Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review of SAME DIFFERENCE

This review originally ran on Comics Bulletin

Originally published in 2003, the graphic novel Same Difference, by Derek Kirk Kim, has won the Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz Awards. Now, First Second has re-released this classic in a new, redesigned hardcover edition, and it is good to have it back.

For those of you who haven't read it before, Same Difference is a story about Simon and Nancy, two “young people navigating adulthood and personal relationships.” The storytelling is immensely engaging, the characters are completely fleshed out, the art absolutely complements instead of distracts, and the pacing of the book is just about perfect.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Review of METAMAUS

This Review originally ran on Comics Bulletin
MetaMaus is an exhaustive behind the scenes look at the creative process. Through an interview format, it examines in minutiae almost every decision Art Spiegelman made in the midst of creating his graphic novel classic, Maus. It also contains samples from his sketchbooks, photos he used during his research, and the works of other artists that Spiegelman referenced or used in his research.

It would be overwhelming, were it not absolutely engrossing.

MetaMaus is 300 pages long and is accompanied by a “hyperlinked DVD of Maus with an in-depth archive of audio interviews with (Spiegelman's) father, photos, notebooks, drawings, essays and more.” There is just no possible way you can have any questions left regarding the creation of Maus after you go through all of MetaMaus.

And this, apparently, is the point of its publication.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cheap Thrills - FANTASTIC FORCE #7

Random Pulls from the Bargain Bin
THIS COLUMN ORIGINALLY RAN ON COMICS BULLETIN

In these economic times, finding inexpensive entertainment is difficult. Thank goodness for the local comic shop and a slew of comics nobody cares about anymore! Each week Daniel Elkin randomly grabs a comic from the bargain bin (for 50 cents) to see what kind of bang he can get for his two-bits. These are those tales.

November 16, 2011 – paid 50 cents for:
FANTASTIC FORCE #7
Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Tom Brevoort and Mike Kanterovich
Art by: Dante Bastianoni


I THINK I LEFT MY STOMACH IN MY OTHER PANTS!

In May, 1995, 35-year-old unemployed plumber and U.S. Army veteran Shawn Nelson stole a M6O Patton tank from the US Armory in San Diego and went on a rampage. He destroyed cars, fire hydrants, and an RV. Then the police shot him dead.

Die Hard With a Vengeance comes to theaters in May, 1995.

Sega released the Sega Saturn console in North America in May, 1995.

Matlock, Blossom, AND Full House are all canceled in May, 1995.

As a proponent of writers respecting the intelligence of their audiences, I will leave it up to you to make the connection between these seemingly disparate events (you're welcome). But, before you do, let me just add one more piece to this puzzle.

In May of 1995, Marvel Comics released Fantastic Force #7.

As I have mentioned many times before, I had all but given up reading mainstream comics in the 1990's. Fantastic Force #7 is ANOTHER example of why that was.

A matter of fact, I had no idea there even WAS a Fantastic Force. Ever. And there is still a chunk of my soul that wishes I had never gained this knowledge. I'll explain that shortly.

I'm shooting from the hip here, but my assumption is that Fantastic Force was cobbled together out of that same sort of Teen Titans/X-Men/Youngbloods marketing brain aneurysm that seems to be a pop culture standard: “How do we stay relevant, hip with the kids, and able to tap into the demographic with the highest disposable income?” Make heroes out of teens! It's a gestalt that has brought us such wonderful things as Menudo, Teen Mom, Matter-Eater Lad, and Jim Shooter.

Quality stuff, all of it.

But this is a discussion for another time. I've got a bargain bin comic to concentrate on right now: Fantastic Force #7.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Poets You Should Know -- DAVID GREENSLADE


David Greenslade is from Cefn Cribbwr near Porthcawl. He has been described as a 'genuinely original voice', a 'radical nonconformist', 'avant garde' and 'relentlessly modern'. As well as teaching and travelling in the Middle East, David spent three years in Japan and four years in the United States.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Poets You Should Know -- S.C. Hahn


S.C. Hahn grew up in Nebraska and lives in Sweden, where he sometimes bakes pies, encounters Masonite in his renovation of an old farm house, and is a freelance editor and writer. His prose poems have appeared in The Prose Poem, The Chiron Review, and The Party Train: A Collection of North American Prose Poetry (New Rivers Press, 1996), among other places.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Poets You Should Know -- BOB HEMAN



Bob Heman's prose poems have appeared in Sentence, Quick Fiction, Paragraph, Caliban, The Prose Poem: An International Journal, First Intensity and Lost and Found Times, and online at Otoliths, Mad Hatters' Review, Clockwise Cat and Action, Yes. They have been translated into Arabic, Spanish and Hungarian. Two of his collections are available as free downloads from the Quale Press. He lives in Brooklyn (New York City) where in the late 1970s he was an artist-in-residence at The Brooklyn Museum. He has edited CLWN WR (formerly Clown War) since 1971.

You will enjoy his poems.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

ROAD TRIP!



Roadtrip Timelapse / Drivelapse video from Brian DeFrees' 12,225 mile cross country roadtrip around the USA from August 2011 - October 2011 compressed into 5 minutes.

*** Turn on annotations to see what state is being displayed in the video ***

More details and a map of his cross country America Roadtrip Timelapse Drivelapse Project can be found here:

http://briandefrees.com/featured/usa-drivelapsetimelapse-project/

Check out night and day timelapses from his USA roadtrip here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgmnYRd6BNI

Music Credits: Waking Lights - "The Sounds"
http://wakinglights.com/

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cheap Thrills - AGENT LIBERTY #1

Random Pulls from the Bargain Bin
This Column Originally Ran on Comics Bulletin
In these economic times, finding inexpensive entertainment is difficult. Thank goodness for the local comic shop and a slew of comics nobody cares about anymore! Each week Daniel Elkin randomly grabs a comic from the bargain bin (for 50 cents) to see what kind of bang he can get for his two-bits. These are those tales.

November 9, 2011 – paid 50 cents for:
AGENT LIBERTY #1
Published by: DC Comics
Written by: Dan Jurgens
Art by: Dusty Abell


INTERFERENCE

Let's travel back to January, 1992, shall we?

For some reason, it seemed like there was a great deal of regurgitation going on then. I mean, first off, this was when President George H. W. Bush spewed all over the Prime Minister of Japan at a state dinner.

Then in January, 1992 new United Nations Secretary-General became Boutros Boutros-Ghali, whose name kind of sounds like someone vomiting, right?

Also resonating with the sound of puking at this time was the title of the latest Emilio Estevez, Anthony Hopkins, and Mick Jagger vehicle just released into theaters, Freejack.

Green Day releases Kerplunk in January, 1992.

You see where I am going with all this?

My latest random pick from the bargain bin just so happened to be Dan Jurgens' Agent Liberty #1 from DC Comics. It, too, was released in January of 1992. With all the hurling going on during this month, I thought for sure I got me another pile of hork to heave through. It has all the makings of a mess, doesn't it? It's the first issue of an early 90's Superman spinoff languishing in the bargain bin, right? Such a thing does not bode well in terms of me keeping my bile down.

So I got myself a bucket before I sat down to read Agent Liberty, fully expecting to fill it with expectorate after the first couple of pages.

But that didn't happen. A matter of fact, after reading Agent Liberty #1 my faith in comics as a medium was renewed. You can color me impressed.

Seriously.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

KEEP DRAWING

Warning: This short film may, in my opinion, induce seizures. If you are prone to that sort of thing, you may want to consider your options before viewing.



keep drawing from studio shelter on Vimeo.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Music in Your Future - TIGER DARROW

So, there's this buzz going on about Tiger Darrow.

What's a Tiger Darrow?

This is a Tiger Darrow:




Impressive.

Even more impressive is that fact that Tiger Darrow is eighteen years old.

Even more impressive then the fact that Tiger Darrow is eighteen years old is that she has already released two full length albums, the second one entirely self-produced.

The self-produced album is 2011's You Know Who You Are. On this album, Tiger produced, recorded, mixed, and wrote all fifteen songs, while also singing and playing cello, bass, guitar, keyboards, mandolin, violin, ukulele, and tambourine.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

See This Documentary -- ERASING DAVID

Sometimes the most universal truths can be found in the smallest slices of life. That’s what makes independent documentaries so powerful, engaging, and entertaining. Not only do they show you little worlds to which you’ve never had access, but they oftentimes also tell the larger story of what it means to be human.  Armed with this intellectual conceit, a bag of Funyuns, and a couple of Miller beers, I curl up in front of the TV and delve deep into the bowels of Netflix Documentaries to find out a little bit more about all of us.


Today I found 2010's Erasing David by David Bond and Melinda McDougall.

This is a documentary about information. More to the point, this is a documentary about the amount of information being captured and stored every day about YOU.

I'm sure that you are aware that every time you use your credit card or cell phone, that information is being logged into a database somewhere. Every time you purchase something on Amazon, or use I-Tunes, or click on a web site (like this one), that information is captured and held. Got a traffic ticket? Captured. Use a FastPass for a toll booth? Captured. Library? Captured. On-line Gaming? Captured. Streaming movies? Captured. Doctor's visit? Captured. Married? Captured. New Baby? Captured. Pet License? Captured.

It's enough to make you wonder what has happened to your privacy.

It's enough to make you kind of paranoid.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Iain McGilchrist - OUR DIVIDED BRAIN



In this new RSAnimate, renowned psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist explains how our 'divided brain' has profoundly altered human behaviour, culture and society.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Review of LARRY IN WONDERLAND (A PEARLS BEFORE SWINE COLLECTION)

This Review Originally Ran On Comics Bulletin

Larry in Wonderland is a Pearls Before Swine Collection featuring the daily newspaper strips which ran from August 23, 2009, to May 23, 2010. If you have never heard of it before, Pearls Before Swine is a comic strip that features anthropomorphic rats, pigs, zebras, crocodiles and whatnot. It runs the gamut from your pretty typical comic strip type humor (you know, things like Twitter jokes or a cactus who wants a hug) to some pretty seriously self-referential meta-weirdness.

As I live in a small town where the local newspaper is apparently written by meth-addled sixth graders and is nearly unreadable, I haven't had access to daily comic strips in some time. Because of this, I had no idea what to expect from a Pearls Before Swine collection.


And I sure as hell couldn't have imagined something like this.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cheap Thrills - STORMWATCH #1

Random Pulls from the Bargain Bin
THIS COLUMN ORIGINALLY RAN ON COMICS BULLETIN

In these economic times, finding inexpensive entertainment is difficult. Thank goodness for the local comic shop and a slew of comics nobody cares about anymore! Each week Daniel Elkin randomly grabs a comic from the bargain bin (for 50 cents) to see what kind of bang he can get for his two-bits. These are those tales.

November 2, 2011 – paid 50 cents for:
STORMWATCH #1
Published by: Image Comics/Malibu Comics
Written by: Brandon Choi and Jim Lee
Art by: Scott Clark


HEL... HELP ME … THE PAIN...

This week I moseyed on down (as I am wont to mosey) to my local comic shop to grab this week's fifty cent masterpiece. I ended up with Stormwatch #1.

Fuck.

Sometimes I wonder why I continue to write this column. Is it some sort of penance that I feel I have to do in order to justify my love of the medium? Is there some sort of masochistic streak churning through my core that drives me to flagellate myself in this manner? Am I just an eternal optimist who has faith that by keying into the entropy of existence I will somehow be rewarded? Or is it that by rooting through the broken dreams of others I somehow justify my own?

Whatever.

I made a commitment to keep writing this column, and so, even in the face of something as god-awful as Stormwatch #1, I shall persevere. Maybe I'm just building character?

So... anyway... Stormwatch #1.

It's March, 1993. It was in this month that fucking Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You became the longest running number one single of all time. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 opened in movie theaters, Bebe's Kids was released on home video, and Brandon Lee was killed during the filming of The Crow.

What a miserable month.

By the way, if I EVER hear that fucking Whitney Houston song ever again I swear I will go on a puppy killing rampage and then sue AMERICA for making this popular. It will be on ALL of your heads. You have been warned.

As if there wasn't enough shit in the atmosphere already in March, 1993, Image Comics fucking sharted out Stormwatch #1 into the world.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Poets You Should Know -- JAY MEEK

 

According to Wikipedia:
     Jay Meek (1937 - November 3, 2007 St. Paul) was an Ameriacn poet, and director of the Creative Writing program at the University of North Dakota. He was the poetry editor of the North Dakota Quarterly for many years.
     He graduated from University of Michigan in 1959, from Syracuse University with a master's degree in creative writing in 1963. He taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sarah Lawrence College, Wake Forest University, Memphis State University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Colby College (Maine) and Syracuse University.
     In 2005, he read his poetry at the Library of Congress.

Now you read his poetry to yourself

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Poets You Should Know -- LAWRENCE FIXEL


Mr. Fixel was born in Brooklyn and raised in White Plains, N.Y., where his father owned a sporting goods store. He began writing in high school after being encouraged by an English teacher who saw promise in his work.

He moved to San Francisco in 1950. He soon fell in with the writers of the day, including Langston Hughes, Dylan Thomas and, later, George Hitchcock, who published the literary magazine "Kayak."

If you want to know more about who Lawrence Fixel is (and you should) check out the rest of the article here.

But before you do, you should read his poem after the jump.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Poets You Should Know -- MAX WINTER


Max Winter’s poems have appeared recently in Ploughshares, Volt, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. He has published reviews in The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Newsday.

Of Mr. Winter, the poet James Tate says:
Max Winter's poems operate in unpredictable ways. They sound as if controlled by some prevailing logic, and yet the reader is hurled forward, line by line, into unknown and unexpected worlds as the poems progress. They mutate seamlessly; they are awash in metaphor. Bold statements melt into one another, constantly changing their terms of play. A reader is tempted to ask, Is it a madman speaking? But no; upon closer examination, we see the reasoning process, however bizarre—the horseshoe turns, the breakaway ride from idea to idea. And yet nothing detracts from the wonder of it all. These are poems of great adventure and discovery, and not just for the reader, I suspect, but for the poet as well.

I say, read the following poem and understand why Max Winter is a POET YOU SHOULD KNOW.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cheap Thrills - MEN OF WAR #11

Random Pulls from the Bargain Bin

THIS COLUMN ORIGINALLY RAN ON COMICS BULLETIN

In these economic times, finding inexpensive entertainment is difficult. Thank goodness for the local comic shop and a slew of comics nobody cares about anymore! Each week Daniel Elkin randomly grabs a comic from the bargain bin (for 50 cents) to see what kind of bang he can get for his two-bits. These are those tales.

October 26, 2011 – paid 50 cents for:
MEN OF WAR #11
Published by: DC Comics
Written by: Roger McKenzie
Art by: Dick Ayers and Romeo Tanghal


I THOUGHT … *SOB* … I WAS FIGHTING FOR A BETTER WORLD...

In December of 1978, Cleveland, Ohio, under the leadership of Mayor Dennis Kucinich, became the first large American city to go into default since the Great Depression. In Iran, two million people demonstrate in the streets against the Shah. These two events are not related.

December of 1978 also saw the arrest of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, the birth of both Manny Pacquiao and Katie Holmes (allegedly to different mothers), and the release of the Susan B. Anthony dollar.

In the world of music, The Doobie Brothers release Minute by Minute, Parliament releases Motor Booty Affair, and Public Image Ltd releases First Issue in December, 1978.

In the world of comic books, his was the moment in history when DC Comics released Men of War #11.

Writing this column isn't always easy. This is usually because the comic I randomly pull out of the bargain bin is complete crap and a struggle to get through .This time writing this column is going to be difficult because this is one of the more emotionally draining comics I have ever read.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Poets You Should Know -- GEORGE KALAMARAS


George Kalamaras poems appear in Best American Poetry 1997, Boulevard, Epoch, The Iowa Review, New Letters, Sulfur, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Heart Without End (Leaping Mountain Press, 1986) and Beneath the Breath (Tilton House, 1988). His first full-length collection, The Theory and Function of Mangoes, won the 1998 Four Way Books Intro Series in Poetry Award (selected by Michael Burkard) and was published by Four Way Books in 2000.

Among his awards are a 1993 NEA Poetry Fellowship, the 2000 Abiko Quarterly (Japan) Poetry Award, and two writing residencies at the Hambidge Center for the Arts. In 1994 he spent several months in India on a Fulbright Indo-U.S. Advanced Research Fellowship. His scholarly book on Hindu mysticism and Western discourse theory, Reclaiming the Tacit Dimension: Symbolic Form in the Rhetoric of Silence, was published by SUNY Press in 1994, and his articles appear in The International Journal of Hindu Studies, and elsewhere. He is associate professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Poets You Should Know -- GABE HUDSON


Gabe Hudson (born 1971) is an American writer who currently lives in Seoul, Korea, where he is Chair of the Creative Writing Program at Yonsei University’s Underwood International College. Before moving to Seoul, he taught in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University from 2004-2007.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Poets You Should Know -- CHRIS BUCKLEY


He’s the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (2007-08), two National Endowment for the Arts grants, a Fulbright award, and four Pushcart Prizes, among other honors. Most recently, he was awarded the 2009 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry for his manuscript Rolling the Bones. 

"Chris Buckley is an energizing, humanistic poet whose talent for capturing human drama in cosmic terms doesn't prevent him from looking closely at our day-to-day doings and celebrating them," said Stephen Gutierrez, professor of English and event organizer. "He's got a big heart, a wise mind, an all-encompassing sensibility. He's one of our finest poets."

Born in Lompoc, Buckley was raised in Santa Barbara and educated at St. Mary’s College (BA), San Diego State University (MA) and the University of California, Irvine (MFA). When not writing or reading, he a professor of creative writing at UC Riverside.

Christopher Buckley's ninth book of poetry, Fall From Grace, was recently published by Bk Mk Press/Univ. of Missouri, Kansas City. With Gary Young, he has just edited The Geography of Home: California and the Poetry of Place (Hey Day Books, 1999).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

See This Documentary -- THEATER OF WAR

Sometimes the most universal truths can be found in the smallest slices of life. That’s what makes independent documentaries so powerful, engaging, and entertaining. Not only do they show you little worlds to which you’ve never had access, but they oftentimes also tell the larger story of what it means to be human.

Armed with this intellectual conceit, a bag of Funyuns, and a couple of Miller beers, I curl up in front of the TV and delve deep into the bowels of Netflix Documentaries to find out a little bit more about all of us.


Today I found 2008's Theater of War by director John Walter.

This documentary is ostensibly about the 2006 production of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children, a “punishing statement of protest against the grim folly of war,” that was directed by George C. Wolfe and ran in New York's Central Park for four weeks . What was of particular interest about this production was that it was a new translation done by playwright Tony Kushner, best known for Angels in America, and starred Meryl Streep.