Nick Gazin’s Comic Book Love-In #94
Hey, comic book lovers!
You’ve probably noticed a lack of comic columns on VICE lately. I’m sorry about that; my computer broke, and I got bronchitis. Anyways, here is my weekly column about comics, art, nerd stuff, and paper goods.
The old newsstand at the Lorimer subway stop has been taken over by a store that sells zines, comics, prints, and other stuff. This is a cool, weird thing that somewhat makes up for the great stuff that’s disappeared from the city in recent years.
Keep on trekin’…
Check out this old Scientist records’ album art.
The Silverball Pinball Museum in New Jersey Is My Everything
Pinball is pretty much all I care about. I make art and I write and I have friends and blah blah blah, but it’s all just a means to get quarters and play pinball.
The best place to play pinball on the East Coast is the Silverball Museum in Asbury, New Jersey. The entrance fees vary, but for $20 you can stay all day and play every machine they have, all of which are free once you’re inside. The photos sprinkled throughout this blog post are pictures of some of my favorite games at the museum.
Pinball is a beautiful game that was originally like pachinko, in that it was used for gambling as well as recreational purposes. Much like today, pinball players of yore would pull back a spring-loaded plunger and shoot a metal ball through a playfield covered in pins and hope that the ball hit some targets. Eventually someone made a machine with six flippers, adding a stronger element of skill to the game. Not long after that, someone else decided to keep the flippers but simplify the operation by controlling all of them with just two buttons, and that’s how modern pinball was born.
Pinball machines are sort of like video arcade games but much more unique. The production run of an average machine usually ranges between 500 and 10,000. They also contain miles and miles of wire, which is neither here nor there, but pretty neat nonetheless. They are hand-constructed and almost all of them are collectors’ items.
Jawbreaker’s Major-Label Album - A story by Tao Lin
Ryan looked through glass at tomato sauce on spaghetti on a plate with three to five chicken wings or legs that seemed to be barbecued also on it and thought, “What is that?” and “Ryan thought, ‘What is that?’ while looking at spaghetti and chicken wings.” He walked to the end of the block, turned around, passed an extremely tall Asian man, entered an Old Navy, walked aimlessly toward the back of the store. An employee seemed to be running toward Ryan, who slowed a little, then turned so that he was moving in the same direction as the employee, who maneuvered past Ryan, who sat on a bench next to an elderly Hispanic woman. Ryan looked at his email on his iPhone. Cassie, his girlfriend, had emailed the story he wanted to reread. Cassie’s romantic interest in the story was named Bryant, the same name Ryan used for the character of himself in his recent, autobiographical fiction. Ryan remembered a few nights ago when Cassie asked why he used the name Bryant in his stories. He had felt a little confused why she asked that. He sometimes looked at what time it was while reading her story. He sensed the story was ending soon, then remembered that there were entirely different parts—that it spanned a much longer time than he’d been sensing—and felt pleasure from anticipating reading the later parts.
Ryan exited Old Navy at 1:33 PM and walked toward Sbarro and stood on the sidewalk with his back against a wall and continued reading Cassie’s story. An energetic-seeming woman with white hair asked him something, and he said, “Yes, Baltimore.” He went into Sbarro and stared at a woman wearing sunglasses who was standing by a door outside a bathroom. Ryan averted his sight, went to the utensils, picked up a fork, held it, walked toward the exit. He imagined walking extremely forcefully into the glass. He opened the door and stood on the sidewalk and stared at an attractive, Mediterranean-seeming woman asking him what bus he was waiting for and, as he began to answer, the woman with white hair said, “He’s for Baltimore.” Ryan heard a BoltBus employee say things like “1:30” and “Standby only” while leading people across the street. People began saying things about how the street was blocked and that all the buses were on a different street.
Ryan crossed the street and said, “Is this for 1:45 to Baltimore?” to the back of a woman’s head, and a different woman said, “Apparently this line is for more than one time” and something about “1:15” and three more sentences, each containing the word “apparently.” Ryan sat on the sidewalk, the last person in line, and finished reading Cassie’s story. He thought about how in the story Cassie seemed to maintain interest in Bryant long after Bryant lost interest, or mostly lost interest, in her and about how it ended with a description of her sitting in a car after a final-seeming encounter with Bryant, imagining the car as a living thing and its noises as an expression—toward her, in her view—of anger or frustration. Ryan thought about how in one part of the story Cassie had woken to Bryant “tracing” her hipbones. He walked to a different line and asked a young man wearing large sunglasses if the line was for the 1:45 PM bus to Baltimore and the person said he didn’t know and began talking about other things, and Ryan grinned nervously and looked down at his iPhone’s screen, then back at the young man, who was talking about how he “practically sprinted like 30 or more blocks here.” Ryan walked away with a feeling of having disappointed the young man in their social interaction. Ryan thought he would livetweet the BoltBus delay. He asked a woman his age if she knew anything about where the 1:45 PM bus to Baltimore was, and she said, “No.” Ryan tweeted that he asked a person a question and the person said, “No.”