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

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I found this in an old notebook the other day. I have no recollection of writing this, but it was written on Dark Horse letterhead and sent to a female friend back in California. The letter is dated June 7, 1994, so I had been in Portland and working for DHC for about five weeks at that point and apparently was already willing to totally slack off on the job. It’s quite possible the beginning could partially be from a template for letters of this kind I’d have to send out regularly as assistant to the editor in chief.

Dear Ms.--:

Thank you for your interest in our company. As you know, Dark Horse specializes in publishing an eclectic mix of comics. We’ve published fine creator-owned projects like Madman Comics and Grendel, licensed products like our wide range of Star Wars titles, and even created our own super-hero line, Comic’s Greatest World.

By far, the accomplishment we are most proud of, however, is hiring Jamie S. Rich. It does our heart good to have such a well-known, accomplished young man working under our roof. Why, practically every time he makes a phone call, the person on the other end says, “You’re that guy who writes all those letters, aincha?”* He humbly replies, “Yes, that is me. Ain’t I keen?”

Recently, Jamie has displayed to us a fine sense of what it takes to be a comic book professional -- he sat alone in his room and ate a pint of ice cream and pretended he was really cool and had a lot of friends. We feel it is this essential geekiness that makes Jamie the fine example of comic book dynamism that he is. It is this lack of any redeeming social qualities that make him a valued employee.

If you have any questions concerning our company, please direct them to Jamie. If you are searching for a particular comic book, he’s your man. Hell, if you need someone to sweep the floor, give your car an oil change, or wash the sludge from between your mother’s mammoth breasts**, we volunteer Jamie.

Jamie. He’s not just an assistant. He’s an editorial assistant.

Those are words to live by.

Sincerely yers,
Jamie S. Rich

That’s right, I’ve always been unfunny. Here some of you thought it was a product of old age.

* As an allegedly well-known letterhack, it took no time at all for me to get sick of people asking me if I was the same Jamie S. Rich who wrote letters to comic books, even though without having done that, I may never have ended up at the Horse in the first place.

** The recipient’s mother did indeed have rather larger breasts.

Current Soundtrack: The Complete Motown Singles Vol.3: 1963 (Disc 13)

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, December 26, 2008


The day after Christmas, the snow is still here, but things look to be returning to normal.

I got two marvelous gifts from my friends Terry and Joëlle, who are basically my Portland family. Rather than spending money, we had a rule of only giving gifts we made this year,. As a non-artist, I feel horribly inadequate about my efforts in comparison to what I got, especially with Terry. A mix CD and a poem I wrote to commemorate the year (and go along with the Pushing Daisies drawing Joëlle did for him) doesn't seem like enough next to this gorgeous watercolor:

Maggie Cheung, In the Mood For Love

Maggie Cheung from In the Mood for Love.

More from Terry Blas at his blog.

With both of these drawings, you really want to click on the image and go to the host page and view the larger sizes to see the detail.

Joëlle drew the cast of Arrested Development.

The cast of "Arrested Development"

Joëlle inked this with a brush (I believe), with the logo cut out of zipatone patterns. This is actually a photo of it taken through a glass frame, no flash. It's too large for my scanner, I need to take it and have a photocopy made and shrunk down at some point to do a proper scan. The biggest problem with this photo is the image fades to the right. Strangely, the photos I took of it out of the frame had way more problems.

Of course, see more of Joëlle Jones' art through this link.

In this theme, Mike Allred did a drawing for Joëlle to give to her husband, illustrating one of his favorite movies, The Big Lebowski.


Mike's comics can be explored at AAA Pop.

Current Soundtrack: Antony & the Johnsons, "One Dove;" One Dove, Morning Dove White & "Why Don't You Take Me" singles & B-sides

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008



It's a good time to be going to the movies...

* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, David Fincher's astounding adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story of a man born old and aging backwards. Elegant, engrossing, simply amazing.

* Defiance, a cookie-cutter WWII exodus, with a standout performance from Liev Schreiber but little else to distinguish it.

* Revolutionary Road, a brutal tale of a loveless marriage, directed by Sam Mendes and brought to emotionally devastating life by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslett.

* Waltz With Bashir, an animated documentary about the Lebanon War. Yes, it's as interesting as it sounds. (Trailer below.)

* The Wrestler, wherein Mickey Rourke redeems a career squandered, Marisa Tomei proves she is still phenomenal, and Darren Aronofsky pulls back on the style and shows us how good of a storyteller he can be.


It's all sci-fi this week...

* The rest of the Monsters & Madmen box, First Man Into Space and The Atomic Submarine.

* Robinson Crusoe on Mars, which is what it sounds like, Daniel Defoe in space.


* Burn After Reading, the Coens lead a phenomenal cast through a darkly comic, impenetrable plot. Loved it so much, I watched it again the day after I reviewed it.

* DJ Spooky's Rebirth of a Nation, a disappointing experiment in cinematic remixing that never gets beyond the concept stage.

* Frost/Nixon: The Original Watergate Interviews, the program that inspired the new movie.

Current Soundtrack: Ladyhawke, Ladyhawke; misc Camera Obscura

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, December 22, 2008


It's the year end round-up yet again, and no, I'm not doing my list. Too many lists in this world. Why is mine going to stand out?

That said, when asked to take part in a year-end feature by other venues, I must comply. The DVD Talk "best of" that I voted in and contributed to will be up some time next week, and in the meantime, some comics sites have started taking polls.

Tom Spurgeon at the Comics Reporter took a different approach by asking people to contribute five personal moments that will make them remember comics in 2008.

Go look to check out answers by guys like Paul Pope and Jeff Smith, but for those who are totally Jamie-centric, here is my list:

1. Laying Madman Atomic Comics #9 end to end and seeing the single continuous panel
2. My pal Joëlle Jones redesigning the X-Women for the hell of it.
3. Realizing that Secret Invasion and Final Crisis were the exact same book, full of sleeper agents spreading like a virus and working on the premise that "evil wins" (albeit, the victories come at separate points in the story).
4. Losing Dave Stevens, as well as many other wonderful people.
5. Comics folks taking a chance, getting political, and talking about the world, including the community effort of www.comicsindustryforobama.com

The excellent Daily Cross Hatch blog has a bunch of people's choices for "The Best Damned Comics of 2008." The list is alphabetical by last name, so you can scroll down to R to read my explanation, but for the lazy among you, the list of five I chose for them (yes, five, you fucking cheaters who had to add extras and have "honorable mentions"--another reason I hate lists: greedy people who can't make decisions), sans explanation, is as follows:

Local by Brian Wood & Ryan Kelley
Skim by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki
Tamara Drewe by Posy Simmonds
Token by Alisa Kwitney & Joëlle Jones
The Umbrella Academy: The Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way & Gabriel Ba

Marc Ellerby and I actually agree on Skim. He lists it as his top comic, among others, at Forbidden Planet.


Portland has been under siege by snow the last couple of days. You've never seen a city more ill-equipped for bad weather than this here "City that Works." Yes, that's this burg's slogan. You just know they can't live up to it.

If one more person asks me where my hat is, I am going to scream. I don't own a hat. Get over it.

The best, though, was the person who asked me how come I wasn't wearing hiking boots.

"Why the fuck would I need hiking boots? For the one time a year it snows?"
"No, to go hiking."
"I reiterate, why the fuck would I need hiking boots?"
[Read the "why the f--?" like John Malkovich in Burn After Reading]

The funny thing was, running errands this morning, I ran into someone I knew who was walking to work. I splintered away from him twice, including mailing packages at the post office, and subsequently caught up with him and his big boots both times without even trying. In chasing a bus, me and my inappropriate shoes outran the other two people in more sensible footwear also chasing the bus. Yeah, me and my little dress shoes. Deal with it!

Current Soundtrack: Tom Jones, "Not Responsible;" the Decemberists, "Please, Daddy, Don't Get Drunk This Christmas;" something dissonant by Ludus; something quiet by Peter Moren; something very Stereolab-like by Stereolab; the Jam, "Pity Poor Alfie/Fever"

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, December 20, 2008


Portland artist Matt Grigsby drew me this swell picture of Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark. Check out his blog here.

And for my Audrey Hepburn art portfolio, here.

And Plastorm, in response to any grumbling on your part...

Current Soundtrack: The Decemberists, Always The Bridesmaid: A Singles Series

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Joëlle just told me that her book Token got a great write-up in Publishers Weekly, and sure enough, I was able to find the article online.


Token Alisa Kwitney and Joelle Jones DC/Minx, $9.99 paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-4012-1538-5

The Minx line of girl-themed graphic novels ends with its best book. In 1987 Miami, 15-year-old Shira dreams of old-fashioned adult glamour. Her reality is a lawyer father distracted by a new relationship with his secretary, an outspoken Jewish grandmother and mean girl classmates. Shira's painfully aware of how uncool she is. Her best friend is her grandmother's contemporary, Minerva, a former actress who talks about the old days. While the story is alternately touching and thought provoking, Jones's art is simply astounding. Her characters' expressions and attitudes are perfect in every panel to convey the emotion underlying the text. People are attractive—you want to keep your eyes on them—without being glossy or artificial. The story, while following the “life-changing turning point” focus of the Minx line, is more subtle and mature than many others. Shira's learning to make her own choices and let go of her father to have his own life, and she comes out the stronger for it. (Nov.)

The bolding is mine, obviously. Publishers Weekly is an important venue, as booksellers really pay attention to it. I'm glad that Token isn't falling under the radar without the Minx initiative still pushing behind it. It's also comforting to see another writer working with Ms. Jones getting the "the story may be good, but the art is totally better" treatment. :)

If you haven't yet bought the book, follow the button below. I'm going to go add some images to the Amazon gallery for it, too.

Current Soundtrack: The Killers, "Spaceman"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The latest issue of Madman Atomic Comics, edited by yours truly.

#12 wraps up the storyline Mike Allred has been working on since the start of this new series. [Edit: Ooops. As it's pointed out, I mixed up my facts. #13, which is currently being printed, is the end of the arc.] Read the first five pages at the Image site.

If Christmas weren't canceled this year, and if I had the money to buy everyone a present, the the Dave Stevens art collection, Brush with Passion: The Art and Life of Dave Stevens would be in everyone's stocking. The link there takes you to the regular retail edition, but the special limited comic book store edition comes out this week. It has a slipcover and 16 extra pages.

Bud Plant is carrying this version. See their listing here.

Current Soundtrack: Travis, Ode to J. Smith

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I love peppermint bark. Usually every Christmas season I buy a tin of it and eat it until I am sick.

This year, Häagen-Dazs has decided they want my peppermint bark dollars. Either that, or they want to see me get fat, because they have a limited edition peppermint bark ice cream.

celebrate the season with our rendition of this holiday classic. rich white chocolate ice cream is blended with crunchy dark and white chocolate peppermint bark and peppermint candy pieces.

Apparently this has been available since September, but I only found it quite by accident last night. It's ridiculously tasty. I had to force myself not to eat the whole pint at once.

I know. I just did a blog post about food. It was that, or write about how it's been snowing in Portland since about 10 o'clock this morning, which when you think about it is at least equally mundane. It's cold enough that my electric heaters turned themselves on just a little bit ago, so the apartment smells of burnt dust, taking care of whatever has settled in there since they were last turned on sometime last winter.

Current Soundtrack: Stars, Sad Robots EP

Thursday, December 11, 2008


The fan letters keep coming:

I read your review of 'Sunshine Superman: The Journey of Donovan' and...I believe you're a little too over-impressed with Megastardom in and of itself, and a little too under-impressed with work quite as qualititative but which didn't sell on a mass basis. But why be different from the masses?

I think he got confused. I'm not one with the masses, I'm simply massive.


* Dark Streets, a wannabe jazz-age crime musical. Perhaps the worst movie I've seen in 2008. So bad it's bad.

* Doubt, from stage to screen, John Patrick Shanley's drama about suspicious activity at a Catholic school provokes and impresses.


* Trafic, a later entry in the ingenious comedy series featuring Jacques Tati as M. Hulot.


* Europa - Criterion Collection, the stylistic post-War thriller from Lars von Trier. (Also at Criterion Confessions.)

* Generation Kill, the complete Frost-Simon HBO series about the early days of the Iraq War.

* Paul Simon: Live from Philadelphia, in which the 1980s begin to swallow the troubadour, Members Only jacket and all.

* The Who at Kilburn: 1977, two-discs of monster rock!

Current Soundtrack: Jeff Buckley, Grace

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Since a couple of people have now mentioned not realizing there was a new Elbow album, I felt I must stress the incredible auditory experience that is The Seldom Seen Kid. For a fourth album, it sounds as new and wonderful as anything the band has done since their debut. In case you missed the first single and its perfect placement in the Burn After Reading trailer, here is a live rendition of "Grounds for Divorce":

I would show the video version, but the music label does not allow embedding. I guess free advertisements on my hugely popular blog is too much of a good thing for them. They don't want to engorge.

Now, the album from 2008 I am most desperate to hear and that I hope to have soon is Happy Fiu, the second from the French gamine Mareva Galanter. The lead single is a video you can embed, so here you go:

Playing those in order is like being on a night out with me. From love-infused anger and regret to love-infused longing and regret. With extra helpings of regret.

Tying this all back to earlier, Mareva's version of "7 h du matin" was actually the soundtrack song on the last page of the only written script for Love the Way You Love II. It was to be the audio for Tristan's horrified realization that Like A Dog was suddenly on tour with the L.A. band he hated most of all, the Godards. Alas, that band has been completely overhauled for prose, as the concept of a band full of characters from Jean-Luc Godard movies just doesn't seem right for a YA novel. But for posterity, their description from the script:


For the first time, we meet the Godards. They’ve been mentioned in previous issues, but we have never seen them. Remember the other record executive that ratted out Isobel and Tristan to Marcus? They were his band, but now Marcus has picked them up. And their keyboard player is now SEAN, ex of Like A Dog.

He is there on stage with the rest of the band, standing at his keyboard. He is wearing black sunglasses, a polo shirt, and has a kerchief tied around his neck.

The drummer of the band is a girl, ANNA K., and she is tall and gangly, so not at all like the girl in Gorillaz or the chick drummer in Crash & the Boys in Scott Pilgrim. She is modeled after Anna Karina, so her hair is long and dark with straight-cut bangs. She is very pretty, like a French model. She wears a little black dress, no sleeves, and thigh-high striped stockings.

The bass player is PIERRE L.F., and he should be modeled after Jean-Paul Belmondo in Pierrot le fou. This includes the blue make-up that covers all of his face. (I can get you pictures.) He wears a red button-up shirt, collar open, and grey suit paints.

Front and center is singer/guitarist JOHN LUKE. He looks like some kind of ‘60s film cliche--not a real one, but like in a parody. He wears black sunglasses and a white turtleneck, and his hair is cut in a thick bowl style, kind of like Monkeyboy in Blue Monday. It’s sort of like the Dutchboy haircuts of the Ramones, but cut short in back.

(from off)
...to meet your new tourmates.

Sean-Luc Godard.

Anna K. Godard.

Peter L.F. Godard.

John Luke Godard.

(from off; burst)

Mareva Galanter - “7h du matin”

It particularly cracked me up that Sean had changed his name to Sean-Luc. The last names thing, of course, was a nod to the Ramones.

We had decided to drop Marcus from the story, too, as he had been beat up enough in series I, but I never got around to rewriting that.

Well, clearly, blogging hasn't been my thing as of late. It seems so passe to apologize for it, too, especially since this is a "no promises" blog. If you must know, however, the silence was kicked off by a week of travel for Thanksgiving where internet access wasn't really happening, and then gray Portland weather and a gray economic situation encouraging me to hibernate, to focus, to do what it is I do and write, write, write.

I'm currently alternating my time--often splitting days--between two projects. One is a previously hinted at rejiggering of Love the Way You Love. The grand concept is to do what would have been series 2 as a young adult prose novel. I'm a little over 13,000 words into it and I think it's going to work. Though, starting a new project while the publishing industry is in freefall is likely madness, but it's not like I can stop my own wheels from grinding.

The other project is a little harder to describe. I am tempted to make jokes about how it's for a private collector, call myself the Anais Nin of nerd fiction, and let you work on your own idea from there. In fact, I will give into that temptation. Go ahead and speculate. I'll never tell.

And while a bunch of you run off with dirty thoughts, some charts:


At least as of this update, Kanye West is in my chart on Last FM as a top artist for the week. I don't know why I always feel compelled to try his albums, because I find him to be one of the least interesting and least charismatic performers in popular culture at the moment. On some trusted advice, I decided to give his new disc, 808s & Heartbreak, a chance, as it was alleged to be more personally adventurous and sonically mellow. On initial listens, I could see this point of view, until I spent some time with the lyrics and realized that this is an album of Kanye West feeling sorry for himself and asking us to RSVP to his pity party. I guess some people's idea of "adventurous" is my idea of "shallow." Even worse, he has somehow managed to make it so that he can brag about his high-class problems and rub his success in our faces even as he is asking us to shed a tear on his behalf. Don't believe me? Listen to the song "Welcome to Heartbreak" and note how he makes sure we know that it's when he drives his fancy cars and flies first class when he feels lonely. Awwwww, you poor guy! Even funnier is how he's so busy and famous that he has to leave his sister's wedding early, and gosh, why can't he just do what he wants? Well, geez, Kanye, for a guy who likes to rap about how powerful and amazing you are, sounds to me like you're a total sham. Being powerful means getting to make your own decisions and dictate to others how they will bend their schedules around yours, and if you can't even reorganize your schedule to attend a family event, big guy, then you're not really your own man, are you?

Anway, best album of the year is still Elbow's The Seldom Seen Kid. Kanye wishes he had as much musical dexterity and lyrical insight.


Unrelated, a couple more Token reviews:

- Comics Worth Reading
- Comics IMO

In the "if I am fire, she must be wood" department, Joëlle is working her ass of on You Have Killed Me and it looks awesome. It hasn't been as fast as we would have liked, but I think folks will find the results are worth it.

Current Soundtrack: Leonard Cohen, Cohen Live

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