Sean Maher's Quality Control

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Best Week

Ugh. The comics internet is leaving a bad taste in my mouth today.

So here's a dose of my own personal mouthwash.

Ash and I are having a good time, for sure.


Oh, mother of God. The best week of my whole life is coming up.

First, from October 6th through the 8th, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival hits Golden Gate Park for three days of free music, including Elvis Costello, Earl Scruggs, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, T Bone Burnett and Gillian Welch.

Then, on October 9th and 10th, Shane Macgowan rejoins the Pogues - one of my favorite three or four bands ever - for two concerts at the legendary Fillmore, one of my favorite music venues in the whole city. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me, and I can't wait to see these guys, and Shane especially.

Then, on October 12th, the Hubert Selby documentary I discovered back in may - HUBERT SELBY JR: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow - comes to the Yerba Buena Center For The Arts, and I've already got tickets for both screenings.

I mean, God damn. How often does that much cool stuff happen at once?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Isotopean amigo Ash and I have kick-started the Civil War Survival Guide, a seven-day jaunt into the future as we suggest ways folks can spend their hard-earned comics cash and keep up with some great upcoming reading while waiting for Marvel Civil War to get back on track. Take a look, we're already having a great time.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Soldier Forth

Many thanks to James and the crew for an excellent party last Wednesday, and to Darick Robertson for being such a cool guy and drawing such amazing work. You guys have no idea how awesome it was just to see the super-hero beatdowns coming to life on the page right in front of me.

Anyway, a great time was had by all, due in no small part to Smoke and Guns writer Kirsten Baldock and her heavy pouring hand. Kirsten celebrated a birthday on Saturday, too, and I just wanted to throw a shout-out her way for being such a classy lass. Cheers!


Keep an eye on the Your Mom's Basement forums, 'cause good buddy Ash Aiwase (he of the fabled Pete Mortensen Challenge) and I have some plans for this week, which we'll be kickstarting later today.

And while I'm thinking on it, I wanna give Steve Higgins some credit and love for bringing the comics passion to YMB like nobody's managed since the Ash & Morty days of May.


Good aul John Voulieris (voo-lee-air-iss?) has a great All The Rage column this week, getting me good and excited for Peter Milligan's upcoming work, "an upcoming Wildstorm series entitled The Program, as well as a new Vertigo series called The Bronx Kill."

Somehow, the Vertigo thing in particular has me feeling all juicy and delicious. Milligan's best stuff has always been under the Vertigo banner, somehow, and I can't wait to see him off the big name property comics and back on some original concepts.


Also from John's ATR column this week, how bitchin' is this cover to Boom! Studios' upcoming Ninja Tales?

The overall level of quality on the "... Tales" series of anthologies has been pretty damn high, and they've maintained a strong balance of known talent, rising stars and plucky unknowns. I was a little iffy on adding the "Ninja" concept, but now I'm more excited about this one than any of the others.

Could also help that I just read the newest Usagi Yojimbo trade, too.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Review: THE BOYS #1

So, I didn't love The Boys #1.

But I'm really not bothered by it, not that much.

'Cause, see, I was describing the book to a buddy of mine at work today, and I figured out why my read wasn't as good as it could've, should've, would've been.

I expected the wrong thing.

Now, don't get me wrong - I'm not taking the blame, not entirely. I expected the wrong thing largely because of Garth Ennis. After all, essentially the only marketing anyone's done for this book is to quote ol' Garth saying this is the book that will "out-Preacher Preacher."

Which not only seems impossible, given the scope and complexity and grandeur that was Preacher (still among my two or three favorite comics ever, so don't take me for an Ennis-basher), but seems a bit crass, a bit self-effacing and cheap; you'd hardly expect Neil Gaiman to say his new book would "out-Sandman Sandman," would you?

Here's the thing; Ennis has never written characters of the same depth as he wrote in Preacher, and it's that element that separates it from the rest of his body of work. He's written effective, often incredibly powerful stuff (my favorites including the first run of War Stories and the recent "The Slavers" arc in Punisher MAX), but the sense of intimacy between writer and character hasn't been the same; Ennis really seemed to have his heart in Jesse and Cass, and it's dumb for us to expect he'd treat any other characters the same way. You wouldn't treat your wife the same way you treated your first girlfriend, after all. (Unless they were one and the same, but that's clouding the metaphor, unless you want to bring in a parallel like, say, Stan Sakai and Usagi Yojimbo.) It'd be nice if Ennis could approach some characters in the future with the same loving hand, and I'm counting on the mythologized City Lights collaboration with Steve Dillon to answer my prayers, but in the meantime I've got to take Ennis for what he's currently trying to do, or I'm just gonna get myself frustrated and fuck up my own reading experience.

Anyway, here's the thing: The Boys doesn't look, on the face of it, like it's going to try to replicate the emotional character depth of Preacher; right out of the gate, it's looking like a much colder, crueler animal. Little Huey's "origin", brutally and breathlessly covered in the opening issue (and spoiled in one of Zilla's panel-du-jour posts) isn't really meant to make us identify with the character; it's meant to make us do a double-take at the page and, probably, give a nasty little laugh at his misfortune. So, for me, that means taking the whole "outdoing Preacher" expectation and dumps it in the trash.

And replacing it with a new expectation. One that actually makes me a lot more comfortable and confident being excited about this book.

I think we might be looking at a series that out-punishes Punisher.

Not in terms of human darkness, which is the most recent strength Ennis has shown on that character. I'm thinking more of Ennis' Marvel Knights run on the book, which was often shaky, but when it was strong, was a gripping, exciting, entertaining read like nothing else on the stands. Why? Strategy. Frank Castle's interior monologue and battle planning, under Ennis' pen, were great reading. There was a giddy thrill to reading how Castle had planned out every aspect of an encounter with his enemy, how he'd scoped out the site, set up the traps, prepared for every possibility, and - in a pinch - improvised with canny battle prowess. Made for a really fun time.

So, now, we're looking at a book in which ordinary people decide they've had enough of the super-powered heroes' bullshit and sets out to take them down. Which means that, even more than in Punisher MK (which at its best set Castle mostly against drug dealers and street gangs), we're looking at a team that's gonna have to use their heads and come up with really innovative, entertaining ways to kick the shit out of some super-heroes. The stakes are, I'll bet, raised as high as Ennis can imagine raising them. Remember how exciting it was when you first read Dark Knight Returns and realized that normal(ish) human being Bruce Wayne had figured out how to whup Superman's ass?

I think, once we get past the formalities and have the book firmly on its way (that is, somewhere between issues 4 and 7), we're going to be getting something like that.

And a book like that just might have some legs.

Especially if it looks like this:

So, yeah, now that I've adjusted my own approach to reading this, I think it's gonna be pretty damn good.

IGN, incidentally, has several preview pages of the issue right here. Please note that the preview includes the Little Huey origin spoiler I mentioned above, and it's probably more fun to just read the fucking thing.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Flippity Floppity Floop

I want to thank Zilla for, probably, the single best blog post I've ever seen.


New Comics Day brings some fun books this week. Of course, Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson get The Boys started, and Arvid Nelson and Juan Ferreyra launch the Dark Horse run of Rex Mundi.

I'm also pretty curious about Phonogram #1 (from Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Image Comics), which Warren Ellis has called "one of the few truly essential comics of 2006." Ten pages from the first issue are up at Newsarama, but I think I'll just drop the $3.50 to see what's up.

Joe Keatinge's work as a professional writer officially kicks off with Ant #8, though his work on this arc is mostly scripting - he'll begin full writing duties (plot AND script) with issue #10. Bring the pain, Joe!

Some usual suspects in there, like Conan #31 and Fell #6.

And Boom! Studios drops Savage Brothers #1, by Andrew Cosby, Johanna Stokes and Rafael Albuquerque. I got a chance to read this a bit early, and it's fun work - imagine of a blend of the smirking amorality of John Constantine, the good ol' boys country recklessness of The Dukes of Hazzard, and the punk rock rollercoastering of Rick Remender's Strange Girl, and you're on the right track. This three-issue mini should be a lot of dark fun. Some info and artwork are at CBR right here.


Ah, excellent. Christopher Guest and company have returned. Waiting For Guffman, Best in Show and A Mighty Wind are among my favorite flicks from the last ten years, so I'll be looking mightily forward to the new project, For Your Consideration - apparently a send-up of the award show mentality in Hollywood.

Can't wait.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Darick Robertson, The Boys, The Isotope, and Beat-Downs

Ah, there's the press release.

So, yeah - in celebration of the release of The Boys (a new 60-issue WildStorm book by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, about a bunch of surly motherfuckers who go around kicking super-hero ass), Robertson will draw a series of existing super-heroes getting their asses kicked by a member of The Boys' team.

"So Mister and Missus Comic Fan, get thinking about who your absolute favorite comic book superhero is, find the sense of humor to put their name in the sentence: (character's name) is my favorite superhero, and I want to see him or her beat down by THE BOYS! include your name, your mailing address, and send your entries by Wednesday August 16th to"

Me, I've had a good ten or fifteen ideas already, and I'm still getting surprised with some great ideas on MillarWorld, Your Mom's Basement and the Brian K. Vaughan forum.

This is gonna be really goddamn fun.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Comics events and Event comics

Those who follow me around all the time will find themselves at the Isotope this coming Wednesday, hanging out with Darick Robertson and having a generally great time, I'm sure. Can't wait; and James' idea for promoting the in-store is brilliant one, among his very best, I think; press release should be up soon about that.


Just wanted to give Dan Slott the credit he deserves, for a minute.

See, so far, the promise that the "pro-registration" side of Marvel Civil War would be given just as fair a presentation and argument as the rebelious "anti-registration" side has been total bullshit. Everyone's on Cap's side and we all know it.

But - gasp! - Slott really threw a wrinkle in things with last week's issue of She-Hulk (#10, of course, and probably the best thing I read all week) when Shulkie herself stopped a super-hero and offered to help her register, explaining:

"...It's no longer enough to serve the public. We have to serve the public trust as well. They have to know we're properly trained. That we're accountable for our actions. It's what they expect from their police, firemen, and E.M.S. technicians. And as long as super heroes choose to be first responders, shouldn't they expect the same from us?"

--AAAAAAND that's the sound of inescapable logic and pretty much all the air out of Mark Millar's tires. Which is a shame, because I like his super-heroics quite a bit, but the political slant he's so often fond of including in his writing is... not for me.

Dan is the man. Best issue of She-Hulk in a while, too.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Next to my side of the bed is a clock radio, set to wake me at 9am.

I don't remember setting the radio station to anything in particular, but the radio picks up a station each morning that I've never heard of. It plays strange music, guitars, unrecognizable instruments, wailing and whispering voices in English and in languages I can't recognize. It never plays a song I've heard before, never plays a song twice.

And it only plays if I'm within reaching distance of the clock. If I rise and step away, it fades immediately to static.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Just a couple links, today:

Joe Casey's doing whatever the hell this "plog" thing is over on Amazon. Crass commercialism though it may be, it's just the kind of rock-star move I've learned to expect from the guy, one of the most determined and balls-out personalities in comics.

Y'see, I love comicbooks. I think it's a perfect medium for telling stories, for presenting new ideas, for general communication. And, as you can see if you click the "See All 20 Books" at the bottom of this entry, I've written all kinds of comicbooks. From big superhero franchises to creator-owned work, it's all there. Hopefully, there's something for everyone.

You can find out more, see more blogging, etc. at another groovy little website... the infamous MAN OF ACTION site. There's a whole company full of writers over there, ready to entertain you in any number of ways.

It means a lot to me that you've transferred your hard-earned credit card account numbers into this site to buy something I've written. By all means, keep buying. I promise I'll keep writing.


Also, I recently got my copy of Miriam Libicki's latest, jobnik! #5. But it's not too late for you: Miriam's a class-act and a sharp entrepreneur, and you can catch five pages from the new issue right here.

The cover to issue #4 was theretofore the best in the series, but this one is brilliant; how the hell could anybody see this and not pick up the issue to take a look?:

That's right - "Theodore Herzel. State of Israel. If you will it, Dude, it is no dream." Fuck yeah!

Do yourself a favor and take a look.


EDIT: Mental note - check out the album Bulletproof by the rapper Hush, 'cause that song "Rock Shit" is pretty good.

Niggaz know I'm just that nigga from the dirty Murder Mitten
Where bullshit is forbidden and haters never forgiven

Monday, August 07, 2006

Music for Months

Funny; I went to double-check something on Amazon, and suddenly realized that every week for the next month-and-a-half or so, I'll be getting new music to buy that I actually want!


Tomorrow, August 8th, brings the new Slayer album, Christ Illusion. I listened to some of this on the internet with James Sime the other day, and it sounds a lot like the Slayer of the late 80's, which is no surprise since they've got back their original drummer, Dave Lombardo. Now, personally, I enjoyed the new sound on Diabolus In Musica and God Hates Us All, but I'm also a big fan of the Reign In Blood/South of Heaven/Seasons In The Abyss trilogy, too, so I'll be pretty happy either way.

Then next week, on August 15th, Obie Trice releases his second album, Second Round's On Me. Trice is still my favorite, by far, of Eminem's "finds", not so much for his skills - which are solid, but not exceptional - as for his sense of humor, his personality, his delivery and his songwriting and storytelling. He's got something of an "Everyday Joe" vibe to a lot of his stuff, which may be part of why he's glossed over so often; rap seems to subscribe more than most music genres (these days) to self-promotion and larger-than-life personas. For those who find a lot of that shit tiring and dull, Obie Trice is a great breath of fresh air, and I'm just hoping the lukewarm commercial response to his first album didn't cause him to question himself and his approach too much.

Jason Webley swears that online pre-orders for his new maxi-single with Andru Bemis, How Big Is Tacoma, will ship on or before August 16th. But whether or not that's true, I'll probably be picking it up - his previous collaborative maxi-single thing, Eleven Saints (with Jay Thompson) was great. Add to that Webley's own description of this material as "Simon and Garfunkle meets The Muppet Show," and you've got me pretty well sold.

I probably don't need to bother mentioning it, but the new Outkast album, Idlewild, comes out on August 22nd. It's the soundtrack to the new movie, right? I think Brill got a hold of an advance copy or saw the trailer or something and said it sounded really jazzy. All I care about is that they're working together again; I really enjoyed Stankonia, and Aquemini is among my two or three favorite rap albums ever. But the big double-album where Big Boi and Andre each kinda did their own album and just released 'em together - Speakerboxx/The Love Below - didn't do it for me at all. Big Boi sounds too conventional and conservative without Andre making things crazy all around him, and without Big Boi's grounded delivery and storytelling, Andre lost his fucking mind and drifted off up into the ether. So, seeing them together again has me plenty excited, 'cause they belong as a team, if'n you were to ask me.

After that comes the new Bob Dylan album, Modern Times, on August 29th. Not sure what to expect from this one, but I'm pretty curious. Not even positive that I'll buy it, but I sure have been loving his first six or seven albums.

Audioslave's last album, Out of Exile, sounded too much like something your parents would be okay listening to in the car. In spite of that, three or four songs were deadly good, and the band's first album was fucking righteous. So I'll be excited still to see where they're going on Revelations, their third album, which comes out on September 5th. Word has it there's a song or two from this album featured in the Miami Vice movie, but I don't know if that's enough to make me go see it...

On September 12th it looks like we're getting a new Elton John album, The Captain And The Kid, which title makes the album sound like it might just be a concept album, at which Elton John is generally pretty talented. I've only gotten into his stuff over the last year or so, but I really dug a lot of the stuff on Songs From The West Coast, so I'm likely to check this out.

September 19th, finally, brings a new Will Oldham album, released under the moniker he seems to be sticking with for now, Bonnie "Prince" Billy. The album's called Then The Letting Go (or just Letting Go, depending on your source) and judging by the new single, "Cursed Sleep", it might be a little too busy for me; my favorite Oldham material came on the albums I See A Darkness and Master And Everyone, which were both very quiet, intimate albums, soft-voiced and gentle, and it's my hope that he'll return to some more of that material soon; this being his first proper solo album since Master And Everyone, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

(FYI, this is the cover art for the "Cursed Sleep" single, not the album. I couldn't find the album art.)

For those interested, Oldham will be on tour as Bonnie "Prince" Billy and will be playing the Great American Music Hall here in San Francisco on October 30th and 31st (Halloween!!!).

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Wood and Iron

The two big announcements from Wizard World Chicago that got me excited were:

Brian Wood's exclusive contract with DC and the new project it includes: a viking book called Northlanders, under the Vertigo imprint. Now, somehow, that just sounds awesome. Congrats to Bri and DC: I'll be looking forward to what you folks can make of it.


The new Immortal Iron Fist series, written by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction. My love for Brubaker's work is no secret around here, but I've also enjoyed a lot of Fraction's work in the past.

'Course, the immediate question to follow is Who's drawing this?, right?

Eagle-eyed John Voulieris over at All The Rage picked up the artist's own announcement this week that it will be David Aja, who's worked on X-Men Unlimited, Marvel Knights 4, the upcoming issue of Brube's Daredevil, and David Lapham's upcoming Giant-Size Wolverine #1.

--which looks like good news to me. I've got sort of a "newcomer" vibe from the fellow's website and resume, but he already looks like a strong artist with just the sort of style to make this work.

The Immortal Iron Fist, I'm predicting now, is going to be very, very good.

Friday, August 04, 2006

REVIEW: The Left Bank Gang by Jason

I've been a fan of the Norweigian cartoonist, Jason, for several years now. The good folks at Danger Room Comics in Olympia, Washington, turned me onto his stuff (after their wildly successful pitches for Stray Bullets and Lucifer, both of which turned out to be among my very favorite comics ever) with his first two American publications, Hey, Wait... and SSHHHH!, and I was really taken with his imaginative use of such simple lines, such seemingly deadpan character designs.

Hey, Wait... was about devastation, childhood mistakes and the struggle to forgive oneself in their wake, a powerful book that really hurt to read. SSHHHH!, on the other hand, was more entertaining and funny, a series of surreal pantomime shorts that spoke the language of comics with a truly innovative sense of the form. He's released a number of strong books since then, all through Fantagraphics, but I think The Left Bank Gang is his best work since those two early classics, highlighting and maturing the emotional power his characters in Hey, Wait... bore and still maintaining the sense of whimsy and imagination that made SSHHHH! so distinctive and fun to read. If this book is any indication, Jason has truly hit his stride and can now work ambidextrously, flexing all his strengths as a storyteller within the same book. It's exciting to see, and it's a blast to read.

The gist is this: Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and James Joyce are all struggling cartoonists in 1920's Paris.


The first half sets the stage - the focal characters really being Hemingway, impulsive, brilliant and a bit cold, and Fitzgerald, who struggles with feelings of inferiority among his talented friends and an increasingly troubled marriage. All these men are fighting tooth and nail for their art, but still feel somehow that they're running to stand still. Then Hemingway comes up with a plan to change everything, and the book launches into a caper story that leaves a trail of destruction in its wake and permanently changes its survivors. Chris Allen finds Hemingway's motivation unclear, and there's some truth to this, but my impression - both of Hemingway as a person and as he's characterized by Jason - is that he's an impulsive, reckless man, careless for the safety of others and struggling to think of himself as a tough guy, a trailblazer, and when response to his comics-writing genius isn't as reassuring as he hopes for, he has to fill this need in other ways. The fact that he chooses crime, and crime that involves all his closest cartoonist friends, says a lot about him without needing explanation. In fact, that's often been one of Jason's strongest points as a writer of characters; they're rarely given much in the way of expository dialogue, and their motivations and feelings are subtle and open to interpretation, which makes his work rich material for re-reading.

Jason describes his own take putting these characters together in an interview with Wizard:

I had read a lot of books about Hemingway, several biographies, his memoirs from Paris and also the collection of his letters. I wanted to use all this information in telling a story, but I didn't want to make it a straight biography. By making Hemingway a cartoonist I got a certain distance to the real events and characters. At the same time, by making him a cartoonist he also sometimes speaks for me.

I prefer the early Hemingway when he had trouble getting stories published and was a struggling writer. I could relate to him in this period. I also like best his earliest novels and short stories. Sometime in his 40s he changed. His letters are all bragging about punching some guy out and how much fish and animals he's captured. He's a lot less sympathetic. So it was the young Hemingway I wanted to concentrate on.

Paris in the 20s is just a fascinating period. It seemed everybody knew everybody. Left Bank Gang is sort of a fantasy of this period. I'm not trying to give a realistic picture.

Using real characters in a book is a bit problematic. I don't think I'm being fair to Fitzgerald in the story, but Hemingway wasn't fair to him in A Moveable Feast, and the story is pretty much seen from Hemingway's point of view. Making Zelda a femme fatale is also a bit unfair, I guess, but it fit in the story. Again, it's Hemingway's view of Zelda Fitzgerald.

Highly recommended work, this. In fact, for those who follow such things, this was a "first comic purchase" for a friend of mine just yesterday; I started reading it on the bus to meet him for lunch, and when I showed him the summary on the back of the book and the first couple pages, he couldn't get to the comic store fast enough to pick up a copy for himself.

Fantagraphics has six preview pages in Jason's section, but I had trouble with the formatting of that page, so here are direct links to the images:


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

This week's stash - I'm on my way...

You know I haven't been to a comic book store in like three weeks? Life is insane.

'Course, the reason for LAST week was pretty good. Sitting in a hammock, rocking in the gentle breeze, sipping ice-cold beers to cool off from the sun, reading an ambling southern novel, munching on sliced ham and swiss cheese and potato chips when I got hungry... man, vacations are awesome.

But now I'm back and probably looking at a whole lot more shit to buy than just this week's releases:

Detective Comics #822 looks good, though I'm hoping Paul Dini will get a regular ongoing artist before too long.

The Exterminators: Bug Brothers TP has me hopeful, as I passed on this Vertigo series from the very beginning but have heard more and more positive buzz as time has gone on. This is a cheap way to see how the book's been developing and I'm happy to give it another shot.

Dusty Star #1 finally comes through from Image, and I remember Rick Remender shitting his pants over how good this was, so I'll be sure to pick it up. The subject material - cowgirls and robots? - really worked well in Kazu Kabuishi's Daisy Kutter miniseries two or three years back, so it's got a lot to live up to, but I'm enthused to give it a shot.

Emissary #2 should be fun - I enjoyed the first issue quite a bit. Plus, it's writer Jason Rand and artist Juan Ferreyra, the legendary Small Gods team, which is a lock for me.

Invincible #34 hopefully keeps up the great gust of life this book has hit over the last two or three issues. Really enjoying this book these days, a lot. Comes out with Image's other fantastic super-hero book, Noble Causes #22.

Punisher MAX #36 wraps up the Barracuda storyarc, and it'll be fun to see how we'll get to the opening scene from the arc (two words: feeding frenzy) from here.

Archaia Studio Press brings us David Petersen's Mouse Guard #4, which is probably the book I'm most excited about this week. It's no secret how much I love this friggin' series. (Also, there's an eight-page preview at Newsarama, for those interested...)

Kyle Baker's awesome Nat Turner gets its first two issues collected in Nat Turner Vol 1 TP, and while I'll be passing on it - already own this material - I'm looking eagerly forward to more of this story coming out.

Carla Speed McNeil's excellent Finder series brings out a new trade collection from Lightspeed Press, titled Finder Vol 8: Five Crazy Women TP. Is this the first collection from her internet work? A while back now I remember her saying she was ending the printed serial installments and just publishing OGNs, with the "chapters" or whatever being available for free on the Lightspeed Press website.

Neil Kleid's epic "Jewish gangsters in New York" book, Brownsville, gets a very very affordable trade paperback from NBM this week, and it's probably worth picking up. I haven't gotten all the way through the hardback I bought a while ago, but I sure liked the preview I got to read before any of this came out.

Jeff Brown really, really pissed me off with his last book, but I Am Going To Be Small seems to be a humor thing, and I think that's how he functions best - my favorite work of his is still Miniature Sulk, and this looks like it might be along those lines. But I'm definitely not buying it blind. Gonna have to read some, first.


Oh, and I'm listening to a new musician I really like. His name is Bill Morrissey - I heard him doing a soft, croaking cover of a Mississippi John Hurt song and tracked him down to what many say is his best album, Standing Eight.

Now, that's an awesome name for an album to begin with, for those who catch the boxing reference. But the strength here is mostly the lyrics, which Morrissey delivers with a voice dried and drawn with alcohol and wistfulness. One of my favorite bits is the opening verse of the album, from the song "Handsome Molly":

I park my cab on Water Street
Waiting for a fare,
Watching young girls in their first heels
Step like colts across the square.
Fire on the ocean,
Thunder on the sea.
I think of handsome Molly
Wherever she may be.

Good stuff for those who like their songwriters to be storytellers.
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