“Well he said, ‘One thing, before I graduate / Never let your fear decide your fate.’”
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Lookin’ to Connect: Alex Ross Edition! Starman #57-62, Justice League of America #12a-12b and Superman #681/Action Comics #871/Supergirl #35
This is the latest installment of a feature where I spotlight interconnecting covers. I will feature three selections each installment, with my current plan being to feature one diptych, one triptych and one tetraptych (or larger). Here is an archive of all of the covers listed so far. I am sure you have suggestions for future editions, so feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions for future installments. Don’t post suggestions in the comments section!
This edition is all Alex Ross covers!
Last week I was finally walking again and able to pick up three weeks of saved comic books! In the haze of ankle sprain and grouchy tiredness, it was incredibly blissful to lie in bed reading the ongoing stories of some comic books that I know I love. Just for fun, and because I’ve been reading a lot of older comic books lately, I thought I’d give you a quick one paragraph synopsis of each book I read. I have to say, it was a very good month. Maybe I’m good at picking out books I like, but I have to say, this was a very entertaining batch and had me rethinking my questions about the quality of the years books…
All art is quite useless. (Oscar Wilde, from The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Life is like invading Russia. A blitz start, massed shakos, plumes dancing like a flustered henhouse; a period of svelte progress recorded in ebullient despatches as the enemy falls back; then the beginning of a long, morale-sapping trudge with rations getting shorter and the first snowflakes upon your face. The enemy burns Moscow and you yield to General January, whose very fingernails are icicles. Bitter retreat. Harrying Cossacks. Eventually you fall beneath a boy-gunner’s grapeshot while crossing some Polish river not even marked on your general’s map. (Julian Barnes, from Talking It Over)
Oh, yes, it’s time once again for something crazy like this. Brace yourselves! You might want to get a glass of water and some provisions before you start reading. It’s a long one, in case you can’t guess.
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Today I’m going to talk about two entirely disparate comic books. Mostly I want to recommend this lovely new book Level Up, by Gene Yang and Thien Pham, but before I get to that, here is something interesting.
Everyone take a deep breath. Here we go!
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“We met long ago,” said Galip. “When we first met, your legs looked so thin and so delicate that I was afraid they would break. Your skin was rough when you were a kid, but as you got older, after we graduated from middle school, your complexion became rosy and incredibly fine. If they took us to the beach on hot summer days when we went crazy from playing indoors, coming back with ice-cream cones we bought at Tarabya, we would scratch letters with our long nails into the salt on each other’s arms. I loved the fuzz on your skinny arms. I loved the peachy color of your suntanned legs. I loved the way your hair spilled over your face when you reached for something on the shelf above my head.”
“We should have met long ago.”
“I used to love the strap marks left on your shoulders by the bathing suit you borrowed from your mother, the way you absentmindedly tugged at your at your hair when you were nervous, the way you caught between your middle finger and thumb a speck of tobacco left by your filterless cigarette on the tip of your tongue, the way your mouth fell open watching a movie, the way you unwittingly scarfed up the roasted garbanzos and nuts in the dish under your hand while you read a book, the way you kept losing your keys, the way you screwed up your eyes to see because you refused to accept you were nearsighted. When you narrowed your eyes on a distant point and absconded for parts unknown, I understood that you were thinking of something else, and I loved you apprehensively. Oh my God! I loved with fear and trepidation what I couldn’t know of your mind as much as I loved what I did know.” (Orhan Pamuk, from The Black Book)
The difference between men and sheep seems to be that men, unlike sheep, need not be led to the slaughter but are carried there on the wings of their own enthusiasm. (William Gerhardie, from God’s Fifth Column)
Last week, on my last day in London visiting the house I grew up in, I decided to tackle my comic book collection. This is a pretty sparse little pile of boxes, taking up some space in my dad’s office. I really wasn’t sure what state they’d be in, or how I’d be able to find them (my dad’s way of storing things is… interesting to say the least), but I was pretty determined. After a day of moving the things that were in front of and on top of the boxes (it turned out he’d put boards on top of them and made them a table to hold a tv and other assorted detritus), we managed to unearth a rather neat little time capsule spanning my comic book collecting years of 1981-1995. Continue Reading »
In 1986, when John Byrne’s revamp of Superman came out, I was so excited. I was a teenager, and I suppose my taste was pretty cheesy at times. That’s my excuse anyway, because I know that once I had The Man of Steel miniseries in my sweaty little hands, he seemed to be so busy coming up with updated rationales for everything, that he skimped on any kind of character development or compelling creativity… It left me feelings deflated, and I didn’t get my bounce back till Byrne did his double magic act, taking on both Action Comics and Superman. Continue Reading »