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Viewing: Blog Posts from the News category, dated 6/2/2012 [Help]
Results 1 - 22 of 22
1. Martin Amis profile

       The Lionel Asbo-publicity machine gathers steam with the next looooong profile of Martin Amis, as Tom Lamont reports on Martin Amis: a new chapter in America in The Observer.
       (I am looking forward to Lionel Asbo -- though I worry that I will quickly tire of looking forward to it if I continue to come across many more such profiles (especially once the Americans jump on the American angle ... though I suppose that there's some hope that American publications won't think him worth their while, much less so much space; I keep my fingers crossed); get your copy at Amazon.co.uk, or, in the US, where it's due out in August, pre-order your copy at Amazon.com).)

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2. Mario Vargas Llosa Q and A

       PBS Newshour has a segment (plus transcript) of Peruvian Writer Mario Vargas Llosa on the Importance of Literature by Jeffrey Brown, as the publicity-machine for his Roger Casement-novel, The Dream of the Celt, comes stateside, too.
       I'm not sure about this one, but since I've covered so much else by him I figure I'll get to it eventually; see also the publicity pages from Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Faber, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk (and compare the two different covers ...).

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3. Delany & The Bat

Ed Champion interviews Samuel Delany for his Bat Segundo Show. An informed, wide-ranging conversation that's very much worth the time to listen to:

Delany: And I think pornotopia is the place, as I’ve written about, where the major qualities — the major aspect of pornotopia, it’s a place where any relation, if you put enough pressure on it, can suddenly become sexual. You walk into the reception area of the office and you look at the secretary and the secretary looks at you and the next minute you’re screwing on the desk. That’s pornotopia. Which, every once in a while, actually happens. But it doesn’t happen at the density.

Correspondent: Frequency.

Delany: At the frequency that it happens in pornotopia. In pornotopia, it happens nonstop. And yet some people are able to write about that sort of thing relatively realistically. And some people aren’t. Something like Fifty Shades of Grey is not a very realistic account.

Correspondent: I’m sure you’ve read that by now.

Delany: I’ve read about five pages.

Correspondent: And it was enough for you to throw against the wall?

Delany: No. I didn’t throw it. I just thought it was hysterically funny. But because the writer doesn’t use it to make any real observations on the world that is the case, you know, it’s ho-hum.

Correspondent: How do we hook those moms who were so driven to Fifty Shades of Grey on, say, something like this?

Delany: I don’t think you’re going to.

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4. Lost and Found: Busiek’s Corporate Take on Dracula

By Todd Allen

volume 1 Lost and Found: Busieks Corporate Take on DraculaOne of the nice things about being around a large library system is being able to take a flier on a graphic novel you might not otherwise pick up.  Not too long ago, I happened up Vol. 1-3 of Dracula: The Company of Monsters on the shelf and figured “it’s Kurt Busiek… how bad could it be?”  I picked up the first volume and ended up going back the next day for the rest of the set.

When I first saw the title, I thought this was going to be some sort of monster team-up.  It isn’t  the “Company of Monster” is a witty way of describing one of the villains of the piece: an actual company.  With all the news coverage of corporate scandals and ethics breaches, Busiek has positioned a company (or at least the executive suite and assorted ladder climbers) as a monster.

In broad strokes, as the family business is struggling, the fellow running it decides he needs to raise Dracula from the grave, bend him to his will, and use the lord of the vampire’s powers to influence the minds of mere mortals to cut some favorable deals.  At least that where it starts, and the best laid plans of mice and men tend to go astray pretty quickly when the involve Dracula.  This is a more business-y Dracula than I’m accustomed to seeing.  His statesman past is emphasized and his promises are binding.  A charming monster whose teeth are saved for when they’re needed.

The corporate angle may sound a little goofy, but it’s a quick moving story with just enough snark about Gordon Gekko-tendencies to give you a smile here and there.  I’d put this in the category of very well done bubblegum, rather than an epic.  There’s subtext to it, but it’s more of a romp.

The writing is by Kurt Busiek and Daryl Gregory.  My understanding is Busiek outlined the tale and Gregory fleshed it out into scripts.  The art is by Scott Godlewski and Damian Couceiro.

I could tell you more about, but why not just go have a look for yourself.  Boom! put the first tpb  online.  The story starts here.  Give it 20 pages or so.

This title went under my radar when it was in monthly format, but that website is a good way revisit a fun comic that should have fared a little better.

11 Comments on Lost and Found: Busiek’s Corporate Take on Dracula, last added: 6/4/2012
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5. Preview: THE FURRY TRAP by Josh Simmons

Pegged as “One Big Bag of Poison” on his blog, Simmons has compiled a collection of stories from 2004 to 2011 that play with every emotion a reader both loves and hates. Toying with the vulnerability of characters that seem timelessly recognizable, ie fairies in a fantastical land or a batman-esque figure scaling a wall, THE FURRY TRAP is a graphic novel that is set to shock and appall its reader, yet Simmons is able to retain an even stronger range of visual style that makes this graphic novel’s scope extend further than being just a horrific tale.

Graphic novelist Josh Simmons (House) returns with a harrowing and genre-bending collection of modern horror short stories that could curl the toes of a corpse in a state of rigor mortis. Simmons’ disturbing, uncomfortable and even confrontational stories often work on multiple levels: straight, uncompromising horror; blackly humorous, satirical riffs on the genre; or as vicious assaults against the political correctness that rules so much of our popular culture. His artwork excels in conveying a feeling of dread and claustrophobia, and the stories herein all share an unmistakably and uncompromising commitment to exploring the crossroads of abomination and hilarity.

The Furry Trap contains 11 short stories, varying in length from one to 30 pages, as well as a number of “extras” that will flesh out the reader’s experience. From the title creatures in “Night of the Jibblers,” to the witches and ogres of “Cockbone,” to the Godzilla-sized, centaur-bodied depiction of the title character in “Jesus Christ,” to the disarmingly cute yet terrifying demons of “Demonwood,” to the depraved, caped crusading antihero in “Mark of the Bat,” Simmons is a master of creating terrifying beasties that inspire and inflict nightmarish horrors, usually taken to unforgettable extremes.

Fantagraphics has passed along these preview images of their newest release, which is in stores right now!

FT 121 Preview: THE FURRY TRAP by Josh SimmonsFT 80 Preview: THE FURRY TRAP by Josh SimmonsFT 65 Preview: THE FURRY TRAP by Josh SimmonsFT 38 Preview: THE FURRY TRAP by Josh Simmons

1 Comments on Preview: THE FURRY TRAP by Josh Simmons, last added: 6/2/2012
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6. Azerbaijani Museum of Literature plans

       ABC.az reports that Azerbaijan's head allocated AZN 5 million for construction of Museum of Literature in Gazakh.
       Seems kind of an out-of-the-way place for a museum, but better than nothing; on the other hand 5,000,000 AZN (or New Manats, as the currency is apparently called) is a decent sum: while the currency is so obscure the currency symbol doesn't even have its own unicode, it is worth more per unit than the US dollar, and so that adds up to more than $6,350,000.

The Order is motivated by the importance of identifying the potential of young creative generation, preservation and promotion of national directions of literature and literary and cultural heritage of the people, and relevant request made on the occasion by writers and poets of the region.
       Sounds admirable enough (though of course what becomes of all this remains to be seen ...).

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7. Creative nonfiction contest with $1000 prize

The Malahat Review (Canada) invites entries for theConstance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize. Prize: $1000. Submit creative nonfiction 2000-3000 words. Deadline: August 1, 2012. Entry fee (includes subscription): $35; US$45 for international.

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8. Seeking writing on 'Masala'

Print journal Descant (Canada) is looking for the stories of the Indian Diaspora -- its triumphs and its tragedies of these 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation expats. Seeking essays, poems, fictions, memoirs, and art. Deadline: August 15, 2012.

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9. A few actual, real-live teenagers on...

...sex, language, and banned books.

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10. BOOM.

From Philip Nel's Nine Kinds of Pie:

Children’s literature is literature. Intelligent adults already know this. However, as those of you who study or write or teach children’s literature are well aware, the world is full of alleged grown-ups who insist on spreading the myth that children’s literature is not literature, and (thus) cannot be studied as such.

(via Cynsations)

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11. A whole pile of reading recommendations from YA authors...

...at The Atlantic.

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12. The fabulous Kate Hart on citing your sources.

Click on through for loads of info in the form (naturally) of a handy-dandy infographic!

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13. To-do: Comics Portfolio Reviews On The Road

BY JEN VAUGHN - Like any good cartoonist and comics evangelist, a road trip cannot just be days of blasting Mates of State and stopping at roadside attractions like Corn Palace. No, no, on my trip from The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, VT to Fantagraphics in Seattle, WA will be punctuated by a few stops to conduct portfolio reviews and drop off some Schulz Library tote bags at great comic book stores across America.

Bill over at Copacetic Comics is nice enough to host comics portfolio reviews from noon-2pm on Monday, June 4th while Spokane’s Saranac Art-Projects Gallery will host an event on Saturday, June 9th from 2-4pm (thanks to cartoonist Allen Duffy). You can bet that I’m staying with a cartoonist in EVERY. SINGLE. CITY. More in a future, post-road-trip post!

CurrentMap To do: Comics Portfolio Reviews On The Road

For more stops and details visit the Schulz Library Blog. Tweet at me @theJenya or @CartoonStudies if you have questions or know of the BEST coffee shops to draw in along the way.

P.S. Don’t forget to VOTE FOR THE EISNERS! If you qualify, that is.

Jen Vaughn definitely brought some board games in her car, just saying. We could play Civilization or Power Grid instead of sleeping on the road trip.

1 Comments on To-do: Comics Portfolio Reviews On The Road, last added: 6/4/2012
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14. Robert Downey Jr wanted Bill Murray to be in Iron Man

Primarily known for his tendency to get slimed, actor Bill Murray is also known to be a rather reclusive fellow. He keeps to himself, and doesn’t have an agent or manager to book work for him. Instead of having to look through job offers, he instead asks of anybody who wants to work with him (although preferably not Dan Akroyd) that they leave a voice message on his answerphone, which he checks whenever he gets tired of staring at himself, deadpan, in the mirror.

This made it rather difficult for when Robert Downey Jr wanted to bring in Murray for a role in the Iron Man movies, as the actor either didn’t pick up the message or was on Captain America’s side during Civil War. In an interview with Esquire magazine, questioneer Scott Raab mentions in passing to Murray that poor ol’ Downey Jr wanted him for a part in the movie, but had no way of getting hold of the actor. Raab mentions this as an example of Hollywood’s inability to grab hold of Murray when they are looking to Assemble, and doesn’t give us the details. Did Downey Jr leave a series of increasingly desperate/drunken messages? Did he sing at any point? We may never know. 

What part Downey Jr had in mind for the star of Garfield is anybody’s guess, although the obvious choices would likely be either Tony Stark’s father Howard, Pepper Potts, or the voice of Jarvis. Or perhaps something even more left-field? Fans have long contested that Murray would be the perfect choice to play Groot, if the Guardians of the Galaxy were ever to show up in the Marvel film universe.

008GSM Bill Murray 001 Robert Downey Jr wanted Bill Murray to be in Iron Man

We may never know.

10 Comments on Robert Downey Jr wanted Bill Murray to be in Iron Man, last added: 6/4/2012
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15. Costco = Not a Joan Rivers fan.

Well, not a fan of her new book, at any rate.

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16. The 2012 Arthur Ellis Awards for Crime Writing have been announced.

The YA winner is Blink and Caution, by Tim Wynne-Jones.

See the rest of 'em here.

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17. YA on NPR.

NPR's 2012 Summer Reads series will focus on YA fiction.

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18. Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft, #4 -- Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez

Locke and key 4

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Who, who?
But... what's the punchline? 

This issue opens with Bode—who, judging by his dream, might be A) developing some pre-cog abilities or B) tapping into the woo-woo of Keyhouse—but quickly switches gears to follow Sam Lesser on his trek to Lovecraft.

Artwork? Continues to be top-notch. Example? Flashback Sam vs. present-day Sam: they both look haunted, but flashback Sam looks younger, more unsure of himself, and like he's got some serious problems, but is making an effort to move up and past them, whereas present day Sam has clearly thrown sanity to the winds. It's in his face and his eyes, yes, but it's also visible in details as simple as his hair being combed in the flashback and not in the present day.

There's also a panel that shows just how much Tyler looked like his father: their facial features, angry expressions, even their haircuts. If their personalities were as similar as their looks, it's no wonder that they butted heads so often.

It's really, really cinematic. While I'm sad that the pilot didn't get picked up, I also felt that the trailer didn't really jive with my vision (so far) of the story. Maybe someone else'll pick it up at some point and give it a go. Because it would make a great show.

Storyline? After getting Sam's backstory, it's impossible to not have some amount of sympathy for him—he's a sad, damaged kid being used as a pawn by a force much more powerful than he is—though I'm in no way rooting for him to succeed in freeing Dodge (the lady in the well). The flashback to the moment she first communicates with him is wonderfully creepy, and straight out of a horror movie like Shutter.

Speaking of, I love this book because each issue really does build on what came before: the flashbacks, for instance, aren't simply used to remind old readers of the history and catch up new readers. They do that, but they also explore the backstory in greater detail, allow us different perspectives of the same moments, and create a deeper emotional tie with the story and the characters.

The use of language in triggering the flashbacks is fabulous, and Hill's choice in what to flashback to is also lovely: Sam's "I was really close to my mom. My dad, too. But they both passed away. A couple months ago" line is printed on a few panels that show just how awful his home life was... and readers who've been in on the series since the first issue will also already know that Sam's parents didn't just "pass away": he killed them.

A couple more instances of great use of flashbacks: we see that Sam's disgusting rapist friend Al had had his eye on Mrs. Locke before the day of the murder. And we finally see the conversation with Sam Lesser that's been haunting Tyler. And... wow. It's very, very understandable why Tyler's so wracked with guilt.

Speaking of Tyler, there's a scene focusing on him that highlights another thing I'm loving about this book: the subtleties. In the scene, he's in the shed, clearly on the edge—he's staring at a shotgun, thinking, "enough enough enough", when Bode comes in asking about the joke, both jogging him out of his almost-trance and reminding him of what another violent death would do to the family. Bode's Death Door isn't mentioned (or even alluded to), but his behavior made it seem very likely that he'd been spying on Tyler—that on some level, Bode realized

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19. No-Han Mania!

201206021100 No Han Mania!
So thrilled I got to see the end of this game and the Mets no-hit dearth—a 50-year legacy of 9th inning heartbreak—ended.

3 Comments on No-Han Mania!, last added: 6/2/2012
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20. Poetry contest with $500 prize

Print and online journal Vallum: contemporary poetry (QC) invites poetry entries for their contest. First prize: $500 plus publication. Deadline: July 15, 2012. Entry fee: $20 (includes subscription).

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21. Monthly online mag seeks writing

Online magazine BareBackLit (ON, Canada) seeks fiction, poetry, and art for their monthly issues. Length (fiction): 2500 words max. Emerging writers welcome.

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22. Emma Posts New Photo

A new photo from the movie "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" is now up on Emma Watson's Facebook page.
You can see it here.

Emma says it is a "never-before-seen image" from the new movie which opens September 14th.
You can also see a sneak peak on the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday night.

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