Posts Tagged ‘comic books’

Shuffle Says: “Love Theme from Twin Peaks” Angelo Badalamenti

This post is all about me. So if you don’t care about what’s in my head right now(I suspect you don’t) just skip on down to other posts about news and sex and shit.

As it is about halfway through the year I figured I might as well go ahead and post my reading list for the year.  For the past few years I’ve written out a list of fifty book I want to read I started doing this after I heard Sasha Grey say she read a book a week, which seemed like quite a bit for me, but then, I’d never spent much time thinking about the quantitative aspects of my reading habits. So that New Years Eve I scribbled out a list of the first fifty books that came to my head that I wanted to read.

What usually ends up happening is that I get thought about one-third of the list (I’m sure quite a few of these will have shown up on last year’s list), a third of it gets replaced with impromptu items that jump the line and a third get’s pushed back till later. So here’s this year’s list. Many of the substitutions have already been made.

Kick Ass 2 – Mark Millar. Hope to get this done before the movie comes out

Finch – Jeff Vandermeer. Got it for free on Audible, after insistent recommendations by my brother of City of Saints and Madmen. I couldn’t find City on the site, so just grabbed this one instead.

Generation of Swine – Hunter S. Thompson . The second Installment of his short works of unpublished journalism and essays, mostly dealing with with politics and corruption in the 1980’s.

The Rum Diary – Thompson’s novel. I’ve never read any of his fiction, but his journalism reads like beautiful prose and I’m eager to see what’s in here.

City of Saints and Madmen – Jeff VanderMeer. Finished with Finch, which was fuckin awesomesauce. This apparently is also set in the same world.

DMZ (volumes 6 through current) – Brian Wood. A beautiful work of speculative politics. The art is great and the characters are wonderful. Can’t wait for the second half.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman. His new Novel. No reasons needed.

The Beat Reader – The bits I haven’t read. I went trough most of the correspondence portion last year and I’ve read most of the Kerouac and Ginsburg separately.

Mother Night – This will be my Vonnegut for the year.

Preacher – about halfway through this one. Hopefully will get my hands on everything left of it I ent read yet.

Sam Sheppard – about a half dozen of his plays of his are on my stack of shame. A good friend of mine who died last year was a huge Sheppard fan and as I can’t get to know him any better in person I thought I’d go though all the things he loved.

Wonder Boys – Michael Chabon. I avoided The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay for ages after a friend ‘lended’ me the book (read: I still have it, Blaine,  and will return it in exchange for my goddamned headphones). It was one of the best things I read last year and I have thus added Chabon to my list of “Authors who will remain on my list of books to read till I’ve gone though it all” Which includes Hemingway, Vonnegut, and McCarthy.

Fables (as much as I can get my hands on) – More comics I mean to read

House Of Mystery – the problem is that one 15 dollar paper back only lasts a short hour or two unlike a novel which can last a week or more.

Iron Weed – on my list of “pulitzer prize winners certain mentors of mine have expressly told me that I personally need to read”

Garden of Eden – just reread Snows of Kilimanjaro, did The Old Man and the Sea last year. This is Hemingway’s great unfinished work which has a lot of back story I’ll get into later.

Ham on Rye – I’ve never read Bukowski… I am ashamed.

On Writing – Stephen King. Done

Hanging out with the Dream King – Various. I’m a little obsessed. Shoot me.

Sutree – Cormac McCarthy. Trying very hard not to finish everything by him. So this is all I’m Allowing myself to read this year.

Ultimate Guide to Kink – Tristan Taramino. I’m not her biggest fan, but she’s been around for ages and is widely considered an authority on all things sex. Also, some friends/acquaintences of mine have made contributions to this book as have some people I admire. So I’ll probably skip around some.

A Scanner Darkly – partially through. my Phillip K Dick for the year

Children of the Mind – Where I left off with the Ender’s series. My chance to read some OSC for the first time as an adult and see what I really think.

Civil war script book  – a peek into how the whole thing was pulled off. Plus a chance to reread everything from that era and see how it sits now

The Magicians – Lev Grossman. Has reached critical number of recommendations, despite my best efforts.

The Big Sleep -Raymond Chandler. One of my all time favorite movies. I want to hear what his voice sounds like on paper.

 The Maltese Falcon – Dashell Hammet. Halfway through. From my bookshelf of shame.

Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace – This one is my beast for the year. Friends swear by this thing. We’ll see what happens.

There’s a couple of short stories that are burning a hole on my shelf that are in 50 Great Short Stories. I’ve read about half of the stories in here for one reason or another.

Crying of lot 49 – Thomas Pynchon. I don’t know about this. I’ve started it twice now and just cant get through enough pages to care before putting it down.

The Body Artist – Don Delillo. Because he supposedly is really awesome and I never Finished White Noise and this is, at least, short.

Something I haven’t read by Ray Bradbury, probably the Illustrated Man or Martian Chronicles 

That makes roughly 35 for those keeping score at home. I’ve actually read about half of them so I’m in pretty good shape to finish it all with the exception of Infinite Jest because holy shit is that a monster.

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Shuffle says: “Psychological Recovery… Six Months” Hans Zimmer Sherlock Holmes

I recently finished Wanted which was brilliant and like most things I like a ballsy as fuck (yes that’s a technical term. Industry lingo and whathaveyou) graphic novel.  Millar keeps up a good pace, spending very little time with the whole training montage schtick, which I very much appreciate. So we get right on to the good shit.

The most important thing Millar does with this books is explore supervillans. There’s still ‘good guys’ or rather I should say protagonists with whom you can sympathize which makes it all the more brilliant when you see just how evil the ‘good guy’s are. In this regard, nothing else I can think of comes close.

We love to root for the bad guy, but we also limit their evil. The Sopranos, Sons of Anarchy, Vampires; these guys are just bad enough to make them sexy, but when you get down to it they are (relative to circumstance) not all that bad. The MC gives back to the community. The mob is ultimately a family friendly business. The psychopath only kills bad people. The Vampire doesn’t feed on humans. The Rebel Alliance, The Crew of Serenity. The list goes on.

Weaksauce ALL. (due respect to some fantastic works that I just listed)

The fact is, they aren’t bad guys. They’re antiheroes and within the diegesis of their respective media, laws and morality are clearly understood as separate entities and they always end up on the side of ‘Good’.

Wanted pulls all the stops. The Fraternity identifies themselves ans supervillians and the mean it in every sense of the word. The main characters steal rape and murder at will without hesitates and are still your protagonists. Though it’s not just a gratuitous romp of sex and violence. Wanted pursues a real exploration about villainy.

My favorite scene revolves around this central theme. The main character, Gibson, has recently began his career as a supervillain [I would like to note at this point that the word ‘superhero’ is accepted by my spell check while ‘supervillain’ is not]. After a heist he returns home to his fuckbuddy Fox after blowing off some steam. By blowing off steam he means stopping at a police precinct and killing every cop inside. Save one. A female that he briefly considers raping before breaking down in tears and running home. He tells Fox, “This supervillain stuff is starting to feel forced”. He didn’t want to kill the cops, wasn’t even looking at them as he blew them all away. Something must be wrong with me, he thinks.

Fox tells him that every supervillain goes through this phase at some point. What’s important to realize is that being a supervillain isn’t about violence. It’s about doing what you want to do. And some days that means raping your favorite A-list celebrity and sometimes that means sitting at home all day and just watching TV.

This argument by Millar is simply wonderful. The whole book he keeps comparing being a bad guy to being a man, juxtaposing Gibson’s old life of getting shit on by his boss, working a dead-end job in a cubical, being constantly cheated on by his girlfriend, his best friend treating him like shit, with a Nietzschen Ubermench version of himself doing whatever the fuck he wants.

The other thing Millar does really well here is addressing the collective understanding of superhero’s (without setting himself up to be sued). Fox is a jewel thief who wears ‘fox’ ears (that’s Catwoman for all of you who never read a comic book). We witness the execution of “the detective” with whom she used to be fuck buddies and his “boy sidekick” (Batman and Robin, but honestly if you didn’t pick up on that one, this blog might not be up your alley). The Professor secretly keeps as his prize possession a red cape that once belonged to the greatest of them all (Superman. Oh did I mentions here be spoilers), That man is now confined to a wheelchair and bear a striking resemblance to Christopher Reeves.

It is a world without superheros. A world where the bad guys won.

They never say their names, but they don’t have to. Your psyche instantly connects you with who they are and you can’t help but feel a sense of loss somewhere deep in your guts.

The end then becomes a liberation and all because Mark Millar was not afraid to delve.

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Post Script: Since writing this post, I’ve discovered there’s a movie vaguely inspired by this work. I only got in bits and pieces, but from the looks of it, has about fuck all to do with the comic. The one tiny thing it does have going for it, is about 9 seconds of Angelina Jolie naked.

This little piece was not started by me. I got to the typewriter one morning and the first line was already written. This is what followed:

Episode: ?

Today is the fourteenth of April in the tenth year of the second millennium of our Lord. So my stay here has continued far longer than I had intended. This strange collection of characters have taken on a far more interesting turn than I had imagined. This morning as I sit at my desk, which is really no more than a block of wood on the floor. I hear the trudging steps of Tooley, the former boessen from the SS I-don’t-really-remember. True to his sailing nature the fellow seems to be the one responsible for keeping the so-called Tree House(is it one word?) in pristine order. His yeas at sea are ingrained on his face, much of it covered by his great beard. With his shifting belly and sweeping shoulders he struck me as an Odinesque wanderer. His presence stood in flux. At any moment he might be gone once again for the sea, for weeks or even months at a time.

I attempt to keep to my room, a silent observer of this place. What a cast have assembled here: the Monk, The Sailor, The Artist, The Jester, and Josh, the oddly normal one.

There is something keeping them here it seems, some secret purpose which has yet to be revealed to me. I gather it has something to do with these nightly exploits of the group. Often a group of them will return at the strangest of hours off night smelling most foul of what I take to be some kind of chemicals.  I hesitate to inquire further in truth, fearing for my own safety. The only other time I asked on the subject, no one would speak with me for days; the entire house seeming to grow quieter and less occupied. I hope that in time they will trust me with this secret, but as I have already extend my stay this far, my hopes are fading.