Monday, November 08, 2004

A friend of mine in Brazil sent me a copy of Just One Page for the Trinity Hospice Charity
(72 pages of the Best British Comics)
V2 Five Pounds Only!
May 2004

Thanks Jose.
Previews of some of the artwork it contains are visible here and a list of all the contributors is here

Here's the Promethea artwork by Sam Hart

For anyone intersted in the history of British Comic Book art here's a few good links:
British Library Comics Collection
Centre for the Study of Cartoon and Caricatures
National Cartoon Art Trust
and if you're interested in actually buying old Comics as opposed to just reading about them try
26 Pigs

Got a copy of Rick Veitch's Crypto Zoo or if you prefer The Collected Rare Bit Fiends Volume 3. The book contains Roarin' Rick's Rare Bit Fiends #15-20.

For Alan Moore fans the most interesting part of the book is a reprint of Three Dreams and a Coincidence first published in 20 Years of Heavy Metal (1997). The first dream shows Alan walking along a river bank being shadowed by a tall shamanistic figure wearing antles on his head which was a dream Rick had just before receiving a copy of Voice of the Fire whose front cover depicts a human mask with antlers on its' head.

The book is a dream diary of Rick's from 1973-1974 and contains some interesing dreams as well as an introductory essay about Archetopography of the Dreamscape. At the end are several pages of Annotations and 4 panels and the story of a dream Rick contributed to the 2002 SCI FI Channel reality TV show The Dream Team With Michael and Annabelle

For me the dream that resonated the most is one about Uncle Scrooge, The Beagle Boys, Huey Dewey and Louie, Mickey Mouse and Gladstone Gander mainly because I grew up reading Carl Barks' Uncle Scrooge comics.
Other people might find recurring characters and famous people like Bob Dylan, Nixon and Kissinger, Blondie and Dagwood, The Demon, Oberon, Blackhawk more to their liking but even if you know nothing about Rick or have never read any of his previous work the dream landscape of The River, The Bridge and the Mountain might seem familiar to other dreamers from their own dreams.

Peopled with personalities such as Jack Kirby, Otto Preminger, Fidel Castro, Sid Ceasar (but not Imogene Coca), Columbo.

One intereseting conclusion Rick comes to is that we somehow sculpt our future in the dream state as his own dreams certainly have for him. Over the course of many months and years Rick confronts The Self which is similar to what other people througout history have given different names.
For the Greeks it was Daimon, for the Egyptians Ba, Christians call it the Soul and Buddhists Atman but really it is the creative centre that our Ego must confront and communicate with in order to take control of our lives.
Life on Earth is visualized as working in the Ego Factory and the series ends with Rick delivering 50 dreams to 1980 Dream Street.
Using dreams Rick is able to overcome his fear of failure and the complete lack of credibilty other people had in him when he wanted to make a living out of drawing comic books. In one dream his dead father explains what the best part about being dead is and in another the voice of his grandmother denies it is her while he tries to push an early comic book he'd drawn into his dream diary. Only when the comic book manages to click into place does the voice acknowledge that it really is his grandmother.
SF and comic book references abound as Rick learns to take on his responsibilites and accept the work ethic. By facing up to his fears and overcoming violent tendencies ("Dark Wave" kills "Light Beam") he manages to get his life in order.

Leah Moore and John Reppion's Wild Girl comes out in a few days but the first critique is already online at the Fourth Rail.

People who can't wait to see the first few pages can find them at Mile High Comics

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Sunday was my oldest daughter's 4th birthday. The party was at our house and a splendid time was guarranteed for all. There seems to be a lot of children born around the same time in our local area. Went to another birthday party last weekend and over the next month or so there's another 4 parties to go to.
The wife is singing in the chorus of a local amateur dramatic society's production of Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore. I look forward to seeing a performance in another couple of weeks. Makes a nice change for her to actually have to do some choreography as previously she's only sung in choirs.

Two recent comic book purchases I made were
Superman: True Brit by Kim "Howard" Johnson with some help by John Cleese

Also Neil Gaimans Marvel 1602.

Both in hardcover and reasonably cheap. I guess I've been spoilt rotten by reading Alan Moore's ABC titles and expecting any ads in individual issues to be placed at the back of the comic book. I stopped buying the single issues of 1602 as the ads were too annoying for me and I knew I'd be getting the collected version eventually. Good to read another of Neil's scripts (for Issue #1) and also nice to see some sketches and all the groundwork that goes in to producing the finished product.

Here's an interview with Kim "Howard" Johnson

Instead of growing up in Smallville he grows up in Weston-Super-Mare which is where John Cleese was born.
One nice in-joke for Python fantatics:
STEPFATHER: Remember what you wanted to be when you grew up?
SUPERMAN: A bicycle repair man
He gets to save two of Eric Idle's Rutles Dirk Mc Quickly and Ron Nasty from certain death.
He has to complete 3 impossible tasks
1) make the trains run on time
2) reduce the waiting time for hip operations
3) raise the quality of programming on the BBC

When his step-parents hide in the Arctic Circle as he approaches their location his father asks
"Is it that nice Mr. Palin and his BBC crew again?"

Superman doens't reveal his super powers because as his step parents acronym it for him "WWTNT" or "What would the neighbours think?"
Very British.

I should have been a proofreader. Spotted one minor error in the Hard Cover version of 1602.
On the verso of the title page or whatever it's called with reference to Todd Klein it reads
"letterring" instead of "lettering"
Two r's instead of one.
When I asked Todd about this he said that he hasn't seen the HC and didn't work on that page so the mistake is by someone else.

Also reading or browsing through two books in the Cities of the Imagination Series both subtitled "A cultural and literary companion"

One about Buenos Aires where I was born and another about Oxford where my sister-in-law lives and which I hope to visit some time next year. The major literary influence on Buenos Aires is of course Jorge Luis Borges but Oxford has several from Shelley to Lewis Carrol, Oscar Wilde, CS Lewis right up to Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse.

Also managed to get a copy of Steve Moore's The Trigrams of Han: Inner Structures of the I Ching on InterLibrary Loan.
Lots of reading to catch up on for me.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Today I received a copy of David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus (Savoy Books, 2002)

The 11 page foreword by Alan Moore included two photos of Lindsay that Alan comments on.

Could push us out of the constrictive house of Sense we've built to shield us from the Universe and into Non-sense, down there in the word soup with Lear's Jumblies, Lindsay's phaens, Dee's lexical monstorsities, with Carroll's Jabberwock and Lennon's Walrus. Golgonooza goo gajoob

As well there's a 60 page essay by Colin Wilson and a group of Philosophical Aphorisms by Lindsay himself. The beautiful paintings on the dustjacket are both by Jean Delville and the front and back pages are a handwritten letter by Lindsay.

Alans' introduction is entitled

Prism and Pentecost: David Lindsay and the British Apocalypse

Thursday, October 14, 2004

A Hypothetical Lizard

The cover for Alan Moore's A Hypothetical Lizard can be found here
And here's a short summary of it.
Still no release date given yet.
The extended summary from Avatar reads:

One of Alan Moore's greatest works and his most critically acclaimed novella of all time is now painstakingly adapted to comic books. Moore's frequent collaborator Antony Johnston has carefully preserved the story as it is presented in sequential form with stunning grey-painted art by new sensations Lorenzo Lorente and Sebastian Fiumara, all under the watchful eye of Moore himself. This four issue masterpiece launches with an extra large first issue. What would you pay to learn the innermost secrets of wizards? Young prostitute Som-Som has made the ultimate sacrifice; literally sworn to secrecy by cosmetic surgery, the two halves of Som-Som's brain have been severed, leaving her able to hear and see... but not speak or act. Now Som-Som's unique attributes will put her firmly in the center of an impossible dilemma, as an old friend return to The House Without Clocks, and a deadly game of domination begins... Available in regular and wraparound covers by Fiumara.

Michael Palin will be having a literary luncheon to launch Himalaya in Sydney on November 16th. If I can get the day off work I might go.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Death of Superman

It happened in the comic books a while ago now and he was eventually resurrected but the last actor to play Superman on the big screen has died 9 years after the horse riding accident that paralysed him from the neck down.
Christopher Reeve

"In his final year of Cornell, he was one of two students selected ( Robin Williams was the other) to study at New York's famous Juilliard School of Performing Arts, under the renowned John Houseman. Although Christopher is most well known for his role as Superman (1978)_ , a role which he played with both charisma and grace, his acting career spans a much larger ground. Paralyzed after a horse riding accident, he died suddenly at age 52, after several years of living and working with his severe disability.

Here's the home page of the Paralysis Foundation that bears his name and here's a fanpage for him.

Interesting that I'm reading Rick Veitch's The Maximortal these last few days.

It explains the origin of the curse of Superman quite well.

Listening to: The Cure
Spiderman is having me for dinner tonight

Monday, October 11, 2004

Happy Birthday Joan
that is the sister of John Cusack and a great actress in her own right. See School of Rock for one of her recent movies.
Recent deaths:
Janet Leigh best known for being murdered in the shower 44 years ago.
Jacques Derrida father of Deconstructionism even if he never bothered to define it properly.
Recent purchases:
Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker #21 in the SF Masterworks series.
Jodorowsky & George Bess' The White Llama Book #1 Reincarnation.
Now I want to find out what happens next. When will #2 be published in English?
JH Williams and Mick Gray's pre-Promethea title CHASE only issues #1 and #3 available at a Sydney comic shop for only $1.10 cheaper than when they were first published.
Rick Veitch's Rare Bit Friends Starter Pack Issues #1-#5 which includes the Alan Moore dream he described thus:
...the dream I drew of Alan hunting demons down by the riverside. In the dream, Alan captures one and peels it back to reveal a pack of "mystical cigarettes" which he informs me will knock me on my ass. The strip is included in the RABID EYE collection.
What was interesting about this dream is that it hit the bullseye on a thought experiment Alan was involved in (unbeknownst to me) that consisted of imagining powerful reefer cigarettes that one "smoked" in the imagination.
This was not the only dream I had of Alan that resonated with what he was up to with his magic stuff. In fact he surprised me with the first half of a twenty page script for RARE BIT FIENDS in which he imagined himself walking through the dreams and explaining the bizarre connections to his own reality that my unconscious mind had somehow made.
Unfortunately, the script was never finished for a number of reasons (RARE BIT FIENDS stopped publishing, Alan launched ABC and got super busy, and I never was able to get the photo reference required to start drawing what he'd sent me).
Alan also appears in "THREE DREAMS AND A COINCIDENCE" which is included in the new CRYPTO ZOO collection.

For more of Rick's dreams see Little Omens online
Also bought a copy of Rick's The Maximortal
Listening to:
London Calling by The Clash. The recently released 25th Anniversary legacy edition.

"Nembutal numbs it all
But I prefer ... alcohol"

One new discovery which I'm quite excited about is Howard Bloom. So far I've read most of his first book The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History, next up is his Global Brain: The evolution of Mass Mind from Big Bang to the 21st Century.
The Jasper Fforde Ffan club has recently updated it's webpage.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my mothers birthday.

For a present I got her A Celebration of Sellers plus another CD of the best of Xavier Cugat. He had an easy birthday to remember 1st January, 1900.

For some reason when you do a search on "Eroom Nala Glob" on Yahoo the first page you get is not one of mine but one from Anthony J Hicks. He's got some interesting photos of Japanese Gothic girls on his September 26th entry.

Discussing a cute Promethea Avatar I told her about Alan's daughter Leah wrote

bless her little egyptian magic socks

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