And here’s where it gets interesting-you talk about comics and music, Starlin and [fellow '70s Marvel Comics writer Steve] Gerber, these cats were from Detroit, right? It was like the Detroit comics mafia that kind of came in. They were like wave 1.5-like Roy Thomas and those guys, the letterhacks becoming writers, was the first wave, and these guys were kind of the first-and-a-half wave. So they’re all from Detroit-which means Iggy and the Stooges, it means the MC5, it means race riots and class consciousness. And all the type of crazy stuff that was informing music. You can’t tell me that Jim Starlin did not listen to Hunky Dory and the MC5 while making his stuff.
Something I’ve noticed lately: somewhere along the way, memory as an artistic device is on the rise. Not long ago, I interviewed Chris Eaton about his novel The Grammar Architect, a reimagining of Thomas Hardy’s A Pair of Blue Eyes. Here’s his take on the relationship between Hardy’s novel and his own:
I took notes as I read it the first time, but then didn’t really go back to it. In fact, I don’t even own a copy. I used the one at the library of Mount Allison University, in Sackville, New Brunswick.
Daphne reminded me that Eric Weisbard had taken a similar approach to his contribution to the 33 1/3 series; much of his book on Use Your Illusion I & II is a meditation on both albums and how he remembers them. Dirty Projectors’ upcoming Rise Above is a from-memory re-creation of Black Flag’s Damaged; the album has a hazy feel through it whatsoever, evoking the inconsistencies of memory through style and production.
And now, there’s Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind, a film about re-creating half-remembered movies. (Note Jack Black’s delivery of the Ghostbusters theme; now, put it on a mixtape beside the Dirty Projectors’ version of “No More”). A little more of this and we may have a genuine movement on our hands…
Ever since I read Douglas Wolk‘s Reading Comics, I’ve been endeavoring to, well, read more comics — Wolk may have finally provided the catalyst for me to delve into Dave Sim’s Cerebus, for better or for worse. Picked up the eighth issue of Casanova earlier today; the shift in color from the first volume (everything’s now slightly blue) ends up being a tip-off that things are going to be different this time out; partway through, there’s an even bigger shift, including a sequence that could really only work in comics. (Artist Fabio Moon and writer Matt Fraction have takes on the issue, and volume two in general, available online.)
Moon also has a collaboration with some guy named Joss Whedon online, which is also worth a read.
Just got Ellis’s Crooked Little Vein (did the tandem pre-order from Amazon along with William Gibson’s Spook Country) , and am looking forward to delving into it once I’m done with Bill Buford’s Heat and Ronen’s New Brunswick, New Jersey, Goodbye.
The midnight scene in front of and inside McNally Robinson wherein customers who had preordered Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows seemed to be a strange combination of New Year’s Eve party enthusiasm and Soviet-era breadline need. Surreal? Yes.
…I am now on page 201.
Also, as a brief reminder: I’ll be taking part in this tomorrow night. If you happen to be in Chicago, I daresay it seems like a fine choice in literary/musical fusion…
In somewhat related news, if you’re looking to buy something from McSweeney’s, now would seem to be the time to do it, as they’re currently looking to deal with issues stemming from a bankrupt distributor.
Strangely, I remember being given a copy of the comic book referenced here while in Sunday school sometime in my youth. Given that I grew up in a fairly progressive (I think) Episcopalian church, this makes things significantly more surreal in retrospect. Also, from looking at the timing, I’m wondering if the either/or dichotomy presented here isn’t what made me first start to question the belief system in which I was raised. Kind of ironic, no?
Write-A-Thon went well: got about 3,100 words done for the novel, and was able to get a short story to a point where I feel like it’s ready to send out for critique. Caught Bling Kong, We Are Scientists, The Teeth, and the Spinto Band later that night, and saw the astonishingly good Loney, Dear this evening. And now: show previews.
Worth reading: Douglas Wolk on Marvel Comics doing a fine job of alienating women.
Speaking of comics: Ian Edington and D’Israeli’s Leviathan is damn good, and creepy as hell to boot. And the recurring panels of a mile-long ocean liner with a city rising from it make for an incredibly striking motif.
Also a good read, and focused on a fine musician to boot: Castanets’ Ray Raposa on jobs he’s worked.
Some self-promotion: the lineup for the first ERMP show is up.
More (kind of) self-promotion: I’m taking part in New York Writers’ Coalition’s Write-A-Thon; for information on the organization’s mission, you can do so here . If you’d like to sponsor me, you can do so here.
Also, some interesting discussion of the Pirates of the Caribbean films can be found here. In lieu of a longer post: I liked the third film and am overall impressed with the trilogy. (It’s fair to say that I agree with a lot of what’s in the linked review.) That said, I found At World’s End the weakest of the three; there’s a lot of buildup to the introduction of one new character with no payoff, and the multiple-Depp effect was used well exactly once, and killed the pacing at other times. And when you’re pushing a running time of three hours, I daresay that pacing is what you don’t want to sacrifice. (That said: given that the Transformers trailer that ran before the film was so busy I felt a sense of vertigo, I do appreciate that Pirates director Gore Verbinski takes an approach to shot composition that allows you to know where characters and settings are in relation to one another.)
I’m in the process of writing a short story that references a Policy of 3 song in its title. With that on the brain, I picked up the double-disc anthology that Ebullition released not long ago; for those of you staring in my direction saying, “Who?”, I say: Policy of 3, dammit. Over a decade later, “Nine Years Old” still gets me.
(Listening to this now, the influence of Slint on this song seems pretty clear; of course, at the time I was picking up the “American Woodworking” seven inch, I’m pretty sure I had no idea who Slint was. Ah, youth.)
Nabbed my old copy of John Crowley‘s Little, Big when last in Jersey. Today, I arrived home to find a catalog from Small Beer Press awaiting me. Listed inside? The new novel from John Crowley. This might be a sign.
Updated: New Primes tracks are available on the band’s myspace page. I am listening to “Weapons Tracks Fire” at present, and I’m liking what I hear.