Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Phony Return: Senses-Shattering!!

No, I'm not back, True Believers!  I'm posting this from my desk at work while I'm waiting to do... more work.   According to my contract, I get off at 4:30pm (kind of weird mandating something so personal in a legally binding contract, but there you have it) but I usually have to stay for an hour or two post-time for meetings and plannings and all that kind of fun stuff.

At lunch today I decided to look up the phrase "senses-shattering," which was a particular favorite of Marvel hypesters back in the 1960s and 70s.  Why would anyone in his or her right mind want his or her senses shattered?  Why was sense shattering considered a draw?  There are no answers to these and other idiotic questions, but my random interest in "senses-shattering" led me to a hilarious blog where someone named Tom the Bomb deconstructed classic Marvel books before disappearing into the desert like a mirage or an Oliver Stone hallucination of something Jim Morrison would have hallucinated sometime around May 2009.  Our loss.

A senses-shattering loss.

In other news, the kindly Sagawa Transport gentleman delivered a couple of boxes to my apartment last night.  One contained Al Williamson Archives Volume 1 and 2 from Flesk Publications.  Wow!  Flesk (with the help of Mark Schultz, who also compiled their hefty and impressive Al Williamson's Flash Gordon:  A Lifelong Vision of the Heroic and wrote the most informative and ultimately heart-breaking overview of Williamson's art career to provide context for all the gorgeous art) presents full-color reproductions of Williamson's sketchbook pages, unfinished artwork, completed works unpublished elsewhere.  If you love the masters of comic book illustration these slender books are a must-have.  If you just love art, you need to at least look at them sometime.  Sorry, but no one touches mine.

The other box contained one of those Dark Horse Star Wars books, the ones with all the old Marvel stories.  By no coincidence, this book features some Williamson artwork, too-- the first part of Star Wars #50, "The Crimson Forever."

It was a very Al Williamson kind of day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Still on hiatus!

It's not by choice.  I still don't have an Internet connection at my apartment.  I'm actually writing this from my office at work while waiting to discuss tomorrow's classes with another teacher.  So while we're marking time, let's catch up a little.

I missed Free Comic Book Day in Tokyo this year.  My new job splits the Golden Week holidays.  We had Monday off, but had to work Tuesday and Wednesday.  As it happened, Melt-Banana was playing a show that Sunday in a venue about 3 minutes by foot from my favored hotel when I'm in Tokyo.  So I had to make a choice-- hit Tokyo and see Melt-Banana destroy music during my three-day weekend, or go to Blister during my four-day one.  Noise won out and I don't regret it a bit.  Blister does two days of Free Comic Book Day, but I couldn't justify a second Tokyo junket.  So no free comic books this year, no reports on Free Comic Book Day in Japan.

But I did buy some comics while I was in Tokyo.  I went to Kinokunkiya in Shinjuku and bought the first two volumes of Nana and the second volume of Wandering Son, a wonderful manga about a very girly boy and a very boy-y girl.  They're possibly transgender, but I haven't read far along enough in volume one to know for sure.  I'm avoiding reviews and synopses so I can figure it all out by myself.  In the meantime, why should I try to define them?  I'm content to let them tell me when the time comes.

Wandering Son is from Fantagraphics and it reminds me a bit of Dan Clowes's Ghost World in that its creator Takako Shimura places two characters under a microscope and peers intently at their little lives.  It's also a little fragmentary, playing with time in small ways.  For example, something happens to one character early in the first volume (I bought it a few months back) but we learn of the consequences before we find out what happened to her-- which made it dificult for me to follow at first.  But soon enough I settled into a rhythm.

And then work and life happened and I had to put it aside for now.  I work about eleven hours a day.  Well, I don't work, but I'm stuck at the office for that long most days.  There's nothing like spending the hours from 8am to 7pm at your office to cut down on reading time!