Flashes and Cables: Springsteen in Oslo, Art in The Order, and “The Sign” in your heart forever

faked by Thursday, December 6th, 2007

I was experimenting with calling these short little roundup posts “Chunks,” but that seemed to connote “blowing chunks,” which is gross and not exactly the image I want to promote, even when it’s fairly accurate, given the partly digested nature of the thoughts here. So, I’m playing with the Centro-Matic inspired “Flashes and Cables” now. Anyway! Here at semester’s end, I am only thinking in staccato bursts. To wit(less):

1. So look, any Bruce Springsteen concert is bound to be great. Still, if I’d been at the Oslo show on Tuesday and came home to find out via the Backstreets setlists page that I missed hearing “Backstreets” because some joker in the front row wouldn’t stop calling out for “Cadillac Ranch,” well, I’d be inclined to pay that joker a little visit. A friendly visit, to be sure. Do they drink coffee in Oslo? Maybe we could have gone for a cup of coffee. I would have asked if Steven Van Zandt slipped him a few kroner for his services, and I could have tried to make sure he understood that Bruce is very suggestible—it’s how we fans explain away every single video he’s done except the one for “Atlantic City”—and that his loose lips have affected the lives of thousands of Springsteen fans for the worse.

I would have paid for the coffee, which I think is very big of me.

2. The folks over at CSBG dig Khari Evans pencilling over Barry Kitson layouts in this week’s issue of The Order, the best comic that Marvel is publishing right now that I can think of off the top of my head. I’m not sure I agree with their assessment. I like Evans just fine, I hope he keeps getting work, and there’s nothing wrong with the art here on a purely technical level. But Kitson’s charming, almost retro style contrasted nicely with the grimmer or just generally more contemporary aspects of the book’s setting. Imagine that DC and Marvel stop publishing superhero comics in the late 60s and then someone decides to experiment with the genre again in 2007—without the burden of Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns or, hell, Identity Crisis: that’s what the first four issues of The Order feel like to me, and I mean that as high praise.

Another thing that made the book feel so distinct was the way that Matt Fraction’s scripts and Kitson’s art combined to make every issue saturated but never soggy with information—there is a whole lot of story in each of those early issues, but they are nonetheless instantly comprehensible on first read. Despite the fact that Kitson provides layouts on the new issue, some of that density of story is lost. Even though Evans has a fairly distinctive style, his art in this most recent issue has a darkness and weight to it that makes it feel more like a generic contemporary Marvel book. Someone in comments at CSBG suggested that the colors seemed off, which may be part of it, and not Evans’ responsibility; on the other hand, paging through the book again, I’m struck by how much more amply endowed the female characters look—Kitson’s gift for doing sexy but not over-sexualized female forms well suits the retro-futuristic feel of the book. Matt Fraction’s scripts, however, continue to shine—he’s as adept at juggling complex character interactions as he is at zinging one-liners (“Apparently Tim Burton sponsors a women’s golf team” made me grin).

In any case, you should still be buying The Order. (Late update and later update: Greg Burgas and Geoff Klock have similar reactions to Evans’s art.)

3. Now just try to resist this:

The Mountain Goats perform Ace of Base’s “The Sign” at ZOOP last summer.

PS: I probably would have been totally stoked to hear “Cadillac Ranch.”

9 Responses to “Flashes and Cables: Springsteen in Oslo, Art in The Order, and “The Sign” in your heart forever

  1. d-ashes says:

    I tried to resist (actually, the reaction was involuntary). And yet I persevered, and I have to say that the camera shaking at 2:56 from the foot stomping is quite inspiring.

  2. bulb says:

    I’m enough older that the one that flashes my cable is “FM” off Sweden. Just like I favor ABBA over Roxette or a-ha!

  3. brd says:

    Apart from the fact that the goat, like my children and most young adults, learned his usage of first person pronouns from Cookie Monster, I have to agree, very charming. Loved the signing and the B/W.

    By the way, what is Manga and why is there an entire section of it at Borders?

  4. Scott in Lexington says:

    A post that alludes to my favorite Centro-matic song = awesome.

  5. bulb says:

    Manga’s literal translation: whimsical pictures. basically Post World War II comics/cartoons suually printedin Telephonebook-sized magazines usually but not always in black and white, usually hand drawn, and covering a wide subject matter for both children and adults. Loosely speaking think of manga to print culture what anime is to tv/movie culture.

  6. brd says:

    Interesting. Thanks bulb.

  7. Vigil says:

    Wow. Coffee? I don’t know if I could practice that kind of restraint. But, then again, not a fan of Cadillac Ranch.

    I really, really, really want to read The Order, but finals suck. I have, however, worked on clarifying my thesis and have what I consider to be the coolest title ever: Die Batterdammerung.

    I finally caved and found a bunch of stuff by the Mountain Goats, and I should have listened to you earlier. Good stuff, sir.

  8. gorjus says:

    I am avoiding the Order. I just can’t pick up another team book! And I’m not reading a single Marvel title right now . . . although the constant praise for Mr. Fraction is intriguing.

    Picked up a host of “Legion ‘89/90/91” the other day—I’d never even read one issue—and was pleasantly surprised by the story and art (v. early Kitson). Worth a .50 box raid.

  9. bulb says:

    Fury you inspired this for better or 4 worse. I thought you might like today’s addenda courtesy of largeheartedboy’s blog. I believe you were there when Bat becaped and behooded JD made one of the appearances therein.