The Beat’s Gregory Paul Silber has been accused of having a bit of an… obsessive personality. Each week in Silber Linings, he takes a humorous look at the weirdest, funniest, and most obscure bits of comics and pop culture that he can’t get out of his head.
It’s almost my birthday! This Monday, on February 21st, I turn 31. So in the spirit of celebration, and Baskin-Robbins (hey, did you know those dudes were brothers-in-law? They owned separate ice cream shops, but joined forces when Baskin married Robbins’ sister), here are 31 things I like and haven’t written about much before. No particular order!
I’m late to this party, but everybody who’s been going nuts over this show for the past few years is right. It’s good! And surprisingly funny! You can all stop making “Cousin Greg” jokes at me now.
- A.D.: After Death
This hybrid of illustrated prose and comic book pages, written by Scott Snyder with art by Jeff Lemire, came out as recently as 2017, but it feels like everyone already forgot about it? That’s a shame. Besides being notable for the unique presentation, its story of a world that finds a cure for death led to one of the most gut-punch endings I can recall in sci-fi.
- Judas Priest
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is bullshit, but I’m going to be actively angry if one of the most influential heavy metal bands of all time isn’t finally inducted after being eligible since 1999 (for the record, I also voted for Beck, Kate Bush, Rage Against the Machine, and the MC5 this year). From being one of the first bands to embrace the heavy metal label, to godlike singer Rob Halford being one of the first openly gay icons of the genre, to the sheer volume of immortal rock anthems they’ve produced, it would be absurd not to honor them if you’re ostensibly in the business of honoring rock and roll history.
Anyway, a quick story: when I saw Priest live in Newark in 2015, I was seated next to a bunch of off-duty New Jersey state troopers. I wouldn’t have known they were cops if the dude seated immediately next to me didn’t insist on talking to me about it. “You’ll be fine, dude,” he said, which was odd because I didn’t think I had anything to worry about until he said that. “We’re all state troopers. We’ll keep you safe.”
Attending the show solo and headbanging to Mastodon’s opening set in my Pink Floyd T-shirt, I guess I looked a bit dorky for a metal concert. But I really was not interested in befriending those beer-guzzling cops. They gave off a similar energy as when high school bullies would invite me to sit with them at lunch and end up laughing at me the whole time.
Late into the show, when Priest performed their relatively-slow ballad “Beyond the Realms of Death,” the cop next to me put his arm around my shoulder. “You’re too young to understand,” he said. “But one day you’ll know. You will know.”
I don’t know what he meant. Was he hitting on me or what? I don’t really have an end to this story.
- Progressively Horrified
With the tagline “holding horror to standards it absolutely never agreed to,” Progressively Horrified is a podcast about watching horror movies through the lens of progressive politics. Thanks to lively hosts Jeremy Whitley, Ben Kahn, and Emily Martin (all of whom are comic book creators), it’s a ton of fun, and quickly became one of my favorite podcasts. Check out their episode on The Golem (2018), in which I was a guest alongside Graphic Policy Radio host Elana Levin!
- “Day n Nite” by Kid Cudi
- Metroid Dread
I doubt I have much to say about this game that hasn’t already been said, but I don’t think I’ve ever played a harder game that I had this much fun with. Is it time for me to finally try Dark Souls?
- Chris Stein‘s guitar solo in Blondie’s “One Way or Another”
During the first few weeks of my freshman year of college, I started talking to this guy about music and started thinking to myself “hooray, my first college friend!” Then I mentioned that this is one of my favorite guitar solos, and he looked at me like I was a weirdo. So we never became friends.
- The word “ya’ll”
I’m glad we’re starting to have a larger cultural conversation about people outside of the South saying “ya’ll.” It’s a good word! It rolls off the tongue nicely and it’s more inclusive than “you guys,” which is still my default for the collective third-person. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on caring less when people act like I’m not allowed to say “ya’ll” just because I’m from New Jersey.
- Chick Tracts
Okay, huge asterisk for this one: I don’t actually like Chick Tracts in the traditional sense, and they’re certainly not actually good. They’re racist, homophobic, sexist, anti-semitic, islamophobic, xenophobic… basically, if you don’t follow Jack T. Chick‘s extremely specific interpretation of Christianity to a tee, he believes you’re damned. Well, “believed.” Because he’s dead.
The other good news is that the more you learn about Chick’s whole deal, it’s easy to appreciate Chick Tracts as the wholly-unintentional comedy that they are. I still occasionally find them on subways, buses, and the like here in New York City, and it always makes me a bit giddy. I can’t stress enough that I condemn the beliefs expressed in those weird little minicomics, which amount to literal hate speech. Besides, Jack Chick definitely thought I’m going to Hell too. But if such hateful people must exist, it’s nice when they make it so easy to laugh at their expense.
- Cool Ranch Doritos
- Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels
Brian Michael Bendis‘ matter-of-factly written guide for aspiring comic book writers is one of the most underrated and practical books of its kind you’re likely to find… and I’ve read quite a few. It’s less about theory than the nuts and bolts of being a working writer in comics, from pitching to scripting to collaborating effectively with artists and editors.
- Roughly the first 10 seasons of The Simpsons
I started getting into The Simpsons around 2001, when I was 10, so for a long time I didn’t understand why “The Simpsons hasn’t been good in years” (and now, decades) was such a popular sentiment. But watching it sequentially for the first time a few years ago when Disney+ debuted, I had to admit it was true. It’s not that there aren’t any decent latter-day episodes, but when you watch it in order from that first 1989 season onwards, there’s no denying the conspicuous dip in quality once the still-ongoing series moves into the 21st century. But man, those ’90s episodes are untouchable.
- King of the Hill
I didn’t like King of the Hill as a kid. The humor was so dry that I didn’t even register most of the jokes as such, and I mostly associated it with being on the same programming block as The Simpsons except that I never wanted to watch it. But I watched a bunch of it over the past year or so, and it’s easy to see why its own cult following is so passionate. Not only am I old enough to appreciate the humor now, but the show’s essential sweetness, too.
I caught Omicron in late December, but thanks to being vaxxed and boosted, I survived. Who knows if I’d even make it to 31 if it weren’t for the COVID-19 vaccine, or any number of other life-threatening diseases I’ve been vaccinated against since birth because my parents weren’t idiots.
- Dave Grohl‘s drumming
I know it’s no longer in vogue to like Dave Grohl (I’ll be the first to admit Foo Fighters are a bit corny, although their 2015 20th anniversary show in DC may be the best concert I ever attended) but I think he’s the best drummer on the planet. Nirvana’s my favorite band, period, but there’s no shortage of post-Kurt Cobain drumming from Grohl just because he plays guitar to front the Foos. Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf, Killing Joke’s self-titled 2003 album, and the self-titled RDGLDGRN EP are just a few examples of his stellar work behind the kit if you don’t feel like listening to Nevermind or In Utero again.
Have I ever mentioned that I like comics?
What about Batman, did you know I’m a big fan?
- The word “poop”
- This 2013 commercial where Kim Cattrall is horny for Mario
I don’t know what the thought process was for hiring this specific actress to advertise this specific game but I hope whoever came up with it got a raise.
- This cursed Nintendo commercial from 1986
Editor’s Note: Because Max Headroom, that’s why. —AJK
- “The Conquerer Worm” by Edgar Allen Poe
The thing they don’t tell you enough about Edgar Allen Poe when you learn about him in school is that he was fucking metal.
- Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
There’s been smarter comedies, there’s been comedies with more to say, and almost 20 years later it’s still annoying that Anchorman gets quoted so heavily, but there still hasn’t been a been a comedy movie that makes me laugh as hard, or as frequently, as Anchorman.
- “Cry Little Sister” by Gerard McMann from The Lost Boys soundtrack
The Chvrches cover also rules.
- The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Anyone else remember this YA sci-fi novel from 2002? It was one of my favorites in middle school.
This is the show I’m currently binging. Is it weird that I kinda relate to it? Not the murder part, obviously, but Barry’s falling so deeply in love with his newfound passion for acting, and the community surrounding it, that he’s willing to reshape his entire life around it, and risk his own well-being in the process. Honestly, that’s how I felt when I started getting deep into comics.
- Ben and Jerry’s “Milk and Cookies” flavor
Best Ben and Jerry’s flavor.
- Documentaries about cults
I’m not sure why I’m so drawn to literally any documentary about cults, but if you film a bunch of people dressed alike doing weird rituals in the woods, I’ll probably watch it.
Just look at these guys!
- This fight scene from Daredevil (2003)
The Ben Affleck-starring Daredevil movie gets a lot of hate, and while I’m willing to believe I’d probably find a bunch of problems with it that I didn’t as a kid if I were to rewatch it today, I’m still inclined to believe it’s unfairly maligned. As much as I like the more recent Daredevil TV series, and Charlie Cox in the title role, that show never captured the kinetic, acrobatic appeal that I love so much in Daredevil comics as well as the admittedly-flawed film.
- You, the reader
Have a great day!