reading 02.03.16

I’ve not been reading shit.

I checked out Lofgren’s The Deep State from the bookstore, but the series of crises in past two weeks kept me from digging into it.

Comic books. I’ve read stacks of them, but am migrating away from Marvel. The post Secret Wars relaunch isn’t bad. Vision and the Ultimates are fun. I’m just not engaged in that genre like I was last year. The new status quo of the X-Men1 sucks, but that’s not the deal breaker.

Most of my pulls are still Image titles, as well as a few Mignolaverse titles from Dark Horse, The Spire on Boom! and Warren Ellis’ James Bond.

The backlog keeps growing. Novels…. I don’t even want to think about that tonight.

  1. My first dive into comics was into X-Men so I remain nostalgic about their titles. []

Drawing Blood

Another incomplete blog post left in draft. Plenty of incomplete and trite thoughts here.

It’s hard to recall exactly when I became aware of Molly Crabapple. It feels like it’s been a long time, but after reading Drawing Blood, my memory doesn’t seem reliable. It’s probably from Warren Ellis dropping her name into an interview or blog. Her art interested me, but the fragments of material I was exposed to seemed little too twee and goth for my tastes. It was during Occupy that Crabapple won my interest. I still have a naive belief in most of the people who stepped up at that time to make a statement. I’ve scrambled to keep up with her new phase of journalism, but missed some significant pieces. She seems to be diving into every issue and crisis exploding now.

Drawing Blood is a revelation. She’s not quite who’d I thought she was. When she took off to Turkey in her teens to draw the ruins of a castle she’d once seen in a book, it became clear that there were going to be more than a few surprises. It was a little freaky that she was in Europe roughly the same period I was, except when I became severely ill and stalled in Cardiff, Wales, Molly was hopping around France, Italy, Spain, and Morocco, even spending a few stints at Shakespeare & Co. I was awed, as she pulled off what I intended to do at nearly half my age at the time and probably fewer resources at her disposal. (I already knew a few people in Europe, one who provided enormous support when I fell ill and faltered.) Crabapple was reeling off books I wouldn’t get to for a few more years. Her fearlessness and precocity were inspiring.

Then the naked girl years in New York City… it’s still interesting reading, but it felt… backwards? She honed her craft, nurtured and learned from relationships. There was a feel of her entering a cocoon. I was a little confused, as I thought NYC was already very gentrified at that point, but what do I know?

The Box. Fuck the Box. I get that Molly was in love with the spectacle and the genius of the performers, but this era is enraging. Fuck bankers. Fuck stock brokers. Fuck hedge managers. Fuck all of those decadent, amoral parasites. My long-burning puritanical loathing of the elite of the new gilded age made these chapters revolting.

Occupy onwards is a blur in the book. Crabapple shaking off her torpor to throw herself into every event she senses to be significant is a relief. There aren’t enough Joe Saccos in the world, so it’s cool to have a Molly Crabapple. Her channeling her art into journalism feels right. Vice isn’t exactly a trustworthy news source, but I mostly stomach them because they’re providing a platform for Crabapple and those like her.

Her art. It falls in line with her life. The early and late perod illustrations, I dig. Strong lines. Lots of life in them. The mid NYC period? Not so much. That pseudo-Victorian, gothic tweeish material always feels a bit icky. My dalliance with that type back in the early and mid ’90s fuels that revulsion. Marianne Faithfull and Nico are magnificent. Neil Gaiman’s Death is awkward.

Anyway, as fun as her memoir was, it feels slightly premature, but it’s a useful shedding of her past incarnation. She feels better suited to activist journalist.

morning 11.27.15

Not much going on this week.

  • I read a few more chapters in Sante’s The Other Paris. I’ve never been to Paris and not even read that many books set there. David Beauchard has probably done more for me than Blaise Cendrars or even more importantly Georges Perec did little to flesh out the map in my head. Movies? A few, but I still have no sense of place. My sense of history there is weaker than it should be. It’s necessary to cross-reference a lot of things in order to appreciate the connections he’s making fully. It’s an easily approachable book, but I still feel inadequate. It’s also easy to come away ashamed of being as sedentary as I am now. That period when my friends and I were essentially flâneurs of Hammond and New Orleans were too brief… although in reality that period lasted over a decade.
  • Eco’s Numero Zero.  It’s funnier than I expected, but I’ve misplaced it.
  • No comics. I need to calm the fuck down with the comic books. I have no shame in reading them, but it’s an expensive habit that I cannot afford other than in small doses. I got sloppy there one week and I’m still kicking myself.
  • Jessica Jones. Eh… I’m going to keep watching it, but I feel a little manipulated. Some of the narrating and dialogue have lines that make me wince, being old noir detectives tropes. There’s too much telegraphing jaded and damaged there. I’ll stick it out to the end because I’m a comic book junky who dug Alias, but the breathless binge watchers on Twitter have me scratching my head.
  • The Man in the High Tower. Honestly this is more enjoyable to watch. I watched the second episode of this last night too. There’s more of that button pushing I feel more directly as a parent now. Fucking horror porn… the evil is just too evil, even though a quick peek at real news makes it more plausible. Fascism is lurking everywhere. Odd little world they have there. It’s been about 25 years or so since I read the book.

Off to work.

mostly comics from last week 11.04.15

More comics:

  • Airboy #3. Because it’s now in the world of Airboy, there’s less semi-autobiographical loathing and more mainstream standard comic book fare. It gave me more of a chance to pore over Greg Hinkle’s art. Only now have a discovered there was a controversy about transphobia being depicted in issue #2. Oh, for fuck’s sake… it’s damned clear that Robinson is tearing chunks of flesh of himself in this one. It’s not sympathetic to transphobia.
  • Joe Golem: Occult Detective. I skipped the Joe Golem novels, because, fuck it- I wanted a comic book of it. I have my comic book and it looks pretty fun, in that same vein of retro pulp that I dig from Mignola. Esoteric occult, post apocalyptic weirdness, set in a past that never existed. Now that Hellboy’s universe is near wrecked, this is a interesting playground.
  • Howard the Duck #1. Eh, kill me. I’m into Howard the Duck. I swore that i’d read Gerber since i was a kid and never did. Maybe that’s why Chip Zdarsky’s take works so well. Marvel has quite a few silly titles these days. My comic budget requires I cut my experiments down and it’s going to mean much of the Marvel I planned to read needs to go. I’m tempted to keep all of the silly titles and drop the
  • The Vision #1. I wasn’t prepared. I snagged this based on teaser art that turned out not to be the cover or the story. Solid art that supports a startling depressing story when a low-key whimsical one was expected.
  • Karnak #1. MY LCS has been shorted for weeks. I was so excited. Ehhh… not feeling it. The art is dark and broooding- fun to look at it. No complaints there! The concept is great, especially from someone like Eliis. Recently resurrected warrior monk who sees the flaw in everything and is a cold bastard about it. However, the pacing itself seemed off and the pithy Ellis statements I expected didn’t seem to pop. It’s not the instant success Moon Knight felt like. He might have been writing this during his medical weirdness. I’ll check. Or I’ll just re-read it soon and realize I was wrong.
  • Paper Girls #2. Too short. (Kat had the same reaction.)
  • Hangman #1. Art’s ok, but nope. I didn’t enjoy it one bit. It’s intended for an audience other than me.

This week (11.11.15) was a much stronger haul and I’ll get to those later hopefully

More and more Moore

Someone wound up posting the same Alan Moore video on Metafilter and commenters added some more links.

Alan Moore answers 75 questions from readers on Goodreads. Whew. That’s a lot to chew through and that’s a significant factor in hwy I appreciate him so much. He’s eager to engage and share.

  • Robert Altman gets a thumb’s up and John Waters gets a scolding for elevating scum like John Wayne Gacy. (I’ve not watched that Altman film, nor have I seen Polanski’s “Repulsion”.)
  • He loves The Blind Owl! This is no surprise, but it’s still great to see in print. Reading the quotes from the book on the Wikipedia entry remind me that it’s right in Moore’s wheelhouse. Flann O’Brien too. Heh.
  • He’s perfectly justified to turn up his nose as DC, but he’s being petty about most of his work there. He waves off any love for John Constantine for most of his existence. Oddly, he loves Garth Ennis, which makes me wonder where his cutoff point on Constantine is. I have no affinity for the work of Ennis. Eh, my favorite Constantine is Jamie Delano’s anyway. It’s baffling why anyone would want Moore to write any comic for DC or Marvel at this point.
  • It’s fun to see how he waves off he doesn’t read comics much, but he’s familiar with Phonogram, The Wicked + the Divine, and Saga. Oh, you fibbing old bastard. He mentions Si Spurrier and I feel a twinge of guilt for not picking up The Spire. That’s a wrong that needs righting.
  • He’s met a demon from the Book of Tobit, eh? Asmodeus?
  • Has he ever visited Providence, Rhode Island: ” I’m a big fan of remote viewing.” Ha!
  • Lynd Ward. This seems like something Biblioklept posted and I passed to a coworker at bookstore, then forgot. Oops. Madman’s Drum. I need to remember that.

Annotations of Moore’s Providence. I’ve not yet read Providence yet. I probably should have scooped up that comic, but Neonomicon got under my skin in a way I didn’t like. As impressive as it was, I hesitate to go for a second helping of that horror.

Jodorowsky miscellany

Disinformation has an interview with Alejandro Jodorowsky. It’s Jodorowsky being Jodorowsky.

The nifty thing about that was the interviewer mentioning the artists Philippe Druillet and Enki Bilal. I looked up their work and all of it is familiar, probably from those same old copies of Heavy Metal I read on the school bus ’77 to ’81. (Yragael: Urm is extremely familiar.) If I ever knew their names, I forgot them.

Kat bought “Jodorowsky’s Dune” for a birthday of mine, and I’ve yet to remember to watch it. Looking up these guys in connection with that project, led me to those illustrations from an early script that made quite the splash recently, and then led to the comic strip, Fabulas Panicas, which I know I’ve never seen before.

Sometimes I miss the older days of the internet, but not on days like this. None of this was online in such detail even a decade ago. Cry for Grantland all you like.