Monday, August 31, 2015

Prez: A Review

Prez is a new offering from DC Comics' Vertigo imprint.  The premise is very simple: in the year 2036, a teenager named Beth Ross is elected President of the United States.  Hijinx ensue.
Or, I suppose they are meant to ensue.
So far, Prez has been neither funny nor entertaining.
In the first issue we are given a vision of future America where corporations run the country through corrupt politicians.
Is this meant to be shocking?
It isn't.
There is nothing shocking or amusing about the world that Mark Russell has created.  It's pretty much the world right outside your window.  Politicians trade favors all the time. They get bought and traded like hookers at a sleazy bachelor party today.  We all know this.
So, what about the protagonist? What about Beth Ross?
Three issues in and she is about as interesting as unbuttered toast.  She got elected President via an Internet campaign organized by future-Anonymous after appearing in a supposedly embarrassing internet video.  As a representation of apathy and angst, she does okay.  As a protagonist and/or everyman character, I think she falls far of the mark.
I don't care about this character. I don't care about this world.
This title is meant, I think, to be a kind of satire on our current world.  But even there, it fails.  Satire is meant to have bite.
This?  This doesn't have bite. This doesn't have teeth.  This title is trying to gum us to death, and it's failing at that, too.  At best, it's covering our faces with warm saliva.
Prez is meant to be a 12-issue miniseries.  After three issues, I'm wondering if it'll last even that long.
Maybe Russell is holding his funny stuff in reserve?  Maybe future issues will have bite.
If they do, good for them.
I, alas, will not be there to witness the hijinx.
After three issues of blandness, I am ditching this title.
Maybe I'll pick it up as a trade, if DC released it as such.
But I wouldn't bet a Presidential election on it.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Roll for Initiative

Good afternoon, gentle readers!
I hope you've all had a good weekend and didn't get so pissed you couldn't go to work. My weekend was fairly typical.  I played Dungeons & Dragons with some friends.
Yes, I know.
I am a geek.
But it's fun.
I haven't played in ages, so when I was invited to play with this group a few months back, I was a little hesitant. I love D&D, but my experience with D&D players has been somewhat . . . varied.
Still, I'd rather hang out with tabletop RPGers than the MTG crowd.
Most of those guys are just assholes.
And I have to say that I have enjoyed my time with this group.  We aren't playing as 'serious' a game as I might like, but it's been a lot of fun.  The group dynamic has been good.
Unfortunately, for me, the game has kind of derailed my creative endeavors.
I was making progress on a story, but now all I want to do is world-build a possible D&D setting.
I shouldn't complain.
Actually, I'm not complaining.
I love world-building, it's a lot of fun coming up with continents and deities, cities and histories. As a matter of fact, the first thing I ever published was a nonspecific RPG sourcebook.  It was called Winter City: The City of Marvels, and it was a labor of love set in a superheroic universe.
Now, I find myself contemplating a proper fantasy setting.
Only, I'm trying to avoid the usual tropes that accompany most fantasy settings: elves are good, dwarves are dower, humans are the dominant race, etc.
It's more challenging than you'd think.
Especially if you're trying to be original.
I have to admit to feeling a little guilty about working on this stuff instead of another story for publication, but then I remembered: I am my own boss.  I am not under contract.  The only person that I have to satisfy is myself.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, makes all the difference.
What next?
Let's find out....

Monday, August 3, 2015


Summer days.
Dog days.
Heat risin'.
Sweat fallin',
tricklin' down,
Into secret places,
moist and dark,
that men think about.
Just think about though,
right here,
right now.
It's summer days.
Dog days.
Too hot to fuck.
Too hot for anythin',
but sittin' in shade,
nursin' a cold bottle.
Sittin there,
watching the heavens,
blue and flawless,
prayin' for autumn skies
and cool breezes.
Prayin' in vain,
it feels like,
'cause its summer days.
Dog days.
And we got a ways
still to go.