SILENCE! #23

July 25th, 2012

THIS IS NOT AN EXIT

Of course it isn’t silly! It’s a gaping entrance! An entrance into the world of SILENCE!!!

In this episode the pair who go together like strawberries and cream, millionaires and wards, and ‘interesting’ facial hair and threats of violence get down on their knees and pray for a rain of comics…and they get it!

After a heartfelt piece of Dylan-esque balladry about Man-Thing from The Beast, and a baggy edition of the SILENCE! news, there’s a twelve car pile-up of comics foolchat, covering:

the revamped Glory, Peter Bagge’s Reset, Paul Chadwick’s Concrete (and ‘Moving A Big Rock’), Saga (both the comic and the pensioner’s holiday scheme), Hanging with DB Cooper from Brian Churillo, Mind MGMT, Hellblazer and the recent hilarious Inkstuds Biz interview, Daredevil, The Shadow, JLA and an Infernal Man-Thing freestyle… oh, and Lactus takes on all the AVX related bizzo, in Man Vs Comics.

But let’s not forget the brand new feature The Silent Question in which the pair answer a Celebrity! Question! The Beast talks up Hookjaw and Lactus takes on Chester Brown and Canadian masturbation in general…

And there’s an appreciation of lost Brit comics genius Barry M Freeman.

Dear me, I’ve just wet me knickers! It’s all too much…let’s hope your undercrackers can handle the truth! It’s all wrapped up in the brain-burp that is…SILENCE!  

click to download SILENCE!#23

And don’t forget to check below as well for the Silence Gallery

17 Responses to “SILENCE! #23”

  1. Joey Richardson Says:

    A recommendation for you both.

    http://cowboycomic.net/chapter-one/part-one

  2. Igmus Says:

    I’m back from my one-week silent protest/boycott on commenting due to J_Smitty_’s horribly homophobic (in the true sense of the term, indicating blind fear rather than seething hatred) to at least give the marriage a go. I do currently have a female fiance, but I thought we might at least try an innovative arrangement out. It worked for Alan Moore (well, until it didn’t).

    Regardless, this comics podcast really is the best in the genre right now. That one guy on “Wait What?” has a British accent that’s way more annoying than your guys’s accent. Even when you’re talking about comics that the rest of us don’t care about (which is like, almost all the time), you guys are still good.

    Nice that Sir Grant is getting out of superhero comics. Hopefully he means it this time, since I remember him claiming in 2008 or so that he was getting sick of them then and was going to stop after Final Crisis. Regardless, I attribute this career development entirely to the expressed sentiments of SILENCE! and specifically to my pointed criticisms in the comments sections some weeks ago regarding Recent Grant and (non-Batman) superhero comics.

    I don’t think Inc #3 is being pulped; Burnham said that it wasn’t. If it’s really being rewritten and redrawn, it’s news to me.

    Now a pedantic, ill-advised monologue.

    I can attest to the fact that we in America definitely cannot discern the difference between fiction and reality all that well anymore. And aside from any pragmatic concerns of politeness (really, I think Inc #3 should be pushed back, at least a week or two), the greater concern is how nuts and alarmist and righteous everyone would get if the comic DID come out this week. Any voice of sanity (slightly callous as it might be) that would say “Look, this is just a comic book, which was written and drawn WEEKS ago; it’s not reality, and–” would get drowned out by a million shrill voices that would abuse the modest moral high ground (let’s be honest, it should have been pushed back at least a week, to be polite) and turn the whole thing into an exercise in self-righteousness.

    But it’s worth thinking–hypothetically–about how much more powerful Incorporated #3 would seem, as a piece of art that could speak in a genuine way to our culture, if it DID come out this week. The concern (“enlightened”? yes, I think so) over the apparently relatable violence within its pages strikes me as something that we should ALWAYS feel about violence when shown in good works of art (or at least art that has some sense of realism in it). Likewise, when I saw The Dark Knight Rises this past weekend, every time there was a gun on screen it sort of meant more to me; I really felt the weight and concern about what violence is and how it threatens life. And there again too I thought, “This is how it should ALWAYS feel when ultraviolence is shown on screen.”

    In America we are in some cases oversensitive to violence (oversensitive, period; awful fuss-budgets, we are) and in other cases–obvious cases–we are not sensitive enough. Frequently we exhibit both tendencies at the same time. There does seem to be an escalation in terms of the violence–fictional or real–that we have to be exposed to in order to care anymore. Often we casually hear someone discussing a movie or a video game or a comic book say something like “…yeah, and then you see their heads explode and…” and they say it in an almost disinterested way. It shouldn’t be so casual or disinterested; or if it is then the work of art is just shock-value shit that isn’t even shocking anymore–a state of things which should be shocking in itself. On the other hand, I just saw a news story the other day in which the mayor of New Orleans was talking about how no one in the media really cares about all of the murders going on in the city lately, because it’s black-on-black crime: if it were black-on-white crime, or white-on-black crime, then there would be a sexy racial angle that the media could push; but it’s just not enough to hold our attention anymore if it’s just boring old murder without anything to spice it up.

    I believe this same escalation effect shows up in another way: in the cultural transition from serial killers to mass-murdering shooters. If you think about it, looking back, the heyday of serial killers was a time in which people tended to consider each other (and themselves?) more as individuals; serials killers tended to care (revoltingly, but still they cared) about their victims on a one-by-one basis, and one murder at a time was enough to satiate their demons. But what do mass-murderers do? They blast away a bunch of random people all at once. The serial killer was hands-on; the mass-murderer strikes from more of a distance. I am, of course, not arguing that serial killers are “better”; but the cultural transition from serial killers (who tended to use knives) to mass-murderers (who use guns) does seem to parallel the escalation of violence (fictional or real) and the high bodycount that is now needed to breach the threshold of public attention.

    Given these themes, was the opening quote from American Psycho (“THIS IS NOT AN EXIT”) intentional? I happened to relisten to the audiobook of that last week, right before the shooting on Friday. Spooky coincidences for all this stuff.

    I agree that there’s no fucking way any sane person in America, no matter how much they love the Second Amendment, should think that someone should be able to obtain that many guns and that much artillery via mail-order, all within a short amount of time, without tripping off alarm bells with the authorities. (Actually, I heard that the guy SHOULD HAVE or DID trip off some alarm bells, but the authorities didn’t bother to investigate. Not sure if that’s true.) Still, it’s worth thinking about how, a couple generations ago, it was far easier to obtain firearms and yet we didn’t have so many bizarre senseless mass killings. So what is it in the culture that’s caused the impetus for someone to even WANT to do this stuff now? How much of it is related to the promised media coverage and instant, notorious celebrity status that these killers obviously get and look forward to? I do think society as a whole is going insane, and though it isn’t caused by comic books or films in any conventional blameworthy way, I think that the entire immersive environment of disorienting media does have something to do with the general societal psychosis.

    I’ll get off the soapbox (it’s actually not a soapbox but all sixteen volumes of Cerebus that I’ve chosen to stand on) and take any responses off the air. If this comment is too long or too off-topic, I wouldn’t be offended if a mod deleted it. Probably much of the above annoyed some people. Or it’s just not what you’re going for. But just remember I’m the guy who got Grant Morrison off superhero comics, so I’m entitled to try to have my say every once in a while.

  3. Gary Lactus Says:

    Yeah, the whole re drawing, pulping stuff was a ridiculous assumption on my part. Bad lactus. As for the rest, that’s some good commenting and it won’t be taken down.

  4. tam Says:

    I thought this was the best plotted episode of Silence! yet. Do I get I no-prize for working out that the whole episode really was just The Beast Must Die’s dream? The giveaway was when Batman appeared; It was just too incredible to be anything but a dream!

  5. The Beast Must Die Says:

    The thing is Tam, are you sure it isn’t your dream about listening to an episode of SILENCE!

    yours sincerely,

    The Red King

  6. tam Says:

    Well, I hope it’s not my dream, because I really want that no-prize.

    Good to hear some love for Paul Chadwick. The thing I liked about the latest issue was that Chadwick’s aged the characters and they’re now all looking a bit more middle aged which is pretty unusual, Cerebus and Dredd excepted.

    If you want to dip your toes into Chadwick’s work, he’s also done a couple of nice mainstream things. He wrote a lovely star wars comic about Luke Skywalker’s mate Biggs. (Can’t normally stand anything Star Wars related, but it’s like an early Alan Moore take on the story, about how much harder life is when you can’t just turn to The Force all the time…)

    He also did my favourite ever Superman story, it’s a lovely very low key tale that really ought to have been reprinted. You can find out more about it at the bottom of this article. Actually DC really ought to get him writing one of the main Superman books since he’d be able to do it in a fresh and powerful way

    http://chrispearce.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/christmas-comics-cavalcade-christmas-with-the-super-heroes-special-2/

  7. J_Smitty_ Says:

    Oh, gods, this is long as well. (ed.)

    Sorry you felt forced to holiday on my account, Igmus. P’raps you’d feel better knowing you put the emPHASis on the wrong syllABLE – as it were – with my politely declining the suggestion of a modified union. It wasn’t the “that way” it was more the “you.” Seriously, though, you seem an agreeable fellow. I’m sure we could have worked something out. That’s marriage! Compromises and concerted effort.

    Proceeding, I do thank you for Morrison’s exit from the genre if it does hold course. You’ve done us all a service there, I think, and though Batman has been really fun and good there’s something of a sports parallel in there. The aging superstar, having given his definitive effort, sticks around because the money’s good and the fans love it. As a result, we’ve got a few seasons of wearing the wrong uniform and batting at less than their average.

    On to new things for Grant and I say I hope he goes with a song in his heart.

    As to your points about guns and violence in America I, as a fellow American, can say that while we both see the trend we see it very differently.

    When you say, “Any voice of sanity (slightly callous as it might be) that would say ‘Look, this is just a comic book, which was written and drawn WEEKS ago; it’s not reality, and–’ would get drowned out by a million shrill voices that would abuse the modest moral high ground (let’s be honest, it should have been pushed back at least a week, to be polite) and turn the whole thing into an exercise in self-righteousness,” I couldn’t disagree more but ONLY about the numbers.

    The millions of voices you mention would actually be about five voices. Five people, in a comments thread, somewhere in the vastness of the internet would toss off a strong and bloody three sentence condemnation. Some well brushed head on a cable TV “talking points” show would sound off based on a decision made by a producer based on a biased story some intern skimmed on the internet which probably was taken out of context and written as part of ten article deal by an overworked author / content provider. Those few things, if you saw them, would leave a representative impression whereby you or I could make sweeping generalizations.

    Fewer voices being blasted at volume or in concentration are having a more broad effect in America.

    It’s been proven that we run in extremely tight circles on the net – that while there is literally an infinity of possibilities – we find what we like and we stay there. Just look at a browsing history and you’ll see the same places over and over. So while you may see a trend of the masses I see a trend of the elite.

    Concentrations of power on the left and the right (to generalize) which wield an increasing influence in telling people how to think, feel, and act. Throw in the static of dissent and then you’ve got a real stew. Because often, acts of extreme violence emerge from feelings of exclusion and being shoved to the periphery.

    Keep in mind, I am not advocating some type of a return to this but in the past there were more societal norming devices. There were texts that everyone read in school, films and television that everyone saw – songs heard – because distribution channels were tighter. With the nearly (in our brief history anyway) simultaneous explosion of cable tv, the internet, and more accessible travel those normative pillars have been swept away in all disciplines.

    For example, the whole of the economic theory which led to the recent global collapse was largely based off a position paper developed in – I believe – 1976 by “two guys” (Jensen and Meckling) who posited that shareholder return was the be all end all of the game. That belief drove power brokers at companies to exploit all means necessary to focus on a limited scope of outcomes desirable to a limited group of people – namely the shareholders. See “Fixing the Game” by Martin for a nice concise explanation.

    That’s not an agreed upon beneficial tried and true. That’s an exploited niche loophole multiplied out to global consequence!

    In my mind, when we look back (if we are fortunate enough to do so) this time won’t be thought of as the information age but rather the age of confusion. A great smashing and rending of cultural views, stereotypes and imperatives grappled with over distances previously unimaginable.

    30 years ago, I would not have been able to conceive of this conversation. Now, I’ve got 15 minutes before my shop opens so why not talk to my friend in America with my friends across the ocean as witnesses?

    The only further point I find any real discord with that you’ve asserted is that it was “easier” to obtain fire arms in the past.

    No.

    While you may have been able to buy a shotgun, hunting rifle or small caliber pistol by signing a piece of paper if you walked into a gun shop “a couple generations ago” and asked for 6,000 rounds of ammunition you would have been asked with whom exactly you were planning on starting a police action.

    The proliferation of high end arms available to public hands in this country has been truly terrifying. The very idea of an AR-15 being widely available strikes me as something out of a fever dream. But again, the loud voice of gun advocates heeded by a devoted following moves mountains in this country because often they are laser focused and driven to achieve one specific outcome.

    Due to that focus and ambition, wholesale changes can be effected much more easily with less consensus than ever.

    Putting it in comics terms can you think of a time in our past when someone could literally reach out to thousands of people with a modicum of focused effort, say, “Give me money to make this,” and then watch this happen?

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/renaedeliz/womanthology-massive-all-female-comic-anthology

    Granted it taps a woefully neglected segment of the comics reading populace but fuck me $110,000 to make a comic book? Kickstarter is littered with other successful examples of this method. Barry M. Freeman would have made a cracking 1 pager about that phenomenon, I’m sure.

    Anyway, this was about violence and control!

    In brief summation, for an individual in the very quiet middle of America this is “the darkest timeline” because for some time now the decisions being made over our head had no real visible effect. We had ours. Now, when we realize the scope – the tight knit and vicious armies assembled – we only begin to understand that a tiny percentage of people control the available influential content and resources.

    They will do everything and anything to keep it that way because they only need a little better than 50% of the 50% who deign to vote in our process (at best). So a quarter of the population seizes control for a period of years leaving 75% marginalized, excluded, ridiculed in a state of open conversational warfare, and shoved to the periphery.

    Remember that recipe for violence I mentioned earlier?

    It is terrible but no surprise to me that people just stand up at random times after having seen random things and just say, “Well, fuck all this.”

    Um…good job on the podcast gents!

  8. Adam Says:

    Megalodons were totdally real

    http://dinosaurs.about.com/od/otherprehistoriclife/a/megalodon-facts.htm

  9. J_Smitty_ Says:

    “Megalodon chowed down on its prey with a force of between 10.8 and 18.2 tons–enough to crush the skull of a prehistoric whale as easily as a grape.”

    Start writing that comic…

  10. Tim B. Says:

    Great episode. With regards to the new phone-in segment, you could call it Dial-in Dilemmas.

    In a spooky coincidence I see little Kieron Gillen was talking about Hook Jaw on the comics should be good blog at CBR, and it’s getting reprinted in Strip magazine.

  11. Joey Richardson Says:

    Anyone else think we should have let Alan Moore have a go at the Olympic opening ceremony? I’d quite like to see what he would have done with it.

  12. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Well there was a fair amount of Poppins…

  13. bobsy Says:

    And a fair amount of poppers, by the looks of it.

  14. address the unknown Says:

    You are right, Infernal Man-Thing is one of the most special books being put out this summer.

    I just can’t believe they printed the double page splash as they did in the classic 70′s reprint in the back! Would it have killed them to print it so you could view both pages next to each other as it was meant to be seen? I realize there was a limited page count, but they way it was done really diminished the impact and flow of the story didn’t it? Is this the chronic lack of respect for great artistry that Gerber was railing against in the first place? There is far greater evil to complain about in the world, yes, but this really got on my nerves…

    Anyway, I’m digging your podcasts, keep up the great work.

  15. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Yeah, I agree that was well shonky. And kind of apt as you say, in a final dismissive act towards Gerber.

  16. Zebtron A. Rama Says:

    Barry M. Freeman is amazing. Here’s to hoping we, the SILENCE! listeners, can find him. Or at least point me in the direction of finding some of his stuff.

  17. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Correct. A visionary.

    In that Saint’s Dad strip, my current favourite panel is where he says ‘PLEASANT’ after being offered the job. Next time someone offers me a job I will be saying that.

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