Monday, November 25, 2013

Most and Least Favorite Comic Book Artists

This isn't a 100% comprehensive list and is open to revision as I remember more artists and read more comics, but my current lists of favorite and least favorite comic book artists:

Least Favorite Comic Book Artists

  • 17. Howard Chaykin
  • 16. Paul Pope
  • 15. Adam Kubert
  • 14. Sal Buscema
  • 13. Joe Madureira
  • 12. David Finch
  • 11. Todd McFarlane
  • 10. Curt Swann
  • 9. Steve Dillon
  • 8. Mike Deodato
  • 7. Igor Kordey
  • 6. Greg Land
  • 5. Jim Lee
  • 4. Marc Silvestri
  • 3. Milo Manara
  • 2. Frank Miller
  • 1. Rob Liefeld

Most Favorite Comic Book Artists

  • 36. Ron Frenz
  • 35. Sergio Aragones
  • 34. Dave Gibbons
  • 33. Olivier Coipel
  • 32. Skottie Young
  • 31. Greg Capullo
  • 30. Humberto Ramos
  • 29. Bernie Wrightson
  • 28. Alan Davis
  • 27. Moritat
  • 26. David Aja
  • 25. Walter Simonson
  • 24. Joe Kubert
  • 23. Bill Sienkiewicz
  • 22. Alex Maleev
  • 21. Mike Mignola
  • 20. Chris Bachalo
  • 19. Charlie Adlard
  • 18. Keith Giffen
  • 17. Al Feldstein
  • 16. Jim Starlin
  • 15. Jim Steranko
  • 14. JH Williams III
  • 13. Jae Lee
  • 12. Jerome Opena
  • 11. Alex Ross
  • 10. Chris Ware
  • 9. John Buscema
  • 8. Neal Adams
  • 7. John Romita Sr.
  • 6. Dave Cockrum
  • 5. George Perez
  • 4. Jack Kirby
  • 3. Steve Ditko
  • 2. John Byrne
  • 1. John Romita Jr.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Slave" (With Footnotes)

Here is the eleventh in my series of lyrical examinations of the songs of my debut mixtape, "Core Nerd!"

As I say in the song Liquid Thunder, "My rhymes are so dense you're gonna need footnotes." Here they are...

This time, for the song "Slave."

"Slave" is the second song I ever wrote. This was when I was doing my songs mostly a capella at open mic night and it was definitely done in a style that would work well for slam poetry nights. The rhymes are simple and the rhythm primarily comes from repetition, something I over-relied upon in the early days. I still like the sound of it, though, and crowds always seem to like it, even grabbing on to the repetitive chanting.

The premise is pretty simple, I think most people enslave themselves to various things that prevent them from becoming enlightened or evolving or being free or being happy. The second and third verses explain what the cost of that mental slavery is. The song probably most owes its origin to the Public Enemy line from "He Got Game," where Chuck D says: "payin mental rent/to corporate presidents/one outta million residents/bein dissident/who ain't kissin it." The lyrics are pretty simple and don't need a lot of explanation.

You made yourself a slave to the man

"The man" is pretty open-ended here, whether it be a politician, your boss, the police, whatever.

You made yourself a slave to beer can
You made yourself a slave to the crack

Addiction is an obvious slave master.

You made yourself a slave to the payback

This one works in multiple ways, most notably financial debt or revenge.

You made yourself a slave to herd

Groupthink, hive mind, whatever you want to call it when people go along to get along and refuse to think for themselves.

You made yourself a slave to wrong words

This one also could mean many different things: ideology, religion, media, propaganda, etc.

You made yourself a slave to hate

The things we hate often shape us more than the things we love. That's a bad idea.

You made yourself a slave to going rate

The metaphor here alludes to the idea of being resistant to change or to always doing things the same way, even if there might be better ways to do things.

You made yourself a slave to grass

This is for the extreme potheads who do nothing but smoke and watch TV or play videogames or whatever.

You made yourself a slave to wrong ass
You made yourself a slave to vd

Obviously if your life is based around getting laid, you're probably in trouble and VD is just one of the worries you'll have.

You made yourself a slave to tv

Most TV sucks and the worst TV is very, very dangerous to our ways of thinking.

You made yourself a slave to grind

When your life becomes only about work, making money, materialism, keeping up with the Joneses, etc., you have no life.

You made yourself a slave to wrong minds

There are many so-called thinkers, experts, and philosophers who really don't know what they are talking about and the millions of people who follow them, at best, are fooling themselves. At worst, they're killing others.

You made yourself a slave to a fake god

This can mean a literal god or a metaphorical one, but any "god" that teaches you hate, materialism, greed, or other similar sins is false.

You made yourself a slave to the cash wad

Again, if it's all about the Benjamins for you, you have problems, you're focused on the wrong things in life.

Get up, get up, get up, get up
Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up
Stand up, stand up, stand up, stand up
...and get down

The chorus is telling the listener to break out of their slavery and become free. The "and get down" part is very much performed in a Beastie Boys voice and usually cracks the audience up after the seriousness of the rest of the song.

What's the price you pay for being a slave

The focus of this verse is to ask, now that we've identified what makes people a slave, what does that mean? What is the cost of being a slave to these various things?

What's the price you pay for the roads you don't pave

The failure to invest in infrastructure is a drag on the economy and particularly hurts the lower classes.

What's the price you pay for being cool

As an individual, what problems do you create for yourself based upon your efforts to be "cool" or acceptable to others, particularly when those things aren't part of who you really are?

What's the price you pay for being a fool
What's the price you pay for being dumb

These two are synonyms, of course. They say ignorance is bliss, but is that really the case? Dumb people seem to die a lot younger and they seem to have a host of other problems, higher debt, more jail time, etc. It's easier not to learn things, but how bad does that mess your life up? And how much does that end up meaning that you cost yourself more in the long run?

What's the price you pay for getting some

A lot of people live their lives for sex. Sex with the wrong person or at the wrong time can cause lots of problems and if your only focus is on sex, it's unlikely you can find any happiness that way.

What's the price you pay for being asleep

Many people are smart enough to realize what's going on but turn a blind eye, making them complicit in the wrongness that happens.

What's the price you pay for not making a peep

Similarly, people that know something is wrong and don't speak up about it are complicit.

What's the price you pay for being greedy
What's the price you pay for ignoring the needy

One of the biggest problems we face as a society is greed and the connected ignoring of those in need because of that greed.

What's the price you pay for hating the ladies

Closely connected is widespread sexism and treatment of women as second-class citizens...

What's the price you pay for not feeding the babies

...which goes hand-in-hand with the failure to adequately care for children (as a society).

What's the price you pay for being numb

Many of these problems are interconnected, like the idea of tuning out or ignoring horrors when they happen because they are just too much to deal with. Doesn't matter why you don't act, just that you don't act.

What's the price you pay for dropping the bomb

The idea that we need to drop bombs on countries to save them has to be one of the most ludicrous ideas ever foisted upon the masses.

What's the price you pay for being a slave

Bring it back full circle to the beginning of the verse.

What's the price you pay for the lives you don't save

And tying it all together, the idea that all of these forms of slavery and failure to stand up and fight those forms of slavery lead to many, many lives lost, both literally and metaphorically.

Get up, get up, get up, get up
Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up
Stand up, stand up, stand up, stand up
...and get down

The chorus again.

It destroys your goals to be such a fool
It steals your soul to be such a fool
It eats your mind to be such a fool
It burns your eyes blind to be such a fool
It ends your schemes to be such a fool
It crushes your dreams to be such a fool
It costs you your name to be such a fool
It makes you lame to be such a fool

It takes all your power to be such a fool
It makes you a coward to be such a fool
It cuts you like a knife to be such a fool
It ends your fucking life to be such a fool
It spends all your ends to be such a fool
It drives away all your friends to be such a fool
It makes you a slave to be such a fool
It drives you to your fucking grave to be such a fool

There really isn't a lot to add to the third verse, it's pretty straightforward and addresses the potential problems with being a blind fool.

Get up, get up, get up, get up
Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up
Stand up, stand up, stand up, stand up
...and get down

The chorus once again.