Augie De Blieck, Jr. at CBR
totally gets where Jon and I were going with The Black Diamond:
"It's an interesting read for the process and the ingenuity seen within it. Here's the thing: the main storyline and the high concept is just the rod in your closet. It's all the clothes hanging off the rod -- some neatly pressed, others slightly wrinkled with character -- that are the interesting parts. The plot is an excuse to have scenes of characters talking about different things, and one or two big set-piece car chase-and-crash things. Even better, the author knows this, relies on it, and invites you to revel in it with him. Don't pay attention to the rod. Look at the hangers... The Black Diamond: Get in the Car and Go
is another piece of experimental high concept storytelling
from the word processor of Larry Young. If you're into this kind of thing, you'll enjoy the book. If you want a straight-up high octane summer blockbuster action thriller, this one's not going to work for you. (Go read that Monster Attack Network
book, instead, or the original Astronauts in Trouble
book, or even The Couriers.
) That said, The Black Diamond
would be an excellent platform to spin such an action thriller off of."
+++++Ambush Bug at Ain't It Cool News:
"What writer Larry Young has created is a framework to build a whole slew of stories upon, as illustrated by various artists in the back-up features. It's a highway with no rules. There is no speed limit. And it's populated by gearheads, bikers, and gangs of road warriors. This spells trouble for Dr. McLaughlin, who has to use the highway to make it across the country ASAP in order to rescue his wife. I especially like the trippy ending of this over the top road movie of a book.
In that final chapter alone, artist Jon Proctor earns his artistic wings of accomplishment with his stunning splash pages and iconic imagery."
... and, I love you, Johnny Bacardi:
"But calling it a 'quest' is a bit highfalutin'- this story, with its QT-esque dialogue and non-stop muscle car action, is strictly 1973 drive-in fare all the way- a spiritual cousin of such double feature diamonds as Two Lane Blacktop, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry,
and yes, even Death Race 2000 or maybe, just maybe, a hint of Mad Max.
To carry the film comparisons further, as I said when I wrote about the final issue, I enjoyed how Young breaks down the wall between story and storyteller, superimposing the actual script and directions over the images; it's unorthodox but I thought it worked nicely and reminded me a lot of movies such as Dennis Hopper's weird-assed The Last Movie,
or even the ending of Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles.
I sometimes think Young was born too late, actually- in another life I believe he would have been destined to pitch scripts to Roger Corman."
OK, so I missed yesterday as I was in iPod Jack most of the day... erstwhile Isotope bon vivant Ian Yarborough named our other car thusly in a faux-Aussie accent... sped down to LA for a quick meeting but an even more enjoyable time at my friends' shop, the Spirit of Retailing Eisner Award-winning
comics store Brave New World.
Atom! and Portlyn were consummate hosts, as usual, and I don't know who was more happy for them to show me around their new(ish) digs, me, or them. Man, that store is kick-ass. Fourteen-foot ceilings, a comics art gallery and showplace, where they host live-figure drawing classes, and kids-art days, and drink-and-draws, and just about everything
And yesterday, I got to hang out with the cool cats there and shake some hands and sign some autographs and generally just be treated like visiting royalty, and, I ask you, who's not going to love that? Those guys really know how to put on a show, I can tell you.
Portlyn took some great "signing" pics, and I haven't seen 'em yet, but I wanted to throw up a couple I got from my battle-damaged Canon PowerShot:
First off, the best part of the thing for me was seeing my good pal Andy:
Andy's a long-time fan of our stuff; so much so that four years ago he dressed up as Moustafa from The Couriers
for Halloween. On the right, there, is what that lady-killer looked like yesterday. Andy is keeping it real, doing photography old skool style with the darkroom and the developing and the chemicals and the whatnot. Look out for that silver nitrate, Andy! Super-cool to see you, and thanks for hanging out the whole time. Yer the coolest!
Here's Atom! Freeman wheelin'and-dealin' on the store floor. I didn't get a really good picture of this, but their middle-of-the-shop cashier's island is a friggin' monument to good use of space. There wasn't a customer who wasn't available to Atom! or Portlyn or Kyle or Brendan the whole time I was there. Man, if I was to give an award to a friendly, welcoming, airy and enticing comics shop... oh. Wait. Yeah, they got the Eisner already. Never mind.
Here's me with Kyle (not 4 O'Clock Kyle, but Customer Kyle) and... Travis? No. Brandon? No. That's the pizza guy. Or the morning guy. Dang, I was in the car a long time, and I forget. Never been good with names. Sorry, guys. I know it's not Jacob Norman Blaha, because he's the only guy ever in ten years who's asked me to sign his book with all three of his names. I know it's not Michael, because his dog's OK and he's been shopping at BNW since he was five. I dunno. The guy in the red shirt; you're Customer Kyle's pal. Sorry. But I really appreciated how psyched you seemed to pick up a Black Diamond
Here's Hardy taking a picture of me taking a picture of him. In true 21st Century fashion, we then flopped our digital cameras around at each other and showed each other the pictures that we had just taken of each other seconds ago. Hardy's only four, but he's already a better photographer than I am. I'm guessing it has something to do with his mom, Portlyn, being a professional photographer. But that's the limb I'm going out on.
Happy Black Diamond Day! I'm getting on the 5 and heading south to sign some books and shake some hands at the Spirit of Retailing Eisner Award-winning
shop Brave New World
22722 Lyons Avenue #6
Newhall, CA 91321
from noon til four. It's ironic as heading down the 5 with Mimi is what gave me the idea for the book in the first place. I'll have posters and T-shirts and fifteen specially sealed copies of the book:
+++++Jog the Blog points out
that the book's in shops tomorrow: "The Black Diamond: Get in the Car and Go:
A new collected edition for writer/publisher Larry Young's and artist Jon Proctor's spin around high-concept highway-of-the-future action, perspectives shifting and narrative elements detatching. I can't say it's entirely successful -- often its presentational ambition is undone by the visuals it has to work with -- but it does drive hard. More later. With an introduction by Graeme McMillian." and points out an interview I did
back when the book started which had me laughing. I just don't remember being that flippant, and it was only a year and a half ago. Nothing like having a kid to make you smarten up.
has a great piece this week in his "Permanent Damage" column on CBR about our graphic novel panel at San Diego. Not only does he have a wry and entertaining summation of what happened, but he also included his bon mot, which I thought was the one
key piece of advice from the talk: "Worrying about self-esteem is a waste of time... If you're in this business, or want to be in this business, to be liked, you're in the wrong business. Because you'll either turn out brilliant work and everyone will be jealous of you, or you'll turn out crap and everyone will think it's crap. It's not worth worrying about. Don't care
what other people think about your work and you can easily keep working."
That one made me smile, because of all the folks asking us for The Secret, well...
...it's right there.