Friday, April 28, 2006

Layman movie review: UNITED 93

Ug. I just got back from an advance VIP screening of United 93, and I'll say the same thing about this movie as I did Hotel Rwanda, Schindler's List and Meet The Fockers: This movie was not funny at all.

In the six years since the events of September 11th (or 91/1, as it is better known,) one thing is certain: America needs to heal. And what has more resortative healing power than the magic that is laughter? United 93 certainly has potential as a movie, but I have a sure-fire suggestion on how to make it better. You know those "mash-up" songs that consist of TWO different songs put together into one single AWESOME song? They should do the same with United 93, and the other definitive classic movie of the airline genre: Soul Plane.

Taking three-year old hit comedy of summer 2004 and "mashing" it with United 93 would be a sure-fire way to draw in the coveted 18-25 demographic. ESPECIALLY if the mash-up included segments from the saucy "unrated and out of control" edition, where they show lots of big naked boobies in the hot tub in the plane's lower "dance club" level.

Imagine the laughs when Mo'Nique, fresh from her recent silver-screen triumph Phat Girlz, plays the amorous airport security guard Jamiqua, who dishes out the sass even while she's grabbin' that ass! Sure, it's her fault when the terrorists get through the metal detector and onto the plane on her watch, but as a world-class writer, I know how important it is to a movie to have a sympathetic character. Who could stay mad at Mo'Nique when she's delighting us with her antics and wisecracks? Fat girls are horn-dogs! OMFG-- I think I just spit up Coke through my nose 'cause I wuz laughing so hard!

Meanwhile, America's favorite ganja-hound and rapper, Snoop Doggie Dogg, plays the tragically doomed airline pilot Antoine Mack. Sure, Al-Queda puts a bullet in head before the beginning of the second reel, but first Snoop, in a hot second, is "hittin' them switches and gettin' this bitch pumpin' and jumpin'." Awesome! He also makes the plane bounce like a low rider as it takes off on the runaway to its inevitable doom. Hysterical!!

And finally, Tom Arnold plays Mr. Hunkee, with the hottie daughter and the hip-hop son. What's more, he is also poignant metaphor for the "pre-September 11th" mindset of America, before the tragic events, which, coincidentally, took place on the same day. And it will be Tom Arnold, in his everyman role as the Passenger Who Dared to Defy Al Queda, who will teach of the real meaning of the word sacrifice, and inspire us and generations to come with what it means to be a Hero.

Anyway, if I were the director of United 93, that's what I would have done to "keep it real."

Hollywood, if you are looking for me, I'll be standing outside by the mailbox, waiting for my check.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Neal Pozner asks: "Last's week's Layman Day Wuz Awesome...

...but when are you going to update The Layman Backlist?"

Why, today, Neal... Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

Oh, and Reggie's is still suffering terribly from the scratch on his nose. Thanks for asking about that!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Batty the cat, AKA Batford J. Ruggles, today vowed she would sleep day and night until "the real nose scratcher" was found.

Meanwhile, this incriminating evidence has resurfaced:

Saturday, April 22, 2006


As I mentioned yesterday, a member of my family fell victim to an act of savage violence. What makes it worse it that it originated from within: Yes, the ugly specter of domestic violence reared its ugly, multi-pronged head.

Let's examine the case, shall we, and see if we can make sense of it:

One Reginald James Poggles, AKA Reggie

Somebody scratched Reggie's cute little button nose!


Bumble Buzz is the obvious culprit. She has little patience for other members of the household, and particular distain for little Reggie. Bumble Buzz likes her master, and that's just about it. But would she goes so far as to maul her young brother's perfect face?

Rufus plays coy, but it's clear she and Reggie have a "thing" going on the side. Unfortunately, Rufus is about as high-maintainence as they come. Could this have been a crime of passion?

Reggie's best friend Batty would surely not resort to violence against her compatriot? However, keep in mind that Batty has ben showing evidence of demensia, and is currently undergoing a variety of psychotropic medicines. If Batty is the purr-petrator, will she get off by using the insanity defense?

Often seen in the kitchen ultilizing a variety of sharpened cooking utencils, the suspect has shown nothing in the way of remorse, and has been enjoying a Duke Lacross-esque "blame the victim" defense, downplaying Reggie's horrific injuries, and saying "he probably had it coming." She also has made repeated claims that the victim is "arrogant."

We've presented the facts of the case, the suspects and the motives. Now it's time for YOU to sound off about who is the guilty party. Remember, only on the internet does your vote count. This ain't Florida or Ohio. Who was the monster that perpetrated this dreadful crime?

Friday, April 21, 2006


Terrible news.

J.L.G.S. had been delayed, while the Layman family must contend with the fallout from an act of catastropic violence!

Now, if you're like me, you watch the news, and get a good, hearty belly laugh when you hear about various murders, workplace violence, random gunplay, genocide and ethnic cleansing. It's funny 'cos it happens to somebody else! But you never expect it to happen to you!

Yesterday an act of savage violence was perpetrated against someone very near and dear to me.

I'm still too shaken and disheartened to do any serious blogging about it today. But despite this terrible misfortune, I always says, when Life Gives You Laymans, you Make Laymonade.

Tune in tomorrow as Judge Layman presides over a kangaroo court where we will, together, attempt to solve the mystery behind this henious act. In the meantime, I will return to my grieving, and recluse myself behind a veil of tears.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Neal Pozner asks: "So, what made yesterday John Layman Day anyway?"

I'm glad you asked, Neal. The answer:

One day, two comics, three covers.

Claw/Red Sonja #4. Adventures of large-breasted barbarians.

Sentinel Squad #4. Giant robots vs. telekinetic dinosaurs.

And here is the ultra-rare 1-in-10 Jim Lee cover. I've seen it on sale for $25 in a comic book store in downtown Seattle. Ree-dickle-ous!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Smile: A special Layman Day gift to America

Adios, Scott McClellan, you slimy, corrupt, mealy-mouthed, lying, smarmy, shit-eating mother fucker. May you get hit by lightning and run over by a truck on your first day of "retirement." You were the public face of an adminstration of lies and deceipt, a paid liar to a horrific agenda which everyone on Earth will pay for for years and years to come. If there is such this as hell, you are surely bound for it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mark your calendar: Tomorrow is John Layman day

Enjoy it while you can.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Meet Ruggles!

So, as I mentioned earlier, I've been playing World of Warcraft, and totally loving iit. One of the coolest things about my roommate is that she is a huge game geek, too, and she is just as hooked on the game as me. At first, we were just alternating, I would play and she would play, and we would look over each other's shoulders waiting for each's respective turn. Initially, the idea of buying two monthly subscriptions (at $15 a month) a pop, seemed ludicrous, but eventually we did it, and then each made two new characters in a very new and underpopulated realm (Ysera) and we have been playing together, adventuring side by side.

She is a thief named Battythecat and I am a mage named Ruggles. We both playing Gnomes (like my other character Poggles.) So far, we've made it to 25 Level, and I have to say, Ruggles is a total freakin' badass.

Playing in pairs, too, is a lot more fun than playing solo. We get stuff done faster and more efficiently, and are leveling up and getting new abilities at a furious rate.

Anyway... if you're wandering around Ysera and come upon Ruggles, run, because I will totally ANNIHILATE YOUR SORRY ASS!!!

Upcoming: Are you as excited as I am about J.L.G.S.?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Layman three question mark movie review: CHRONICLES OF NARNIA

I think Chronicles of Narnia is the weirdest movie I have ever seen. Keep in mind, I knew a bit about it going in, so I was prepared to see talking lions and beavers, wicked witches, centaurs and cyclops, and all mannner of crazy fantasy creatures and creations. And I knew this movie had an Christian overtones and it was largely made and marketed as a kid's movie, but nothing --nothing!-- could have prepared me for the sheer surrealness of the first fifteen minutes. I'm pretty sure I just spent the rest of the movie scratching my head and wondering what the hell I just saw.

Narnia begins showing some unnamed city, with really weird, old-fashioned architecture, and it's being bombed by a very obsolete flight of fighter planes. WTF? Then, things get really odd, when we are introduced to the four leads of the movie. Now, I don't want to tell the costume designer how to do his or her job, but most kids, at least teenagers, carry cell phones and ipods. And they wear clothes that says "Tommy Hilfinger," "DKNY," and "Stop Snitching." The four kids in this movie were wearing drab clothes that looked like they went out of style 50 years ago! I just couldn't stop wondering why these kids weren't more "with it."

And I think I probably could have accepted all this, except for the next thing. And I'm sure it was a directorial decision, but I have to say, it utterly boggled my mind: Why on earth did the four lead children speak with British accents? I swear, I was the CRAZIEST thing I have ever seen.

Anyway, not a bad movie, considering it was clearly a low-rent Lord of Rings, defanged and without blood for the kiddies. They didn't hit you over the head with the Christian stuff, either. But I strongly recommend you fast-forward past the bizarre adn quizzical first 15 minutes of the movie. I suspect it would make a lot more sense that way.

Friday, April 14, 2006

I urge you: RESPECT THE J.L.G.S.

A lot of you have been making jokes in very poor taste about J.L.G.S. This is a serious subject, with far-reaching, important consequences, and yet a few of you very small-minded readers have been enjoying making light of it.

Here's what a few of you idiots have said, speculating about the meaning J.L.G.S.:

Ed Brubaker: John Layman Gay Sex
Tom B. Long: (stealing Ed's crude joke) John Loves Gay Sex
Kristy Quinn: John Layman Gets Sober
Mark Rahner: John Layman's Gastric Surgery
James Nadiger: John Layman's Group Sex
B. Clay Moore: (saying it's a mantra he repeats before reading my books) Jesus, Lord, Gimme Strength!
Popculturezoil: John Layman's G-String

Well, hardy har har, mother fuckers. I guess the joke is on you, because you are all officially
from this blog.

That's right. Move along, you disrespectful sacks of crap. You are no longer welcome, and you have all been

Everybody else: Please look forward to an important annoucement regarding J.L.G.S., tentatively scheduled for next week.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A special teaser image: J.L.G.S. is coming... to save the world!

J.L.G.S. is coming! Is it a salve for the 21st Century? Or a soothing balm?

Watch this space for more information.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Layman Five Star Movie Review: The Constant Gardener

This movie was so good I'm going to forego my usual hilarious jokes, and cannily satirical factual errors and carely calculated typographical mistakes, just to impress on you how goddamn much I enjoyed this movie. My roommate, who has the attention span of a mayfly on a Nutrasweet bender, proclaimed it boring after about ten seconds, so I was left to watch it on my own,

What a great movie. A really smart, subtle, beautiful and achingly sad movie, with great characterization, and a smart story structure that was neither deliberately obtuse nor did it beat you over the head with the points it was trying to make. I knew going in the basic premise, that a husband (Ralph Fiennes) wife (Rachel Wiess) was killed and he is trying to figure out what happened, but I knew very little else. Probably for good reason, since it's about Pharmacutical companies testing bad drugs on dirt poor, unspecting Africans. (Which also explain why it didn't do well in the box office, 'cause if there is one thing Americans are willing to turn a blind eye too --other than their asshole president-- is what goes on in Africa.)

Rachel Weiss was phenomenal, as an viviacious and idealistic crusuader. I didn't pay much attention to the Oscars this year, but I see she won for Best Supporting Actress, and it is totally well-deservered (personally, I think the line between Best and Supporting continues to get fuzzier and more stratigic every year, and I would have given her Best Actress.) Ralph Fienne, in retrospect, had a much less flashy role, but did no less a job, as a stuff beuracrat (I know that is spelled wrong-- screw you!) who keeps his emotions very close to the vest. Which, it turns out, makes the ending that much more devastating.

Anyway, great, great movie. I wanted to bawl like a baby at the end, or like Rufus at feeding time, but of course I am too much of a man to show any emotions other than anger, rage, or fury.

J.L.G.S. --What it is, how it can touch the life of a child!
Plus: more awesomeness, updated regularly!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Kitty Prozac: The Cure for the Crazy Cat!

Poor Old Batty.

I will not contest that she is by far our smartest and most complex cat. She is particularly devious when it comes to getting what she wants, like mooching food or running outside. My roommate dotes on Batty, more than the other three cats combined, and I make up for it by giving the other three the attention my roommate gives solely to Batty.

But anyway, Batty is a true Layman: A candle the burns the brightest, which also burns the briefest. We've known for a while she has elevated kidney levels, and the vet has told us "she has the kidneys of a cat five years older than she is." (We got Batty in 1997, making her ten years old this week.) Batty also has high blood pressure, which may have something to do with her bad kidneys. It's just strictly genetic, the bum-luck of the draw.

Some time last spring, or summr, Batty started crying at night, and early in the morning. Howling, like wolves are supposed to bay at the moon. It was always as we went to bed, and then at sun-up (which, in Seattle in the summer, is something like 5 a.m. We literally tried everything to get her to shut up, changing food, and leaving on lights and TVs... my roommate even resorted to making homecooked kitty food, convinced from some crackpot book that storebought pet food is too unhealthly. Nothing worked.

We took her to a different vet, which is where we got more information on her blood pressure and kidneys. The vet told us that these factors can actually cause dementia. Now, I've already got a father suffering from Alzheimers, and about once a month or every couple weeks I get a alternating panicked or comical call from my mom about what crazy shit he's doing now. Turns out that Batty is having the kitty equivalent of Alzheimers, which kinda explained why she just got manic once in a while, chewing up Netflix envelopes and having to have running bathwater and... crying like crazy at night.

We've tried everything. Batty has a pretty good personality, when she isn't acting crazy, and the last thing we wanted to do was turn her into a zombie. We started giving her blood pressure medicine, but that didn't really help. And, finally, after what felt like the millionth time of her waking my ass up a dawn's first light with incessant yowling, we turned to prozac. She didn't like pills, so we had an option of having the pills ground up in fish oil, and then you squirt it into her mouth with an eyedropper. She hated that, and she ended up looking all greasy and mangy, because of licking herself afterwards.

So we've switched back to pills, and the prozac is clearly working. No more crying, or it is very rare and brief now, and Batty is clearly more relaxed and less prone to weird psycho fits. So it worked, I guess.

•A GREAT freakin' movie
•J.L.G.S.-- what it is, what you can do with it, and how it may save your life.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Layman movie review: A HISTORY OF (LAYMAN) VIOLENCE

Call it a case of art imitating life. People are always asking writers "where do you get your ideas?," but it pretty clear after watching this movie, Hollywood is more and more taking their ideas from my life story.

For those of you who don't know, History of Violence is about a mild-mannered family man, who is in fact a total bad-ass with a secret past. In this case, Aragorn plays the role of Quasi-Layman, and I have to say he did a pretty good job at capturing my lethal ruthlessness, as well as the torment and shame that has piled upon me from years of hiding my secret.

This movie got spectacular reviews, and I went into it thing it would be, like, a life-changing experience. It wasn't "all that," but it was certainly a good, solid movie. It started a little slowly, but it unfolded very economically, getting from Point A to Point B with a minimum of bullshit (I didn't even have to watch the movie at double-speed to get through it.)

I liked the ending quite a bit, and the little Cronenberg-esque touches of gore. Oh, and I thought the supporting cast was uniformally great, particularly Ed Harris and William Hurt, who, if anything, seemed to be having a little too much fun.

Anyway... a good solid Netflix weekend viewing.

But now I'm scared Hollywood is going to go after my sex life next.

•Some daring new Lego photos
•Why Reggie is so durn cute!
•Plus... Ed Brubaker: Asleep at the Wheel, or Dangerous and Crazy?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Meet Poggles!

So, one of the reason I haven't been blogging, I'm slightly embarrassed to admit, is I've been playing far too much time playing World of Warcraft. It's my first experience with a MMO. I'm a big gamer, but largely it's on various consoles, primarily PS2, and I avoid gaming on computer because Macs are not really known for having that big a variety of games.

Eric DeSantis went on quite a bit about World of Warcraft, but his tastes in comics (and pretty much everything else!) is pretty suspect, so despite him raving about it, it was pretty easy to take it with a grain of salt.

In my various travels, I would meet other people who played it, and when they talked about the game, their eyes would glaze over in this expression of ectasy. But it wasn't until my recent trip to New York I was finally sold on the game. I went to a show after the New York Con, a Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Benefit where Joe Quesada's band played (and were much better than I would have guessed, though the music was a little too happy and not angry enough for my taste.) I was getting a beer, when I felt a slap on the back of my head. I must have been feeling charitable, because I did not whip around and drop the culprit. I turned: and saw one of my many arch Nemises, Larry Molinar.

Larry is a thug, and a goon, with the cold, dead eyes of a mackerel. He is a former Wildstorm colorist, currently doing stuff for Marvel, among other comic companies. When he stares at you behind those black, beady eyes, you know he is carressing the pair of boxcutters he keep in his pocket, dreaming of how far he can stick it in your belly, and then precisely how much intestine he can twist out when he pulls his blade out of your gut. Larry and I, two stone predators in the urban jungle, hate each other instinctively, and, yet, this night, rather than throttle his ass like I should have, we maintained a veneer of civility, and engaged in a semi-civil converation, all the while circling each other like two hungry sharks sensing blood in the water.

Anyway, we got to talking about his latest hobby, and it was World of Warcraft. For the first time in his wretched life, Larry's eyes lit up with some semblance of life, and I saw joy in his otherwise tormented existence. And Larry, for all his many, many faults, convinced me at that moment I should give World of Warcraft a try.

I'm so freakin' glad I did. It's a momumental time-suck, but it's the most video game fun I've had in ages, and I'm totally hooked. This was my wet-dream as a 13 year old, when I played D&D nonstop every weekend. World of Warcraft is D&D for the 21st Century, only a billion times better.

Poggles is my character, now a 30th level Rogue. He's skilled in poisons, stealth, and has just learned a Kidney Punch which can incapacitate a foe for 5-20 second, or something like that. He is in the Llane realm, same as that sad-sack Eric DeSantis-- and if I ever run into Eric I'll probably unleash an entire arsenal of whup-ass on him. There may be higher level characters than mine, but, like a true Layman, there is nobody more badder ass.

Upcoming: A kitty who says "Yo!" to drugs... and the introduction of Ruggles!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Miss my regular blog postings? Blame Poggles!

Yeah, yeah, I've been terrible at updating, and that's gonna change, effective immediately. Last weekend I went to Emerald City Con, the annual Seattle Con, and it was a really good time. Besides hanging out and seeing a bunch of friends (Cully, Ford, Dave, Josh, Tony, Rich, Ed, Jay, Eric, Jade, Matt, Tom, Dan, JEFF PARKER!, Jim, Ale, Carlos, JG, Jann, et. all), it was really gratifying the amount of fans and readers I spoke to. Last few years cons have been kinda hit and miss, with me signing a few books here and there, and then listening to crickets chirp and watching tumbleweeds roll by. But this year, for the first time, I felt like an actually comic book writer, signing what felt like was a minor shitload of books. Granted, most were my House of M: Fantastic Four Mini, which came out last summer, but I signed a fair amount of my 12 issue Gambit run as well.

The strangest part was I signed more than a few copies of Stay Puffed, my flop sequel to Puffed, which was set in the Iraqi war, and published in what is in retrospect the early days of our ill-advised invasion. At the time, everybody hated it, and nobody thought it was funny. Oddly enough, this con, I got some pretty good feedback, and for the first time I met people who thought it was funny. I guess we're far enough into this fucked-up war, and it is so obviously a mess, that it's okay to laugh occasionally.

Anyway, I also talked to quite a few people who said they regularly read and visit this blog, so I figure I better get off my lazy ass and start posting again.

Tomorrow: Where I've been, and why you should love and fear Poggles.