Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The last week or so:

Over the long weekend, I was offline for most of it. I managed to catch a bit of reading, after hitting up The Book Exchange in Missoula, MT. (For quite a while when I was in college, I bought most of my comics there.)

First, Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis. It's a fun, fast-moving, hilarious read, that's inappropriate for just about anybody. A private eye with a knack for stumbling face-first into the worst perversions you can think of, is hired by the heroin-addicted chief of staff, to find the secret Constitution of the United States. It's not as hard as it sounds, after he realizes the book is "currency for perverts."

If this had been written by, say, Chuck Palahniuk, this material would doubtless be soul-crushingly demoralizing. But Ellis is really a big softie. There is a moment I particularly liked, where the hero didn't necessarily want to roll America back to old-school conservative whitebreadism; but thought a blind guy raping his guide dog was a bit too far...

Since you already know I'm a big Hellboy fan, it should be no surprise that I enjoy the novels as well. While they don't reveal any big secrets about the character, the fun is in the foes, and the main characters' interaction with new characters. Hellboy: the Fire Wolves (written by Tim Lebbon) does well with both: monsters escaped from Vesuvius, the ghost of a fallen demon hunter, and a young Italian woman who escaped her family and now has to escape the family curse.

In the same vein, Thomas E. Sniegoski's Lobster Johnson novel the Satan Factory has a great villain (a disgraced mob doctor, who finds a demon's bones that ooze monster-making blood) and a good supporting character (a framed and broken ex-cop) but Sniegoski doesn't get the luxury of interaction with the main character. The Lobster remains a mysterious, aloof figure; even to his agents: in the end, you don't gain any more understanding of him than when you came in, but that's rather true for most of his tales. Lobster Johnson's an enigma even now; but check out the link: as usual, the cover design is a winner.

I also got Shocker Toys ShadowHawk for cheap at gohastings.com. I had ordered the Watchmen Nite Owl as well, but they sent the classic version (old guy, short pants) when I ordered the modern, armored one. Might send it back, but in their defense, it was still cheaper than cheap. I am hard-pressed to remember if I've ever read any ShadowHawk comics...or even appearances...and his helmet inexplicably reminds me of Phantom of the Paradise, a movie I know of but have never seen. Still, while he's a little bare-bones, he's a good figure.

In Montana, I picked up Star Wars: the Clone Wars volume one--the Genndy Tartakovsky animated series, that predates the current, more computer-animated one. They're shorter, 'micro-episodes,' and I know I've seen some of them, but not many. Maybe I should just sneak in an episode here and there, then. Got it for two bucks, and got them to throw in the old PS1 game Hellboy: Asylum Seeker for free. While it's archaic, by all accounts it's not very good. But I slogged my way all the way to the end of Evil Dead: Hail to the King, so apparently my standards on the low end for games. (If you ever try that Evil Dead game, it's definitely enjoyable if you're a Bruce Campbell fan, but the controls and the camera are iffy; and when I played it, it was so dark it was like being in the forest in the middle of the night...with a bucket on your head. That may have just been my TV, in retrospect.)

Lastly, my parents are loving their iPads, so my mom passed me her Sony Reader thing. I downloaded a fair pile of free stuff from Project Gutenberg: some Edgar Rice Burroughs that I hadn't read yet, a couple Philip K. Dick shorts ("The Defenders," "The Gun") and Robert E. Howard's "Red Nails." OK, that last I've read more than once before, but I'm now in the market for any free stuff I can find, so any hints, let me know.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Seems like you found some good reads then. I too simply love reading, especially since it seems to be a dying art, along with letter-writting.

All the books you mentioned sound really good, esepcially Crooked Little Vein.

Did you know Ellis has a new biographical movie coming out/came out?