I could read Dorian Wright reviews all day:
"It's genuinely funny, but you're frequently left with a nagging suspicion that the story wasn't meant to be funny, but heart-rending. And then the next story is strongly emotionally evocative, but you half-suspect the joke's on you for not seeing the joke. In either case, it's a good kind of cognitive dissonance that's created, as the dream-logic world of Goodbrey's stories is compelling in any case. The art, which is in a high-contrast, starkly black-and-white, computer assisted style, grounds the work in a recognizably realistic and consistent appearance, which gives the needed veneer of reality to contrast the strangeness of the stories against. Which, all in all, is a rather needlessly complicated way of saying 'it was really weird, but really good, and I liked it a lot.'"
Curt Shilling is legendary. Here's why, from page 263 of Tim McCarney and Tom Deady's Surviving Grady:October 19, 2004
ALCS Game 6: Boston 4, New York 2
Why Not Us?
His name is Curt Schilling. He is a starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. And he has balls of steel.
They are steel.
The children he purports to have are not his spawn. Because his body does not create the chemicals necessary to produce offspring.
Because, as I mentioned, his balls are composed of steel.
Curt’s testicles = steel. Like, the metal.
Sure, they’re heavy and cause a bit of chaffing. Also, trouser shopping can be adventurous. But they serve him well.
Like in last night’s ALCS Game Six. My man had his ankle taped up and shot to high hell with pain relievers and wedged inside a magic boot concocted by the good folks at Reebok. There was rain in the air, wet grass all around, and 55,000 people bearing down on him.
But then the balls took over, and he shut the Yankees down.
The absolute fantastic-ness of this event is impossible to overstate. Two days ago, he was a gimp. A horrific footnote (pardon the pun) to the 2004 season. A million dollar horse that went tits-up when we needed him most.
But then the balls took over. And he was literally a one-legged guy at an ass-kicking contest. And his cleat did find ample ass to strike. And he turned in a one-run-over-seven-innings performance with blood soaking through his socks and sweat coating his back.
It was simply the gutsiest thing MLB has witnessed all year.
On the flipside, we had A-Rod resorting to schoolboy tactics, blatantly knocking the ball from Arroyo’s glove on a close play at first, then whining incessantly when he was called out for it.
Maybe God’s finally paying attention. Maybe he sees what’s up.
Suddenly, the impossible is possible. The economy will rebound. My boss will give me that raise and fit me for the company hovercraft. Angelina Jolie will return my calls. I will get a tan.
My head is spinning and my feet can’t touch the ground and we know that this is a different team, because the old team would have given up a three-run jack to former Sox Tony Clark, who represented the winning run at the plate when Keith Foulke whiffed him and made sure we’d be up all night.
I can’t sleep. Christ, I can barely breathe. There are blog entries to write. Blog entries to read. Message boards to lurk. Rem-Dawg post-game shows to watch.
And then there’s my man Larry Young, who keeps it real on the West Coast, whom I e-mailed what seemed a short eternity ago with one simple message: “When the Sox win it all, I’m flying to Cali and kissing you full on the lips.”
Tonight, as the Sox romped on the field at the Stadium and the riot police held their ground, he sent his reply: “When do I pick you up at the airport?”
I dare not think it. I dare not speak it. But there’s something magical going on. Maybe, just maybe, the ghosts of October can be vanquished once and for all.
And we owe it all to a set of metal onions.
over at Blogarama posted "Had a lot of other great conversations with folks at the con. When I posted pictures from the con Saturday night and mentioned talking to the AiT folks about various things like knitting and my brother, Larry Young said most people will probably think that’s lame, but he thought it was cool because it showed how laid back the show was and how people attending have other interests, too… or something to that effect. Larry, Mimi, Matt and Daniel at the AiT booth were a lot of fun, and I appreciate them letting me hang out at their booth for long periods of time." So one of those interests I have is following the holy Boston Red Sox. One of the most moving things of last year for me was when McCarney read an excerpt of my intro to Surviving Grady
at his own father's funeral. I mean, c'mon.
So when that clown Thorne said on-air last night that Curt's sock was painted, I wanted to go to Baltimore and start turning over cars. Then I saw Larry Young was calling third base last night, and... well...
...that's what that post below is all about. Better to laugh it up than cry.
Stop emailing me about it; I'm trying to put some books out, here.
It's very difficult for me, secreted as I am here, high above you all, safely sequestered (as it were) in my orbiting space-based laser-equipped book-publishing platform, resting comfortably (as we all do, thanks to the zero-gravity) tethered to my throne of mostly supine supermodels, to look down upon you all, all of you, on God's green Earth, and see all the trouble American League baseball umpire Larry Young is going through. I mean, I'm running a space-based laser-equipped book publishing platform, here (and if you haven't bought your dead tree version of Surviving Grady
I suggest you stop reading right now
and go click some ones and zeroes and make Amazon ship you a copy), and it's hard enough checking Technorati and BlogPulse and all those other Earth-based communications hoo-hah for tidbits about me and my publishing house and the books we publish and whatnot without EVERY YANKEES FAN AND DEVIL RAYS FAN in the world writing blog entries like "LARRY YOUNG SUX" and "LARRY YOUNG: FIRE HIM!" and "LARRY YOUNG IS BLIND" and similar diatribes.
For the love of God, he's
the umpire; I'm
the writer-publisher. IN SPACE.
's own Ian Brill winds up his APE 2007 coverage with giving us credit for helping to launch two more careers: "Indeed, APE has grown along with independent comic publishing to offer art prints, prose books and toys, in addition to launching indie comics careers. Two APE success stories were encamped at the AiT/Planet Lar booth. Last year Matt Silady had a booth for his minicomic The Homeless Channel,
and Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, a comics creator and new media artist, was on hand to advertise his Web site E-merl.com, a site featuring his print comics, experimental hypercomics and Web comics. Now The Homeless Channel
is a full-length graphic novel, and Goodbrey's stories are collected in The Last Sane Cowboy & Other Stories,
both published by AiT.
"Even though Silady has a publisher now, he said, 'I'm always hustling.' But he was happy to have a house like AiT. '[The book will] sell to people who like the AiT brand,' he said, joking that AiT is 'the HBO of comics, but a bit pulpier.'"
comes in at #112 on The Comics Should Be Good list of the 365 Reasons to Love Comics.
But since Sky Ape
is about a talking millionaire gorilla with a jetpack, you'd think being on the list would be a given. After all, as Entertainment Weekly
said, "It really is the second-best idea in the history of comics."
gives it up for Last Sane Cowboy:
"Y'know, the more one reads these days, the more one resigns oneself to the fact that there is very little new under the sun; even the best music, comics, novels, films, what have you build upon, are inspired by, and in some cases even outright beg, steal and borrow ideas from the myriad works in each genre that has come before. Some call it homage, some seek to claim it as their own and feign ignorance of the source, and some don't even reach the middling heights of well-done pastiche, regurgitating overfamilar tropes in such a slapdash and cynical fashion that a little bit of the reader's soul (not to mention gray matter) dies after completion. However, once in a while, someone comes along that actually is able to have ideas, fresh-seeming ones -- a sense of the possibilities inherent in a plethora of sources, and even if they're borrowed from some obscure source, certain creators are able to spin them so deftly that you can't see any fingerprints anywhere. Grant Morrison comes to mind, Jack Kirby was another...and maybe, just maybe, (at least based on the evidence contained within this book) so is Goodbrey.
A series of stories of sort, set in a world in which reality shrugged and resettled itself in a variety of new ways, this is a springboard for an unbelieveable cornucopia of surreality and smart, clever ideas -- some are absurdly humorous, some will leave you scratching your head, and once in a while even touching, as in the case of "The House Who Wasn't Her," about a fellow who is convinced that he is living in the wrong house, and embarks on an extradimensional journey to get it back- the reveal at the end is quite bittersweet. Each tale, or vignette, or whatever, is consistently clever and even thought-provoking, and manages to evoke the same feeling that I dimly remember when I watched The Twilight Zone for the first time. Don't mean to short Goodbrey's art; it's certainly not as accomplished as the writing here -- it's crudely inked and looks a lot like the old effect that artists used to get via photocopier in which the detail would get blown out and lost after several copies. It's probably done by Photoshop now, but the deadpan, stark style works to further emphasizes the dreamlike strangeness of each story to very good effect. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection, and I hope there's more where it came from down the road. Merlin, eh? A
...and when you're compared to Morrison and Kirby your first time out, where can you go from there? Howzabout over to Jog, the Blog:
"Still, even the ‘active’ stories are about travels down the path of dealing with the path itself, if that makes any sense this early in the morning, although those particular protagonists are less accepting of their position, if not their world. The title story sees a woman in a cowboy hat march into the town of Insanity, on a mission to rescue her brother from the last sane place around. But is anyone really sane anymore?
The other one concerns a weapon-wielding action hero, determined to regain possession of his beloved house, which has been taken away by powers beyond his understanding and replaced with a not-identical-enough duplicate. He’s perhaps the only character in here that maybe never gets a grip on the Unfolded Earth, one too caught up in memories to care to understand the sensitivities of hyper-reality, and his ultimate victory is paradoxically the most tragic thing in here."
Back from APE, and had a blast, as usual. Here's JK Parkin's
report, with a familiar character bookending the piece:You can call Larry Young a lot of things – writer, letterer, publisher, marketer, alternative comics pimp, Star Trek fanatic. Just don’t call him “small press.”
“I admit I may be a bit prickly about this, but I loathe the term ‘small press,’” the AiT/Planet Lar publisher said. “I understand it's human nature to want to name, and categorize, and pigeon-hole, and identify and all, but ‘small press’ just seems insulting to me, as it begs the question "In comparison to what?" Something larger, of course. Well, there's always going to be people ahead of you in line, and people behind you in line, but the one thing you all have in common is that you want to ride the ride, yeah?”
This is one of the reasons why Young is a fan of the Alternative Press Expo, or APE, which took place this past weekend in San Francisco.
“I love the Alternative Press Expo, for tons of reasons, starting first with its name,” said Young, who exhibited at APE. “I'm a big fan of the choice word, the attention to detail, the perfect brand. Words are powerful, and as a crafter of well-thought-out sentences myself, I appreciate it when someone takes the time to pick the perfect word...
“So there's some publishing houses that are the grand old dames of the comics world, with their super-heroic trademarks from which all other comics spring,” Young said. “There's old-money New York City honest-to-gosh book publishers marketing their new graphic novel imprint with an aw-shucks-me-too bonhomie, yet funded by 1930s oil tycoon cash. There's animation artists with one good idea, frustrated science fiction writers finding the comics barrier-to-entry lower than that of selling one's first novel, guys-in-the-house-with-a-Mac-and-a-dream, dilettantes, posers, dabblers of all stripes, and art school students with a friend who works at Kinko's.
“What do all these people have in common? They love comic books. Reading, producing, selling, entertaining. So, yeah. I love that it's the ‘Alternative’ Press Expo, because I never think of it as presenting the comic book entertainments that are an ‘alternative’ to Marvel and DC and the publishing houses with deep pockets and nigh-unlimited resources; I think of the comics you can find at APE as an antidote to the banal... an alternative to the everyday.”