May 2nd, 2010

Whale fluke

Comic books want to be free!

At least they want to be free one day a year. And hey, finally I took advantage of that! Attended an hour or so yesterday of Free Comic Book Day at the Hollywood Things From Another World. (I've said it before, I'll say it again: I want as an in-joke for a Dark Horse Comic to use the initials for Things From Another World as a sound effect. A spaceship jumps to light-speed or something and makes the sound "TFAW!") I met Whiteout artist Steve Lieber and talked to him about Pittsburgh, how an artist's life can be like solitary confinement if you're not careful ("In jail, you punish prisoners by putting them in solitary. Artists do that voluntarily all the time."), and how Robert E. Howard probably would've liked The Incredible Hulk. (I recommended Howard's boxing stories to Lieber. He said most boxing stories he'd read usually ended with the boxer dying. "Or spiritual death," he said slightly ruefully. I assured him that Howard's boxing stories weren't like that.) I also talked more with Shannon Wheeler, who created Too Much Coffee Man -- we'd met before, via the Battlestar Galactica screenings at the Bagdad last year -- and Erika Moen of DAR, who's also Lieber's co-worker at Periscope Studios, so they're artists who make sure to be around people when they work.

I did pick up a few of the free comics that were put out for the day. And because comics need more support than just reading them, I bought a couple: a new issue and a back issue of The Dark Tower. I've slowly been expanding my comics purchasing, because I like comics and want to support them, and when I can I buy individual issues. Individual issues of comics nowadays don't sell as well, though the stories sell better later when they're collected into larger books, but many stories wouldn't make it to book collections in the first place unless they sell OK individually. Thus, this. (I credit Peter David, Writer of Stuff for really driving that home. He's one of the creators I regularly support. Have so since 1991. Whoa. That's been a while.)

I haven't mentioned the pirates. Or the guy from the Alter Egos Society who showed up in a full faux-metal (with some metal) suit of armor. Or the occasional use of a whip -- outside the store, thank goodness. I've mentioned it now. It was a heck of a thing, Free Comic Book Day as celebrated at the Hollywood TFAW. I think I did mention that.
TOS: NCC-1701

More re: yesterday

Not only did I attend Free Comic Book Day yesterday, I treated myself to dinner at the Moon & Sixpence. Also inadvertently treated myself to music. An ensemble of people on guitars and cello were playing in the pub. Sometimes I kept time to what they were playing and singing. Oh: so that's what "Sweet Georgia Brown" sounds like. I'd heard the tune, but not heard it by name before yesterday. More is now known.

I also had good luck catching buses and Max trains. The longest I had to wait for one was four minutes. Most of them I caught in less than a minute. One time that required running, but I can do that when needed.

After getting home, I finished Gregory Maguire's Wicked sequel Son of a Witch -- lovely, sad book, though I preferred Wicked -- and saw the final episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Took just over two years, on and off, for me to watch the whole series. (I checked. My 2008 self documented when I started.) The seventh season of Buffy was, frustratingly, a not-quite-soup season: several episodes felt like they'd needed a few more rewrites to smooth out their stories. The show was trying to do different things, but not always working: the episode "Him" tried, I thought, too hard to be wacky, and as funny as Buffy could be, it had trouble being wacky. From what I've seen and heard, the final season of Angel more consistently succeeded in being offbeat while working well dramatically; I wonder if the show runners had learned some lessons from Buffy Season 7. But the actual Buffy finale -- which I'll finished watching with creator Joss Whedon's commentary today -- still mostly works for me, even after the frustrations of the season overall. I wish it had been a smoother ride to that finale, but a particular moment, especially with the music that's used for it -- a key part of the finale's score goes into sweeping Last of the Mohicans territory -- reminded me why I've been fond of this show.

So: a good day, for a few more reasons.

Get your Gothic on: The return of blogdracula

Experience a novel in real time.

Via my friend p_m_cryan comes blogdracula, the original 1897 story by Bram Stoker presented in LJ form. The novel takes place from May to November one year late in the 19th century, and is presented in epistolary form, via letters, journal entries, newspaper articles, recordings (a proto-form of LPs, you could say) and more. Cryan explains further:
In 2005, dietsch directed me to a link for Dracula Blogged, which posted Bram Stoker's novel DRACULA in "real time," based on the dated journal entries, letters, telegrams and newspaper clippings that appear in the book.

In 2006, two extraordinary and dedicated bloggers, elettaria and eye_of_a_cat, took it upon themselves to create a LiveJournal community to do the same thing... dracula1897... creating character LJs, creating gorgeous wallpapers and icons, and sponsoring discussion with a membership and readership of more than 1000 bloggers.

Due to time constraints, neither has been able to run the project since, and I missed it dreadfully. Even though Dracula Blogged was and is still up and running, it wasn't quite the same as the give-and-take in dracula1897, nor did it give me the insights into gothic literature as a whole that I got in 2006.

I'm in need of a bit of magic in my life. So I'm going to try to generate some of my own.
Having participated enthusiastically in dracula1897, I can vouch for this being an often fascinating way to experience a work. I've loved the original Dracula since first reading it in college, and as I usually am cold towards vampire literature, I find that a testament to the novel's power. You can experience, or re-experience, that for yourself.

blogdracula. Because there can always be more Gothic in life.
iAm iSaid

A request to my friends who've seen Dr. Horrible

Thoughts about it? Reviews of it? I'm pondering what I think of it.

For the non-initiated: I'm asking about Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, a short film Joss Whedon and friends and family of his made in 2008. It's a superhero-and-supervillain story. With songs.

(In other news, SpellCheck recognizes "superhero" but not "supervillain." Anti-villain discrimination, there...grr, argh...)