Posts Tagged ‘books’
Episode 20 of my A Song of Ice and Fire podcast the Boiled Leather Audio hour is up! This week, my co-host Stefan Sasse and I are discussing the combined reading order for A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons that I came up with in order to reunite what is effectively one giant book split by character rather than chronology. It’s worth doing!
Over at Vorpalizer, I wrote about Jordan Crane’s excellent weird Western comic “The Hand of Gold,” and about my favorite short story, Clive Barker’s “In the Hills, the Cities.”
The latest episode of my Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire podcast is up. This week my co-host Stefan Sasse and I talk about three powerful women of Westeros: Margaery Tyrell, Melisandre of Asshai, and Lysa Arryn. Enjoy!
Only a few yards away the surviving city of Popolac was recovering from its first convulsions. It stared, with a thousand eyes, at the ruins of its ritual enemy, now spread in a tangle of rope and bodies over the impacted ground, shattered forever. Popolac staggered back from the sight, its vast legs flattening the forest that bounded the stamping-ground, its arms flailing the air. But it kept its balance, even as a common insanity, woken by the horror at its feet, surged through its sinews and curdled its brain. The order went out: the body thrashed and twisted and turned from the grisly carpet of Podujevo, and fled into the hills.
As it headed into oblivion, its towering form passed between the car and the sun, throwing its cold shadow over the bloody road. Mick saw nothing through his tears, and Judd, his eyes narrowed against the sight he feared seeing around the next bend, only dimly registered that something had blotted the light for a minute. A cloud, perhaps. A flock of birds.
Had he looked up at that moment, just stolen a glance out towards the north-east, he would have seen Popolac’s head, the vast, swarming head of a maddened city, disappearing below his line of vision, as it marched into the hills. He would have known that this territory was beyond his comprehension; and that there was no healing to be done in this corner of Hell. But he didn’t see the city, and he and Mick’s last turning-point had passed. From now on, like Popolac and its dead twin, they were lost to sanity, and to all hope of life.
I’ve been keeping pretty busy these days.
At Cool Practice, I wrote about “Missing You” by John Waite and the kinkiness of crystalline-sheen ’80s pop rock. This is the sound of my soul.
At Vorpalizer, I continued my series of posts on alt-genre webcomics with entries on SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki and Forming by Jesse Moynihan. I also posted the second in a series on formative fantastic fiction, focusing on Taran Wanderer and the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander.
And at Rolling Stone, I updated my list of the Dowager Countess’s best quotes from Downton Abbey Season Three with a few from the season finale.
The new episode of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour, my A Song of Ice and Fire podcast, is up! This time out, my co-host Stefan Sasse and I continue our series on the books’ female characters, focusing on Catelyn Stark and Daenerys Targaryen.
I’m going to be writing about science fiction, fantasy, horror etc. with some dayjob coworkers at our new group blog Vorpalizer.com. I got started with posts on Michael DeForge’s Ant Comic and Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising. Come check it out.
The Great Council has convened! This week, my Boiled Leather Audio Hour cohost Stefan Sasse and I are the special guests on the mother of all ASoIaF podcasts, A Podcast of Ice and Fire. The explicit goal was for me and Stefan and APoIaF cohosts Amin, Ashley, and Kyle to let our collective hair down; mission accomplished. We get into some high-grade nerdery: a bunch of “who’d win in a fight”s, picking our ideal Small Council and Kingsguard (well, someone’s ideal, anyway), the pros and cons of Tumblr as a platform and a fandom, our biggest controversies…and, naturally, a spirited co-ed game of “how much sex would you have with this character,” guest starring Elio & Linda from Westeros. We all had a great time and I think it shows.
I’ve been listening to A Podcast of Ice and Fire since the earliest days of my fandom. I’ve hoped to be invited on with a fervency you’d find unbecoming, and not just because they’re all, like, really hot. (I’m not the only person who sits and reloads podcastoficeandfire.com for the rotating “Current Hosts” photo eye-candy buffet, am I? Amin, put some more pictures in there, you handsome devil.) Thank you to Amin, Ashley, and Kyle for having us; hopefully we’ll get to “meet” Mimi on a future episode.
My comrade Stefan Sasse and I have posted a new episode of our A Song of Ice and Fire podcast the Boiled Leather Audio Hour, focused on the latest preview chapter George R.R. Martin has released from The Winds of Winter. Get your Dorne on!
* Tom Spurgeon’s complete holiday interview series is up at the Comics Reporter. Go ye and click; so far I’ve really enjoyed the interviews with writer Mark Waid, cartoonists Dean Haspiel, Derf Backderf, Sammy Harkham, and Tom Kaczynski, and critics J. Caleb Mozzocco and Rob Clough.
* You should absolutely read “Sticky-Icky-Icky,” a stoner-sex-slice-of-life comic by Box Brown. I said “whoa” when I saw this page in particular.
* Ooh, it’s a master list of the tumblrs for all the members of Closed Caption Comics who have tumblrs. Thanks, Ryan Cecil Smith!
* Always glad to see smut from Julia Gfrörer.
* This painting by Charles-Frédéric Soehnée is a nightmare. (Via Monster Brains.)
* Just for fun, Dresden Kodak creator is doing a whole series of drawings and sketches and posts on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. Many of them are idiosyncratic and beautiful.
* The addendum at the end hurts a bit because Coates in scold mode is the worst Coates, but otherwise this is a nice scales-from-the-eyes piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates about Kendrick Lamar’s excellent album Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City.
* Here are all of Chris “Shallow Rewards” Ott’s posts on the Cure from his stint on the themed music blog One Week, One Band last year. If you want to read a good writer write a whole lot about a good band he happens to love, then this is
* John Brennan belongs in prison, not running the CIA. If you did half the shit this guy says it’s okay for the government to do, you bet your ass you’d be in prison.
* Very sad news: Wilko Johnson, guitarist for Dr. Feelgood and Ser Ilyn Payne on Game of Thrones, is dying of pancreatic cancer. Man that guy played with style.
* Scientists have filmed a live giant squid in its natural habitat. I can die now.
The latest episode of The Boiled Leather Audio Hour, the podcast about Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire that I do with Stefan Sasse, is up. In this one we review a pair of recent books about the series, The Lands of Ice and Fire (a collection of maps) and A Flight of Sorrows (a collection of essays), just in time to buy them, or not, for the fantasy fan on your list. Servicey!
My pal Stefan Sasse and I are back in the podcasting saddle with The Boiled Leather Audio Hour Episode 15. In this installment of our A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones podcast we take a look at two prominent anomalies among that world’s women, Brienne of Tarth and Asha Greyjoy.
These are pure joy to record. I hope you like listening to them!
Over at my A Song of Ice and Fire site I wrote about The Lands of Ice and Fire, a collection of maps of the Game of Thrones world, and what those maps tell us about what George R.R. Martin is really writing about.
* It’s wonderful that we’ve had going on two solid weeks of non-stop Chris Ware Building Stories talk on the comics internet, though it’s also sad that I haven’t participated in any of it because I haven’t had the time to read the book yet. (I know, I know, be the change you want to see in the comics internet, but it’s a lot easier in terms of time, energy, and attention to blow through a few chapters of an inconsequential Secret Avengers arc and suchlike in dribs and drabs over the course of a couple weeks than to sit down and work your way through a 14-chapter box set by your absolute favorite cartoonist.) Stuff I’ll certainly be checking in on once I’ve done my due diligence: The Comics Journal’s massive series of Building Stories essays; Joe McCulloch’s suggested reading order for the “book”‘s 14 individual volumes; Joe McCulloch, Chris Mautner, Tucker Stone, and Matt Seneca’s podcast about the book; and Douglas Wolk’s review for The New York Times.
* A judge just handed the family of Superman co-creator Joe Shuster a major defeat in their battle to reclaim the character’s copyrights from DC Comics and Warner Bros. It’s an ugly situation where a 1992 agreement made in large part for Shuster’s sister to receive an annual pension which in today’s dollars amounts to less than an assistant editor makes in exchange for her claims to a billion-dollar character that gave birth to an entire genre of fiction is now being used against her. Read the link above for the best explanation of what happened, then read Tom Spurgeon for impassioned analysis. As Tom always points out, DC/WB’s treatment of the Superman creators and their heirs is a choice, one they make anew every day, and one they could reverse whenever they wanted to. Individual people have decided they don’t want to.
* Ben Katchor’s satires of late capitalist society for Metropolis are merciless. Fun fact: He’s got a collection of these strips called Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories coming out in February 2013! That’s gonna be a beast.
* The AV Club talks to Los Bros Hernandez at length. I love hearing them talk about how they spurred one another to improve in the early Love and Rockets issues.
* Matt Fraction looks back on his fine tenure on Invincible Iron Man, which is just about to wrap up. That’s one of the best superhero runs of the past half-decade.
* I came up with the topic for Tom Spurgeon’s latest Five for Friday reader-participation feature: Name five female comics-makers and their best male characters.
* Mostly music critic Brandon Soderberg interviews the great horror comics creator Josh Simmons. No one goes as far out as he does.
* Mostly music critic Tom Ewing reviews Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, the other big recent comics-related book release I haven’t read yet.
* Haw, Benjamin Marra made a trashy funny-animal comic called Ripper & Friends! This oughta be a hoot.
* One of the best things about Matthew Perpetua’s BuzzFeed Music is that you get a lot more Matthew Perpetua music writing. Here he is on two wonderful albums of recent vintage, Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! and Bat for Lashes’ The Haunted Man. These both make for excellent late-October listens, if you’re interested in that sort of thing, though I’m more in an emotional place for the former, which features a 20-minute instrumental metal epic named after a Bosnian Serb war criminal, than the latter, the key lyrics of which include “Thank God I’m alive” and “Where you see a wall, I see a door.”
* Also on BuzzFeed Music: Jayson Greene’s harrowing essay about being ceaselessly bullied. As a newish parent this shit really gets to me now, more even than as a former bullying victim. I get to toss my daughter into this maw? Fucking terrific.
* Katherine St. Asaph digs deep into the rise and apparent fall of “Call Me Maybe” singer Carly Rae Jepsen, whose album Kiss is Kylie/Robyn-level delightful but not selling.
* I’m with Noz on the quasi-parody rap critic Big Ghostfase. The schtick is overwritten, more than a little condescending, and ultimately unrewarding.
* The best horror writing you’ll find this Halloween month comes from Matt Maxwell’s bite-sized posts on George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, which are all illustrated by absolutely gorgeous screenshots. Here’s one of them.
* Someone played The Shining from front to back and back to front simultaneously and claims the overlaps are meaningful. They’re meaningful only by coincidence, but they’re beautiful coincidences.
* Plenty of good writing on last weekend’s terrific Homeland episode out there, if you’re in the market for it: Willa Paskin, Alyssa Rosenberg, Matt Zoller Seitz (he and I are really in sync on this season), Alyssa Rosenberg again.
* Vulture’s Gwynne Watkins profiles Elio García and Linda Antonsson from Westeros.org. Those two mean the world to me and I just love this profile.
* Mark Bowden writes very well about how the military-intelligence apparatus tracks down and kills enemies of the state — this was true in his absurdly engrossing Killing Pablo, about the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, and it’s true in this lengthy Vanity Fair excerpt/adaptation of his new book about the death of Osama Bin Laden. That said, if you believe the bubbemeise offered up here that Barack Obama wanted to capture Bin Laden and try him in court, but the Navy SEALs called an audible on the ground, established a “shoot all adult males on sight” protocol all on their own, and plugged a wounded and unarmed Bin Laden in the head where lay despite the entire national security team’s express wishes to the contrary, I’ve got a fucking bridge to sell you.
* The justification of America’s drone-strike policy offered by TIME columnist Joe Klein as discussed in this Glenn Greenwald post is so soul-deadeningly horrifying, so sick even by the degraded standards of America’s normal discourse on this issue, that I thought it bore special mention.
KLEIN: “I completely disagree with you… . It has been remarkably successful” —
SCARBOROUGH: “at killing people” —
KLEIN: “At decimating bad people, taking out a lot of bad people – and saving Americans lives as well, because our troops don’t have to do this … You don’t need pilots any more because you do it with a joystick in California.”
SCARBOROUGH: “This is offensive to me, though. Because you do it with a joystick in California – and it seems so antiseptic – it seems so clean – and yet you have 4-year-old girls being blown to bits because we have a policy that now says: “you know what? Instead of trying to go in and take the risk and get the terrorists out of hiding in a Karachi suburb, we’re just going to blow up everyone around them. This is what bothers me… . We don’t detain people any more: we kill them, and we kill everyone around them… . I hate to sound like a Code Pink guy here. I’m telling you this quote ‘collateral damage’ – it seems so clean with a joystick from California – this is going to cause the US problems in the future.”
KLEIN: “If it is misused, and there is a really major possibility of abuse if you have the wrong people running the government. But: the bottom line in the end is - whose 4-year-old get killed? What we’re doing is limiting the possibility that 4-year-olds here will get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror.”
Tribalism at its most repellent; a willful rejection of empathy for other human beings, even children, with cruelty so casual it’s astonishing to behold.
* Klein should be quite excited to learn of the Obama Administration’s “disposition matrix,” a codification and systematization of pervasive surveillance and extrajudicial killing, conducted in secret and intended to become a permanent fixture of the executive branch. The object of power is power. Won’t it be fun to vote for these people anyway, because this election is like choosing between cancer and a less aggressive form of cancer?
* In happier news, I still like Beyoncé.
Episode 14 of my A Song of Ice and Fire podcast, The Boiled Leather Audio Hour, is now up. This one is about the impact of prophecy within the world of the story itself, as per some really insightful writing by my co-host Stefan Sasse. Give it a listen!
A while back I answered a question about the intensity of my A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones fandom that wondered whether I’d ever felt this strongly or invested this much time and energy into another author’s work. The answer was yes and no: felt this strongly, sure; invested this much of my life, no. (Not unless you count “comics” as a whole; writing and thinking about comics has basically been my life’s work.) Even today I think I could just as easily be operating a tumblr and opining professionally about Los Bros Hernandez, or Clive Barker, or the band Underworld, or David Bowie (hey, wait), or ’70s glam rock, or Chris Ware, orThe Sopranos/Twin Peaks/Breaking Bad/Mad Men/Battlestar Galactica/Deadwood, or or or. But A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones it is. And it’s really remarkable how quickly my little “career” as an ASoIaF pundit took off, given how vanishingly little effort I put into getting it started!
I started my ASoIaF blog All Leather Must Be Boiled in March of 2011. My daughter had just been born two months prematurely via emergency caesarean section following another two and a half months of pregnancy complications that required my wife’s repeated hospitalization and lengthy bedrest stays, during which time one of our cats was diagnosed with cancer and was also both hospitalized for surgery and confined to a bedroom for recovery. I’d spent a quarter of a year running from work to hospitals to home, caring for the beings I loved as they suffered. A work as grim as ASoIaF was an odd choice for “escapism” to be sure, but it seemed to do the trick, because it confronts serious issues — issues that truly haunt and hound me day to day — in a way that also helps blow off steam about those issues.
So one day I got back from visiting my daughter in the neonatal intensive care unit during my lunchbreak, sat down at my desk, and decided to fire up the old tumblr dashboard and launch a new ASoIaF-only blog. This way, the things I wanted to say about the series would neither spoil it for readers of my other outlets who were interested in catching up, nor drown out everything else I write about for readers who weren’t. Simply choosing to use Tumblr instead of, say, WordPress indicated, to me at least, how casual the thing was going to be. Most of my initial posts were written for an audience of one: me — stray thoughts, things I caught myself, passages I loved, a play-by-play of my journey of discovery through Westeros.org’s archives and forum, fanart drawn by cartoonist friends and acquaintances, anticipatory effusion about the then-upcoming HBO show. It was truly the tumblr of a fan, not a scholar, barely even a critic.
The point is, I learned as I went, simply through going. The more I wrote, the more I found myself able to articulate what was important to me about the books, to formulate coherent questions about the things I didn’t understand, to provide answers about the things I thought I did understand, to find answers on my own and put them in front of other people. Very quickly, “other people” expanded to include people who really were experts. Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson from Westeros.org said nice things, popped up in the comments, and eventually got me hired to work on the official annotations of A Game of Thrones alongside Elio and the books’ freaking editor, Anne Groell. That happened within six months of me starting this tumblr. Stefan Sasse from Tower of the Hand liked what I was doing enough to suggest we start a podcast together, and voila, The Boiled Leather Audio Hour was born. The writing I was doing about the show (and other shows) was apparently solid enough that when I mentioned how much I’d love to get paid to do what I’d been doing for free to my friend Matthew Perpetua, who was an editor at Rolling Stone, he passed my name to his fellow editor Evie Nagy, who hired me to recap Game of Thrones within days of me just idly “wouldn’t it be nice”-ing this during a google chat. Because of the way I write, and the things I write about, and the place I write about it, I find myself in the central overlap of a Venn diagram that includes traditional, Westeros-style fandom, professional pop-culture critics, and the tumblr ASoIaF/GoT community. Best of all, this doesn’t only work in one direction: One day I clicked on a tumblr that had just followed this one, discovered an incredible, fully-formed music critic at the tender age of 18, and passed his name along to the right people, so that I think he was offered his first pro music crit gig within literally hours. (What up, Jaimeson?) To call All Leather Must Be Boiled the most rapidly rewarding writing I’ve ever done would be to understate the case considerably.
And the rewards, in the form of knowledge and enjoyment of that knowledge at least, never stop. As I said earlier, one of the best things about this blog is the chance it gives me to be wrong about things in public. That way, the people who know more than I do can provide me with the right information, and I can grow and learn and get more right in the future. What a wonderful opportunity! It’s a joy to be corrected by Elio, or enlightened by Stefan, or challenged or outright debunked by another tumblr. I want to get better, and that’s how you get better. I think that because I started this tumblr with no pretensions to expertise, simply the desire to talk about these fun books I read, I was responded to in kind. The vituperative, “SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET” responses I’ve gotten to anything I’ve ever said there can be counted on one hand; even then I try my best to put the tone aside and focus on what they’re telling me that I wasn’t seeing or hearing myself. Sometimes they’re just wrong, of course — hey, I’m a critic, I’m going to think other people are wrong, that’s what they pay me for — but most of the time they’re shining a light on something I could’ve used a clearer look at. You can bet your bottom dollar that I take that experience to heart and try my best to apply it to everything I do, online and IRL. There’s no better way to become an “expert” than to do, and do, and do, and sit back and see what comes of the doing.
The new episode of my A Song of Ice and Fire podcast The Boiled Leather Audio Hour is up! It’s the first in what sure looks like it’s going to be a hella long series of discussions about the women of Westeros, starting with Sansa Stark and Cersei Lannister. Enjoy!
* Drop what you’re doing and download Matthew Perpetua’s 8-disc Fluxblog 2008 Survey Mix. Ooftah, the first half of disc 2.
* Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit is now a trilogy. Whoever tells me this and expects me to complain, he understands nothing about Sean, nothing.
* The Secret Acres hivemind weighs on in the Comics Journal/Kickstarter/SP7 fight in high Secret Acres thinkpost style, while Dan Nadel clarifies a couple of his points from the middle of what’s either the best-timed or worst-timed internet hiatus in comics history.
* Another day, another enormously dispiriting interview with Grant Morrison about (among other things) the legal issues surrounding Superman and Watchmen. This one sees Morrison go full Barkley, saying “I’m not a role model” while not-so-subtly mocking Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons for the shitty contract they signed in “hey, I got mine” fashion, in addition to positioning his own refusal to stick up for Siegel & Shuster in any way besides celebrating their artistic accomplishments as a noble refusal to treat them like victims. Yeah, it’s a bummer alright, especially coming from a guy who argues that superheroes are contemporary mankind’s greatest and most inspiring artistic exemplars. Given that his goal is for all that to rub off on the culture to which he exposes them, it’s weird that he finds it so baffling his readers would expect some of that to have rubbed off on him as well.
* A pair of fine reviews of very important collections are up at The Comics Journal: Nicole Rudick on Gloriana by Kevin Huizenga and Brandon Soderberg on The Furry Trap by Josh Simmons. “The Sunset” in the former and “Cockbone” in the latter would make a list of my top favorite short comics of all time; “The Sunset” would top it in fact.
* I’m kind of the opposite of Tom Spurgeon here: I knew Fantagraphics would be collecting the Ignatz series New Tales of Old Palomar by Gilbert Hernandez, but apparently I never said so on this blog, if my search function is to be believed.
* I’ve really been enjoying Dorothy Berry’s posts on Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy for Comics Workbook, like this one about how rare Nancy is as a fictional female child who is neither a tomboy nor a girly-girl. My daughter is young enough to still be in that limbo state where she dresses more or less like a girl because we buy girl’s clothes for her but her behavior is essentially genderless, and I can tell you that in flipping through the Nancy Is Happy collection, I see a lot of that kid in her.
* The Mindless Ones’ Bobsy gives the business to Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, a comic I did not like at all.
* Gabrielle Bell has wrapped up her July Diary series for the year. If it wasn’t quite the revelation that last year’s effort was, it still contained a freaking zombie comic, and a two-panel autobiography that just slays me.
* The Burning Brothel, a Raymond Pettibon tumblr, is a delightful resource for an increasingly influential-on-comics artist.
* Well, Arsene Schrauwen #1 by Olivier Schrauwen sure looks good.
* I think every artist should be required by law to do a series of Batman character portraits, and I will be introducing this legislation as the Bill Finger Bill. Jordan Crane caught Michael DeForge’s stab at it, which I’d never seen before and which is awesome. Who’s the smiley guy next to the Joker, though?
* I always enjoy it when Frank Santoro works a little blue.
* Jordan Crane’s been posting processy glimpses of an upcoming contribution to the next issue of the Fort Thunder-centric Monster anthology (! did we know this was on the way?) to his tumblr, and I know this’ll come as a huge surprise but it looks gorgeous.
* Jeez, C.F. makes a lot of comics.
* Real Life Horror: This is what policework in America looks like now.
I see no evidence that “rich people are very, very afraid” — at least not by their actions. And that, to me, is the problem. That fear — a lot more of it — is necessary. Their ability to rope themselves off from the society they are degrading, combined with the para-militarization of domestic police forces (aggressively displayed in response to the Occupy movement and related protests), and the rapidly increasing domestic powers of surveillance and detention (designed to intimidate the citizenry and thus deter and guard against mass protests), have convinced them, I think, that they need not fear any protest movements or social unrest, that America can and will become more and more of a police state to suppress it. An elite class that is free to operate without limits — whether limits imposed by the rule of law or fear of the responses from those harmed by their behavior — is an elite class that will plunder, degrade, and cheat at will, and act endlessly to fortify its own power.
*Attention A Song of Ice and Fire fans who’ve read all five books: This EXTREMELY SPOILERY George R.R. Martin interview is unusually informative on various obscure but fervently debated plot points.
* I am allergic to watching anything Olympics, but I understand the opening ceremony, directed by Danny Boyle and music-directed by Underworld, was quite something — basically a tribute to socialized health care, rock and roll, and children’s literature. Most of the people I know from the U.K. feel about the place the way I feel about the U.S., but those people should take comfort in knowing that it’s unimaginable, unimaginable for America to conceive of itself in terms that humanistic. Anyway the soundtrack, Isles of Wonder, is out, and though most of the big famous songs I understand were in the production don’t show up here, there’s still a whole lot of terrific Underworld music, so I’m happy.
Elio & Linda of the venerable A Song of Ice and Fire super-site Westeros.org join Stefan Sasse and I for a discussion of Romanticism in the series in our podcast, the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. Lots of provocative ideas about how the way the characters view history shapes their present. Check it out!
Carnival of souls: Bordwell on Sarris vs. Kael, Spurgeon & Brubaker, Simon Hanselmann, The Master, Jobriath, Jack Kirby, moreTuesday, June 26th, 2012
* According to Midtown Comics, new comics from Joe Sacco, Alan Moore, Carl Barks, Kevin Huizenga, David B., Gilbert Hernandez, and Josh Simmons come out tomorrow. And for fans of more traditional genre serials, there’s also new Grant Morrison/Chris Burnham, Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips, Mike Mignola/Cameron Stewart, and Brandon Graham. That’s a fantastic new comics day right there.
* American film critic and auteur-theory pioneer/popularizer Andrew Sarris died last week, as you no doubt heard. It’s tough to think of another critic who had as much of an impact on popular understanding of their chosen field of coverage. Run, don’t walk, to David Bordwell’s lengthy and thoughtful post comparing Sarris to his arch-rival Pauline Kael. On the more personal end of things, I enjoyed Roy Edroso’s tribute.
* Tom Spurgeon interviews Ed Brubaker. This is one of the best superhero-creator interviews I’ve read in a very, very long time, both in terms of breaking news — Brubaker is leaving Captain America after nearly eight years writing it, during which time it was never less than a great time and frequently just great — and opinion — Spurge and Brubaker directly address creators’-rights flashpoints like Jack Kirby and Before Watchmen. Good on Tom for asking those questions, but better on Brubaker for answering them — you’d better believe that’s why they don’t get asked more often; there’s often just no point.
I haven’t even looked at these comics since the day I bought my last of them, and if you had asked me at the time I would have thought I’d have read them a half-dozen additional times by now. A lot of comics are like that, instant friends of the dormitory hallway variety and then suddenly you’re both decades older and you haven’t spoken in years and years.
* George R.R. Martin updates us on various projects, including three that pertain to A Song of Ice and Fire.
* I’ve seen way too many people talk about Geoff Johns inserting a He-Man character he made up when he was eight years old into a He-Man comic he’s writing today like that’s a bad thing. Ahem.
* Submitted for your approval: Freak Scene, a new-underground art show opening at L.A.’s Synchronicity Space on July 6th featuring Benjamin Marra, Tom Neely, Johnny Ryan, Zach Hazard Vaupen, Jim Rugg, Bald Eagles, and many other leading lights of nasty alternative comics.
* Yeesh, this comic by Eleanor Davis is a doozy.
* I’d never seen Simon Hanselmann’s Megg and Mogg before, but my goodness. The character designs and humor are, heh, a bit indebted to Ben Jones, but the linework (that hair!) and sumptuous, understated coloring are things unto themselves. Terrific large-scale presentation on Hanselmann’s tumblr, too. (Via Frank Santoro.)
* Kate Beaton’s chops are ridiculous, which when coupled with the rigorous idiosyncracy of her sense of humor — her sense of where jokes are to be found — is what helps elevate her above her now-legion imitators.
* I’m sure I say this nearly every week, but this is my favorite sexy Jonny Negron drawing in a long time.
* You’d think it’d be tough for Sam Humphries and Pete Toms’s new comic for Study Group, “Virginia,” to live up to the promise of this cover image, but they pull it off. It’s worth noting that Humphries is doing this at the same time he’s self-publishing more traditionally “indy” comics and doing work for hire for Marvel. It’s gratifying to see someone who could choose to do something else still do bonafide alternative comics.
* Why was I not told about Rose O’Neill’s kewpie comics before?
* If you’ve got a hundred bones you can buy yourself a first printing of Kramers Ergot 4, the most important art comic of the ’00s. (Via Frank Santoro.)
* Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, which is to L. Ron Hubbard what Velvet Goldmine is to David Bowie, has thus far had two of the most compellingly off trailers since, well, Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. I continue to maintain that if Anderson ever makes an outright horror movie he’ll have a bead on scariest of all time. Based on these trailers, it’s getting tough to think of a better current director/composer pair than Anderson and Jonny Greenwood, too.
* The young Patti Smith was many things, and one of them was “extremely attractive,” which I find interesting both for obvious reasons and because that doesn’t seem to be part of her rock-star legend at all.
* It has probably been thirteen years since I last heard the phrase “boot and rally.”
* I wrote about one of my favorite funk songs/guitar solos, “Very Yes” by Bootsy’s Rubber Band (featuring, obviously, Bootsy Collins and his brother Catfish) for Cool Practice.