Saturday, 1 October 2011

The good things in life

Woahhh. September has been a busy old month, both personally and in terms of stuff coming out. Let me clarify that last sentence. I mean there's been loads of activity in the world of comics, great TV (being broadcast on UK stations), books, music, so much 'stuff'.

It gets a little overwhelming sometimes. I recall Dara O'Briain doing a routine about the amount of stuff in his life - new technology, music, films, books, the internet - and the fact that it's impossible to keep up with everything. Then it overwhelms you and you long for the days when you had to buy a newspaper to read the news, go to the cinema to watch the latest films, and browse in book and record shops to find the latest new thing. Imagine that!

Now, I love the fact that almost any information I require is available at the touch of a few buttons on a keyboard or the touch screen of my phone. And I can view, sample, listen to watch things before I buy them online - fab. But I also love to SLOWLY browse in real bookshops and charity shops, rifle through second hand CD racks, and leisurely pick my way through the treasure trove that are the back issue boxes in my local comic shop.And I think all the above activities can happily co-exist.

Anyway, as I was saying, September has been an exceptionally busy month for cool stuff. Not least because of the huge relaunch of DC Comics entire line of monthly comics. 52 in total. Now I haven't bought them all, my budget would not allow it. But I have checked out more of them than I first thought I would. And some of the best titles have been the ones that have completely taken me by surprise. Titles which I thought I would check out the first issue and then drop straight away. A case in point is Animal Man by Jeff Lemire, with art by Travel Foreman. I was not familiar with either of these guys work, but boy they have produced a truly great comic as far as I'm concerned and judging by reaction on the internet a lot of people agree. I really wasn't expecting this book to be as good as it is. Animal Man is not a character I've had much exposure to but he is really interesting, certainly not your typical superhero in a Superman or Avengers sense. We meet him as a family man, concerned with environmental issues and torn between his hero guise and his home life. He is really well developed as a character in this first issue by Lemire and the art is fantastic, again because it isn't the slick superhero type art that you expect from the main DC and Marvel titles. I'm really excited to see how these guys develop this book.

I'm still reading this weeks DC titles but so far my favourites of the relaunch are Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Nightwing, Batman, Detective Comics, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Batwoman. Oh Batwoman. If you've never read a comic before I would heartily recommend Batwoman because it is absolutely gorgeous. A stunning achievment by JH Williams III which proves comics are an art-form.

I also read the new masterpiece by George Pelecanos this month. It's called The Cut and I'll be posting a review of it here soon.

Finally, for now, Hard Case Crime have this month released a brand-spanking new Lawrence Block book, writing as Jill Emerson. It is titled Getting Off and the cover alone is enough to make you want to buy the damn thing. You can’t deny it. Unfortunately it’s not released in the UK until January so I may have to utilise a popular online auction site to get my hands on a copy before then. You can read a sample chapter here and see the cover below. I told you.

Finally, again, I overheard somebody saying "Well the thing is, she likes the good things in life." My good lady pointed out what a strange saying this is. And she's right. I mean who doesn't like the good things in life? Are there people wandering around professing to like the bad things in life? It strikes me that it is something said from a position of jealousy and envy by frugal people about their more carefree friends. Well, I like the good things in life and I am not going to apologise for it. I will continue to indulge in the good things in life and tell you about them here.

I'm done for now.

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