Something Nice – Reads: Aug 11
|10 August, 2012||Posted by Erik Carlson under Uncategorized||
This week’s selection of books is why I live for vacation. It is raining today and I have made some black coffee and turned off my phone. With the outside awash in rolling thunder and lighting I have all the time in the world. I don’t wear glasses so there will be no ironic ending to this day.
The Twenty-Year Death by Ariel S. Winter
This is the book that will redefine Noir. Hard Case is publishing Winter’s momentous first work to a great deal of applause. The Twenty-Year Death is the culmination of three interwoven novels told in three different literary styles over the course of three decades.
Blacksad by Juan Díaz Canales
Dark Horse Comic’s translation has had people singing verse and taking to the streets in celebration. Its about an anthropomorphic 1950′s Red-fearing world of intrigue and spies. Volume 2 was recently released and, sensing a bandwagon, I jumped aboard. So far, it is worth the ride.
Punk Rock Jesus by Sean Murphy
‘What if’ stories are the basis of any good science fiction. Therefore, I can only imagine the pitch meeting at Vertigo for Murphy’s series about the return of Jesus: What if a corporation used technology to clone the DNA on the Shroud of Turin, placed the embryo into a vigrin, televised the child’s birth, and put their protection in the hands of a geneticist with a polar bear and a tough-as-nails IRA agent? I’m sure there was a great deal of stunned silence.
What is delivered, no pun intended, are two issues of a gritty future from the talented Sean Murphy who wields surprising excellent narrative skills. Thus far, the child is still an infant and the action is infrequent with mostly talking heads discussing marketing and the potential miracles. In this climate, to sell something like this and not have it resolve itself into Garth Ennis super-adolescent-violence is a feat unto itself.
And Murphy nails it (no puns intended). Punk Rock Jesus is so good I am making it December’s podcast (You heard it here first, Bibliodiscophiles)
Conan the Barbarian by Brian Wood
Brian Wood is an enigma. Every time he releases a new book I buy it and, as a reward, I find myself severely depressed. Take for example Demo which was, terrible pun intended, D’Emo-ist book ever made. He created the most depressing take in the capes genre since that story where Spider-man takes his mask off for the dying child. Once is beautiful, an entire series is the need for therapy.
Well, Wood is currently dominating the ‘Need to Read’ lists and all the Smith’s based moaning has given way to one of the most consistent and expansive writers around. He has an environmental/ science fiction series, an X-Men arc centering around the wonderful Kitty Pryde, and Conan. I’ll admit I only know Conan from a Robert E Howard movie, a few Swords of Conan from my childhood, and the satire Cerebus, but I was not expecting a drama akin to Wood’s work on the untimely cancelled Northlanders. Issue 7 is a great launch pad and requires next to no background on the character or locations.
The Nimrod Flip-Out by Etgar Keret
A recommendation from a Bibliodiscophile and avid reader of the awesome, I picked this up for cheap at the local used bookstore. Since posting this pic on Instagram, I’ve received numerous messages assailing me with questions about why I didn’t know about Isreal’s best young writer, graphic novelist, and contributor to This American Life. I’m sorry, jeez, people… I can only read so many books a year but at least I am remedying the situation! But this brings up a great point…if you want to point me in the direction of an author I may dig, leave me a message on Facebook, send me an email, or look me up on Goodreads.
Mind MGMT by Matt Kindt
I read a great deal of stuff from Dark Horse Comics (Hear that DH? Feel free to send promo stuff!). I read a great deal of secret agent/detective fiction (Hear that Hard Case?). I love psychedelic fiction that messes with narrative (Hear that…someone?)
Matt Kindt, author of the subtly intricate Super Spy, delivers a water-colored mystery about a flight in which the entire crew and passenger base has lost all memory and the intrepid author who decides to jumpstart her failing career by solving the mystery of a passenger who was not accounted for. Each issue progresses this rich narrative, but also jams in mini mysteries, puzzles, and secret-agent manifesto so that it reads like Burn Notice meets Inception meets Lost meets Haruki Murakami meets Kurosawa’s Dreams. Kindt delivers on his promise to give readers a reason to buy monthly comics. I have reread this issue twice and actually feel part of the mystery.