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

Saturday, September 29, 2012


The "Daily Doodle" concept is intended to warm up my creative engines, and is essentially free writing, poetry or prose, usually accomplished in under an hour with a minimum of corrections. From time to time, I will post the results here.

In some cases, the piece will also be a special commission, prompted by a particular buyer. Readers can still custom order their own quick short-short stories: details here.


They had pulled off the hit six hours ago, and the body was starting to smell.

Chester had been left behind to watch over the corpse because he was the one who had forgotten the tarp. Now there was nothing to wrap the dead man up in, and his blood was congealing on the floor. It looked like glass candy, like the fake food in a tacky window display. Anyone have a hankering for raspberry jelly?

The thing was, Chester remembered grabbing the tarp. He knew his job. Getting rid of the victim is priority one. Getting the right tools is automatic, like locking the door when you leave the house. Okay, sure, you don't remember doing it that morning when you left, but you know you did it. You just do. Chester's only mistake today was letting them leave him alone. It shouldn't take no six hours to get the tarp.

He hadn't moved from his chair since the other boys had left. It was like he was stuck there in a staring contest with the deceased. The first to blink loses. Of course, Chester still had a gun and the other guy didn't. If that fellow blinked, he'd take two more slugs, one for each eye.

But then it made no sense to stay there stuck in place like that. It wasn't as if he'd give away his position to anyone if he got up. Like the cops were just waiting to see if someone moved before they'd have probable cause to break down the door. Come to think of it, what about the cops? If Chester was being set up to take the fall, it would only be a matter of time before a badge came knocking. Someone drops an anonymous tip, the frame job is done. The gunman got up and crossed the room to the window. He pushed the curtains back with the muzzle of his .45 and peeked out. He scanned the streaks for anyone that looked out of place. Only problem was, this wasn't his neighborhood, so everybody looked out of place to him. He didn't belong, so no one belonged. It wasn't a very good part of town anyway, that's why someone like the dead man lived there. The only obvious choices would either be familiar to Chester or wearing a uniform.

What was it? What was the game here? Were they testing Chester's mettle? There was that story going around that he had run out on his last job, but that wasn't true. He had been taking a leak and he heard the cops roll up. He was trying to get around them, to get to the car so he could have it ready to get the other men out of there, but they got pinched, so there was no reason to stick around. It's possible they were trying to see if he'd stick around now.

Chester supposed circumstances could have been such where the guys got derailed in some similar fashion on their way to get the tarp. A short trip can become a long trip the same way a sure thing can metamorphose into a disaster. If not that, then what were they waiting for? The next guy to come through that door was either going to help him or kill him, there were no other options as Chester saw it. Maybe they were making him wait longer in the hopes he'd get nervous. All the while the corpse lay there in a puddle of its own gooey syrup.

He was determined not to let it go that way. He would not be dulled by nerves; Chester would be sharpened. Like his mind was a blade and his anxiety a whetstone.

The dead man had nothing in his apartment that would be helpful. His shower had no curtain, his bed sheets were worn thin. Chester took a calculated risk. He left the apartment. As quickly as he could, he ran downstairs, taking three at a time, heading for the basement. He rummaged through the tenant storage, and found an old sleeping bag in with some dusty camping equipment. He hauled it back upstairs, cautious to scope the situation in the upstairs hallway. No one had returned yet, he was still alone with the dead man.

Chester unzipped the sleeping bag and spread it out flat on the floor. He then rolled the body into it, breaking the corpse from its excretions. The dried blood cracked and tore, more like old taffy than glass or crystal. When the body was inside, he closed up the bag around it, zipping it all the way around, locking the stinky meat inside. The cleaning supplies they had brought were still there, so he made fast work of the stains on the floor. He used a paint scraper to chip the hardened blood from the tile. If this was all some weird misunderstanding, he'd show initiative, he'd be ready.

Once that was done, he got back in the chair. He hefted the sleeping back up so it lay across his lap. It was awkward and heavy, but it was a necessary discomfort. Chester had turned so he faced the door.

Another hour passed, and Chester grew tired. He began to nod off. He had small dreams about big things. A picnic on the side of a mountain, pancakes with pomegranate syrup, which he squeezed straight from the hard fruit with his bare hands.

Chester's head jerked up. There was a sound at the door. Someone was fiddling with the handle. Chester moved fast, lifting the body from his lap and sitting it up, laying the length of the sleeping bag over himself. It was his full-body shield in more ways than one.

The door burst open. The other men fired first. Their guns fired faster. The dead man took the hits. Fuzz from the inside of the sleeping bag danced in the air, pushed around by the rush of bullets. Chester returned fire, shooting blind from behind his covering. He kept pulling the trigger until the clip was empty. It was only then that he realized there was no more return fire, that the room was quiet.

He had done it! Chester had made a stand and he had won! They had doubted him, but they would know now. He was the real thing, a genuine thug. Chester pushed the dead body off himself and stood to claim his victory.

The bullet caught him right between the eyes. Chester had a second to register. He had gotten one of the men, but not the other. He had only gotten halfway there.

And now Chester was all the way dead.

Current Soundtrack: School of Seven Bells, Ghostory

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

All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, September 28, 2012


The "Daily Doodle" concept is intended to warm up my creative engines, and is essentially free writing, poetry or prose, usually accomplished in under an hour with a minimum of corrections. From time to time, I will post the results here.

In some cases, the piece will also be a special commission, prompted by a particular buyer. Readers can still custom order their own quick short-short stories: details here.

Today I used a Japanese proverb and a 1950s fashion photograph, both found on Tumblr, and tried to link them together.


"A Japanese legend says that if you can't sleep at night it's because you're awake in someone else's dream."

Jake was not surprised to see the clock read 3:17. He had gone to bed around half-past midnight, and this sleepless night had been one where every minute was felt, every second clutching the pillow and turning this way and that was agony. He had read right up until the point he turned out the lights, hoping that the activity would help him find slumber. His eyes had gone blurry, his head had grown heavy. Maybe if he had a clapper to turn off the bedroom lights without having to get up, it might have made a difference. Is it possible the two-foot journey from bed to light switch was enough to undo all that effort?

Other nights he'd lose time. Two, three hours would pass, but he wouldn't be surprised to see the clock had advances so far, he'd have to wonder if he had really been awake so long. The best he could figure was he actually had fallen asleep and it just didn't feel like it. When he'd think hard enough, he'd realize that he had dreamt during those blackouts, and those dreams were bad, they didn't help. One night every time he went to sleep for just a minute, he'd go into a place where he was trying to hang himself, only to get interrupted having to empty a cat's litter box that would never not be full. Neither task was desirable, but at least the hanging had a final outcome.

When Jake heard some noise outside his bedroom window, it almost felt as if someone had given him a gift. He had an excuse to get up, to no longer force himself to lie there and try to summon the blackness. Jake went to the window and parted the curtains and looked outside. There, on one of the plastic picnic tables in his apartment building courtyard, a woman with a netted half-veil over her eyes and diamond earrings was holding a high-heeled shoe upholstered in light pink felt. She was rubbing her chin over the velvety surface, the way a feline does to mark objects as its own.

Jake pondered who this woman was and what she was doing there. He knew his neighbors, and she was not among their number. She must have sensed his staring, as she turned her head slowly to see who he was in kind. The woman rose from the table and walked toward him, wearing only one shoe, a pink pump to match the one in her hand. Her steps were off-rhythm. One-up, one-down.

When she got to the glass, the woman leaned real close. Had the window not been there, their noses would have touched. "Could you not sleep either?" she asked.

"No," he said. "I don't think so. What are you doing here?"

"That's what I'd like to ask you," she said. "Why are you peeking into my apartment?"

"I'm not. I'm peeking out of mine."

"Is that so?"

The woman raised the shoe above her head, holding it like a hammer, and then swung, plunging the heel into the glass. It pierced the pane perfectly, causing a zigzagged spider web to grow in a circle around the point of impact. Jake jumped back, but it felt like he jerked forward. His head landed on the pillow. He was still awake. The clock said 3:21. Had he really been up that long?

Current Soundtrack: Soulsavers, "Longest Day;" Black Radio, "Always Shine (feat. Lupe Fiasco & Bilal)

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

All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich


I wanted to write a quick post thanking everyone who came out to see The Big Sleep last night, and to the Hollywood Theatre and Oni Press for putting the whole thing together. It was really crazy to see my name on the marquee and to sit in front of the movie screen and talk shop with Tom Shimmin. They even let me run the before-screening music. We used my Spotify playlist "Torch Songs/Jazzy Ladies."

Turnout was pretty great. I got to even see someone I went to high school with (hi, Heather!) that I haven't talked to face to face since, well, probably since high school. Joëlle and I signed books before and after, and people seemed generally enthused by The Big Sleep. Seeing it twice in two days did nothing to dull the film for me. It was amazing seeing it projected large, and the disc the studio sent looked remarkable.

Interesting programming note: we weren't aware of it, but the cut we received was actually the rare "preview version." This was the one shown when the film was first completed in 1944, but then was later re-edited and had scenes removed and added for the 1946 theatrical release. It was previously available on the DVD that was released over a decade ago as a bonus. Not sure why they sent that one, and I am kind of surprised there is such a clean print of it to send out. If you're curious about the differences, IMDB has a comprehensive rundown of the changes.

Photo by Tom Shimmin

Photo by Me

Photo by Robert Fortney

In preparation for the show, Joëlle Jones and Terry Blas both did drawings of characters from The Big Sleep, with Joëlle drawing her own version of Philip Marlowe and Terry giving us a lovely Lauren Bacall.

Again, a great night with so many great people. I feel humbled and blessed.

Now it's back to the real world for me. I've got laundry to do.

Current Soundtrack: Grimes, Visions


CRIME & THE CITY SOLUTION: Dangerous Desire, Week 3

It's a big weekend at the NW Film Center, with the last batch of "Dangerous Desires: Film Noir Classics." I haven't seen the Friday and Sunday selections, but I definitely want to catch Max Ophüls' Caught and Jerry Hopper's The Naked Alibi.

I did, however, watch Saturday's films for my festival overview at the Portland Mercury. My longer reviews are posted here.

HIGH WALL (1948), dir. Curtis Bernhardt

A veteran (Robert Taylor) fresh back in the U.S. is accused of killing his wife. Only he can't remember and he has some sort of brain condition that may be making him crazy. In the asylum, a kind doctor (Audrey Totter) helps him regain his memory, and gets further tangled in his mess when he escapes to try to catch the real killer. Pretty standard stuff, though the sequence where he starts to remember the night of the murder has some great POV shots of him reaching for his wife's throat. Otherwise, not much in terms of a distinctive style, and lacking the snappy writing of the best noir.

[Screening Saturday, September 29, 7pm]

99 RIVER STREET (1949), dir. Phil Karlson

This taut, multi-layered thriller is a real treat. John Payne plays Ernie Driscoll, a boxer whose last fight was his real last fight. A bad beating has permanently damaged his eye, and now he drives a cab. His wife (Peggie Castle) is fed up with the drab life, and Ernie is at his wit's end. Unfortunately for him, his night is about to go horribly wrong. Discovering that his wife is cheating on him with a jewel thief (Brad Dexter) is just the start. Before morning, Ernie will be framed for murder, wanted for beating up a theatre troop, and blind to the love that's right in front of him, the caring actress Linda (Evelyn Keyes). Lots of criss-crossing lines tighten a web around Ernie, leading an exciting foot chase and a chance at hand-to-hand redemption. Director Phil Karlson keeps a steady hand throughout, never losing control of his plot. 99 River Street's cynical streak gives way to romance and an affirmation that folks can be good and decent and still survive. A noir with a well-earned happy ending.

[Screening Saturday, September 29, 9:15pm]

Current Soundtrack: The xx, Coexist

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

All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich



* Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a time-bending hitman. From the director of Brick and The Brothers Bloom.


* Le visiteurs du soir, the devilish 1942 medieval fantasy from Marcel Carne.


* The Dark Mirror, a psychological thriller from Robert Siodmak, starring Olivia De Havilland as twins, one of whom may be a murderer.

* Man-Trap, a post-noir love triangle gone wrong.

I don't think that's director Edmond O'Brien, so is that just some crazy dude that wandered onto the set?

* My Son John, Leo McCarey's 1952 propaganda drama. "Mama, I think our boy may be a Commie."

* The Salt of Life, another charming slice of Italian life from the director of Mid-August Lunch.

* Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich, a fluffy 1958 documentary noted for its use of the Cinerama widescreen format--which the Blu-Ray does an awesome job replicating.

Current Soundtrack: No Doubt, Push and Shove

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

All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Don't forget, this Thursday, Oni Press and I will be hosting a screening of The Big Sleep at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland. The movie will be preceded by a q&a and then followed by a short signing.

In anticipation of this, Oregon Live, the website for The Oregonian, had a small chat with me, the text of which is now available to read. It should serve as a taste of what we'll talk about at the event.

Please come down!

Current Soundtrack: Lavender Diamond, Incorruptible Heart


Sunday, September 23, 2012


You should totally be checking out Mike Norton's twitter feed this weekend, as he's posting sketches he's doing at the comic book convention in Cincinnati. Including these two of It Girl!

Current Soundtrack: CocoRosie, "Tearz for Animals"

Thursday, September 20, 2012



* Compliance, dramatizing real-life events about extreme prank calls made on fast food restaurants and their employees, a film to test your ethical fortitude.

* The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson's latest bid for a slot amongst the American classics of the 1970s. I'd say he got there.


* Osaka Elegy/Sisters of the Gion, the first two films in the Eclipse boxed set Kenji Mizoguchi's Fallen Women

* Quadrophenia, the Who's best album turned to cinematic fiction.


* Battle Circus, a 1950s Korean War movie in which Humphrey Bogart, I kid you not, provides the template for Hawkeye Pierce.

* Bored to Death: The Complete Third Season is unfortunately also the last of this literary comedy with Jason Schwartzman.

* Damsels in Distress, Whit Stillman's return to cinema proves he is as charming and anachronistic as ever. Plus, Greta Gerwig!

* Korczak, Andrzej Wajda's devastating drama about a doctor in the Warsaw ghetto in WWII.

* The Loved Ones. Inventing a new genre: torture prom. Absolute trash.

* Macbeth, Orson Welles' skewed version of Shakespeare finally makes it to DVD.

* Pursued, an excellent melding of western and romance starring an appropriately fatalistic Robert Mitchum.

* Secret Beyond the Door, in which Fritz Lang attempts to do a cover version of Hitchcock's Rebecca.

* Young Justice: Season One, Part Two, the second half of the first season of this awesome cartoon series showcasing DC Comics' teenage superheroes.

Current Soundtrack: No Doubt, "Settle Down"

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

All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich

CRIME & THE CITY SOLUTION: Dangerous Desire, Week 2

It's the second weekend for the NW Film Center's "Dangerous Desires: Film Noir Classics," running Thursday to Sunday this time. It's the Alan Ladd/Veronic Lake weekend, to boot, and you should definitely go out Friday and Saturday for The Glass Key and The Blue Dahlia.

You can still read my festival overview at the Portland Mercury, but below are two mini-reviews I wrote as part of my note-taking process for the piece.

PITFALL (1948), dir. Andre de Toth

A fairly average crime picture, offering a different take on the Double Indemnity scenario. Dick Powell plays the insurance investigator who this time gets involved with the femme fatale after the initial crime that brings her to his intention. Lizbeth Scott is Mona. She's in possession of goods paid for with stolen money by the man Powell has to take down. (The guy is already in jail for having pulled the job, which amounts to robbing his employer.) Powell is a family man who is bored with his life. Raymond Burr plays the heavy, a private dick who was originally hired to find Mona. He's a real creep who fell for her himself, and so he makes trouble when he ends up on the bottom.

Detour could use a little more heat. It's well-acted and nicely constructed, but also a bit conventional. Strangely, it builds to a rather pitiful state. Powell's character does't get much of a showdown; rather, what makes the last 15 minutes interesting is how the women--including Jane Wyatt as the insurance man's wife--rise to the occasion and prove they're tougher than their fellas.

[Screening tonight, September 20, 7pm]

THE WINDOW (1949), dir. Ted Tetzlaff

A "boy who cried wolf" tale based on a Cornell Woolrich short story, with Disney star Bobby Driscoll (soon to be the voice of Peter Pan). Tommy is a kid who likes to tell tall tales, and his lies are well-known enough that, when he spies a murder through the window of his upstairs neighbor, no one believes him. This efficiently paced thriller makes the most of the scenario, with Tommy digging himself deeper the more people he tells. The climactic chase scene in intense, with a great use of space by director Ted Tetzlaff. Driscoll and the rest of the cast are strong, and The Window stands as a testament of how a good storyteller can do a lot with very little.

[Screening September 23, 7pm]

Current Soundtrack: Kanye West & Various Artists, Cruel Summer

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

All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich


Great interview with Natalie Nourigat over at Spandexless, where she discusses her current and future work, including a little bit about our book A Boy and a Girl, filled with thinly veiled passive-aggressive denigrations of my character. She's so horrible!

(Except not really.)

Go read it.

Oni Press has still only released art you've already seen, but I like this sketch that Natalie sent me early on, so what the hell...a new tease!

Current Sountrack: Fun., Aim and Ignite

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


The "Daily Doodle" concept is intended to warm up my creative engines, and is essentially free writing, poetry or prose, usually accomplished in under an hour with a minimum of corrections. From time to time, I will post the results here.

In some cases, the piece will also be a special commission, prompted by a particular buyer. Readers can still custom order their own quick short-short stories: details here.

This particular story came from watching two workers cleaning out the apartment next door to me. From what I can tell, they didn't unleash anything particularly scary in the digging. I did see a pair of my old shoes in amongst the stuff tossed aside, however, which was weird.


The two men had been at in for over an hour, and they still were only halfway done. The apartment’s tenant had been evicted because the amount of stuff he had in his flat exceeded the parameters of his lease. He had left the previous week after three different U-haul trips. That there was still so much junk to sift through gave the laborers an idea of just what kind of hoarding had led to the old man being booted. One of the pair had spent most of his time breaking down cardboard boxes for recycling. There must have been a stack of twenty so far. Even with a utility knife, it was tedious work. Slice, collapse, slice, collapse.

As he did this, the second man was putting what he could into garbage bags, bringing them out one after the other. Shoes with no mates, books water-damaged beyond the point of being readable, old clothes and blankets covered in mildew and mold, an electric desk lamp, luggage, an audio speaker. If this is what he had discarded, the mind could only boggle at what treasures he had decided to take with him. One bedroom, kitchen and bath, stacked to the ceiling with junk. Where had the man even lived amongst all of this? Did he sleep on piles of old suit jackets? Use this empty fuel canister as a chair? He had a small round-top table, but it had two rectangular laundry baskets on top of it, one inside the other, and the top one full of empty paper bags. Or, more to the point, paper bags full to bursting with folded paper bags.

They wore masks and gloves to avoid breathing anything toxic or getting poked with anything sharp. There was still the fear that something might fall on their heads, so they worked from the top of stacks and down toward the floor. As they went, the bigger danger seemed to be what they might find behind these towers of things. Black mold covered one wall that had been obscured by milk crates and plastic buckets and magazines. They started throwing containers out without emptying them, just toss the whole thing in the dumpster. The ghosts of countless unidentified lives could be buried in any one of these dresser drawers that had long since lost their dresser.

“It’s like Antique Roadshow stopped at an insane asylum,” one of them quipped.

The jokes stopped when they got to the closet. Inside, there was another door, a blank surface with a knob and hinges but attached to nothing. It stayed standing thanks to a dent that the corner of the door had made in the wall, propped up with the most tenuous of connections.

Terry held the door on either side and pulled it out, easing it toward his co-worker, who took the bottom so they could carry it out of the apartment lengthwise. The first man was waiting for the other to go, but Bill had stopped. He was staring at the man at the top of the door. No, not staring at, but staring through. Which is what shook Terry’s nerves.

“What’s the deal, man?”

Bill flicked his eyes upward, indicating Behind you.

Though afraid to look, Terry had no choice. What fear of theirs had been realized? Was this day’s labor worth a day’s pay?

At the back of the closet, there was a large spider web. It spanned the two walls and touched the ceiling, sprawling back over the interior shelf. Its bottom was only about three feet from the floor. Had a man walked into such a web, it would entangle him immediately and completely.

The spider sat at the center, as if it had been placed there. It was mostly black, its flesh mottled with yellow spots. It didn’t move, but there was a feeling in the air that it was alive. The arachnid had presence. They were in its domain.

“Jesus, that’s creepy,” Terry said.

It wasn’t just the spider, though, that sent a chill through his body. It was all the things that hung along the web, discarded objects strung along a dead clothesline. There were several husks from the spider’s meals, which were not really surprising, but these were surrounded by things that should not be there. A fountain pen, a child’s sippy cup, a pocket watch, a bit of string, a three-pronged adaptor for an electrical plug, a charm bracelet--all things that must have found their way into the home with the other detritus, only to be stolen by this added visitor. How had the spider gotten here? Did he stowaway in one of the hoarder’s special finds?

Terry and Bill were both holding their breath, waiting to see if the creature would react. In the quiet, they could hear the watch still ticking.

Current Soundtrack: Coconut Records, Goats (Original Score)

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

All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Very excited about this! Oni Press proposed this event to me in the spring, and it's cool to see it coming together. I created a Facebook page for those who might be interested in coming out. This now will only fuel my dream to one day curate my own film festival.

We'll be selling books after, and fingers crossed, I might even get Joëlle to show up.


Join Oni Press and the Hollywood Theatre next Thursday, September 27th, 2012, as Jamie S. Rich
presents Howard Hawks’ The Big Sleep and discusses how it inspired his graphic novel You Have Killed Me. Admission is $7. Start time is at 7:00pm.
Moderator Tom Shimmin (Marketing Coordinator at Oni Press), will be asking the questions, getting Jamie to reveal his deepest and darkest secrets behind his title You Have Killed Me. No topic will be off-limits and the audience will be lucky if they actually talk about anything related to the book! With these two bantering on stage, though, we promise you will not walk away disappointed.
The Big Sleep is a 1946 film noir classic that reunited director Howard Hawks with stars Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Bogart plays private detective Philip Marlowe who is hired by the wealthy Sternwood family to investigate a blackmailer. While working the case he falls for the eldest daughter, Vivian Rutledge (Bacall), which further complicates the case as it gets gets more mysterious and dangerous. In 1997, The Big Sleepwas added to the National Film Registry for its cultural significance.
This is the perfect way to spend a Thursday night!
The Hollywood Theatre is located at 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland, OR 97212. For more details –http://goo.gl/2xKfH

Current Soundtrack: Christina Aguilera, "Your Body"

Ask Santa for IT GIRL & THE ATOMICS #5!

Solicited for December...

32 PAGES / FC / E 
It Girl has seen the true face of her enemy, and she’s confronting LaLa Wah-Wah on the villain’s own turf: inside the video game dimension! It’s a dangerous showdown, but with the Atomics rallying behind her, It Girl can’t lose. Concluding the first arc of Image’s newest hit series.

Current Soundtrack: The Killers, Battle Born

Friday, September 14, 2012

CRIME & THE CITY SOLUTION: Dangerous Desire, Week 1

The four-week festival "Dangerous Desire: Classic Film Noir" starts at the NW Film Center this weekend, and it's a pretty incredible mix of rarities. Of the dozen or so films, I had only seen two prior to getting screeners. You can look at the whole schedule on the Film Center site.

I covered the fest for the Portland Mercury, and you can read my take on the collection over at their site. While I was writing the article, though, I also wrote short reviews of some of the films so I could keep them straight. I will post those here on the weekends when the specific films run. Tonight's opener, The Prowler, is a must-see. Sadly, I didn't get to see The Hunted, screening tomorrow, and I'll be at some jerk's wedding instead.

THE PROWLER (1951), dir. Joseph Losey

"You're a real cop, aren't you? You want everything for free."

A dirty little noir with a great opening sequence. It's no wonder author James Ellroy gets a special thanks for aiding in the restoration of this movie, as it only makes sense he'd dig a film that begins with someone peeping through Evelyn Keyes' bathroom window. The twist is that the unseen voyeur is not the bad guy here, but one of the cops who comes to investigate. Webb (Van Heflin) takes a liking to Susan (Keyes) and senses she is bored in her quiet life as the spouse of a radio DJ. He manipulates her into an affair, and then manipulates things further to get the husband out of the way. (On the radio, the man is voiced by blacklisted scribe Dalton Trumbo, who also wrote the script under a false name.) It's interesting how though Webb's crimes are meant to better their lives, their situation becomes increasingly more desolate, leading to a rather bleak fate for Webb. In the film's final images, he is reduced to a tiny figure struggling in a vast wasteland. The Prowler is good fun, and Heflin makes for a surprisingly effective creeper.

[Screening September 14, 7 pm]

NOBODY LIVES FOREVER (1946) dir. Jean Negulesco

Working with the classic noir trope of a man trying to outrun a dangerous past for a life with the woman who will make it all worth it, John Garfield turns in a fine performance as a natural-born gangster turned war vet who finds it's not so easy to slip back into the role of con man. Known for his knack with the ladies, Nick is brought in on a job to seduce a rich widow (Geraldine Fitzgerald, who can be described as a "handsome woman" without it being a pejorative or euphemism). Naturally, he falls for her, but his attempts to extract himself from the situation are met with skepticism by his criminal cohorts. George Coulouris is particularly memorable as a menacing hood on his last chance. He is hunched and shambling, almost like a Hunchback or a Dickensian villain. There is also a rather surprising sequence at the San Juan Capistrano mission, complete with swallows, the gentility of which is off-set by the tense finale.

[screening September 16, 7 pm]

Current Soundtrack: Pet Shop Boys, Elysium

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Here are some of the first reviews of It Girl and the Atomics #2. Available at comic book shops and on Comixology.

* Tony Guerro on Comic Vine - "Jamie S. Rich is doing what I didn't think was possible. He's taking the wonderful characters that Mike Allred has created and capturing their personalities and essence."

* The Outhousers

* Samantha Moyes at Pendragon's Post - "It Girl and the Atomics is the Josie and the Pussycats of indie comics."

* Red-Headed Mule


* Wear Pink Wednesdays

Also, a #1 review I missed:

* I Smell Sheep

Current Soundtrack: The Raveonettes, Observator

Monday, September 10, 2012


Hot on the heels of my earlier post, CBR has posted an advance preview of It Girl and the Atomics #2. Check it out!

Current Soundtrack: Still the V.U.


It's a big week. Both the second print of It Girl and the Atomics #1 and the very first printing of It Girl and the Atomics #2, complete with two covers, will be hitting the stands on Wednesday.

We got a pretty great review from the Onion's AV Club last week that got me pumped up all over again. Check it out.

It Girl is bored. Gifted with the ability to take on the essence of whatever she touches, she just stays inside and plays videogames, occasionally gracing her hand along a plastic bag so she can sail along the waves of ennui. It’s no surprise that a superhero created by Michael Allred would headline a vibrant, charming ongoing series, but It Girl And The Atomics #1 (Image) is a bit more impressive considering Allred’s only involvement is in providing covers. Writer Jamie S. Rich and artist Mike Norton do great work capturing the imagination and irreverent humor of Allred’s Madman comics, and they create an easy entry point for new readers into It Girl’s wacky world. Fans of Bryan Q. Miller’sBatgirl series will appreciate Rich’s interpretation of a superheroine who doesn’t take her job too seriously, and It Girl is the type of joyful superhero title of which there are few at DC or Marvel. Mike Norton is becoming one of the busiest pencillers in comics between RevivalIt Girl, and his Eisner Award-winning webcomic Battlepug, but his heavy workload hasn’t had a negative impact on his artwork yet. With an animated style reminiscent of The Venture Bros., Norton’s pencils are light and expressive, keeping consistent with the look Michael Allred has established for these characters.
We also got a nice review for #1 from International House of Geek: "It’s a cute start and I’m intrigued to see where the story goes from here."

And Paul Mirek has similar things to say. An excerpt "This first issue serves to introduce the unfamiliar (like me) to It Girl, a seemingly air-headed bombshell with the power to take on the properties of anything she touches. We’re also given brief intros to some of It Girl’s colleagues, including the unstable Dr. Gillespie Flem, who provides the hook for the series when he encourages It Girl to break out of her current ennui by letting him test his sci-fi inventions on her. With a hilarious premise and a team of dedicated and idiosyncratic creators, this series seems to be off to a great start."

Current Soundtrack: The Velvet Underground, Chronicles

Thursday, September 06, 2012


NEW IN THEATRES...and on Blu-Ray...

It's a weird week. Not only did I review three raunchy sex comedies, but two are fronted by women, which is a rarity. You can compare and contrast via my reviews, but one is very good and one tries really hard and fails and the other is truly awful. Hint: I arranged them in order.

* Bachelorette, Kirsten Dunst and Isla Fisher lead a great cast into some crass territory the night before the wedding.

* For a Good Time, Call..., or as I like to call it Phone Sex and the City. I know that's not funny, but neither is the movie.

* The Babymakers, perhaps the least funny comedy of the year. I like Paul Schneider and Olivia Munn, but there's no salvaging this weak script. Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar (Supertroopers) and out soon on DVD/Blu-Ray.


* Red Hook Summer, the latest Spike Lee film, takes us back to some familiar ground to tackle difficult subject matter in a fiercely compelling fashion.

* Samsara, the new film by the makers of Baraka. I did a short review for the Portland Mercury, but space caused it to get cut in half. The 100-word version gets to the point pretty well, you can read it here, but I've also gotten permission to run my original version on my own:
Whatever You See, You See
by Jamie S. Rich 
The guys known for arranging footage of stuff have arranged a bunch more stuff. With a world music soundtrack! 
The creators of Baraka and Koyaanisqatsi return to cinemas with Samsara. This go-around, the focus of their artfully arranged travelogue is the ongoing struggle of man versus nature, and how one’s always trying to get the upper hand. Monks push around colored sand to make a mosaic, storms push around people’s homes and cars, filling them with dirt and rubble. Director/cinematographer Ron Fricke roams the Earth in search of interesting images and patterns that illustrate the dualities of tradition/modernity and creation/waste, all the while hoping to challenge the way we view the world around us. 
As a chronicle of actual things and people, Samsara can’t be beat. What David Attenborough does for animals and jungles, Fricke does for humans and cities. Too bad the juxtapositions he creates are more obvious than illuminating. Truth withers under the constant glare of the editorial eye. Samsara moves quickly, but somehow still doesn’t stave off distractions. I spent a lot of time thinking about my groceries, bills, and girls who broke my heart, all of which seemed more urgent and real than Samsara’s international rhythms.

Current Soundtrack: Elbow, Dead in the Boot

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

All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich


Both covers for It Girl and the Atomics #2. I don't think it was intentional, but I like how, side by side, they actually tell a mini story. It only occurred to me the other day when I got the advance copies in the mail and put them together for a photo.

Image A is by Michael and Laura Allred, Image B by Darwyn Cooke.

It also pleasantly reminds me of this:

It Girl and the Atomics #2 is published by Image Comics, and it goes on sale September 12. Details here.

Current Soundtrack: Little Brother, The Minstrel Show

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Fed Ex brought me a bevy of IT GIRLs!

Just got these from Image Comics: IT GIRL AND THE ATOMICS #1 reprint and the first print of #2, with an equal split between covers by Michael & Laura Allred and Darwyn Cooke. All on sale September 12!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


I was lucky enough to be a guest on Nerdfight #8, the music-themed episode. Hear us debate Metallica vs. Van Halen, Nirvana vs. Pearl Jam, and Prince vs. Michael Jackson, while putting the hurt on the likes of Weezer and Foo Fighters. Lots of knowledge dropped in this podcast. Not by me, of course. I just zinged some snark into the ether.

Get it from the Chronicles of the Nerds site, or grab it from iTunes.

Current Soundtrack: A Creation Records playlist on Spotify

Monday, September 03, 2012


The "Daily Doodle" concept is intended to warm up my creative engines, and is essentially free writing, poetry or prose, usually accomplished in under an hour with a minimum of corrections. From time to time, I will post the results here.

In some cases, the piece will also be a special commission, prompted by a particular buyer. Readers can still custom order their own quick short-short stories: details here.

This particular story came about when I asked for suggestions on Twitter. @acomicbookgirl gave me the word "attention."


Justin picked his point and he fixed on it.

A distant window. Three stories up, two from the corner. It wasn’t in his direct line of vision, not from where he was sitting on the bus bench across the street, but that was part of the reasoning behind the choice. He could give it his attention without calling attention to himself.

This was the fourth window in the third apartment building he had picked today. Of the others, one was a woman with kids, another was a senior citizen, and the third was occupied by a large, hairy man who was getting ready for work. These did not interest Justin. He was holding out that the law of averages would be on his side. Keep picking windows at random, and he’d find one with someone worth watching.

In this case, four times was the charm. The woman revealed herself about fifteen minutes after Justin had started surveilling her. The window in question was her kitchen, and she was doing dishes.

She was a small woman. No, not small. She was skinny, so it gave the illusion that she was tiny, but she was probably average height, her waist was about even with the sink. She had long brown hair, and a wide mouth with thin lips. Her eyes were down. The woman kept her gaze on her chore, she never once looked out at the world beyond her window.

The bus came and it stopped even though Justin waved it on. The driver opened the door. He wore mirrored sunglasses and yellow driving gloves. He held up a finger to Justin as he spoke. “If you’re not getting on, you shouldn’t be sitting there,” he said. “No loitering!”

Justin weighed his response. His first impulse was to tell the driver where to go, but it was obvious the man had an authority complex and it wouldn’t do to challenge him, it’d only bring unwanted attention. Justin just smiled and nodded, thinking, That’s right, close your door, you have a schedule to keep. The exhaust nearly choked him as the bus departed.

A quick glance showed the woman had left her window. Dishes done? Justin was about to get comfortable and wait for her to reappear when the same woman came running out of the front door of the apartment complex. “Wait!” she shouted. She was waving after the bus. “Wait!

This was unexpected. Justin froze. He watched her approach. The second glimpse was never this close. Contact was not an inevitable. And yet...

The woman got to the curb. She was out of breath and bent over, hands on knees, watching the bus recede in the distance. Then she straightened herself and turned. She looked directly at him. He didn’t move.

“What are you staring at?” she asked.

He didn’t know what to do. Usually they couldn’t see him seeing them. Usually there was a distance, a divider. There was a wall and a window. He was outside, they were in. Justin stammered. “I-I-I--”

“Never mind,” she said. “That bus was early. It was early, right? I’m never late.”

She was still breathing heavy when she sat down next to him. He could feel her chest rise and fall, her shoulder was practically touching his. He could smell her sweat and her breath. He was fairly positive she had eaten something with cream cheese. Cream cheese and chives.

“Did you get off that bus, or are you waiting for something else?” she asked.

He was scared to look at her now. He was only looking ahead. Pick a focal point. That fire hydrant across the road. Look at it, don’t look at her.

“I-I-I am w-waiting.”

“Well, only one bus line runs by here. So what are you waiting for?”

“I-I-I don’t--”

Justin wasn’t a stutterer in regular life. This was new. He lacked control. He couldn’t even harness his own words.

“Never mind,” she said again, letting out a deep breath. “I shouldn’t bother you. You’re just sitting here. You don’t want some girl you don’t know yakking your head off.”

“Er, uh, actually--”

“Peace and quiet. I get you. It’s fine.”

Justin glanced at her in his periphery. She was staring at him, sizing him up. Her breath was directed at him. It was hot on his face. The cream cheese was souring.

Moments passed. And then minutes. Justin could not move. For all he could tell, she was still watching him. Her gaze was locked. How long had it been? How much time passed between buses? He had not been sitting there long enough to work out the patterns, but another one came, and she got up. She patted him on the back and hurried through the doors.

As the bus pulled away, he finally looked up. She had taken a seat next to the window. She was watching him. Her lips were pursed. Her focus unbroken. The woman’s eyes seemed to follow him as the bus pulled away, the way a painted portrait’s eyes follow you around a room.

The exhaust fumes overpowered the cream cheese and chives. He held his breath until he sensed the air cleared, then he exhaled. “That was weird,” he said. No stammering. Justin started to relax.

It was the law of averages. The law of averages was on his side. The next bench, the next window, that would go better. It was all turning his way.

Current Soundtrack: Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation

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

All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich