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

Saturday, December 31, 2011


This year's music for me was dominated by reissues and reunions, if my LastFM scrobble list is anything to go by.

My top 15 bands, judged by the amount of listens from January 1 to December 31, 2011 are as follows:

1. Suede
2. Nicki Minaj
3. Radiohead
4. Brett Anderson
5. Elbow
6. Asobi Seksu
7. Morrissey
8. Beastie Boys
9. Alex Turner
10. Christina Perri
11. Duran Duran
12. Pet Shop Boys
13. Duffy
14. The Raveonettes
15. Arctic Monkeys
16. The Beatles
17. Underworld
18. DJ Shadow
19. Low
20. The Horrors

The Suede posting was definitely the double-disc reissues of all five of their albums, while the Duran Duran listing was a combo of All You Need is Now being released and getting my hands on their double-disc reissues for the early albums, as well. Morrissey flooded the market with compilations and dredged-up rarities, and The Beatles had the Anthology series come out again. New efforts from both the Beastie Boys and Pet Shop Boys also sent me into their back catalogue a little.

Alex Turner gets a special note since the Submarine EP was just an EP, and so it took more dedicatied listening on my part to get those numbers. If it came down to it, that soundtrack would easily be my album of the year, and "Piledriver Waltz" was my favorite song. It showed up in a different form on the Arctic Monkeys album Suck It and See, which narrowly missed this list, giving Turner another boost.

I quite like this solo performance of the song from French radio:

Other notable songs in terms of how many times they got spun around here (a couple obvious holdovers from 2010):

Elbow - "The Night Will Always Win"
Christina Perri - "Jar of Hearts"
Brett Anderson - "Brittle Heart"
Kanye West, Rick Ross, Jay-Z, & Nicki Minaj - "Monster"
Nicki Minaj - "Right Thru Me"
Asobi Seksu - "Trails"
Beastie Boys - "Make Some Noise"
Mogwai - "Rano Pano"
Duffy - "My Boy"
Beady Eye - "Four Letter Word"
The Strokes - "Under Cover of Darness"
The Horrors - "Still Life"
The Joy Formidable - "Austere"
Little Dragon - "Ritual Union"
Desire - "Under Your Spell"
Miles Kane - "Come Closer"
Cults - "You Know What I Mean"


Thursday, December 22, 2011



* The Adventures of Tintin, a surprisingly fun 3D adventure from Steven Spielberg with all the appropriate nods to Hergé.

* The Artist, a loving and entirely accurate tribute to the silent era of cinema.

* A Dangerous Method, Jung and Freud meet David Cronenberg.

* We Bought a Zoo, an effective new feature from Cameron Crowe...but is it any good?


* The Birth of a Nation: Deluxe 3-Disc Edition, D.W. Griffith's historically inaccurate epic is an important piece of cinema, but that doesn't stop it from being racist and boring.

* Nothing Sacred, a slight bit of entertainment from 1937, directed by William Wellmen and starring Carole Lombard and Frederic March.

Current Soundtrack: Drowned in Sound's Top 120 Singles of 2011 list on Spotify

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Midi-Confessions123 * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2011 Jamie S. Rich

Sunday, December 18, 2011


This is a bit crazy to even consider, but wow, "I Don't Know Why," the first Suede track since 2003.

Just live now, and clearly rough since Brett is still not even sure of the lyrics (not the first time I've seen a singer with a lyric sheet; Michael Stipe has one for every song, so not sure why some people are freaking out). The song is solid, sort of a mix of latter day Suede and Brett Anderson solo; not epic, in other words, but still exciting.

I'll admit to having high expectations, but the general thrill of a mention of "I Don't Know Why" landing in my inbox was pretty amazing. New Suede singles were always something I used to build to and get geared up for, so even in the old days, it was rare to get surprised with no warning like this.

The band are clearly using this Russian tour to sort out some new material. In addition to "I Don't Know Why," there is a snippet of something allegedly called "Falling Planes," a video here connecting the end of a song called "The Only" to one called "Someone Better," and a slower song called "Sabotage."

The band keeps playing coy about the prospect of a new album, and probably smartly so--it gives them the option of walking away if it never gels--but these leaks give us new hope.

I also quite like this audio of Brett covering the Horrors on the radio.

I've been a bit frustrated lately at not being able to get my hands on the B-sides to "Crash About to Happen," since they are UK-only downloads and have not been physically released. Anyone got the hook-up?

Friday, December 16, 2011


Comics artist Eduardo Barreto died yesterday, December 15, 2011. He was 57.

Despite a pretty nasty bout with meningitis that he had recently, this was still quite a shock. Anyone who ever knew Eduardo would have trouble picturing him as anything but a vivacious personality full of joy and love. He was kind to everyone he met and I never knew him to work on any art job with anything less than passionate gusto.

And trust me, I worked with him on maybe one of the worst gigs he ever had. I first got to know Eduardo in the mid-1990s. I was an assistant editor for Diana Schutz at Dark Horse Comics. At the time, Eduardo was drawing a book called Aliens/Predator: The Deadliest of the Species. I was the third editor on the book. Diana had actually been the original editor, but she had passed the series on to someone else, who then left the company, and she had to take it back. Since I was still green and hadn’t had to deal with this nightmare prior, she told me I was responsible for it.

Eduardo wasn’t the first artist on the 12-issue miniseries either. The thing with this book was that it was being written by a superstar comics writer, one of the biggest there has ever been. You might note that it was called Aliens/Predator, and not Aliens vs. Predator, a franchise that actually originated in the comics. That’s what a big deal this writer was. He didn’t have to use the same title as everyone else.

This writer--I won’t name him, even though it will take you all of two seconds to figure it out--would be my first encounter with a big creative ego. Aliens/Predator: The Deadliest of the Species was meant to be a bimonthly book, but it had already been running for two years and it still wasn’t done. This was entirely the fault of the writer. Things were so bad, the original artist basically disappeared off the face of the earth while he was drawing the series. He later resurfaced and is still drawing comics. I never found out what happened to him. Has anyone ever faked his or her own death just to get out of finishing drawing a crappy comic?

Eduardo, who was an industry veteran of more than 15 years at this point, was hired to replace this particular Houdini and finish the series out. Looking at the collected version on my shelf, it looks like he took over at issue #4. So, the bulk of this tour of duty really was undertaken by Eduardo. I think I joined the team midway through. It was pretty amazing for me. I had read books by all of the members of the team when I was a teen. Even cover artist John Bolton was known to me as the artist of Black Dragon from Epic Comics. Eduardo Barreto had drawn New Teen Titans, and I still had the issues in a long box in my apartment. Holy crap!

Anyway, I am not throwing around the phrase “tour of duty” lightly. The art team and I definitely felt like we were in the trenches. We were hunkered down with all of our tools, and somewhere out there in No Man’s Land was the writer, sneaking around with the remnants of the script, withholding the material and threatening our livelihood. If this were about that gentleman, I would tell you the most outlandish lie a freelancer ever told me in my ten years of editing comics, a story so elaborate that the time it took to concoct it could have just as easily been spent writing the script. The son of a bitch even had the audacity to tell me he owed me a drink after it was all done. Guess what? I’m still waiting.

But no, it’s not about him. It’s about Eduardo. Who I spoke to regularly over a crackly phone line, spending a big chunk of Dark Horse coin to talk to my artist down in Uruguay, who was sitting on his hands and waiting for script pages, cheerful as can be, never letting on how much of his time was being wasted or how desperately his bank account might have been hanging in the balance. Eduardo and I formed a friendship in those empty days. I suppose it partially came out of that war mentality, that we were embattled under a common threat...but that really sells short the bond we established. Judging by Eduardo’s gregarious personality, I believe this was a bond he forged with everyone, I wasn’t necessarily special. Except to him. Eduardo was a fellow with hundreds of friends, and by my assessment, we were all exceptional in his eyes. No one human connection was more or less important than another. This was a guy who met you on an even playing field and would grab a shovel and start digging himself a hole if he thought somehow the earth would shift and he’d end up standing above you.

Ironically, the writer, for all the havoc he wreaked upon us, eventually provided us with one of my fondest memories of working with Eduardo. One of the scripts he finally turned in featured the main character going through two distinct virtual reality scenarios. One was in the old west, the other was on a faraway planet, in a science-fiction setting meant to mimic classic Flash Gordon comic strips. Eduardo was tickled pink by this opportunity. Though most comics readers know him for his work on Superman and Batman and the Teen Titans, what Eduardo really loved was genre fiction. To pay homage to Alex Raymond and Al Williamson was a dream come true for him, and even while 20th Century Fox was freaking out over Ed’s rendition of the Predator in a school marm’s dress in a saloon, Eduardo was enthusing about drawing gunslingers and rocket ships. These two short scenes were an oasis for him. Somehow, those few pages made all that time wandering in the creative desert worth it.

Eduardo and I worked together one more time before I left Dark Horse. He completed an Indiana Jones series that had been abandoned for various reasons and needed a good artist to step in and finish it up. It was a comic meant to, once again, evoke an older style. It had the look and the strict layout of classic newspaper strips. Eduardo used zip patterns to give it the appropriate retro feel, and he worked on a rigid grid-based panel structure. The series was Indiana Jones and the Sargasso Pirates. You should track it down if you can, if just to look at what Eduardo accomplished.

Of course, I left Dark Horse in 1998 and went to Oni Press. I didn’t talk to Ed much then. I never really imagined him working at Oni, he was kind of too big for us--at least in my mind. I had finally met him face to face at some point, he had made the trek up to Comic Con and it was an absolute pleasure to hang out. Sometimes I would meet freelancers with whom I had a solid editorial relationship and we’d find that it didn’t work in person, ours was a kinship meant for the phone. Not so with Eduardo. He was a man you knew would always be happy to see you, regardless of what kind of day you were having. Hell, regardless of the year you were having. To him, it was always good times.

Much to my surprise, sometime around 2002, I got a call from Eduardo. He was looking for work and wondered if I had anything he might draw. Are you kidding me? It just so happened that I had a project called Union Station that was being written by this guy that was until then known only as an inker, but it was shaping up pretty well. It was a true crime piece set in 1933. It had gangsters and G-men and a legendary shootout. The time period and the general feel of the book would be right up Eduardo’s alley. It was the kind of thing that would benefit from a journeyman of his skills.
Union Station couldn’t have been more opposite to that Aliens/Predator series. It was the kind of project where everything went right. Ande Parks writing and Eduardo Barreto drawing? It was a dream team! As an editor, I could put my feet up on the desk and watch the pages roll in. (Ande also has a nice write-up of the experience, along with some art, at his blog.)

It’s still a book I am enormously proud of, and I am glad it came along, because it gave my friend and I a chance to do a book that wasn’t embattled, to have a genuine good time together rather than gritting our teeth and smiling in the face of adversity. In fact, it went so smooth, I have no anecdote to share from it. The good ones often don’t have stories to go with them. It’s all there on the page.

I left Oni a year after Union Station was published and started writing. I still saw Eduardo at the occasional show, and we sent messages through various channels. Our communication wasn’t often--and not even close to being often enough--but whenever we did see each other, it was as if no time had passed. We never talked about collaborating, though, damn, I’d have loved to write for him. In fact, he never knew, but I imagined him on one of my books once.

This has been mentioned once or twice, but there was a period before I met Joëlle Jones when I was about to give up on ever finding a single artist for 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, and so I proposed turning it into an anthology. 12 different artists, one drawing each reason. I would call in some favors and do some pleading, and I had a pretty good line-up planned. The idea was to mix and match a bunch of different styles, picking the artist depending on what the particular chapter demanded. I had Eduardo slated for Reason 6, the one where Evan accidentally proposes to Gwen and she freaks out. I envisioned Eduardo Barreto drawing it in the style of a 1950s romance comic. It was the center of the book and, no lie, getting Ed to do it would be the lynchpin, the whole justification for doing 12 Reasons in this manner.

Because to have him draw this section in his way would be proof of concept. He would provide the bonafide classic element that would offset all the young turks like Sean Murphy and Chris Mitten and Debbie Huey who I had slated for other chapters. For me, he would quite literally be the heart of that book.

Alas, it wasn’t to be. My editor and friend James Lucas Jones smartly talked me out of it and made me wait, reasoning that I didn’t want my first full-length graphic novel to be a mishmash like that. Clearly, that paid off.

Even so, to this day, if I am telling the story about how I almost did 12 Reasons Why I Love Her as a group piece, it’s Eduardo who I am thinking of, the one I can’t help but imagine as a “What if...?”

What if, pal. You make me wish I believed in something that said we could be together again and maybe make a comic with each other at long last. Or even just share another drink. What if.

Rest easy, my friend. I miss you like crazy already.

My thanks to the individual collectors who shared their Barreto pieces online so I could also share them here. Take some time exploring the Eduardo Barreto tag on Comics Art Fans to see more of his wonderful work.



* Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, is an absolute corker. Brad Bird delivers the best in the series.


* 12 Angry Men, the 1957 Sidney Lumet courtroom drama still has the power to inspire and incite. (Also at DVD Talk.)

* Sabu!: The Drum/Jungle Book, the last two entries in the Eclipse Boxed set starring the young Indian actor.

* Three Colors: Blue, White, RedKrzysztof Kieslowski's masterpiece. A trilogy of exceptional literary weight and emotional resonance. (Also at DVD Talk.)


* Friends with Benefits, not even Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis can make this sex comedy misfire come off as either sexy or funny.

* Thundercats: Season One, Book One, a reboot that doesn't have much kick. Nice animation, though.

Current Soundtrack: Los Campesinos!, Hello Sadness

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Midi-Confessions123 * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2011 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, December 09, 2011


I did an interview with Marvel.com, discussing my origins as a Marvel reader, the path to writing the Thing, and how Joëlle Jones is really the brains in this whole operation. Read it here.

Current Soundtrack: Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


The Marvel Holiday Magazine 2011 (as I believe it's now officially called) is going on sale next week, but you can read my story with Paco Diaz now!

Read it on the Comixology site, or download it through their app or the Marvel app on you iPad.


Current Soundtrack: Young the Giant, Remix EP ...or download their complete album for only $2.99

Thursday, December 01, 2011



* The Descendants, George Clooney starring in a new film from Alexander Payne.

* Into the Abyss, Werner Herzog's documentary on the death penalty in Texas. Very human, very scary.

* Melancholia, Kirsten Dunst at the end of the world, courtesy of Lars von Trier.


* Aki Kaurismaki's Leningrad Cowboys, a boxed set of some late '80s/early '90s rock movies stuck in time. (Also at DVD Talk.)

* Elephant Boy, my first review of the movies from the Eclipse set starring Indian child actor Sabu.

* Fanny & Alexander, Ingmar Bergman's semi-autobiographical classic about two children in early-20th-Century Sweden. It should be a holiday classic. (Also at DVD Talk.)


* Miss Nobody, an indie black comedy starring Leslie Bibb.

* My Fair Lady, another Audrey Hepburn movie comes to Blu-Ray. (What is that? Three now? Hurry up, Hollywood!)

* The White Bus, a short film written by the recently deceased Shelagh Delaney and directed by Lindsay Anderson.

Current Soundtrack: I had given up on The Office, but come on, Maura Tierney is guest starring.

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Midi-Confessions123 * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2011 Jamie S. Rich