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- Tagged with America athletes brainwashing comic books Comics Daniel Kalder Europe France graphic novels human Italy jets Kim Jong-il National Football League New England New Orleans nfl North Korea Random House Rolex watches sports tears the crusades the Middle East Tim Tebow Yahoo Yahoo Sports
- On 1 May | '2013
- Daniel Kalder: “Rider Publishing, an imprint of Ebury at Random House, acquired rights to Crossing the Border, a memoir by Jang Jin-sung – former ‘court poet’ to Kim Jong-il, and will publish next spring…Jang was so trusted that he met Kim Jong-il twice. The first time, Jang explained in an interview with the BBC last January, ‘I was overwhelmed and full of emotion. But at the same time I thought the image I had received of him – through brainwashing – was very different to how he appeared in person.’ Kim gave the poet an gold Rolex worth $11,000 (£7,000) and granted him the ‘sacred immunity’ that only the microscopic minority who spent 20 minutes in the presence of the god-dictator received. Now Jang could not be prosecuted without special permission from on high. At the second meeting, ‘We sat at a performance together, and he kept on crying while he watched it. I felt his tears represented his yearning to become a human being, to become an ordinary person.'”
- More Kalder: “One of the things I like most about European graphic novels is the wide range of genres on offer. Some of these are very different from what you can find in American comics, where you very rarely encounter historical epics. In France though, you can find stories set in the Middle Ages, Ancient Rome, Renaissance Italy, Byzantium or set in the Middle East during the crusades. Indeed, my understanding is that the French are crazy for stories set during the crusades.”
- UrbDezine San Diego: “Purge the term NIMBY from your language and your thinking. It stultifies any further understanding of community concerns, or how to reach a compromise. Every criticism or opposition to a high density project is now labeled as NIMBYism, with little further discussion of community concerns. Community stakeholders typically have great knowledge of their neighborhoods though they may not use formal planning terms.”
- Yahoo Sports: “If [Tim Tebow] wants to make it in the NFL, he needs to change. He needs to learn the game. He needs to become a backup at some team that has an established quarterback, like New Orleans or New England. He also needs to stop being a media presence. Tebow is a wonderful human being: polite, gentle, compassionate and giving. But he also never met a camera he didn’t like. He wants to be a public figure so that he can spread the gospel he believes in. That’s fine and it’s even OK that he has used football to do it. However, he is now at a point where being in the public eye detracts from his ability to make it as a football player. Teams don’t like the sideshow Tebow brings. The Jets tried to trade him this offseason and found no takers.”
On a Saturday night.
Living as I do in a suburb north of Austin I am fortunate enough to have a large second hand/discount bookshop nearby. On the other hand, as it is located far from where all the cool Bohemian types live, it has a fairly mediocre selection. Even so this is sometimes to my advantage, as whenever something interesting or unusual does arrive I have absolutely no competition from the locals who are exclusively interested in DC/Marvel pap. Indeed, so uninterested are they in anything remotely on the fringes that practically anything European or “alternative” will migrate to the $1 clearance racks after about six months. And by alternative, I include licensed junk published by BOOM! Yes, friends, my neighbors are that reactionary in their tastes.
And so patient as a Zen master, I lie in wait for my books to cost almost nothing. Currently I am waiting for Joann Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat to migrate to that shelf. It’s not there yet, but it will be soon. It’s far too French and Algerian and Jewish you see and it doesn’t even have Wolverine in it. That said, a lot of what I pick up on the cheap is pretty crap, and there’s some stuff I won’t even touch for a buck. I respect Howard Chaykin quite highly as a cartoonist, but his name alone will not persuade me to pick up the DIE HARD book he knocked off a few years back. I might have if he’d drawn it, but when Chaykin is on script duties only I steer clear.
Rick Veitch is another cartoonist I am not against, although he is not in Chaykin’s league. But when I saw both collected volumes of his Vertigo series Army @ Love on the $1 rack I snapped them up pretty quickly. I only had a vague idea what it was about- some kind of revival of war and romance comics with a satirical edge. Meanwhile I was pretty sure that a friend had picked them up from a comic shop near the huge military base at Fort Hood and told me they were utter shit, but interesting in that they represented an attempt at doing something new with the form. So what the heck I gambled a buck (or actually $2.16 since I bought two books and sales tax was charged), and returned home to see what Veitch had been up to since the last time I read one of his comics. For the record, that was an issue of Rare Bit Fiends, the dream journal he self published back in the 90s when many creators of his generation fantasized that all things were possible.
So I sat down with volume 1, The Hot Zone Club and was immediately put off by the hyperbolic praise on the cover, e.g.: “An amazingly racy and ruthless satire/critique of a never-ending war in Afghanistan” said Entertainment Weekly. “This is a book full of the kind of wild ideas that comics used to do all the time. Grade: A-” Variety. Neither of those publications are a good guide to anything, and there was also effusive guff from a few of the alternative weeklies that have not yet shut up shop. High praise from dubious sources is usually a strong sign you are holding a piece of shit in your hands, and given its vintage I knew I was most likely staring at some excruciatingly leaden Bush- era “satire” but I opened the covers and dived in nonetheless.
And yes indeed, it was excruciatingly leaden Bush-era “satire”. The military-entertainment complex was roundly mocked but in the manic, unfunny way that was common in those halcyon days when bombing foreigners was, like, totally bad, as opposed to now under Obama when it’s tickety-boo. There were soldiers shooting and shagging, and assorted images of great big pneumatic tits- although for some reason Vertigo declined to publish images of schlongs in this excoriating, edgy satire. Would that have been too “mature”? You be the judge.
Anyway, I gave up three issues in when a hippy playing a guitar that was also a weapon of mass destruction or something showed up. I might have been able to keep going if the art had been better but Erskine’s inks transformed all of Veitch’s characters into stiff, glistening rubbery dolls with the same limited set of facial expressions. I suspect the faces were Erskine’s fault rather than Veitch’s as I’ve read The Filth and Erskine deployed the same limited set of expressions in that book also. There’s no excuse for this: artists who cannot draw faces should sit facing a mirror and practice until they get better.
The Verdict: $1= too high a price. If Army @ Love showed up again I wouldn’t even buy it for 50 cents. And as I said earlier, I am not against Rick Veitch; he has done some decent work. I never read the second volume, and both of them wound up donated to my local Goodwill store.