Casting Internets

Before I get into calling out the things I’ve written lately, I’d like to talk about a few other things I’m doing. First off, I’m on Twitter @PoppaDietsch. I started it to tell folks about my new dad blog called Pop Poppa, which you should also check out. Finally, I got back to posting on my Tumblr blog. Fun stuff.

I talked a lot about being busy before the con. Here’s the proof. I talked with Top Cow’s Matt Hawkins and Filip Sablik about Pilot Season, Joe Keatinge and Frank Cho about Brutal, Tony Lee about an upcoming MacGyver comic, Josh Fialkov about Pilot Season: The Test, Alan McElroy about Pilot Season: Anonymous and Landry Walker about Danger Club.

But that’s not all, I also wrote a pair of articles for Marvel.com about Black Panther vs. Daredevil and Villains For Hire!

My buddy Sean T Collins talks about his nightly Daddy Dance Party (something I can relate to) and the awesomeness of James Brown.

Sean also has a Spider-Man story that will be out in October. I will actually be finding a comic shop and purchasing this comic, that’s saying a lot.

Speaking of my friends writing comics, another pal Alex Segura is writing Archie Meets KISS. I can’t tell you how awesome this is to me. Congrats! (via CBR)

There’s a red carpet at Comic Con for celebs to walk down. TLo told me this here and here. So weird.

My favorite bit of news out of SDCC is that Fantagraphics will be doing creator-specific reprints of the EC masters. Amazing. (via Comics Reporter)

I’m also really excited about the guys behind the Crank movies and Gamer working on the next Ghost Rider flick. Actually, I don’t know if I’ve been this excited about a comic-based movie in a long time, that’s a winning combination. (via Wired)

George Harrison’s final album Brainwashed was pretty revelatory to me when it came out, so I’m really interested to see Martin Scorsese’s documentary on the former Beatle. (via Rolling Stone)

Music Musings: Bonnaroo 2002

My actual ticket stub.

I originally wanted to write this post the week leading up to this year’s Bonnaroo, but I got busy. As it turns out, though, I’m writing this on the 9 year anniversary of the first day of the very first Bonnaroo. Yeah, I went to there. It was the summer after my first year of college and earlier in the year, while I was home on break, my buddy Toth told me about this new festival in Tennessee. It was three days, tickets were $100 and that included camping spots. I wasn’t the biggest jam band fan in the world, but the line up seemed interested enough and I liked the idea of being able to tell people I went to the first of something I figured would wind up being a pretty big deal (I guess I was right on that point). To make matters better, Toth figured we could head down to Nashville for a few days and then drive the next hour to Manchester and watch the show. Seemed like a good plan to me.

Our days in Nashville were pretty fun, though would have been even better had we been 21. I have a very distinct memory of walking down the main street wherever we were and hearing all this different music coming out of the bars and clubs that we couldn’t get into. We did however find a Charlie Daniels museum (I love the Charlies Daniels Band), ate at a Hard Rock Cafe, went to a few record stores and also got some “rock star clothes” as Toth called them. I still have the redish pink 70s pants and bright green button down shirt I bought there. I also remember having a conversation about this new show called American Idol. Toth thought it was a big deal and I thought it was BS. Guess I was wrong about that one.

Our Nashville Hotel Room

On the morning of June 21st, 2002 we packed our crap up, stocked up on food at a grocery store and then went to make the hour-or-so drive down to Bonnaroo. Seems pretty simple, right? Heh. No way. Instead of taking the hour that Mapquest told us it would, we wound up being stuck in traffic for 7 or 8 hours. I’ll be honest, I can’t remember the exact amount of time because it’s been so long and I was kind of losing it at the time. I don’t know if it was the wide open space, the insane gridlock or the fact that no one else seemed to think this was a big deal, but I was starting to have a serious panic attack as traffic all but stopped. I was very seriously doing the math in my head, trying to figure out how long it would take us to get home if I just turned around and started driving. How mad would Toth be? How would I pay him back? My better judgement won over and I wound up just sitting it out. To give you an idea of how slow the traffic was moving, people were getting out of their cars and tossing the frisbee around for 15-20 minutes spurts and only had to move a few feet to catch up to their car. It was insane.

Toth, The Camp Site & My Old Van

Eventually we got in, though and went to our camp site. As you can see from the pic, they were basically as wide as a car and twice as long. Toth had a ton of camping equipment like the tent, chairs, a grill, the awning, the whole works, plus he knew how to cook on the camp stove, so we were pretty set. We had a pretty good set up across from some older biker-looking people from Chicago who I remember talking about quitting heroin,or “H” as they called it. That kind of freaked me out, but they seemed nice enough. Again, I’m relying on memories that are a decade old that were probably fuzzy to begin with thanks to poor sleep, a lack of showers and (I assume) some kind of contact high. While I didn’t partake in anything while there, there was plenty around being imbibed freely. I even saw a guy with two different colored eyes. I guess they could have been contacts, but he looked REALLY messed up.When we got to the actual gate, we were given a schedule and a map to help us find our way around. I don’t have it here in NY otherwise I would scan it. I believe the camping areas essentially surrounded the concert area which was split between four stages of increasing size. At least one–and I think two–were under huge tents while the larger two were just gigantic, open air venues. I remember having a general feeling of calm and ease while there even though it was beastly hot and really big. Everyone seemed cool and I saw all kinds of things I had never seen before, from the guy with the crazy eyes to some of the wildest frisbee catches I’ve ever seen. And that’s not even taking the music into account.

The Stadium, Bonnaroo's largest venue that year

Thankfully, I wrote about my experiences at the show on my old website which is still around thanks to Angelfire (that’s also where I swiped all these pictures from). According to that, these are the bands I saw along with some modern day commentary.

Friday

Big Wu
Jim White
Umphrey’s McGee
Les Claypool’s Flying Frog Brigade
Gov’t Mule
Widespread Panic (the first set)
Keller Williams Incident (kinda)
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe (for a few minutes)

I couldn’t tell you thing one about Big Wu or Jim White. You’ll see me writing that a lot in the next few paragraphs, but I think it’s because I wasn’t familiar with most of the music going in, so there aren’t a lot of touchstones. However Umphrey’s McGee made a big impact on me. They really impressed me and I still remember their show as being my favorite. It was in one of the smaller venues and I think we got pretty close to the stage. We saw Frog Brigade from way back, but it was rad seeing Buckethead play. Gov’t Mule and Panic are mysteries, but I do remember sitting on the side of the tent for Keller’s show and peeking under to see what we could see. I actually really regret not sticking around for Karl Denson’s set. It was one of the late night ones and I actually had listened to one of his records, but I think I didn’t want to be on my own that late. Such a wuss…

Saturday

Ben Harper (solo)
Jack Johnson
String Cheese Incident (I think)
Jurassic 5
Col. Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains
moe (the first set)

Harper played the largest stage they had all by himself. I wasn’t really familiar with his music at the time, but that really impressed me. I don’t believe Jack Johnson was a big deal at the time I saw him, but I do remember him bringing out a 6 or 7 year old Australian girl named Scarlet to play drums at one point. I have no recollection of String Cheese Incident, but Jurassic 5 was awesome. That was my first and only hip hop live show experience. Maybe I was thinking of Bucket of Bernie Brains when it came to seeing Buckethead? moe was the late night show that night and it was pretty cool. Toth and I met some nice people while waiting for them to go on. I think the band was an hour or so late (which anal retentive me did not appreciate), but we all wound up talking bootlegs for a while which was cool. I think Toth stuck around for the second set, but I was exhausted and headed back to the camp site.

Sunday

Ween
Bela Flech & Edgar Meyer
Phil & Friends with Bob Weir
Superjam
Trey Anastasio

Ween is another one I have zero memory of, though I know I was interested in checking them out because some dudes I worked with in high school were HUGE Ween fans. I remember being in the thick of things for Phil & Friends, but am not a Dead fan, so it was another “I have to say I was there” kind of a thing. I wandered away from all that craziness and hung out towards the back of the second biggest stage to check out the Superjam which I remember being really sick. The last show of the night was Phish’s Trey Anastasio playing with his then-new band. At the time, Phish had “broken up” and word around the festival was that Phish would be reuniting. That wasn’t the case, of course as Trey went on and played with his big band. I wasn’t all that interested in this particular show and really didn’t feel like wading through a literal sea of people, so I hung back at the camp site while Toth went and watched. I was able to get one of the camping chairs up on the roof of the van and wound up watching from there. It was actually a pretty awesome moment. I’d love to watch more concerts that way.

The Arena, Bonnaroo's second largest stage

By Sunday, I was more than ready to get the hell out of Tennessee. I had had a good time, but that was a completely different kind of living than I was used to. I had spent the whole time in a uniform of cargo shorts (the same pair I believe) and white under shirts. The cargo shorts were important because I could put water bottles in the extra pockets. Man was it hot. Oh and showerless. There were a few rigged-up sinks that helped a little, but I had never been that sweaty and gross for so long.

Phil & Friends with Bob Weir on stage

We had decided–thanks to my prodding, I’m sure–to head home right after Trey’s set. My plan was to get out of there and drive for as long as I could before needing to get a hotel room and sleep.That’s not how it actually went down, though. It took Toth a while to get back because of all the people, but then it took three hours just to get out. My figuring was that that was still better than what it would have been like the next day. I only got an hour away from Manchester before needing to stop. The hotel we wound up stopping at must have made a killing that night because they charged us for a full night even though it was late and we had to be out by 10 or 11 the next morning and we were definitely not the only Bonnaroo attendees staying there. At the end of the day, though, we didn’t care because we got to sleep in an actual bed and even got to take showers. I’m fairly certain that was the best shower I’ve ever had. I also had the best chicken sandwich of my life the next morning at a nearby Cracker Barrel.

Looking back, I’m really glad I stuck with it and didn’t let my craziness get in the way of a really interesting and fun experience that left me with a lot of memories, even if most of them don’t have much to do with the music itself. Toth went back to Bonnaroo a few times after that, but I bowed out. I spent a ridiculous amount of money that summer between the Tennessee trip, visiting the future-missus in New Hampshire for a few weeks and buying a guitar (the last one I bought now that I think about it). Would I go back again? Yes. But only if I was taken in via helicopter or didn’t have to deal with all that traffic thanks to a parachute drop or some such.

Casting Internets

Bangkok Knockout looks as awesome as The Protector and Ong-Bak. Can’t wait for this one to make its way to the states. If Magnet/Magnolia wants to send me an advanced review copy, I would not be opposed. (via /Film)

I don’t know what iOS is, but I want to find out now that I know that The 7th Guest will be available on it. That was one of the few computer games I ever got into and still remember part of the answer to the first puzzle, something like “The light is ruddy, the night is bloody.” I had to look “ruddy” up. (via IHeartChaos)

I don’t know what to think about the Toxic Avenger remake I read about on /Film. I love how weird, bad and violent the original was (it’s a big part of my childhood), but I can’t imagine a remake topping it. Who am I kidding? I’ll be there in the theater.

I’m not a huge fan of action figure reviews because they tend to be the same, but Fwoosh does a good job with them. Even better are the class pictures they put together like they just did with the 14th wave of DC Universe Classics. I especially like the JSA team shot.

The missus first told me about Cooks Source magazine copying a food blogger’s recipe and printing it without permission and then giving the original writer shit because, as they said, everything on the internet is public domain. According to a Wired story by David Kravets, Food Network is also investigating the mag. Ugh. How do people like this have any business being in journalism?

I’ve never seen The A-List on Logo and I kind of never want to because Tom & Lorenzo’s recaps make me laugh way too hard. This week’s post is no different. I really dig Ace of Cakes and really appreciate anyone who can turn something they love into a job they can share with their friends, so I’m happy for and jealous that Duff got to voice a cake-delivering robot on Clone Wars. StarWars.com talked to the chef about it.

Esquire.com‘s Tom Junod comparing President Obama’s decreasing charm to the idea of Miles Davis losing both his ability to play AND his mystique is an interesting one.

“Imagine Miles Davis losing not just his ability to blow but also his mystique; he might get his chops back, but the aura would be more difficult to restore, along with his ability to captivate audiences by turning his back on them. Of course, Obama has never turned his back on us, but so many Americans have turned their backs on him that it amounts to The Anointed One, as he is sometimes referred, being stripped of something that can never return: his anointment.”

NOOOOOOOOO!Jude Buffum‘s 8-bit NES character meat diagrams are fantastic. He did six, which you can check out here, but the squid from the Mario games is my favorite. (via Autumn Society)

Collectorfest FTW

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Forget about Big Apple Con and New York Comic Con, Collectorfest is where it’s at. The local Newburgh comic show was held this past Saturday at the Knight’s Inn about seven minutes from my house. Aside from not taking forever to get to like the aforementioned NYC shows, Collectorfest also wins the con wars because 1. it only cost $6 to get into, 2. there were no crowds to fight and 3. I actually got great deals on comics. One dude had about four short boxes I dug through and another had comics he was selling BY THE POUND! Aside from that admission, I only dropped $6 in the show and walked out with 65 comics. Not a bad day’s work. I’m pretty psyched to read most of the Nth Man run (a book I know nothing about), some pre-Peter David Aquaman, a few Reign of the Supermen-era Superman comics I missed, the Jack of Hearts mini and all those awesome licensed comics (M.A.SK.! A-Team). I’d been feeling kinda down all week, but buying several pounds of comics really lifted my spirits!

A Few Thoughts On New York Comic Con

Right off the bat, I’m going to say that I’ve learned over the last five years of attending New York Comic Con that big comic shows  like this are not my cup of tea. I don’t care about seeing panels for the most part (I’ll read about the news online), I’m not into getting celebrity autographs anymore (used to be when I was a kid), I don’t want to dress up, I like getting sketches but they’ve gotten pretty pricey and I generally don’t like standing in line. I do like flipping through cheap comics, perusing original comic art and buying cheap trades. Oh and seeing all my friends who come in for the show, that’s the best part. I guess I’m pretty simple when it comes to what I’m looking for in a show.

Basically, NYCC is too big, too crazy, too packed and the people walking around seem a little too rude for my tastes. Sure there’s lots of nice folks around, but the number of people absentmindedly flailing around the aisles with signs sticking out of their backpacks poking me in the face and pulling suitcases or hand trucks filled with comics taking me out at the legs is way too high. If I ran the show, I’d ask retailers and vendors to relax on the overly huge giveaways that just end up getting in the way. Weird Alien facehugger mask things? No problem there though they were littered all over the place, but those big huge Anime signs? Too much.

The costumes also caused a few different problems. I’m not saying people shouldn’t dress up, but try and be considerate of the people around you. Skintight’s alright, but carrying a giant hammer or sword? Ridiculous. I would imagine it’s also pretty damn uncomfortable after about 20 minutes. Oh, and if you’re wearing a costume that obscures vision, don’t act pissed off at me when you bump into me and don’t say “Hey, sorry.” I can’t tell you how many “sorrys” or “excuse mes” I dropped at the show. But even the costumes that don’t get in the way while you’re trying to walk the floor can be a pain when other people stop them to take a picture. I personally don’t understand the appeal of dressing up for these things, but to each their own. I understand wanting to take pictures of every Chewbacca or Scarlet Spider you see (I saw three myself) even less. But, if you’re going to do something like that, please, for the love of Mike, do it off to the side and not right in the middle of the aisle. Many of my problems with the show come down to basic human courtesy not being observed.

But not all of them. I went down to the show on my own during the day on Friday only from about 2 to 5 or so and the first thing I did was go down to get my press pass. I was shocked to see a line so long I half expected Jim Lee to be on the other end handing out free art and hugs. Nope, it’s the press room. I don’t really know what the hold up was. There were four or five volunteers helping people out and the guy who helped me was super nice, but it took a good half hour. I heard that this year, Reed accepted a lot more press credential applications, which was painfully obvious as I stood in line with a dude in a Viking helmet, people in costume and dudes running fan sites. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I think people from the press should handle themselves professionally.

The press line was just the first hint at how crowded and busy the show was going to be. Friday wasn’t terrible, but it still wasn’t easy to move around the show floor. I wound up spending my last hour of the show hanging outside with some friends and then took off. The next day, the missus and I planned to get down to the show around noon and it was ridiculously packed. We made our way to a few booths to see some friends, but even after that I was pretty tired of fighting the crowds, especially trying to get from the main show floor to artists alley which was not easy thanks to a gigantic Animal Planet structure they put in the back corner.Basically, this year seemed like a complete 180 change in the problem that people had the first year or two when they actually closed off entry onto the show floor because it was too crowded. The only problem with that was that some pros and panelists were actually kept from their tables and appointments.

I think artists alley has been in a different configuration each year of the show and this one was pretty good, though having the gaming stuff crammed back there lead to some more aisle-cluttering. In my opinion, the best year for the alley was when they had the whole thing on the upper level, but I hear this year, that area was being redone.

At first I thought about not even bothering with this post because it’s kind of like a hardcore horror fan taking Twilight to task for being aimed at teenagers, because these big shows aren’t really my thing anyway, but they should be my thing. Any comic fan should be able to go to a show, have a good time and take advantage of whatever the show offers. I know going in what I don’t want to bother with, but when I can’t even get to the comics, that seems like a comic show that isn’t being run very well. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the volunteers, but I didn’t have any problems with them. I was shocked that I never once saw a place to pick up programs. They could have been right in front of me, but the crowds were so thick that I couldn’t see them.

I don’t expect much to change with NYCC. It sold out on Saturday and Sunday, so it made huge money. Things that make lots of money tend not to get scaled back to make less money. Maybe some limitations on what attendees can bring into the show could be made (no giant hammers or suitcases on the show floor, but also give people an opportunity to access their comics at the rental place) and the aforementioned request for smaller, more manageable giveaways. A much more well handled crowd would also be appreciated and make the crazy number of people walking around feel less daunting. Even if nothing changed on the part of Reed and NYCC, it would be awesome if people just relaxed a little bit, weren’t chasing after people in costume to take a picture of them in the middle of the aisle and freely smashing into people without apologizing. I don’t expect the show to be completely turned around to fit my ideal show (quarter boxes as far as the eye can see), but it would be nice if the people in charge made a change or two to make the show a little more easy to swallow.

Music Mondays: KISS

Before 7th grade I wasn’t much of a KISS fan. Sure, I liked “Rock and Roll All Night” and “Detroit Rock City” as much as the next kid who was learning about rock and roll for the first time, but aside from that they weren’t really on my radar. Then they reunited with all four original members (Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehly and Peter Criss) in 1997 and kicked off a tour. My dad–a huge rock fan in his own right who helped introduce me to all kinds of classic rock from the 60s and 70s–brought the idea up to me: “Do you want to see KISS?” I thought about it for about two seconds, said yes and then we started trying to get tickets through the Ticketmaster at Kroger (I don’t believe Ticketmaster was online at that time and if they were, waiting for dial-up to load on our Compaq would have taken longer than the several dozen phone calls I made trying to get through to Ticketmaster). Unfortunately, we didn’t get through and figured we’d have to wait until the next time they came to town.

Later that week, on the way home from dinner or church, we pulled into another grocery store with a Ticketmaster (Food Town, I believe) and my dad ran in. Turns out they had released another group of tickets that were really great seats (up in the stands to the right if you were onstage, but right by the railing). He snatched two up and we were set to go to my very first rock concert. And holy shit, was it amazing. There are plenty of better bands out there in the world than KISS, but I think you’d be hard pressed to find a band that puts on a better stage show. They started playing and it was awesome, then, out of nowhere, a whole wall of speakers raised up behind them, but that was just the beginning. There was fire and flying and blood and the members of the bend coming out on these extending platforms and playing above the crowd (right near us in fact) and it was just awesome, like going to the circus, really. I also think that was the show where the guy next to my dad asked if “your friend” (meaning me) wanted a hit from the dude’s joint. He told the guy that I was his son and the guy was like “Oh, okay, do you want a hit?” My dad declined, but it’s still a funny story. After that, I was hooked. Not so much on the music, but the whole idea of KISS. In fact, I own more toys based on the band than actual KISS CDs (the only ones I own are the greatest hits Double Platinum and their post-reunion original Psycho Circus. Hell I even had a KISS tie (the third from the left in the picture above). See, I went to an all guy Catholic high school where we had to wear a shirt and tie every day, but they didn’t care what ties. I distinctly remember sitting in class one time and this dude leans over and says “Hey, KISS sucks,” like it was going to destroy my world. I looked at him and said “No shit, but they put on an awesome show.” He then said they weren’t as good as Jimi Hendrix which made me want to dope slap him and say “No shit,” but I didn’t. Sure, I’d rather see Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd live in concert because they are and were amazing musicians and bands, but that’s not happening so I’ll take what I can get. Like I said, the action figures from Todd McFarlane came out at just the right time because I was not only a huge comic and toy geek, but also getting into KISS. There’s not much of a leap from liking superheroes to liking KISS what with their masks, crazy costumes and that fact that toys were being made of them and of course every geek worth his salt knows that Simmons borrowed elements of Blackbolt’s costume for his stage look. I got all of the above figures and still have them in a box in our storage unit along with a few others. I think my dad may have gotten them for me for Christmas or my birthday or something. It was cool because he was never into toys or comics, but this was an easy bridge for us to meet on. Soon enough their highly anticipated (eh maybe just somewhat anticipated) new record Psycho Circus came out and the band went on another tour that my dad and I got tickets for, but this time we took my dad’s brother and his son who’s about three years younger than me with us. Ted Nugent opened for them which was awesome and then KISS came out and did their thing. I think my dad and I were into it way more than my cousin and uncle, but what are you gonna do? I don’t remember that show as vividly, but I know I had a good time and anticipated all the gags I remembered from the first time around and wasn’t disappointed. There’s something about sitting in your seat and feeling the heat from the pyrotechnics that just screams ROCK to me. I even like the record, especially the song “We Are One.”Such a fan was I that I even picked up a bootleg copy of the TV movie KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park which is awesomely bad and ridiculous. I wish I had my copy here in New York because I really want to watch it for my upcoming daily horror movie double feature throughout October. The only scene I really remember is one where the band (or maybe just Gene) are sitting on director’s chairs outside and some guy runs up to them. Man, it’s bad, but perfectly so.

Anyway, my love affair with KISS would not last forever. Eventually Gene and Paul became too much to work with and Peter and Ace bounced (or were bounced? I don’t recall) from the band and I didn’t really care about seeing them live anymore (what’s the point of seeing impostors once you’ve seen the real thing?). Plus, I went to realize what an asshole Gene Simmons is. I always knew he was a world class hustler getting the KISS name on everything from coffins to condoms, but I’d learn from various sources that he’s also an asshole. The last nail in the coffin for my fandom was seeing his “reality show” Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels which stated off as what seemed like a look at a fairly down to earth family who just happen to be famous and wealthy and turned into one of the worst, stagey reality shows I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot of them). Oh and then his son plagiarized a bunch of manga for his comics or whatever. Blech.

So, while I wouldn’t call myself a die-hard KISS fan anymore, I still have a lot of fond memories from the band thanks to their tours and every now and then I’ll smile when one of their songs comes up on my iPod’s shuffle mix, but I don’t think I’d call myself a fan anymore. They served their purpose and really built a concert bond between my dad and I that I hope we can continue at some point (the last show we went to together was The Who’s tour right after bass player John Entwistle died back in 2002), so for that I’ll always be thankful.

Adventures In Freelancing: Recent Links

After announcing the new recurring feature Adventures In Freelancing, I figured it would be a good idea to throw up some links to my work with a few comments about my process and that kind of thing.

My weekly TV column for Maxim.com continues to roll on. You can check out this week’s here and then check out the Writing Links tab up there in the right hand corner for past entries. I write We Like To Watch the week before it goes up by going through TVGuide.com’s schedule and writing notes about what new shows might be interesting to watch. With something like this, it’s key to keep your audience in mind, so I’m not going to write about how much I actually like Real Housewives of New Jersey or something like that, but I can poke fun at it. I try to match the voice of the magazine and other pieces I’ve read on the website. Adapting like that is key when writing for many different outlets.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been continuing to do lots of work for UGO.com’s The Goods section. I write a WTF Star Wars?! every single day, it’s usually the first thing I do in the morning. When my editor first pitched me on the idea, I thought it would last maybe a month, but I’ve got a whole folder filled with future entries and see a few things every day to add. So much Star Wars! I’m also continuing to work on a weekly DVD/Blu-ray column for them called Blu-sday which I picked up from my buddy Adam Tracey. This week’s entry can be found here and you should check out last week’s which isn’t based on new movies, but existing football flicks. For this one, I go through Amazon’s listings, open a bunch of tabs and narrow it down to five entries and then have fun with it.

My gig with UGO also includes list elements every week or so, which we try to tie-in with something happening that week in pop culture or something coming up. I did a Fall Toy Preview list of upcoming products that look rad, a list of great American spies based on George Clooney’s The American, the greatest Star Wars toys of all time and a list of geeky movie and TV locales you should check out when you’re in NYC for NYCC. I generally don’t read the comments for these things because they make me sad, but I got a chuckle out of the guy who asked why I forgot to put James Bond on the list of great American spies. Sigh. With the lists, I find it’s best to use elements you’re familiar with maybe a few you don’t know about thrown in to mix it up. You’re always going to have people hollering why their pick isn’t on the list. That’s the internet, everyone has an opinion, but some people get paid for theirs while others give them away.

Speaking of lists, a few of the ones I’ve written for Topless Robot have gone up like 10 NES Games Based on R-Rated Movies and the 10 Most Screwed-Over Children of Superheroes in Comics. The first I came up with after seeing a ton of surprising games based on R-Rated flicks. I’ve got a whole second list that could be used for a follow up if there’s enough interest which is why some obvious ones were missing (another comment section I read a few entries from). The second list was spawned from all the internet clamor over the death of Roy Harper’s daughter Lian in Justice League: Cry For Justice. TR is great because you get to really exercise your snakry muscles. With these I pitch the editor with ideas and he either assigns them or doesn’t, then I work on them when I can, turn them in and keep an eye on the site for when they go live. More topical ones get posted sooner, so staying current is key. I just pitched a few Halloween/horror lists that I’m excited to work on soon.

I’ve also been writing for ToyFare lately, but that issue is being closed right now, so you won’t see those efforts for about a month. I do believe that #159 is out right now, which means you can check out my feature where I got to interview my former boss Zach Oat and sculptors Tim Bruckner and Ruben Procopio about their upcoming book Pop Sculpture and all the Incoming writing. #160 has a feature I was really excited to write and I think turned out well, but you’ll have to wait and see what that’s all about. I love all the web work I do but there’s something really cool about going to a grocery or book store and being able to pick something up with your name in it.

Finally, I’ve done a lot of work for Marvel’s website. These pieces are either recurring monthlies like Five Favorite Avengers (with Bill Rosemann and Tim Seeley) and Earth’s Mightiest Costumes (Quicksilver) or specific assignments on upcoming projects like Ant-Man & The Wasp, Chaos War: Dead Avengers and the Iron Man 2: Public Identity trade. I really like doing pieces for Marvel because it keeps me in touch with the world of comics, which is what I cut my teeth on as a writer. It’s also a lot of fun talking with creators about their process and seeing what’s coming up.

So there you have it, this is what I do all day, every day. If you have any questions leave a comment or drop me an email at tjdietsch AT SYMBOL gmail DOT com.

UPDATE: I just spent way too much time re-doing the Writing Links section, giving each website or magazine their own page. Check it out and let me know if any of the internal links don’t work. Thanks!