I’ve been pretty lame about posting anything here. I’ve bookmarked a lot of stuff to mention, but just haven’t gotten to it. Been in a bit of a funk lately, on top of doing a lot of reading and (not quite enough) writing. And weightlifting. And going up and down that goddamn M. I’ll try and cover a few bases now, and maybe more over the next few days.
Darwyn Cooke Nails It
This book just came out, and it is freakin’ brilliant.
If you like crime stories and good art, pick this sucker up. You can read an article/interview about it right here, and I urge you to do so. From the article:
Although many fans know Darwyn Cooke mainly from his work on superhero titles like “The New Frontier” and “Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score,” his first love has always been crime fiction. Cooke’s first published work from DC Comics, in fact, didn’t involve superheroes — it was a short story called “The Private Eye,” which appeared in “Talent Showcase #19” in 1985.
“It’s really what I’ve always wanted to do,” Cooke said at his spotlight panel at Comic-Con International. “You sort of have to go where the interest is, and in this industry, that means finding out things about superheroes that excite you that you want to get into. But I knew after ‘The New Frontier’ I probably had the leverage and the ability to perhaps try to go out and do something that would be a little more in line with my own personal interests.”
Cooke’s passion for crime drama resulted in one of the best reviewed graphic novels of the year so far, IDW Publishing’s “Parker: The Hunter,” an adaptation of the book by Donald Westlake, who wrote under the pseudonym Richard Stark.
This is really one of the coolest things I’ve read. The first 30 pages or so only has text in, if I recall, one spot. The rest is just the visual journey of Parker — the main character, who is in no way a “good guy” — returning to New York bent on revenge. We see him get a fake ID, use it to get a fake checking account, buy stuff by check then go pawn it for cash. It’s the little details in the art that make it so awesome. And the angular, hard-edged art that Cooke does so well could not be more perfect for Westlake/Stark’s prose. This is beautiful work. If you like a good crime yarn, or appreciate graphic storytelling, then this is for you. I can’t urge you to do so enough.
Though I will probably be making as strong, if not stronger, of a case for the graphic book I will finish tonight, called Asterios Polyp.
What a great time to be a fan of this stuff. This isn’t even geek shit — none of this is superhero storytelling. So don’t miss out.
Though Since You Did Mention Geek Shit
My dad reads this blog, so he’s well aware of a lot of this stuff I’m into. He scored me a stack of old comics from the 70s at a yard sale, and they are awesome. Some Invaders, Champions, a couple Tarzan, and several John Carter — Warlord of Mars (which I never collected as a kid, so I’m thrilled to have them now). What’s awesome is a couple issues were ones I had way back when, like this Daredevil Annual from 1976!
(in case you’re wondering, in the fight depicted above, Daredevil and Black Panther would be a good battle. Neither of them can go toe-to-toe with Namor, the Savage Sub-Mariner, though — he’s a dude who can hold his own against the freakin’ HULK for crissakes!)
What’s great about these comics too are the ads. The little green army men. The weird little joy buzzers and x-ray glasses. And this piece of awesomeness off the back cover of a John Carter issue from 1978:
Everyone’s All a’Twitter
So you’ve probably heard of Twitter. The idea is each “tweet” gives you 140 characters to say what you want. You can “follow” people you want — i.e. other Twitter users whose comments you want to see — and other people, presumably, follow you in return. When I first checked it out, I thought it was pretty lame. It seemed like the majority of it was stuff like someone posting, “I’z hungry but I’z don’t have any food. I can haz pizsa plz lol’z!!!1!” So I bailed on it, but after catching wind that a lot of the writers and various other creative people I admire were getting on board, I decided to revisit it. I have mixed feelings about it.
As of today, I have 91 people I’m following, with a whopping 47 following me (contrast this with someone like, say, Neil Gaiman, who has 904, 608 followers)(speaking of Mr. Gaiman, I’m a fan of his writing, but I am not following him anymore mainly because the ratio of interesting to not-so-interesting tweets was pretty poor; I’ll stick with reading his journal). Almost all of the people I follow are writers — either of books or comics, or both — or artists. I also follow a few local people and friends as well, none of whom post all that much.
For the most part it’s been pretty cool. I’ve found that most of the people I admire are pretty interesting, and I have discovered some great stuff around the web as a result. But it’s also a little weird. It is supposed to be this “social networking” thing, but it really isn’t all that social; most of the communication seems to be decidedly one-way. Just because you follow someone, it doesn’t mean they are aware of you, or, if they see you respond to something they say, that they’ll bother to acknowledge it. It’s like being an underclassman or something, hanging out on the periphery of the “cool kids” and trying to chime in on their conversations . . . only to be ignored. It’s kind of weird. I’ve exchanged a few words with some people here and there — Poppy Z. Brite is awesome — but for the most part it isn’t much more socially interactive than subscribing to websites via RSS feeds or something. I’ll keep after it. I’ve definitely spent less time looking at Facebook as a result, and will probably continue because at least Twitter doesn’t have stupid quizzes.
For the first time in about 12 years, and for only the second time in something like 26 years, I am currently without a going musical concern. That’s right, I pulled the plug on Lazerwolfs. In a lot of ways it sucks — I’m actually pretty goddamn sad about it if you want to know the truth — but in others it is kind of a relief. I could probably write 5 posts just on this subject, but bottom line is it had reached a point where the amount of fun just wasn’t holding up to the headaches. As the guy booking shows, I was saying no to offers so much that I think people stopped asking, mainly due to scheduling impossibilities. Future prospects looked less favorable. I think we took it as far as we could, and it was never just a hobby for me; go hard, or don’t go at all, right? And, given that we haven’t heard from the drummer in over a month (he has no phone, no workplace to call, and didn’t respond to notes left on the door of the house he, presumably, lives in), it put the writing on the wall in bold print. So yeah, it’s a drag. But whatever. Maybe I’ll do my long-considered vanity solo album or something.
I’ve Always Wondered. . . .
Does this mean you have to pay . . . before you pre-pay . . . or . . . huh?