Gosh, I don't have a lot of time for this.

*Short today.

*I'll cop to being amused by this short feature at The Onion AV Club, nominally a list of villains unlikely to turn up in future Superman movies, though the actual content focuses mainly on the political concerns of various eras of the comics, all of them tackled in a doggedly direct manner, perhaps somewhat similar to that of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (it's been a long time, maybe I'm misremembering); surely the $300 million (or over) Superman Returns will be keeping its aesthetic glossy and its social commentary under the cape. But silly as these old comics (and movies) are, there's a certain heart-on-their-sleeve appeal that stands out as oddly affecting to me in these days of expounding on the veiled sociopolitical implications of the latest big screen special effects smash. So often there seems to be little examination of value, and plenty of hollow political value-twirling. Tom Spurgeon has a nice little piece up on what he detects as "agenda-making and masked dialogue" concerning not only the coverage of the latest films, but the current conversation as to comics events as well.

Oh hell, maybe I'm just hankering for the return of Mark Pillow.

*My current favorite comic in the world: issue #2 of the Gilbert Hernandez-edited pamphlet-format anthology series Measles, which was published by Fantagraphics from 1998-2001. There were eight issues in total. It was intended as an all-ages showcase for assorted creators, including Hernandez himself, brothers Jaime and Mario, plus Steven Weissman, Sam Henderson Rick Altergott, Jim Woodring, Peter Bagge, Ariel Bordeaux, Johnny Ryan, Joost Swarte, and Lewis Trondheim. Quite a lineup, though it's really only one story that puts issue #2 over the top for me.

It's this great six-page The New Adventures of Venus story by Beto, in which the young title heroine and Aunt Fritz wander around a desolate old sci-fi themed amusement park, dressed in costumes for the full effect. The rest of the (sparse) crowd is in plain attire, but that doesn't quash Venus' and Fritz's fun as they activate aged talking attractions, and peek into weathered novelty houses to admire alien sculptures gone to seed. It's all really a marvel of atmosphere, Hernandez's skies overcast and grass always blowing - the reader can smell the storm coming in, even as little Venus extracts perfectly honest fun from beaten-down old things. But it's not that she's too young to see the rot - as her mother remarks at home, "Actually, when I was little that place made me so sad." It's just her personality. And you need the place to play off her personality - the story is primarily dedicated to evoking the feeling of being somewhere, and allowing the reader to plug in their own feelings and experiences to play off of what little is provided by the characters. And Hernandez's craft is too perfect to allow the delicate tone of the piece to tip too far any one way. It's all what you take out of it.

Yeah, just a really top-flight short. That's the kind of thing I dig through bargain bins hoping to find. I got that book for a quarter, and it's pleased me to no end...