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What I’m reading – Portland Noir; The More Than Complete Action Philosophers!

There’s nothing cooler than reading!

02-08-2010 12;13;53PM 02-08-2010 12;15;09PM

I bought Portland Noir last year at San Diego because there’s a Jamie Rich/Joëlle Jones story in it (and Rich signed it for me), but I also love Portland, as I’ve mentioned before, so this is a fun book. I’ve only read a couple of stories, but so far they’re less totally noir-ish and more just crime-ish. But they’re still pretty keen, and it’s fun to read about places I recognize. There’s a whole series of these books, from the original (set in Brooklyn) to plenty of foreign places (Istanbul, Dublin, Trinidad) to my current city, Phoenix (which I believe has come out already; it’s listed as “forthcoming” in the front of the book). See if your city is represented!

I’m also slowly reading The More Than Complete Action Philosophers!, which is quite awesome. I’m reading it slowly because I’ve already read it, so there’s no hurry. I haven’t figured out which stories are new, however, because I haven’t gone back to the single issues and compared and contrasted. There are new stories, though – so swears the advertising! The interesting thing about the compilation is that it’s in chronological order, which the original issues were not. So some of the stories are much older than the one before or after it, and you can actually see Ryan Dunlavey get more confident as he goes along. If you’ve ever wondered why Brian loves Fred van Lente so much but don’t feel like giving money to an evil corporate entity like Marvel, pick this sucker up. It’s hilarious AND edumacational!

What are y’all reading this week? Enquiring minds want to know!


Finished Vineland by Thomas Pynchon today. Not really in the process of reading anything else yet.

Been meaning to pick up The More Than Complete Action Philosophers! & Logicomix, being the philosophical savant that I am, I just haven’t gotten around to them yet. One day though…

I’m waiting for my HeavyInk shipment to arrive. No idea when that might be, since I’m in the midst of the snowpocalypse.

Tom Fitzpatrick

February 8, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Started reading Final Crisis hardcover.

Having the time of my life reading The Spider Chronicles anthology. It is awesome in a bloody bullet-riddled box.

On deck: The Cross Plains Universe from Monkeybrain books.

Finishing up the Human Target: Chance Meetings trade. I’ve read the stories before, but now they’re in one handsome and affordable package. And there’s a “1” on the spine, so the potential success of the in-name-only television version might get us all of Milligan’s run in trade! Huzzahhhh!

I’m not currently embroiled in a book that doesn’t have pictures, but I’ll soon get back to my sci-fi marathon, I suspect.

Its good to see the Akashic Noir books getting some love. I have picked up Baltimore, Boston, DC, simply because of George Pelecanos, Laura Lippman, and Dennis Lehane. Now I will have to pick up Portland Noir as well.

When Brian did his Fred Van Lente freak out a while ago Action Philosophers was the title that caught my eye.

Im reading Young Liars vol. 1 and Andrian Tomine’s 32 Stories the complete Optic Nerve Mini-Comics.

The Luna Brothers Sword, volume 1 on the rec from Nina Stone. So far it’s pretty frickin awesome.


February 8, 2010 at 9:20 pm

I just finished George Pelecanos’s The Big Blow Down, and am starting it’s follow up, King Suckerman.
They’re part of his ‘Washington Quartet’, and the first one was pretty good, and a couple of chapters in to the second, there’s been a lot of talk about blaxploitation cinema (it’s set in the 70’s), so I think that’s a good sign.
(Pelecanos was a writer on The Wire, which is the best cop show EVER).

Also read Micheal Chabon’s Wonder Boys, which was a bit of a mistake. I like Chabon’s novels, but I really love the film, which I’d seen a heap of times, and I just couldn’t shake the film from my head, and everything’s much more fun in the film, so it was a lot more enjoyable.

I was pretty hung over on Saturday, so I did a fair bit of comic reading with GL:Secret Origins (Horrible. And I like Johns run), New Krypton: Mon-El (Horrible. Like a child wrote it – things just happen, and then other things happen… and every now and again you get the feeling it has the potential to be good, when Mon El is the central character, but then it just isn’t), and The Great Fables Crossover, which was alright, but I don’t read Jack, and it all seemed a lot more integral to his book than it did to Fables, although Stinky becoming Brock Blueheart is pretty funny.

Im reading Young Liars vol. 1 and Andrian Tomine’s 32 Stories the complete Optic Nerve Mini-Comics.

That’s some good reads right there.

Comicwise, re-reading Ellis’ Thunderbolts run, after that I intend to re-read 7 soldiers, Morrison’s Batman & Final Crisis.
Novel wise, I may start Gaiman’s M for Magic, which I picked up quite cheaply at Chapters.

I’m reading Die Verwandlung (Metamorphois) by Franz Kafka in a dual language collection of his best short stories, partly to practice my German reading but also just to enjoy some Kafka. I’ve also got Crumb’s Kafka, so I plan to get around to that at some stage.

I’m about to finish the final trade of The Invisibles. It’s excellent, but definitely not for everybody.

Next I’ll be reading The Roaring 90s by Stiglitz, followed by The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and then Martin Meredith’s The State of Africa.

I also need to finish Berlin: City of Stones by Lutes (I started it but got caught up in The Invisibles), and I plan to borrow Scott Pilgrim from a colleague to see if it takes my fancy.

I plan to pick up the Action Philosophers hardcover.

FGJ: That’s good to know about Wonder Boys. I really enjoyed the movie, and I probably won’t bother with the book.

I thought the Wonder Boys movie was faithful to the book, and a very good adaptation. It’s been years since I’ve seen or read them, but I liked both quite a bit.

I just finished the Great Fables Crossover, and I thought it was one of the weaker Fables stories. I don’t read Jack of Fables, and nothing in the Crossover made me want to (except Babe, the Miniature Blue Ox). Greg, I don’t read your Fables reviews because I don’t want to know what happens next (and you’re good about putting in spoiler warnings, but I avoid reviews of series I get in trade just in case), but I must know: did Fables get better after the crossover? If the quality doesn’t improve, I might drop it.

I think that the five part Witches storyline was a good. You get some cool moments in those issues. What was disapointing is that it kind of just stopped. It didn’t really end. There’s a two issue break going on right now (I guess thats what you could call it).

Interestingly enough, I’m also reading More Than Complete Action Philosophers! Just entered the modern chapter. Very good stuff. Fred Van Lente is a phenomenal writer.

Before Action Philosophers, I flew through Kazu Kibuishi’s Copper. I expected strips like the ones Kibuishi puts in the Flight anthologies (lo and behold, at least one of the Flight strips is reprinted here), but the earlier stuff is a lot darker than I anticipated, like a depressing version of The Twilight Zone. There’s almost always a twist in the final panel that makes you say, “Oh. Wow. That’s sad.”

I’ve been balancing my comics and actual book intake lately, so before Copper I read Moneyball for the first time. Fascinating look at the world of baseball statistics (and not nearly as boring as the description would lead you to believe!). Next on my stack is Game of Shadows, all as part of my lead-up to baseball season.

Matthew Johnson

February 9, 2010 at 7:45 am

I had a few criticism of Action Philosphers, but overall I enjoyed it a lot. Always nice to see more non-fiction comics.

My bus reading is “Pagans and Christians” by Robin Lane Fox, my bedtime reading “Dreamsongs Volume 1″ (George R.R. Martin), my bathroom reading “On War’ by Clausewitz (two pages a day!) and my downstairs reading is a couple of recent New York Times magazines I picked up for a dollar each from a local mag shop that resells them illegally (well, extra-contractually, anyway.)

Mike: The issue right after the crossover is a standalone story that introduces the Boxers, and it’s an immediate return to form for the title. The Great Fables Crossover was boring and far too long and focused too much on Jack, who works best in tiny doses, but once it was over, it went right back to being a very good book.

Matthew: I really like Pagans and Christians. A nice, meaty history book. Good stuff!

Just finished ‘I’m still the greatest says Johnny Angelo’ by Nik Cohn, and have just started ‘Me, Cheeta’ by James Lever. On the comics front, Jack Kirby’s Losers and the first volume Essential Punisher.
Also trying to do a Masters in Philosophy so I’m digging Strawson on ‘Freedom and Resentment’!!!

Thanks, Greg & Mario! Good to know the crossover is an aberration.


February 9, 2010 at 4:56 pm

I thought the Wonder Boys movie was faithful to the book, and a very good adaptation. It’s been years since I’ve seen or read them, but I liked both quite a bit.

Plot-wise, they are very much the same, only the evening with his is-laws is missing from the film as a major scene, as well as the film missing the hilarious scene with Grady, Q and Walter Gaskell in the greenhouse,
Tone wise, the book is much more depressing though.
In the film, Grady’s a loveable loser, and everyone just roles their eyes at his antics, in the book, he’s just a loser, and one by one people stop liking him, or lose respect for him – by the end of the novel, Crabtree has no time or interest in Grady, whereas in the film, their buddies all the way through.
Also, the films ending is a lot more happy for the character, whereas with the novel, he seems a little ambivalent as to how it all turns out.

I think if you read the book first, you’d think the film adaptation was fine, but going the other way, the book’s got a much darker, sadder tone – even in scenes that are almost identical.

The Great Fables Crossover was boring and far too long and focused too much on Jack, who works best in tiny doses, but once it was over, it went right back to being a very good book.

What really annoyed me, was that Kevin Thorne was introduced – rather aimlessly – in Fables, and then must have continued on in Jack, which I find odd, and rather annoying, as I like Fables, but after two trades, was bored with Jack’s book.
Obviously, Willingham wants people to be reading both, but they are so different in style and content, I think it’s a bit much to expect everyone to do so, and I think the crossover suffered from it.
From no explanation of who or what the literals were, to casual mentions of incest (which I assume played out as a funnier joke in Jack), it was just a shambles of a read.

Color me annoyed at just finding out there’s a “more than complete” Action Philosophers, just when I thought I had it all – couldn’t they just have released the new material on it’s own?
Anyway, currently reading – for the first time all the way through rather than just parts – McLuhan’s “Understanding Media.” Still fascinating after all these years. Also working through Essential Man-Thing vol. 2.

Right now I’m reading 52 from start to end, most of John Orstrander’s The Spectre, I”m also into House of Leaves and pretty much all of Michael Moorcock’s Elric saga.

House of Leaves terrified me. Man, I love it, but it scared the crap out of me. Good stuff!

52 volume one!
Justice League Internaitonal! (i’ve been reading that for weeks!)

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