Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday Morn Links, Interviews, Dreams
Bryan Talbot, Jaime Hernandez, Hydras, Martians and Oz

So, it turns out I've had time this week thus far after all to post a few posts. Still, I'll be erratic at posting the rest of the week, so let me take advantage of this early AM access while I can. Also, I wonder: how did the concert go at The Tinder Box Saturday night? Damn, wish we could have gone!

Talbot Talk
  • My second interview with Bryan Talbot is finally up online at the new, and well worth a read --
  • -- we're not sure why this didn't make the leap to the new site before amid PaneltoPanel's transition and recreation, but here 'tis. Bryan and I chat about The Naked Artist, his grandly entertaining 2007 book composed of 'best of' stories from fellow comics pros about the industry, the conventions, the fans and each other!

    As you'll note, it's 'Part 2' of my lengthy interview with Bryan;
  • here's Part 1, in which Bryan's remarkable Alice in Sunderland is discussed --
  • -- which is a compelling, multi-level companion piece to Alan Moore's novel The Voice of Fire and other works (including portions of From Hell). Also interesting to note, now that I've revisited almost all of Neil Gaiman's works in the process of co-authoring The Prince of Stories for St. Martin's Press, how Bryan's Alice resonates with much of Neil's autobiographical and semi-autobiographical work, too, from Mr. Punch to the only published chapter of Sweeney Todd (in Taboo 7). Bryan stretches the idiom into fresh directions on almost every page; it's compulsive reading and a visual feast, required reading for any and all Alice devotees. In any case, check out Bryan's Alice in Sunderland if you haven't already, it's one of the best of 2007.

  • And just to round out this morning's overview of all things Talbot, here's a fresh link to my May 2, 2007 Myrant interview with Bryan about his underground UK era, illustrated with samples of his work from that period. All good reading!

  • PaneltoPanel Jabbers with Jaime

  • Jaime Hernandez fans, take note and click this link: PaneltoPanel's Jon Mathewson talks to Jaime about Love & Rockets, his influences and his work --
  • -- and note that Jaime has also done an exclusive bookplate for the new Love & Rockets Collection, The Education of Hopey Glass, available with Jaime's signed bookplate exclusively from
  • What are you waiting for? Yet another reason PaneltoPanel is my fave online comics and graphic novel retailer.

    Oh, wait, one more thing:

  • Here's one other PaneltoPanel online goodie, for your reading pleasure this AM: an excerpt from a great article on the history of Wonder Woman by Philip Crawford, librarian at the Essex High School and author of Graphic Novels 101.
  • I met Philip at a VT librarian's conference I spoke at in the fall of 2007, and this whets my appetite for reading more of his work.

    More Bissette Dreams

    Now that I've got some breathing space for a week, my brainspew/dreaming is livelier than ever. It's been vivid, intense and mucho fun -- here's a couple I awoke from with crystal clear memories of last dreams of the morning, condensed a bit so they're semi-coherent.

    Marge and I are in a huge warehouse, working with a group of fellow survivors of some unspoken-of societal upheaval. Though we've kept it together and have it pretty good, manifestations of some sort of super-sized microscopic life forms are starting to erupt into our safe space. Having just exterminated one intrusion, at the cost of a few lives, we're suddenly confronted by something that looks like a tiny hydra (much like those I used to watch through my microscope, in the Duxbury pond water; translucent, multi-tentacled, like the branches at the top of a stubby tree) grown to monstrous size. I glimpse it newly-grown from a drain between two of the warehouse shelving units: it is clear like crystal, wavering its arms in the air as if tasting it for our presence. "Run!" I whisper, slamming the shoulders of the teenagers in front of me, and we bolt down the aisle alongside the shelves, and behind me the hydra tentacles are already stretching around the corner and after us. The damned thing catches Cory (black-haired kid we all like) and absorbs him; we can't do a thing, save outdistance the reach of the thing. We return armed with flame-throwers and a pouch of a chemical mixture in crystal form; with these, we succeed in sending the thing back into the drain, and topple the shelves over the opening. Marge is counseling one of the survivors of the skirmish, Cory's best friend; she calls me over, alarmed: tiny, barely visible tendrils of the hydra are wavering from the boy's nostrils, intangible but definitely there, feeding on his fear. The creatures have taken root in our imaginations, like a contagion.

    Another dream:

    I am at some sort of sprawling educational/shopping complex, which seems to be comprised of antique dealers shopfronts, school entryways, and a weird conglomeration of government offices and kitchens to restaurants that never open. I spot a fellow I know works at the shop I need to reach before they close today; he sees me, waves, and then runs madly to the shop, dashing through kitchens, back rooms and staff break rooms. I drop down on all fours and sort of lizard/crab walk at super-speed after him; we're both enjoying the game, but he maintains his lead ahead of me, staying just out of reach. When he arrives at his breakroom, he shuts the door and grins through the narrow vertical glass window: I can't get into the shop this way. I get back up on my feet and look around for the public entrance to the multi-dealer antique shop he works at, remembering a Wizard of Oz item I'd glimpsed last time that I wanted to pick up as a birthday gift for Donna Lucas, if the price wasn't too dear.

    In searching for the entrance, I stumble into a school for 'unusual' children, nice kids ages 12 and under, their teacher an articulate fellow who seems to have Downe's Syndrome, though his speech and behavior isn't in any way compromised. His student is an 11-year-old boy with extremely course, thick hair all over his face and body, like a little werewolf. They point out the door that leads out of the school and up to an outdoors stucco stairway; at the top of the stairs is the rear entrance to the antique mall. "Hurry up, they close in ten minutes," the werewolf boy tells me. Outside, Ana Mereno
    [in real life, poet, comics scholar, Dartmouth professor and amazing part of CCS's support network] is huddled by the back stairs; we chat, but I begin to wonder if this is really Ana. She seems to be eager to find some comics, saying she never had any as a child. This isn't Ana -- she's read and written about comics all her life! Could this be Ana's sister? She shakes her head furtively when I ask, her eyes suddenly fearful; I don't press the point. She says she's Ana, but she clearly isn't. No problem; I'll help her find some comics in the shop.

    We go in together, and find by the doorway we've just entered a huge glass-windowed dealer's cabinet that has only a few items displayed. We open it up, and I immediately find a children's album from the 1890s with some odd, strangely-colored dinosaur paintings in the back pages, but Ana hands me something cooler: a printed 1910 Wizard of Oz in the War of the Worlds, a fully-illustrated book in which the H.G. Wells martians and their war machines enter Oz. The art is wonderful -- two-color watercolor paintings and full-color lithographic art, fey and evoking an encounter between the denizens of Oz and the martians in which the Red Planet warriors are pacified by Oz. One page depicts one of the martian tripods overgrown with Oz-vines, which are blossoming. Ana has unfolded the pages in a single accordion-fold carefully draped from the display table to the floor; she is enchanted by the book, and no longer cares if we find any comics, though she only wants to look at the book, she doesn't care to own it. It's closing time, though, so I have to decide quickly if I can afford this book for Donna's birthday. In seeking a price tag, I am surprised that the book isn't in English. What language is this in? The antique shop manager who comes to us to let us know they're closing takes an interest, too, and tells us it's not any language: the book is typeset with blocks of meaningless type, slugs meant to indicate only where type will go. This is a proof of a planned book, perhaps never written or published! It's only $35, I have to pick it up for Donna. What a rarity!

    Have a marvelous Monday, one and all...

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