On the road, when I met people, I asked them always about the past. Only in this way could the present become comprehensible. (Robert Kaplan, from Balkan Ghosts)
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“Sotillo used to be very cordial to me at the Goulds’ and at the club. How that man’ll ever dare to look any of his friends here in the face I can’t imagine.”
“He’ll no doubt begin by shooting some of them to get over the first awkwardness,” said the doctor. “Nothing in this country serves better your military man who has changed sides than a few summary executions.” (Joseph Conrad, from Nostromo)
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Sipping drinks on the porch in the sunset, Farsheed Shomloo, an immigration lawyer, pointed to a book on the patio table and told Jim, “You should read this new book about Iran, it’s really interesting.” Jim replied:
“I don’t want to read it. I know the outcome already. In Iran, there is beautiful poetry and everything turns out a disaster. Here the poetry is not so beautiful, but people are free to discover the best in themselves; that’s why America has happy endings. Here it’s a negative system: there is no entrenched despotism, no will to dominate. We immigrants can remake the whole country if we want to. It’s ours for the taking, as if there is a perpetual clean slate where nobody is ever owed anything. I’ll tell you, the Iranian revolution was a disaster for Iran and a success for America, because it brought a lot of talented, ambitious Iranians here. Every time there is a disaster in the Third World, it’s a good thing for America, since the best of the middle class finds its way here.” (Robert Kaplan, from An Empire Wilderness)
The writer was pacing. “I have never been a violent man. I don’t believe in violence. Violence does not advance the human condition. Ideas do.”
“Ideas don’t perish in prison cells,” Levanter said. “People do.” (Jerzy Kosinski, from Blind Date)
Welcome back to my annual female positive comics holiday gift list!
So the holidays are upon us again and you’ve decided that in these tough economic times you want to support the comic industry by giving everyone on your list sweet comics. And not only that, but you want to take it one step further and only give female positive comics…well, in that super specific case you’ve found the right list.
What theater do we have besides beauty contests? (Maxine Hong Kingston, from Tripmaster Monkey)
His father smiled thinly. “Perhaps not for a while. But in the end, someone always has to have his or her neck popped, as you so quaintly put it. The people demand it. Sooner or later, if there isn’t a turncoat, the people make one.” (Stephen King, from The Gunslinger)
In case you hadn’t noticed, today is Halloween. It can be hard for me to understand how I can love some horror comic books, yet hold such an aversion to horror movies, so I asked acclaimed horror comic book writer – Steve Niles – if he would to talk about what it is that makes horror comic books so appealing, how he writes, and what we can look forward to from him in the future.
Sonia Harris: It is ironic that horror is probably my most hated genre, yet in comics it is often one I gravitate towards. Perhaps it is because elsewhere there is such a lack of grit.
Steve Niles: There really aren’t many other genres besides superhero in comics. Horror is a great genre. You’re automatically on edge simply because it called horror. The anticipation of being scared is a huge factor.
“Without the right sound, writing is worthless.” Laney gazed at the cream-colored wall. “He fired me, you know. One day there was an Italian novel and I couldn’t read Italian, so he let me go from the job of reading. Joyce fired me from the job for which I was not paid.” (Roger Kahn, from The Boys of Summer)
Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. This month I will be looking at four writer/artist duos, as voted on by you, the readers! This week features Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips! Today’s page is from Fatale #1, which was published by Image and is cover dated January 2012. Enjoy!
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“Stories have no point if they don’t absorb our terror.” (Don DeLillo, from Mao II)
“The question is can you cure the disease before it kills you? Once you set out consciously to cure the disease, as I did even before I knew the word cancer, you run the risk of catching it. Comprende? Whatever you set your mind to, your personal total obsession, this is what kills you. Poetry kills you if you’re a poet, and so on. People choose their death whether they know it or not.” (Don DeLillo, from Libra)
He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden behind the dark mustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother. (George Orwell, from 1984)
Those slightly heavy, slightly watery eyes are enough to make me realize that the drama between the two has not yet ended: he continues coming to this café every evening to see her, to open the old wound again, perhaps also to know who is walking her home this evening; and she comes to this café every evening perhaps deliberately to make him suffer, or perhaps hoping that the habit of suffering will become for him a habit like any other, that it will take on the flavor of the nothingness that has coated her mouth and her life for years. (Italo Calvino, from If on a winter’s night a traveler)
Above him there was now nothing but the sky – the lofty sky, not clear yet still immeasurably lofty, with gray clouds gliding slowly across it. “How quiet, peaceful, and solemn; not at all as I ran,” thought Prince Andrew — “not as we ran, shouting and fighting, not at all as the gunner and the Frenchman with frightened and angry faces struggled for the mop: how differently do those clouds glide across that lofty infinite sky! How was it I did not see that lofty sky before? And how happy I am to have found it at last! Yes! All is vanity, all falsehood, except that infinite sky. There is nothing, nothing, but that. But even it does not exist, there is nothing but peace and quiet. Thank God! …” (Leo Tolstoy, going all emo, from War and Peace)