Men of Tomorrow

Men Of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic BookMen of Tomorrow by Gerard Jones My wife got this for me for Christmas, knowing that I liked comic books after finding my old childhood stash at my parents. It follows the life and history at the very beginnings of the rise of comic books, from its humble geek and gangster origins. Mainly focused on the company that became DC comics, and it’s rise, as well as the rise of it’s most famous character, Superman, and his creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster.

The “golden age” of comics is a hole in my knowledge of the comics world. In a way, like the history of say Russia, in that I know bits and pieces of what happened and who some of the major players were, but I really don’t have any of the details and a clue how it all fits together. The book helped fill in a lot of holes, but now has got me wondering more, which is always a good thing. I want to read some of the stories, and see the art. I want to read some of Will Eisner’s much lauded Spirit serial. For the most part, I just want to read comics again. Superhero or not.

After reading the book, I finaly made the trip down to my local comic shop, Comic Book Ink. So much to see, so very very much to catch up on. I pick up an issue of Amazing Spiderman, being written now by J. Michael Straczynski, who created Babylon 5. Talking with the owner, I’m realizing there is a lot to catch up on and I’m looking forward to reading a few different series for fun. I’m not fully expressing how I’m interested in comics again, but I’m thinking it out, and I’ll write it down eventually.

Busy – But links to make up for it!

So I havn’t been trying to negelect the site. Though life has been a busy mess it seems. Good things: Red Sox’s are in the ALCS, but are down 0-2 as of today (Thursday).

William Gibson is back and blogging. For those who don’t know who he is, I posted about him a couple of months ago. He used to blog and stopped because it interfered with his writing process. Apparently he’s back at it though.

– Here we have a comparison of all of the changes Lucas made to the new versions of Star Wars on DVD. Some I’m happy with, but still I’ll never believe that Greedo shot first. Read the article for insite.

– Now this is good: supposed query letters from actuall scriptwriters looking to get their “idea” made. Priceless.

Craziest – A VidLit

Through more random wandering I found Craziest – A short story by Liz Dubelman. It’s a flash short story, narrated by the author. It’s an interesting way to tell a story, and I enjoyed it. It’s a Scrabble related story. (Gotta love Scrabble) But, it made me think, that the story worked very well told in this way with pictures that helped tell the story. Almost a cross between a comic and a written story it tells it and takes something good from both worlds and does it well. Anyways, it’s about 8 min long, but worth the watch. I’m going to have to watch more from this VidLit site and see what else they’ve done with the form.

The Hedge Knight

The Hedge Knight
I picked up this handy graphic novel collection of the comic adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s – The Hedge Knight. It was a short story in an anthology called “Legends” and someone saw fit enought to dress it up a bit and put it to print.

The story is set in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, but 100 years before the events of the novels. The story of a squire who takes up his dead knights arms and ends up doing a lot of harm and a lot of good.

I remember hearing about this adaptation a number of months ago but was glad to find it at my local comic store. It was the first time I’ve set foot in one for years. A bit of nostalgia, the sad realization that all those “hot” books I bought in the early 90’s are all worth… cover price or less. Sigh. Oh well. I’m kinda getting back into a comic kick these days. At least reading the collections and graphic novels. I don’t think I could go for another time of buying series and collecting that way.

Fantagraphics Books – Saves by Peanuts

I’ve never been a big fan of the Peanuts comic strip, though I was a fan of the older Peanuts movies (The Great Pumpkin, Christmas and so on). I remember hearing about how there was going to be a complete collection of the older strips being collected into a book form and thinking, “…eh”. I actually looked up the first volume and was suprised by the humor and such that they contained. To me, Peanuts was like Family Circus or Marmaduke, strips that had way outlived their funniness and any chance at humor, but these early strips were actually pretty good.

The Seattle Weekly’s article on Fantagraphics, the publisher of these volumes, is interesting. Financially struggling, Fantagraphics was literaly saved by these books. Well known in the indie comic book publishing arena, they’ve been resposible for publishing other more well known books in the past, like Ghost World (made into a movie).

Good read. And check out Peanuts!

Pattern Recognition

Pattern RecognitionWilliam Gibson’s – Pattern Recognition

During a bit of random surfing I ran across Emilythink and read her review of Pattern Recognition by William Gibson.

I had the opportunity to see William Gibson when he was here last year promoting his latest book. He gave a quick reading out of it and signed a few autographs and answered the usual lame questions he must get frequently. (The larger the crowd in a QA time, the less intelegent the questions will be) I was impressed by him, being very tall and thin, but he’d blend into a crowd with ease. The nerd in me got the book signed (thankfully without the tacky “To Brian”, just his signature).

Pattern Recognition as covered by Emily above, was a great novel. Interesting in its modern setting, it might feel dated in a decade, but it really rings true with our current day connectivity. “Googling” people before it became vogue. Emily makes comments about Gibson’s jet lag theories, with were new to me when I read the book, but now I’m thinking that it will become my view of the lag. Your soul being left behind, and taking time to catch back up.

The book had a strong narritive, and was interesting in its portrayal of pop culture and trends and the seething of “hipness” from the narrator as she plows through her life. Damn good book. Now if only I could find my copy of it. I’ve got the slip cover hanging around, but I can’t for the life of me actually find the book and I’ve been having a hankering to read it again. Damn.

eBooks Editorial

While browsing Gizmodo, I came accross a good write up about eBooks, and their future and when or if it might come about.

The article makes some comparisons to the iPod and it’s penetration into the industry, but then says it similarities stop at the fact that the eBook changes the fundamental way in which the medium is used. You are not flipping the pages, you are not losing your place in the book if you set it down for a moment.

The author talks with book industry people about the fact that even if there was a viable color eBook reader, no publisher wants to take the leap into the digital book world and be there first. They’ll happily do it once it’s been done, but noone wants to be first. Not that I blame them.

The idea of an eBook is great and a little crazy at the same time. I would love to be able to have a favorite book searchable for a certian quote (or even for students for paper writing) or having quick bookmarks set up for maps or appendixes. The author makes mention of the fact that while digital books will come, there should not be a fear that print media will go away any time. After all, would you want to carry your digital book to the beach? Or have it toss around the back of your car until you get around to reading it? I think not.

Book – Marching Powder

Marching Powder : A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest JailMarching Powder : A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America’s Strangest Jail

My wife, Jess, picked up this book while we were on a trip in an independant bookstore. The back of the book pulls you in with this crazy story of a prison in Bolivia where the inmates must buy their own cells, and in many cases their wives and children live with them. Anything can be bought, and you can bribe your way out of almost anything. The book was the story of Thomas McFadden, a drug smuggler, who was caught and imprisoned for over four years in this prison.

The first person narritive of the book is amazing and surreal. You almost feel at times the book is fiction and that the scenes come out of a movie. Thomas is likable, and though not a saint, he draws you into his story and how he became the unofficial tour guide of the prison, and ran his own restaurant amoung other things to make money inside.

Links to random nerd crap

– Over at The Ur-Quan Masters, you can find the latest in the remix packages for the music of the game Star Control 2. Some of the original composers of the music for the game, and others, have taken it upon themselves to update the memorable tunes to the 21st century. This just released third pack is not as strong as the first two but still more that worth the download.

George R. R. Martin, author of “The Song of Ice and Fire” series of books, has updated his site with progress on the fourth book in the series, A Feast for Crows. To sum it up, “When it’s done.”

– When you see that a cell phone blows up in a girl’s pocket, it’s kind of interesting. But when you recognize the phone as the one your wife uses, you ask her never to put it in her back pocket, ever.

– I’ve decided to start experimenting with Firefox, the open source browser. After putting it off for ages, I’m going to start using it and then eventually convert my family over to it. As much fun as it is to keep spyware and other malware off my parents computer, I think this might be a much better solution in the long run. Much.