farewell, old un!

gargling the old time, feeling that sliminess as the patchwork clock nears the end of it. all those ticktocks just been adding up, second by second, grain by grain. it’s all old and cranky, and maybe there’s been some leaks of sand, some cracks and creakers (and don’t let’s please don’t mention those drifty webs draped) and that time stopper’s ready to be placed and wheeled out the room. oooh, pretty glint from the dark corners of the doorway shadow.

so, maybe the winky eyeballs in my head will latch onto something new or maybe they’ll keep veering back in the head, trying to get that old glimpse of those cracked clockers. (indeed, how many nail clippings have i left behind, how many shuffleboards full of sloughed off skin?) well, well, well. veering that ocular sweeping in some interesting direction (interesting? well, find some crazer cooker to hash up some spanning dish; or, pull some dusty bookers off the shelf (blowing off the old dust) and crack those lineament, those slightly rumpled spines, paste your eyes to the engraved whatzits, the queer mimeographs, the cranky daguerrotypes and paste-on clowns…) or so we hope.

find the crutch and sweep it out the door. or hope that the old bloodthumper keeps on doing it’s odd and circuitous thing, it’s lackadaisacal, worrying thing. (not to me, mind…) or maybe swing a rope down past the framings and pull in something fresh. but no hook, we’re through with those and all the smatterings of crocks or gators, too.

heard that spanging tone? there’re some crunchy wallers who’ve already seen the briefest sliver of some kind of evenness, leering or loping or spinning away from that deranged oddness, that trice-bewhiskered statuette. grand tones, or so the masty hopes, grand tones to signal an end to… to… whatever it was.

graphic journalism [book review]

Joe Sacco has done a pretty amazing thing with Safe Area Gorazde: The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995, by merging journalism and the comic medium.

The difference between this book and Brooklyn Dreams, from an autobiographical slant, is that Sacco does all of his own artwork as well. For one thing, he draws himself in a very unappealing light: small and slouched, with huge glasses and thick, wet lips. I recall one image of him laughing, the spit flying fast and furious. I can only think that it’s a counter-swing to the obvious inclination to draw/write oneself in the most positive light possible. Perhaps he makes himself believable (trustable?) by drawing himself in such a way. Or maybe it’s a way of not absolving or distancing himself from the ugliness of the situation in which he finds himself and he writes himself, as he draws himself, unflatteringly.

This is an amazing book and an excellent example of the power that the comic medium has for conveying depth of feeling while simultaneously providing large amounts of information. It’s frustrating to me how often this particular medium is underestimated and disrespected. (Though maybe that’s changing? Also, I’m one to talk: not writing about the “comic books” on my website. Sheesh.)

Apparently, Sacco’s also written a few other books as well. He wrote a book about Palestine, in the Gorazde vein, as well as his most recent book: Notes from a Defeatist, which is apparently a collection of his early short work.

Here’s an interview with Sacco; he describes, among other things, how he got into Gorazde as a member of the UN press corps.


Brooklyn Dreams, or, playing catch-up with the book reviews.

It’s been quite a while since I finished reading the graphic novel Brooklyn Dreams by J. M. Dematteis, so my memory of it is not excellent.

(I don’t normally write about graphic novels–or comic books, if you will–because I read so many of them that I don’t know how I would keep up with THAT.)

Brooklyn Dreams seems autobiographical or is written in an autobiographical mode, which is stereotypically rare for this medium (or at least the kinds of things that I’ve been reading, I suppose). Some of these autobiographical comic books are written and drawn by the same person. This book is written by DeMatteis and drawn by Glenn Barr. Which is intersting, because the language is autobiographical, but the images aren’t. Or at least they’re one remove from being autobiographical (making them biographical?).

The book is very non-linear, featuring an older “Carl Vincent Santini” reflecting on his youthful indiscretions and his extremely dysfunctional, yet loving parents. The black and white artwork is amazing and probably the thing that sticks with me the most upon looking back on it, moving easily between realistic, cartoony and surreal.

Warning: The overarching plot or story of the book is a build to a climax which many may find ultimately disappointing. (I was of two minds about it.) However, I felt that the strength of the details and anecdotes which made up the bulk of the story more than made up for the ending.



mysterioso, the clown-nosed dolphin shape, lurking in the festive underbrush (all those sparkly dewdrop lights just pervert, distort the shadows making it oddly easier to stalk the wild fooblebeast) and singing softly to himself a myriad of rocking christmas tunes. in spite of the souring meteorites (perhaps, scouring would be better?) scrawling the puny lines across the sky, mysterioso plunges deep into his crossword, defying the 5 and 7 and 12 letter limitations. sometimes the word you want just doesn’t fit inside its boxens, you know? do these strange atmospherickal phenoms indicate some darker omen or presaging doomcicle, participle? or do we sit on some kind of bench and wait for the real indicators to arrive, the floating fish and swansons, the buried haberdashers and rubbishdwellers scurrying about the fiveanddimes, with their green coats on?

mysterioso’s just hunched in some kind of pretzel shape and his madness may be his fondness for the inkwell or maybe just the rate of sandpaper waterfalls which flow from out his ears. that scritchscritch–a wallowing, urban sound–would be enough to drive a saint batty. forget hairshirts, you wannabe sainters! indeed, the fluffy coats that are so nice for swimming, i mean, sleeping through the chilly crunchy night, THOSE coats are worth fighting for, worth trampling for at the first exposure of the store. be serious, you, about that shopping experience and be sure to fetch your caltrops and monkeygangers to ope the way. there’s no rules in love and war and shopping, or so they say. every new day brings a tale of some poor bugger blown away by a discount stampede, forget courtesy and lob your smoke grenades.

some would say those green monkey jackets are twee or quaint or stylishly bourgeois and, heaven forfend, tacky! but we know better, we purveyors of and caterers to those guerilla fashionistas. (though, if a greenmarker is sitting at YOUR breakfast table with scads of munitions strapped to belt and clumpy hat, ‘m guessing you’d be on your best behavior, too)

all’s well on boolyland, my friends and quaking oaters!