Just trying to give a little beak service to the hawkman. #talonsout




Well looky here… A real fucking post for a change. Sorry, friends, it’s been a busy summer thus far, and the quality content has suffered, I know.

But what a post you! And for me, in particular, because I get to talk a little bit about what may be the brightest, keenest, coolest title for the superhero of superheroes — SUPERMAN — that exists on the DC imprint —


I am talking, of course, about Grant Morrison’s seminal Supes treatment: All-Star Superman.


The series ran from 2005 to 2008, and was the brainchild of Morrison, and artist Frank Quietly, allegedly inspired at a San Diego Comic Con many years ago when they saw a cosplayer outside of the main hall gone ‘full Supes.’ But this guy was chillin’ righteously on a nearby bench.


“He looked totally relaxed,” Morrison is quoted saying. “And I suddenly realized, that’s how Superman would sit. He would be totally chilled.” … “If nothing can hurt you, you can afford to be cool.

“Like, up, up and away, or whatevs.”

What manifested, then, was this twelve issue repackaging of the full breadth of Superman mythos, but in a series of pared-down tales that capture both the character’s energy and power, but personal struggle and humanity. Coupled with Morrison’s writing, which, here, more so than any other title he’s helmed, is not only  that is snappy and fun. Although it was frequently pegged as “alternative,” referring to this as “alt-Superman,” I feel, is reductive and doesn’t really get to the heart of what makes it so good.

It’s got everything you know you love about Superman, and even you some of what you didn’t.

And all this — vamping on Morrison’s obvious brilliance — is to say nothing of the contribution of Quietly’s soothing visual landscape to the All-Star Superman experience. I don’t feel like there’s been a comic yet where I’ve referenced the art, which is *sad* considering that it’s probably three-quarters of the medium. Quietly’s art seems to possess an inherent sense of Zen, a sort of childlike simplicity that’s both disarming and, when used as it is in All-Star Superman, unexpected when it’s wielding the galaxy-spanning gravitas of a Superman story.


Every page captures both the Superman you recognize, but also one you don’t. All-Star Superman encapsulates this beloved and illimitable character, and then somehow manages to refine him. With each successive panel, it’s like it seems to hone Superman down more and more to the very essence of every his every aspect. Finally, he is depicted here for our modern age as, I can only presume, he was always meant to be.

I can’t suggest this Superman comic to be quintessential, because, sorry, all the facts aren’t in and, frankly, what I’m learning is that the ‘Caped One’ is an elusive subject to make both current and relevant.

Regardless, this is such a fun read, useful and proficient in all the ways a comic book should be, but hip, in a way that they almost never are.





Today is my birthday.

Now, I didn’t wait until today to post because it’s my birthday. I waited because the week got away from me, Friday got away from me, and the weekend got away from me, and then, suddenly, I’m here. But, in my defense, I am here, now, sitting alone in the living room of our house at three in the morning, and, in order to justify the maintenance of the blog by posting once a week, will post about my birthday.

What about my birthday?

I don’t hate them — certainly not the ceremonial aspect of them. I just don’t look forward to them, because it means I’m getting older.

I’m not ready to get older. I’m not ready to die. Birthdays mark another year past, another year with a long list of ambitions undone.

But, that’s my bad, not getting older’s, I guess.

For some reason this makes me think of a brief story about a tattoo I got when I was living in Chicago.

See, I’m a leo — proudly, so — and I’d seen this image of a lion head on the L Train one afternoon at Fullerton.


I was so taken with it, I took out a piece of looseleaf paper and traced the outline and filled it in with pencil.

I took it to a woman who did tattoos out of her house in Humbolt Park. She was so pleasant, and actually looked like she should be a librarian, dressed in cardigans and broaches, but yet you could see the smears of ink on her arms peaking out from underneath the cuffs.

She would tattoo whatever you wanted, no judgement — as most artists do. And I handed her this piece of paper, with the lion’s head on it, and said, “This.” And she gave me a look, and said, “This?”

I said, “Yup.”

Several weeks later I was sitting in the living room of an apartment I shared with two roommates, leafing through a copy of the Sunday Tribune, and I came across a full page ad for The Lion King: The Musical, coming to the Cadillac Theater downtown that month.

And there it was — the lion.

My lion.

It was the marketing image for The Lion King: The Musical, and I hadn’t realized it — bold, black, and brazen, etched permanently into the meat of my calf.

Over the years, when I’m in shorts, I get comments and questions about it all the time. Once, in the Paris Metra, I was practically accosted by a Frenchman who announced, “Simba! Simba” as he slapped my leg.

I’m not self-conscious about it anymore, because the older you get, even though the act itself of aging is hard, the smoother youthful errors blend behind you into just living, the sum total of tragedies and triumphs that we don’t have as much control over as we hope.



BELCAMPO MEAT CO. 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

It’s been a bit, and my burger rampages through the streets of Los Angeles are getting a little backlogged, as are my arteries. But, shit man, I can’t let a little by-the-book cardiac arrest stop me from eating freely every last burger in this fair city.

Therefore, here’s Year of the Burger stop number four: renowned as much for the quality of their burgers as they are for the quality of the cow they cut those burgers from, raised in futile luxury on a 25,000 acre farm at the base of Mt. Shasta.

The founders of Belcampo Meat Company control every aspect of the mouth-watering supply chain, because, in addition to owning a Northern California franchise, they have three hip counters, restaurants, and/or butcheries at three very hip locations right here in LA — one in Santa Monica, one on West 3rd, and one situated prominently near the middle of Grand Central Market — all provided by the meat that’s cleaved, treated, packed, and shipped from said Belcampo Farm.

Let’s fillet the sirloin on this beast, shall we?

My partner-in-burger, SM, and I visited the location downtown at GCM, so details herein will be germane to that location —

I recommend you hit the Market on a weekday evening, right before closing time. Parking will be easy, the crowds will be light. And, although you might encounter a tweaking blathering transient or two, this burger — or BER-GERZ, asitwere — is well worth it.


Belcampo’s stainless steel counter snugs comfortably against a far wall, flush against its accompanying glass display case of famed cuts. There’s a small short-order window for their burgers and Bone Marrow Shots, and a series of beer tap handle behind. Then, of course, there’s the menu.

As a side note, the counter is kitty-corner from the fully-stocked bar of Wexler’s Deli, so if an IPA and a Fastburger doesn’t satisfy the gluttonous demon that lives in your belly, you can always pop over for an aperitif.

In the spirit of eating a burger cut from the blade of a legit butchery, I’m gonna make this capsule review as neat and lean and clean as I possibly can so here it is WHATEVER YOU ORDER AT THIS COUNTER; WHATEVER THE NICE LADY BRINGS YOU; WHATEVER WORDS YOU SMASH TOGETHER TO ORDER WHATEVER MEATS FOR THEM TO SMASHED TOGETHER IT’S GONNA BE GOOOOOD AS HELLL.

Not a joke, this was the only stop on the list where we had to order A SECOND ITEM OFF THE BILL OF FARE BURGER BABIES.

First thing, honor the drive-thru culture of LA, and just get Belcampo’s composite of the sum of those parts — the Fastburger. It’s a thin, grass-fed beef patty, American cheese, butter lettuce, tomato, and special ‘sauce.’


I’ll discuss it more philosophically when we notch Burgers Never Say Die into our EVER-EXPANDING burger belts.

We chased our burgers down with a side of fries, which were good, but, listen, it ain’t called Belcampo POTATO Company, now, is it?

Because these burgers so hit the spot, we scanned the menu to make sure there was nothing we were missing, and, EUREKA! we found it — The Belcampo Burger —


This prodigal son is a thick slab of pre-select chuck, sirloin, and brisket, served with white cheddar, cartelized onions, butter lettuce, and the house ‘sauce.’ It’s cooked to perfection, but the recommended dose of sear-age is a tightrope-walking RAREMEDIUM-RARE. 

Now, I am a dude who favor my meat straight WELL-DONE, so nibbling into some rare animal was definitely me stepping out of my comfort zone, but let me tell you IT WAS FUCKING WORTH IT I’D TAKE IT RARE ID TAKE IT BLOODY JUST PUT BESSIE’S FACE ON A BUN AND I WOULD EAT IT.

This burger, HERE, was the goddamn jam.

Next time I ask why my burger’s taking so long, and the cook tells me he just has to go out back and kill the cow, I’ll politely sit back, fold my hands across my lap, and say, “I’ll wait.”





For the second week in a row, I’m not putting up any new content, and I feel like an asshat about it so bear with me.

I mean, America is Russia. White Supremacists got James Gunn fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. III. An active shooter took hostages and a Trader Joe’s employee was killed in Silverlake yesterday, right down the street from my home.

There’s worse things out there, such as the hilarious video at this link.



The first thing I want to say is I do not have a problem with the character, Superman, this book, and what’s more, I have a lot of respect for Geoff Johns as a comic writer, creator, producer, and just, like, dude.

But what I want to start by saying — and I’ve said, and will say, a number of things about Superman properties — is that it’s hard to clear the imprint of Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve’s iteration of the character from your mind, in order to form a clear opinion about him/it at any point.

That iteration is, like, the Coke of soda; the Kleenex of tissue; the iPod of MP3s– Sorry to date myself, there, but that’s why we’re here in the first place. Because I’m dating myself. Because my Superman — this Superman — is, in fact, the ‘Superman’ brand —


However, as a now just pre-40s, reluctantly post-Marvel, waning and embittered waxing-idealist adult, I still am finding this reacquaintance of mine with the DC Universe quite jarring, and so, that’s why this post, and my revisiting of the Superman comics in the form of this book club, is fucking cynical.

Or, well, just different, I guess.

I mean, the things is, they’re just so different, DC and Marvel. DC zigs where Marvel, just, like, well, I dunno, puts all its characters in leather pants, or some shit. I dunno. You say “tom-AY-toe,” I say “Red Tornado.” Whatevs. They’re just different. The two lines are as oppositional in tone and purpose from each other as any two things under the same banner of a thing could possibly be.

They’re like Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid, but then Joe Piscopo as Kelly Stone inspired by Martin Kove as John Kreese in Karate Kid.

My argument, then, is that the Donner/Reeves’ Superman is folly, and shouldn’t be taken seriously, or especially as gospel.

Yeesh. I know, right? Heavy.

But, I’m sorry, it’s just dated feel-goodery, nonsensical, opine, heyday bullshit, and I have to dismiss it to give my reinterpretation of this character any kind of echo-able credo going forward into such a dark future. Now, I don’t count Superman Returns as an installment at all in this measure, because that piece of pure shit wasn’t nothing but a hiccup; a bland experiment in homage with very little leftover but charm going for it, [and also, I think its director — who I will not name — needs to see a day in court for some pretty serious #MeToo brand accusations against him]. Lastly, I assure you, here and now, that I’m not now, and never will, tout the most recent swole definish of The Brah of Steel, brah like it has any punch in this fight, even though we’re probably in a punch fight, when it comes down to it.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s DCMU is just anti-canon crap altogether. Trash fire!

Honestly, looking back on the Donner/Reeves Superman, and fast-forwarding to the Snyder/Cavill one, is like the plot of Daddy’s Home, in reverse — in this iteration ‘Step-Dad’ and his macho date-rape chatter get closer to conviction with every successive inch of sideburn, while ‘Dad’ is a cardigan-sporting mush-mouthed wuss who’s greatest hurdle in life is a pretty serious stigmatism.

I have to start from scratch every time we read a Superman comic.

Which brings us to this six issue limited series, Secret Origin, by DC eminence, Johns, released in an attempt to establish the character’s “definitive” origin story in the Universe following the events of the Infinite Crisis continuity.


The fact of the matter is, I suppose, you could do worse in a comic establishing an ‘origin,’ for a character as seminal as Supes. Johns is such an apt writer, and is able to give a fresh coat of taupe or mauve colored paint on some very woe-be-gone Golden/Silver Age-style content. It still occurs, however, with the same reverberations of anachronism as many of the other ‘new’ iterations. I admittedly am not yearning for reinterpretations of storylines that I would consider passé. And I certainly am not yearning for another origin tale, where I have to wait around for three-quarters of the run to be able to watch that character do the thing I’ve been waiting for three-quarters of the run to do. I don’t need an imaging of Clark’s exploration of his powers via the alter-ego we never asked for: Superboy. I don’t need another aw-shucks, hee-haw explanation for how he lands on choosing the colors for his dorky-ass outfit. And I certainly never asked for another characterization of Luthor, as Smallville’s misunderstood boy-genius as teen-angsty budding evildoer.

If I seek anything, it’s the interpolation of the characters as they are into the world, one that is theirs, maybe a little ours, or both. It’s a feat I’m reluctant to say that Zack Snyder, and co-screenwriter — chronic lukewarm temp in-human-form — David Goyer, almost nailed, if it weren’t for whatever Nolan-isms and HGH that got in their sad little ex-nerd-boy ways.

What I was left with when I tackled this title, then, in my opinion, was a lot of one thing or none of the other; or a lot of the other thing, and then, like, Krypto. Sorry, Geoff, but this didn’t do it for me so much. You’re as dough-eyed for the good ole days as the best that vile humanoid dips hit, Alan Moore, can be, but just too much of a company man to splice a dick pic into the end credits.

Superman, continually, doesn’t, so much, get a bad rap as much as he just doesn’t get a rap at all. He’s got the rep, he’s got the standards. But every time he’s out with a fresh EP, but there’s no one with any mainstream to really help him rep. If we’re not careful, he’s gonna end up back on the corner trying to sell his bootlegs.