Now It’s Easy To Define (Yeah)

As is my wont, I’ve been noodling around with Garageband recently, making loops out of old 1960s songs without any real purpose beyond just wanting to see if I can do it and make it sound pretty good. (So far, the answer is yes, but it helps that I’m playing with music that I know and love as closely and clearly as I do.) It’s a mental exercise as much as anything else: finding something and reshaping it to create something new, but in a method (and a format, let’s be real) that is somewhat alien and I’m uncertain about and uncomfortable in. It’s play, but play in such a way to keep me on my toes and allow for all kinds of mistakes that could end up being as thrilling as they might be frustrating.

I mention this, as much as anything, because I’ve been revisiting a bunch of music I loved from years and years and years ago — Primal Scream and Delakota and a bunch of the late 1990s “dance” music of the era — and realizing how much of it is, if not born from the same lack of skillset and incompetent bumbling around in software I barely understand, then the same approach of playing and building things block by block and seeing what happens.

I shouldn’t be too surprised, of course; there’s part of the wonderful Beastie Boys Story documentary where they talk about making Paul’s Boutique and that’s not a million miles away from their attitude with that album — of course, they had more patience and more skill behind their efforts than I did, as well as infinitely more taste and finer record collections — and it even feeds into a similar version of how the Beatles went around recording their albums, with a sense of, “I think I want to do this, but I don’t know how to get there, so let’s just see what happens and hope for the best.”

As I said above, the core of all of this is play: of doing something with no set goal in mind, and being ready to embrace and appreciate the journey as much as the destination, in large part because there is no destination when you set off. As I find myself approaching more and more defined goals professionally, such play outside of work becomes so much more important to me — a way to connect back to what animated me throughout so much of my life, and what makes me happy and curious and, well, what keeps me going even now.

Oh Sorry, Haven’t You Heard?

Thinking about the General Election results in the UK — for those who weren’t paying as close attention as I was, it was a massive swing towards the Labour Party, which won in a landslide — leaves me with the memory of the last big swing from the Conservative Party to Labour, which also happened to be the first General Election I ever voted in, back in 1997. (I was… 22 at the time, thinking back? I might be misremembering.)

I remember, weirdly, the feeling of excitement felt on the night of the election itself, more than the actual details of where I voted. (I actually can’t remember anything about that at all.) What I remember, more than anything, was the curious feeling of “There’s something happening, everything has reached some kind of critical mass, something is going to change” that felt entirely inevitable, tempered only slightly with the fear that maybe we were all wrong and nothing would change — something that, had it happened, would have broken our spirits in ways I don’t think any of us could have fully comprehended at the time.

I also remember one of my friends telling me they’d voted Conservative, and the rest of us all just ripping the shit out of him, telling him how wrong he was, how he knew better, how upset we all were. To his credit, I think he’d be mortified himself, in retrospect.

I can remember the sense of excitement when the results came in, and the feeling that everything was different as a result. To some degree, that was true; the Labour win of ’97 meant that the Tories weren’t in power for the first time in my conscious memory — they’d been in power for 18 years by that point — and, given how cruel and callous the Thatcher era especially had been, that alone felt celebrating. Sure, none of us had really fallen for Tony Blair’s smarmy smile and promises, but some change was better than no change, we all thought at the time. It still meant that things were different, and that meant that anything could happen, maybe.

(Cut to us, years later, looking at what the Blair era gave to the world, shaking our heads.)

I wonder what it feels like in the UK today, waking up to a non-Tory government for the first time in 14 years. I wonder if there’s that same sense of a new world, and of possibility, or if everyone is just relieved to see the end of that particular era and too exhausted by it to imagine something better on its way.

The Comics of June 2024

There was a point, for the first… week or so, maybe two weeks…? of the month where I was notably reading very few comics after a couple months of reading so many, and it felt like a very welcome change. My brain was perhaps too full, and I needed a break. And then… I ruined it by falling back into the rhythm of binge reading full runs of things once again. Oops. (A confession: this time around is the first time I’ve ever read the entirely of “Knightfall” and its sequels in the Batman comics; it’s gone from being a nuisance at the time it was being published to being enjoyable nostalgia of a bygone age now.)

  1. Fall of the House of X #s 1-5
  2. Rise of the Powers of X #s 1-5
  3. X-Men Forever (2024) #s 1-4
  4. House of X #1
  5. Powers of X #1
  6. House of X #s 2-6
  7. Powers of X #s 2-6
  8. Inferno (2021) #s 1-4
  9. X-Men (2021) #32
  10. Invincible Iron Man (2022) #15
  11. X-Men (2021) #35
  12. Detective Comics (1937) #1000
  13. Avengers: Twilight #4
  14. Resurrection of Magneto #2
  15. X-Men From the Ashes Infinity Comic #1
  16. Batman (2016) #149
  17. Superman (2023) #15
  18. Absolute Power: Ground Zero #1
  19. Green Arrow (2023) #13
  20. The Flash (2023) #10
  21. Batman: The Brave and the Bold #14
  22. Destro #1
  23. The Immortal Thor #7
  24. Heroes in Crisis #s 1-2
  25. DC Pride: A Celebration of Rachel Pollack #1
  26. Legion of Super-Heroes (1989) #s 1-7
  27. Heroes in Crisis #3
  28. Profane #1
  29. Space Ghost (2024) #2
  30. Legion of Super-Heroes (1989) #s 8-9
  31. Heroes in Crisis #s 4-5
  32. Secret Origins Annual (1987) #1
  33. Secret Origins (1986) #s 10, 43
  34. Punisher (2023) #4
  35. Deep Cuts #s 1-3
  36. Crush & Lobo #s 1-8
  37. Heroes in Crisis #s 6-9
  38. The Flash Annual (2018) #1
  39. The Flash (2016) #s 47-51
  40. Batman (2016) #s 64-65
  41. The Flash (2016) #s 64-65
  42. Aquaman (2011) #s 26-29
  43. Secret Origins (2014) #s 1-6
  44. Legion of Super-Heroes (1989) #122
  45. The Immortal Thor #s 1-5
  46. Judge Dredd: Titan
  47. Aquaman: Rebirth #1
  48. Invincible Iron Man (2022) #16
  49. X-Men (2021) #33
  50. X-Force (2019) #50
  51. What If…? Aliens #1
  52. Doctor Strange (2023) #13
  53. Captain America (2023) #7
  54. Resurrection of Magneto #3
  55. Thanos (2023) #4
  56. Avengers (2023) #11
  57. American Flagg! (1983) #s 1-3
  58. Lobo (1993) #21 (Grant/Kevin O’Neill)
  59. Detective Comics (1937) #s 583-589 (First Wagner/Grant issues)
  60. The Spectacular Spider-Men #1
  61. The Punisher: Die Hard in the Big Easy
  62. Silver Surfer (1987) #39
  63. Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1
  64. Batman (1940) #s 484-491
  65. Detective Comics (1937) #s 654-658
  66. Batman (1940) #s 492-494
  67. Detective Comics (1937) #s 659-661
  68. Tales from the Dark Multiverse – Batman: Knightfall #1
  69. The Penguin #11
  70. The Joker (1975) #3
  71. Legion of Super-Heroes (1989) #123
  72. Legionnaires #s 79-80
  73. Legion of Super-Heroes Secret Files #2
  74. Legion of Super-Heroes (1989) #s 124-125
  75. Legionnaires #81
  76. Batman (1940) #s 495-500
  77. Detective Comics (1937) #s 662-666
  78. Showcase ‘93 #s 7-8
  79. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #s 16-18
  80. Detective Comics #s 607-608 
  81. Robin Annual (1992) #1
  82. The Batman Chronicles #1
  83. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #s 40-41
  84. Anarky (1997) #s 1-4
  85. Absolute Power #1
  86. Batman (2016) #150
  87. Detective Comics (1937) #s 667-670
  88. Robin (1993) #s 1-2
  89. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #s 19-20
  90. Batman (1940) #s 501-504
  91. Superman (2018) #s 1-3
  92. Uncanny X-Men (1963) #159
  93. Invaders (1975) #9
  94. Ultimate Avengers 3 #s 2-6
  95. Superman (2018) #4
  96. Man of Steel (2018) #s 1-6
  97. Supergirl (2016) #s 21-25
  98. Rom Spaceknight #13
  99. Superman (2018) #s 5-6
  100. Supergirl (2016) #s 26-33
  101. Batman/Superman (2019) #s 1-6
  102. The Infected: King Shazam #1
  103. The Infected: Scarab #1
  104. The Infected: The Commissioner #1
  105. The Infected: Deathbringer #1
  106. Supergirl (2016) #35
  107. Hawkman (2018) #18
  108. DC’s Year of the Villain Special #1
  109. Batman/Superman (2019) #s 7-8
  110. Event Leviathan #1
  111. Event Leviathan #s 2-6
  112. Leviathan Dawn #1
  113. Checkmate (2021) #s 1-6
  114. Superman (2018) #s 7-10
  115. Justice League Task Force #s 5-6
  116. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #s 21-23
  117. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (1989) #s 59-61
  118. Robin (1993) #7
  119. Action Comics (1938) #1001
  120. Superman (2018) #s 11-16
  121. Outsiders (2023) #s 1-2
  122. Action Comics (1938) #s 1002-1004
  123. Detective Comics (1937) #s 671-675
  124. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #s 24-28
  125. Batman (1940) #s 505-508
  126. Showcase ‘94 #7
  127. Action Comics (1938) #967-972
  128. Rom Spaceknight #s 14-19
  129. Action Comics (1938) #s 1005-1011
  130. Superman: Leviathan Rising #1
  131. Batman (1940) #509
  132. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #29
  133. Detective Comics (1937) #676
  134. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (1989) #62
  135. Robin (1993) #8
  136. Catwoman (1993) #12
  137. Action Comics (1938) #1012
  138. Resurrection of Magneto #4
  139. Invincible Iron Man (2022) #17
  140. Avengers: Twilight #4
  141. Batman (1940) #510
  142. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #30
  143. Detective Comics (1937) #677
  144. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (1989) #63
  145. Robin (1993) #9
  146. Catwoman (1993) #13
  147. Showcase ‘94 #10
  148. Action Comics (1938) #s 1013-1015
  149. Batman (1940) #s 512-515
  150. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #32-35
  151. Detective Comics (1937) #679-682
  152. Robin (1993) #11-14
  153. Nightwing: Alfred’s Return #1
  154. Batman: Vengeance of Bane II #1
  155. Action Comics (1938) #s 1016-1021
  156. Superman (2018) #s 17-22
  157. Superman: Heroes #1
  158. Superman: Villains #1
  159. Action Comics (1938) #s 1022-1028
  160. Superman (2018) #s 23-28
  161. Rom Spaceknight #s 20-29
  162. Power Man & Iron Fist (1978) #73
  163. Action Comics (1938) #1067
  164. Green Lantern (2023) #13
  165. X-Men From the Ashes Infinity Comic #2
  166. The Immortal Thor #8
  167. Batman and Robin (2023) #10
  168. Rom Spaceknight #s 30-31
  169. 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 2024
  170. Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 43
  171. Batman (1940) #516
  172. Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 44
  173. Batman (1940) #517
  174. Rom Spaceknight #32
  175. Batman/Superman (2019) #s 9-15
  176. Nameless #s 1-6
  177. Miracleman: The Silver Age #s 1-7
  178. Justice League (2018) #s 59-63
  179. Plastic Man (2003) #9, 20
  180. Batman (1940) #s 414-425
  181. American Flagg! (1983) #s 4-6
  182. Rom Annual #1
  183. Rom Spaceknight #s 33-34
  184. Invincible Iron Man (2022) #18
  185. X-Men (2021) #34
  186. X-Men From the Ashes Infinity Comic #3
  187. Batman (1940) #s 426-434
  188. Blade (2023) #s 1-9
  189. Fantastic Four (2022) #18
  190. Batman (1940) #s 435-442
  191. The New Titans #s 60-61
  192. Justice League (2018) #s 64-68
  193. Suicide Squad: Dream Team #s 1-3
  194. Blood Hunt #4
  195. Vengeance of the Moon Knight #6
  196. Rom Spaceknight #s 35-37
  197. Black Widow and Hawkeye #4
  198. Giant-Size Little Marvels #1
  199. Midnight Sons: Blood Hunt #2
  200. Spectacular Spider-Men #4
  201. Superior Spider-Man (2023) #8
  202. Hellverine #2
  203. Jackpot & Black Cat #4
  204. Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #2
  205. Star Wars: Darth Maul – Black, White & Red #3
  206. Symbiote Spider-Man 2099 #4
  207. Ultimate Black Panther #5
  208. Union Jack: Blood Hunt #2
  209. Wolverine: Madripoor Knights #5
  210. X-Men ‘97 #4
  211. X-Men: Blood Hunt – Magik #1
  212. X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse #2
  213. Blood Hunt #3
  214. Black Panther: Blood Hunt #2
  215. Justice League (2018) #s 69-74
  216. Justice League 2022 Annual
  217. Absolute Power: Task Force VII #1
  218. Superman (2023) #16
  219. Wonder Woman (2023) #11
  220. Titans (2023) #13
  221. Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #29
  222. Batwoman (2011) #0, 1-5
  223. Justice Society of America (2022) #10
  224. The Nice House by the Sea #1
  225. Web of Spider-Man (2024) #1
  226. Jean Grey (2023) #s 1-4
  227. Rom Spaceknight #s 38-39
  228. The Brave and the Bold (2007) #s 19-22
  229. Green Lantern (1990) #s 129-131
  230. All-New X-Men (2012) #s 1-11
  231. Rom Spaceknight #s 40-42
  232. All-New X-Men (2012) #s 12-14
  233. Uncanny X-Men (2013) #s 1-3
  234. Nightwing (2016) #116
  235. Uncanny X-Men (2013) #s 4-8
  236. Animal Pound #1
  237. Prez (1973) #1
  238. Rom Spaceknight #s 43-45
  239. Bootleg Spider-Man #1
  240. All-New X-Men (2012) #15
  241. Uncanny X-Men (2013) #s 9-11
  242. X-Men: Battle of the Atom #s 1-2
  243. All-New X-Men (2012) #s 16-17
  244. X-Men (2013) #s 5-6
  245. Uncanny X-Men (2013) #s 12-13
  246. Wolverine & The X-Men (2011) #s 36-37
  247. All-New X-Men (2012) #s 18-21
  248. Uncanny X-Men (2013) #14
  249. Prez (2016) #s 1-2
  250. Prez (1973) #2

Catching Up

“How’s your week been?” the message asked, entirely innocuously and genuinely; I was chatting to a friend on the work Slack and we’d been commiserating about something that had utterly failed to come together for reasons outside everyone’s control, and they asked the question. My first thought was to say, similarly genuinely, that I had no idea.

It’s become a running joke with friends to talk about how the way in which everything feels low key overwhelming at any given point these days; Jeff and I will check up on each other weekly and our calls are variations on, “Man, this week was a lot,” only for the other one to say something along the lines of, “Yeah, and wait until you hear about my week.” It’s not that we’re trying to outdo each other, as much as it feels as if things are just constantly, perpetually in flux and complicated. As the Scott Pilgrim blurb almost said, almost 20 years ago, “things just keep happening.”

How has the week been? It’s been full, no matter what week you’re aksing about. It’s had questions I’ve struggled to answer (increasingly so, since getting the new job), and it’s left me unable to take care of everything I needed to take care of — I now have a notebook where I made lists of all of these things that need to get done the next day and there’s at least one thing left off by the end of the week because who has the time — and it’s likely left me dizzy and dazed at the end of each workday while I struggle to get my head around everything… and, the strangest thing is, I think I might like it?

I know that’s counterintuitive and makes no sense. There’s something about the pace of it that feels curiously right, though, and almost enjoyable. Like something I’m learning, slowly but surely, to get on top of and master. There’s something about these weeks lately that I feel as if they’re teaching me some kind of skill that I can’t name, but want to understand and take advantage of. I can’t really explain what that means beyond that just yet, but that also feels part of the learning curve.

I get to the end of the week and feel exhausted. But it also feels like I’m getting closer to something in the process, whatever that may be. So it’ll do for now, no matter how tiring it is.

The Movies of May 2024

I think I might be missing something off this list; I’m half-convinced that I watched another movie between Self-Portrait — hi, indie art films on Mubi! — and Saturday Night Fever, but I’ll be damned if I can remember what it would have been. Of note in this list: The Velvet Underground really doesn’t shy away from Lou Reed being a dick, wonderfully; Oppenheimer may be a movie that wrestled me into submission purely through exhaustion, because I’m not actually sure that it’s good, but I found myself warming to it by the end, somehow; Saturday Night Fever, which I haven’t seen in decades — I think I saw it on TV when I was a teenager? — is very much not the movie I remembered it being, to its benefit. (I also wonder if the UK television version quietly worked the rapes out of the movie; I certainly didn’t remember them…)

The Comics of May 2024

Another month in which it looks like I read more than usual, but I’m not entirely sure that’s true; in fact, in the last half of the month, I arguably started reading less than I have for the past few months, but… well, again, the amount of crossovers between multiple series disguises that fact pretty considerably. (A strange thought is that I’ve read somewhere in the region of 100 issues of four different Superman titles in the past month or so; that’s a chunk of comics. Holy moley.)

  1. Superior Spider-Man (2023) #3
  2. Punisher (2023) #3
  3. G.O.D.S. #4
  4. Madwoman of the Sacred Heart Vol. 1
  5. Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles
  6. V for Vendetta #s 1-4
  7. Absolute Power Free Comic Book Day 2024 Edition #1
  8. Superman (1987) # 121
  9. Adventures of Superman (1987) #544
  10. Action Comics (1938) #731
  11. Superman: The Man of Steel #66
  12. Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #8
  13. Superman (1987) #s 122-125
  14. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 545-547
  15. Action Comics (1938) #s 732-734
  16. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 67-69
  17. Scream! (1984) #1
  18. V for Vendetta #s 5-6
  19. Adventures of Superman (1987) #548
  20. Action Comics (1938) #735
  21. Superman: The Man of Steel #70
  22. Energon Universe Free Comic Book Day 2024 Edition #1
  23. Superman (1987) #s 126-127
  24. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 549-550
  25. Action Comics (1938) #s 736-737
  26. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 71-72
  27. Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #9
  28. Superman (1987) #s 128-129
  29. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 551-552
  30. Action Comics (1938) #s 738-739
  31. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 73
  32. Superman (1987) #s 130-131
  33. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 553-554
  34. Action Comics (1938) #s 740-741
  35. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 74-76
  36. Superman (1987) #s 132-135
  37. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 553-557
  38. Action Comics (1938) #s 740-744
  39. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 74-79
  40. Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #10
  41. Avengers (2018) #s 14-17
  42. Blade: Vampire Nation #1
  43. Moon Knight (2021) #s 12-18
  44. Bloodline: Daughter of Blade #s 1-5
  45. Miles Morales: Spider-Man (2022) #s 10-12
  46. Power Pack: Grow Up! #1
  47. Power Pack: Into the Storm #1
  48. Power Pack (1984) #62
  49. Power Pack Holiday Special (1992) #1
  50. Nexus (1981) #1
  51. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 558-561
  52. Action Comics (1938) #s 745-748
  53. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 80-83
  54. Superman (1987) #s 136-139
  55. Avengers Inc. #5
  56. Incredible Hulk (2023) #8
  57. Spider-Boy #3
  58. Nexus (1981) #s 2-3
  59. Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #11
  60. Adventures of Superman (1987) #562
  61. Superman Forever #1
  62. Superman: Save the Planet #1
  63. Action Comics (1938) #s 749-751
  64. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 84-86
  65. Superman (1987) #s 140-142
  66. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 563-565
  67. Supermen of America (1999) #1
  68. Blood Hunt #1
  69. Doctor Strange (2023) #15
  70. Invisible Kingdom #1
  71. Hellblazer #85-89 (Eddie Campbell run and first issue of Paul Jenkins’)
  72. Action Comics (1938) #s 752-754
  73. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 87-89
  74. Superman (1987) #s 143-145
  75. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 566-568
  76. Superman: King of the World #1
  77. Superman 80-Page Giant (1998) #2
  78. Team Superman #1
  79. Free Comic Book Day 2024: Blood Hunt/X-Men #1
  80. Free Comic Book Day 2024: Ultimate Universe/Spider-Man #1
  81. Free Comic Book Day 2024: Star Wars #1
  82. Action Comics (1938) #s 755-760
  83. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 91-95
  84. Superman (1987) #s 146-151
  85. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 569-573
  86. Superman (1987) #s 152-153
  87. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 574-575
  88. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 96-97
  89. Action Comics (1938) #s 761-762
  90. Dead X-Men #1
  91. Superman: Y2K #1
  92. Superman (1987) #154
  93. Adventures of Superman (1987) #576
  94. Superman: The Man of Steel #98
  95. Action Comics (1938) #763
  96. The Death of Superman 30th Anniversary Special #1
  97. The Return of Superman 30th Anniversary Special #1
  98. Supergirl (1982) #20
  99. Bug! The Adventures of Forager #s 1-2
  100. Superman (1987) #s 155-157
  101. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 577-579
  102. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 99-101
  103. Action Comics (1938) #s 764-766
  104. Superman (1987) #s 158-159
  105. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 580-581
  106. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 102-103
  107. Action Comics (1938) #s 767-768
  108. Wolverine (2020) #42
  109. Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars: Battleworld #3
  110. Scream! (1984) #2
  111. G.I. Joe (1982) #s 35-37
  112. Superman (1987) #s 160-161
  113. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 582-583
  114. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 104-105
  115. Action Comics (1938) #s 769-770
  116. Superman: Emperor Joker #1
  117. Barda 2024 FCBD Special Edition #1
  118. Avengers Assemble: Alpha #1
  119. Avengers (2018) #63
  120. Avengers Forever (2021) #12
  121. The Realist HC
  122. The Realist: Plug and Play HC
  123. Invisible Kingdom #s 2-6
  124. X-Men (2021) #31
  125. Doctor Strange (2023) #12
  126. Thanos (2023) #3
  127. Captain America (2023) #6
  128. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – The Illyrian Enigma #s 1-2
  129. All-Star Superman #s 1-2
  130. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – The Illyrian Enigma #s 3-4
  131. Swords of the Swashbucklers #s 1-2
  132. Avengers (2023) #10
  133. Invisible Kingdom #s 7-8
  134. Invisible Kingdom #s 9-12
  135. Swords of the Swashbucklers #s 3-4
  136. Avengers (2018) #64-66
  137. Avengers Forever (2021) #13-15
  138. Avengers Assemble: Omega #1
  139. Superman (1987) #s 162-165
  140. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 584-588
  141. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 106-109
  142. Action Comics (1938) #s 771-774
  143. Green Arrow (2023) #12
  144. The Flash (2023) #9
  145. The Penguin (2023) #10
  146. Superman (1987) #s 166-167
  147. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 589
  148. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 110-111
  149. Action Comics (1938) #s 775-776
  150. Alan Scott: The Green Lantern #6
  151. Green Lantern War Journal #9
  152. Invisible Kingdom #s 13-15
  153. Swords of the Swashbucklers #s 5-12
  154. Nexus (1983) #s 1-3
  155. Fantastic Four (2022) #17
  156. Wolverine: Madripoor Nights #1
  157. Scream! (1984) #3
  158. Alien (2023 vol. 2) #4
  159. Sensational She-Hulk (2023) #5
  160. World’s Finest Comics (1941) #81
  161. Detective Comics (1937) #s 1062-1069
  162. All-Star Superman #s 3-4
  163. Detective Comics (1937) #s 1070-1080
  164. Superman (1987) #s 1-4
  165. Action Comics (1938) #s 584-587
  166. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 424-428
  167. Detective Comics (1937) #s 1081-1085
  168. Batman: Rebirth #1
  169. Batman (1940) #s 452-454
  170. Superman (1987) #168
  171. Detective Comics (1937) #756
  172. Adventures of Superman (1987) #590
  173. Superman: The Man of Steel #112
  174. Action Comics (1938) #777
  175. Superman (1987) #s 169-170
  176. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 591-592
  177. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 113-114
  178. Action Comics (1938) #s 778-779
  179. Superman (1987) #171
  180. Adventures of Superman (1987) #593
  181. Superman: The Man of Steel #115
  182. Action Comics (1938) #780
  183. Batman: Our Worlds at War #1
  184. Green Lantern: Our Worlds at War #1
  185. Young Justice: Our Worlds at War #1
  186. Superman: Our Worlds at War Secret Files & Origins #1
  187. Superman (1987) #172
  188. Adventures of Superman (1987) #594
  189. Superman: The Man of Steel #116
  190. Action Comics (1938) #781
  191. JLA: Our Worlds at War #1
  192. JSA: Our Worlds at War #1
  193. Nightwing: Our Worlds at War #1
  194. Wonder Woman (1987) #172
  195. Wonder Woman: Our Worlds at War #1
  196. Superman (1987) #173
  197. Adventures of Superman (1987) #595
  198. Superman: The Man of Steel #117
  199. Action Comics (1938) #782
  200. The Flash: Our Worlds at War #1
  201. Harley Quinn: Our Worlds at War #1
  202. World’s Finest Comics: Our Worlds at War #1
  203. Scarlet (2024) #1
  204. Superman (1987) #s 174-175
  205. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 596-597
  206. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 118-119
  207. Action Comics (1938) #s 783-785, 789-790, 801-805
  208. Batman (2016) #148
  209. Green Lantern (2023) #12
  210. Birds of Prey (2023) #10
  211. Action Comics (1938) #s 806-810
  212. Superman (1987) #s 179-180, 185, 189
  213. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 121, 133
  214. Adventures of Superman (1987) #611
  215. Action Comics (1938) #798
  216. Cobra Commander #5 
  217. Superman (1987) #s 177-178, 181-182, 186-187
  218. Superman: The Man of Steel #s 130-131
  219. Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 608-609
  220. Action Comics (1938) #795-796
  221. Batman (2016) #s 1-2
  222. Superman (1987) #226
  223. Action Comics (1938) #836
  224. Adventures of Superman (1987) #649
  225. Batman (2016) #s 3-4
  226. Batman: The Long Halloween Special #1
  227. Superior Spider-Man (2023) #4
  228. Transformers (1984) #1
  229. Batman (2016) #s 5-6, 9-10
  230. Superman (1939) #650-652
  231. Action Comics (1938) #837-842
  232. Batman (2016) #s 11-15
  233. Batman Annual (2016) #1
  234. Superman: New Krypton #1
  235. Superman (1939) #s 681-685
  236. Action Comics (1938) #s 871-874
  237. Supergirl (2005) #s 35-38
  238. Adventure Comics Special #1
  239. Batman (2016) #s 16-24
  240. The Flash (2016) #s 21-22
  241. Batman/Elmer Fudd #1
  242. Superman: Up in the Sky #s 1-6
  243. X-Force (2019) #49
  244. Alien: Black, White & Blood #1
  245. Incredible Hulk (2023) #9
  246. Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars: Battleworld #4
  247. GODS #5
  248. Daredevil (2023) #6
  249. Predator: The Last Hunt #1
  250. Guardians of the Galaxy Annual (2024) #1
  251. Spider-Man and the Secret Wars #s 1-4
  252. Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #s 1-4
  253. Archie Comics: Judgment Day #1
  254. Batman: Killing Time #s 1-3
  255. Batman: Killing Time #s 4-6
  256. Batman: One Bad Day – The Riddler
  257. Batman: The Winning Card (from Batman: The Brave and the Bold #s 1-2, 5, 9)
  258. Batman (2016) #s 33-36
  259. Falling in Love on the Path to Hell #1
  260. Action Comics (1938) #s 957-962, 1000
  261. Action Comics (1938) #s 963-966
  262. Batman (2016) #s 37-50
  263. Batman Annual (2016) #2
  264. Batman (2016) #s 51-85
  265. Batman Annual (2016) #4
  266. Batman/Catwoman #s 1-12
  267. Batman/Catwoman Special #1
  268. DC Pride 2024 #1
  269. Action Comics (1938) #1066
  270. Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #28
  271. Titans (2023) #12
  272. Nightwing (2016) #115
  273. Wonder Woman (2023) #10
  274. The Rampaging Hulk (1998) #1
  275. Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #s 1-4
  276. Final Crisis #1

How To Disappear Completely

A common subject in my therapy sessions is, unsurprisingly to anyone who knows me, my utter discomfort with being the subject of positive attention. This is, perhaps ironically, a situation that co-exists with my utter discomfort with the idea of being the subject of negative attention, so you can imagine how well I deal with being perceived in almost anyway beyond passing recognition — and even that makes me a little nervous, just in case.

I mention this because, when it was announced that I’d been named as the new editor of Popverse, there followed two or three days of people congratulating me, or saying that it was a great move on Popverse’s part, or similar sentiments, and it was the most uncomfortable thing in the world to me. It was something that I found myself entirely unable to acknowledge, never mind respond to, because anytime any of the social media mentions (or emails!) came into my vision, I folded in on myself in a vain attempt to disappear entirely from view, if not from the very concept of actually existing just to be on the safe side.

I knew, objectively, that this kind of attention was a good thing and that I should appreciate it and file it away for future humblebragging purposes, but I froze at even the first step of doing so; instead, I was just horrified by the very potential of people having any kind of opinion on me or my work and wishing that I could burrow into an alternate reality where that wasn’t the case.

All of this is to say: if you were one of those people and are now one of the people reading these words, I am sorry for not replying, and I do appreciate what you said, honestly; if my brain wasn’t wired quite the way it was, then I’d have been able to say that to you directly. As it is, I’m just going to blush and then step away quietly in the hope that we can all pretend that never happened in the first place. That shouldn’t be too hard, should it…?

On Elm Street

Let’s talk, for a brief second, about nightmares.

Up until about a month ago, I would have said that I didn’t have nightmares, or perhaps that, if I was having nightmares, at least I couldn’t remember them. It had, at that point, been years since I’d woken up with that unease or tightness around the chest and clouded confusion, and I felt reasonably grateful that, for all that my brain can be a contradictory and messy place at times, at least I wasn’t letting my sleep be ruined by it. And then, I got the new job.

It is, in retrospect, very funny to me that I had nightmares about the new position in the space between accepting the offer and actually starting. There was a four day window — time off that I’d already been scheduled for (part of it a weekend) — between the two things happening, and I was already spending it exhausted and sick, which meant that it was the perfect time for my subconscious to really take pleasure in transmitting what is, looking back, the most specific and shitty nightmares about the new job possible.

Reader, I had nightmares about not filling in spreadsheets properly. Moreover, I had those nightmares for multiple nights in a row.

There’s so much more about my new position to worry about than spreadsheets — there’s so much in life to worry about than spreadsheets — but for some reason, that was the thing that my brain kept coming back to: that I wasn’t updating editorial schedules properly, or that I was inputting the wrong information and ruining things for other people accidentally. Everything was centered around me doing spreadsheets wrong in some way, and that making life difficult for other people.

Only I would have nightmares where it’s not about me being in trouble, but me making things difficult for other people. Now we really know that my subconscious is playing dirty.

Sound Off

Every year, there comes a point at some time in the middle of Spring when I start wishing that it was a little bit warmer, just a little bit, because then it’d be time to sleep with the windows open once again. Portland Springs are mercurial, tricky things that like to pretend to be heating up only to trip into three more weeks of freezing rain, but each and every single year, there’s a time when I think, maybe we’re there, maybe I can start opening the windows now with such eagerness and anticipation that it’s almost tangible.

It’s not simply that fresh air is a wonderful thing, and something that I suspect will make me sleep better in some magical, indefinable and probably not actually true manner, although that’s certainly true. (The reality is, admittedly, that at least the first few times when I open the windows and it’s too early, I sleep worse because at some point I wake up because I’m so cold.) It’s an optimistic belief that sleeping with open windows will leave me more connected to everything happening outside the house, all the birdsong and nature and all the life in general; this sincere hippy-ish thought that has only grown in stature across the past few years.

Here’s the thing, though: I believe this every single year because I forgot how fucking noisy it actually is outside my house. This past weekend was the first few nights the windows were fully open, and it was terrible.

Part of that is because I live on the same block as no less than two bars and a handful of restaurants, which means that the weekend is the time when there’s a lot of shitty music being played very loudly right outside my window. Another part comes from the fact that neighbors, reasonably enamored of the weather, decided to invite friends over for a late-night private party, which meant even more shitty music and loud conversation essentially directly underneath where I was trying to sleep. A third element was the traffic, which included a number of people seemingly trying to recreate Fast and the Furious along the street where I live.

That first night, I was woken repeatedly by a bass drop and resultant cheer, a revving car, screams of recognition for some newcomer to the party, or the like. I’d just be slowly, slowly falling asleep, and then noise. Back awake.

I fell asleep eventually, exhausted and grumpy, only to wake up too few hours later to the sound of birdsong — the very thing I’d been looking forward to for weeks. I groggily opened my eyes and registered what I was hearing as it slowly started to sound correct in my head. “Shut the fuck up,” I whined, pointlessly.

Everything Was Still

For the first time in a long time, I found myself woken up by a nightmare the other night. I’m not going to share what the nightmare was, because (a) I don’t fully remember everything, and (b) what I do remember was less of the “oh no, a giant monster is hunting me how cartoonishly terrifying” and more of the “that emotional fault line I have in my heart because of relationship trauma is still there and the dream decided to wrench it open again a little bit, just for fun.” Which is to say: not for public consumption, sorry. The reason I mention it isn’t to be a tease for emotional sadists, but to share what it felt like after I woke up.

When I was younger, I remember waking up from nightmares and just essentially shrugging internally, turning back over and falling back to sleep. “That was annoying,” I’d more or less think, and then immediately move on. Apparently, that’s a skill I’ve lost. Instead, I lay there in existential turmoil, replaying what little bits I could remember of the dream as the memory decayed and fell apart around me. Worse yet, I had that moment of uncertainty whether or not what I’d dreamed was actually a dream or a memory in the half-awake haze, and spent an worryingly long time (it felt like) going, but that didn’t really happen, did it? It couldn’t have, but maybe it did. Did that happen? and dealing with a kind-of pre-emptive follow-through of how I’d feel if it had, in fact, been real.

During all of this, I was very aware of the stillness of everything around me — the lack of any noise or movement even outside the window, as if the entire world was lying there beside me, around me, stuck in that same uncertainty about what was real and what wasn’t, and what would happen next regardless. I was unmoving on the bed, in fear of what I’d just felt and what I’d hopefully imagined-as-opposed-to-remembered, and everything else seemed just as frozen as I was.

I thought to myself, it was really just a dream, it didn’t happen and no-one said any of that and I thought to myself, I wish I could just turn over and go back to sleep, but I’m not even feeling tired anymore, my brain won’t stop and it’s still the middle of the night. And then, I closed my eyes for a second and it was hours later, full sun outside and I’d forgotten even more details about the thing that seemed so all-encompassing what felt like just a minute before.