Friday, August 28, 2009

The Ballad of G.I. Joe

This reminds me of the unofficial, unreleasable "David Duchovny, Why Don't You Love Me" video. I mean, Julianne Moore is playing Scarlett? Also sounds a little Flight of the Conchords-ey.

Anyway, enjoy...



Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Fixer

Listening to Pearl Jam's new single and I have to say I'm enjoying it a great deal. It's been a while since I've paid any attention to the band.I think Vitalogy was the last time I really knew what they were up to, even though I do remember having Yield at some point. I don't know where the appeal left me back then as they were clearly one of the best things to emerge out of that whole Seattle boom back in the early '90s.

Anyway, judging by the quality of this first single, I'm seriously considering picking up the new album when it comes out. That didn't work out so hot when I returned to another old fave, but I've got a good feeling about this one.

Oh, I should also mention that I've been listening to the new album by Jet, Shaka Rock, and I'm enjoying it quite a bit. I was hoping for more of the same but there have been a few stylistic changes. Not enough to be really jarring, just interesting.

If you have a chance to check out either I would give them my official Meanwhile... seal of approval.



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Aint Afraid of No Ghost

Considering how I felt about the last Ghostbusters comic book effort from IDW, I wasn't going to try and usher in the new mini with any kind of fanfare. The art looks okay, but the writer, Scott Lobdell, is an unknown quantity here. I thought his work on the X-Men franchise over at Marvel in the '90s was absolute crap but I did very much enjoy his run on Buffy, High Roads was fun and his Wildcats work was decent, also.

The question remains, however. Can he write a decent and faithful time-travelling Ghostbsters story? We'll see when the new mini, titled "Displaced Aggression", debuts in just a little bit.

Could be crap, could be awesome. It doesn't have to live up to the films, just the excellent Ghostbusters: Legion comic book published by 88Mph a few years ago.

i09 has some artwork displayed at their website if you wanna have a look see.



Joe Hill

At the library the other day I saw a copy of IDW's Locke & Key. For those of you who don't know, the book is written by Joe Hill and features artwork by Gabriel Rodriguez. It's the story of a family who survive a major tragedy and move to a relative's house that has some special characteristics. At Keyhouse, there are certain keys (if you can find them) that will open certain doorways that lead to other places and states of being. Within the grounds of Keyhouse exists an entity that wants these keys and uses its influence to achieve its goals. This is where most of the action and drama come into play.

In the introduction, there is some discussion on how the writer, Joe Hill, is a brilliant young novelist in the genre and everything he touches is golden. Well, seeing as I thought the first few issues of the comic reprinted in the collection were pretty good and not absolutely astonishing, I took these comments with a grain of salt.

A few days later I was shopping at Indigo! and I noticed a collection of Hill's short stories called 20th Century Ghosts. It was on sale for $7.99 and Christopher Golden (one of my favourite genre writers) spoke incredibly highly of him and the work in the introduction. I thought if everyone seemed to be praising everything Joe Hill does, I might as well try out this short story collection and see where that leads me.

Well, I'll tell you where that leads me. I am now a huge fan of the work of Joe Hill. This guy is everything they say about him. I have yet to read his full-length novel, Heart-Shaped Box, but these short stories are superb. His expert handling of the genre is a refreshing surprise considering so many of his contemporaries (literary and cinematic) go for the jugular and try to give you as extreme an experience as possible while sacrificing mood, and story. Hill knows what it means to build to something and make the reader an active participant in his storytelling.

Finishing Locke & Key I was treated to some of the same surprises that I had seen in his short story work. I assumed that L&K was going to trade on the nasty bits with lots of killing and abuse and cruelty, but that's just not the case. There's a mood to it, a quality that feeds off of the darker points but also shows a lot of humour and sensitivity and I'm really looking forward to seeing where this story goes. I have another storyline to catch up on ("Head Games") and then I'll be up to date.

Oh, and if you haven't read his short story "Pop Art" then you must go out and do so now. You really, really must.



Saturday, August 22, 2009

Reading The Unwritten

It kind of surprises me that I'm still engaged with Mike Carey and Peter Gross' new Vertigo series, The Unwritten. I wasn't overly impressed by the $1 first issue, finding it slow to get moving and somewhat predictable, and I was skeptical as to whether or not the metatextual premise of the series would be sustainable over a long run. In most of the interviews I've read Carey addresses, and diffuses, the obvious comparisons to Rowling's cash cow, but whether you were comparing it to Harry Potter, Tim Hunter or any other fictional boy wizard creation was irrelevant to me. I just felt like the similarities, period, would sink the general appeal of this book sooner than later.

Four issues in, though, and I'm still buying it, still reading it, and it looks like I'm going to be in for the long haul on this one.

What's keeping me intrigued so far is the fact that Carey hasn't fallen back on as many 'obvious' devices as I had expected him to. Going for the shock reveal that the reader expects has little appeal. If they revealed right out in the first issue that yes, Tommy Hunter was a fictional character brought to life by his creator or by some other means and raised as a real boy in our world, I would have been gone right then and there. Heck, I was dicey on whether that same reveal on periphery characters was going to be make or break for me. Carey seems to be trying to keep things ambiguous on that point, however, and the true origins of everyone are still shrouded in mystery 48 pages or so into the tale.

There have been some interesting thoughts that Carey has put to paper on the ideas of language and fiction, and I have a growing curiosity regarding the character of Mr. Pullman whose motives are unclear as anything else in the book. The artwork by Peter Gross is stellar, as always, and while the first story arc has reached a conclusion there is very little closure. What that means is that it reads like an ongoing serialized story and not a 'paced for the trade collection' that so many other books are.

I was genuinely excited when I saw the fourth issue on the racks today and eagerly snatched up the last copy my LCS had. It was a deliciously macabre issue (much like the last one) that I read as soon as I got home. I figure that's as good a sign as any that I'm on board for the first year at the very least. I'd be curious to hear what, if any, opinions anyone else has on this series to date.