Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Not A Weeping Gorilla Moment

First off, I want to make it clear that this is not a rant.

It’s all too easy to label any speech or article longer than a couple of paragraphs about the more negative aspects of someone’s outlook on life as a rant. And let’s face it, the medium of the blog is an ideal platform for shouting incoherently and at great length: there’s no space limit, no time limit, no editor, and the audience is safely tucked away on the other side of the screen rather than staring in aghast shock across the dinner table as you inadvisably launch into the third act of your ‘political bias in Radio 4 comedy panel shows’ monologue. Now that, that was a rant.

That’s not to say I don’t like a good rant myself. Long-time readers may well have cause to agree. But I like to think that however long-winded and impassioned I get, there is at least the illusion of coherency and perhaps on occasion the odd chuckle too. Those  Grumpy Old Men and Women rant. So does Charlie Brooker and half the columnists in the Sunday newspapers. Bill Hicks ranted, in E-Minor at that, so I'm in good company.

So this isn't a rant. It’s not that impassioned.

It may well be a diatribe, but I'm too pig-ignorant to know and too lazy to look it up.
Or possibly a harangue. Is that a noun? A haranguing? Harangitude? Whatever.

Nor is it a Weeping Gorilla moment. It’s not that depressing.

What do you mean, ‘What’s a Weeping Gorilla?’

Tch. Honestly. As any fule kno, the Weeping Gorilla was a secondary character in Alan Moore’s splendid comic series Promethea, cropping up on billboards and posters in the background as a perennially downhearted ape expressing a series of mid-life disappointments in brief, passive-aggressive thought bubbles:


Poor old Weeping Gorilla. Cheer up, you miserable bugger.

So no, this isn't a Weeping Gorilla moment either. It’s a… I dunno, a minor rubbish moan. Probably a First World Problem.

(scurries off to look up First World Problems)

Yeah, it’s definitely one of them.

So here’s my problem. I've just had a slightly disappointing experience reading a hardback collection of the comic series Scarlet.

For goodness’ sake – ‘hardback collection of the comic series’. What am I like? Why did I use such a roundabout way of describing it? Isn't it just a comic? Well yes, I spose. But it’s like really mature with swearing and everything.  Doesn't that make it a graphic novel then? Well, not exactly, because it’s just the first few issues of a monthly series collected together in a posh hardback – not a complete story. In retrospect I probably should have just called it Scarlet Book 1 in the first place and let you work out that it’s a comic. Of course it’s a comic – this is me. So let’s just skip over this entire paragraph and speak no more of the tedious matter of definition.

I was reading the story. It was quite entertaining. It was written by the prolific Brian Michael Bendis, so I knew straight away that it would a) be dialogue heavy, and b) contain numerous double pages that I wouldn't be sure if you’re supposed to read all the way across as a two-page spread or up and down like a normal pair of pages. Curse you, Bendis. Curse you for writing several issues of The Avengers where Earth’s Mightiest Heroes do little more than sit around a kitchen table in their civvies and flap their lips about baby-sitters.

Sorry, I got distracted by Bendis. This isn't about him, though he does annoy me. The problem I had was this: I’d read most of the book, and was kind of enjoying it. I’d budgeted a certain amount of time this morning to read the book before getting on with my day; doing the washing up, arranging the pile of scrap paper by the telephone, that sort of thing. I’d read most of it, but I could see there was still a couple of chapters left to go. I turned the page and


Oh great. A cover gallery. No more story. The rest of the book was padding: Covers. Variant covers by different artists. The same covers but in black and white. A script of issue #1 with scribble on it. 43 pages of padding. I’d peaked too soon, well before my estimated Time To Complete Reading.

If this was a DVD I’d probably be quite pleased by this so-called ‘added content’. But if this was a DVD, it’d be like expecting there to be thirty minutes of the movie left and then discovering that the last half an hour is actually a bunch of trailers for the movie you've just (partially) seen.


Harangitude over. I’ll try to be briefer next time.

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