Sunday, November 9, 2014

What It Is - week ending 9 November [2014]

With apologies to Dave the Thune.

Every day.  1000 words.  That’s the goal.

Got back on track with the novel this week, which was nice.  I was afraid, after being away for a week, that it might be difficult to get into the swing of it (so many of the issues I have with writing stem from a need for routine and repetition, and putting aside a narrative for a few days can seriously hamper me, at least during that initial return to the work), but I was pleasantly surprised.  As with most scenes, I had a set idea of where things were going, but – though the overall story remained on course – the characters veered off-track just enough to surprise me and infuse the scene with a bit more drama and engagement for readers, I hope.  Regardless, it’s always fun to be writing, having the words move along the way I’d anticipated, and then, all of a sudden, have one character respond in a manner I had not considered – but it works, within the story and for the character.  Those moments are exhilarating.  Of course, then the question becomes, will it hold up when I start revisions.  Who knows?  But, for now, I’m really enjoying the story – so, that’s a big plus.  And I know, for sure, that this idea has legs and will fill out a novel nicely. 

Got a nice response to something I wrote a week back.  In the “What It Is” for the week ending 2November, I wrote a quick review of “Daddy” by Josh Simmons & James Romberger (published by Oily Comics).  Without warning, I received a pdf preview of Romberger’s next project, THE LATE CHILDAND OTHER ANIMALS, a graphic memoir written and colored by Marguerite Van Cook (Romberger’s partner), adapted and drawn by Romberger, and published by Fantagraphics the end of this month.  I haven’t found the time to read it yet, but I’m really looking forward to it.  Judging by his earlier work, including the aforementioned “Daddy” along with “Post York” and “7 Miles a Second,” I expect to enjoy the experience.  And, if you’re a fan of intelligent and engaging comics, seek out Romberger’s work and check out his site.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. 

Finished GONE GIRL this week.  I appreciated how well Gillian Flynn was able to examine her characters and convey this through her prose.  It was impressive.  And the plot twists were well played, putting her main characters into binds that seemed hopeless.  Then she would pull another rabbit out of her hat, up the tension while releasing them from one prison, only to push them into another, more devastating one.  Gone Girl was a totally engaging book, especially the first 85% of it.  With the final twists, I found the character motivations wanting – just a bit.  One might be able to explain it away as these outsized characters going “all in,” and be satisfied with that explanation, but there was something about the final motivations driving the two main characters toward the end of the book that didn’t sit right with me, as far as them being genuine human responses to what had gone before.  That said, it was a good thriller but not a book that will stay with me like Stoner or Age of Innocence. 

Read NIJIGAHARA HOLOGRAPH, by Inio Asano and published by Fantagraphics.  This was an amazing manga.  Similar in tone and structure to David Lynch’s films, I was blown away by it, so much so that I had to write about it.  Check that review out here.  

Continuing through Bakuman – I’m on volume 15 right now – and still loving it.  I also started reading the collection Batman: Strange Apparitions, which reprints the noteworthy Detective Comics run of Steven Englehart, Marshall Rogers, and Terry Austin (with the first two issues, before Rogers jumps in, from penciler Walt Simonson and inker Al Milgrom, who muddies Simonson’s beautifully delicate linework).  It’s some crazy, overwritten, but eminently enjoyable fun, with beautiful art from the Rogers/Austin team.  And, to be frank, looking at the image of the Joker on the back cover – though I don’t remember where I would have seen it (possibly in one of those “Greatest Stories” collections) the Rogers/Austin rendition is a seminal Joker for me.  Great work. 

I’m a member of the Comics Experience Creators’ Workshop, an online resource for aspiring comic writers and artists to work on their stories and art, get feedback from professionals and other members, and to discuss craft in a safe environment.  Created by Andy Schmidt, it really is a great place, and there are a lot of books coming out from members – especially now that Comics Experience and IDW have initiated a publishing agreement.

But another member whom I’ve gotten to know fairly well on the boards, Don McMillan, has a new e-book out.  KIBBLES ‘N’ BOTS is about a Boston terrier puppy who believes she can become a superhero, after finding her owner’s comic books, and must battle bank robbing robots in this adventure.  But what of the true plans of the robots’ leader, Bad Boss?  It’s available for the Kindle, and at only $2.99, a bargain.  Can’t wait to check it out. 

Another week down.  Thanksgiving is fast approaching, which means Christmas is right around the corner.  And that means I need to start thinking about letters from Santa – which is obviously a topic for another time.  As always, check out my friends - Brad & Matt and Don McMillan (see above) for their own weekly recaps on things comic-y and geeky, and we'll see what's what in seven.  


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