A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Monday, September 29, 2008


A couple of items today. I realize I haven't done any substantial blogging recently, but one doesn't make up the news, one merely reports. I've really done nothing I'm compelled to write about. Alas, alas. September was a bust!

* Love the Way You Love, Side B came out last week, as you know, and this week, Book Pirate reviews Side A:

"Overall this is a decent graphic novel. Originally the three volumes were pretty slim and make for a quick reading. In this collection that combines the first three volumes, it feels much more substantial. My only real problem is with the two main characters Tristan and Isobel who I find to be slightly on the annoying side of things...he rest of the cast provide the humor and help move the plot along. They are the ones who are working behind Tristan and Isobel’s back to actually make things happen. I feel that they are the ones that hold this book together."

Well, can't please them all. Still, Colin, you better look out next time I'm drunk!

I finally saw Side B today and I really like how it printed. The cover colors are sublime.

* Joëlle Jones updated her blog to make sure people know that her book Token for the now-defunct Minx line has not been canceled as some have reported. There seems to be this sense that it was like Paul Levitz suddenly screamed out, "Stop the presses!" and everything was stopped dead. Token was finished, solicited, and sent to the printer before this news came down. I just hope people still notice it, because the end of the line here is the best the imprint has had to offer. I know folks will think I'm biased, but keep in mind that this book is a large part of why You Have Killed Me is not finished yet, so I'd actually be more inclined to resent it and not like it--in which case I would have just kept my mouth shut. The comic is that good, I can forgive all and only praise it. (Read my full review here.)

Read Joëlle's blog here and see a peek at a double-page spread from the book. Amazon has it listed for November 4, but the DC site says October 22.

* Memus Interruptus:

Your result for The Classic Leading Man Test...

Humphrey Bogart

You scored 29% Tough, 19% Roguish, 38% Friendly, and 19% Charming!

You're the original man of honor, rough and tough but willing to stick your neck out when you need to, despite what you might say to the contrary. You're a complex character full of spit and vinegar, but with a soft heart and a tender streak that you try to hide. There's usually a complicated dame in the picture, someone who sees the real you behind all the tough talk and can dish it out as well as you can. You're not easy to get next to, but when you find the right partner, you're caring and loyal to a fault. A big fault. But you take it on the chin and move on, nursing your pain inside and maintaining your armor...until the next dame walks in. Or possibly the same dame, and of all the gin joints in all the world, it had to be yours. Co-stars include Ingrid Bergman and Lauren Bacall, hot chicks with problems.

Find out what kind of classic dame you'd make by taking the
Classic Dames Test.

Take The Classic Leading Man Test at HelloQuizzy

Current Soundtrack: Commentary and interviews on Le doulos DVD

Current Mood:

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All text (c) 2008 Jamie S. Rich

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I'VE COME FOR MY AWARD: Popgun Edition

Popgun, vol. 1 just won a Harvey Award for best anthology!

Congrats to all involved, especially our editors, Mark Andrew Smith and Joe Keatinge!

Current Soundtrack: Duffy, "Mercy (Remix)" & Rockferry

Current Mood:

Saturday, September 27, 2008


A gentleman has passed away. They truly only make a man like him once. If you don't know how incredible the guy was, you should read this recent article from Vanity Fair. He walked it liked he talked it.

PAUL NEWMAN, 1925-2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008



* Choke, a limp and hateful adaptation of a Chuck Palahniuk novel, starring Sam Rockwell as the whiny snot who still wants his mommy and takes his abandonment issues out on everyone around him, particularly the everyone of the "female" variety. Aggressive, regressive, and boring.

Too bad that Choke and The Women didn't come out at the same time, because then the dudes who will be inclined to write me and tell me I am a gender traitor (which they will use the code word "pussy" for) would be really confused.


Of course, many of my readers are confused already, hence the following letter, where I think the correspondent's bong hit kicked in before he got all the way through his thought processes:

Your review of The Godfather - The Coppola Restoration Giftset...complete crap...there is so much smaltz in these movies I am ready to reach...[signed] donddv

Well, while he reaches for whatever he reaches for, you can reach for my review...

* The Godfather - The Coppola Restoration Giftset, wherein Francis Ford Coppola undertakes a big clean-up job for his legendary trilogy.

* Aki Kaurismäki's Proletariat Trilogy - Eclipse Series 12, three dark pseudo-comedies from the quirky Finnish director. (Also at Criterion Confessions.)

* An Autumn Afternoon - Criterion Collection, the final film of Yasujiro Ozu. (Also at Criterion Confessions.)

* Keane Curate a Night for War Child, a charity concert with Keane, Lily Allen, Pet Shop Boys, the Magic Numbers, and a few more.

* Kraftwerk & the Electronic Revolution, an exhaustive but somewhat dull (read: short on music) documentary about the German band and the scene that birthed them.

* Leatherheads, George Clooney's attempt at a screwball football romantic comedy.

Current Soundtrack: Gaylan Ladd, "Her Loving Way;" The Killers, "Human;" the Raveonettes, Sometimes They Drop By EP

Current Mood:

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All text (c) 2008 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I've been meaning to update since last week. I finished "Part One" of 5 1/2, putting me about 1/3 of the way to completion. I printed out what I had, and it's 95 manuscript pages, about 38,000 words so far.

"Part Two" is already underway.

This calls for a song:

Annette Thomas - "Nothing is Everlasting"

Yes, that title is significant.

Current Mood:

Monday, September 22, 2008


What exactly are "tour logistics"? And why are they a reasonable excuse for Neil Diamond to break my heart?

A mere ninety minutes before Joëlle and I were supposed to leave for Neil Diamond's Portland performance, a last-minute check to try to confirm if there would be an opening band to see about making dinner plans unveils that an "unforeseen" version of those mysterious logistics have now pushed the event to next January.

Far better to find out now then to show up at the venue and find out then (ask me some time about showing up for a Massive Attack club show in the Protection era and discovering a hand-written cancellation notice on the door, and watch me get all teary eyed), but still, what a heartbreaker. This was a special gift to myself, and I was very much looking forward to it.

Insult to injury will be the next two weeks or so when I have to endure people who haven't heard about the change ask me how the show was. Heavy sighs will give way to teeth-grinding anger, and then, I won't lie, someone might get a broken nose.


At long last, the second collection of the series is on sale this week:

Love the Way You Love, Side B: Songs of Devotion

The book collects the final three issues of the series in their entirety, along with a new "Polar Opposites" strip by Mr. Ellerby. For those who didn't wait for the trade, here is that extra, taken from Marc's blog:

Click through and select "all sizes" for bigger version

A couple of weeks ago, Marc's ongoing "Ellerbisms" comics diary also featured a strip about his injury that directly relates to the postponement of the ending of the book. (It's a time-delayed diary, I guess you'd call it.)

As with any of my books, you can always e-mail me about stock and purchase autographed copies directly from me. I should have Side B in a week or so. (I haven't actually seen it yet!)

Also on sale this week are the new printings of Mike Allred's Red Rocket 7, both a hardcover and paperback edition. This was my swansong of sorts as far as my editing at Dark Horse, and one of my favorite all-time comic books. The new edition features an afterword I penned regarding the creatively exciting relationship Mike and I developed, and then the shameful kicking the comic received from its publisher.

My afterword should be nestled up against one from Gerard Way, singer of My Chemical Romance and writer of one of my favorite comics of recent memory, The Umbrella Academy.

Also, look for Mike and Laura at a rare public appearance, appearing at Neon Monster in San Francisco on October 4. Read the official press release here.

Current Soundtrack: Ladytron, April Young, the Ronettes, Bryan Ferry covering Dylan, Yoko Ono remixed by Pet Shop Boys, Battles, Elvis Costello singing Kurt Weill, the Fire

Current Mood:

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All text (c) 2008 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Something different for movie reviews this week. Almost every flick I've reviewed in the past week has been an older film about France, so it seems silly to break things down between links to DVD Talk and Criterion Confessions; instead I'll just give you a list of all the movies together. There are two musicals, and three releases of classic films from Max Ophuls.

* An American in Paris, the marvelous Gene Kelly picture, featuring the breathtaking "An American in Paris Ballet"

* Gigi, the lavish musical based on a scandalous story by Colette

* La ronde, Ophuls' circular tale of love at the turn of the century (Also at Criterion Confessions)

* Le plaisir, a triptych of Guy de Maupassant short stories about the consequences of pleasure

* The Earrings of Madame de..., about a love triangle and the O. Henry-like return of a pair telltale heart diamond earrings; the last of this Ophuls threepeat. (Also at Criterion Confessions)

In addition, I saw one costume drama IN THE THEATRE...

* The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley as Georgiana Cavendish in a surprisingly deep and complex study of politics in and out of the bedroom. Not French, but hey, close enough.

Current Soundtrack: various Stax/Volt singles from the late '60s and early '70s

Current Mood:

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2008 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Click on the image for the explanation.

Seriously. Kelley Seda!

I sent her the following reference photo for the story:

That's me and my sister. I'm on the right, maybe 4 or 5. Maybe even younger, because my sister is five years older than me, and she looks about 8. My dad built the snowman.

Current Soundtrack: Travis, "The Humpty Dumpty Love Song"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

"People say I'm the life of the party
Because I tell a joke or two

I saw Burn After Reading tonight and loved the shit out of it. You know what I also loved? Just watching it without having to worry about reviewing it. It's such a treat for me anymore, and with a movie like this, what a blessing. I would hate to have been rooting around in my head organizing my thoughts while it was going on, because it certainly would have been a challenge to describe in length. It's like the Coens have remade The Good Shepherd as a comedy.

Of course, I loved my man George in the movie. His character has some great quirks to him, ones that come out right in the first scene he appears in. He's at a dinner party, and he's clumsy, overbearing, and barely lets anyone else speak. Watch him from when he first shows up to the point where Tilda Swinton takes him to the kitchen and he asks, "Am I being dominating?" Right then, I turned to Joëlle and said, "Shit, now I know what I'm like at parties."

I'm proud to say that the laugh I got out of her for that--it's funny because it's true!--was on par with the laughs the movie earned on its own. You're welcome, Joel and Ethan! I'm here to serve.

I want to see it again, just because I know like the best Coen movies, it's only going to get better with each viewing.

Oh, and on the way home, I saw a skunk! For reals!

Current Soundtrack: The Charlatans, You Cross My Path - Deluxe Edition

Current Mood:

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All text (c) 2008 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, September 12, 2008


I just received a copy of the German-language edition of 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, retitled 12 Gründe, dich qu lieben. It's published by Modern Tales over there, and they have put together a lovely hardcover edition with a dust jacket. They have pretty much followed the design of the U.S. paperback, though I do like that when the jacket is off, the artwork appears without any text underneath. They've also added a new interview with myself and Joëlle Jones.

Now I really can't wait to see what they do with Love the Way You Love.

Current Soundtrack: Martina Topley-Bird, The Blue God

Thursday, September 11, 2008



* Righteous Kill, in which a hack director thinks having Al Pacino and Robert De Niro is enough. Think again!

* The Women, Diane English's attempt to set feminism back to where it was 50 years before George Cukor made the 1939 film she's so badly eviscerating.

This Women remake is a real disappointment. It's hard to fathom just what they were thinking in so drastically defanging the original material. Cukor's film had a sense of playfulness that is all-too absent in filmmaking today. Can you even imagine a stuffy, self-important production like this Diane English film having an opening credits sequence like the one in Cukor's version? Each character/actress is represented by a different animal, including many types of cats and birds. In the stills I'm showing, an angry black cat appears, and then fades into the face of Rosalind Russell. Diane English would have Meg Ryan and Annette Bening show up as two pure white kittens cleaning each other's fur.

Rosalind Russell is reason #1 for skipping the remake and go out and renting the DVD of the original. Her outlandish outfits, her animated gesturing, and her hunched, gawky posture make for an hilarious physical performance. Her posture alone should have won a special achievement Oscar of some kind. Russell also shows off that fast-talking verbal dexterity that would make her such a delight in His Girl Friday. Compare those two performances, shot just a year apart, and you'll see what a talented actress she was. The two roles are totally different, both brimming with confidence and yet diametrically opposed in how that confidence is expressed, you'd almost not realize it's the same woman if you didn't check the credits.


* High School Flashback Collection (Sixteen Candles/The Breakfast Club/Weird Science), a new collection of three of John Hughes' earliest teen flicks.

* The Mindscape of Alan Moore, a documentary about the influential comic book writer.

Current Soundtrack: The Supremes, The Supremes: Box Set (Disc 2)

Current Mood:

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All text (c) 2008 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


More sketches for Lying Down. Mr. Mike Holmes playing around with some fashion options.

Also, Kelley Seda has her own blog now. And she mentions me. She's drawing a story I wrote for the same anthology I'm working on with Natalie.

Jealous? I knew you would be.


Current Soundtrack: The Chemical Brothers, Brotherhood

Current Mood:

Monday, September 08, 2008


The third and final Romantica installment. Part 1 and Part 2 are still up.

Stories by me based on sketches by Christine Norrie, dating back to 2001.

I like how this first one is like the response to the sketch, the audience getting info from the cartoon that the boy in the prose does not have.


Where was she? Every morning, when Neil got to this corner, he usually saw her--the pretty girl with Asian eyes and long black hair who made things appear more alive just by passing by them. He looked at his watch, and as far as he could tell, he was neither early nor late, but there at pretty much the same time as always. Generally, as he’d approach the intersection, she’d cross in front of him, and Neil would catch just a glimpse of her. He couldn’t imagine a day without it, without the hope that maybe she would notice him this time, maybe smile, give him the chance to finally speak to her and maybe, just maybe, ask her out. Did she not come by this way anymore? Had he waited too long to make an impression, and he’d never get the chance? Where was she?


Veronica woke up around 3:30. The room was dark except for the sliver of neon that came in from between the curtains. Its blue light fell across Jessie’s face, illuminating the corner of her mouth, a nostril, an eye. He breathing was soft, and her hair was damp with sweat. Veronica felt it with the palm of her hand. Jessie was warm. Veronica liked having a warm presence in her bed.

It was only seven hours ago that Veronica had been alone. She had gone out for a quiet meal, a quick drink--conspicuous on her own. Wait staff always paid less attention to a single diner. An empty water glass was a symbol of solitude. Veronica was about halfway through her Spanish coffee when she saw Jessie, also alone, eating a spinach salad. Jessie caught her staring, and Veronica smiled and waved. “You want some company?” she asked her, and Jessie said yes.

Things went quickly from there. They talked about books, traded stories about family and pets. Veronica complimented Jessie on her skin and how nice it must be to be able to go out without make-up; Jessie, in turn, said she wished she could do her make-up as well as Veronica. Coffee turned to champagne, the champagne led to a taxi cab, which went to Veronica’s front door. The key, the lock, the bed.

Veronica didn’t know if Jessie would be around after breakfast, but it was all right. She took Jessie’s hair between her fingers. The hair was soft and nice to hold.


When she thought of him, he was something different. Something tender, something sweet, something that knew she was alive. In her head, it would just take a moment--he would see her the right way, perhaps the way she laughed, and his heart would be moved. It would be like she always imagined, the way they told her it could be when she was a little girl, the way it was in pop songs, long ago and worlds apart. In her thoughts, passion replaced his indifference. They would kiss, and she wouldn’t have to think about it at all anymore.

Current Soundtrack: Christina Aguilera, "Keeps Getting Better (VMAS 2008 performance)"

Current Mood:

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All text (c) 2008 Jamie S. Rich

Saturday, September 06, 2008


I'm not even sure it's worth writing about the Antony and the Johnsons show we saw tonight. Not because it wasn't good, but because my abilities are inadequate. They played a concert here in Portland backed by the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, and it was one of the most serenely beautiful experiences of my life. If I could convey to you in words the purity and the beauty we witnessed in that room, I would be a writer of much greater renown, believe me. Listening to Antony Hegarty sing, I was immediately humbled. Few people can move an audience the way he moved the concert hall tonight.

The show began in total darkness. Antony walked on from stage right, stepping in front of the curtains without them opening. When he took the microphone at the center of the stage, we could only see his outline, but as soon as he opened his mouth, there was no mistaking who it was. "Sometimes the wind blows," he sang, the opening lines of his Julee Cruise cover, "Mysteries of Love." There was the barest instrumentation backing him up, and his voice reverberated across the Schnitz like some kind of cosmic force. That's the only way I can describe it: otherworldly. A few songs in, even after we could finally see Antony, I leaned over to Joëlle and said, "I can't believe that sound is coming out of a human." From the first syllables, my eyes filled with tears. I was that moved. I lightly cried through the first five or six songs. I saw Joëlle wiping tears away, too, and even Andy admitted to crying a little.

The set hit an emotional crescendo for me during "I Fell in Love With a Dead Boy." The song as it's recorded has a long pause t the tail end of the first verse, and in this venue, Antony milked it for all it was worth. The entire orchestra held, waited for his signal, and he let it roll on, letting the anticipation build. "I fell in love with you..." The voice came back like a fist. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.

The band played for about an hour and fifteen minutes. Most of the material was older--"The Rapture," "Cripple and the Starfish," "River of Sorrow"--mixed with a bunch of awesome newer numbers that make me eager to hear the next album. The only song off of I Am a Bird Now was a soaring "For Today I Am a Boy." He also did a second cover, a slowed-down, syrupy take on Beyonce's "Crazy in Love." I didn't recognized it at first, and I couldn't understand why other people in the audience were hooting and hollering about it. Then I heard the chorus, and I finally got it. After hearing that, I'd have killed for him to tackle some Christina.

For as powerful as the Antony and the Johnsons songs are on record, there is nothing to compare to seeing them in this kind of setting. The way he moved, how his gestures and his face showed the pain of every word, there was no doubting that the songs are born of a heartfelt sincerity and that they come from someplace very real. We were sitting in the tenth row, just left of center, so we could see everything. According to their website, this show is only being performed in four other cities: Milan; Zaragoza, Spain; Los Angeles; New York; and London. The guy sitting behind me had flown here from L.A. to see it, which had to be well worth it. He is going to see them at the Disney Hall, but I doubt it is as small a venue. I'm almost tempted to fly down and see it again, too.

Afterward, we made a brief stop to see Craig Thompson and Jeremy Tinder working in the all-night Paintallica event, which is part of the same Time Based Art Festival that brought Antony to our fair city. Craig was only two hours into the twelve hour art throwdown, and he didn't look like he was going to make it! I hope he's okay.

* Note: The photo and video were not from the Portland show I saw. Just so we're clear.

Current Soundtrack: recorded versions of all the Antony & the Johnsons songs mentioned in this post

Current Mood:

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All text (c) 2008 Jamie S. Rich