OLD NEWS – BUT FIT TO PRINT: Galloway’s speech.

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Journal, News & Politics | Leave a comment

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Maybe… but read this speech and see what you think.

The following is the much publicized speech by George Galloway of the English Respect Party (MP) directed at Senator Norm Coleman (Minnesota) at the Senate Hearings on the “Oil for Food” scandal on May 15, 2005. (full transcript can be found here.)

“Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life’s blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.

I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.

“Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.

If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq’s wealth.

“Have a look at the real Oil-for-Food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq’s wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Haliburton and other American corporations that stole not only Iraq’s money, but the money of the American taxpayer.

“Have a look at the oil that you didn’t even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it.

“Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own Government.�

The speech is almost a month old, but I’ve been busy and I wanted to get it on here. I have my issues with Galloway but this is a biting and truth-filled attack.

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On the bus in Los Angeles…
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Politics, Media, Cool Links and Work Updates

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Animation, Comic Books, Cool Stuff!, Film & TV, Journal, Music, News & Politics, Photos | Leave a comment

Wow, it’s been a long time since I rolled into this little closet of a web room. Time to check all the light bulbs and scrape the cobwebs from the corners. For those of you that give a shit and have the time to drown in somebody else’s fairy tale, I’ll hit a few basics, catch you up on work, then hook you up with some cool media stuff. Into the mix I’ll throw some images from very current politics. After that I’ll leave you to your own devices and get back to my real job… spit shining the fiction machine.

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I was asked to write a 300-word promotional blurb for SWAMP THING to be published in all the Vertigo books in their monthly “column” entitled ON THE LEDGE. The first thing I wrote (perhaps we actually ride words instead of write them, hmmm� oh sorry) the first thing I wrote was done in my voice, which is this sort of open road rambling you’re enduring right now. I was very proud of it. Then some ghost named doubt glided its icy fingers up the spine of my inspiration and I began second-guessing what I’d written. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to create from a place of no fear? Anyway, as I said, I started to second-guess myself and I rewrote a more acceptable, but slightly pappy, piece of pimp.

So here’s the original ON THE LEDGE, the cool one, in case you’re interested…

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ON THE LEDGE

These are things we always knew. That the rivers of the world are the true clocks, drumming down the land, passing time not in ticks and tocks but plips and plops. That the weather still tumbles across woods and mountains and deserts and oceans and wetlands and ice more than it does hamlets and malls and suburbs and shanties and soda pop mansions and labyrinthine megalopolises. That beneath the lands we build are the lands we truly cross. These are things we always knew. But we forget. We fight resource wars, we eat cake, we watch NASCAR, we play online videogames. We forget. We drown out the hum of nature. We become absent minded of the engine that governs us… just as we forget our own heartbeat.

But there’s a place, a mythic, gothic bog located somewhere in the vegetation of our collective imagination. And in it lives a monster. A creature that, like you and I, is crafted from the very fabric of the earth that birthed him. A walking sentient eco-system. A slice of spirit trapped in matter. And though he has forgotten much, he hasn’t forgotten what we have. He’s on the other side of this encroaching expanse of concrete and digital porn. He’s a soldier and a savior, a friend and a foe, heartbroken and healing, reluctant and ready.

He is called Swamp Thing… and in these times of forgetting.. he is what’s needed most.

– Joshua Dysart

*

Yeah… so there you go… that’s not what will appear in the comic books, but that’s what I was feeling, thinking and dreaming at the time.

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The Pentagon, under pressure from open-government advocates, released hundreds of images Thursday of flag-draped coffins of American soldiers. Of course the election is over now. From SFGATE.

MOLLS AND TROLLS, MOLLS AND TROLLS, WORK WORK WORK

Things happening all over the place. I’m about to start writing the Swamp Thing arc for issues #21 – #24, to be drawn by hard driving Enrique Breccia. It’s currently called THE BLEEDING RACONTEUR (though these things do tend to change), and, no bullshit, it will literally change the swamp forever (or at least until the next writer takes over and swings his/her wrecking ball pen up against the walls of all my little sandcastles).

More CAPTAIN GRAVITY work has been commissioned from PENNY FARTHING PRESS. Seems the book is going for a crazy spin around comicdom. It’s the number one seller in the history of PFP. Cool. Wizard Magazine just published a blurb stating that the original issue #1 is entirely impossible to get your hands on, fortunately the reprint #1, with a new cover, is on the menu… so bon appetite! I’ll be writing 20 to 25 extra pages of new story for the Trade.

I’m currently talking to Scott Allie, one of my favorite editors in the industry, over at Dark Horse about a mini-series. Can’t give any details right now, but it’s big and I’m really fucking jazzed about it. I’m going to start writing my proposal in about two-weeks. I’ll let you know more when there’s more to know.

The fantastic artist Dean Haspiel and I are working on a pitch together. He just finished working with Harvey Pekar on Vertigo’s THE QUITTER. When it’s ready we’ll hit VERTIGO first, then go from there. I look forward to sharing more of that with you when the time is right.

TOKYO POP is patiently waiting for a three-book breakdown (each book will be about 150 pages). My editor there…

Luis Reyes…
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and I have already settled on the project, now we just have to sell it to all the head-someones. Still, with so much other shit going on, it might be awhile before I get to it. On the plus side, this would be my first entirely original project ever. So hopefully I can give some love to it soon and it’ll get the green light.

There’s some other stuff too, but right now it’s all so gossamer that it’s not even worth mentioning.

Lots of work, but very little of it at that magic paycheck point yet. So I’m still struggling with money. Keeps me edgy, I say!

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French artist Marc Molk carries a painted portrait of British weapons expert Dr David Kelly in protest on the day of the British general election outside Downing Street in London, May 5, 2005. The suicide of Kelly, a former Iraq weapons inspector, in July 2003, led to the Hutton inquiry, which lifted the lid on the inner workings of the government and presented a serious threat to the premiership of Britain’s Prime Minster Tony Blair. Although Labour’s Tony Blair looked set to become British prime minister for a third straight time today, he might well exit the political stage in the near future after a ‘bloody nose’ from voters over the Iraq war, experts said.

COMIC INDUSTRY NEWS…

The latest incarnation of the Wein/Infantino HUMAN TARGET has seen its last issue with #21. It didn’t even get two years. If that were to happen to SWAMP THING I’d already be halfway through my run. This time around HUMAN TARGET was written by Peter Milligan and drawn by various exceptional artists, but mostly Cliff Chang. It was a very solid comic book. Fantastic actually. And Vertigo let it ride for a while despite rough numbers. It’s frightening to be working in a market that doesn’t reward this level of intellect, character development and plotting. Meanwhile sales on manipulative, spandex, crossover wankfests by mediocre writers go through the roof. It makes me concerned for my own future. This getting the axe, along with the now defunct KINETIC and possibly the very well written BOOKS OF MAGIC: LIFE DURING WARTIME, well, it’s beginning to show a hard trend. Books that I like and respect, and that I think – quite honestly – are better than mine, are not liked and respected by others. What does that say about my own work and my future viability in the market place?

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The U.S. can’t account for $100 million missing in Iraq. Government mismanagement of assets, from the lack of proper documentation on nearly $100 million in cash to millions of dollars worth of unaccounted-for equipment, are setting back efforts to fight corruption in the fledgling democracy, auditors and critics say. Meanwhile, while nameless war profiteers are getting rich… this picture released by the U.S. Army shows a U.S. soldier holding a child fatally wounded in a car bomb blast in Mosul, 360 km (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, May 2, 2005. 15 Iraqis were wounded in the combined suicide bomb attack.

HERE’S SOME COOL MEDIA STUFF

COMICS

SEA OF RED – REMENDER, DWYER & SAM (Image): There are a couple of pirate books out right now, but this one is just cool-ass gorgeous. The writing is fantastic, ringing impressively true to the genre, and the art is stellar. It’s beautiful.

THE GOON – POWELL (Dark Horse): I will pimp this book till the zombie apocolypse comes. Hilarious, monster fighting action illustrated with extraordinary craftsmanship.

VIMANARAMA – MORRISON & BOND (Vertigo): What if Kirby had been Hindu and had an infatuation with Bollywood? King Morrison, once again, shows us how it’s done. This cat Morrison seems to be living ten minutes in the future at all times. And everything Bond touches turns to gold.

OR ELSE – HUIZENGA (Drawn & Quarterly): This is a B&W from 2004, but I only just now discovered it. Wonderful, quiet, poetic, moving and formally inventive.

HAPPY – SIMMONS (Top Shelf): Another old work I just stumbled on. Sick, glorious, and simultaneously fluffy and edgy. The “autobiographical” comic about a young boy witnessing an exposed ball sack is fucking genius. And it’s just a dollar/issue at the Top Shelf site!

FILMS

ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM (Dir: Alex Gibney): I literally – and I’m using the word correctly, as in “actually” – had a panic attack listening to the phone conversations of these fucking assholes as they raped California citizens out of billions. An amazing exploration of the corporate culture of greed and a study on the dangers of deregulation. Far more engaging and infuriating than you could ever imagine.

ASSISTED LIVING (Dir: Elliot Greenebaum): Nice effort for the most part. It works far more often than it fails. First time director to watch.

PALINDROMES (Dir: Todd Solondz): The latest from the writer/director of HAPPINESS. Not perfect, but edgy as fuck. I like his more minimalist style here. An abortion fable where all the pro-choice people don’t give anyone a choice and all the pro-life people kill. The scene in which several handicapped children sing a song called “Jesus Doesn’t Make Mistakes!” is… well, wrong… and right.

MUSIC

The sea of sound I’m bobbing atop of as I write this week…

CORNERSHOP – WOMAN’S GOTTA HAVE IT (1995): Crazy lo-fi east/west fusion. From David Byrne’s label.

COTTONBELLY – X AMOUNTS OF NICENESS: NYC SESSIONS 1993/2004 (2004): fantastic dub-dance remix album.

ERYKAH BADU – MAMA’S GUN (2000): As a friend said, this is the best R&B album of 2000.

NICOLA CONTE – JET SOUNDS REVISITED (2002): groove ass nu-jazz remix of the lounge classic “Jet Sounds”.

BOOKS

THE POLITICS OF HEROIN: CIA COMPLICITY IN THE GLOBAL DRUG TRADE – McCoy: “The problem with America’s failed chance at essentially reducing if not eliminating drugs as a problem was a contradiction between the needs of domestic policy and the national security state.”

WEBSITES

POSTSECRET: anonymous postcards, all sent in with secrets written on them. A gorgeous humanist site. Some of the cards are heartbreaking.

Alchemical Kubrick. 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Great Work – On Film: Stanley Kubrick as Hermes Trismegistus!

The Holy Consumption: Read more independent comics goddamn it!

WEB MOVIES

Atom Films Online has several Raoul Servais animated films that can be watched free of charge. Servais founded Europe’s first department of animation. He’s best known for twelve animated films that won him world recognition at prominent international film festivals in the 1970s. In 1980 HARPYA was voted one of the fifteen greatest animated films of all time by a panel of international film critics. Watch ’em!

Sirene (1968),
Goldframe (1969)
Operation X-70 (1971)
Harpya (1979)
Pegasus (1973)
To Speak or Not to Speak

IN CLOSING…

That should cover me for a while. I’ve got to go masturbate and get back to work now… shutoff the lights on your way out.

One last picture… from my personal collection.

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Tone Rodriguez, larger than life penciler of VIOLENT MESSIAHS

Women’s Healthcare Bill – Florida

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Journal, News & Politics | Leave a comment

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This is Rep. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, left, Rep. Susan Bucher, D-West Palm Beach, center, and Rep. Anne Gannon, D-Delray Beach, right, comparing notes during House debate on the women’s health care bill, Wednesday, April 13, 2005, in Tallahassee, Fla. The three are against the bill.

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This is Rep. Juan-Carlos Planas, R-Miami, debating in favor of the women’s health care bill.

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This is Rep. Susan Bucher, D-West Palm Beach, debating against the women’s health care bill.

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And this is Rep. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, right center, being congratulated by colleagues, Rep. Ron Reagan, R-Sarasota, left, Rep. Don Davis, R-Jacksonville Beach, top right, and Rep. Juan Zapata, R-Miami, following House passage of the women’s health care bill. Bean is House sponsor of the bill.

Because men know what’s best.

TIME TAKES US ALL (comic)

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Comic Books, Home | Leave a comment

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I wrote this on the day of my 30th birthday. Allen Gladfelter did the art while at some music festival somewhere, watching stoned women dance nude. Both the weight and the buoyancy of life permeate the piece. All praise this dual natured construct called Universe.

 

Comics! Perfect for propaganda!

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Comic Books, Cool Stuff!, Journal | Leave a comment

Two new comic book properties have been announced in the last week.

1) The United States Army has declared it’s looking for a ready and able comic book creator to execute, in the mainstream style, a product that will help win over the “hearts and mind’s” of the Arabic youth.

2) A Columbian artist named Rodolfo Leon has announced that he will be publishing a superhero comic staring Pope John Paul II, in which the late Pope will rise from death with newly granted super powers to aid in his continuing struggle against Satan.

First the Army’s

The book will be based on the adventures of “security forces, military and police, in the near future in the Middle East” and will be put together by those lovable leaflet droppers, music blarers and cognitive game players of the army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group. It’s the brainchild of the US Department of Defense’s Central Command, “which is responsible for US security interests in 25 Middle Eastern and Arab nations,” according to the BBC article linked above.

So, being a professional comic book creator, I’d like to pitch my idea to the marketing gurus at Psy-ops.

Our setting is a utopic, westernized Middle East. Yet, despite this perfection, a cadre of hyper-violent, hi-tech, and unintentionally sexy, fanatics with nebulous fairy-tale motivations plague the daily lives of its good citizens. There must be little or no mention of religion in the comic, however the Americans will all wear small, barely noticeable, gold crosses � there, of course, will be no Jewish Americans depicted.

What do you think, Pentagon? Will it fly?

From their description, it sounds like the Army wants to promote the emergence of a strong culture-wide military fetish in future generations, not notions of truth and justice.

For instance, the list of requirements the Army is looking for in their future comic book creator is “experience of law enforcement and small unit military operations – along with a knowledge of Arab language and cultures.” Let me tell you, I know a lot of comic book creators, but I don’t know that one. I can’t imagine who would take this gig? Some ex-navy seal probably. The one who never got a book deal and now needs extra-cash to supplement that �military-contractor� income he gets.

The BBC article also mentions that an Egyptian publisher is starting a line of Arab superhero comics, which I imagine will be a sort of slightly westernized take on their own iconic symbols of power and responsibility. Sort of like jazz played with a tabla, rababa, mizmar and tambourine.

There you go, Army� a little friendly competition. But don�t worry, you�ll shock and awe the hell out of those fuckers in that there “free-market”! It’ll be mad-sick, yo! You’ll print six times the copies that the Arab publishers will, and you’ll do it on the taxpayer’s dime. Then you’ll undercut the Egyptian publisher “Wal-Mart” style! Why not! Dick tells cunt what to think! Whitie tells Blackie what to think! Apollo tells the sad bastard with the gimpy leg what to think! The Catholic Church tells the poor what to think! Why shouldn�t the United States Army tell the Arab kids what to think? Isn�t that how it works, Psy-ops? Why the hell would they need role models presented to them from, and by, their own culture? Besides, every good American sporting a faded “A vote for Kerry is a vote for Al Qaeda” sticker on his truck knows that the Arabs just want to make comics about “Captain Car-Bomber” anyway!

For a time in the early 90’s the only widely published children’s book about Hercules in Italy was the Disney film picture book. You know why? Because Disney’s children’s book division pummeled the shit out of the Italian youth book market! So go get ’em, Army!! I’d like to hear those liberals bitch about not getting enough state sponsored art now!

We’ll win the post-war Iraq the same way the Chinese finally and fully won Tibet. The Chinese didn’t succeed in taking that mystical and timeless land because of the pacifism of the Dali Lama, or the complex prison system housing a huge portion of the Tibetan population, or the oppression of free speech, or the fear Chinese soldiers command in the streets, no� it’s the bling, baby! The bling! Their youth have started moving to major cities! Where they have cell-phones and video games and jeans! China wins!! End of saga! All we have to do is occupy Iraq for 25 years, feed ’em apple pie, pro-American comic books and access to digital porn and they’ll be just as void of revolutionary ideas as Americans are! Hop to it, boys!

But wait, that�s not all…

Another mighty notion has surfaced in Columbia!

THE INCREDIBLE POPEMAN!!

That’s the actual title! And it’s not satire! It’s a comic book featuring the Pope as a superhero!

This from ABC News�

“In the comic book, the pope dies and is reborn with superpowers beyond the infallibility Catholic doctrine gave him on earth.

“Along with his yellow cape and green chastity pants, the muscular super-pontiff wields a faith staff with a cross on top and carries holy water and communion wine.”

It’s fantastic! Just what developing nations need! He’ll fight a war against Satan while condemning homosexuality, telling people in overpopulated regions not to use condoms, and reminding little girls that they’re just not good enough to grow up and be Pope themselves!

According to the article, the late Polish pontiff will be “meeting comic book legends such as Batman and Superman to learn how to use superpowers to battle Satan”. I imagine he’ll reprimand Batman for his hyper-violent solution-solving techniques, but Superman – who was created by two Jewish kids desperately trying to assimilate in early 20th century America � he’ll simply gush over. Too bad the creators are in Hell now (or do Jewish people just go to Purgatory?).

And why, you ask, is all this happening in comic books?

Because it’s the poor that need to be whipped into line, damn it!

Comic books transmit information in a way no other medium currently does. They are low-tech and easily disseminated amongst impoverished populations. Total literacy is not needed to receive a great portion of the comic book’s transmission. And comic books are a three-pronged narrative attack. Images placed in sequential order visually stimulate. Simultaneously, the floating text engages the reader’s semantic fixation, something particularly present in the young (till the aggregate culture beats that brainy shit out of ’em so they can be sold sneakers). And when used properly, the words and text juxtapose to create a third meta-story. By this logic, a comic book has three separate ways to communicate subtext.

It’s the perfect propaganda tool.

Two new comic book properties poised to hit the global market. Each one has something to preach, something their creators desperately believe in. Both will be about freedom from evil and tyranny, both will be about being good and struggling to do the right thing… and both will be completely toxic, shallow and empty of any attempt to fundamentally explore the nuances of the complex world in which their audiences live.

I realize that I am judging these works before I see them, something that infuriates me when done by the religious right. However, I understand comics to be a dynamic force for skipping metaphor across the surface of the collective consciousness, and I can’t possibly see how either of these ideas will be anything but a dark and manipulative use of that force.

Peace.

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Holland Grecko, lead singer of The Peak Show. A great, and now, sadly, defunct, Echo Park band.