When The Clock Reads 21:13

When you’re into a fandom, there are often things that you can point to and say, “That! That’s the thing that best explains this thing.” I experienced one of those moments on Thursday night as I stood sweaty and beaten from a mosh pit at Coheed & Cambria’s In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth 3 Neverender concert.

Things had slowed down, the lights had gone down and come back up and Claudio came out and said, “Mr. Light Bright, can I get the numbers please?” And the lit screens behind him lit up with the number “2113” and he started playing “21:13.”

Of course, we all went nuts! Crazy, all over the place nuts.

So this week, I’m exploring my “gateways,” the things that before I identified as a full on fangirl and nerd got me thinking, “there’s something to this,” things that lead me down paths and rabbit holes that have gotten me to where I am now.

I started listening to Coheed & Cambria when I was 15. I’ve never looked like the kind of person that would be into their music and often got very defensive. Showing up at an emo and punk show in a polo dress always kind of got me some weird looks. And I certainly didn’t do it on purpose to be an asshole. I mean, what kind of a teenager would do that?

But the first comic book I ever read was Amory Wars #1, my friend Aley had bought it and we were both reading it. It sparked something in me. It was so weird and cool and interesting. I should note that I didn’t keep reading though. I can’t even begin to explain how insecure I was about my nerdy stuff in high school. I was terrified that someone would find out and I don’t know what I thought would happen, exactly.

This was years before Batman Begins and my friends were only interested in X-Men in so far as one of our Broadway Idols Hugh Jackman was involved.

But Coheed was different. Before The Amory Wars came out, all any of us could do was guess what the hell the story of this album was, based on the songs themselves. And while the music is great context for the story, it doesn’t exactly fill you in on what’s actually going on.

We totally got that there was child murder going on though. That was always pretty obvious.

But it wasn’t until I started going to live shows my senior year of high school that I started to understand how fandom works. See, theatre fandom is a weird little niche. It has some internet and real world cross over, but for the most part you share it just with your friends that you do theater with. But waiting on line to go to a Coheed show you talk about which shows you’ve seen, favorite songs, what you think is next for the story.

Coheed is special to me for a lot of reasons, but mainly because it was one of my first fandoms and because it continues to be a really meaningful bond with my siblings and Joe. And I always have fun at these shows, which is why I keep going.

So how does this link the moment I described before?

Aside from the fact that Coheed fans are some of the most awesome people in the entire world, it’s a really, really, fun positive group of people who’ve all grown up together. We were teenagers when this music started, and now we’re in our twenties. We all remember when the “A Favor House Atlantic” video was actually on MTV2 on a regular basis. But I had a moment on Thursday, where I looked around and thought, “Who are all these grown ups at the Coheed show?” Then I realized, we’re the grown ups at the Coheed show. We’re not drinking warm plastic bottle vodka in the bathroom anymore, we’re ordering beers in the back. We’re still moshing and crowd surfing. (Not me personally, I mosh a little, but I’d have a nervous breakdown if I tried to crowd surf.) And a lot fewer people are being thrown out.

But these fans aren’t just awesome, they feed in a big way off of Claudio’s silliness and positivity. The music itself is pretty angry and violent, but Claudio radiates joy and light from his side of things and the crowd absorbs it.

And that’s a pretty cool thing.

Advertisements

Things I’m Obsessed With Right Now: Part 2

Hey everyone! So I’m pooped from the weekend, and writing a full post wasn’t likely so here are some of the things I’m obsessed with right now. (No repeats!)

  1. Working on my costumes for the various events I have this fall. I have amazingly fun stuff planned for Lead East, New York Comic Con, Halloween and my birthday party! This weekend is going to be about shopping, sewing and getting most of them together!
  2. Ben Folds. I listened to Rockin The Suburbs again on a whim, and wow, I always forget how good that album is.
  3. Songs For A New World, by Jason Robert Brown. This one comes around every once in a while.
  4. Outlander. I’m still having trouble getting into the book, but once I have a chance to really sit and read it I know that I’m going to love it. But the show, Holy Crap! I love this show.
  5. Jenna Coleman’s wardrobe on the Doctor Who world tour. She looks amazing in every picture and I want all of her dresses.
  6. Babs Tarr’s twitter, tumblr and everything. I can’t believe we have to wait almost two months for new Batgirl.
  7. The “Ultimate”  Doctor Who specials that BBC America has been airing. I’ve watched Companion and Time Lord. They’re fun.
  8. The TARDIS glasses that my cast gave me as a thank you gift. They’re good eggs.
  9. X-23/Angel. LOVE THEM! Every X-Men comic should somehow spotlight this relationship. I would then read more of them.
  10. Brian Michael Bendis. Between Guardians and Miles Morales, he’s writing my two favorite non Kamala Marvel titles at the moment.
  11. Leaked pictures of the Frozen cast from Once Upon A Time. They look good right? I miss that show.
  12. The new Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. billboard, with the formula on it. Sunday night, fangirl friend Jon and I discussed that Avengers was nerds winning “the war” to conquer mainstream pop culture, Guardians was signing the treaty of victory, and I think that billboard is like, when you camp troops out in a country you conquered, maybe?
  13. Zero Year. EEEHHH!! I finally got my hands on a copy of Secret City. I’m halfway through it as of this writing and reading it is all I want to be doing.
  14. David Tennant’s beard.
  15. Harper Row and Stephanie Brown.
  16. The In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth 3 reissue box set. I don’t buy vinyl, but I might make an exception because this set is SO GORGEOUS.
  17. Being in complete denial that there’s only 1 issue of Translucid left.
  18. Will & Grace binge-a-thons on WE or LOGO. It’s always on now, which is weird because about a year ago, I mentioned that I missed Will & Grace, I no longer miss it.
  19. Play It Again Dick. If you don’t know what it is, learn what it is. You will be grateful! (OK, so anticipating it…whatever)
  20. Sleep. I am obsessed with it. I miss it. I used to sleep A LOT, lately, I feel like I sleep barely at all. I’m at the point where I’m PLANNING my sleep. This is new for me. It’s glorious, but new.

So that’s where I am right now!

The Bigger They Are, The Higher Pitched They Scream: Translucid #4

Guys! This week my Translucid came 2 days early, so I was able to get it written up in time to post today, the day it hits shelves. (I haven’t been feeling super great this week, so this was a very nice pick me up, when I got home on Monday and saw that envelope from Boom!) As we speed towards our climax, we see how Cornelius’s light inventions progress.

Yay!

Yay!

He uses them to help another kid who’s being bullied. He’s also fighting off terrible visions of his father, and back in Navigator timeline, he’s going to an abandoned mental hospital to basically pray to his mother about how he’s lost his way.

That last one? Is a super Batman move. “I will become a bat, Father…” and all of that Year One nonsense. (I don’t actually think Year One is nonsense. Year One is basically perfect.) He also makes a light rose and leaves it behind for her. Now, we’ve known from the minute that this book was announced that it was going to have shades of The Bat, but this particular scene was so Claudio Does Gotham that I started thinking about that petition that he get to write an actual Batman story.

Although, I guess that would mean no more Snyder.

So, maybe not.

I’m just saying. He seems to get it.

Anyway, Cornelius accepts a gift of a plant from the family of the woman who Drake died saving. Drake’s sacrifice seems to be the thing that really pushes him to become the Navigator, but the issue ends with his Mom apparently poisoning him and herself in order to reunite their family in heaven.

Ah, yes, that’s the Claudio Sanchez I know and have grown to love and fear. This is the writer who kicked off his entire saga with a set of parents being manipulated into murdering their children. This is the guy who created the character of Al The Killer, and sold him as one of the good guys. Or at least on the side of the angels, or I guess, The Prise…

YOU ALL THINK YOU FIGURED ME OUT! DO AS I SAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Whew, sorry about that. I got a little bit caught up. If I wasn’t sidelined by this stomach bug, I might have actually started moshing. Anyway, it’s a dark and interesting direction to go in, and as usual I was gripped. Maybe more so than usual.

Oh, also, the classmate that Cornelius saved had a Knight chess piece on his tee shirt. So that may or may not be telling.

This month, in lines that could be lyrics:

“I can’t believe it’s been so long, 30 years without you. Not a single one with any kind of resolve”

“It’s a shame to see you’ve fallen so far from grave without your pony boy.”

“If a hero’s only as good as his villains then what does that make me?”

“Memories don’t belong to us, you see. We share the past with the consequences of our decisions.”

So that was this month. I can’t believe that there are only two issues left! I’m really enjoying this story, and I’m going to miss it when it’s finished. See you tomorrow for Kamala!

“With The Ideal Conditions In Place”: Translucid #3

Translucid 3

OK, so Cornelius is definitely The Navigator, I’ve got that now. Sure, it took me until the halfway point, but whatever, I’m slow. We’ll all deal with it.

Yes, folks, we’re halfway through this psychadelic, equine and nautical themed superhero story.

Also, this is the first issue to come out since Claudio and Chondra’s son Atlas was born!

Congrats on parenthood, Sanchezes! I bet your kid is going to be a badass.

Anyway, this months story jumped around in time. (As always) But focused mostly on one defining night. When heading home from school, I guess? I’m not sure where the boys were, anyway, Cornelius is going home and Drake is going back to school for a game? OK, so they weren’t at school. Whatever. They were out. So Cornelius runs into some bullies from school who break the controller for his hologram dog. (I know I say it all the time but, you guys, seriously, comics! It’s brilliant.) So he snaps and beats the crap out of them. He’s arrested, and his parents come to pick him up. They then receive a phone call that Drake was killed trying to pull a woman off of subway tracks.

So there’s his Martha/Thomas, Uncle Ben moment.

The other night that gets a spot light is when the Horse tricked The Navigator into killing an innocent bystander. Of course Claudio wouldn’t create a vigilante with a strict “no kill” code. For God’s sake, have you read The Amory Wars? Or listened to “The Final Cut?” Also, clearly, Cornelius has a temper problem.

Anyway, that was this month. I liked seeing our bleeding on the streets moment and the images of horses that keep racing through The Navigators memories are really cool.

I’m also sad that Drake had to die. I liked him. Also, I like that his name is Drake. In my head it’s in tribute to Tim. It’s quite likely that it has nothing to do with Tim. But I’m going to keep thinking that it was.

This issue’s lines that could be lyrics?

“Guess you’ll have to build a new friend.”

“If you don’t pay closer attention, you’ll become the villain”

“It’s the handicap of humanity that we should store our own equilibrium in each other.”

“The are no happy trails little brother. All roads lead to one place, the end.”

So that’s where we are now folks. I know it took me a week to get this up. And for that I apologize. Thanks for waiting though!

A New Stage in Fangirling (for me…)

So last night I realized that there are going to be two comic series that I’m so excited for this year that I’m not going to be able to wait for their bound trade versions to come out. This is how I’ve been consuming comics in the past six months when I really started reading them. But when it comes to Marvel’s new Miss Marvel series, I’m not going to be able to wait, and it’s for two reasons.

  1. I want it to do well sales wise, so I’ll do my best to help that. I don’t want to feel sheepish when I hear, “Well no one was buying a comic starring a teen age girl from Jersey City who’s being raised in a traditional Muslim family.” I can say, “I BOUGHT IT!”
  2. It’s really about time I had this experience. I know feel like I have enough of a knowledge base and self confidence to walk into a comics store once a month without feeling like I’m instantly being judged.

The second one isn’t a great reason. But the first one is a really, really great reason so I think that that makes up for it. When I first heard about Kamala Khan and the relaunch of Ms. Marvel, I almost cried. With joy. I don’t know much about Ms. Marvel, except that she’s different from Captain Marvel, and that there’s a difference between Captain Marvel from Marvel and Captain Marvel, the Superman but with Magic guy that I love a whole lot. So a relaunch of this character isn’t something that’s going to rock my world. But a mainstream, Big 2 female Muslim character is a huge deal, and I hope it leads to more.

And then there’s the other one.

Remember how when I was talking about Veronica Mars I said that I got so excited that my brain broke? That’s nothing compared to how excited I am for Translucent, the new comic project from Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert.

You may remember them from this time that I met them at Comic Con!

You may remember them from this time that I met them at Comic Con!

Basically the husband and wife duo who are also responsible for making most of my favorite music of the past decade are now “deconstructing the relationship between Batman and The Joker.”

Everything about this idea makes me brain-breakingly excited. Not least of all because Coheed & Cambria have already brilliantly examined this relationship in the song “Deranged” which was written for the Arkham City soundtrack.

I was trying to explain it to people this weekend, and what came out of my mouth was something like, “Claudio, Chondra, superhero, KABOOM! WAHHH!!!!!” Followed by a high pitched squee that no one heard but my neighbor’s dog and broke a couple of windows. I’ve never been a big comics reader before the past six months, and I’ve never subscribed to anything. I will subscribe to this and I will love it and I will buy the fully bound commemorative edition.

So, I’m about to cross a fangirling threshold, I’m excited, are you?

Man Your Battle Stations: One Crazy Night With The Best Fans On The Fence

Hello Apollo…where shall I begin?

At around 2:45 PM, Saturday, Mary, Joe and I hopped in to my mom’s GMC Acadia, with Mary at wheel. We drove for somehwere between two and a half and three hours, and arrived at The Showboat Atlantic City Hotel and Casino. We checked in to our hotel room, I changed clothes (a gesture later deemed almost completely futile), had a glass of wine and we walked across the casino floor to the House of Blues music hall and stood in line.

We were in line for Coheed and Cambria, who, as I’ve said several times, are my favorite band. My sister and Joe give Coheed an enormous amount of credit for their relationship. Their love of the band was one of the things that they bonded over when they first met when they were 18. It’s immensely adorable to watch them get geared up for a show.

Actually, it’s just immensely adorable to watch them…

This show was extra special for all of us, because the opener for the show was The Dear Hunter, another one of Mary’s favorite bands.

Well, they were the second opener. The doors opened at 8 and we made out way to the pit. The first opener, a band called 3 quickly won over the crowd when they went on at 8:45. By 10:30, when Dear Hunter finished, we were all psyched for everything to start, Mike had joined us, and I had had two Miller Lites and peed three times. Then the show started.

There’s an old Irish saying, sometimes attributed to William Butler Yeats, “There are no strangers here, only friends we haven’t met yet.” I feel that way at most concerts but it comes through even more with cultish bands like Coheed. Coheed fans are so deeply passionate about this music. We pushed and pulled in the pit and after three songs I was soaked through with sweat and completely out of breath. However, 3 songs in the pit is a personal best for me, and moshing has never been something that I loved anyway. (Moshing is made much more pleasant by the presence of my six foot five ex defensive lineman brother making sure that no one roughs me up too bad.) I was determined to break out of my comfort zone on this one though and I did just that.

Mike made it a few more songs, but in the end he and I wound up hanging out by the bar, dancing, singing along and me drinking more Miller Lite. (He’d been in the casino, so already had a decent buzz going.) We made friends, danced with them, sang along with them, and we all walked out at 12:30 AM this morning, saying it was the best Coheed show we’d ever been to.

This isn’t a small claim to make. I’ve been to 4 Coheed shows, this was Mary’s eighth, Joe’s seventh, and Mike’s fifth or sixth. Mike also saw them open for Brand New when they were just starting out.

Mike has a lot of emo kid street cred for a preppy jock.

Mary was even at the legendary 10th Anniversary Neverender show. We’ve seen line up changes, (the departure of epic drummer Chris Pennie, now replaced with the lower key but extremely talented Josh Eppard. And last time Joe, Mary and I saw them bassist Mic Todd had just been arrested for armed robbery. He’s not in the band anymore.) We’ve loved all of those shows, but this one was simply impossible to explain. The energy of the room was unstoppable, Claudio was in rare form. I love seeing people enjoy what they’re doing, particularly when what they’re doing is something immensely cool, like playing in a rock band or being a professional athlete. And  last night, Claudio was having fun. He was wailing on both his guitar and vocally, telling goofy stories and laughing.

We spent the rest of the night, drinking gambling and laughing. We didn’t get to bed until 5:30 AM.

I love my family. I love this band. I love that when we found out this was happening it was a complete no brainer for us. This was going to happen. We were going to go. We were going to have an amazing time. And we did.

The Afterman Part 1: Ascension comes out on October 9. You’ll be hearing more about Coheed and Cambria from me in the mean time as bits and pieces leak out.

10 Days!

Now I get it

Claudio Sanchez wrote this guest column for Q, explaining how he feels about the concept albums for Coheed and Cambria, The Amory Wars, and how the story relates to the music.

In case you’re new, or haven’t been paying attention. I love Coheed and Cambria (going to see them in 18 days! WOO!). I’ve loved them since I was fourteen. This will be the third time I’m seeing them live. (My sister has gone at least  7 times, she’s coming this time too.) I liked the article. Of course, most of the information I knew already. (Although I was not aware that Coheed and Cambria were based, however loosely on Sanchez’s own parents.)

But what struck me was one of the phrases that Claudio used, to describe The Amory Wars concept, “a tree deeply rooted in real life themes with science fiction leaves.” First of all, it’s just a beautiful phrase. But then again, I didn’t expect less from the man who gave me my favorite description of writing:

“Slowly the pen touches paper
In the guidance of the words that you write
Memories roll in of the things you once did
And who you had shared them with.” – The Light In The Glass

Also, I feel like the whole, “real tree, sci fi leaves” concept is what makes good science fiction good. If you can’t connect to it, then there’s no point. Science Fiction and fantasy, (as I’ve pointed out before) are driven by our experience of them.

Also, I’m this column got me psyched because we got plot details (of a kind) for The Afterman which is coming out in early October.

The cover looks like this. I am very excited!

The album will focus on Sirius Amory, who “discovered” the nature of the Keywork.

I am very excited!