Sunday, April 14, 2019

WHAT IT IS, week ending 4.14.2019

School vacation week is upon us, for my little guy, and in a couple days we'll be winging our way to NYC, from Maine, with a trio of friends.  Sox @ Yanks one night, Aaron Sorkin's adaptation of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" the next, with some walking exploration of the city, including stops at the Public Library and MoMA (to see Van Gogh's "Starry Night," as requested by our son), among other hotspots, this should be a fun, if quick, time away.  I can't wait!

But, for now, it's time to look back at the week that was.  Let's have at it!


Space Crusaders #1: Rex Dexter of Mars, by Christopher Mills & Peter Grau:

Christopher Mills (Leonard Nimoy's Primortals; Femme Noir) has been working in comics for a couple of decades now, and he's finally taken his sensibilities and overlaying them onto older, public-domain characters, in order to create and "Atomic Pulp" universe filled with exciting adventures stories in a hybridization of 1970s comics and classic pulp magazines.  His initial foray is a 40-page space extravaganza, with art from Peter Grau (Valiant's original run of "Magnus Robot Fighter" and "Solar, Man of the Atom," among others), starring Rex Dexter of Mars, and it's wonderful!

This is what an adventure comic should be!  The first thing you notice is the art from Grau.  His linework is sharp and uncluttered, reminiscent of classic comic illustrators like George PĂ©rez or Jim Aparo, and his storytelling is clear while also being dramatic.  The guy can draw, and you never feel lost.  There's definitely something to be said for classic panel layouts with clear delineation.  And the writing--it's top-notch.  Mills gives us all the information we need without it feeling forced or stilted, and the narrative zips along at a crisp pace, providing plenty of action interspersed with just enough downtime to allow readers a quick breather before being propelled along to the next bit of adventure.  Comics can be fun and exciting and engaging without being angsty or overly serious, and Mills understands this fully.  (Not that we need to get rid of these modern approaches, it would just be nice to have more variety.)

If you enjoy fun comics and have a soft spot for adventure, you should definitely check this out.  And keep an eye out for Mills's future offerings from Atomic Pulp, I expect they will be just as enjoyable, too.


Alex de Campi is a music video director and writer, whose comic work includes SMOKE and NO MERCY, both of which are great books.  Check them out. 
Also, you should check out de Campi on twitter where she dispenses writing advice all the time, and it's always good.  This week was another case in point, regarding this.  I shared some screenshots of what she had to say.  You can check it out here . . . or probably just scroll down to the next post, where you should find it. 


Vivaldi's Four Seasons:

Specifically, his Concerto No. 4 in F Minor, "Winter."  I actually came to this work through Netflix's original series, Chef's Table, which is a wonderful docuseries that isn't only about food and food preparation by some of the world's greatest chefs, but it's also a travel show, as the focus is on the chef and their surroundings and life as much as it is about the food.  One of mine and my wife's favorite shows, this piece is the theme music opening every episode.  Its vibrant tempo really enlivens me, helping me to write, but its association with Chef's Table also makes me happy, invigorating my fingers as they skip across the keyboard.  Just brilliant!


Made my way through chapter 9, in the revision of the novel, which dropped me below 400 pages on the first draft that are left to rework, which means I have revised 130 pages, translating them into 113.  From a word-count standpoint, I've taken 38,000 words and boiled them down to just under 30,000.  At this rate, I should have a 2nd draft that comes in around 110,000 words.  Not bad, but not exactly where I want to land.  It would be nice to dip below 100K.  With roughly that many words to work with, as I push toward the end, it shouldn't be too difficult to get to where I need to be.  We'll see, maybe those final 10,000 will have to be sheared off with the 3rd draft.

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