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

Sunday, June 28, 2009


The Stumptown Trade Review has posted a podcast interview that they did with me this past Friday. You can listen to it here. The topic at hand: You Have Killed Me.

Some very good questions, the guys have a sharp eye. And I have never heard a 12-year-old who abuses quaaludes talking, but I imagine my voice is a close approximation.

They took a photo of me, but it's probably best for all of us that they didn't run it. Sometimes a scary sound is not so scary when you see where it's coming from, that the noise of terror does not match the image of the source.

This is not one of those times.

Preorder You Have Killed Me.

Current Soundtrack: Björk, Voltaic remix CD

Just got word from the awesome Jason Leivian at the awesome comics shop Floating World that 12 Reasons Why I Love Her is on his Diamond invoice this week. The second printing is available at last!

Expect all good retailers to show it in stock soon.

By the way, did y'all see the drawing Joëlle did of Gwen and Evan reading Craig Thompson's Blankets? If not, here it is. An indie comics crossover!

12 Reasons Why I Love Her/Blankets crossover

The story behind the drawing.

I wonder why 3 people didn't find my Amazon review of Blankets helpful? Dicks!

By the way, Floating World is also providing comics content for Arthur Magazine, and if you haven't been checking it out, you really should.

Current Soundtrack: The Killers, "Romeo & Juliet (Live From Abbey Road);" R.E.M., "Fretless"

Thursday, June 25, 2009



* Chéri, the lacklustre reteaming of Stephen Frears, Christopher Hampton, and Michelle Pfeiffer.


* I Am Curious - Yellow, a look at the 1967 Swedish film notorious for being used to challenge U.S. obscenity laws.


* Brief Encounter (1974), a BBC remake with Richard Burton and Sophia Loren that holds its own against the older David Lean version.

* Eastbound & Down - The Complete First Season, the latest release from HBO's TV division is the perfect vehicle for comedian Danny McBride. Raunchy, mean-spirited fun! Includes three episodes directed by David Gordon Green.

* I Want to Go Home, Alain Resnais' flaccid collaboration with Jules Feiffer, a portrait of an aging cartoonist. The worst yet of the 1980s Resnais movies I've reviewed recently--and thankfully the last.

* Lookin' to Get Out: Extended Version, a little-known later work from Hal Ashby gets a new airing.

WARNING: Definitely NSFW...

Current Soundtrack: The Boo Radleys, Giant Steps

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) 2009 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Poor little Natalie Nourigat has signed on to go with our happy caravan down to Comic Con, so take a moment to gander at her Etsy store and help her raise some cash, won't you?

Also, any lawyers who want to check into California's laws about the corruption of minors and taking a sorority girl across state lines, help me out. What's the maximum I can get away with before I get jail time?

(Just kidding. I just want to put the fear into the gal so she behaves!)

On a similar note, we're auctioning off the original art for Joëlle's page from Fables #59. Go bid!

Current Soundtrack: last two tracks on the Performance soundtrack

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Plastorm and I have been discussing PM Dawn recently, that beautifully pretentious duo, unashamedly bundling up a smorgasbord of influences and not caring whether it makes them laughable or not. Their music, in retrospect, has as much to do with early 1990s rave culture (imagine Andrew Weatherall remixing some of their songs) as it did the post-De La socially conscious hippy rap (see also: Arrested Development). Revisiting their third album, Jesus Wept, I find it an underrated, soulful gem. I mean, how can you not love a record that audaciously begins with an intro song that samples both Jim Morrison and Peanuts? And that ends with a triptych called "Fantasia's Confidential Ghetto" that is actually three separate covers--Prince's "1999," Talking Heads' "Once in a Lifetime," and Harry Nilsson's "Coconut"--and also includes samples of Otis and Carla's "Tramp" and 3 Dog Night's "Mama Told Me Not to Come" and, I swear, one of the "Schoolhouse Rock" songs ("Figure 8" is also part of the intro track).

My favorite song that I rediscovered, though, is this one, "Apathy...Superstar!?"

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Let's talk other people's comics, shall we?

Fellow Portland comic book folks Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber have a new comic coming out starting this September. Published by Image, it's going to be a five-issue color series called Underground, which if I am correct, has its origins in a story Steve did for Four-Letter Worlds all those years ago. Still one of my favorite anthologies, and the story I did in it is still one of my favorites of my own work.

Jeff and Steve are pretty much a creative match made in heaven. Their work separately on comics like The Interman, Whiteout, and Agents of Atlas have shown they both have a special knack for giving a modern angle to classic-style adventure comics of various stripes. Jeff's clear and clever writing funneled through Steve's journeyman approach to page layout and his remarkable skills as a draftsman just sounds like perfect comic book chemistry to me. Add Ron Chan on colors, and it's win-win-win.

Check out the Underground blog for more info and to read a sneak preview of the first issue.

Oni Press is doing their talent contest at the conventions again this summer. Read all about it here.

If you're an artist trying to get a leg up in this industry, this is something you definitely want to look into. This is no joke, no mere publicity gimmick. Several people working for Oni and other publishers right now got their earliest gigs by participating in previous talent searches.

This is your chance to show you can do the work in a timely fashion and delivery on the quality. Pass it up at your own peril.

Freckle-nosed Natalie Nourigat has some great new art on her blog, as well as some links to some of her very talented friends that I had not seen before. Check out the work of Emi Lenox and Angie Wang.

Cranky princess Andi Watson has also been posting a lot of pictures as of late. Check his Flickr.

Current Soundtrack: shuffle up some Arctic Monkeys, Cardigans, Camera Obscura, Velvet Underground, McAlmont & Butler

Friday, June 19, 2009

"Jenny said, when she was just five years old
There was nothin' happening at all
Every time she puts on the radio
There was nothin' goin' down at all, not at all
Then, one fine mornin', she puts on a Snap City station
You know, she couldn't believe what she heard at all
She started shakin' to that fine, fine music
You know, her life was saved by rock'n'roll

The first review of Madman Atomic Comics #16 is in, and it couldn't be more flattering to myself and Joëlle.

Chad Nevett writes over at CBR:

"It’s weird, but this issue of “Madman Atomic Comics” begins with a 12-page story by Jamie S. Rich and Joëlle Jones that is actually stronger than the Mike Allred story that follows it. “Last Night the Atomics Saved My Life!” follows a teenage girl as she details her obsession with the band the Atomics and, most importantly, its front man, Adam Balm...Jones’s art complements Rich’s writing well, and also offers similar clean lines to Allred, firmly placing it in the same world visually. She has a dynamic flair that makes even static images visually interesting and compelling."

Read the whole thing in the link. Until he mentioned it, I had never thought about the fact that the girl in the story and the girl in the Velvet Underground song had the same name!

Also, check out this interview with Mike, featuring downloads of some of the new songs from his band, the Gear.

Current Soundtrack: Depeche Mode, "Peace" remixes


* Easy Virtue, Colin Firth rises high in this Noel Coward adaptation, but other problems get in the way of this simple pleasure.

* Food, Inc., an illuminating look at how food became big business and what's wrong with that development.

* O' Horten, a quietly involving portrait of a changing life from Norwegian director Bent Hamer.

* Year One, Jack Black and Michael Cera starring in the worst movie of the year so far. Avoid at all costs.


* The Seventh Seal, Ingmar Bergman's quintessential foreign film shows no signs of aging.


* Diary of a Suicide, a lost French film from the early 1970s that was better off not found. With Delphine Seyrig and Sami Frey.

* My Dinner with Andre - Criterion Collection, the cult-classic conversation piece is just as relevant in the era of reality TV. (Also at Criterion Confessions.)

Current Soundtrack: The Daily Show 6/18; Paul Weller, "I Walk on Gilded Splinters/Broken Stones (acoustic)" (BBC versions)

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) 2009 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I wanna start from
Before the beginning
Loot wine, "Be mine, and
Then let's stay out for the night"
Ride via Parkside
Semi-perilous lives
Jeer the lights in the windows
Of all safe and stable homes
(But wondering then, well what
Could peace of mind be like ?)
Anyway do you want to hear
Our story, or not ?
As the Fulham Road lights
Stretch and invite into the night
From a Stevenage overspill
We'd kill to live around
SW6 - with someone like you
Keep thieves' hours
With someone like you
...As long as it slides
You stalk the house
In a low-cut blouse :
"Oh Christ, another stifled
Friday night !"
And the Fulham Road lights
Stretch and invite into the night
Well, I was fifteen
What could I know ?
When the gulf between
All the things I need
And the things I receive
Is an ancient ocean
Wide, wild, lost, uncrossed
Still I maintain there's nothing
Wrong with you
You do all that you do
Because it's all you can do
Well, I was fifteen
Where could I go ?
With a soul full of loathing
For stinging bureaucracy
Making it anything
Other than easy
For working girls like me
With my hands on my head
I flop on your bed
With a head full of dread
For all I've ever said
Maladjusted, maladjusted
Maladjusted maladjusted
Never to be trusted
Oh, never to be trusted
There's nothing wrong with you, oh
There's nothing wrong with you, oh
There's nothing wrong with you, oh
There's nothing wrong with you

Listen in...

Monday, June 15, 2009


Madman Atomic Comics #16 is on sale this week in comic book shops everywhere. This is the one with a 12-page story by myself and Joëlle Jones.

You can read a preview of Mike Allred's story for the issue here.

Preview our story here (pt. 1) and here (pt. 2).

Current Soundtrack: Bloc Party, Intimacy Remixed

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) 2009 Jamie S. Rich

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Every once in a while, I participate in Tom Spurgeon's "Five for Fridays" over at The Comics Reporter. The basic concept is every Friday, Tom posts a new topic and you have to make a list of five things in relation to that topic. No cheating, either, none of this wishy-washy ties or alternates or any of the various pussy movies the internet generally allows for the people who just can't pick, wahhhhh. If you can't pick, sit down; I can't make a basket, but I don't go to the park and ask them to lower the hoop so I can get in a basketball game.

Anyway, I tend to send Tom a list when I read a topic and think, "Oh, yeah, I can handle that."

This week's list is called "Cover Me", "Name Five Specific Serial Comic Book Covers You Think Are Genuinely Pleasing To The Eye, No Matter What The Insides Are Like." Other respondents include Scott Dunbier, Douglas Wolk, Don MacPherson, Fred Hembeck, and Mark Coale. It's such a visual topic, I decided to post my choices here, as well.

I would have picked five of my own covers if I could have, but that would have been tacky. I also limited myself to just one book I edited. I considered putting up a Love Fights cover, but looking at them online, I was reminded that Andi almost always did one cover for solicitation and one for the final book, and I couldn't remember if the one I was looking at was the printed version or not.

The list is in order of literally the first things that came to mind, though the fifth cover actually bumped out the Mike Allred slot.

1. X-Factor (vol. 1) #13, cover by Walt Simonson

I had this one on my bedroom wall for quite a long time after it came out. One nice thing about comic book bags: instant frame. Funny looking at it now, in my memory there is only the Phoenix, no other Jean incarnations, no Cyclops. I suppose this was also advance preparation for collaborating on comics with one of the biggest Phoenix fans on the planet. Something inside of me knew it would be important.

2. Dark Horse Presents #130 by Patrick McEown

I'll talk more about this comic when I am blogging for Robot 6 next month. Its charms should be obvious.

3. Grendel #4 by Arnold & Jacob Pander, inked by Dave Stevens

My favorite comic from my teens, and the issue where my then favorite artist came in to ink over my then third-favorite artists (Arthur Adams was #2, back when it was important to make these distinctions). Not sure, maybe Matt Wagner even colored this. The actual cover is a wraparound but I could not find that online.

It's possible this may have my first letter to Grendel printed inside, not sure.

4. Shade the Changing Man #33 by Chris Bachalo

When I started flipping through Shade issues, I thought for sure I was going to pick one by Duncan Fegredo, but then I saw this one and it was an instant, "Oh, yeah, that's it." It made me wish I still had my Shade shirt from Graphitti Designs.

5. Phaze #1 by Bill Sienkiewicz

Does anybody even remember this book? I know I only remember it being about a guy who decides to drown himself and changes his mind halfway, and I only remember that because of this image. I bought the comic for the cover at the time, pure and simple. I am not even sure Eclipse ever published a second issue. Still, this image has always stayed with me.

Current Soundtrack: various Elbow tracks ("Fugitive Motel (September 70 remix)," "Beat for Two," "Black Magic Woman," and a couple of live tracks); Blur, Midlife: A Beginner's Guide To Blur

Friday, June 12, 2009


Breaking from convention slightly, I am posting the main body of one of my DVD reviews here. I think the special nature of this one deserved a reprint. I had a lot of fun writing it.

(I've actually toyed with posting full reviews here more often, but I think the blog would get flooded if I did them all, so I stick to the lists of links.)

For the full review, visit DVD Talk.

I am having a hard time reviewing the documentary Harlan Ellison: Dreams With Sharp Teeth, Erik Nelson's portrait of one of the most gifted writers of the last eighty years. I find myself pulling away from the material and wanting to instead write about my own interaction with the writer and his work, to act as a de facto commentator and tell you all the things I would have said were I lucky enough to sit down in front of Nelson's camera. The only explanation I have for it is one given by a Carol Cooper, critic for The Village Voice and someone who actually was asked to share her thoughts on Harlan for the movie. In pondering Harlan's long-standing feud with fandom of all kinds, she notes that his problem with fanboys is that they have removed themselves from interaction with anything beyond that which they are fans of, and to understand Harlan's work and its meaning is to be the opposite. It requires engagement, not just with the printed matter, but with life.

Now that I think about it, there are multiple instances in Dreams With Sharp Teeth where someone shares their Harlan Ellison encounter or how he inspired them to be something more, and I thought, "Me, too." Sometimes it's an outside anecdote, like noted comics writer and author Neil Gaiman laughing about being on a panel with Harlan when a member of the audience approached Ellison with the seeming intent of raising the writer's ire and reveling in the verbal blast that followed. While I have never done this, having noted the fatigue it actually caused the man when, as a teen, I used to quietly hang around his appearances in Los Angeles, too shy to speak, I have had my moment where I took a secret thrill in receiving an insult from him. Even better, it was a comeback to my own quip. It was in my early days at Dark Horse Comics, when as an editorial assistant I did whatever I could to insinuate myself into the production of Harlan Ellison's Dream Corridor. I was not all that impressed with some of the cover illustrations Harlan had commissioned, and I tossed out a jibe saying just that. My own words are lost to memory, they weren't important to me, but I believe it was something to the effect that when Harlan was praising his own good taste, I shot back with something resembling, "Yeah, like such-and-such a painting proves," my snot-nosed disdain clear by the smirk on which it hung. The room froze, people's eyes gleefully widened and ears opened as they waited for me to get mine in return. Harlan looked at me, his expression dry, and he casually reached a finger up to his lower eyelid and pulled it down ever so gently. "Child," he said, "look into my eye...." His words trailed off, he did not need to speak the finish. "Do you see death?"

I still smile when I think about it. I am smiling now. Notice how much more charged my writing is when I write about Harlan? My skills, such as they are, can be traced back to my discovery of his work when I was 15. I've still got two bookshelves filled with his material, and I don't even have close to a complete collection. I had seen Harlan before I had read him, he was a guest of honor at my first ever Comic Con in San Diego, around 1986 or 1987. I wandered into a room where he was speaking, it was packed to the rafters, and whatever tale Harlan was telling, the audience was in hysterics. All except for one lady in the back of the room who had her arms folded and was shaking her head, insisting to a friend who was jabbing her with an elbow, "It's not funny. It's not funny." Such opposite yet equally energetic reactions! I was fascinated.

Writer Josh Olson, who wrote the screen version of A History of Violence and adapted Harlan's story "The Discarded" for the short-lived Masters of Science Fiction television show, tells of his own first encounter with Harlan's work. He holds up a dog-eared copy of the paperback edition of the short story collection Ellison Wonderland and tells how one of his high school teachers gave it to him. She saw something in Josh that she felt was in need of knowing who Harlan Ellison was. He said it was the moment he knew writing was what he wanted to do for a living. While I was on the writerly path before I had ever read a word by Harlan, I didn't really know how far I could take it artistically until his prose passed under my nose.

It was 10th grade for me, a short story unit in my English class. I went through what our library had to offer in search of something that wouldn't bore me to tears. The card catalogue said Quartz Hill High was supposed to have a copy of The Deathbird Stories in the stacks, but it was checked out. I ended up with Ray Bradbury, which at the time wasn't really my cup of tea, but I knew the title of the lead story from a Twilight Zone episode. Long story already too long, that book didn't hit the spot, and so when Deathbird came back, I snagged it. My teacher, Miss Black, saw me reading it when I should have been reading something else, and she wrinkled her nose at the offending tome. "Do you like that?" she asked, possibly confirming some long-held suspicion about me and my mental health.

"Oh, yes," I replied, her obvious disgust making the book more exciting already, just the way that woman at Comic Con's vehement refusal to laugh had made Harlan seem like a rock star.

"I have a copy of that at home," Miss Black said. "If I can find it, I'll give it to you."

That was how I ended up with my own first edition hardcover of The Deathbird Stories, a collection of similarly themed pieces, all of them about some kind of modern god, the new things of worship that were replacing the old. If Miss Black were to give me that book today, she'd be fired. It's a pretty wild work of fiction, full of extreme ideas and frightening images, but also rife with humanity and moments of true tenderness--the dichotomy that makes all of Ellison's best work his best work. It changed my life immeasurably. I had a whole new understanding of what words could do. There were actually three stories I wrote while reading The Deathbird Stories, and while they were all terrible, I was aware of the changing tenor of what I put on a page. There was a difference between the story I wrote before starting the book and the one I wrote in the middle, and the third, written after, was a whole other thing entirely. I became a real writer in the space of probably thirty or so typewritten pages.

I tried to tell Harlan this at another Comic Con years later, when I actually got him to sign that copy of The Deathbird Stories. I screwed up my courage, wanted to tell the man how I felt, got about as far as "It's the first book of yours I read, and--" when Harlan dismissively waved his hand and said, "Yeah, yeah, it changed your life. I know."

It was at once shocking and disappointing, and yet, as he handed me back the book, he gave me a sprightly wink and said, "You're all right, kid," sending me away feeling good about having come by. That's Harlan.

Just as now I wave my hand dismissively at you, a cursory brush-off across the internet, as you start to get annoyed with me and say, "That's all well and good, but what about the damned movie?!" How impatient you are! What you need to understand is that this is all about the damned movie. Reviewing a film shouldn't just be about watching it and regurgitating a summary, but as Carol Cooper said, it should be an interaction, one should engage the material. Any reviewer who has read Ellison's own books of criticism, either the movie oriented Harlan Ellison's Watching or the series of television-related essays in the two The Glass Teat volumes or any of his other countless works of non-fiction essaying (Harlan Ellison's Hornbook or An Edge in My Voice, for instance) know that the master himself is prone to such digressions. I can simply review Dreams With Sharp Teeth in the same old way and you can walk away with my impressions, but how accurately will you know where I am coming from if I don't tell you what else is on my mind?

When we strip away all the extraneous nonsense and get down to the meat of the nut, to go off on such a tangent is the only way I can prepare you for the man you will encounter in this movie. And this movie itself is really only there to prepare you for what you will find if you choose to go deeper into Ellison Wonderland. And I don't see how you can't, unless you're that woman I saw in my teen years, so adamant in your determination to spoil whatever good time might come your way. Because if you watch the ninety-six minutes of Ellison ranting and raving, listen to the stories others tell about him, and best of all, hear him read from a selection of his work, and you don't want to go out and buy one of his books, then I am not sure I understand who you are. To paraphrase from memory, a remembered line from an essay Ellison wrote about the excitement of discovery experienced by NASA scientists when they find something new in space, if the person next to you doesn't get how grand that is, then get rid of them. If it's your fiancée, give back the ring. It's through.

Oh, the stories you will hear here! There is the introduction to Harlan's piece about when he marched in Alabama with Dr. Martin Luther King, a meaningful passage from his childhood memoir "One Life Furnished in Early Poverty," a vivid reading of his famous tale of nonconformity, "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman," and strangely, the most exciting and the most poignant, a dramatic interpretation of a segment of his butchered script for the Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever." It's just Harlan standing there, staring into Erik Nelson's camera, and the timbre of his voice, the gaze of his eyes, even more than the written lines, these things tell you he understands the full extent of eternity and how awesome and wide the universe is. As Dan Simmons hints, all writers ponder their place in posterity, but by choosing not to talk about it, maybe only Harlan really gets what that means.

For those wondering about technique, Nelson honed his cinematic skills over the years working on a variety of other documentaries and programming for public television. While his technique may not be innovative or groundbreaking, it is not intended to be so, he is from the school of documentarians who value their subjects over their own personal expression. There is nothing wrong with the formula--talking heads, vintage photos and old footage (home movies, Ellison television appearances), connecting facts written on screen. We get an extensive tour of Harlan's legendary California home, complete with its decorative gargoyles, hidden passages, and scores of toys, posters, books, and other collectibles. It's a living monument to a man who lives his life in pursuit of every passion that grips him, and Dreams With Sharp Teeth is a monument to that, as well. Some may grouse that it's not prickly enough, that it doesn't grind any axes against Ellison's reputation but lets him do all the grinding, but who cares? We've all come here to praise Caesar, and he swings a bigger axe than Brutus ever could, anyway.

Is that enough to convince you to get your hands on this DVD? Would more stories help? I still haven't told the one about how Harlan inadvertently called me a "retarded teenager," and how when this fact was made known, he exited that conversation with a perfect Gilda-Radner-as-Emily-Litela "Never mind." Or how about this? Robin Williams is a Harlan Ellison fan, and he's in Dreams With Sharp Teeth, and when you see the two of them side by side, you will be witness to the one man that can not only stop Robin Williams in mid-riff, but add to the routine, hand it back to Robin, and send the comedian back on his way.

That's rare talent right there. Just one of the many rare talents that make up the rare genius of Harlan Ellison. Do you have the guts to engage?

Visit the Creative Differences website to view some of the DVD extras. I highly recommend the reading of "Prince Myshking, and Hold the Relish." It's epic.

Current Soundtrack: The Decemberists, "This Sporting Life;" Pulp, "Le Roi Fourmis;" Miss Toni Fisher, "The Big Hurt"

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) 2009 Jamie S. Rich


* Away We Go, the Sam Mendes-helmed comedy with John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph is mostly good, but the literary pretensions of authors Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida sometimes get in the way.


* Au Bonheur des Dames, Julien Duvivier's 1930 silent adaptation of Emile Zola is visually stunning but a little weak in the end.

* Bergman Island - Criterion Collection, a documentary portrait of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman in his later years. (Also at Criterion Confessions.)

* Life is a Bed of Roses, continuing my look at Alain Resnais' '80s output, and continuing my disappointment.

* Scott Walker: 30 Century Man, an incredible music documentary profiling an enigmatic performer. Walker is a favorite of mine, and I see Tristan in my books taking on more and more of his traits.

* The Strange One, a 1950s drama penned by Calder Willingham and showing hazing at a military college. Features a stand-out performance by a young Ben Gazzara in his first film.

In honor of Mr. Walker and Mr. Bergman...

Bergman's The Seventh Seal is the next movie in my queue to review for Confessions.

Current Soundtrack: Clipse, "I'm Good;" The Zombies, "Care of Cell 44 (Backing Track)/Friends of Mine;" Oasis, "The Shock of the Lightning (Primal Scream Remix)"

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) 2009 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, June 11, 2009

La Premiére Å Gauche

Fresh off the boat! James Lucas Jones dropped off our first two copies of You Have Killed Me today.

It's better than I remember!

Rockstar provided for scale. It's hard to judge the size of something next to just an old man. We shrink, you know.

Isn't that pretty? Beefcake!

Big kudos, the largest of kudos, go to everyone at Oni for making this final pakcage look so gorgeous. To Keith and Doug for their tireless production efforts, Cory for marketing, Jill and James for dotting Is and crossing Ts, Randal for finding the materials and making the format work, and, of course, Joe, for not getting sick of us all and heading off to find himself on the fields of Mars. Thanks, guys!

And Judd Winick can suck it. Because he his book is now only the second-best Oni publication this year. Everyone buy The Big Book of Barry Ween, Boy Genius with You Have Killed Me and get free shipping! :)

Current Soundtrack: Lily Allen, F.U.E.P.; "I Could Say (Acoustic)"

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) 2009 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Listening to this Kasabian track, just as I type the final pages of a script that only one person knew for sure I was writing, busy hands working in the shadows, surprised that I had gotten here, surprised by the coincidence of the song on my stereo...

"This is the end of the tracks
Where the fountains close
This is the end of time...

And, no, you can't know what it's for. Sorry, but you not knowing means it's still possible to declare it's awful and scrap it, and you be none the wiser. I wouldn't say anything at all, but I kind of want to stick my head out a window and shout about it. I started on April 28 and it's been solid work practically every day and I'm done!

But, not to be too secretive or unsharing, here is a lovely group of drawings Nico sent over, just so you don't walk away with nothing, no matter how unrelated that something may be:

amiens sketches

I totally messed up last week and forgot to post that he would be at the Amiens Comic Book Festival in Amiens, France. I don't know if it would have helped anyone on this blog, anyway, like you're reading it now and thinking, "Curse you, Rich, I could've gone had you told me!" but still...

The above drawings were done for people at the show. He said he did "hundreds" of them. Yikes! The website gives him his own pages. A bio, and it looks like some gallery images.

He also did the following to promote the show, and I believe they were cut in half for bookmarks:

Yes, those are the Spell Checkers girls up top.

Current Soundtrack: Kasabian, Morrissey, Yuzo Kayama and the Launchers

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


A couple of images to share.

First, Terry Blas drew this Love the Way You Love piece a couple of summers back, a portrait of Like A Dog. I was looking at our friend Kimball Davis' Deviant Art page earlier, and saw Kimball had colored it for his own amusement (as he often does with Joëlle drawings, like this one). I think it turned out pretty great.

Then Maryanne sent along this photo, taken on the sly in a library in San Jose, amused by the company I keep:

Current Soundtrack: Pulp, "Sunrise;" Morrissey, "When I Last Spoke To Carol (Toy Selectah Remix)"

As I mentioned before, this week at the Powell's Books website, their blog is being taken over by contributors to Portland Noir.

My piece went up today, and in it, I describe why comics, why Portland, and why I named a dog "Blanket."

"There is always a societal schism in crime stories, whether it's one that is implicitly stated or not. There is the basic divide between those who stay on the side of the law and those who step across the line to do crime. There is also the class separation of those who have something worth stealing and those who are going to steal it. While the two sides of the professional comic book world get along and are really more complicated in their nuances than a have-and-have-not distinction would imply, there are two faces to the professional coin, two types of creators in our industry. Just as our character in our Portland Noir story, "Gone Doggy Gone," points out, there are indie comics creators doing their own thing for sometimes little reward and there are the guys who work in superhero comics, usually earning more steady paychecks doing work-for-hire. Don't take that as a value judgment, the art form would not be what it is without both types of creator, and as is implied in the story, each side often envies the other.Don't take that as a value judgment, the art form would not be what it is without both types of creator, and as is implied in the story, each side often envies the other. It's only the amazing few who can jump back and forth between the two sides."

Read the whole thing here.

Hopefully Craig Thompson and Steve Lieber will forgive me.

Current Soundtrack: The Trash Can Sinatras, In the Music

Saturday, June 06, 2009


I failed in my duties as a culture vulture and didn't make any mention at all to the fact that Powell's Books was having a Portland Noir event last night. Blame it on me nearly forgetting myself. I wasn't on the official list, so I had been intending to play it by ear, but I am glad I dragged me and my turnip-looking bruised foot out for the event.

The night was hosted by editor Kevin Sampsell, and it featured readings from Chris A. Bolton, Luciana Lopez, and the imposingly brickhouse-like, but extremely nice Jonathan Selwood, who deserves big respect for taking a shot of whiskey at the podium before beginning his readings. He also did some weird sound effects that made him look like my cat when she is puking. That's dedication! I loved it!

Also on hand were writers Bill Cameron and Gigi Little. Gigi also designed the poster that graces this page, it's part of a triptych in the Powell's window. Kevin read his introduction from the book and introduced everyone who read accompanied by Miles Davis music and adopting a hardboiled narrator's voice. Made me wish I could have read, too, just to get an intro.

After, all the writers lined up and we signed a bunch of books. People were really curious about the fact that there was a comic in the book, and those who had read it already seemed to really like it. As a born huckster, I talked up You Have Killed Me to a lot of the attendees. I should have brought some of the Art Institute postcards, though. Again, I wasn't thinking.

Portlanders going by Powell's can actually pick up a book autographed by all of us right about now. We signed piles of them.

Unless Chris A. Bolton was being kind and not pointing out that we had met before (he looks kind of familiar), this was our first meeting despite being friends on MySpace and Facebook. Chris writes the webcomic Smash!, drawn by his brother Kyle. It's a fun mix of superheroes and Bill Watterson-style childhood adventure. It's lots of fun, you should check it out.

There are several more Portland Noir book events, which I will list here. I'll update if there are any that Joëlle or I end up attending.

Looking Glass Bookstore
Thursday, June 18th, 7pm
With Floyd Skloot, Ariel Gore, Dan DeWeese, and Megan Kruse

The Blue Monk
Thursday, July 2nd, 9pm (21 and over)
With Justin Hocking, Karen Karbo, Monica Drake, and Gigi Little
Along with musical guests and a showing of a noir film after the readings

Elliott Bay Bookstore in Seattle
Saturday, July 11th, 7pm
With Chris A. Bolton and two people from Seattle Noir

Murder by the Book
Wednesday, July 15th, 7:30pm
With Bill Cameron and two people from Seattle Noir

Also, note:

Other promotion:
Powell’s will feature the book as a “New Favorite” which means it will be displayed prominently in all our stores. This promotion also includes a Portland Noir week on the Powell’s blog during that first week in June. “Guest Bloggers” for that week will be Kevin Sampsell, Gigi Little, Jamie S. Rich, cover photographer Krista Wheeler, Chris A. Bolton, and Kimberly Warner-Cohen.

Naturally, I'll share that link when it's up.

Current Soundtrack: Super Furry Animals, Dark Days/Light Years

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) 2009 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, June 05, 2009


Leslie from the Art Institute uploaded her photos to my Flickr set. Her photos are tons better than mine (ever notice I am a sucky photographer?), so you should go check them out.

Jump to the whole set, or start with her first photo here.

Current Soundtrack: The Who, "Tea & Theatre;" Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Runaway"


* The Hangover, a good, raunchy comedy made all the better by Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis.


* Green for Danger, a British wartime whodunit with Alastair Sim as Inspector Cockrill of Scotland Yard.


* Man Hunt, Fritz Lang's 1941 thriller about a man who would've killed Hitler, but found himself on the run instead.

* Spring Breakdown, like an attempt at a Hangover-style movie but with women. And without the jokes. You'd think anything starring Parker Posey, Rachel Dratch, and Amy Poehler as the leads would be better than this.

* Une Femme Mariée, Godard's 1964 will-she-or-won't-she portrait of a married woman torn between husband and lover. Features a fantastic performance by Macha Méril.

Just to show I don't just get angry mail, here are a couple of nice recent letters in response to my reviews:

I read your review of 'Man Hunt' and...I think that if there was ever a textbook example of how to use the full frame to its advantage it is in the first reels of this often overlooked gem of a film. I have found interesting things in all of Lang's films but this new transfer underscores his mis-en-secne to a tee. I had seen this movie on FMC last year and it is obvious that this transfer is new, since then, as the clarity of the picture is a marked improvement. Lang (and Fox) also deserve credit for thier rather direct indictment of the Nazis. With the US not yet at war there were still those in the Hollywood community that soft pedaled the Hitler menace. Lang knew otherwise.

With regard to Lang's American back catalgoue have you heard any word about a US release of, "Human Desire"? A buddy of mine found a PAL copy that he converted for me but it looks pretty bad. Why is it that even the lame films by other directors (Like-John Ford, nothing against his overall history making filmogrophy--but his coverage in the digital era is virtually complete) are readily available but there are at least five great postwar Lang films that have yet to show up on DVD? As usual, your writing regarding issues of history in this review are first rate.....


And from a correspondent who just goes by GG:

I read your review of 'Revolutionary Road' and...was so moved to find a kindred soul who "got" it. Ebert also loved the movie but I have to admit your review touched emotions that he overlooked or found inconsequential. Bravo!

Current Soundtrack: Zodiacs, "So Much in Love With You;" Guns n' Roses, "I.R.S.;" Bruce Springsteen, "Old Dan Tucker;" Amityville, "All You Ever Wanted (XFM session);" The Charlatans, "Don't You Worry"

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) 2009 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, June 04, 2009


Thanks to all who came out for the Art Institute show, despite the wicked storm that came out of nowhere and started freaking people out. We saw a lot of friends and met some new people, too. Big thanks to Leslie Waara for inviting us, and she and her boss Allena Baker for helping bring it all together. Cory Casoni and his lovely wife also came down to sell books for Oni.

The full but meager photo set here.

All the art from the book will go on sale when the book is out, but if you see anything here or want to get the cover, message me.

Big points go to Shawn Gascoyne-Bowman for showing up in a homemade version of Jennie's dress from the book cover! I wish I had gotten a better look. Anyone take pictures? I think that's my very first cosplayer!

In addition to this, You Have Killed Me has gotten another great review, this time from Johanna Draper Carlson at Comics Worth Reading. I always like Johanna's reviews, because she really seems to get whatever I am trying to do. She mentions several things that I was hoping readers would pick up on, and Joëlle will be pleased that she singled out a splash page of Mercer smoking in the bath, since that was Joëlle's idea, replacing a pretentious six-panel page she termed impossible to draw.

An excerpt from Johanna's review below, and read the whole thing here:

"It’s very difficult to do this kind of project well. The genre, a film noir-style hard-boiled detective story, is so well-known that most people think of parodies before they think of classic originals. It’s easy to succumb to 'nudge nudge' 'this is just like that better story' smarmy wisecracking or too-faithful slavishness. The former, by making fun based in immaturity, makes you feel like an idiot for wanting something with honest inspiration; the latter makes you ask 'what’s the point? I’ll get one of the originals.' This story avoids both those traps."

Nice! I love it!

Buy You Have Killed Me

Current Soundtrack: Les Reed, "Girl on a Motorcyle;" Jarvis Cocker, Further Complications

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) 2009 Jamie S. Rich

Don't forget, tonight is the opening of the gallery show for You Have Killed Me, where you can see the original for this page...

...as well as 32 others and Joëlle's painted cover.

If you're interested in buying and want to be prepared, all the pages are $200 each and the cover will be $600. Oh, if only I had $600!

We'll be on hand tonight from 6 to 8ish. (Details here for those who need a refresher.) I'll be hobbling around, since last night I stepped off the sidewalk goofy and bent my foot pretty hard. It's all swollen and red this morning, and it hurts like hell. But I will soldier on!

Current Soundtrack: Reparata & The Delrons, "Shoes (Johnny & Louise)"

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Joëlle has put up a couple of pages from the first chapter of Spell Checkers. But you're going to have to click on the thumbnail if you want to see the full size of this page or any of the other one...

Yeah, this book is going to kill.

Also, You Have Killed Me got noticed by Morrissey-Solo...

Current Soundtrack: The Killers, "Four Winds/Tidal Wave"