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

Friday, May 30, 2008


I don't remember the last time I greeted the sunrise, particularly when it wasn't because I had worked all night. That was what I did this morning, though, after having a late home-cooked Japanese dinner at Joëlle's, playing Guitar Hero and discussing Brigitte Bardot into the later hours. I rolled in some time after 5 a.m. and slept until noon, and I'm surprised by how well I bounced back.

It was a nice cap to a rough work day. I referenced working on a short script for an off-beat anthology last week, and I spent yesterday working on the third version of it. Each different version has been a different story completely, with the first not getting finished and the second being good, but maybe a little dark and off-topic. Version 3 is probably closer to what it needs to be, but it was a struggle. I had to literally push through panel by panel, weighing each choice for space and effectiveness. I actually tried to work page by page, using each as a unit to try to keep the length under control and stay focused on the info I had to impart. Crime stories can be tough to capture in short comics if you want the plot to have any substance.

What worries me sometimes is that the harder ones to write may end up being the worse for the struggle. My favorite shorts--"(T For) True" with Andi Watson, Jöelle and my next two Popgun stories, "Reverberation (Doubt)" and "The Jailhouse Swing"--were the ones that moved from conception to a fully formed, typed entity with little effort, where the goal was clear and it came about as if by chemical reaction or magic. Likewise prose short stories, which are even more rare for me. ("Chevelu" was like that.) Then again, I could be confusing results with the enjoyment of the work. Which could be a mistake.

(The anthology has been announced, but since my involvement requires the story actually being accepted, I'd rather not point out what it is until that has or has not happened.)

Today I started work on the third script for the series with Mike Holmes. The Red Army Faction has made a surprise appearance.

Morrissey Watch:

Mozzer's new video for "All You Need is Me" has reclaimed his walk-and-sing style from the Your Arsenal days, which actually casts the new single in a brand-new light. It's almost like an Arsenal outtake, and it's managed to beat out its predecessor, "That's How People Grow Up," as the more memorable tune.

Current Soundtrack: Barroom radio, which has included Van Halen, the B-52s, and Nat "King" Cole

Current Mood: sleepy

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

Thursday, May 29, 2008



* Sex and the City! The return of Carrie and the gals is the biggest non-event event of the summer. I liked it, but I liked the show, and basically, that equation applies. If you never cared for the show, you won't care for the movie; if you dug the series, then get ready for two-and-a-half more hours of it.

The screening Eliza and I went to of this movie was crazy. The line was ridiculously long, comparable to what I've seen for the bigger action blockbusters like 300 and Iron Man. The difference was that it was at least 75% women in the theatre, if not more. When you think about it, really, that's what Sex and the City is: the female equivalent of an action movie. Well, if we ignore Charlie's Angels. You know what I mean.

Inside, the ladies were nuts for this thing. We had to endure an hour of "behind the scenes" footage and interviews from the "pink carpet" premiere in New York, but they didn't seem to mind. Two women behind us were critiquing every dress as well as how each actress looked in those dresses. There were also women who dressed up to see this like they were going out clubbing, because, you know, that's what the girls in the movie would do.

Really, it was like I was at a comic book convention, but one for chicks. Though, I don't think it's fair if I show up for the Hulk screening covered in green make-up I'll get called a geek and going to see Sex and the City in fake couture is somehow not geeky. You can't even make a claim that having boobs is what makes it different, because I know a lot of comic book guys (and sports fan guys) with bigger boobs than any of the actresses in the movie (well, except Jennifer Hudson). Nerds in any other underwear are just as nerdy.

Besides, why spend 148 minutes watching the movie for $10 when you can spend only a couple of minutes watching this for free? It's virtually the same.


* The Exquisite Short Films of Kihachiro Kawamoto, seven gorgeous stop-motions cartoons from an innovative Japanese director.

* OMD Live: Architecture & Morality and More, capturing Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark on their 2007 reunion tour.

* Rambo - The Complete Collector's Set, a handsome new edition of all four Rambo films. Relive the blood, the guts, and the bad hair days.

Really, I think there is something to my realization that Indiana Jones and Rambo have had very similar artistic paths. According to IMDB trivia, thy even had a horse in common. Rambo and Indy rode the same stunt animal in their third installments.


This week's reviews written specifically for the site are:

* Rushmore, Wes Anderson's coming-of-age wish fulfillment gets better every time I see it.

* The Thief of Bagdad, the 1940 magic spectacle partially directed by Michael Powell.

Current Soundtrack: Stereophonics, Pull the Pin & "You Sexy Thing" cover; Last Shadow Puppets, Age of the Understatement

Current Mood: apathetic

Before the standard movie links for the week, to come later today, a couple of comic strip links of very different stripes:

* Mutts pays tribute to Lebowski.

* Coco Wang, a cartoonist in Beijing, is creating comic strips to tell stories of courage and heartbreak from the recent earthquake that might otherwise not make it out to the rest of the world. It's an effective use of comics as journalism, reminding us yet again how the global culture of the internet allows us to reach out to the rest of the world and communicate in ways we never could before. It reminds me of similar efforts post-9/11, including the one-page strip Chynna Clugston and I did for a charity book where we tried to express how instant messaging allowed us to stay in contact with each other. Consider that these comics are drawn in Beijing, posted by Paul Gravett in England (I believe), and like you, I read about them on a U.S.-published blog. Read these remarkable comic strips here.

Current Soundtrack: Dean & Britta, "I Deserve It;" the Chemical Bros. & Midlake, "The Pills Won't Help You Now"

Current Mood: touched

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Yesterday I woke up and the 16" oscillating fan I had bought a mere ten days before was not oscillating. Worse, it was hot to the touch and there was a burning smell coming from the hull. I had thrown the box out two days before, and literally said to myself, "You should hang on to this just in case...Nah, it's been a week, it's working fine."

Thankfully, the store exchanged it no problem.

Even better, though, was getting on the bus with the fan and having the bus driver, an older African American gentleman, look at me and say, "Now, there's a man who stays cool wherever he goes."

"That's right," I said.

Current Workload Angel Diary vol. 8 by Lee Yun-Hee and Kara

Current Soundtrack: Spiritualized, Songs in A & E

Current Mood: indecisive

Monday, May 26, 2008


Update from yesterday...

Isis returned home about an hour ago. Though the neighbor had checked his basement on Sunday, she had decided to stay hidden there until today. So, she was one door away the entire time.

Mother and child are doing fine. I was just over there delivering some food Sadie gave as a homecoming gift, since all of Isis' food had been put out on the porch the night before to try to lure her home.

Thanks to all who sent well wishes and who passed the word around.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Hey, all. I realize that my Portland reading segment is small, and the one in the area of the missing feline is even smaller, but please bear with us.

Isis disappeared from her home on NW 28th and NW Upshur yesterday. She was outside during the huge thunderstorm that hit Portland out of nowhere, so who knows what kind of fear was put into her to make her take off. Her mother is very worried and we've been postering this afternoon and are using whatever resources we can to bring her home. A false alarm on the Dove Lewis pet finder was almost as heartbreaking as the original realization she was gone.

Isis is a medium-sized cat, Calico, no front claws. She's not overly friendly--though she is very talkative--and may be tough to catch if she doesn't know you.

If you think you see her, drop me an e-mail at golightly[a]confessions123.com. If you'd like my phone # just in case, also drop me a line, and I can share that privately. Isis is not my cat, but I live two blocks from her. I just hope she wasn't trying to come see me when this happened, because I feel terrible. She knows me as the guy who shows up with treats in the coin pocket of his jeans.

Naturally, I will update the moment she is found.

Please feel free to distribute this link to other Portland groups/resources/etc.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008




Illustration by Travis Fox for Kansas City's Ink


* Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fourth movie in the Indy series delivers the fun of the past, though maybe a tad less plausibly so.

I liked it, but it's sure to be hotly debated. Already, two of my friends and colleagues offer differing opinions, one liking it but slightly less so (David Walker at Badazz Mofo, who makes a good point: "...it is a movie about an old man, made by old men for old men") and one way less so (Robert Plastorm at Plastorm, whom I think gets a little too hung up on those first horrible ten minutes). Both lay a lot of the blame at the feet of George Lucas, which I am inclined to do, as well, though I think Spielberg has enough cheese tendencies that he's more than willing to go along. The thing that struck me as I watched each of the Indy movies in order was that Lucas' name kept popping up with the "story by" credit. I never really thought about it before, but I think a large part of the George Lucas problem is that (1) he's the boss and (2) he's primarily an idea man. The two make for a dangerous combination. Idea men who think they are geniuses are living on a deluded cloud of their own self-worth. Anyone will tell you that ideas are cheap, they are everywhere, and very few are outstanding million-dollar discoveries that have never been done before. George Lucas' work is all a pastiche of influences (something I have no problem with, because we are all like this to one degree or another), so he certainly can't be hailed as a visionary innovator. It's all about execution. Lucas only writes the story, he doesn't write the script. He rarely does any of the actual work. Thus, he can dogmatically stick to the idea he has convinced himself of (as he reportedly did with the Crystal Skull plot), because he never has to roadtest it himself. If he put his hands in the dirt and fiddled with the machines, maybe he'd be more ready to see what doesn't work.

Then again, maybe not, since he did direct the Star Wars prequels into carbon stasis all on his own.

Apropos of this, if you're wondering how my reliving the Indiana Jones experience panned out, in the same way I was surprised how much less I liked Temple of Doom than I remembered, I liked The Last Crusade much more. The combination quest/journey/puzzle kept the film moving at a good pace, and the casting of both Sean Connery as Indy's father and River Phoenix as a younger version of Indiana Jones made the movie all kinds of entertaining. Phoenix was really impressive in the way he appropriated many of Harrison Ford's traits into his performance. It was a much better sequel to than Temple, though it still has more of the silly than Raiders. Honestly, though I say in my review of Crystal Skull that i liked it better than Last Crusade, it's an opinion I could go back and forth on. I stuck with the assessment since it was my first gut reacion (oy, how George Lucas of me!).


* La Chinoise, Jean-Luc Godard agitprop about student protesters and their obsession with Mao.

* Independents: A Guide for the Creative Spirit, an indie documentary about indie comic book creators. Craig Thompson is soooooo dreamy!

* Lost in Beijing, Li Yu's disappointing follow-up to Dam Street, about a love quartet in modern-day China.

* Marvin Gaye - What's Going On/Greatest Hits Live '76: Collectors' Edition, a double-pack bringing together a documentary about the soul singer and one of his mid-period concerts.

* La Roue, a staggering early French silent picture from Abel Gance, telling the literary-tinged tale of a trainyard family.


This week's reviews written specifically for the site are:

* The Fire Within, Louis Malle's portrait of a man sewing up his life on the eve of his suicide.

* Shoot the Piano Player, the second film from Francois Truffaut sees him playing with the American gangster picture.

* White Mane, a short children's film about a boy and his wild horse.

Current Soundtrack: The Courteeners, St. Jude

Current Mood: cranky

Love the Way You Love vol. 6 has finally gone off to the printer. I signed off on it yesterday, and it should be in shops in mid-June (6/11 is the date I have now). Here is the cover spread. Follow through for a larger version.

Love the Way You Love #6 cover spread

Of course, I won't really be at rest until it's printed and done. And then we have the second collection to do anyway.

By the by, looks like Ellerby scored us a fan at Bristol.

I was kind of lazy last week, with my main plan being to get caught up on my reviews. That happened to a degree, with some unexpected distraction on Tuesday and Wednesday serving to have me locked at the computer waiting for my e-mail to ding. Anyone know a way to get Gmail to make a sound when a new message comes in? It's too stealthy.

This week I am working on a text piece for the 10th anniversary edition of Mike Allred's Red Rocket 7, due from Image in September. This is one of my favorite comics I've ever been involved with. Having it back in print will be like righting a terrible wrong, like freeing an innocent man from prison. To go with that, I'm working on a little something for Newsarama for June.

I also need to get started again on a comic book short that I have scrapped once already. I have a new idea that might work.

Right now, I'm reading the first volume of the Kirby Fourth World Omnibus. That shit is crazy!

Current Soundtrack: Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have it so Much Better

Current Mood: mellow

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

Monday, May 19, 2008


Comics has lost one of its best friends today. Rory Root, long-time proprietor of one of the best stores in the country, Berkeley's Comic Relief, has apparently died as a result of a variety of health issues. I know this is going to rock a lot of people in the industry. He was much loved.

I never spent a lot of time hanging out with Rory, but I always stopped by his store when I was in Berkeley and he always made me feel welcome. He was well-known amongst small publishers because he would take a lot of our left-over stock off our hands at the end of conventions. Sunday's at San Diego Con were full of the refrain, "Where's Rory?" Once, when Joe Nozemack wasn't at a show and I was left to deal with the business, I asked Rory what his usual discount from Joe was, and he got a glint in his eye and quoted some ridiculous number. "Really?" I asked. "Uh-huh," he said. "Okay," says I.

When Joe found out, he just laughed. "If you're going to be stupid enough to fall for it with anybody, I'm glad it was Rory." He did so much for all of us, giving him a little extra was the least we could do. I once told him this, though, so that he knew I knew he had gotten me, and he seemed genuinely shocked that I would say such a thing. I never figured out if I had it wrong or if that was also part of his impish game. I always hoped he never thought less of me either way.

If Rory was selling your book, it was hard not to feel like a success. In fact, I don't think he knows it, but he actually gave me a real confidence boost one of the last times I saw him. When Cut My Hair was barely a year old, he passed on taking any home from San Diego. "I'm sorry," he said, "we have some already and they aren't selling." I waved it off, I understood.

Five years later, he walks up to the Oni booth, and he points at Cut My Hair, and he says, "People come in all the time asking me for this thing. They keep hearing about it, and we keep restocking it."

I did a little "yes" in my http://www2.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifhead. Victory!

My thoughts go out to Rory's friends and his family--a group that is huge, because such was the man--but especially to those close around him.

UPDATE: Read a comprehensive obituary at Comics Reporter. Also, Rory's store site, Comic Relief, has been set up as a memorial for the time being.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I'll be the first to admit, I'm pretty suspicious of bedroom technology. These days, if someone tells me that they recorded an album by themselves, I almost automatically steel myself for it to suck. I'm even more scared when it's someone I know.

A couple of months ago, my friend Rocky Brewer gave me Beautiful Thought, a double album he recorded with his sister, Jaime (whom, strangely, I have never met). They recorded it under the name Rara Avis, and disc one is all songs by Rocky and disc two is entirely Jaime. I was immediately impressed by the package: a lovely, professionally printed cardboard digipack lavishly illustrated by Rocky's significant other Kimball Davis with additional design by Nicholas Orr. This wasn't some bullshit demo burned onto a CD-R and tossed inside a plastic case, they were taking it all the way.

And looking at the liner notes, my assumption that this was a record put together using Garage Band on someone's iBook is also totally wrong. Beautiful Thought was cut in a professional studio, an almost dinosaur process that puts Rara Avis out of step with how things are done today. But then, as Rocky freely admits in there, too, this is an album that is almost intentionally out of step, drawing on their own passions and need for expression rather than chasing the trends. Much of the music was made after sifting through their father's record collection, anyway, and I can hear a lot of older influences in it.

Beautiful Thought reminds me a lot of softer pop bands from the '80s, one-hit wonders like When In Rome and Breathe. I don't intend that to be at all insulting, since, as anyone knows, I like my '80s music. There is something delicate, romantic, and yearning about the songs. I would also say they have an artistry that is a couple of steps above the radio-hungry production of those other bands, a kind of techno pop reminiscent of some of the songs OMD were doing just before they got big.

My favorite song of Rocky's is "Love in the City." It's built on a tiny piano riff that is so pretty in its simplicity, it immediately sets the tone of melancholy and romantic doubt. Rocky's voice makes me think in positive ways of Tim Chipping from Orlando. In fact, Rara Avis strikes me as a band that the die-hard little cult of Orlando fans would like a lot. The little-known mid-90s almost-rans had a similar spirit of misfit hope and likely looked to a lot of the same production touchstones as Rocky and Jaime.

There is no great shift between disc 1 and disc 2 outside of changing vocalists, though I would say I detect a less organic, more cold and mechanical sound to the backing instrumentation on Jaime's tracks. Since I am digging around my pop culture music bin, I'd say on songs like "Fade to Nothing," it's like Sarah from Dubstar and Client singing over remixes of old Strawberry Switchblade tracks. There is a lot of distance in the lyrics, too, of pushing bad things away, like on "Inside," but there is also an assertiveness on tracks like "Say Anything," which leads to the more forceful, trance-influenced "Roll it Back Now."

Any art is personal and releasing it to the public risks ridicule or indifference. Here you are, exposing yourself, and no one may ever care. I'd suggest it's even more of a risk when you do it all yourself, without the help or hindrance of a larger machine to push you toward a safe commercial choice or even to validate that it's any good. Rara Avis have put the work in, and Beautiful Thought is definitely good.

To check the band out for yourselves, visit their official site or their MySpace page.

Current Soundtrack: Beautiful Thought

Current Mood: thirsty

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

Saturday, May 17, 2008


It's hard to believe that it's been almost three years since I wrote "Marx and Engels" for the Belle & Sebastian comics anthology, Put the Book Back on the Shelf. Then again, I'm a few weeks shy of four years of having left Oni, and fourteen since I arrived in Portland, so time is a long and elastic thing.

"Marx and Engels," of course, began my working relationship with Marc Ellerby, and the beginning of the first significant comics work that I would end up doing. It wasn't long after the short story was completed that Oni and I decided to ask Marc to be a part of Love the Way You Love--and here we are, putting the finishing touches on the last issue. I approved the final lettering today, the design work is set to be done over the weekend, and then we are uploading to the printer on Monday, all for a mid-June release.

That alone is enough to feel sentimental. I've loved working with Marc. For as much as I give him a hard time, I think my feelings for him still come through. I adore the little guy, and our collaboration has been fruitful. To proofread the lettering, I printed out all 61 pages of the last issue. It's a lot different looking at art on the page than on a screen. Lettering changes it, too, it draws your eye to different things. I was impressed by the level of detail that now appears in Marc's drawing. There is a sequence in #6 where we see a little bit of the Tristan and Isolde legend, and when I wrote that part of the script, I was feeling a bit like a bastard for demanding Marc draw that in the same issue where I also make him draw mountain climbers. I'm glad I asked him to do both, because he really got a chance to flex a different skill set than we'd seen from him before.

If you really want to see the change, though, you have to look at the flashback sequence that we did. It hearkens back to the first issue, and as I mentioned on the blog before, it was a sequence that gave Marc a lot of trouble back then. I didn't decide to go back to it to be mean, though I suppose I chuckled a little when I typed it up; it is an important event as far as Tristan's relationship with Mariais concerned. Compare the two versions of the scene, though, and you'll get a real impression of how far Marc has come as a cartoonist.

Completing the issue was enough on its own to make me feel sentimental, but in one of those unexpected life coincidences, Jean-Luc Godard's 1967 picture La Chinoise was released for the first time on DVD this week, and I was lucky enough to get it for review. Anyone who has read "Marx & Engels" will know that the British girl in the story is wearing a La Chinoise T-shirt (the name misspelled in early drafts of the art, no less), and it is a topic of discussion between her and the American boy. It was a movie that I had heard about but had never been able to find; even so, its portrayal of college students enamored of Chairman Mao was ideally suited to my contemporary tale of kids from different worlds and their political posturing.

When my DVD Talk editor assigned me La Chinoise, I e-mailed Marc and said to him, "Do you realize that if we were wanting to do that story now, we couldn't?" The conversation between the students revolves around the difficulty of obtaining a copy of the movie. The girl with the shirt says she's seen it, and the boy is impressed because he never has. I remember looking around at the time, and there was maybe a Japanese DVD, but it was super expensive and possibly a bootleg. Now you can get it anywhere. Having seen the move, it's still a perfect centerpiece for the story, as La Chinoise is also about kids posturing and how being on two sides of a political divide can drive a wedge between lovers. Most shocking for me, though, was the revelation that the most radical character, the one played by Anna Wiazemsky, is the daughter of a banker. So is the girl in "Marx & Engels." I somehow tapped into the Godard lobe of the great Jungian brain while writing.

There are a lot of "what if?" games to play in life, and with a lot of them, more than hoping and dreaming that things had gone a different way, they actually confirm for you how lucky you were that they went the way they did. Marc and I would have probably still worked together, we might have even done the same story. I suppose there would have been a way to do it even if the students could stroll down to HMV and buy a copy of the disc. It would not have been the same, though, the way everything clicked. The pieces all fell into place as they did, and that can never be replicated. The Beatles solo are good, but as four guys working together, they had something else entirely, and had they not fired Pete Best and hired Ringo, had Stu Sutcliffe been able to stick around, would we have ever gotten Abbey Road?

So, I consider myself fortunate that I couldn't see a movie I wanted to see, that it's lead me here three years later. La Chinoise now comes as a kind of reward for taking a leap of faith, for putting in several years of work. But then, it's also overkill. I already had my reward in the book.

Or maybe it's just part of closing the chapter. Marc and I will be back as a team, but it will be in a world where La Chinoise is on sale at every website and can be shipped across the globe. (Is that more Communist or capitalist?) It's like a confirmation of our feeling that when we do get the band back together, we need to do something different. A different comic for a different world.

Thanks, Marc.

Current Soundtrack: Tindersticks, The Hungry Saw

Current Mood: thoughtful

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

Friday, May 16, 2008

WONDERFUL WOMAN, the perfect B-side to "This Charming Man" (think about it)

Speaking of CAPE and Joëlle Jones, as I was in my posts earlier today, Joëlle's blog now has all of the sketches from CAPE that we managed to get a record of. (If you got one from her and don't see it, we always appreciate scans.) Stop by and check it out, and in particular check out her special take on Wonder Woman, a detail from which is below (click on it for the full piece).

This is the second sketch of Wonder Woman Joëlle has put online, the first time being here. Seriously, when is DC going to hire her to do the character? If the blogosphere needs a new cause, how about encouraging the powers that be over there in New York City to put her on a one-shot, an annual, or a fill-in. Something! She'd rock it! And with Gail Simone writing, that would be two awesome ladies working together on comics' most awesome lady.

You know it's a good idea. I certainly think so. Joëlle might punch me in the head for saying it out loud like this, but what the hell. I'll risk it.

And seriously, look at us:

How lame am I? I'm all wiseass, obnoxious Johnny Rotten while she's a poised and elegant Catherine Deneuve. You see why I am so self-deprecating when it comes to us as a creative team? Me and my one red eye are an indelible stain.

Whereas Ellerby is more like Short Round to my Indiana Jones. (To tie all the posts of today into one!) (And I guess that would make Chynna, who took that photo, the Coke bottle to my Fatty Arbuckle.)

Current Soundtrack: Gene, "Fighting Fit;" The Dandy Warhols, "The World The People Together (Come On);" The Cure, "The Only One (Mix 13)/NY Trip"

Current Mood: dorky

Bernadette Baker, half of the top team behind the literary agency, Baker's Mark, that represents me, speaks to the Guide to Literary Agents website. According to this, apparently, I'm amazing. Well, when teamed with Joëlle. I'm willing to concede when it comes to me on my own, I am pretty underwhelming.*

Just ask this father who sent me a fan letter after reading my review of Speed Racer:

Wow did you miss the point of the film. This film was a tribute to the series and an almost perfect family film. I watched Speed as a boy, bought the DVDs for my kids years ago. Took my kids now 10 and 15 year old girls, and we loved it.

Sorry if your looking for realistic car racing check out Grand Prix. If you looking for mindless fun, eye candy that keeps you chomping at your popcorn than Speed Racer is for you. Also, bring plenty of candy.

I think it's funny that he sort of missed the point of my review, since I think I make it quite clear that I understood what the film was trying to do. It's a fairly common defense. "It's supposed to be mindless fun!" Yes, and it wasn't fun. Mindless, I'll give you, but not fun. Also, "realistic" and "believable" are two different things. I wasn't looking for the former, but I kind of need the latter.

Another pet peeve about people responding to negative reviews I write: beginning the conversation with "Was it really that bad?" Like, what? I'm playing a prank? I was amazed by how many people got argumentative with me about the movie before they had even seen it. Some folks took it really personal, like me telling them the movie was a stinker was an affront to everything they held dear. They, too, would explain to me what the letter writer explained to me, about what I should have expected from the movie. Because, in addition to their very lives depending on Speed Racer being a quality piece of cinema, it turns out that the overall mission of the Wachowski Bros. was one of such subtle cunning, it could shoot right by you if you weren't paying attention.

Ay yi yi.

Then again, not everyone is delusional. A fellow named James wrote to me about my Speed Racer review just to say: "That was the best opening sentence of any review I have ever read." Gracias, James!

Indiana Jones by J. Scott Campbell, nicked from Fetishbuffet's deviantArt gallery

This is all actually starting to make me worry about what Indiana Jones fans are going to be like. Let's hope the new movie is good, and then I won't have any cause for concern. I haven't watched the originals in years, so yesterday I sat down and watched Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom back to back. Doom is the first movie I remember waiting in line for. I guess I was about 12, and myself and a friend from school and his older brother went on opening night, and the people in line in front of us literally bought the last tickets for the showing. They stepped away from the box office, we stepped up, and the guy said, "Sorry, sold out." We ended up buying tickets for the next show, and then we sat on the sidewalk in front of the theatre and waited two hours for it to start, a line of eager moviegoers forming behind us.

Too bad the movie hasn't aged all that well. It's not horrible, but it's strangely dull and maybe just a tad overcooked. The stuff with Short Round is pretty funny, but Kate Capshaw is shrill and obnoxious. What a difference a couple of decades makes. In my head, Capshaw was the hot lady in the Indy franchise, and Karen Allen not so much. How did I have it so backwards?

I hope Spielberg screened Raiders of the Lost Ark before stepping onto the set of the Crystal Skull, because that film represents everything the franchise should be. I would actually submit that Raiders represents perfect storytelling. From that amazing opening ten minutes in the Amazon jungle, designed to get your blood pumping while also giving you everything you need to know about the character, all the way to the famous sucker-punch ending, there is an elegance to the construction that should be the high standard for adventure films. Part of the problem with Temple of Doom (and, for that matter, Speed Racer) is that there are too many ideas and too much showing off. Keep it simple, guys. Simple.

* Yes, Bernadette. I know you didn't say this. What you said doesn't even imply this. I know! It's a joke!

Current Soundtrack: Primal Scream, b-sides for "Dolls" and "Country Girl," Riot City Blues album

Current Mood: irritated

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

Sure, Mr. High and Mighty Author. Make fun of some poor guy who probably has a medical condition shitting himself in public, when you can't even keep from pouring Red Bull all down your crotch.

Photos courtesy of Chynna, who just posted some of her CAPE set.

Current Soundtrack: various Keane

Current Mood: discontent...or incontinent?

Monday, May 12, 2008


Below find the cover design for the German publication of 12 Reasons I Love Her, being released in June under the Modern Tales banner. Click on the image to view larger sizes.

12 REASONS WHY I LOVE HER German cover

Jöelle and I did a new e-mail interview with the editor of the book that will be exclusive to the edition.

Modern Tales is also importing Love the Way You Love later in the year.

Current Soundtrack: Spiritualized, Mansun

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Oh, Audrey Tautou, when will you and I get our shit together? We're a perfect couple, ready to love and be loved in return, and yet it's never the right time for us, is it? Not counting your brief romances with Jean-Pierre Jeuneut, a coupling that is so divine that even I am more than content to lose you to him if he ever decides to commit to you fully, every other time you and I encounter one another, we feel that it would be so pretty to think of ourselves together, me the Jake Barnes to your Brett Ashley, yet there is always something to keep it from happening.

For example, last night I saw your new movie, Priceless (Hors de prix), and it was decent enough, but it wasn't really good, was it? In it, you play Irene, an enchantress in a slinky dress who has made it her career to get rich men to pay her way on her permanent vacation of a life, traveling from one fancy hotel to another.. One fateful night, when her latest sugar daddy is sleeping off his raid of the minibar, Irene meets Jean (Gad Elmaleh), a hotel employee she mistakes for a wealthy suitor. They have a night of passion, and then she leaves, only to return a year later (paging Alain Resnais; Mr. Resnais to the front desk, please). She and Jean find each other again, only this time she is caught, and her old moneyman breaks off their engagement. This would be fine if Jean was whom he claimed to be, but since he is not, Irene has to find a new gravy train. Jean wishes to make amends, and he is also in love with her, and both of these things get him in trouble. Before he knows it, he becomes a gigolo, and he and Irene are working the same hotel, conspiring together, and falling in love.

My problems with Priceless are much like my problems with Leatherheads, in that the movie's main failing is in tone and pacing. Writer/director Pierre Salvadori (Apres Vous), along with regular co-writer Benoit Graffin, have the makings of a true romantic farce here, yet they seem almost embarrassed to raise it up to the energy level that they need to, like they have bought into some cliche of what it means to be serious French cinema, forgetting that France is the country of Moliere and thus culturally wired for the farcical. Thus, Priceless is, at times, maddeningly dry and slow, when it should be sparkling with joie de vivre.

You're marvelous in the movie, Audrey, I don't want to understate that. You have an amazing screen presence, and you have never been sexier or more glamourous in a movie. Priceless rests entirely on your shoulders, and you do your best to carry it. In the film, your character teaches Jean how to seduce, and the one thing Salvadori gets right is understanding that his lead actress is also meant to seduce the audience. The fact that I enjoyed it more the farther into the running time we got is down to your flirtations--and, to a lesser extent, Elmaleh's. On the other hand, a large part of what is wrong with Priceless is also Elmaleh. His character takes too long to transform from socially awkward dope to confident hustler. Just when his performance and the writing is reaching the right pitch, when the farce should take full effect as your two characters switch roles, the movie abruptly ends. Neither the comedy nor the romance ever gets a chance to boil.

It's frustrating, Audrey, because you're always excellent in movies that are almost good, and I don't understand why you can't find more projects that would allow me to declare my love for you without reservation. Any production would be lucky to have you, because really, these almost-good movies are only watchable because you make them so. These movies are like parties where I don't like the host, the catering is bad, and the DJ apparently only heard music for the first time earlier that same day, and yet I come because I want to sit and talk with you for a while, vainly hoping that you're finally ready to commit to our love fully. I'll keep being a chump for you, I won't lie, but it is going to get harder if you don't at least engage in the pretense of making an honest man out of me.

Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O'Malley's signing at Cosmic Monkey this past Wednesday appeared to be a success. I had never met Hope before, despite my rather embarrassing and inappropriate acceptance of her Ignatz a couple of years ago at SPX. It was a good opportunity for me to pick up a copy of Salamander Dream, which I had read online but had never purchased for myself. I enjoyed it much more when I read it this time around. The story's flow is so reliant on the natural currents of Hope's art, it works far better with the more organic reader interaction that comes with being able to turn the pages back and forth, and even seeing facing pages side by side. It's a lovely little story, innocent in its way while also having more adult undercurrents for those who appreciate the maliciousness inherent in the process of growing up.

Two observations from the signing: Mal is always taller than I remember, and Hope has amazing eyelashes.

After, we all went to dinner with Oni publisher Joe Nozemack and marketing man Cori Casoni, as well as the other in-town guest Brian Hurtt, whom I also hadn't seen in a while. Good conversation, good food. Though, I don't like that Brian is talking about shutting down his sketch blog. Everyone should drop him a line and tell him to stop being an ass.

Everyone is at Emerald City now, and I have to say I am kind of glad to see the last wave of visitors roll through. Between Stumptown, FCBD, and this, it has been three weekends in a row full of comic book-related events, and despite not actually doing the two shows, I've had the same social obligations as I would if I had, and I feel like I have not been home at all. My pal Sarah Grace McCandless was also in town, and so I spent time with her, stories I will let her relate on her much funnier blog. There might also be some tales on the equally amusing blog of her friend, the writer Abby Mims, rechristened by me as Abby Mimosa. (Check the first photo in this post of Abby's; that's my future wife on the right if Audrey Tatou never becomes available. Though, really, I just want the panties, and maybe I can write a movie for Audrey to star in where she wears them and thus have the best of everything.)

This next image is by Brian Hurtt from his blog and is meant to refer to the previous mention. It should also serve as a marker to break the above from the extremely gross and totally unrelated story that is about to follow.

Sarah Grace is one of the many people who has gamely listened to me excitedly telling the story about the man who shat himself on the sidewalk on SW 4th on Wednesday, which is, naturally, the most exciting thing that happened to me all week. I am, one, most impressed by my ability to identify bodily waste on the sidewalk as being of the human variety, and two, also impressed by the sheer quantity and coverage of said waste. It was like a poo grenade! It created an obstacle course that I had to navigate. There was one curdled, melting-ice-cream plop of poo, and then poo shrapnel all around it. It looked like the culprit had let fly with his main payload and then staggered around in dizzy circles leaving a swirling Hershey-kiss trail back to grandmother's house all around this turd sundae. (Mixed metaphors of war and dairy products, with a little Grimm's thrown in!)

At this point, I didn't know for sure it was human, but something about the color and the consistency got my diarrhea sense tingling. Even if I was right, though, I would not have thought that the bomber was still in the vicinity. I certainly wouldn't have stuck around. Or, if I had, I'd be standing over my efforts proudly and loudly declaring them as my own.

My bus stop was just across the street, and while I was waiting for the 12 to take me to Cosmic Monkey, I watched as a rather large, disheveled African American man walked up to the convenience store behind me. He was in bad shape, using a one-handed walker and carrying two plastic bags full of stuff. As he got to the door, the older Asian clerk had come out of the bodega to smoke. The large man pulled out a wad of money and tried to hand the clerk a dollar bill and asked him to go inside and retrieve him a bag of chips. As he asked, the dollar fell from his hands between them. The clerk was annoyed and protested, not wanting to give up his cigarette time, but he eventually picked up the money and told the man to go pick out the chips himself.

Which he did.

And as he turned to do so, we saw it.

His sweat pants were hanging low, exposing about half of his butt crack, and there was more poop all down the back of his pants. At least as much as was on the street, actually, which only added to the shock. How could one person produce so much waste at one time?

The clerk saw this and I think he almost shat himself, too. Had he not been snotty, the crap machine would not be now walking into his store to buy Doritos. But what was he to do now? Words failed him. (And, let's pause for a second to consider that after dumping in the street, this guy wanted to eat Doritos. Wouldn't have been my first choice. I hope he avoided the Fiery Habanero flavor.)

I had my camera with me, but I could not figure out how to get photos of this crime scene without exposing myself in the process, so you're spared the horrors of the sight. Plus, my bus came before the chip buying could even be completed. It's probably for the best.

I told this to Sarah Grace, who lives in New York, where I assume these kinds of things are commonplace, but apparently they are not. I don't know why they portray New York the way they do in movies, as to talk to New Yorkers, nothing ever happens there. Like, when I visited the city for the first time ever back in 1997, within hours of arriving, I saw a man run past my cab screaming and clutching a bleeding stab wound to the torso. Both my cab driver and my friend who I was visiting freaked out, while I got excited, thinking I had just seen the Big Apple Welcome Wagon. I told this to Mike Carlin from DC Comics at lunch the next day, and he said, "I've lived here all my life and never seen that." I guess it's just me who is badass.

Current Soundtrack: Keane, Pony Club, Ludus, Crowded House, the Creation, Björk & Antony, Kylie Minogue, My Little Airport, Arctic Monkeys, the Zombies, Blur, Timbaland & the Rapture, Elvis Costello, William Bell, Amy Winehouse, Gnarls Barkley, Lily Allen, the Roots, the Mad Lads, Elbow

Current Mood: priceless!

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

Friday, May 09, 2008


* Forbidden Planet now has an interview with Marc Ellerby, as well as the previously posted review.

* Click on Tally's Audrey to go to Flickr, and the line art is now up there as well.

Natalie "Tally" Nourigat has done a piece for my Audrey Hepburn portfolio. It's pretty awesome, one of the few color pieces, and the only digital piece in the collection.

Audrey Hepburn by Natalie Nourigat

Check out her Deviantart portfolio, too.

We're hopefully getting close to being able to announce our project together, too.

Current Soundtrack: NPR; Alpha & Jarvis Cocker, "This is Where I Came In"

Current Mood: yay!

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