Review: Loki: Agent of Asgard

This was a ko-fi request. I could’ve done it on one of my review sites but chose to put it here for variety. 

When a character breaks out, it’s usually a blessing to a comic company. Marvel and DC have swam in cash thanks to Deadpool and Harley Quinn. Marvel in the 80s clearly loved watching The Punisher grow from villain to hero. There’s story after story of unexpected characters becoming fan favorites then icons.

But what do you do when a character breaks out that would require a massive overhaul to make work? Loki, the God of Lies, is one of Marvel’s unrepentant villains. He has never been good. He cannot be good. But he was played by the insanely charming and handsome Tom Hiddleston so he developed a fanbase. And he would inevitably get a comic where the perpetually ugly and evil Loki was a pretty hero.

What wasn’t inevitable was just how intensely metafictive Loki: Agent of Asgard would be. Here is a book that should feel like a shameless attempt at playing to a new group of fans but instead reads as a meditation on the character as a whole. Writer Al Ewing did some of his earliest Marvel work here and like his other book I’ve written on, The Immortal Hulk, he crafts s book as much about the past as the present.

The premise of the book is far from simple. The idea is that a younger Loki, though not the youngest we’ve seen, agrees to help Asgard in exchange for getting redemption in myth. The problem is the first mission of his sends him to fetch dark energy revealed to be his future self, who also looks like the more classic gnarled, creepy Loki. His future self knows Loki is fated to return to his ways. He may have even inspired this redemption attempt so he can turn his most evil. Frighteningly, the notion never ends that everyone may need Loki to be evil for security. And all throughout the book, the question looms: can you change your fate?

I’ll get this book’s big issue dealt with so I can just praise it to the sky. It’s convoluted. You do need to keep notes. Wikipedia is so helpful. Loki has a tangled history and Ewing never lets you forget it. I’m not going to lie and say I have the fullest understanding even with a thorough read.

But that’s exactly the point. Ewing wants to examine the idea of mythical characters having multiple incarnations. We have what amounts to the Hiddleston Loki vs the Classic Loki and Ewing is pondering which version is valid, ultimately concluding every version is. Indeed, at the end it’s obvious Loki himself has made peace with that.

And that’s what makes the book sing. It’s a comment on the need for status quo. Loki is fighting a world that does not want him to redeem even if they’d be better off if he did just as comics would be better if they’d let characters grow but instead find comfort in the status quo. The book that marked Ewing’s first truly major work at Marvel pulls no punches in questioning how the company runs.

That’s not to say that the book is just a work of self analysis. It’s a ton of fun just as a read. Ewing and artist Lee Garbett know what makes a rollicking bold read. Loki is written as a clever, funny, bold hero who always has an angle. You’re always excited to see what he does next. I also loved his sidekick, the bitter cynic Verity who can tell who is lying at all times. They’re a fun platonic pair.

The book looks great too. It’s got a very classic look to it. Garbett gives detail to every scene. Action looks bold and clean. Characters has a life to their expressions. It’s a book to soak in.

Loki: Agent of Asgard is a fascinating book. A book caught between the past and future that ultimately shrugs and embraces not knowing what will come. Highly recommended.

The Moment You Hope You Never See

One of the most traumatic moments of my life was the day that my 4th Grade teacher decided to explain to us that one day a pandemic like Ebola would strike and threaten us all. She decided to tell children this was something we would face. Because of that lesson I had an outright panic attack that day. I became convinced I was going to die. There are elements of that trauma I’ve never confessed before like how for weeks afterwards I was certain I would not wake up after I went to sleep. I’ve obsessively washed my hands ever since.

That was 25 years ago.

So… here we are. Staring down that very thing my teacher discussed. It’s not ebola but it’s something. And I need to use this space I’ve got carved out here to talk.

How am I doing right now? I’m going with okay. I think I’m okay. I know that changes and it’s an average but I think for now I’m at a decent level. I can live with this basically for now.

But it’s going to get worse. I know it will. I know the quarantining will get more intense. I know the death rate will spike. Someone I know will get it. Someone I know may die. The economy may be irrevocably altered.

And all of these things scare me. Right now when everything is at least normal adjacent I can function. But what happens when it’s not? I don’t know. I don’t know who I’ll be. And I’m as scared of that as anything. I’m scared I’m weak for sure.

I wish I could be the pure moralist I’m seeing emerge online. The person who tells everyone what do do. But I can’t be that person. Was I at a Wingstop for pickup today? Guilty. Will I be at at least one liquor store or gas station or grocery store in the next few days? Guilty. I won’t be “the good person” I need to be all the time in the coming weeks. I’m going to at some point have a meltdown about something very petty and make someone very angry. I’m going to make my family annoyed with me.

And I’m scared about real things too. Maybe I’m scared of those the most. I’m scared of losing my job. I’m scared of losing a loved one. My dad is 72. I can’t put my head in the sand here. I’m scared of how things I love will be affected which might belong in the petty factor but not for me.

What I do believe is this. There’s going to be a moment after. And it lies between now and then. I have to trust I will get there.

But right now, I see the storm clouds in the sky. The rain is coming. And I can’t escape it.

A Love Letter to Bill Amend’s FoxTrot

Image result for foxtrot

FoxTrot by Bill Amend occupies an odd place in the canon. It’s not the profound artistic achievement of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes. It’s not a longform dramatic saga like Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury or Lynn Johnston’s For Better or For Worse nor is it political satire like Trudeau’s genius work. It’s not the glorious weirdness of Gary Larson’s The Far Side. And it’s not the poignant nihlistic tragedy of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts.

And yet, I don’t think anyone will balk if I put it in the canon next to those strips. FoxTrot is one of those comics everyone I know within a certain segment of my generation knows by heart, at least for a few years. Like Calvin and Hobbes, it was a book fair staple and most of us definitely picked up at least or two volumes. (Or in my case all of them.) We read it in the newspaper. It matters to us.

It matters to us in a way other strips don’t too. FoxTrot felt to a great degree like a lightning bolt as a kid as the strip for us. Peanuts was funny but it took place in a nebulous time between the past and present. Calvin was too weird. By the time we were reading FBOFW, it was too serious to get.

FoxTrot though? It was for us. It was for us because it was wall to wall pop culture references that were day and date or even months in advance. The prerelease hype for Jurassic Park and Star Trek: Generations made it in as did comments on movie trailers around the time of release. It was current in a way strips never were.

It was also for us because it was written in our language. Peter, Paige, and Jason were frankly awful to each other in a way that never felt cartoonish. They acted like us. They talked like us. Even the parents felt real despite us never knowing how true they were because they were sarcastic, talked to each other like real people.

It was also on our level of comedy. It was sarcastic, sure. It was pop culture humor heavy definitely. But it also had impeccable physical comedy. Amend was proudly a cartoonist. He leaned into the beauty of a great expression, a great reaction shot, a bit of exaggeration. So it was damned funny.

It was also one of our first encounters with a satirical voice. Amend wasn’t afraid to skewer the media he loved. He mocked overhype when Jason and Marcus dared to ask if they were setting themselves up for a letdown before walking into Jurassic Park. (No.) There were blows at computer culture and how silly it was. He went after (and continues to go after) Disney with glee. We felt for the first time in on something.

All of that speaks to why FoxTrot felt great as a kid. But that doesn’t explain why it endured. Full House had an exceptionally funny cast and played to kids yet I doubt many of us feel the same now about it. Having recently binged this strip, I’m moved to ponder this. Why does FoxTrot last?

All the things I just listed remain completely true. It depicts real pop culture, not some imagined view. The characters are true to life. It’s still backbreaking funny. But there’s more.

Let’s start with the pop culture point as it’s the one that’s the most fascinating to perceive now. To read FoxTrot is to read a cultural history of the last 30+ years. And it doesn’t feel dated because none of the references ring false. Most are filtered through Jason and he’s a great everygeek. Jason’s reactions to these things either match how we felt or how we would feel. Jason also fixated on the things we absolutely did and still do. And again, the references are at times genius bonus level good. Amend clearly is one of us and thus the strip reads as record.

That geekery reflects how oddly personal the strip is. Amend is a World of Warcraft playing Springsteen fan who clearly loves sports. I don’t need sources for these. The writing on them–and we forget that the strip particularly in the 80s was the rare estuary of geek content and jock content–says it all. That said, his twitter feed gives away exactly how true this is. Maybe it’s not tremendous autobiography but it’s not anonymous.

And that winds up giving the strip a POV that sets it apart. Amend crafts a universal but very distinct world. Like all worlds, every choice is specific. And a lot of those small choices matter. Because this isn’t just a pop culture/family strip. It’s one that reflects a lot of realities that in 2005 we sure as hell weren’t really discussing and are still struggling with now.

So before I go any further, I’m giving you an out. I’ve spent over 800 words and I’ve got more to go. If you want to walk away on these and not dig into some thorny issues that are largely a matter of interpretation, walk away knowing I love the strip and that’s that. But part of why I love it gets tricky to discuss. So…here you go.

One of the things that as to be discussed regarding FoxTrot is the indisputable shift to Jason as the POV character. Beginning with the big summer long storyline in 1997, Jason’s stories dominated. Peter’s lovelife, Andy and Roger’s worklives, and Paige’s romantic dreams featured a lot less until the strip ceased in dailies in 2006. They were still there–and I think Jason’s dominance is a shade overstated–but less.  Jason is a geek. And geek communities haven’t been anything too positive to discuss in recent years. It would be so easy to find Jason an unbearable, cringeworthy figure in this light.

But Bill Amend created a character that I think has a lot to do with why FoxTrot is less a nostalgia fix for me and an almost shockingly fresh one that happens to mostly run 14-32 years ago. Eileen Jacobson rules. She just rules so hard. Eileen is the ultimate girl geek in comic strip form and her conflict turned playfully combative friendship with Jason made the strip’s last decade in daily form pop.

Eileen is the absolutely critical check Jason needed and the voice of the fangirl. She’s the girl gamer who pushes back on Jason’s immature behavior. At one point she pretends to be a stranger in WoW just to prove to Jason they’d be friends if he’d get over himself. She calls him out on his ludicrous LOTR vs Harry Potter beliefs (wow have we heard THAT before.) And she doesn’t put up with how poorly he treats her though she has some level more patience than in real life because she’s a comic strip character and needs to stay around.

Eileen honestly feels like a character who, if she were created for a long running series like she was in the mid 90s, would be despised by a certain segment of the fans. But that’s exactly why her thread feels important. Because Amend was on representing girl geeks early. Hell he even got an Asian girl geek in in 1997 in the form of Phoebe Wu. This feels modern, not dated in its mindset.

And once you look at FoxTrot as a strip ahead of the curve, you realize it didn’t start with Eileen. This forward thinking mentality pervades the strip from day one.

For one thing, Amend always wrote Andy and Paige pretty great. They’re give ample time with stories that let them be just as well fleshed out as others. Paige in particular is painted as an insecure, emotional teenage girl but Amend feels so hard for her. When she’s at her lowest the strip paints her feelings as understandable and normal, not funny. He even does a subtle touch of giving them their girl geeking. Andy gets to be fixated on Titanic and it’s just the same as Jason’s obsessions with the same relatable energy.

He also gives us a nice treatment of toxic men. When Peter shamelessly hits on girls (during his shockingly brief time as a single), he’s painted as an asshole. Paige encounters guys who act gross towards her and she gets to be extremely aggressive fending them off. Leering over the swimsuit issue even leads to Peter getting chewed out by Andy and it feels a hell of a lot like current discussions on Twitter. Trust me, this has not always been true in mass media. See the pornography addiction shared by Chandler & Joey on Friends.

But then there’s his handling of Peter’s girlfriend Denise. Honestly, reading her early strips prompted this entry to exist and it’s why it’s housed on my blog. Denise is a blind girl in a love interest role, the definition of a character unlikely to have agency. But she does. She’s depicted as angry that nobody lets her be independent and looks down on her at the same time she’s given a potent sex drive, at one point having Peter over to “tutor” her in a subject she’s an expert on as a pretext to making out. That’s a hell of a lot to give a supporting character in a comic strip when mainstream media can’t do that much.

FoxTrot has always been and in Sunday form remains a progressive strip. Yes, that’s definitely an interpretation of the text and not a direct reading but the evidence is there. It’s not perfect, as would be expected in a strip where everyone is a caricature to some degree, but it explains why the strip needs to be seen as a cut above.

FoxTrot isn’t the surreal Sgt. Pepper’s of its peers but it’s definitely the comics version of the early Beatles albums. You know when it was made but when you study it, it still feels like it’s fresh. It hasn’t stopped being funny. I doubt it ever will. It remains the brash, funny, relatable voice of its generation.

To Bill Amend, I raise my glass. Thank you.

The Profoundly Crushing Futility of Nostalgia

I have a story to tell.

When I was in my sophomore year of high school, so 19 years ago, on a rainy Sunday afternoon my mom and I drove an hour to go to the movies in Russellville, Arkansas with her sister. I remember everything about walking into that theater. I remember the Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 poster outside. I remember the giant banner for Dungeons and Dragons. I remember the 102 Dalmatians poster. I remember the cool interior of that theater and by cool I mean oddly cold and off with marble and dark lighting. I remember the stadium seating. What we saw was almost immaterial. That experience marked me so hard, even factoring in that three years later I would start weekly visits the the theater when I went to college in that town. That’s the trip I remember.

And nobody gives a damn about hearing that story. It’s the most meaningless story on earth. I went to see Meet the Parents at a theater I hadn’t been to before. Who cares? It shouldn’t be some halcyon story!

But it is because that’s the hell of nostalgia. Yes, I’m taking a moment to interrogate one of the most normal and even healthy impulses that humans live with. Have I written on this before? Probably. But I’m struggling with it this morning and I want to examine why exactly.

You have to understand that nostalgia is inevitable. We have times in our lives we’re glad we lived through. Particularly in stressful times, nostalgia is like a sheath letting us bask in that feeling. We relive those feelings and they nourish us when we can’t be nourished by the outside world. It’s a lovely feeling.

It’s useless though. It’s one of those experiences that should be a plus but it winds up becoming profoundly frustrating. Because it lives inside us and that does nothing to make us feel better eventually.

See part of the human experience is the desperate flailing to connect with others. And when we want to discuss our memories, we’re met with something disturbing. We encounter silence. Because is anyone truly that interested in hearing the happy times of others? And when we hit that silence, intended or not, our memories lose value.

It shouldn’t be this way. Not in any way. We shouldn’t rely on others for our lives to feel important. Our lives matter because they made us us. And we should be able to accept that our history isn’t going to impact others the way that it impacts us because it happened to us.

However there’s a concept I read about that put me in the mind to write this. My generation doesn’t have hobbies anymore. We’ve turned our hobbies into work such as earning revenue for making videos on youtube or the rise of Etsy. It’s particularly difficult when your hobby is writing, one which has been outright scorned if not done for money.

I don’t write fiction well. I tried a screenplay this season. I’m so unhappy with it I don’t want to look at it. I write nonfiction pretty great though. So I could theoretically write all of these things out. And I did. There’s a book on Amazon. But I didn’t do the happy times justice in the book because I knew nobody cared. I hit the high points and moved on.

I’m still carrying around this impulse to talk. But I’ve been led to believe by society that if I can’t make it of some value to others I should shut the hell up. I’m wasting my time. I need to not waste it for others.

There’s no denying the other factor. I want to know my life experiences mattered. I’m wrestling hard with violent depression and self doubt. I feel like I don’t add anything to the world. And I only seem to get personal validation by sharing stories about either my severe mental health issues or my traumatic childhood. (My review writing is justly seen but is highly impersonal.) Anything I write celebrating my past like my Huntsville piece might as well not exist.

So I’m living with this need to be heard and a message I’m getting from society that frighteningly reinforces that my pain gives me value. The things that actually give me strength are discarded.

And I don’t think I’m alone in wrestling with this. I think this is something we cope with as a society. We’re ignored when we’re happy and that doubles when it comes to our pasts. We require our histories to be filled with graphic pain. And I wish that wasn’t so. I wonder how much of depression is drawn from this overwhelming need as a society to ache to be heard.

This entry can’t by its nature reach a conclusion. Only a statement of truth. The year 2000 becoming 20 years ago has to inspire a giant wave of nostalgia. It was such a hyped year followed by a startlingly unimportant reality. I’m forever fixated on that disconnect just as I’m fixated on the slowly building depression I fought that year which hit an apex in the spring of 2001.

I want to talk. I probably will talk. And nobody will give a good god damn. And that has to be ok, like it or not. Because these memories aren’t going away.

Confessions From The Pit of a Depression Episode

Time to get as raw as I can.

I’ve been extremely prolific in my other ventures but largely negligent of this one lately and I finally realized I needed to change that. It’s been a long couple of months. I’ve been deep, deep in a depressive episode. I’ve not been okay mentally. This has been a period marked by lack of sleep and severe emotional disturbance. I can admit to all of this.

And I’ve tried to recover. I really have. It’s crazy how people always suggest the very things I’m doing to fix this. I’ve tried every piece of self care I know to do. I’ve taken family time. I’ve reached out to friends. I’ve watched movies. I’ve read comics. I’ve tried to rest. I’ve meditated. I’ve even tapped retail therapy. I’ve. Tried. So why am I not better?

The very brutal truth is you can’t fix your pain simply. Everything you can try might not be enough. Not if you’re wrestling with very deep pain. I’ve been doing so.

I think a lot of my depression is actually fairly simple. I have severe PTSD from a childhood that built some sick patterns into me. I am desperate to please people and that means being perfect. But I’ve not been perfect lately due to exhaustion. So I’ve not pleased people. Which means I’ve been exhausted. The cycle has repeated enough to send me into depression.

So I have to confront this. And I’m trying. Because the core of this is that bitterness I feel towards myself. I do hate myself. Whatever everyone else hates about me I hate worse. Except they get to walk away. I have to live in this mind.

But I try to escape. I do. But I’m starting to see a sick pattern in my escaping too.

Let me explain. Since I was a kid, I’ve lost myself in old movie listings from old newspapers. I’ve never really stopped that. Not even after my job became designing newspapers. And inevitably doing that has stepped up during this period.

However, I made the decision to try and turn that into a column. I thought that maybe I could get attention for the odd ads I found. And I’ve found a few things that have interested people but I’ll be honest. I haven’t found the response I hoped. I wanted a bit more attention.

What happens next is to be expected. I find myself feeling isolated in the work I do. The research stops being fun because I’m trying to get approval I’ll never get.

Why does it matter? Well I also decided permanently to abandon book 2 this month. I realized nobody cares. The period after my job started won’t be written about. There’s no interest.

I’m nobody. That’s what I’m seeing. And yes, I know people care about me. I value that. But I’m seeing a pattern repeat that I saw in my childhood. Terrible people, the Grace Randolphs and Doug Walkers? They get the attention. Even people who hate them give them their energy. They are someone. (The less said about politics the better.)

Me? I’m nobody. And growing up there was a strong implication I had to be somebody to justify the condition I had. I had to have the best grades, place the highest, be the single best. I had to be exceptional.

I’m 36 in three months. I’m not going to be someone. That day has passed. And as silly as it is, as wrong as it is, it hurts. I wanted to be a writer people respected and while I’ve entertained people, I will never get much of a reach.

What’s getting my depression to this pit? It’s wrestling with the knowledge I have to be a mote in God’s eye while people who are functionally bullies are stars. And that’s triggering my PTSD. Every wretched bad take, every time one of their faces crosses my feed, it reminds me I fail yet the people that hurt me won.

I should write in private. I should sever any hope of it reaching people. Because people care but not that much. I should make peace that I work in the dark. Maybe eventually I will. But I’m going to keep trying to share.

Right now, I’m just saying all of this aloud. The hurt, the pain, the feeling of failure. I’m going to link to my patreon. I’m going to hope someone hears me. And maybe one day these feelings will leave me.

What I Remember About Huntsville

I’ll be honest. Right now I’m in one of the blackest places my soul has been all year. My depression is quite high. And it’s tempting for me to write on that. To wallow in that. I might get some sympathy if I did. But would it be healthy for me? We all know it wouldn’t be.

So I choose the opposite. I choose a piece that is nothing more than my memory. I don’t know if anybody cares about my memory. I doubt y’all do. This is pure self indulgence. But I write this for my soul. I’m aching. Let me escape as I write.

Huntsville, Arkansas I remember as a fantasy place. I remember it as an idyll. I think of it as a place that existed outside time and space. It’s not. It’s a normal small town in Arkansas. But I remember my trips there, especially my trips between 1994-2002, as if I’d stepped into another world.

Part of why I remember that is how hard it is to get to. It’s not an interstate exit town. It’s isolated. Or at least it was until the highway between Huntsville and Springdale was completed and now it’s a quick drive between Huntsville and a massive metropolis that houses two of the biggest companies in the nation if not world. What I remember is the isolation, the winding curves of the Pig Trail to get there.

I remember the topography of the town. The Escheresque series of hills that form the landscape. Straight streets exist not here. And it’s so green. Pure forest. In the fall it sits ablaze.

I remember the Wal-Mart. My granddad was always baffled as to why I cared so much about going. Growing up in, well, anywhere I had better shopping options. But there was something so magical about that store to me. It sold interesting, neat things to me. Buying a Star Wars paperback to read curled up on a couch at my grandparents’ home is a ritual I still chase. It was never about the store. It was the ritual.

The grocery store next door was different. I remember it as almost a barn before they rebuilt. It was clean with again a normal allotment of things. Noything special but when I bought a bag of candy, it felt unique.

The video store within? That was different. Sure I always rented “A” movies from it but I remember those glorious b-movies it rented out. It was as if I was in an alternate universe from the safe, boring choices of the chains. The family films were really strange, and have shown up on Rifftrax. But the horror? That has to capture my memory. Such strange films as fairy tale characters as monsters.

Honestly I remember the video stores a lot. The grocery store was the only one I spent much time in but I remember them all. The posters. You rarely saw A-titles sold there. Perhaps that’s what gave the town this AU feel to me. If even the movies were another world, then it had to be another world.

There was a theater. I went in that building twice. Two times as it was abandoned. One time as it was a flea market. I wish I’d gone when it was open but it closed before I was two. As the cinema is my cathedral, I long to worship once there.

The theater sat on that perfect town square. I know that square as the epitome of Heaven. Lots of flea markets popped up over time. There was a used bookstore a few months there. It was a nice place.

But if any from Huntsville are reading this, you know I must honor Coger Drug. What a cool, unique place Coger Drug was. It sold everything. I remember it for two things: Candy and comics. I’d go in, buy a Heath and get a kids comic. Only in 2001 would an Amazing Spider-Man leave the grocery store with me. But lots of Disney comics left for the drive home. They sold books. I wish I’d bought one to say I did.

I remember how few chains entered the town. It was world destroying news when Pizza Hut came in though That Little Pizza Place crushes it with incredible food. The Wal-Mart was front page news. Sonic was thrilling, the first chain fast food. Dollar General was exciting too, especially when I found a Marvel/Boulevard novel there! But they were it.

I could go on. I knew every gas station there. I dropped in Ozark Foods. I remember the drive-in with killer fried chicken. So many details.

But the last detail I remember is the quiet. Late at night I could stand in the front yard, look up at an array of stars, and bask in the silence. No noise. Nothing to disturb the perfect isolation.

Now is where I deconstruct everything. All the video stores are gone, following the trend of the death of video rental and eventually physical media. The Walmart moved to a bigger location on the edge of town, lost the hyphen in the move. Coger Drug is long closed. McDonalds came in. So did alcohol. Huntsville is no longer the place it is in my mind. I have not been there in 6 years, mostly due to time and ability.

But I remember it. I carry it in my soul. I go there when I close my eyes and seek an escape. And I love it forever.

Why something silly made me angry

Two stories.

1.
My wife’s car battery died Tuesday. $200 worth of work. At the mechanic it became clear her gear shift release button was stuck. $400 the next day. A bombardment of stress. My weekend last week was all but killed though I got some lovely time off later that week. A lot of work. A lot of money. A lot of stress. Fairly calm.

2.
I’ve been in the hunt for rare horror tie-ins. The cost of all of them is exorbitant, even for poorly made novelization omnibuses. Today, I learned once and for all that any hope of digital editions was crushed. The rights holders don’t want them at best and there’s a mess of legal issues at worst. (Look up Friday the 13th.) I am effectively blocked out from this world.

So guess which of these caused this blog entry?

Yeah it’s time to yet again discuss how my brain is out of balance. Because the major hit left me unphased while the silly little nothing upset me far more.

Actually, let me be clear. I hate the news about the car. I’m deeply worried. But at the same time it didn’t induce primitive frustration in me. I get it. Cars cost a lot to fix. NBD. The situation the fixes solved was far more anxiety inducing honestly. There is, in other words, a balance. Car needed fixing, car got fixed.

There’s no balance here. I’m looking to read some silly, unimportant pulp books for Halloween season. The thought that I would have to spend at minimum 28 dollars (lowest cost as of this writing) for a Freddy Krueger novel is, to be polite, obscene. I’m looking for a couple of hours of fun. They’re looking to charge in some cases $150. Not balanced.

And so here we are. Two situations. One perfectly in balance. The other not. The first will be an ongoing stressor but I get it. The second I can’t come to terms with.

Why else might I be angry here? Well I had power in the car situation. I knew where to take it. I knew how to deal with it. I did. It got resolved. In this case, I’m clinging to hope someone randomly gives their books to goodwill. I can’t do anything against the mountain of corporations to convince them kindle is their friend. I certainly can’t afford the books.

And then there’s the value issue. My wife can’t function without her car. I don’t need these books. I’m not really a horror fan. I’m only looking to dabble. I don’t get this way about rare comic book novels, though those rarely cost obscene amounts and appear often in the wild. I’m not that way at all about graphic novels because Comixology has everything I want.

So it comes down to this. I want what I can’t have. Would I care if they littered the streets? No. I didn’t buy a couple I saw in the wild once though I had no idea how bad the cost was. I don’t want the few I can find. I’ve found a wall of Buffy novels at goodwill I shrugged at. (OK I bought 6 but by my standards.)

That’s what I can’t resolve. But I’ll live.