Extollations

Reading

I’ve nabbed a gargantuan tome of short stories by T.C. Boyle, on Gay’s recommendation.

(Speaking of Gay, she’s got a pair of new stories up that you should check out, here and here.)

I do occasionally venture into that world of non-genre, contemporary fiction. A quick perusal of my bookshelves will find Rick Bass’s The Watch, Mark Richard’s The Ice at the Bottom of the World, and Eudora Welty’s A Curtain of Green. As I recall, each had at least a couple of stories I found excellent, though it’s been some time since I read any of them.

There’s also Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist, which I loved. Colin Whitehead - The IntuitionistIt’s sort of an absurdest espionage story involving elevator inspectors that delivers some sharp social commentary. Great stuff. I really need to look into getting some of his other books.

A month or so ago TwoMorrows had a sale on their Modern Masters books, and I nabbed a couple (actually, looks like they have a sale going now, too, though not quite as good as the one I got). Volume 9 featuring Mike Wieringo, and Volume 10 featuring Kevin Maguire.

Mike was artist on an excellent run of Fantastic Four (along with writer Mark Waid) and an great visual storyteller. These Modern Masters books present a lot of the raw pages he drew, and even without the dialogue I have no trouble at all following the story. His art is full of fun, contagious energy. I identify a lot with Mike, the kinds of stories he likes, the moods he enjoys evoking, his unwarranted insecurities concerning his art. His sudden death a couple years ago pretty well crushed me. One of these days I’ll get a copy of his creator-owned Tellos. I don’t know why I keep putting it off. Maybe because I’ll feel awful, knowing that he won’t be able to produce more?

Fantastic Four, art by Mike Wieringo

Maguire was artist for the (in)famous Justice League International era of DCs premier superhero team back in the late ’80s, early ’90s. For those unfamiliar with the period, this was shortly after DCs big Crisis reboot of the Universe. Their big heroes (namely Superman and Wonder Woman) were all sort of tied up being modernized, so the company put together a new Justice League of lesser-known characters. There are few heroes I love more than the 2nd stringers, they guys who should never win but manage to anyway, and Maguire’s expressive art really made you love them. He’s one of those artists who doesn’t work as often as I’d like, and it’s a treat every time he pops up. His recent Batgirl arc of Batman Confidential was a hoot.

Formerly Known as the Justice League, art by Kevin Maguire

I finally read V for Vendetta, by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. I particularly liked the film version and the book didn’t change my opinion. They both work in their own ways. The film solved a few problems the book had and updates it for modern audiences, but it delivers a different philosophy, so I see how people might be a little irritated by it. People like to say the movie is an attack on the Bush administration, but I think that says more about Bush than the film. Plus I don’t get people saying Evey was a prostitute; she tries to be, for like one panel on page 2. What would people say about my entire summer of 2001?

Watching

I recently obtained a Playstation 3 and holy crap does Blu-Ray look good. We nabbed Superman and Goodfellas for cheap and they look amazing.

(FYI, if you ever want to see my cry like a baby, you’ll put on Superman and queue the scene where Superman saves Lois from the helicopter crash. Goddammit it gets me every time.)

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