ and SANDMAN ATE MY BALLS at http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Dimension/8979/index.html
1) THE ARCHIE-BOARD: "THE PLACE TO RAP ABOUT RIVERDALE" at http://comicoutpost.com/messageboard/debate/archie/ [note: no longer in service last time I checked]
Congratulations to all of the lucky winners!