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

Thursday, September 30, 2010



* Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno, the amazing tale of a film director and the movie that burned away. For two nights only at the NW Film Center!

* Let Me In, an exercise in redundancy. I'm debating between "No thanks, I'd rather stay outside," and "Fine, but once you're in, stay in!"

* The Social Network--Sorkin? Fincher? Me and this movie are totally friends.


* The Magician, a chilly philosophical entertainment from Ingmar Bergman. Part horror, part mystery, totally great. (Also at DVD Talk).

* Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, WWII-era David Bowie yaoi. (Also at DVD Talk).


* The Law, this late '50s genre-buster from Jules Dassin is wicked fun. Gina Lollobrigida can pull a knife on me any time.

* Secretary, a sweet romance in weird kid's clothing. Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader are amazing, but this Blu-Ray reissue could have been better.

Current Soundtrack: The Airborne Toxic Event, All I Ever Wanted

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

All text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Comic-book gentleman Chris Arrant is guest blogging at the esteemed Robot 6 this week, and part of his mission is highlighting interesting themed sketchbooks from comics professionals. Day 1 was B. Clay Moore's wicked cool collection of characters from the Timely era of funnybooks.

Day 2 is me and Audrey Hepburn.

I think this challenge I threw down gives Ross Campbell nine days to make me eat my words at NYCC.

Note: the above video is not from my collection, though Natalie Nourigat drew a version of the same photo that puts that one to shame. (Sorry, random artist.)

Current Soundtrack: Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass, "Zorba the Greek;" Shirley Bassey, "Moon River"


I am appearing tonight--Wednesday, September 29--as part of the Rough Copy Magazine Monthly Reading Series. Every month, the journal invites three authors to come and share work relating to a particular theme. This month, that theme is music.

Alongside myself, other readers will be Mike McGonigal and Linda Wojtowick. I guess we're each going to do about 20 minutes. I am not sure what I am doing yet. I may go off the beaten track and dig out some unpublished material, or I may blow the dust off of those old novels of mine. I'll do some performances for the cat this afternoon and see what gets the most giggles.

The party has a Facebook page, so you can RSVP or just use it for information. The event starts at 7:00 and is at the Canvas Art Bar & Bistro on 1800 NW Upshur. Admission is free.

Current Soundtrack: The Social Network score by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lucky in Love: A Poor Man's History (Vol. 1)Lucky in Love: A Poor Man's History by George Chieffet & Stephen DeStefano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lucky in Love is an oddly charming book. It takes the tradition of immigrant fiction and wartime stories and channels them through archetypal cartooning styles, crafting a book that looks lighthearted but is actually darker in tone and theme than it might appear on the face of it.

The first of two books, A Poor Man's History introduces us to Lucky Testatuda, an Italian American growing up in Hoboken, NJ. This portion of Lucky's life is broken into three chapters: his teen years, his time spent in Hawaii during WWII, and the aimless period of readjusting to civilian life. Writer George Chieffet has a great ear for dialogue and an acutely tuned nose for sniffing out the important events in an episodic narrative. Lucky is short, scrappy, horny, and none too bright--facts all driven home by the things that are said to him and the odd moments where the author pulls back and lets us in on what other characters think of his protagonist. I am not sure those breaks in point of view work entirely. They make me feel a little too sorry for Lucky. Yeah, I know he's kind of a loser, but that's for me to say. It sort of puts the guy on the wrong side of the joke.

Then again, that's where Lucky is discovering he is throughout this volume. It's not just that things don't work out for Lucky, but slowly, as the story progresses, he is starting to figure out that it's less his fault and more a fault of the way society is set up. The things we are promised in this life, the images they sell us, they aren't real. Sure, the army may take over whorehouses in Honolulu and try to make them look pretty and legitimate, but the truth is that deal is only different than the $2 toothless whore out in the boonies in how much you're bilked out of your cash. The consequences of war are not as patriotic as the movies tell us, the heroes of the silver screen are bad drunks, and what comes after the bombs stop falling isn't much better. Lucky lies about his service history to try to get what he wants, only to feel bad later when a veteran who really took a bullet for his country gets legitimately screwed over.

Chieffet found his perfect collaborator in Stephen DeStefano. A long undervalued cartoonist, DeStefano brings a legitimate period look to Lucky in Love. His thick, expressive lines invoke memories of both classic animation (the Fleischer Studios, "Private Snafu" propaganda) and cartooning of various flavors (E.C. Segar, Katzenjammer Kids, Harvey Kurtzman, Joost Swarte). More than the sum of his influences, however, DeStefano has a strong sense of page layout, fitting lots of information into compact spaces, and knowing instinctively where to let the story breathe. The closing scenes of a festival in Little Italy are amazing, the sense of scale taking on larger than life proportions, showing how out of whack things are when compared to the more cramped and desolate images of air combat and soldiers being stranded at sea from earlier in the book.

Vol. 1 opens with a glimpse of Lucky's future, and so we have an idea of where he will end up. I assume the second book, Lucky for Life, will give us the story of how he got there. It looks like it could be a dark path, and yet, the sci-fi dream sequence that starts the whole thing is the most spectacular of all, so we can have some faith that our man will never quite give in. Too bad we're going to have to wait a while to find out if we're right.

View all my reviews

Current Soundtrack: Go! Team, Garbage, Massive Attack Kanye, Muse, Bat for Lashes (via LastFM)


Our pal Joëlle Jones got a couple of great plugs over the weekend. This coattail-riding thing I've got going on is totally going to pay off.

First, Robot 6 lists her as one of their top 5 working artists with the name Jones.

Second, the OC Weekly has her on their rundown of female comic book creators making inroads into an industry once thought to be dominated by men.

Joëlle has some pretty amazing things in the works. Just you wait. She's going to be your favorite Jones soon if she isn't already.

Current Soundtrack: Tindersticks, "Just Drifting;" The Chiffons, "Nobody Knows What's Going' On"

Thursday, September 23, 2010



* Howl, the story of the Allen Ginsberg poem, with James Franco as Ginsberg. Plus, cartoons.

* Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, though not as incisive as the original, it's pretty good...until Oliver Stone loses his erection. He needs movie viagra.


Bigger Than Life, James Mason stands tall in this whacked-out portrait of 1950s drug addiction from Nicholas Ray.

* Charade, the Audrey Hepburn/Cary Grant classic comes to Blu-Ray (Also at DVD Talk).


* Bored to Death: The Complete First Season, Jason Schwartzman is great in the Jonathan Ames-created TV show. Modern literary rom com mashed-up with the private detective genre.

* Janeane Garofalo: If You Will - Live in Seattle, in which Janeane reclaims the stand-up stage.

* Saturday Night Live - The Best of Adam Sandler, a redefining of the relativity of "best."

* Soundtrack for a Revolution, a good but unfocused documentary about the music of the Civil Rights movement, with contemporary artists doing new versions of the old songs.

Current Soundtrack: The Moonglows channel on Pandora

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

All text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich

Saturday, September 18, 2010


The Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, WA, is having an opening tonight for a show called Comics at the Crossroads. Amongst the pieces on the wall will be a page from You Have Killed Me, complete with the corresponding script, and the cover to Spell Checkers vol. 1.

Also included in the show are guys like Mike Oeming, Steve Lieber, Erika Moen, Jim Woodring, some devilish cat named Mike Allred, and more.

Visit the museum's site for more details. Special thanks to Steve Grafe for his putting the whole thing together.

Here is the poster for it. You can read the larger version through the link:


In other Spell Checkers news, a new review popped up, one that begins:

"WARNING: This review contains annoyance, dislike, disappointment, some unpleasant quotations, and SPOILERS."

Uh-oh. Needless to say, Jennifer, the librarian at the Jean Little Library, did not like our book, though, keep in mind that her idea of unpleasant quotes are an exchange where the girls call each other sluts and cows, so this is not a surprise. (That's not a knock, I'm just saying our rude little comic isn't for her.) The only exception I really take is her assertion that "there isn't really much of a plot." There is plenty of plot! I'm actually fairly proud of the story structure in the book.

More linked through this sample quote:

"The text is liberally sprinkled with obscenities, profanity, sexual innuendo, and verbal abuse. The girls' treatment of each other isn't actually much better than the way they control the school and it's clear that their friendship is completely dependent on their own comfort. As a picture of the sheer stupidity and nastiness of certain adolescents, I suppose one could call it realistic. There are a few humorous moments, but that's about it for redeeming qualities."

Current Soundtrack: The Diamonds, "Silhouettes;" The Impressions, "Never Let Me Go;" Foals, "The Bed's Too Big Without You;" Best Coast, "Boyfriend;" DJ Shadow, "Def Surrounds Us/I've Been Trying"

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

All text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Online Film Critics Society: Jamie S. Rich

I broke my own philosophy and joined a club that would have me as a member...

Online Film Critics Society: Jamie S. Rich: "MEDIA AFFILIATION DVD Talk Criterion Confessions Confessions of a Pop Fan LOCATION Portland, OR ABOUT JAMIE Jamie S. Rich is a novelist ..."



* Lebanon, a tense Israeli war movie that takes place entirely inside a tank. Trust me, you want to catch this one. It's riveting.

* The Town, Ben Affleck has made the best Michael Mann movie this century. (Bring it, nerds!) Check out my friend Plastorm's review, too.

* A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop, Zhang Yimou's flaccid remake of Blood Simple. And by "flaccid," I mean "limp." Like a noodle. Haw! Get it?


* Night Train to Munich, Carol Reed's light thriller is also light propaganda meant to stoke the fires as England entered WWII.


* One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Collector's Edition, a very cool new packaging of an exceptional movie.

* Saturday Night Live - The Best of Eddie Murphy, a compilation from when Eddie was still funny. Classic stuff.

Current Soundtrack: Laetitia Sadier, The Trip

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

All text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I am republishing my review of Jen Wang's Koko Be Good from earlier this year. I reviewed an advance copy of the book, and it is finally going on sale around the country today. Order yours now.

Koko Be Good Koko Be Good by Jen Wang

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jen Wang's astonishing debut is an assured and heartfelt story of people searching for their place in their world. The fundamental question of "What do you want to be when you grow up?" doesn't end when you actually have grown up, it only becomes more pronounced and real. Wang's characters have passed the precipice of adulthood, but they are still confused about what they want out of life. Jon has abandoned his dreams of making music to follow his older girlfriend to Peru, where she will work in an orphanage and be a force of positive change. Doubts linger in Jon's mind that maybe he's just a tag-along in someone else's existence, a suspicion that is only emboldened when he meets the strange and wonderful Koko.

At one time Koko would have been called a "free spirit," but that has since been co-opted to mean hippy-dippy kookiness. In Wang's hands, Koko is much more than that. She is the rarest of creations, a social gadfly who behaves with the caprice of childhood who doesn't come off as either damaged or obnoxious. She can be a jerk, sure, but she is easy to forgive. She is like a flower trying to break out of the shell of its seed.

It's Koko who challenges herself to be good, which in turn becomes a metaphor for being true to oneself, to one's friends, to whatever passion gave you purpose enough to get this far in life. The joy of Koko's discoveries is the joy of creation itself, and we see it in every page. Jen Wang has clearly put a lot of herself into every panel, and though she masterfully controls the lines of her lively figures, she isn't afraid to let the world around them be loose and shimmery. Her watercolored tones and her easygoing layouts give the book a natural feeling, even though her art has a cartoony flourish. She uses more inventive and complex page construction sparingly, when the scene needs to go flashy or better yet, when an emotional epiphany must occur, such as the double-page spread where Jon's girlfriend realizes he is in a different space than he thinks he is. Her narrative flows naturally, and even when she takes a detour into something more experimental, it doesn't seem forced or gimmicky. The pages turn instinctually.

As a fan of Jen's short work, I am pleased that Koko Be Good has delivered on the promise of those smaller slices. Quite possibly the debut of 2010, if not a contender for the book of the year across the board.

Visit Jen Wang's website.

View all my reviews >>

Current Soundtrack: Scissor Sisters, "Invisible Light"

Thursday, September 09, 2010



* I'm Still Here, Joaquin Phoenix takes one to the face.

The stunt goes off in Portland at Cinema 21 this week.


* La Haine, Mathieu Kassovitz employs a striking cinematic style to show us tension in the French ghetto in the mid-90s.


* Ajami, called the Israeli Pulp Fiction by some, its narrative acrobatics left me a little cold.

* Bill Maher: But I'm Not Wrong, the latest stand-up special from the lefty comedian.

* The Exploding Girl, a quiet peek into the life of one girl. Starring Zoe Kazan in a career-making performance.

* Leonard Cohen - Bird On a Wire, the "lost" chronicle of the bard's 1972 concert tour has been found, and it's essential viewing.

* None but the Lonely Heart, an edgy Cary Grant performance makes this Clifford Odets production.

* The Secret in Their Eyes, the literary thriller took this year's Foreign Language Oscar for Argentina, and it's still good on DVD.

* Shirin, a fascinating experiment from Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami turns the moviegoing experience around on the audience.

Current Soundtrack: MTV. It sucks.

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

All text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Nico's collection of outfits for Spell Checkers vol. 2:

Current Soundtrack: David Byrne & Brian Eno, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

Thursday, September 02, 2010



* The American, George Clooney in Anton Corbijn's unconventional spy picture. People keep mentioning Melville's Le samourai, but for some reason, I keep wanting to watch Bertollucci's The Conformist again.

* Machete, Robert Rodriguez's new movie is probably exactly what you think it is.

* Mesrine: Public Enemy #1, the second part of the epic biography of career criminal Jacques Mesrine, played by Vincent Cassel.


* Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Season One, Part One, the first 13 episodes of the superhero team-up cartoon.

* Red Riding Trilogy, a remarkable trio of films from England. Three directors tackle the book series by David Peace. Grim, unrelenting, and yet...hopeful.

Current Soundtrack: Kele, The Boxer

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

All text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


From this blog, entry dated September 3, 2005:

"Yesterday (Thursday [Sept. 1]) was a great day where I met with a woman who may sign on to be the artist for 12 Reasons Why I Love Her. She's new, but she's really good and had come highly recommended by a couple of heavyweights. Weirdly, she lives three blocks from me and we clicked on a lot of things, like our cats, Audrey Hepburn, Pulp, and Suede (though she is the first person I've ever met who is a fan of the band and calls them the London Suede; I'll have to fix that)--meaning there will be no communication problems. So far, we understand each other quite well."

It doesn't feel that long ago, but yet it's hard to remember a time before this. I still remember sitting in the corner of the coffee shop and spying Joëlle Jones in line with her art portfolio. And I remember going home scared that she wouldn't like my script as much as I liked her art and not knowing what the hell I'd do if that were the case. (Part of me suspects her dark secret is that it was the case, but she drew the book anyway, bless her black heart.) Since then, 12 Reasons Why I Love Her has gone through multiple printings, been translated into three languages, and we've created two franchises and multiple short stories--including one featuring that same coffee shop where we met ("Gone Doggy Gone" in Portland Noir). Not bad.

The above is one of the first sketches Joëlle did for 12 Reasons. It was a pretty easy approval process, she nailed Gwen and Evan pretty much immediately. As noted in the quote, communication has never been a problem when it comes to our collaboration. It's like she's unpacking the artifacts of my skull whenever she puts ink on the page. I've been amazed at her growth over the years, too. I've seen stuff you guys haven't seen yet that is going to make you realize that, for as much as you like the work Joëlle has done, you haven't given her nearly enough credit for how great of an artist she is. I only wish my progress as a writer was nearly half as pronounced as her progress as an illustrator. There are days when I am convinced my career would be toast if she hadn't kept drawing my junk.

I mentioned to Joëlle last week that our working relationship was having its fifth "birthday," but I'm sure she forgot already. I'm the sappy girl of this group (obviously). Even so, it was pretty close to midnight last night when her first pages for Spell Checkers vol. 2 landed in my inbox, a momentous occasion unto itself. They are exceptional. I couldn't ask for a better creative partner.

It's been a good five years of harassing that girl. And one day I'm gonna smack her with that dead rat, just you wait!

Current Soundtrack: The Velvet Underground, Peel Slowly & See discs 2 & 4