Updates & miscellaneous musings!

Monday, November 15, 2004

4 out of the 5 voices in my head think Hot Topic's retarded. The other one bought a shirt.

Yesterday Nikki, Angelo, and I went to the Hot Topic in Capitola to do research so we can market Flash-drawn ironic shit to goth kids, and then use the money to fund awesome things, like making more comics and movies and putting a stop to global warming.

This is a spider whose name I believe is Bagonia. S/he will eventually be joined by a cute goth girl with red hair wearing a jumper, if we remember to finish.
Obviously this needs an ironic catchphrase underneath. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them.

We probably didn't need to take a bus out of town to figure this out, but we boiled down the unifying elements of almost all Hot Topic clothing to--

1. Black, but with--
2. Stark pastel colors (high contrast images, ala Che, are common, but not universal)
3. Characters that are adorable, yet--
4. Creepy in a way that is--
5. Ironic and (allegedly) nonconformist

We haven't quite figured out what to do with this ("Step one, design characters....Step three, PROFIT!"), but that will come with time.

We went to the Capitola Mall, and I realized I don't think I've ever been to a real mall before. Odd.

Hot Topic is a strange place. There's a level at which it's incredibly depressing, because seeing things you like to think of as original and cool are popular enough and obvious enough to be mass-marketed. It's funny that the only movie they sell is Donnie Darko, because they know that everyone who thinks they're different likes Donnie Darko, but the fact that everyone wants it makes it not so different.

But I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.

The thing that makes it ambiguous and weird is that some of the stuff there is undeniably nifty. Most of it's awful, but some is damn cool. After much moral deliberation, I bought a "The Darkness" shirt, because I sort of like The Darkness, and I need shirts.
I think the problem is that Hot Topic fails to convince you that it is itself underground and hardcore. I can't explain why, in a world where Rage Against the Machine and Fight Club were both produced by huge conglamerate corporations and still seemed like they were fighting the establishment that Hot Topic (a relatively small company*) doesn't.
I think the irony's just a bit too obvious. I'm sure many would take issue with me on this point, but I don't think you can look counter-culture while spending your time and money at the fucking mall.

Afterward we went to a store whose name I forget that was basically the same thing for marginally older people--"Hot Topic with boobs" as Angelo put it. They had a shirt which I thought Frank would like that says, "I have the dick, so I make the rules" (because Frank is a delightfully sexist asshole.
For balance, they had another shirt that said, "I have the pussy, so I make the rules," which is a great example of the "fight sexism with sexism" attitude that I've been bemoaning of late.

All in all, I think this was a pretty cool weekend. Nothing amazing happened, but I made some good progress on my comic, went some places I've never gone before, and just generally had a neat time.

*They are, however, publicly traded. And their stock is goin' up! You should invest in Hot Topic, hardcore. All the cool kids are doing it.**
**Or maybe not. What a bunch of fucking posers.

FUN BONUS FACT: Emily the Strange was created by two guys in Santa Cruz. They were unavailable for comment at press time.


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Location: Oakland, CA, United States