The Japanese Beetle!
The Japanese Beetle! for April 05, 2004
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April 05, 2004
First, a treat for everyone. On Friday I designed a new front page image for Graphic Smash, and I liked it so much I turned it into a desktop pattern. Click on the image below to download a .zip file - it's got .bmp images for 800x600, 1024x768 and 1280x976 resolutions in it. Be warned - it's kinda large (1.2 MB).

Second, I'd like to discuss a book I read a short time ago, Danny Fingeroth's Superman on the Couch. It purports to be a sociological analysis of superheroes and what they can tell us about our society. Sadly, Fingeroth's analysis boils down to "the Punisher is about our fear of crime" and "Batman is a revenge fantasy." I imagine if you're a relative newcomer to comics, this book would blow your mind. However, if you've given these issues even a moment's thought, it's all kind of obvious.

Even worse, the book is written in a sort of "gee, shucks, aren't superheroes great?" style that makes it feel like a bad undergraduate term paper. He also relies heavily on comics, addressing non-comic superheroes like Buffy only in passing, despite the fact that Buffy's probably more in tune with American culture than any mainstream comic has been in years. It's also strange that Fingeroth seems to have not read a single mainstream comic since leaving Marvel - he doesn't seem to have heard of Vertigo and Image only merits a few casual mentions.

Perhaps if Fingeroth had explored one or two individual heroes in more depth and drawn some inobvious conclusions, the book would be worth reading. As it stands now, however, the book's not worth reading.

Music: Beastie Boys, "Sure Shot"

April 06, 2004
As you know, I'm a very spiritual man. And yesterday was one of the most important days on my religious calendar. I'm speaking, of course, about opening day.

What, you thought I was talking about Passover?

Anyway, I made my annual trek to PNC Park to watch the Pirates battle the Phillies, I matchup I love because no matter who wins, I win. This year, it was the periates. Whoo-hoo!

           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E  LO
PHILLIES   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0   1 6 0  10
PIRATES    0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 x   2 7 0   6

W: K. Wells (1-0)
L: K. Millwood (0-1)
S: J. Mesa (1)

HR: PIT - C. Wilson (1)

April 08, 2004
You know, I'd rather have a win, but this was a pretty exciting game anyway. Mind, you, I have to wonder why the Pirates have kept Brian Boehringer all these years - he's terrible, and he's costing us $2M a year. I'm sure there are plenty of people in Altoona and Nashville who could stink just as bad for a fraction of the price. I do find it amusing, though, that he gave up the winning runs and still has a 0.00 ERA - because neither run was earned. Ow.

           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H  E  LO
PHILLIES   0 0 1 0 2 0 0 2 0   5 10 1  10
PIRATES    0 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 0   4 11 0   6

W: R. Cormier (1-0)
L: B. Boehringer (0-1)
S: B. Wagner (1)

HR: PIT - C. Wilson (2)
Anyway. Also picked up the Comics Journal Library for R. Crumb yesterday, and it looks like it's filled with Crumb-y goodness. And not in a Holden Caulfield way, either. More about that later, after I've finished reading it.

Where do those ducks go in the winter, anyway?

April 09, 2004
If it makes you feel any better, I hate this strip too.

Pretty good game tonight. Good back and forth action until about the sevent, when the Pirates put it away for good. Plus, I had great seats (section 142, row A) and even managed to come away from the game with a ball. I ask you - does it ever get better than that?

           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R  H  E  LO
PHILLIES   0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1   2  9  0   9
PIRATES    0 0 1 0 0 1 3 1 X   6 10  0   6

W: R. Vogelsong (1-0)
L: V. Padilla (0-1)

HR: PHI - M. Lieberthal (1)
    PIT - R. Mondesi (1)
          J. Wilson (1)
I'm off to DC to see my brother Chris perform at the DC Improv with Gary Valentine. Have a good Easter, and see you on Monday!

Music: They Might Be Giants, "Hopeless Bleak Despair"

The Japanese Beetle and all related characters are copyright ©1998-2004 by Dave "The Knave" White. All rights reserved. Any passing resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead or otherwise, is purely coincidental except when it isn't. Really, we swear. Please don't sue us. Published on line by 741.5 Comics.