The little hoops that life makes you jump through.

*Death’s Icy Kiss Dept: Traveling down the highway. The speed limit’s 65, so I’m doing 70. Two lanes for me to choose from’ I’m in the right. Someone else is coming up behind me on the left. I’m fiddling with the radio. I look up, and in the distance is an SUV. It’s attempting to park itself off to the shoulder.

But for some reason, it’s also going in reverse.

To be more exact, it’s going in reverse in a manner that suggests that the driver has never successfully operated a motor vehicle before, as the entire yacht-like structure is swiftly drifting out of the shoulder and back into the oncoming right lane. Where I am, doing 70.

The mind moves pretty frantically in situations like these - obviously, I’m not going to just be able to speed up and pass the damn thing out, since its bulk is filling up a quarter of the lane already. And it’s coming toward me. I can’t peel into the passing lane, since somebody else is coming up in my blind spot, trying to pass. At a total loss of what to do, I opt for the path of eminent obviousness.

I slam on the brakes as hard as I can. 70 to nothing.

My wheels roar like they shouldn’t be. I can feel the steering wheel destabilizing under my hands, pivoting back and forth and resisting my grip as I hear the rubber on the concrete below me. I have a lot of books in the back seat of my car - I’m too lazy to take them into my apartment. They all tumble forward (remember to buckle up, kids!), and their force is like thunder behind me as the car in my blind spot roars past in the left lane. I grip the wheel and turn onto the dividing line, just in time to avoid the SUV, still merrily drifting into the oncoming lane going backwards.

Smoking my way past, I try to catch a glimpse of the driver, but I can see nobody.

If there’d been someone directly behind me in my lane as well as the left one, a collision would have been guaranteed.

The obstacle now behind me, I speed back up and hope my muscles won’t numb on me from their tensing up. Another car, probably a ways behind me in the left lane, has caught up and passes me out as I continue my acceleration. Instinctively, I look into the vehicle’s window. The passenger, an elderly man, looks directly into my eyes, having probably seen the whole event from safely behind.

His arm is resting out the window. He makes a fist and knocks on the side of his car as I watch him pass..

Good luck.

*And it’s a good thing I didn’t die in a hurricane of gasoline fire and horrible, twisting metal, or I’d never be able to read these fine back-issues I purchased!

I filled in a lot of gaps today, which I didn't really expect to do. For example, I finally got one of the big missing pieces of my Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely library filled up - Vertigo's 1997 Weird War Tales #3 (of 4), which features an 9-page short story by the All Star Superman and Flex Mentallo team. It's titled New Toys, and it's basically Toy Story crossed with Paths of Glory, as action figures and dolls fight a meaningless war against one another, executing their own for desertion and the like, unaware that they are but pawns before forces they cannot comprehend - the whims of childish style. Or is it something more sinister? The art really sells it, unblinking, frozen plastic expressions locked in approximations of horror and madness. And if nothing else, Morrison and Quitely beat Team America: World Police to the explicit-sex-without-naughty-bits punch by many a year. It's worth finding, and there's also some excellent art by George Pratt in a Paul Jenkins-scripted story elsewhere in the issue.

I also managed to score the Bratpack/Maximortal Super Special #1, one of the uncollected bits of Rick Veitch's never-completed King Hell Heroica project, a nastily satirical history of superhero comics which included the books Brat Pack (yes, it's spelled with two words in its own collection, and as a single word in this Special) and The Maximortal among its projected five volumes. The Super Specials would eventually add up to form the fifth and final volume, while also filling in the gaps between the other four books in the series (The Maximortal being the first, and Brat Pack being the fourth, though the latter was actually created first - books 2 and 3 were never begun), though only two of them were ever completed, and now only exist as loose issues. The clerk patted the book as I checked it out, assuring me that it was "very interesting work." If it's anything like the two completed volumes, it'll be kind of scattershot and way over-the-top in violence and general spit 'n vinegar, but there'll be flashes of genuine greatness.

Maybe the most interesting thing about Veitch's Heroica is how the cruel early bits of it (it was begun in 1990, immersed in the post-Watchmen/The Dark Knight Returns comics landscape, though Veitch cites the underlying exploitive nature of the superhero comics industry as his main inspiration) so smoothly drift into the reconstruction mindset eventually forwarded by the like of Alan Moore - whose Supreme Veitch would contribute significantly to. And it's worth noting that Moore's initial 12-issue Supreme storyline features some rather pronounced similarities to The Maximortal toward its conclusion... I wonder if Veitch had anything to do with that? Actually, considering Veitch's acknowledgement of Moore's influence on formulating bits of the story in the back of this Special, it might be the other way around.

And speaking of the Magus, I also rounded out my collection of Avatar's Alan Moore's A Hypothetical Lizard comics adaptation. Did the fourth and final issue of that ever come out? I don't think it's ever been released - feel free to help me out if I'm wrong.