March 2002

12 Rounds. How can one describe the aural experience that is 12 Rounds? Well, think about Portishead. Then imagine killing them all and sending their immortal souls to Hell. The evil, demonic, highly pissed-off ghosts that come back to haunt you will probably sound a lot like 12 Rounds.

This is trippy, hypnotic music, and it's also exceedingly nasty at times, with a lead singer who wouldn't sound out of place whispering death threats in your ear. Sample lyrics:

Would you still love me if you knew that I would cut your throat? ("Feel My Beard")

Don't fuck with my love, 'cause I'm capable of murder. ("Something's Burning")

Be happy, be joyous
Be grateful, be free
Whatever you want to
Just do it the fuck away from me ("Joyous")

It isn't all bad attitude and invective, of course. I got interested in them when I first heard their song "Something's Burning" from the All Over Me soundtrack; I just wanted to close my eyes, fall into the music, and live there. 12 Rounds can be evil, but they can also be mournful, or funny, or absurd. And in songs like "Business", "Hesitate", and "Keeling Over", they prove that they know how to rock, hard.

I don't know which albums to start with, because I downloaded all their songs. (Yeah, I know, I'm evil. I'm also a college student with a comic book addiction. I can't afford to buy CDs.) But my favorite songs are "Something's Burning", "Business", "Fits Nicely", and "Pleasant Smell", and that should be a place to start.

Now, speaking of comic books....

Real Life Reading Material
Okay, I'll admit it. I originally picked up The Enigma for utterly base reasons: I'd heard it had gay sex.

And, yeah, it does. But that's not all it has. It's also a fucking fantastic book... no pun intended.

The Enigma is a comic book for anyone who's ever wondered about the real nature of truth, or of right and wrong; or anyone who's ever fancied themselves an amateur philosopher, or wanted to go on a bizarre quest for adventure, or just wanted to read a really good story. Or for anyone who can appreciate the absurdity of lines like, "Of course they hadn't told him that he wasn't allowed to eat the doctors; they'd just arrogantly assumed he wouldn't."

It's also, of course, a book for anyone who likes very well done slash. Peter Milligan can fit more sheer eroticism in a nearly motionless three-panel spread than most people could fit into an entire porn movie; when the heroes of the tale finally give in to each other, it's a nuclear meltdown of epic proportions, and you (okay, I) relish every moment. The man is good.

And if you're not completely convinced by that point, wait till you get to the end of the book and realize who the narrator actually is. (And no peeking allowed; that's cheating, and it's Wrong, and trust me, it's much better if you don't peek.) Anyone who doesn't worship at the altar of Peter Milligan after that is a lost cause. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The Enigma was originally an 8-episode story, available now in trade paperback format from DC's Vertigo line.

And now, on to what everyone really came here for:

Continuing with my comic books theme for the month, The Business is an Authority slash story by Basingstoke. The Authority, for the uninitiated amongst you, is a superhero comic book that's very different on many, many levels, not the least because it features Apollo and the Midnighter, one of the first openly gay couples to grace a mainstream superhero comic, ever. The Business doesn't merit a recommendation solely based on this fact, of course; I'm recommending it because it's funny, and sweet in a tolerably understated way, and extremely well-written, fittng effortlessly in with the tone of the comic. It's also unique in that it offers a glimpse into the super-computer mind of the Midnighter- the really scary bastard who can take one look at you and tell you four hundred different ways he could kill you. Good story.

Faux Pas, by Diamonde, is in an entirely different vein; it's for the gender-fuck-lovers among us. Once upon a time, in an X-Men spinoff called Gambit, there was a young man named Jacob Gavin Jr., who could shift his body into any shape he liked. Once upon a time, Jacob became irretrievably stuck in the body of a woman- he can still shapeshift, but he always reverts to his female self. Faux Pas deals with the immediate aftermath of this, while Jake is trying to cope with his sudden brand-new outlook on life. It's really, really funny. And, yeah, there's some sex.

That's it for this month, folks; hope you enjoy. And yeah, I will be working on my own stories at some point. I hope.

Old Recs
January 2002
November 2001


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