Sean Maher's Quality Control

Monday, January 09, 2006

The hits keep coming...

A while ago I got the opportunity to do one of those Advance Reviews that I love so much, this one for Neil Kleid's upcoming book, Brownsville. At the time, I said:

This isn’t a gangster I’ve seen before. He’s not flexing his muscles with Cagney flare, squinting his eyes with a sneer and a growl. He’s not the quietly masculine De Niro boss, seething with menace below his fake smile.

He’s frightening without effort.

It’s something new, to my amazement. Isn’t the gangster genre just there for stylistic exercise? I didn’t realize there was anything new to be done, not since Miller’s Crossing anyway. But Kleid and Allen appear to be challenging my expectations.

Now, about six weeks later, I've lost my exclusive! Kleid has an interview up at CBR with all the preview pages I got to see. So, hey - take a look, let me know what you think. Was I way off base? Did I miss something? Did I hit it on the nose?


A while back I did a review of a book called Slop: analecta for Bookshelf Comics. I was pretty harsh on the bulk of the book, reminding me as it did of stuff that got on my nerves in college (lots of "I hate Republicans/rich people/white people/the government" gags).

"Then there are the songs-turned-comics," I wrote, "which are some of the more striking, thoughtful moments in the collection."

That was a little inarticulate. I've just recently downloaded one of the songs they adapt, "Sad, Sad Song" by M. Ward, because the comic got me kinda interested, and... I don't know what it is, but the context of hearing the song and now going back and re-reading what Dave Crosland (and debbie?) did with it, I'm really impressed with their innovation and imaginitive interpretation of the source material.

Even if my general distaste for the collection turns you off, see if you can find a copy of this in your local shop and flip through it, if only for the "Sad, Sad Song" bit. It's really damn good. I'm gettin' all emotional about it.


Blair put together a pretty fun All The Rage this week, nabbing a huge Daredevil spoiler, an odd Garth Ennis rumor, and some spectacular John Cassaday preview pages of the next volume of I Am Legion, the project that died in the states when DC cancelled the Humanoids line. It's coming out in France, which is a bummer, but I'm sure when they see pages like this--

--there'll be somebody on this side of the pond smart enough to publish it for me to buy.


"so you want to be a writer?" by Charles Bukowski (from Sifting Through The Madness...)

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
don't do it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife,
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in

there is no other way.

and there never was.
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