So Dark Agnes is a Robert E Howard character. I’ve actually never read the three original stories she appears in, in part because they were published about 40 years after his death & a lot of the stuff in that era was really loosely authored by him with them being expanded fragments by various weaker authors. But some research shows the first two stories of Dark Agnes are real Howard stories, so I’ll have to check if I have them already in any of my Howard collections. Doing my little bit of research, the character is conjectured to be based on his girlfriend Novalyne Price, but I’m not particularly inclined to believe it & with this being a French historical piece I feel like maybe it was some kind of flipping on the head of some of the erotic French poetry he was a fan of with the story of Agnes killing her bridegroom rather than giving herself to him. The stories are told in first person of point of view, which people want to make a big deal about but I think is a natural experiment for an author (people forget that he did various literary experiments like a Conan piece told from the point of view of a soldier serving under him or the bizarre Conan police procedural piece). I also think these stories might be where the folks trying to push the agenda of Howard as a proto-feminist came from, but I am pretty certain that is revisionist history.
So anyway, on with the comic. This comic isn’t for me. There’s nothing technically wrong with it (though I don’t like the coloring of most modern comics & this suffers from that), but I feel the market is for fans of female empowering young adult fiction & the trappings of a monthly Marvel comic don’t lend themselves to that market & this just ends up not working for me. I think it might translate better as a manga style book. I don’t know, without the Robert E Howard connection I never would think about buying it in the first place & I haven’t been too excited by most of the Conan comics for a while so I probably should just go back to re-reading the source material & stop being frustrated anyhow.
So I was late to the party hearing this album. The buzz on it wasn’t nearly as big as the previous Post Pop Depression (which is excellent) & since that one was heralded as his final album I kinda figured it was & wasn’t looking out for a new one. I think I own every CD Iggy Pop has ever officially released, so I guess you could say I am a fan. That said, it’s all because I think the first Stooges album is so incredible (people assume I’m a Raw Power or Fun House guy, but those albums have never been super special to me) & I admit that a lot of albums aren’t solid all the way through. That said, one album that has always stuck with me fondly has been Avenue B (I think it’s from 1999 & no one seems to have any memory of it, but maybe part of that was them choosing “Nazi Girlfriend” as the single) & I feel this is the sequel to it. This is not Iggy trying to be 22 again or remembering his glory days. This is Iggy as some kind of poet & lounge singer embracing his age with weird ambient structures & jazz backing him up. It actually reminds me a lot of the band Rllrbll that I like enough that I put out several of their records. Anyway, I’m putting a couple video links below, one to my preferred single & one song that I guess is an out take that is pretty amazing. I hope you dig them all as much as I do. I would suggest you to follow Best in Nashik for more updates and information.
It’s not just me, is it? The idea of The Punisher in outer space sounds like it could be a lot of fun. I still think I’m right — it could be a lot of fun. The problem is it’s not. The art is a weird style that kinda reminds me of Alex Ross back when he did Terminator for NOW Comics & I think I prefer it to a lot of the coloring & artwork in modern comics. This tries to cram in a lot of unnecessary cameos that just serve to interrupt the story & the big bad motivations are completely forgettable or unrevealed (I can’t even remember if they were revealed!). Just go back & re-read the 1986 Punisher limited series instead. The bonus book here makes no sense as an add on, but is fun & a bit of what I was hoping for. It’s told as a conspiracy news show story debunking the existence of Galactus as a hoax from The Fantastic Four called Galactus: The Real Story & I’ve seen it in dollar bins on occasion & I’d say it’s worth a dollar.
So I am a fan of The Dark Knight Returns & Frank Miller & while I thought DKRIII was fine, I had no memory of it & was excited to see Miller back in this universe of the dystopian future Batman. So I guess I’d forgotten Batman died & been replaced in DKRIII & I’m generally fine with that. The art is by Grampa instead of Miller & it really hearkens to Miller’s Lone Wolf & Cub style & is genuinely beautiful. But I had some big problems with this book. The whole thing about the DKR world is it takes place 30 years or what have you in the future in an Orwellian type world & while I get that would put it in the present day, the fact is it works best in the near future & bringing it to the current day seems silly to me. I get that it’s really popular to beat on Trump, but having Trump team-up with Joker & Darkseid seems dumb & lazy & safe. For me DKR is about Miller experimenting & doing crazy panel design & telling dark stories that are true to the spirit of the characters & this doesn’t do that. I’m still hopeful that this world is expanded on, but I hope this installment is ignored as a mis-step going forward.
I hope all is going well for you in the new year. As you may have already heard, we are doing our Droneuary series again with a new drone piece each day by a different artist each day for as long as we can go.
A lot more coming soon. Thanks for your interest & if you want to be removed from the mailing list, please just let me know.
Brian John Mitchell www.silbermedia.com
PO Box 883
Sanford, NC 27331, USA
Droneuary Line-up (band, day of the year, track title)
Discord 1 Out of Reach
Bodies That Matter 2 Are We Weird Enough?
CHANGES TO blind 3 Switellsbane Ploice Vairching
Ocean in a Bottle 4 Holding Hands Falling into Saturn
Electric Bird Noise 5 live at the spiritual center for the creative and sonically inspired 3-16-19
Droneroom 6 The coyote adrift in the unfamiliar
CNSNNT 7 Space To Breathe
Llarks 8 Swim
The Gribshnobler 9 Versatile Solutions for Modern Living
Determinist? 10 live in a rented room at the rehearsal factory
Fornever 11 Hum
Subscape Annex 12 Acephalia
Tuesday Nights in Havana 13 Theme for a Tuesday (Upon Meeting Buddha in the Drag Pit)
Grand Kali Ma 14 Don’t Shortchange The Ferryman
Baptizer 15 Serotonin Reuptake
slicnaton 16 Unapologetic
Thorn1 17 Snow Covers Everything at Least Six Months in a Year
Premature Burial 18 Approach
ShieldEyesFromLight 19 Ís
This Is What I Hear When You Talk 20 A Year With A Lost Heart
Dole & Megalos 21 Durge Rising
Green Light Cameras 22 Dividing by Zero (Soundtrack #2)
Darryl Blood 23 Harborium
Doors In The Labyrinth 24 The Black Rabbit of Inlé II
Wodwo 25 Here Is Your Pasture Flecked with Pink
remst8 26 Respite v1.33
Yellow6 27 Searching for Duane
Maria Pastora 28 SALVINORIN
Nonconnah & Her Kentucky Playboys 29 Untitled Moment (For Kevin Apuzzio)
Fraticornicos 30 Realidad Paralela de Pasillos Mohosos
The Switchblade Kid 31 The Agonies of Love Destroyed Her
Robert Poss 32 Drone Against Hope
Beard Closet 33 Some Pussyfooting
X-Bax 34 Goodbye Jakarta
Jon Lodge & Shane De Leon 35 Quack Back
Gargle 36 Shuttered Windows (Original Version)
Xiu Xiu 37 Never Enuff
Heavy For The Vintage 38 Climate
Wave Assembly 39 Forgotten Outpost
The Sand Rays 40 Dromedary
Tristan Welch 41 The Clouds Are Thick And I’m Sick Of The Sun
Sound_00 + Lefterna 42 Collab 42
Philip Polk Palmer 43 When the Veil Burned
If Thousands 44 In Mind
Mykel Boyd 45 ?
80′s Horns 46 God Bless America
EVQ 47 Expansion Chamber
80 lb. Test 48 Winter Clouds in Winter Trees
Trouble Salad 49 Cavity Claw
remst8 vs CXPA 50 Mariana Trench v1.16
Eras 51 Venom Mezzanine
Zaahj 52 Glean from Which Eye
Instant Movie Combinations 53 Snow Spider Realm
Treyverb 54 Twin Velvet (Live at The Spiritual Center for the Creative and Sonically Inspired 11-29-2019)
litmus0001 55 From Cloud to Sea
Fabio Keiner 56 SilverDrone
Too Tired to Say Anything 57 The Ludic Game
I hope all is well & that you are off to a great 2020. If you haven’t already seen it, we have launched Droneuary 2020 & you can hear & download all the new stuff on our Bandcamp page & see the daily releases as they come out ( http://silbermedia.bandcamp.com ) or check out the series on Spotify ( https://open.spotify.com/user/silberspy/playlist/45NXvsMgDQ2c9a0rB7LK0G ). We have about 55 pieces in so far, so we’ll see if we pass the 85 we got in last year. It has been a real honor to see the series generate so much interest from the artists involved.
As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t really been updating the main Silber website lately. I do plan to update everything eventually, but more traffic was going to Facebook/Bandcamp/Twitter so I’ve had those as the focus even though I personally wish the main site was the center of all things. Time is hard to come by around here lately, so I’ve had to pick & choose a bit more than I’d like as far as what to cultivate.
Recently we have started giving out free Bandcamp download codes on Twitter ( https://twitter.com/silberspy ). I’m mentioning this not only so you can make sure you are following Silber on Twitter & can score some free downloads for yourself, but to offer you twenty codes of your favorite Silber release to post to Twitter (or other social media) for your friends. Just let me know your favorite release & I’ll send you some codes to share.
About a week ago we had a first recording session for my revitalized no wave project The Undermasks (also first full band rehearsal, despite us having had a show a few months back). I have yet to listen to the recordings, but it was rewarding for me to be in a more band type setting than I’ve been in since 2011. It’s nice to go in with vague ideas & watch them get transformed by collaborators & we’ll see if my initial vision stays with the band or if it transforms into it’s own thing. The lineup is currently me on guitar/drums/vocals, Martin Newman (Goddakk/Plumerai) on guitar, & Rowland Yeargan (Konbanwa/Sprtsmanship) on guitar/drums. We’ll see if an EP/album is ready for the next newsletter.
As far as what’s coming up, new material from Whalt Thisney, Chvad SB, Vlor, Remora, Small Life Form, Space Sweeper, Phillip Polk Palmer, The Undermasks, & Luka Fisher. The launch of a new field recording series in April. Of course I hope to get the new issue of QRD done sooner than later, but I’ve been saying that for six months now & just maybe some new comics.
Thanks for your interest & support over all the years, it really means a lot to me. Spread the word about the music if you can & if you want to be removed from the mailing list just let me know.
We do have a new compilation out that we’ve been working on for several years called Symphonic Plunderphonic that is plunderphonic pieces built from classical music varying from total transformation to fairly true to the spirit of the original material. You can check more material at bridge. It’s available as a free download on Bandcamp. https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/album/symphonic-plunderphonic
As far as what’s coming up, new material from Whalt Thisney, Chvad SB, Vlor, Remora, Small Life Form, Space Sweeper, Phillip Polk Palmer, & Luka Fisher. The launch of Droneuary 2020 (a new drone piece by a different band each day starting January 1, we’ll see how long it will go this year). Of course I hope to get the new issue of QRD done sooner than later, but I’ve been saying that for six months now.
Thanks for your interest & support over all the years, it really means a lot to me. Spread the word about the music if you can.
So I feel like everybody in my age range knows of this comic, but somehow I don’t know anyone who has actually read it. Even my friend Jason Young of Gutter Trash who has Batman as his favorite character said he’s owned it for years & has yet to read it. I think part of the issue is the price point on it was pretty high at the time, published at an artbook price of $24.95 in 1989 when comics cover prices were typically $1.75. I always had a certain interest in it, but not at $25 & I recently stumbled on it for $3 (which is a dollar less than a current issue of Batman on the stands, so I picked it up).
So I was a fan of the comic Shatter (the first major computer drawn comic) & this came out 4 years later & it’s hard to tell if this was directly influenced by it or it was just natural for early CGI comics to have a dystopian cyberpunk/Blade Runner edge. It’s a fun quick read that stands alone & works for anyone with the smallest amount of Batman background knowledge & might even work without it as it is set 50 years in the future with a new person taking up the Batman mantle as a Joker computer virus takes over the city. The art is interesting as well as highly dated & you can see the technological limitations in it with larger panels ending up less detailed. In the end, if this sounds like it’s worth checking out to you, it probably is either as a stand alone Batman tale or a relic of 30 year old computer art. A couple pictures below.
I started listening to Swans in high school with their album The Burning World with its acoustic guitars & violins & cover of a Kansas song that is not really indicative of what folks associate with the band, but as a goth kid I loved it. Exploring the back catalog with Cop & Children of God as well as the side projects Skin & World of Skin I fell more in love with the band & by the time The Great Annihilator came out they were my favorite band & as I interviewed bands for my zine QRD I would ask them their favorite Swans song & in issue 7 I scored an interview with Jarboe & we had a correspondence for a few years & she collaborated on a Small Life Form track with me a couple years later & I interviewed Michael Gira a couple times years later as well as a few other folks who’ve been involved with the band over the years. But at some point in life I started listening to Swans less, in part because they reminded me of some dark spots in my life & pulled me back to it. So even though they are still in my top band list & without Michael Gira as an example of someone significantly older than me still struggling to make good music that so relatively few care about I probably couldn’t have continued working on art myself, I haven’t really listened to them much in the past ten years. Still when I heard about this book I was super interested, as I have been a fan of the oral history style books (paragraph long quotes from interview subjects put in order to make a narrative) ever since reading Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk as a teenager & as I said, Swans are still one of my favorite bands.
So there are a lot of legends about Swans (like Gira cutting off his little finger & selling it to a fan for $10,000) & this book doesn’t attempt to make the legends greater & often explains the origins of them & debunks them. I was surprised by the amount of stories I hadn’t heard before & in fact the story of why the original guitarist got kicked out of the band (for wanting to be more improvisational & jazz oriented) inspired me to re-start my no wave project that was somewhat of an homage to early Swans, also it made me hear how the first EP could be considered avant jazz through a rock lens (especially if you listen to the original pressing – which you can find a rip of on YouTube). I also found pretty interesting the question of, “is Swans a band or a project?” that Jarboe brought up & where that answer is not just for Swans, but for most bands with a single dominant voice in them an interesting one & the question that rises from it of, “how do you keep collaborators?” So lots of interesting stuff here & a lot of focus on the early days & while I would have liked some more stories from the Angels of Light era & more about the recording processes there’s a good chance it’s more accessible & interesting to the average fan as it is. So if you are a Swans fan or even just interested in reading about NYC rock history or an artist trying to survive for 40 years, this is worth checking out.
Full disclosure – Nick Soulsby reached out to me & had a complimentary copy mailed to me before I got around to ordering it, thanks Nick for both my copy & all your hard work!
So I first started reading Grendel when I was 9 with issue 10 of the original run. Sex, violence, flying cars, & a kabuki werewolf – so maybe not age appropriate, but no more so than favorite movies of the time like Terminator & Dawn of the Dead. Having read the comic pretty much as it sporadically has come out over the past 35 years has not been as frustrating to me as it probably is for a lot of people because the original Comico stories are pretty hardwired into my brain. There’s a lot of backstory & a lot of influential things to me about the series. First off, when I started reading it the Pander Brothers were drawing it & they were the first artists that really were doing something different that drew me in to accept things outside of the typical mainstream comic style, so I am forever grateful for that influence on me. Also a few issues later there was a run where each page was a series of minimalist thumbnails with a lot of text which was a huge inspiration point for my matchbook sized comics. As far as what Grendel is about, it starts out a story of a mobster & his rise to power followed by a religion following him after his death & becoming the only structure for society after an apocalypse. That said, that storyline hasn’t been looked at for about 20 years, going instead with comics about the original Grendel (Hunter Rose) who died before even I started reading the books. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some great books in that time (notably Grendel: Black, White, & Red), but that whole time I’ve been waiting to see the story continue & now it does. Grendel Prime, the cyborg warrior built as a bodyguard & nanny for the world emperor’s son is called back after a hundred years of solitude & asked to take a ship with DNA & cloning machinery to outer space to populate a distant world with the seeds of the royal family before the earth destroys itself. Very much an homage to early Heavy Metal (e.g. Den by Richard Corben), but still Grendel & I’m looking forward to the story & hope it’s not a long wait for the next story arc after this one finishes. Recommended if anything about this sounds interesting to you.
Also I feel I’d be remiss to not mention how weinery the space ship looks.