Yearly Archives: 2019


Thanos Is a Nice Guy, and Thus, a Villain

Just in time for NY Comic-Con, I wrote a piece for MEL magazine analyzing how Thanos is a nice guy in the least nice sense of the word. In fact, going back to 1973, his near-complete history of villainy — almost all of it written by Jim Starlin — is driven by textbook “Nice” Guy behavior. It’s egregious to the degree where I wonder if he’s based on someone Starlin went to high school with.

With all the (understandable) hand-wringing over what shape Joker will take to inspire the angry shitbirds of the internet to be terrible to the rest of us, I think it’s worth noting that Marvel made sensible changes that still preserved the character onscreen. Cinematic Thanos is a terrifying utilitarian. Comic Thanos is a Nice Guy who has been a garbage person to Death for over 30 years now. The fact that he’s courting the actual embodiment of a cosmic force buys him just a liiiittle leeway in putting her on a pedestal as a pure Platonic ideal, but come on, pruneface.

Thanos's courtship of Lady Death sure resembles "Nice" Guy behavior.
Always the start of a healthy relationship: screaming at her friends when they tell you you’re coming on too strong. © Marvel

We actually did two versions of this piece, the first way, way too long on my part and delving into the deeper meaning of characters like Drax the Destroyer and Rick Jones in relation to Thanos as Nice Guy, and Jason Aaron’s Thanos Rising, which is so on-the-nose it actually places Thanos in high school mewling that Death won’t give him her favors. I’ll post it here down the road when it won’t run interference on the version that ran in MEL.

Also I really am overdue to write an article delineating between the nice guys of the ’00s and the definition of “Nice” Guys that was emerging even in 2012 when I wrote my piece about the former. Before the latter seized the term for a broader spectrum of behavior, desires, and frustrations — most of them unsettling, many of them horrifying, a sliver of them sympathetic — there was more differentiation. I think the former need a new appellation, since there’s no reclaiming this one.


Doubling Freelance Income, Part 2: Why You Don’t (but Really Do) Want Multiple Bank Accounts

Welcome back to the freelancer’s guide to harvesting bank bonuses. In part one, we showed freelancers are optimized to reap bank bonuses via payments from multiple clients. Today I’ll run down all the reasons you might balk at opening multiple bank accounts, and then show the answers that resolve your concerns, valid though they may be. It’s a little long, so I’ve divided it into three pages to preserve your eyeballs.

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How I Easily Double My Freelance Income Without Doing Anything Weird or Sketchy

I promise you this isn’t some empty clickbait title (though it is SEO optimized) and it really does pivot on the eye-rolling “one simple trick.” (Can I get some applause for resisting that phrase in the headline?) This won’t work for every freelancer, but it certainly helps anyone with corporate clients: you writers, photographers, illustrators, producers, and video editors out there looking to double your income. The short version is to set up a separate bank account for each client to pay you, then earn a bonus from the bank for receiving the money — effectively paying yourself a few hundred dollars for 10 to 20 minutes’ worth of work.

Over the next few days I’ll detail how I do this in a three-part guide, but it’s as simple as it says: open an account, receive a paycheck, harvest a bonus. My way isn’t for everybody, and others may be doing it to greater profit, but for me this is the level of reward I like for minimal exertion.

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Low-T. Rex #4: Mature Reflection — or, What Do Dinosaurs Pray For?

Did dinosaurs pray to God during their brief existence some 5900 years ago? I don’t want to spoil the reveal in this week’s Low-T. Rex, but it begins with him dropping to his knees (ankles? Duclaws? T. rex anatomy is a little different from ours) in a dark alcove, praying to God (who is a velociraptor, I don’t know if you know that) for some kind of mercy.

Lord, can’t we all relate in this day and age.

Anyway, his prayers go unanswered, possibly because his stubby little arms can’t properly clasp hands in prayer. Is this proof that all dinosaur fossils were placed in the earth by Satan to trick us? Leading theologians assert that, yes, this is irrefutable evidence of Lucifer meddling in God’s perfect creation. Case closed, atheists. If God isn’t real, then why is the Devil trying to test our faith in Him?

…I’m particularly proud of the cartoon rubbery poses in this one. Not great yet, but getting better, back into the groove.


‘The Devil’s Child’: A Little Richard Biopic Would Blow Every Other Musical Biography Film to Smithereens

Oh, does your musical biography picture show the musician displaying early talent as an irascible child? Bully for you, but the Little Richard biopic will still have it beaten, because it’s going to feature a 14-year-old Richard “War Hawk” Penniman opening for Sister Rosetta Tharpe in a turban before going full drag as “Princess LaVonne.” Lest you think your Jerry Lee Lewis script can still compete, good luck sourcing a story about a mummified baby that some insane taxidermist jackaloped into “The Devil’s Child:”

'The Devil's Child': A Little Richard Biopic Would Blow Every Other Musical Biography Film to Smithereens

Then you could play in the fact that his dad was a church deacon who forbade R&B as “devil music” in their religious family despite owning nightclubs and producing his own moonshine. There’s your tension. Would this script include a solid middle finger to Pat Boone? Oh, you know it would.

Also, there’s the ineluctable fact that Little Richard’s music is immensely better than damn near anything before or since, so–wait, should I be writing this screenplay? I don’t even prefer biopics, despite my love for Walk the Line but dang, maybe I’ll go hammer out The Devil Child and if it sells, just give all the money to Little Richard to spend on grand exhibitions of talent. Ooh ooh or we could start a musical scholarship fund with it. Yeah, this works. Little Richard biopic: somebody make it happen.