‘Grimjack’: The Russos Brothers’ New Project Is My Personal Nerd-vana

If I made it to the top of the Hollywood heap and directed the highest grossing film of all time, I know exactly what my next move would be: Grimjack. I’ve mused on how it could be done a hundred times — all of them terrible ideas because I’m not a film-maker. But to my amazement, reality is doing a better version than I ever could by dropping it into the ablest of hands. Grimjack‘s the Russo brothers’ newest project — currently in development for an Amazon pilot — and I am 12 years old again with glee.


‘Grimjack’ & Me

or, How a Lunatic Murderer Coached My Teen Years

It’s the smile that makes Grimjack who he is. You might argue his trademark characteristic is the scar on his eye — and it’s true that was the first thing I noticed when I discovered him a lifetime ago — but it’s not, nor the streak in his hair, nor how he dresses like the most militant member of the E Street Band. And though “grim” is right there in his name, it’s not his brooding, a legitimate character trait of his long before it became pointlessly de rigeur in comics’ leather-clad ’90s. It’s not even his moral complexity, brought to comics ahead of Vertigo or Watchmen. All of those are defining traits of the character, but not the definitive one that answers the question: “Who is Grimjack?”

Nah, it’s the molon labe grin that only comes out when someone offers violence. Why, sure, says that mad smile, we can dance. Who is Grimjack? The cheshire cat of bloodshed. As for what is Grimjack? A comic book which, more than any other, made me want to create comics…while also giving me an outlet for my standard-issue teenage aggression, and all the other high emotions now available to me.


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.


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.