Home > Uncategorized > Recent purchases: Neil Gaiman’s 1602, Johnny Cash CDs, and 8 ROH DVDs (since RAW is unwatchable)

Recent purchases: Neil Gaiman’s 1602, Johnny Cash CDs, and 8 ROH DVDs (since RAW is unwatchable)

Hey, let’s write about stuff I bought recently rather than my recovery! YAAAAAAAAY!

I picked up the trade for Neil Gaiman’s “1602.” To remove confusion for the retarded, the trade is actually titled “Marvel 1602.” The premise is that the age of super-heroes (and mutants) dawned in Elizabethan England during the 17th Century rather than in the United States during the 20th Century. Problem is, things are getting chaotic, and forces at work are realizing that this ISN’T supposed to be happening. Sir Nicholas Fury is a former soldier and spy in service of her majesty Queen Elizabeth, Peter Parquagh is his young liege with an arachnid obsession, Matt Murdock is a blind traveling balladeer whose apparent handicap disguises dangerous superhuman abilities, and mutants are hunted as “witchbreed” and burned at the stake by the Inquisition.

Part of the fun is figuring out who is who. Some like Sir Nicholas Fury and Carlos Javier are pretty obvious, however most are not. Most of the joy, however is Gaiman being Gaiman (awesome). There are those who really hated this mini-series when it came out, mostly Marvel zombies who thought the guy who wrote Sandman would be writing traditional Marvel fare or some mega cross-over event where a bunch of shit happens that just gets written out two years later. Recommended whether you’re a Marvel comics fan or not (MAEVE).

I started writing a lengthy “Defense of 1602” based on criticisms I’d read online, which I may or may not finish. Who knows? I might finish it! STAY TUNED!

======================================

JOHNNY CASH

American V: A Hundred Highways – I think I already mentioned this before, but you should really do yourself a favor and pick up this CD. It’s all stuff recorded after June died, and is Johnny’s final work. His cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind” made me cry the first time I heard it, partially because it sounds like even Johnny’s getting choked up singing it. No joke. For those familiar with American IV, if you’re thinking of skipping out on this one because the covers he does on V aren’t as familiar as the ones he did on that album, you’re REALLY missing out. REALLY. Trust me on this.

Johnny Cash: Personal File – An old friend and John Cash (Johnny’s son) found tapes locked away marked “Personal File” from 1973. All of it is just Johnny, his guitar, and his stories. It includes a lot of songs Johnny fondly recalled as a child, material he wrote that was never released, and tons of other stuff. Many tracks include Cash talking about the song, and it’s sort of like VH1 Storytellers (except without all the pretentious bullshit that most artists would always go on and on about on VH1 Storytellers). Second disc is high on the religious stuff, but still a fascinating listen thus far. Still haven’t finished it. It’s two discs of 25 tracks each, what do you want from me?

======================================

My sister bought me a nice Armitron watch. I like it a lot, and the woman at the counter removed a link from it for me so it’d actually, you know, fit. She insisted on not removing another link because it might pinch, but I’m finding it’s still too loose for my liking – it slips up, down, and around my wrist sporadically. Upon further examination I’ve noted that there could definitely be another link removed without comprimising any discomfort that would occur while wearing it. I’m going to have my sister send me the warranty and a photocopy of the receipt, or go there and just hope that the woman who sold it to us is working the counter at that time. She seemed charmed enough by us to let the fact that I don’t have those items with me slide.

======================================

It’s officially gotten to the point where I can’t even watch RAW anymore. Instead, tonight I watched one of the Ring of Honor DVDs I recently purchased.

If you’re like me then you don’t have any interest in Vince McMahon on TV for fifteen minutes at a time two to three times a night and being the focus of a show, talented wrestlers being buried in male cheerleader gimmicks, HHH receiving oral sex under a table, men pushing forty (HHH & Shawn Michaels) trying to be cool by using juvenile behavior and failing, midgets baring their asses, a wild savage from…American Samoa (I shit you not), female wrestlers telling male wrestlers they swallow, poo dropping onto people from the ceiling, a top face with a tough-guy-from-the-streets white rapper gimmick who openly admits to growing up in a mansion (who you’re supposed to cheer), Randy Orton feuding with Hulk Hogan because he wants to fuck his young daughter Brooke (who inherited her father’s chin and none of his charisma), the Diva Search where braindead bimbos with tit implants show they have spunk and energy by jumping up and down and acting like retards, scripted promos that prevent a wrestler from fleshing out his own character (and as a result sounding forced and not getting over), and everything BUT good wrestling as a result of the retarded “WWE Style” that all workers in the company are forced to adhere to (which makes all the in-ring stuff completely monotonous). Yes, that was an awfully long run-on sentence, but without exaggeration it more or less sums up the last month or so of RAW.

There IS a solution, folks, and it’s not that other fed airing on Spike TV that pushes Jeff Jarrett (the guy who was mediocre at best in his prime which was over ten years ago) as their number one guy and World Champion. It’s called Ring of Honor, and I’ve been on a spending spree the past two weeks. You can purchase complete ROH shows on DVD at ROHWrestling.com (link takes you directly to the collection of complete shows).

I’ve become so dissatisfied that I’ve spent a hair over a hundred dollars on 8 different DVDs over the past week (ROHwrestling.com regularly does different sales so be on the watch). Here they are, and the ones I’ve watched so far have a brief description of why they’d be worth your money:
The Round Robin Challenge (3/30/02): Features an amazing match between Low Ki and American Dragon (Bryan Danielson). Worth the ten bucks you can buy it for at Coconuts or FYE.
World Title Classic (6/12/04): Features the first-ever championship match between CM Punk and then-champion Samoa Joe. Classic match. Also features a unique four-team “Ultimate Endurance Match” with elimination rules – first elimination is by submission only, second is a ‘scramble match’ (meaning tags aren’t necessary) and third is ‘anything goes.’ Awesome, awesome stuff.
Arena Warfare (3/11/06): Ring of Honor’s first-ever show in the former ECW arena. The CZW vs. ROH feud escalates (which is the best booked cross-promotional feud I’ve ever seen), Austin Aries vs. Matt Sydal, the debut of Irish Airborne vs. Sal Minauro & Tony Mamaluke (somewhat short by ROH standards but a really cool tag match), a GREAT ROH title match between ROH Champion Bryan Danielson and Alex Shelley where both show not only how great they are on the stick but with ring psychology as well, a fun Colt Cabana vs. Christopher Daniels match, and one of the most effective endings of a wrestling show I’ve ever seen in terms of getting you psyched for what’s to come.
Dragon Gate Challenge (3/30/06): Stars of the “Dragon Gate” promotion from Japan challenge the stars of ROH, and CZW makes yet another appearance to make the lives of ROH a living Hell. Features a fantastic BJ Whitmer vs. Jimmy Jacobs match (complete with one of the sickest spots I’ve ever seen), a really fun match pairing ROH Champion Bryan Danielson & Delirious (a masked man who speaks only in tongues and begins the match by taunting his opponents by singing the synth-line from Danielson’s theme “The Final Countdown” by Europe) vs. Jimmy Rave & Alex Shelley, a great Dragon Kid & Genki Horiguchi vs. AJ Styles & Matt Sydal match, and INSANELY entertaining Blood Generation (from Dragon Gate) vs. Generation Next (Aries/Strong/Evans) match, and a good grudge match main event between Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe.
Other shows I’ve gotten but haven’t watched yet:
Supercard of Honor 2-Disc Set (3/31/06)
The 100th Show (4/22/06)
Weekend of Champions: Night One (4/28/06)
Weekend of Champions: Night Two (4/29/06

You can also see highlights of shows, complete matches, and introductions to the Ring of Honor roster by going to ROHVideos.com.

Reasons you should watch Ring of Honor:
Good matches. Different styles, good use of ring psychology (for the most part), and stuff that doesn’t insult your intelligence.
Good booking. Feuds make sense. Feuds are built well. Feuds have pay-offs. End of story.
Entertaining managers who can cut promos for their wrestlers. Guys like Prince Nana from GHANA (who as a fun fact is actually Ashanti Prince who grew up in the US) and Julius Smokes show how completely clueless WWE is with the use of the few managers they have – there’s been this strange development in WWE over the past ten or so years of insisting every wrestler do their own mic work to put themselves over, however very few of them are even remotely good at it and it comes across bad. Guys like the two aforementioned ROH managers show how in mainstream wrestling, managerial characters are a lost artform that desperately needs to be rediscovered. Although admittedly, managers in the WWE like Armando Alejandro Estrada and Sean Daivari are good steps forward. Unfortunately, the latter is also a very good wrestler who got thrown into a managerial role because he’s too small. Since, you know, nobody under 6’3″ has ever gotten over or drawn money (that’s sarcasm, folks).
Actual Indy Talent. You know, unlike other indy shows that feature has-beens like Greg Valentine and The Honky Tonk Man trying to make a few bucks here and there. There are other exceptions, to be sure, but indy wrestling is plagued with that and most of them wonder why they can’t sell DVDs or draw more than 25 to 30 fans to a show. The guys in ROH for the most part are young, hungry for exposure, and never phone it in.
ROH Champion Bryan Danielson. Imagine a guy who can wrestle like Benoit and Malenko, except with personality and an engaging heel charisma. One of the things I love about him is when referees count to four and break a hold when he or his opponent is holding the ropes, and he responds by screaming “I have until FIVE!”
ROH Pure Champion Nigel McGuinness. A British wrestler who wrestles a fun British style…somewhat reminiscent of William Regal, except a little more high-impact on some of the stuff he does. Probably has the best heel persona of any guy I’ve seen in quite some time. He’s also hilarious as all get-out.
Colt Cabana. Hands-down the most charismatic guy on the indy scene. It won’t be too long until you see him (like CM Punk) picked up by WWE, however he doesn’t have the traditional physique required to have the E chase after him like a wild chicken. I’m sure once The E picks him up, which is only a matter of time, they’ll have no idea what to do with him just like 80% of their current roster (especially the young guys). Which is a shame.
Jimmy Rave. The only guy who is really and truly over as a heel in Ring of Honor. Though he’s not great on the stick (which is why he has Prince Nana to do the talking), his facials are great and he just comes across as a guy you REALLY want to hate. In a show of disrespect, fans always shower the ring with toilet paper (rather than streamers) to mock him, he acts like he NEVER expects it, throws hilarious temper tantrums, and it never gets old.
Valets who wrestle and can actually WRESTLE. The “Shimmer” division as they call it has some of the best female wrestling in North America, and puts women’s wrestling in other promotions to shame.
An actual tag team division. And it’s awesome.

To be fair, the negatives:
Production values pre-2005 are awful. It gets quite frustrating at times.
The commentating. It’s improved vastly in 2006, but stuff from ’02 to ’04 (with guys like Steve Corino and Simon Dean’s twin brother Donnie B talking non-stop in a piercing tone of voice) makes watching some of the stuff very trying.
Spottiness. Yes, at times, there are matches that can get very spotty. It rarely gets messy though, and it’s usually only one match on a card that gets to that point. Besides, I’ve always been of the mindset that spot-fests aren’t necessarily bad things to have on a card, since it always gets a crowd heated up for the rest of the night.
The crowd. There are three irritable elements to some of the crowds:
1. Overly-smarky. They’ve heard of a Japanese guy on the ‘net, so they chant his name and “this is awesome” despite the fact that the match has barely started (or even started at all).
2. The guys who’re always trying to yell stuff to be funny because they know they’re in a small crowd and it’ll pick up on the mics. And they never are, by the way. MORE NIGEL McGUINNESS LOVE – during a match with Delirious, he headbutted Delirious in the gut, and one of those guys (the same guy who always says stupid shit to try to be funny in an irritating gravelly voice) screamed “that’s using your head!” Nigel responded by setting Delirious up for a suplex, looking right at the guy, and sarcastically saying “that’s using your head HUH HUH HUH HUH HUH HUH.” Man, Nigel rules.
3. The guys who cant “this is awesome” at everything. Listen, it’s one thing to be enthusiastic, but not EVERYTHING is awesome and over-enthusiasm is annoying. Show some restraint. That being said, they’re not as bad as the TNA crowds in Orlando (who pop for EVERYTHING no matter how lame the shit is).
Some of the guys are overrated. Like Jimmy Yang, for instance. Not every guy in Ring of Honor is the greatest wrestler on the planet, although many ROH fans would have you believe otherwise. Another glaring example is BJ Whitmer – good talent, but not the great singles wrestler ROHbots want you to believe.
Dunn & Marcos. They seem like great guys. They have a lot of heart, they always try their damndest, and that’s their charm. That being said, they’re not a good tag team. At all. And I hate every match they’ve ever had.

There’s others, but the positives FAR outweigh the negatives. If you haven’t tuned on to Ring of Honor yet, please do yourself a favor and purchase a DVD. If you’re wondering which to purchase first, I suggest either “Kobashi vs. Joe” or “Dragon Gate Challenge” (going by the DVDs I’ve seen thus far anyway).

More later..

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,
  1. July 18, 2006 at 12:10 pm

    Hellz yeah I’ve read 1602! My brother was sending me issues of it from NYC in the mail to Siena. I really enjoyed it, even though I was super newbie when I was reading it. I knew enough, though, that I wasn’t completely lost. Wikipedia helped out, though I don’t know if I ever figured out who Virginia was.

    Did you read any of Josh Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men? That’s super fun.

    • July 18, 2006 at 8:39 pm

      I read his run, and yes, it WAS quite good. I thought the “Danger Room has sentience” was kinda goofy, but other than that it was fantastic.

      Virginia Dare was just Virginia Dare, historically the first English colonist born in the New World who is thought to have disappeared with everyone else from the Roanoke Colony (the one where the English returned to find it abandoned with only the word “Croatoan” carved into wood). For some odd reason one legend that she was killed while in the shape of a white deer, so Gaiman incorporated that and made her into a shape-shifter. Her presence in the story is more to establish that in this version of the Marvel (and our) Universe, the Roanoke Colony wasn’t abandoned (or whatever happened to it) in the late 16th Century, which Gaiman explains was due to the help of the “Rojhaz” character.

      • July 18, 2006 at 9:21 pm

        Ooh…that would make more sense. Because for all my Marvel Googling, I couldn’t find one Virginia Dare. Which, now that you mention it, is suddenly ringing a few more bells. D’oh. Don’t tell Jack Mack, he hates it when I don’t know my 16th century history. (…you think I kid.)

        I kind of got a kick out of the living Danger Room! It was totally cheese ball but there was something very…Whedon-esque about it. What I didn’t like was that Prof. X was suddenly some kind of villain about it. What the hell is up with making Prof. X a jack ass? (i.e. The movie: “I don’t need to explain myself to you, Logan!”)

  2. July 18, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    People didn’t like 1602? I thought it to be very good.

    • July 18, 2006 at 8:40 pm

      Some Marvel fans can be very fussy.

      • July 18, 2006 at 10:46 pm

        I think most comic book dorks are fussy. They’ll yiff over things that happened in X-Men in the 60’s or 70’s and compare them to things that happen today.

        Frankly, unless it’s a contained, short run story, I don’t even try to keep up with it. Hence Rising Stars and 1602 as the comics I’ve enjoyed most lately.

        (I use this icon because I’m a Deadwood geek.)

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: