Thursday, August 29, 2019

O, my traveling companion of yesteryear

Trusty backpack, now mouldered. Saw me across Canada twice (once by Via Train in '99 and once on antique fire truck in 2000); to London, England, Scotland, Ireland and France, all in '98. Canadian flag sewn on by my mother.

O, my faithful traveling companion, you accompanied me well, and kept me safe. Farewell.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Rue Morgue Queer Fear Issue Features Lethe Press

Congrats, Duke (Steve Berman)! You and your fine LethePress (my publisher) got some great ink in the current issue (issue # 186, July/August 2019) of Rue Morgue Magazine, which is the Queer Fear issue. Monica S. Kuebler's article (page 50) covers the nearly 20-year history of Lethe, mentioning such horror luminaries as Lee Thomas.


"After decades of being vilified, LGBT people want nothing more than to be the centre of the story....We're tired of being ignored, treated as if we don't exist or are lusus naturae. We want our turn with the monsters. We demand it."
- Steve Berman, Publisher and Editor, Lethe Press

Stranger Things 3 As An Elevator Pitch

Just going to say this once, because I need to get it out of my system.

Stranger Things Season 3 in an elevator pitch?

Imagine film director John Hughes shares a joint with Stephen King. They scheme up a kids’ small-town horror backdrop fetishizing mid-1980’s nostalgia. 

King immediately suggests a tortured young antagonist who is a borderline sociopath, albeit an impressionable, self-involved sociopath who drives a Camaro, an archetype plucked from King's horror work from the eighties. 

Hughes posits many scenes involving the young teenage protagonists in mercilessly awkward, and often humorous, plot points, augment by a relentless (and often enjoyable) soundtrack of 1980's pop music.

King and Hughes concur - the story will be resplendent with tributes including (but not  limited to) Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1980’s action films, The Goonies, the 1950’s The Blob (1958, with Steve McQueen), the lesser-known The Stuff (1985), John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982), The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (any from the series), and Red Dawn (1984).

There. Now that feels better.

But watch it and decide for yourself, of course.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Crack of light through the fissures

I found this crack of light coming through the fissures. Using a crowbar, I leveraged my way into the wall of darkness, and pulled with everything I had. There, amid the crumble and rumble and debris raining down, I found the light alright. 

I was writing again. Without any idea exactly where I was headed.

The thing is, I have character who want their stories told. Maybe I'm headed toward Joshua's pencil drawings, or reclusive John Daniels' treatise on the merits of painting as therapy and transformation, or Bruck, unsure what to do with his love, or Sara, ruminating and not wanting to negotiate with phantasm, or Sergeant Ritchie O'Donnell, running his LGBTQ+ counselling group, but unable to be honest with himself about his own ex walking out after 15 years. And what about John Newman? What is he going to when he meets his old enemy from adolescence? 

I was writing toward something, anyways. Which is better than aimlessly sitting by the side of the road, watching the night sky, counting stars and wondering when my second novel rewrite would call to me again, or me ot it.

But that's poetic bullshit; I knew where I was headed. I was writing and rewriting and editing, hard, toward that light.

Thanks for listening or, rather, reading, whether you consider yourself boring or old, or not, which you are certainly not, ideal reader.

 "One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple."
—Jack Kerouac 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Taking a Sabbatical

I will be taking a break from doing, well, whatever I do on this blog (reviews, comic-book coverage, observations, mainly) until my troubles recede.

Nothing earth-shattering - just writing, job, job-search, life, etc, etc., - have all come crashing in all on sides for me. I need to regroup, or whatever the hell they call it nowadays when you step back and re-evaluate everything.

Had a long, dark night of the soul this week (literally and figuratively) and have come through with many observations that I must unpack or make conclusions about.

Leading up to this night of examination on Wednesday, I was already very dubious and doubtful about the prospect of rewriting my second novel to my satisfaction, either by my overly optimistic deadline of late June, or at all, for that matter.

It's hard to articulate my feelings because they are oblique, but mainly I'm discouraged with my writing and with several aspects of life right now (finding work outside of the retail work I have now, for example) and can't quite see my way through them (To use another example, short-story markets remain blocked up to me, for whatever reason, and I have a stack of short pieces sitting in my hard drive with no feasible markets for them; so going on or giving up remains a question). There seems to be plentiful other writing going out there and the market is pretty crowded right now as it is.

There's light somewhere in all this, I know, but I just don't feel the same way about my writing or whether my new book will help add any joy or escape or richness to anyone's lives (i..e.: if the novel  is indeed completed into a second draft form someday).

And, in the grand scheme of things, what are my troubles compared to others' troubles? This too I am considering as I decide what to do (or not to do) next.

I will check in here from time to time, but have no clear idea of when. Keep reading and dreaming in the meantime.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Comic-Book Scribe Alex de Campi Nominated for Four Eisners in 2019

Luscious trade cover by Alejandra Gutiérrez.
Alex de Campi, I am very pleased to say, having followed her work for some time, has been nominated for four Eisner Awards in 2019. 

de Campi is nominated for Best Graphic Album–New: Bad Girls, Best Anthology: Twisted Romance, and for Best Writer and Best Letterer.

Some critics liken Alex de Campi to a new Alan Moore, but to understand that comparison, readers must understand that, like Moore, de Campi can dance from genre to genre (grindhouse, film noir, horror, action, superhero, sci-fi, fantasy, drama/lit) with aplomb and consistent attention to character development.

Twisted Romance, for example, features a stunning cross-section of surprising and non-traditional stories about love, featuring queer space captains, asexual movie stars, women of sexy size and even a possible throuple (a relationship involving three people dating). It's a stunning mix of art and writing featuring an array of talents. Twisted Romance is a beautiful and delightful and rare comic-book creature.

See de Campi's Mayday for a white-hot, cold-war spy thriller (with a kick-ass Spotify soundtrack, to boot). Semiautomagic, her Dark Horse Presents collaboration with master artist Jerry Ordway, holds a special place in my twisted heart for its depictions of occult investigator Alice Creed, and phantasmagoric imagery from Ordway.

For the uninitiated, the Eisner, in the comic-book industry, is often equated with the Academy Award in the film industry.
Stylish cover by Victor Santos.

Alex de Campi's First Volume of No Mercy Sings

Gorgeous cover by Carla Speed McNeil.
This first volume of the aptly named No Mercy series  sings, with lush art by Carla Speed McNeil and the usual top-notch script by prolific comic-book scribe Alex de Campi. It's about a busload of insular and self-absorbed Princeton University hopefuls who have to learn to survive after a horrific bus accident. They get more sympathetic as things get bleaker. de Campi's admitted grindhouse-film influence is here for those who appreciate it, but also her admirable technique of always putting her characters through the wringer. No Mercy is harrowing and beautiful all at once. A trans protagonist features, once again showing that de Campi is out in front of everything, developing asexual characters and various queer characters alike in her other works. 

No Mercy, Image Comics, ran for 14 issues.