Friday, October 17, 2008

Don’t go to the bookstore hungry.

Being an impatient and multitasking New Yorker, I ran into Barnes and Nobel to grab a copy of ImagineFX magazine while my take-away lunch was being prepared. I discovered that being in a bookstore with dropping blood sugar incurs pretty much the same result as being in a grocery store hungry — heavy bags and light pockets.

Without thinking I grabbed Watching the Watchman (Yes, I only just read The Watchman and you know what? All those people that have been telling me its brilliant for the past twenty years, they were right.) The Dark Knight Returns, in a feigned attempt to understand my co-workers better (Don't get your hopes up, Pablo. Adam West is the one only Batman, there shall be no others before him.) Exit Wounds, which I know nothing about except the cover has made me pick it up the last five times I stopped into a bookstore. The aforementioned Imagine FX magazine. And, Harry and David peanut butter pretzels, emmmmm...

Now, back in the office with my head clear and my belly full, I’m in a quandary: What do I read first? I already have Sandman (I know, I know, I am so lame) 2666, and Pretty Monsters in mind. I hate having a “to read” pile. It feels too much like a class reading list. I much rather stumble from book to book....Curses to the gods of impulse buying!


ces said...

Now you know how "the pile of books to read" gets so large - I have a huge pile, almost as large as my yarn stash, which is large enough to open a store! And what am I doing? Sitting at the computer eating soft peanut brittle from The Davenport Hotel in Spokane, Washington.

Spending lunch in a bookstore is hard to beat. Congratulations!

leemoyer said...

I haven't seen the new book yet, but I remember savoring each issue as it originally appeared. There's a great deal to be said about Watchmen, beyond its brilliance. But a few key things to looks out for:

The "Fearful Symmetry" issue is indeed symmetrical from the crucial center spread forward and back. Truly breathtaking in its ambition and execution.

The 6 sets of paired covers - the first being the hero's public image, the second his or her private problem.

Look for Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis at the end of Issue 1. :)

Moore's imposition of Indian religion on the old Charleston characters gives them an interesting vitality (and explains Doctor M's color, silk Spectre's choker, Hooded Justice, the Gunga Diner blimp, and much besides. Spectacular throughout.

I envy you your Sandman experience too. Quite a nice pile you've got there!

Leland Purvis said...

The brilliant thing about DarkKnight isn't really the redefinition of the character, it's in the virtuoso use of panel-page mechanics for visual storytelling. Keep an eye out for the pictorial metaphors.

And a 16-panel grid template? Who allows for that much subtlety anymore?

Lana Gramlich said...

Don't worry too much about your "to read" pile. My hubby's a total bookaphile & his piles are numerous & everywhere!

Rachel AKA said...

Great to know I'm not the only lame-o that's 20 years behind on reading what are now "Classics" (eep). The last comic series I remember actually buying and READING every issue... Elfquest (way before the graphic novels) and Chaykin's "American Flagg"- which I thought brilliantly different, then, and so overlooked. Always looked at Dark Knight- & agree w/Leland's comments. Zowie. who needs words?! Hope to see you at IlluXCon :-)

Unknown said...

Now you just have to get Greg to read the Watchmen!

Unknown said...

I'd been eagerly looking forward to "Watching the Watchmen" but ever since I flipped through it at the bookstore, I'm not so sold on it anymore.

It's big, and has lots of purty pitchers in it, but it doesn't seem like it has enough meat to ultimately justify a purchase. (for reference, I bought all the comics as they were coming out 20 years ago, I have two copies of the graphic novel that I loan out, and I also bought the Absolute Edition the day it came out, so I'm not averse to shelling out money for Watchmen).

It seems like the book is maybe twenty or thirty pages with actual INFO about the creation of Watchmen, and then another 200 pages or so of original artwork and thumbnail sketches of the pages that would become the comic. While interesting, I grew disinterested in even flipping through the last half of the book. It all just blended together in a mass of scrawls and shapes. I'm a Watchmen fan, but not a Watchmen scholar, who are the only people I think will actually pour over each page of thumbnail sketches.

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