Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Damn You, Diamond Comics!

First, many thanks to Lisa and Craig at Neptune Comics for the warm reception and good conversation. Second, DAMN YOU, DIAMOND COMICS!

"What's wrong, CBV?" you ask. (Note: This was originally posted on MySpace, where my handle is Comic Book Villain.)

Well, in most instances, having an appearance to promote a new trade paperback on a Wednesday would be the thing to do. Even if nobody's coming specifically to see you, there's bound to be people in a comic store on Wednesday. For, as the initiated know, Wednesday is COMIC BOOK DAY!! HOORAY!

But not 'HOORAY'. Not even 'Yeah' or 'hmmm'. Diamond Comics, the distributor for any and all things comic book related, didn't ship Neptune's delivery. ARGGGH!

Now, rather than keep quiet in the hopes of tricking people into coming anyway, Lisa and Craig did the right thing. They e-mailed their customer base and let them know what was up. In fact, they offered a discount for anyone who'd like to stop in and look around (and possibly meet Al, Randy and myself). Pretty solid on their part.

Turns out people just want their comics. This is understandable. So, long story short, Workshed didn't exactly get to press the flesh (unless you count handing a credit card to the George Webb's waitress next door).

Lisa and Craig were gracious hosts, and I think it's safe to speak for Al and Randy when I say that we all had a good time talking comics, industry and West Allis with them. Fine folks at a very cool store (an impressive selection of comics and associated merch).

All things considered, we should have seen this coming. Al, Randy and I, up to this point, had never appeared as a group to promote anything we worked on. Even if Workshed has been around in one shape or another for seven years, we're still in for some dues-paying. On a positive note, Sawdust: The Workshed Anthology is now available at Neptune Comics. You now have no excuse, Waukesha, Wisconsin.

So, once again, thanks to Lisa and Craig at Neptune, and here's to the next Workshed Studio appearance paying down the newbie debt even further.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Meet Workshed Studio Wednesday, September 26th

Workshed Studio (myself, Alan Evans, and Randy Malave Jr.) will be signing copies of Sawdust: The Workshed Anthology and meeting some of the fine comic book-reading folks of Wisconsin on Wednesday, September 26th. Stop on by:

Neptune Comics
141 E. Sunset Drive

Waukesha, WI

Unfortunately, we couldn't secure the pony ride permits, but it should be a fun time nonetheless. Festivities kick off at 6pm. Come talk comics and feed our egos.

No Country For Old Men - Cormac McCarthy

At this point, it may well be silly to recommend this book. It's been out for almost two and a half years, and the movie adaptation (by the Coen brothers – HOORAY!) will be in theatres in a few short months. On top of that, Cormac McCarthy has jumped on the Oprah train with his most recent book, The Road. The publicity machine running behind this phenomenal author and his amazing work doesn't seem to be hurting for fuel. All that being said; this book is so good that it would be wrong of me to read it and not say something.

Cormac McCarthy is the kind of author that people will teach classes about (perhaps they already do) and his work will be dissected for meaning, nuance and style. I'd say he was an exemplar of a certain crop of writers working the themes of dying culture, dried-up hopes and barren psychological landscapes, but he's not. He's not an 'exemplar', because no one else does what he does. Sure, some try, but no matter how much they get right, there is something altogether different and in my opinion, better about McCarthy's writing.

On it's face, No Country For Old Men is a story of a man who finds a case of money left from a drug deal gone bad and makes a fateful decision that alters his own and the lives of the people around him. But then it's more. McCarthy is famous for his reticence to discuss his work, and hearing opinions like mine, making it out to be grander in scope than probably intended is doubtless one of the reasons why. But here goes…

I easily viewed the protagonist, Llewelyn Moss, as a Promethean character. He's an everyman, stuck in his strata and desperate for more than life gave him. Desperate enough to steal the fire of the gods. Unfortunately, the gods in this time and place are gods of greed, violence and amorality. Moss is quickly out of his depth. There are no supernatural elements to the story (unless you count Anton Chigurh, the downright spooky killer on Moss's trail), but the willingness to wade into the morass of bloody retribution and risk what little he has at the story's beginning will make you question Moss's sanity. Chigurh is a representation of the forces that ordinary men have no business butting up against. He's long past humanity, in fact long past even the code of conduct expected of a man in his line of dirty work. The final member of the trio of perspectives is Ed Tom Bell, the sheriff whose life is turned upside down amid the chaos that ensues. Sheriff Bell is the standard set for community and order in an increasingly violent and, to him, senseless world. You can hear Bell's bones ache every time he reads a newspaper, every time he hears about the latest transgression against the people he protects. These three men represent the stages of a world going mad. The old guard, the new return to savagery, and the point at which one embraces the other.

Questions of humanity regressing back to animalistic impulse are prevalent in McCarthy's work; the battle to hold on to ethical and moral standards seems to be going badly. At the end of the day, the visions of violence and depravity presented serve to contrast and enhance the dwindling few who strive to do right. There is something mythic at work in No Country For Old Men.