Tuesday, December 25, 2007


First off, wee-haw, it's nice to be in Maine for a winter holiday -- the entire world could be smoldering under its disintigrating gas-blanket, and come December 25th, it will always look like Chrismas up here.

Been readin'.

Picked up the latest Hellboy trade paperback compilation yesterday; read it before breakfast this morning. So, so good. The only catch with a book like Hellboy is that with such a short-spoken, quippy protagonist, there's a not a whole lot to read. Mignola's art is so stunning in its simplicity that while its quality demands a slow read, a single-sitting push leaves me in the world of, "Oh yes, look, another page of black ink and... oh wait, yep, a monster... next page--", and when the dialog/action sequences are mostly of a big, red goofball telling a Hydra to "Shut up" while clocking it in the face, again -- makes for a quick read.

But oh man, so good. Also, a nice side-effect of such heavy-handed-but-somehow-intricate art is that it has immense replay value. Maybe 2008 will bring me a re-reading of the whole series.

Good, that'll kill about two hours.

Also finished Watchmen today. As I've been gushing about to, oh, anyone within earshot of me for the last week, Watchmen is a really, truly, good novel. The pictures help, too, but really, wow. Alan Moore runs so many concurrent story arcs over so many timelines, carrying so many motifs so successfully in both the text and artwork that it really takes time between sittings to digest the whole scope. Seriously. If you ever read Watchmen, take your time.

Wait, no. Rephrase:

Read Watchmen, and when you do, take your time. The graphic novel is a versitile form -- you can do things with dialog-over-pictures that would fall absolutely flat with text alone; allowing the art to narrate setting and mood opens up a vast space for characters to develop subtlely, for actions and locations to not lose their meaning in cumbersome description; you can show or hide anything and everything, leaving clues for the reader's brain to crunch between the delicious cookies of overt plot advancement.

Oh look, it's a stupid sentence!

Really though, reading a good book should feel like eating a good meal, and Watchmen delivers for hours and hours. Every possible advantage of the graphic novel's form is reaped and presented beautifully over a compelling, accessible, and very human plot.

Restate: read Watchmen, and when you do, take your time.

Now, of course, this leaves me one more holiday-season comic acquisition to digest -- Jhonen Vasquez's Jellyfist.

Then again, it's Christmas, I'm up in Maine with family, there's a big roast in the oven and almonds and prosciutto in my belly, and I don't want Vasquez's brain invading mine and leaving horrible little creatures to gestate in there just yet.


Meanwhile, my brother got a new digital camera just prior to joining us up in Portland, and for the past two days has been experimenting with its myriad, futuristic features. I've been pretty much stationary with my face in a comic book since Saturday, making me an excellent test subject for a new camera... so now there are probably two dozen test photos of me reading and picking my nose.

What, you don't pick your nose while you read?

Or blog, for that matter?

Bullshit. I don't believe you for even the scarcest fraction of a second. Every blogger's keyboard and every reader's pages are stained with the boogers of deep rumination and nasal spelunking.

Thinkin' and pickin'. Like peanut butter and jelly, baby, and don't you forget it.

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