Wednesday, September 30, 2009
After the movie The Minority Report came out, Pantheon published it as a standalone book. But since it's a short story, they packaged it as this oblong-shaped book with huge text to stretch it out into 112 pages. And like a sucker, I bought it.
It's a great story, of course, but I probably should have just bought the collection. Silly, silly me, falling for their merchandising schemes.
The endpapers look kind of cool, with these weird binary code-like characters--which, if you look carefully, is actually the copyright information.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
People did a lot of really interesting things with their strips, from drawing on them and scratching into them as in the above,
to creating an elaborate series of images, such as this guy shaving (well, pretending to shave, I'm sure).
These people have the most amazing facial expressions.
I love that someone included the Pratt cats, the many strays that roamed the campus. Some of the cats were pretty domesticated, surviving off the dishes of food left out for them by the staff, while others were kind of feral--I remember seeing one eating a pigeon and being a bit disturbed by it.
The yearbook also features sepia toned images taken around the campus. Above is one of the printmaking studios--not sure if this is the one where I had my various printmaking classes but it's pretty similar. Many of the buildings on campus are gorgeous turn of the century industrial-looking buildings--despite the fact that many of them were freezing in the winter I was always so glad I didn't go to a school with generic-looking gray-carpeted classrooms. (Well, I'm sure there were a few of them.)
I, like many it seems, used to cut through this hole in the fence behind one of the dorms that led out to Myrtle Ave, into the parking lot of a KFC, I think. At this point I'm pretty sure whatever fast food joint this was has been torn down to make way for whatever fancy new buildings the school is planning.
Monday, September 28, 2009
*The lightbulbs are now on display at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, where I made it a point to visit after reading this book.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
More than just stories, Sacco's work consists of serious journalistic reportage. He travels to these places, interviews soldiers and civilians, hangs out with them, portrays a human side to the war.
He employs many innovative graphic techniques as storytelling devices. The above page has always stuck in my head as a great example of this: the four white squares inlayed over the crowd, depicting the bomb dropping closer and closer onto the unsuspecting people.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Now nearly ten years later I wonder how much I'd like Less Than Zero if I read it today. What appealed to me about this novel, written in short page long vignettes, littered with pop culture references, detailing the sordid lives of a bunch of too-rich, shallow, and emotionally dead 20-somethings in 1980s L.A., dining at Spago on daddy's credit card by day and snorting coke and prostituting themselves to feed their heroin habits by night. Says Ellis of the novel: "I read it for the first time in about 20 years this year--recently. It wasn't so bad...I don't think it's a perfect book by any means, but it's valid. I get where it comes from...There's a lot of it that I wish was slightly more elegantly written. Overall, I was pretty shocked. It was pretty good writing for someone who was 19." I'm thinking I might have a similar reaction: understanding what about it appealed to me so much at the time, and surprise that I still find it to be a good book.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
But the novel is not a typical science fiction novel--in fact, despite the aliens and interplanetary travel, it's not really science fiction at all, but rather pure satire, using those plot elements as more of a means to freely tell the story without any worldly hindrances.
Monday, September 21, 2009
The book contains black and white photos throughout, though the quality is a little muddy.
Each chapter begins something like this.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
First of all, I love the cover art--the nod to the handwritten tape cover in all its coffee ringed, smudgy glory.
And, of course, the Marcel Dzama illustrations just seal the deal. I love the random creature thrown into the mix. Just perfect.
This one might be my favorite. The three identically dressed ladies (yes, of course they're the Velvelettes) are great on their own but the monkey perched on her arm really makes the drawing. (Now I'm seeing that that's not a monkey at all, but a bird with a human face.)
This edition also comes with a CD of some of the songs written about, though frankly, other than a couple of tracks, they're not really my taste. Then again, I suppose the fact that I enjoyed reading a book about music that I don't even like is a good indication of how well-written it is. I mean, Nelly Furtado? Come on!*
*Imagine the last line spoken in the voice of Gob from Arrested Development.**
**I've been rewatching the series and I can't help but find allusions to it in all facets of life.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Funny, poignant, and graceful, these essays are reminders of the wonders that happen all the time in the city, and how often they are taken for granted, overlooked.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The stories, which revolve around Woodsman Pete, a bearded mountain man type, and Paul Bunyan (you know, the giant lumberjack with a blue ox friend), put a bit of a spin on myths. They're just a tad uncomfortable, especially the strips starring Woodsman Pete, but in a weird, funny way.
I really like the drawing style, and the storytelling is great too, especially the one about how all those random objects you see washing up on shore ended up there in the first place.
I love the tear drops on the inside front and back covers.
Monday, September 14, 2009
The novel consists of two storylines, one following the young devotee of the reclusive author Constance Eakins, who is thought to be residing in Italy, and the other following an old man whose wife is dying; confused and terrified, he longs to confide in his friend Rutherford. But Rutherford has disappeared, and his letters, postmarked from Italy, become more and more ominous as the weeks pass. Both men’s adventures take them from New York City to northern Italy, where the line between imagination and reality begins to blur.
and even onto the usually boring copyright and dedication pages.
Each chapter begins like this, with the first few lines indented to form a slant.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The lighting in this one is so beautiful.
There's something wondrous about these rusting subway cars (or at least that's what I think they are) piled up and decaying--like slain monsters. Or something.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
*"John Lennon at his best despised cheap sentiment and had to learn the hard way that once you've made your mark on history those who can't will be so grateful they'll turn it into a cage for you. Those who choose to falsify their memories--to pine for a neverland 1960s that never really happened that way in the first place--insult the retroactive Eden they enshrine." --from "Thinking the Unthinkable About John Lennon"
**"I played it for President Idi "Big Daddy" Amin of Uganda when he flew me and Lisa Robinson over there to interview him for upcoming cover articles in Creem and Hit Parader, and he absolutely loved it. I gave him a copy, and now by special edict he has it piped through the Muzak vents of every supermarket (all thirty-five of them) and doctor's waiting room (all eight) in his great nation, so that the citizens there may be inspired to ever fiercer heights of patriotism for his regime and all that it stands for." --from "The Greatest Album Ever Made"
Monday, September 7, 2009
His prose poems fuse bizarre with banal, subtly taking the reader into a strange alternate world, where it is not uncommon to paddle a canoe up the stairs,
or cultivate sheep in a test tube.