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The Isotope Communique
Daily news and updates by Proprietor James Sime & the Isotope Staff
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Tuesday, December 09, 2008
I'm All a-Gushing w/ Love For You
& a Lil' Holiday Present for Me, too
Hey, happy holidays all! Thank you all so much for sharing such an amazing year with us here at the Isotope!
I really honestly can't think of a better year for my business. The shop has been perpetually hopping, we've been swamped with a ton of amazingly great press, reviewers on Yelp have literally brought tears to my eyes, and that trifecta of "Best of 2008" awards from The SF Guardian, The SF Weekly, and San Francisco Magazine certainly made our collective Isotopic hearts soar. I met a ton of new people this year that I think are really exciting additions to the Isotope community, and also have to raise my cocktail glass in honor of all the reoccurring Isotope lovelies who have made the last 7 and a half years the best years of my life. You really have made my wildest funnybook shop dreams come true far beyond what I could have ever hoped to ask for! I'll continue every day to try to let you all know how much that means to me.
So forgive my sappy gushing, and allow me to express my deepest gratitude to all of you for gifting your friends here at the Isotope a true "joyeux noel" that I will always give thanks for. I adore you all!
There is one thing that's been getting me down all year long though...
And that's the Isotope's home on the web. What the hell happened to it? I did a slightly gorgeous redesign last November, but to be frank, I was reaching just out of my range of HTML ability and I turned to some wrong folks for assistance getting it built. Then the blog software I had the Communique hosted on crapped the bed back in March, and even the simplest of updates became a several-hours-long hair-pulling process. Whoo-boy, let me tell you, it made for a pretty frustrating year! Now I can't even look at that sexy new site redesign without getting seriously depressed. Because both you and I know that it shouldn't really take a year (or even six months) to build a new website, should it? It's not like the damn thing was supposed to go to clean your house in the morning or make famous people think you're cool for the boots you wear or even give you some sexy Martin Emond makeover every time you looked at it. It's just a @%$#ing website!
(long, slow, relaxing breath)
Anyway... I have some new tricks up the sleeve that will ensure 2009 is a happy place on the web for me and for this website. And I think I'm potentially working with some really great people on it. But it's the holidays and they are busy with their own lives right now. And good lord am I just sick of waiting around for something to happen. If 2008 taught me anything it's that waiting patiently gets you nowhere.
So I've gone in with my chewing gum, duct tape, and random bicycle parts and fixed the old site by hand. Please don't look at the site's code, all of the electronic guts are hanging out and it's a real mess. But at least we have something that works! The random design breakage that popped up last week is gone, the blog is at long last updateable without giving me an ulcer or making me think of internet suicide, and that oh-so long-dead RSS feed is working once again. Cos, dammit, it's time. Yes, I agree, I hate this version of the Isotope website too. I won't be happy until I can put a bullet in the gun and put it down like Old Yeller once my new site is up. But until we arrive at that mythical day in that far-off land, I think it's high time that I start enjoying the internet and having fun with the Isotope site again.
Expect to see things much more enjoyable 'round here... starting now.
Here's to December!
Labels: thanks, web2.0
Friday, November 30, 2007
(sigh) Evel Knievel is Dead
And I Will Definitely Miss Him
Yes, I realize he was just some star-spangled poor-man's Elvis who sat on top of a motorcycle and jumped it over busses to many of you.
But not to me.
Evel Knievel was, and will forever be, an incredibly influential person in my life. As a boy I looked up to the real-life superhero and as an adult I've found inspiration in his passionate, hardboiled, and maybe even slightly insane way of life. He was a true American hero, an industry creator, a rebel, a mad visionary, and one hell of a daredevil stunt jumper. Sure, he never made it across the Snake River Canyon but I couldn't respect him more.
He wasn't afraid to take a fall, bust himself up bloody, and get back up to do it all over again. He said what was on his mind despite the consequences that paralyze and silence others. He ignored the thousand little "competitors" nipping around his heels because he was too busy breaking his own world records to care. He always tried to make the world around him just a little bit better, despite his all-too human flaws. He was a man who wore his heart on his sleeve and proved time and time again that with hard work, dedication, and a perseverance you can make doing the impossible a way of life.
And both he, and the toyline that he emblazoned his name upon, were damn near indestructible.
Today's news of Evel's death came as quite a shock to me. Yesterday I'd picked up a touch of that bug that's going around and spent the night with a mild case of the shivers and the fever dreams. One of these dreams had Knievel in it, no doubt triggered by that awesome recent picture of him and Kanye West, so I decided to lead off my day with a Twitter post of my favorite Knievel quote... only to find out a few hours later that he had died. It's made for a pretty surreal day.
It was less than a month ago that I stood at the site of Evel's greatest crash, just over 19 months since I saved Evel for last in my 8 Crazy Bastards Who Inspire Me list, not that much longer since I made the public domain biography movie of his life available for all to watch, and a few years since I started preaching the gospel of Steve Mandich's incredible Knievel book ...
... and it was many, many years ago that my parents took me to see Evel Knievel's house in Butte, Montana. And I was too young to understand why his house didn't have a stunt ramp on it.
I'll miss you Evel. Have fun raising Hell up there in Heaven.
Labels: Evel Knievel, thanks
Thursday, November 22, 2007
The Isotope will be closed today in celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday. And while we're busy filling our plates with turkey and stuffing and butter-slathered mashed potatoes with good friends, family, and loved ones... we're also taking the day and thanking our lucky stars above for the people and the things that make our lives wonderful.
And today I'm giving thanks to all of you. For being as passionate as you are about the Isotope and for giving me the gift of making all my wildest hopes and dreams come true. Thank you.
I'm also giving thanks to the good fortune I have been blessed with to be friends with so many friendly and creative people. You inspire me and make every year more exciting than the last. Thank you.
And to the city of San Francisco. For being the beautiful and bizarre cultural land of milk and honey where all us dreamers, eccentrics, zealots, thinkers, and weirdos can truly feel at home. Thank you.
And to the wisdom and support of my wonderful family. I live my life by the hard-working, straightforward, bacon-loving, heart-on-my-sleeve, Midwestern values they raised me with. And I couldn't be more thankful to have such great people teach me to see what things are truly important in this world. Thank you.
And I'm also giving thanks to Joel Patterson. For setting up his fleamarket table in the park all those many years ago and selling me my first comic. Thank you.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Thank You From All of Us to All of You
For a Halloween That Truly Rocked
It's been a crazy post-Halloween day here at the Isotope. With an outrageous interview for the up-coming issue of Punks: The Comic due and a live interview with Comic Book Talk Radio taking up a goodly portion of my day, So now I'm definitely ready for a nice relaxing dinner and a quiet evening at the Sanctum Sanctorum. But I had to take the time to thank all of you who attended last night's incredible Monster Mosh Halloween Party we threw with our friends at The Onion, Triple Cobra, Ms Monster, B-Minus Comics, and 12 Galaxies.
That was one hell of a great party!
We expected to pack the house to rafters and beyond, but honestly, we had no idea we'd be seeing upwards of 200 more people than our wildest expectations could have ever hoped for in attendance! And talk about the costumes! After seeing how so many of the major Bay Area Halloween costume hot-spots have been watered down year after year, it was really exciting to see so many amazing costumed SF sexpots out last night dressed to the nines. Everyone saw so many jaw-dropping outfits that there really was absolutely no doubt in anyone's mind why San Francisco is the greatest city on Earth, and it brought a tear to my non-Nick Fury patched eye when I was given a big hug and told "Yay! Halloween is fun again!" by a pretty young lady who I honestly have no idea if I have ever met before.
Because, yes. And yay. Halloween is fun again.
As my way of showing my appreciation to each and every one of you who came out and made that the great party that it was I'm going to thank you in one of the best ways I know how... with a trio of swoon-inducing Audrey Hepburn pictures.
click to enlarge
You people kick ass.
Labels: Audrey Hepburn, events, Halloween, Ms Monster, thanks, Triple Cobra
Thursday, July 26, 2007
The SF Bay Guardian Readers Have Spoken
The Isotope: Best of the Bay 2007
As if Toast! wasn't reason enough to be happy this week, the latest issue of the SF Bay Guardian is out and it's got my eyes welling up with joy!
Famous the world over for offering the best independent reporting of news, culture, and entertainment, the Guardian honors the city's best each year with an annual Best of the Bay awards. And we here at the Isotope know that in the greatest city on Earth it is a huge honor to be chosen by the Guardian's readers as the cream of the city's crop.
Hopefully, you'll all forgive me for getting a bit sappy...
You kind and wonderful people show us so much love and affection and I hope you know that I absolutely adore you for helping make our unique take on the comic book shop and comics culture a success. So thank you San Francisco (and the SF Bay Guardian) for showing my comic book store fantasy so much love over the years and making all my wildest dreams a reality. It means more to me than I could ever truly express.
Now quick, go check out these blasts from the past before I rot your teeth with all my syrupy sweetness.
Labels: Isotope love, San Francisco, SF Bay Guardian, thanks
Thursday, April 12, 2007
You Crazy Wonderful People!
Forgive me while I gush...
When you get to devote your days to doing something you really, really love life is pretty darn good. Take it from me, I'm James Sime, and I sell comic books for a living in the greatest city on Earth. And thanks to the hard work of my staff and a few close friends I get to do it in a comic store that still takes my breath away. No matter how corny it might sound, getting to meet so many wonderful, inspirational people who walk in the Isotope front door that I already know I share a common bond with is a delight. Having the opportunity to share my appreciation of the artform (both the high art and the low) with so many other people brings a big stupid grin to my face each day. And scrambling to find just the right book for just the right reader is quite honestly the most fun and rewarding job I could ever imagine.
I'm really happy doing what I do. But man, it sure is nice to know you're appreciated in this life.
Something must be in the air, because kind and generous people have been going way above and beyond the call of duty lavishing the love and rocking my world with spontaneous bouts of kindness of late. Between last week's unexpected Isotope appreciation day, several entirely different groups of people randomly buying me lunch, a literal tsunami of pulse-quickening consumer reviews jam-packed with appreciation for what my staff and I do over on Yelp, and a sudden in-flux of sweet phone calls and emails from all over the country the past few weeks... it's honestly been taking my breath away.
In an effort to not bust out weeping tears of joy like Nancy Kerrigan with her first silver medal, I've decided to share one such story with you, and say "thanks" to a friend for doing something that really made my day.
Now my love for the weekly British comic anthology 2000ad is no secret. I'm often heard waxing poetic about how the combination of bad, ugly bands and this weird funnybook from the other side of the ocean warped my young mind just like I did in this column. Honestly, what modern day comic reader couldn't adore the home of never-reprinted early strips by folks like Grant Morrison, Kevin O'Neill, Garth Ennis, Bryan Talbot, Alan Moore, Frank Quitely, Jamie Delano, Carlos Ezquerra, Mark Millar, Steve Dillon, Neil Gaiman, Mark Buckingham, Mike Carey, Sean Phillips, Peter Milligan, Ian Gibson, and Rian Hughes? That's damn good comics, people!
Today my pal Larry Young presented me with the single most difficult issue of this 30 year old series to get. The notoriously elusive and legendarily expensive Prog #2. And why? "Just because I appreciate all that you do, James" was his answer. I told you people were being crazy wonderful nice to me recently!
For those of you out there who know what it's like to feel your heart soar at the sight of crusty old newsprint comics as much as I do, go ahead and click to check out the cover from this classic issue. For your mid-70's nerdly pleasure I've also scanned the free gift... yellowed, three decades old stickers that were meant to be affixed to young British kids arms and faces! It's raw, it's enthusiastic, it's sloppy, it's uncommon, it's sexy, it's adventurous, it's nerdy, it's idiosyncratic, it's meaty, it's quaint, it's kitchy-cool. It's everything good in the world.
What can I possibly say? Except "AIEEEEEE! It's... the THING from the HELL PLANET!"
Thank you to Larry and all you other crazy wonderful people who have been so kind recently for making a kick ass life ever better. You rock.