Sean Maher's Quality Control

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Monstrous Reading List

Damn, my stack of Book I Need To Read (slash "Am Reading") is getting unwieldy.

  • Brownsville, by Neil Kleid and Jake Allen, hardcover version from NBM Publishing. The softcover's just been solicited, and I'm still only about a quarter of the way through. It's great stuff, just got lost in the shuffle.

  • Stagger Lee, the upcoming Image OGN by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix (how cool a name is that?), tracing the musical and historical lineage of the Stagger Lee myth while at the same time retelling the story, in what Ed Brubaker calls "a masterful work of graphic inventiveness... explores the links between folklore and race with a steady hand and more honesty than you're ready for." Again, I'm only a few pages in, but enjoying it thoroughly. Production blog is here, fifteen-page preview here.

  • Buddha, volume 1 (of 8), softcover version, by Osamu Tezuka (Vertical Inc.). This has been an interesting project on my radar for some time, but the recent softcover release finally cracked me. Now I just need to get to it. Preview and review links at the official website, though I didn't look at either before picking this up.

  • Jax Epoch, volumes 1 and 2, by Dave Roman and John Green, published by AiT/Planet Lar. Pitched to me this way: "What if, when Alice came back from Wonderland, Wonderland back back with her?" Which sounds fuckin' solid. Plus, I'm quoted in the press release announcing their return to print. Now I just need to get to 'em.

  • The Life Eaters, by David Brin and Scott Hampton, from WildStorm. I remember Hibbs making a fuss all over this one way back when it came out (and again when the softcover was released), but the price tag just kept me away. Found it for twelve bucks recently at Green Apple Books and decided to take the plunge and try 'er out. Alternate history, Nazis (uh oh) and Norse Gods (oh, okay).

    Concrete volume 7: The Human Dilemma, by Paul Chadwick (published by Dark Horse). I wasn't really overwhelmed by the first two books (which felt really overwritten and saccharine), but I'm ready to accept that the fellow may have actually developed his craft and storytelling as time went on. Good buddy Josh Fialkov has his good name on the line, having sworn up and down to me that this was - what did he say? - "THE definitive comic of the modern age." Plus, a lot of folks shit themselves over this six issue mini last year, so I'm gonna give it a shot.

  • The first Loveless trade, by Brian Azzarello and Marcelo Frusin. Vertigo's got a series of this "first five issues for ten bucks" trades and this is the first one I picked up. I'm commited, at this point, to only read Azzarello books in trade format, but I'm still pretty curious to check this baby out and see where the series is going. I'm a big western fan when they're done well, and this looks like it's got potential.

  • The entire (first) run of First Second books, borrowed all from Graeme McMillan (save The Fate of the Artist, which I bought on Graeme's word) at his awesome bar-b-que yesterday. Thanks, Graeme! Damn, there's a lot of 'em: A.L.I.E.E.E.N. (cute little lost aliens pooping and stuff), Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda (sworn up and down by Graeme and Brill as being really good), The Lost Colony (hucksters, con-men and slaves on a hidden island in nineteenth century America?), Sardine in Outer Space (Ramona Quimby vs. Darth Vader), and Vampire Loves (described to me by Ian as "Uh, they're vampires, but in relationship dramas").

  • An American Family, by Harry Crews. That's right, kids, I read novels now and then, just to try to fool everyone into thinking I'm a "serious" reader! Wrote about this last week, and unbelievably excited to read it. The inside flap tells us the book "is Harry Crews' most savage and disturbing book yet. Readers of the author's previous 22 books [including yours truly] are in for another shocking and original treat. Make no mistake, this is araw and powerful novel. Here is Harry Crews at his cranked-up best..."

  • Father And Son, by Larry Brown. Amazon has been trying to get me to read Larry Brown for years, sharing a large chunk of his readership, it seems, with my man Crews. Finally cracked in my excitement over the new Crews book, and this one looked like it might be his best. Amazon says, "Brown is at his best when he writes of the tensions between one screwed-up man and another, in this case a father and son. One has just been let out of prison, and he shouldn't have been. The other is drunk and disabled and intends on staying that way. To make things worse, there is a conflict with the sheriff, who is good and righteous but who tried to put the moves on the parolee's woman while he was in prison. To tell more would be to violate Brown's mastery of dialogue and of that which goes unspoken in this sly story of father, son, and misery." I'm a few pages in, just, but enjoying it a lot so far. Also, I really like the cover:

So, this is what I'm up against. It's a happy time to have so much great stuff at my feet, but it's also a hell of a lot of reading to do.

So, time to stop writing for a few minutes and see if I can't digest a few pages, y'think?

After all, I gotta do something sophisticated before I hit up the new X-Men movie today.


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