Posts Tagged ‘meta’

A quick note on “ACS: Versace”

February 13, 2018

Yes, I wrote a review of episode 3 (which has not been posted by Decider yet) as well as episode 4 (which has)! But I was badly delayed in handing it in due to the flu. Given how long ago it aired it’s understandably not a huge priority for my editors to get it edited, formatted, and posted, but I’ve been assured that they will eventually. My hope is that it will be up prior to my review of tomorrow night’s installment, episode 5. Once it goes up I’ll link to everything in order the way I usually do, but I’m waiting until then just to keep things straight. Thank you for your patience!

If you like what I do, please subscribe to my Patreon or donate to my PayPal

January 7, 2018

Here’s the Patreon. Yes, it’s technically for the Boiled Leather Audio Hour podcast, and yes, I split it half and half with my illustrious co-host Stefan Sasse. But a) Stefan’s cool and deserves the scratch too, and b) you needn’t be interested in BLAH or the perks associated with becoming a patron to donate this way. Every bit helps.

And here’s the PayPal. This goes directly to me and you can make it a monthly subscription-type thing if you feel like it. Again, every bit helps.

I have big plans for this year and money is a constant worry, and I’m uncertain as to how my absence from Twitter will affect me professionally. Your financial support at any level means the world to me.

Thank you for your consideration.

I Quit Twitter

December 1, 2017

Like, for real. I haven’t deleted my account because I don’t want to contribute to the plague of linkrot, but I have used arcane methods to make it impossible for me to even log in anymore. You can find me here or at for the duration; my email address is easy enough to find in both locations. Thank you for your support.

Sean & Julia’s Cyber Monday Sale

November 27, 2017

DPZ5mChUIAADg2K Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 11.18.06 AM

All of the books by my brilliant partner Julia Gfrörer are 25% off at her Etsy store, today only. This is a filthily obscene deal for incredible work. For the record, this sale includes three collaborations with me: the anthology MIRROR MIRROR II and the pornographic Edgar Allan Poe adaptations (!) IN PACE REQUIESCAT and THE HIDEOUS DROPPING OFF OF THE VEIL. If you enjoy my writing you may like them as well!

Also, everything in Julia’s Threadless store (t-shirts, hoodies, tote bags, and more) is 20-30% off today only, with free shipping on orders of $45 or more if you use code “CHEER83687d”. Again, this is an insanely good deal!

Wonderland Episode 107: Tropes and Traps in Culture

November 15, 2017

I’m a guest on episode 7 of Wonderland, a new podcast series about popular culture as a potential vehicle for political change. I spoke with hosts Bridgit Antoinette Evans & Tracy Van Slyke and my fellow guest Nayantara Sen about the storytelling pitfalls television falls into, and how climbing out of them is an opportunity to both tell better stories and do better political work within them. The conversation is a lot of fun, and the whole series is up all at once, so if you like what you hear, binge the whole thing!

10 Top TV Critics Share the Difference Between a Good TV Show and a Great One

November 13, 2017
Great TV is characterized by the same thing present in all great art: a sense that you’re reading an open text, with parts you can’t pin down but which nevertheless add up to a greater whole. The best shows are all challenging and, for want of a better word, “weird” — that is, there’s stuff going on that a plot summary or a recitation of the dialogue can’t capture. I don’t want to come away feeling comforted, reassured, or satisfied that I’ve solved what I just saw. I don’t want to be let off the hook.
Me and Alyssa Rosenberg and a whole bunch of critics talked about what separates good TV from great TV for Candivan. This may be the key question these days!

“Rolling Stone had some great ones”

November 9, 2017

Did I not mention that Kyle MacLachlan read and enjoyed my weekly Twin Peaks reviews for Rolling Stone?

Twitter and anger

November 6, 2017

One thing I’ve noticed since I stopped using Twitter regularly is that the compulsion to tweet is most often associated with complaint. I think all of the times I’ve actually broken my self-imposed embargo since it began and tweeted something other than promoting work by me, my friends, or people I admire have been to say something negative. I complained about commenters who don’t understand how criticism works. I complained about “grade inflation” among critics who overvalue heartwarming work. I complained about an article that outed an anonymous tumblr weirdo just because this person may possibly be a little too weird. I complained about Chuck Schumer praising George W. Bush for “bringing the country together” after 9/11. I complained about the billionaire fuck who shut down a whole raft of journalism sites he’d purchased a few months ago because the employees voted to unionize.

All of these touch on my career, my politics, or both, and these things are important to me. But it’s noteworthy, I think, to isolate the emotion Twitter seems to count on to drive you back to that empty white box. Yesterday, for example, it took all I had to stop myself from kvetching about people saying Mad Max: Fury Road is the greatest action movie ever made when it’s, maybe, the third-best Mad Max movie ever made. (Now I’m doing that here where you suckers have to see it instead.) Again: career-related, sure. But my desire to use Twitter is directly correlated to how much I think my career fucking sucks at any given moment. Can you think of any other business or activity that functions in this way?


November 3, 2017

In my time on twitter during early October, an anonymous account responded to a photo of my six-year-old daughter by calling her a bitch and a cunt, adding “I hope nothing bad happens to her.” Despite multiple reports, the account was not banned. When I responded to the first wave of accounts of Harvey Weinstein’s sex crimes by saying I felt special solidarity with Asia Argento as a fellow horror person (to get very specific, Troma Studios distributed her film The Stendahl Syndrome the summer I interned for them), a handful of accounts opted to interpret this as me saying I didn’t care about other victims. A similar thing happened when I expressed horror about the climate of fear Weinstein must have established if figures as powerful as Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow still felt unable to speak out; I was told I only cared when it happened to powerful people, while on the flip side I also received many responses saying they were cowards at best and complicit at worst for not speaking out. Such responses continued even after I said that I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse myself, and my responses were shaped by that shared experience. Effectively, I was told I was being a victim wrong, an experience that triggered traumatic memories of the abuse itself that cost me two solid days of work. This had never happened to me before. Finally, anime Nazis, who’ve dogged me on and off since G*merG8te and flared up during pile-ons orchestrated by right-wing media figures after comments I made about Trump’s election and inauguration and the health-care debacle, told me they were glad I was sexually abused as a childhood, because I deserved it.

After that I decided to drastically curtail my use of the site. I’ve limited my interactions, I’ve tweeted almost but not quite completely just to promote my own work and that of friends and heroes of mine, and I’ve cut back really hard on reading time, favoriting, retweeting, replying, and so on. While I’m still on there more than many people who’ve simply established a less extreme usage pattern and are continuing as normal, for me it represents a radical reduction.  It’s improved my life for sure, but that’s not the point of this post.

The point is this: After that final incident spurred me to start detaching myself from Twitter, I realized that I’d fallen victim to its business model, which is nothing more or less than to (theoretically) profit from inducing me and everyone else to write up as many of our thoughts and feelings as possible, without pay, on a website where racist fascists up to and including literal Nazis and the President of the United States of America can and do attack other users and spread their filth with impunity. I can’t think of any real-life circumstance where I would voluntarily subject myself to that kind of labor exploitation and emotional abuse. I’m going to start applying that standard to what I do online, and to where I do it.

who watches the watchmen

November 3, 2017


I know it shouldn’t, but it shocks me how people who devote time to criticizing arts criticism can understand so little about arts criticism.

BTW, not that you should go by letter grades, but my averaged-out grade for the show I tried really hard not to like for some reason? B.

(PS: That’s not really Nev from Catfish)

Twitter announcement

November 18, 2016

I’ve been off Twitter since the beginning of the week and will remain so until further notice. I do log in occasionally to post links to my work, and I expect I’ll do the same for my partner Julia Gfrörer’s work as well, but that’s all. If you need to reach me I can be contacted using the information to your right.


October 3, 2016


Julia Gfrörer and I will be guests at Cartoon Crossroads Columbus October 13-16th! We’re also hosting the afterparty for the final night of the show. Please come say hello!

Hey, Kids! Comics!

August 26, 2016

You can get great deals on graphic novels from me & Julia’s merged collections by visiting our spiffy Amazon store! Titles for sale at bargain-basement prices include books by James Jean (a really rare one at that), Neil Gaiman, Darwyn Cooke, Jack Kirby, Ulli Lust, Michael DeForge, Jonny Negron, Blaise Larmee, John Stanley, Paul Dini, Harvey Kurtzman & Will Elder, Dennis Eichhorn, Paul Gravett, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Raymond Briggs, Dave Cooper, Jenn Manley Lee and more. Check it out!

Buy my books!

August 9, 2016

I reopened my old Amazon marketplace store with great deals on great books & comics from me & Julia Gfrörer’s merged collections. Check it out! More will be added in the days and weeks to come, so keep your eyes peeled!

Goodbye, Bowie Loves Beyoncé

March 12, 2015

I started bowielovesbeyonce, my first tumblr, in February 2009. I always said that if the two of them ever took a picture together, I’d happily retire the tumblr, my work done. Tonight, searching for header image for the site’s mobile layout, I discovered that they’d taken two pictures together — at the Met Gala a year ago, and on the cover of Vanity Fair fourteen years ago, eight years before I even started this thing. I’m stunned and chagrined that I missed these photos for all this time, but still, I’m so happy to see Bowie and Beyoncé together. I love them both; they mean so much to me.

I’m going to go ahead and keep that promise to myself. It’s a shock to the system, coming coincidentally just one day after I decided to stop using twitter except for very minimal professional upkeep — I’ll have so much free time in my day (and free space on my dash) that I won’t even know what to do with. But this was the plan all along, and I want to see it through. And who knows: If David can come back after a decade of silence, anything is possible.

All thanks to David Bowie and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, my very favorite pop stars of all time. You have given me a better life.

STC X Twitter

March 12, 2015

I’m stepping away from Twitter, or as I said over there, I’m retiring undefeated. Posts will be minimal (for purposes of professional updates/upkeep) and interactions nonexistent until the inevitable comeback. If you’d like to reach me, please do so by email.

Best of 2012s, housekeeping, etc.

January 7, 2013

* Comics Bulletin listed “Hottest Chick in the Game” by me and Andrew White as one of the Top 10 Online Comics of 2012. I really liked this part of Danny Djelsjovich’s write-up, which describes the atmosphere that attracted me to comics in the first place:

…this is comics, where budgets are low and creativity is high, where you can create something special and distinct and put it on the Internet at a low risk, in the hopes that it will find its audience. And it has.

* Ales Kot named me one of his favorite comics writers of 2012, in a paragraph that lists me alongside Michael DeForge, Grant Morrison, and a bunch of the biggest writers in comics. That’s quite unexpected and quite nice.

* I’ve updated the sidebar of this blog some, making links to some of my other outlets more prominent and updating the list of comics reviews I’ve done for the first time in a few months. The TV links should be complete as of today for all the shows listed, too. (I still need to go back through the archives and link to movie reviews and interviews and things like that. Someday.) Give it a look and give the links a spin.

* I can’t recall ever being sketched before. Thanks, Alex Nicholson.

* Finally, I’ve gotten Superheroes Lose, my tumblr where I post pictures of superheroes losing, up and running again. Tune in to watch colorful avatars of humanity’s brightest hopes and greatest strengths experience abject defeat again and again.

On becoming an “expert”

September 6, 2012

A while back I answered a question about the intensity of my A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones fandom that wondered whether I’d ever felt this strongly or invested this much time and energy into another author’s work. The answer was yes and no: felt this strongly, sure; invested this much of my life, no. (Not unless you count “comics” as a whole; writing and thinking about comics has basically been my life’s work.) Even today I think I could just as easily be operating a tumblr and opining professionally about Los Bros Hernandez, or Clive Barker, or the band Underworld, or David Bowie (hey, wait), or ’70s glam rock, or Chris Ware, orThe Sopranos/Twin Peaks/Breaking Bad/Mad Men/Battlestar Galactica/Deadwood, or or or. But A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones it is. And it’s really remarkable how quickly my little “career” as an ASoIaF pundit took off, given how vanishingly little effort I put into getting it started!

I started my ASoIaF blog All Leather Must Be Boiled in March of 2011. My daughter had just been born two months prematurely via emergency caesarean section following another two and a half months of pregnancy complications that required my wife’s repeated hospitalization and lengthy bedrest stays, during which time one of our cats was diagnosed with cancer and was also both hospitalized for surgery and confined to a bedroom for recovery. I’d spent a quarter of a year running from work to hospitals to home, caring for the beings I loved as they suffered. A work as grim as ASoIaF was an odd choice for “escapism” to be sure, but it seemed to do the trick, because it confronts serious issues — issues that truly haunt and hound me day to day — in a way that also helps blow off steam about those issues.

So one day I got back from visiting my daughter in the neonatal intensive care unit during my lunchbreak, sat down at my desk, and decided to fire up the old tumblr dashboard and launch a new ASoIaF-only blog. This way, the things I wanted to say about the series would neither spoil it for readers of my other outlets who were interested in catching up, nor drown out everything else I write about for readers who weren’t. Simply choosing to use Tumblr instead of, say, WordPress indicated, to me at least, how casual the thing was going to be. Most of my initial posts were written for an audience of one: me — stray thoughts, things I caught myself, passages I loved, a play-by-play of my journey of discovery through’s archives and forum, fanart drawn by cartoonist friends and acquaintances, anticipatory effusion about the then-upcoming HBO show. It was truly the tumblr of a fan, not a scholar, barely even a critic.

The point is, I learned as I went, simply through going. The more I wrote, the more I found myself able to articulate what was important to me about the books, to formulate coherent questions about the things I didn’t understand, to provide answers about the things I thought I did understand, to find answers on my own and put them in front of other people. Very quickly, “other people” expanded to include people who really were experts. Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson from said nice things, popped up in the comments, and eventually got me hired to work on the official annotations of A Game of Thrones alongside Elio and the books’ freaking editor, Anne Groell. That happened within six months of me starting this tumblr. Stefan Sasse from Tower of the Hand liked what I was doing enough to suggest we start a podcast together, and voila, The Boiled Leather Audio Hour was born. The writing I was doing about the show (and other shows) was apparently solid enough that when I mentioned how much I’d love to get paid to do what I’d been doing for free to my friend Matthew Perpetua, who was an editor at Rolling Stone, he passed my name to his fellow editor Evie Nagy, who hired me to recap Game of Thrones within days of me just idly “wouldn’t it be nice”-ing this during a google chat. Because of the way I write, and the things I write about, and the place I write about it, I find myself in the central overlap of a Venn diagram that includes traditional, Westeros-style fandom, professional pop-culture critics, and the tumblr ASoIaF/GoT community. Best of all, this doesn’t only work in one direction: One day I clicked on a tumblr that had just followed this one, discovered an incredible, fully-formed music critic at the tender age of 18, and passed his name along to the right people, so that I think he was offered his first pro music crit gig within literally hours. (What up, Jaimeson?) To call All Leather Must Be Boiled the most rapidly rewarding writing I’ve ever done would be to understate the case considerably.

And the rewards, in the form of knowledge and enjoyment of that knowledge at least, never stop. As I said earlier, one of the best things about this blog is the chance it gives me to be wrong about things in public. That way, the people who know more than I do can provide me with the right information, and I can grow and learn and get more right in the future. What a wonderful opportunity! It’s a joy to be corrected by Elio, or enlightened by Stefan, or challenged or outright debunked by another tumblr. I want to get better, and that’s how you get better. I think that because I started this tumblr with no pretensions to expertise, simply the desire to talk about these fun books I read, I was responded to in kind. The vituperative, “SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET” responses I’ve gotten to anything I’ve ever said there can be counted on one hand; even then I try my best to put the tone aside and focus on what they’re telling me that I wasn’t seeing or hearing myself. Sometimes they’re just wrong, of course — hey, I’m a critic, I’m going to think other people are wrong, that’s what they pay me for — but most of the time they’re shining a light on something I could’ve used a clearer look at. You can bet your bottom dollar that I take that experience to heart and try my best to apply it to everything I do, online and IRL. There’s no better way to become an “expert” than to do, and do, and do, and sit back and see what comes of the doing.

STC vs. TDKR on TV

July 19, 2012

It looks like I’ll be on WLNY TV’s morning show here in the NYC area (channel 10/55–it’s now a CBS affiliate) tomorrow morning, sometime between 7:15-8am, to talk about The Dark Knight Rises. I’ll be using MY BANE VOICE!

I’ve been interviewed

May 30, 2012

Click on over to the tumblr of music writer Jamieson Cox to hear him interview me for his delightfully titled writer-to-writer podcast series A Shot of Jamieson. Topics include David Bowie, Beyoncé, A Song of Ice and Fire, Internet generation gaps, and Tumblr itself. Enjoy!