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

Thursday, January 29, 2009



* The Class, fact and fiction collide in this French film about an inner-city school.


Exclusive to my Criterion blog this week:

* El Norte, a strong but somewhat overdone story of immigrants coming from Guatemala to the U.S. via illegal channels in the 1980s.

* Knife in the Water, Roman Polanski's debut feature, a tense thriller with a few things to say about marriage. Goes well with the Polanski documentary linked to below.


* Being There: Deluxe Edition, the classic comedic fable from Jerzy Kosinski, Hal Ashby, and Peter Sellers. Delightful!

* The Hollywood Collection - Gregory Peck: His Own Man, a late '80s television documentary about the upstanding actor.

* Magnificent Obsession - Criterion Collection, the Douglas Sirk-directed melodrama with a dash of social responsibility. (Also at Criterion Confessions.)

* Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, a meticulous look at the sex scandal that caused the revered director to flee the U.S. Very fascinating stuff.

Current Soundtrack:

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, January 28, 2009


Whoa. This morning I wake up and I suddenly feel like an internet sensation.

First, the big news is that the Young Adult Library Services Association picked both volumes of Love the Way You Love to be on their 2009 list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens. This is very cool. Love your librarians, people! They even put one of my favorite current manga series, Sand Chronicles, on their top 10, so they know their stuff.

The ridiculously good Usagi Yojimbo Volume 22: Tomoe's Story by Stan Sakai also made the list. Some may recall I edited Usagi once upon a time, and that comic's current editor and my first boss in the industry, Diana Schutz, was fittingly the first person to drop me a note to let me know the list was out today.

I also have copies of both collections that I can sell direct if anyone wants them signed, etc.

The Nostalgia for Infinity blog also reviewed Love the Way You Love's first three issues this morning.

"...this series hits a lot of notes that resonate with me. Many of its characters are musicians, there are plenty of references to contemporary bands, and music is an integral part of the narrative… and the other face of the narrative is love. Music… relationships...love...I’m there!"

For the record, both Marc and I really like Scott Pilgrim, but it's the fact that it's the default Oni book that everyone gets compared to that gets a little tiresome, and I'm sure Bryan Lee O'Malley gets a bit tired of it, too. I know the totally different and totally awesome Wet Moon has even gotten the "It's no Scott Pilgrim" dismissal, that's how often it comes up. Of course, no one minds being compared to a good book in a positive way. :)

Finally, special thanks to Trevor Dodge at Male Hipster Leering for linking to my Newsarama interview and saying such blushable things about myself and Joëlle.

Current Soundtrack: Franz Ferdinand, Tonight:Franz Ferdinand

Just a quick note.

An interview, a sort of "no-update update," I did with Chris Arrant went live on Newsarama yesterday. You can read it here.

I'd have posted it yesterday, but I wanted to give John Updike the top of the page for the day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


John Updike has passed away at the age of 76.

I can't claim I've read a ton of John Updike--and, in fact, there is a ton to read. The man was a prolific writer, including an extended career as a literary critic. Less then a week ago I used his review of Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore in a book club discussion, and his insightful assessment that "it seems more gripping than it has a right to be and less moving, perhaps, than the author wanted it to be" really captured what a lot of us were feeling about the book in a more elegant, succinct fashion than we might have gotten to on our own.

It's funny, because he is an author I had to learn to like. As a youngster, I reacted rather negatively to what I perceived was the work of an old fart and declared his short story "A&P" as one of the worst things I'd ever read. That must have been in high school, because when I read it in college as part of one of my courses, I ended up feeling completely stupid. His powers of observation in that story are incredible. Had I only realized then that the eye for detail possessed by an old far was not that far off from the eyes of an adolescent boy, I'd probably have read a lot more. Consider:

"She was a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit, at the top of the backs of her legs."

I always remember that description, because it was what turned me off! I was very puritanical as a teen, despite being just as lusty as any other hormonal male. I think I had it in my head that you could notice such things, but you don't point them out. (My work still has a fairly obvious lack of sex most of the time. What can I say? I'm a prude.)

Updike also provided a model for having an ongoing character that an author could follow through different ages and states of being. Alongside Roth's Zuckerman, Updike's Rabbit was an inspiration for how to handle my own character, Lance Scott, through various different books. In a way, it's a device for letting your reader grow old with you, signposts along the path of life.

The man's passing leaves a sadness not unlike the epiphany he describes in the last line of "A&P":

"...my stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter."


In the store today, I saw that the new Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus, vol. 6 contains the short story "Punish Me With Kisses" that Chynna Clugston and I collaborated on a few years ago. I knew it would be showing up eventually, but no one gave me a heads up. So, AVAILABLE NOW!

Note that I've updated yesterday's post about Madman Atomic Comics #13 to reflect that the issue has been delayed until next week, 2/9. I have no idea why.

Current Soundtrack: E's "The Daily 10"

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

Monday, January 26, 2009


Last week I attended the wedding of Powers artist Michael Avon Oeming and Taki Soma. It was a full-on comics wedding, taking place at Portland's Ground Kontrol retro-arcade, complete with free games, pizza, and dessert catering by Voodoo Doughnuts (courtesy of Brian Michael Bendis). A good time was had by all, despite some dark clouds rolling in as far as news in our industry, including the absolutely ridiculous news that Bob Schreck has been let go at DC (wrong, so very wrong). Anyway, some photos:

(left to right) Brian Bendis, Bryan L. Glass, Shannon Stewart, Dan Berman, David Walker, David Scroggy, that cocksucker Jamie S. Rich, and two people I don't know (sorry!)

That's Mike and Laura Allred. I like how Mike is looking at me as if he can really see my head doing that.

David Mack and myself.

Despite the happy look on my face, I am actually protesting the photographer and everyone else insisting I do "the shocker," which I find to be kind of offensive dudecentric concept that yokels on the internet think is high-larious. No lie, the first photo of this was caught during a debate of how you actually do it, as there were some at the table claiming a more shocking technique. Please don't take away all of my sensitive boy cred because of this. I actually remember people at Bendis' message board beating up on Judd Winick for refusing to do it. Judd obviously sticks to his guns better than I do.

Yes, I know, I'm a big girl's blouse.

A write-up of the wedding in the Willy Week.
More photos at the Bendis Board.

Current Soundtrack: The Clash, Björk, the Jam, Ladytron, and other random things

On sale this next Wednesday, 2/4...Madman Atomic Comics #13!

Look for a wraparound cover on the stands. In this one, Mike Allred wraps up the big story line that started with this new series. Guaranteed to blow your mind! Anytime!

* * *

Keeping watch on Twelve Reasons Why I Love Her, there is now only one copy on Amazon, and it's listed at $85?! What the hell?

This made me start nosing around? Half.com? 2 copies, one for $25 and one for the arbitrary price $108.70.

AbeBooks.com has only German-language copies. Powell's Books also has none, not even used. Where did they all go?

Buy one of these two on eBay for $8...or maybe I should buy, sign it, and flip it. Though I'm more into this My Life Story 7".

Related, I enjoyed passing our neighborhood library yesterday and seeing Token on display through the window.

And, of course, Chynna posting pictures of baby otters. Ahhhhdorable!

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, January 25, 2009


A couple of new links today, including a report that Sam Adams says he will not resign.

The Portland Arts Community's Open Letter in Defense of Sam.

Personally, I find it significant that a noted comics creator has been asked to participate and lend his name to this. Assuming that's the Craig Thompson I know and adore, the creator of Good Bye, Chunky Rice and Blankets.

I think this point is particularly important:

"Mayor Adams has apologized to the citizens of Portland, and acknowledged that his actions have damaged his relationship with us. He has indicated clear understanding that to regain that trust with many people, even in some measure, will require hard work ahead."

For an alternative point of view, however, my friend Plastorm has at his blog a new post called "Nothing Shocking."

Fair points, sure. I didn't mean to suggest that Sam Adams should get by scott-free, that there should be no consequences for his actions, though I do realize cries of "Grow up and move on" does sort of imply this. I've thought about this more since writing yesterday, and I can't get get past the fact that there has to be more to our ability to punish our politicians than either just ignoring their transgressions or the "quit or we'll fire you" routine. There has to be a more measured response. The latter doesn't even make way for the accused to get a fair day in court; instead, it attempts to circumvent a full hearing as that would presumably be a lengthy and costly affair. But as lengthy and costly as having to find a replacement in an unscheduled election? Which will hurt the city more in the long run? (Granted, a trial that ends in impeachment doubles up on the fun.)

It also sends the message that this kind of sex scandal--which is most likely going to prompt a lie out of anyone caught in one, let's be real--is a legitimate mode of attack. Lest we forget, these accusations surfaced when Sam Adams' opponent raised them to try to knock him out of the election. Did the media not do their due diligence on the issue then because it was any less of a valid accusation? Did we all turn a blind eye to the accusation because nobody wanted the guy leveling it to clear the way to get into office? Who knows? The fact that a gay politician was being accused of sex with an underage man struck me as the same kind of hatemongering that cleared the path for George W. Bush in 2000 when he knocked out McCain with accusations of an illegitimate black baby. Both times, the worst of our reasoning (or, really, lack thereof) was being appealed to in order for a guy who couldn't get through based on policy or the issues to climb past the opposition. It was a cynical play, and a portion of the citizenry fell into it. And I don't think that just because the accusing opponent now turns out to be at least partially right that his motivation for starting the fuss should now be whitewashed any more than Adams should be getting a clean slate.

Sure, I'm disappointed in Sam Adams. He's supposed to be the best of us, but instead, in his response to this situation, I wouldn't say he turned out to be the worst, but probably the most average. I voted for him because I think he can do better, and I stand by that because I think he still can. Is there some kind of political probation? Give him time to get it together, and if he doesn't, then kick him out? If not, then are the voters really getting a say at all?

As a postscript, I do think that the left-leaning among us that got a chuckle out of Larry Craig being arrested in a public bathroom or Mark Foley texting dirty messages to his underage intern should maybe reconsider how we react to such things in the future, and consider how thin our justifications of various illegalities and on-the-job abuses may be before crying for another man's head. When it happens to our guy, we demand nuance and sober reflection; when it happens to the other side, it's cut-and-dried, hilarious, and humiliating. As always, one finger points ahead, three point back.

(c) 2009 Jamie S. Rich

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Last night, I attended a rally to support Portland's embattled mayor, Sam Adams, and demand he not resign. As I am sure many have heard, Adams has gotten caught in a lie. During his election, he was accused of an inappropriate relationship with a young man he may or may not been mentoring. At the time, Adams denied this relationship. Last week, the facts emerged that at one time they were lovers, and Adams admitted that he had lied. I completely understand how this hurts his credibility, including making it harder to accept his insistence that the man was of legal age at the time of their actual affair.

Yet, I fail to see the relevance of this in terms of his ability to perform his duties as Mayor. Essentially, I think the public that does care and who feeds on this kind of scandal needs one collective call to "grow up." Who among us hasn't had things in our private life that might make our co-workers react in surprise, but that ultimately has no bearing on how we do our work? Would you think it fair if you were suddenly unemployed for what you did at a nightclub last Friday?

I have written to Sam Adams and the Portland City Commissioners, a blanket statement that goes as follows:

To all of the representatives in Portland government:

Don't let a disingenuous, opportunistic media push you into making a decision that is wrong for our city. At a time of crisis in our country, on the precipice of a new era, why should we validate the dinosaurs of if-it-bleeds-it-leads journalism for carrying on with business as usual? History has shown us that these kinds of scandals and mistakes don't matter in terms of a politician serving in his office. How many of us now look back at the Bill Clinton scandals and see the witch hunt as productive, proper, or even remotely relevant? Such a shame that reporters didn't spend as much time watching the Bush administration lead us down so many wrong roads as they did wondering who was sleeping with whom.

Given the current state of our economy, shutting down the city while everyone scratches their heads and debates over this issue is in service to no one. The voting public has already said that Sam Adams can do the job, and I believe the majority of us intends to hold him to it. Likewise, we elected the city commission to do a job, and you folks all need to stop bickering and get down to business, as well. How you act now is not only vital to our community, but vital to your future as our public servants. No one elected the Oregonian and the Tribune and the other press outlets to speak for the people, we elected you. In fact, their sales figures likely speak to how far from being the voice of the public they now are, and one hopes the populace has not rewarded their efforts to manipulate this situation by paying to read their swill.

Enough debate, enough indecision. Let's move on.

You can do the same. Here are the e-mail addresses:

Support Sam Adams on Facebook
Sam is Still My Mayor Blog
Marc Acito in defense of Sam Adams
The Portland Mercury: Why Adams Should Stay

I recently had a conversation with a long-standing friend regarding the change in our Presidency and our cautious optimism as Barack Obama moves into the White House. My friend mentioned how conservatives such as himself were disenchanted by the "graying morality" of the Clinton years, and it struck me that here we had the fundamental disconnect of our two different ways of thinking. For me, the Bush years represented a much more insidious graying of morality, from the lies that lead us into Iraq (which should far outdistance lies about bedroom antics) to the no-bid contracts for companies the administration was connected to, from torture and Gitmo to the financial and ethics scandals of people like Tom DeLay, all the way to the treasonous outing of a CIA agent and the distortion of the truth and to the invasion of Americans' privacy through wiretapping--is not this all more grave than what is done between two adults? Which one personally affects you?

When I saw Frost/Nixon last week, I was surprised by the obvious parallels between Nixon and Bush. Forgetting Watergate, Nixon also created evidence to justify his going into Cambodia. He also illegally surveilled American citizens. It made me realize that it was as a result of Nixon's betrayal that we, as a public, started to accept that politicians were corrupt and shruggingly declared, "What are you going to do?" This has lead us to be complacent, has caused us not to fight back, because "Why bother?" It's a sad state of affairs. At one point, people did bother and Nixon was run out of office. I don't recall if anyone ever asked if Richard Nixon had ever received a blow job; there was just too much that mattered more.

And it's the same now. Foreign wars, a dismal economy, a failing education system--these things matter more. These things should have more sway in deciding if qualified men should stay in office than what they do in their off-duty life. On my way to the rally for Mayor Adams, I crossed through a demonstration crying out for peace in Gaza, a handful of people compared to the large numbers I had seen a week ago making an intense, impassioned plea for peace just a week before. Hundreds were outside City Hall asking our city to get back to work, while only a few were now left to demand less death and conflict. Really? Is that not backwards?

Which matters more?

To end on a lighter note, I point you to Patton Oswalt's "Dukes of Hazzard" routine, a comedic diatribe that puts it all into perspective. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the clip on its own, but you can hear it on YouTube as part of this file. Jump ahead to the 8-minute mark.

(c) 2009 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I realize that every goober with a blog is complaining about the Oscars today (though, if Foxymoron is on normal schedule, expect him to update his rant in about two weeks time), but I am going to risk being a cliche because this is the first time in a while that I have felt the Academy got it so wrong in regards to the top prize.

You can read the full nominations here. Best Picture nominees are:

* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
* Froxt/Nixon
* Milk
* The Reader
* Slumdog Millionaire

I have seen all five films, and out of those, I think the lower four shouldn't be there. They are all good movies, but not even close to the being in the five best of the year. I am not sure any of them would even crack my top 10.

If I could set up the nominations all on my lonesome, it would look like this:

* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
* Revolutionary Road
* Snow Angels
* Wall*E
* The Wrestler

I am not naive, I realize that Snow Angels never really had a shot (read my review if you don't know what it is). Even so, what about more worthy foreign films like Waltz With Bashir or Let the Right One In? Having just rewatched The Dark Knight on Tuesday, I'd also pick it for the slick genre picture over Slumdog, which is a pretty perfect movie but not as deep or complex as it is dazzling. Its shiny veneer has created an illusion that there is more to it than is really there (For those who wanted a top 10 from me, you just got pretty much a top 8.)

And, of course, why do comedies never make the grade? Happy-Go-Lucky and Burn After Reading came out this year, though the former is debatable as a strict comedy and the latter a bit of an acquired taste. Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express, and the more flawed Forgetting Sarah Marshall at least deserved consideration.

And how did Tarsem's The Fall get no nominations in art direction, costumes, or anything?

Current Soundtrack: Franz Ferdinand, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

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, January 21, 2009


I've been Scanned Daily.

Scans Daily is an ongoing Live Journal community that scans samples of comics and posts them for people to peruse. Yesterday, they featured a bunch of pages from 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, which I discovered via Dirk Deppey's Journalista.

I admit, my first reaction was to be flattered that we had been picked. I've read several things posted to the Scans community before, so the ongoing copyright-vs.-fair-use debate aside, I'm not going to hypocritically climb up on that high horse and complain. (Though, a copyright notice on these things wouldn't hurt, and actually would help defend the ownership on our behalf.)

What does bug me is the choice of pages, which reveals pretty much the entire emotional arc, and the fundamental dismantling of the structure of the story so that pages from Reason 9 come after Reason 11, imposing a chronology and solving the puzzle. It's like that easter egg on the Memento DVD that reverses everything and puts the movie in order. Why would you even want that?!?!

Some of the replies in the comments section typically annoy and amuse, what with the internet being the internet. We expect so much perfection from our fictional characters--is it because we can't achieve it in ourselves? How come people so rarely see the virtue of Evan owning up to his mistake and trying to make it right? And is Gwen so easy to forgive because she's pretty? (Blah blah blah, broken record...)

Oh, and I was surprised to discover my one-pager with Chynna from one of the 9/11 books is on there as an example of wordless narrative.

In other news regarding 12 Reasons, the book is currently out of print in the United States. Oni has zero copies, and Joëlle and I each have only one each of the first print. Amazon only has one copy, and it goes for $25! The original plan at Oni was to reprint the book when we printed You Have Killed Me, but maybe that should have been reassessed when that comic got bumped from Fall to Spring. My guess is people discovering Joëlle for the first time via Token caused a renewed interest in our book, and so they got gobbled up.

Current Soundtrack: Erasure, Storm Chaser EP

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

Monday, January 19, 2009


In crime fiction, the seasoned con man always tells the new kid that the simplest cons are the best. They are the most plausible, and you don't trip yourself up with unnecessary details. The person believes you, sometimes even against his better judgment, because the story is believable.

I've only ever succumbed to a street con once. It was in the mid-90s, and I was at San Diego Comic Con with Dark Horse (that's "Con" with a capital C). A group of us got hit with the gas can routine. The guy was allegedly Canadian, had been stranded, couldn't understand how mean Americans were because no one would help him, and totally sucked us in. I think he benefited from some kind of groupthink, because he got cash off all of us, and when notes were compared throughout the night, it turned out that he had probably made a couple of hundred bucks off of comics pros in one evening. No one wanted to be the one to say now while others were watching.

At least then I wasn't alone.

Some people know I pick up shifts at Floating World Comics here in Portland. Today I was working when a guy came in looking for help. White guy, beard, stocking cap--he looked like every dude in Portland. He was clean and polite, but exasperated. He locked his keys in his car, and he had a locksmith there to unlock the vehicle for him, but he was $20 shy. His wallet was in his glovebox, it had the money, but the darn locksmith would not open it without the cash. He was caught in a catch-22. He offered me his expensive watch, said he would be back for it, it was given to him by his ex-fiancee and it was all he had of her, it meant a lot.

I caved. I took the watch and gave him money out of my own pocket--which I told him was out of my own pocket because I did not want to get in trouble with the store if he screwed me. Which to me says some part of me knew I was getting screwed. In fact, I really don't think I believed him, I just felt sorry for him, putting myself in his shoes. What if it was true and everyone was so hardened that they could not help a guy in trouble, and what if that guy in trouble was me? I didn't want to say yes so much as I didn't want to say every cynical thing that went with saying no.

I've been dissecting the lie in my head for a little bit now, and I'm noticing the great, simple details. No wallet means no ID to give me. Some other guy is screwing him in a way that seems unreasonable, so now he's a victim and I'm thinking someone else is the jerk. Then there is the unnecessary detail of the fiancee, which was given as the watch was coming off, totally as if it just popped out, the messiness and irrelevance making it seem authentic.

A good con is a good con because it's all so believable.

Here is the funny thing, though. That watch? It's a Fossil FS3282. It's basically a $100 watch. It's running fine, though again, had I paid attention, I'd have noted it's about 40 minutes behind--which I just noticed now and makes me convinced even more that this dude is not coming back. That's a pretty expensive trade for $20.

Unless, of course, he's got a trunk of them.

And $20 is a pretty cheap way to buy away all my trust and make me even less likely to help someone who really needs it.

As it stands, I'm leaving the watch at the store until next time I'm here, just on the off chance something happened (because somehwere in me I am still a chump), and if it hasn't been picked up by then, I'm walking it to a pawn shop to see if I can get my $20 back. Unless someone who hates me for normally thinking I'm so smart wants to buy it and keep it as a trophy for how stupid I really am...?

Yeahhhh...wanna buy a watch?

Current Soundtrack Should Be: Elbow, "The Fix;" Nick Cave, "People Just Ain't No Good;" and of course, the Smiths, "Never Had No One Ever."

I've always been fairly up front with the fact that I am not prolific in the sense that I have a ton of discarded ideas sitting in a drawer. I don't. Most of the time, I get an idea and I set out to do it, and that's that.

Except when I have the opportunity to pitch for something specific or previously established. Such as the 33 1/3 line of books--the series that has individual authors write a short tome about a single record album.

Several years ago, I had hoped to get a gig on the series doing a book about Suede's second album Dog Man Star. I wrote up the short pitch based on their requirements, and then because my brain was at work, I actually wrote the first three chapters. Both of those links will take you to pdfs of those documents [both (c) 2009 Jamie S. Rich], shared for the first time.

I am releasing these just for the sake of doing so. Please note that the chapters are uncorrected, full of not just typos, but some really bad writing, too. If I recall, I wrote the whole thing in one night in a fit of inspiration and never looked back. The first chapter in particular is the clumsiest, I think a little too hurried to provide as much set-up as possible before getting into the story proper. Regular readers may notice I later cribbed certain things for other essays, and even recycled some story elements in various shades in other venues.

My theory has always been that James Frey killed this book. I presented it as a fake autobiography in the pitch, and sent it off just before the Million Little Pieces scandal hit. (Dates on the documents say I was working on this in November 2005.) I have no idea if it's true, but I like to cling to that. No reason for the rejection was given. I can't recall if it was this year or the next pitch season that the rejections were phrased something like, "We won't be publishing your book, but you'll be happy to know that these are the albums we will be covering," followed by a list of people that got the job instead of the rest of us. I don't know why people think that this will somehow soothe the pain. "Oh, well, I'm glad I won't get paid if it means that there will be a book on Use Your Illusion II." It's not the only time that happened to me. I was actually kicked off two different licensed projects at two different companies with the explanation, "But your replacement is real fan of the source material." Apparently my fandom should outweigh my need to eat.

Dog Man Star would have been a weird book to write anyway. Reading over it again, it was very strange to read my own name in relation to events that didn't really happen, mixed in with a few things that really did. I remember thinking at the time that this was a book I couldn't let my dad read, as he has a hard enough time separating his son from his son's characters. The only bean I will spill for what is truth and actual is the girl Bret, though I have no idea what her real name was and never actually saw her after the concert; however, all that stuff about her being on my back, the candy necklace, and the conversation in regards to both, is exactly as I remember. She is still one of my all-time favorite random people.

The next go-around, I pitched a graphic novel about Pulp's Different Class that Joëlle was going to draw. It was going to be another somewhat true, mostly fictional tale based on a real road trip I took to see the band in Califonia, and mixing in stuff I had used for a short story I had written about an older version of Tristan from Love the Way You Love that was called "No Brakes, I Don't Mind." They didn't go for it either. This year, I didn't pitch at all. I just couldn't think of an album to cover or the angle from which to cover it. So it goes.

Current Soundtrack: Morrissey, Years of Refusal; Dog Man Star

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, January 16, 2009



* Ciao, a lo-fi drama about love and grief

Having opened in limited release in some areas last month, it is now opening in Portland at Living Room Theatres.


* A double dose of Roberto Rossellini from Criterion - Rossellini's History Films: Renaissance and Enlightenment - Eclipse Series 14 (Criterion Confessions) and The Taking of Power by Louis XIV (Criterion Confessions). Well, actually, a quadruple dose, considering there are four films.

* Funny Face - The Centennial Collection, a new release of an old Audrey Hepburn favorite. Goes well with Audrey Hepburn Remembered

* The Story of the Yardbirds, a fairly okay documentary about the band with lots of great music.

Current Soundtrack: Wham!, The Final

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, January 15, 2009


A quick update:

Marc Ellerby to be Podcast today, part of Panel Borders' special program on four generations of British cartoonists.

I am sure he will use the airtime confess his love for Selena Gomez. (And here you thought my Taylor Swift fascination was silly!)

I wouldn't have believed it either, but in the interest of promoting the fact that inspiration is where you find it, Taylor Swift has become a regular soundtrack in my house this week. I liked her songs on SNL this past Saturday and started listening to the album on LastFM, and this phenomenon just grew out of there. Something about her very simple, youthful, and heartfelt style fits right in with writing about Isobel and her young dreams of art and love.

Of course, the "Love Story" lyrics have the kind of literary/storybook references I am a sucker for. There's also my not so secret dreams of being a princess. The song is kind of like if Radiohead's "Exit Music (For a Film)" was written by teenage girl rather than an overgrown adolescent boy. (And just two songs later, "White Horse" tells the other side of fairy tale romances.)

The production on this and a lot of her songs actually reminds me of Sixpence None the Richer, whose hit "Kiss Me" from several years ago was a minor pop classic. People think I am kidding when I call Sixpence the pop version of Belle & Sebastian, what with that song's twee talk of moonlight and hidden maps and things. Which just goes to prove that the indie tag is just an excuse for wearing cheap clothes, and all of this is far more connected than we realize.

And as if there wasn't enough reason to hate the Jonas Brothers, I'd give that little wiener Joe Jonas such a kick to the nards for breaking little Taylor's heart were I ever to see him. Assuming his testicles have actually descended.

Current Soundtrack:

Friday, January 09, 2009

Greatest Of All Time

From Chynna "Dumbrella" Clugston: "If Andi's the princess, and I'm the troll, I guess you think you're one of these guys!"

This is why Blue Monday never comes out. She spends all day drawing pictures of me as various animals. Pervert.

Current Soundtrack: Elliot Smith, "Needle in the Hay" (yes, Jamie Richie Tenenbaum is that depressed by this mean joke...)

Originally uploaded by andi watson

Did you know that Andi Watson has a new story up at Tor.com? Neither did I. Maybe if he wasn't so Rapunzel-like in his castle over in Lambsbottom or wherever he lives, he'd write his dear ol' dad now and again.

Read "Great Uncle George's Will" here.

Did you also know that Chynna Clugston, also known as Chynna Cluckin' Chicken to her friends, has published her first new Blue Monday comic in, oh, I don't know, the amount of time it takes Andi Watson to brush his long, luxurious Sk8r Boi hair? He's such a princess, and Chynna is such a troll. Working with them satisfies my Gemini bone structure.

Anyway, Blue Monday: Thieves Like Us #1, presumably named for a New Order song (they'd sue, but you can't copyright a title) and not the Robert Altman movie (so New Order stole it anyway), is on sale now.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Calendars crumble, I'm knee deep in numbers...

Believe it or not--and you'd better believe it--at one time I thought I could write poetry. This delusion lasted all through college and even some couple years beyond, long enough to fill an entire three-ring binder of truly awful stuff, a lot of it written as letters to one particular girl who I had to constantly feed correspondence to. Thankfully, these were rarely straight love poems, any type of poem would do, and so I used all kinds of ideas and techniques to fill my quota. She actually did the same, though because mine were typed on a word processor I had copies of all of mine; she handwrote hers, and at one point she asked for them back so she could make copies of them. I don't think I have to tell you that they were never returned--though surprisingly, her taking them was not a preamble to getting rid of me, and eventually it was me who ended it with her.

Anyway, recently I've been looking through this notebook in order to crib some notes from myself in order to figure out how to write some bad poems for a young man in To See the Lights. There is a bonus to saving everything, you can glimpse into the diseased mind of your youth and stare in wonderment at what the fuck was wrong with you.

I wouldn't even want to begin to count how many pieces are in this notebook, but despite the heft, it's not just a mishmash of poems tossed in willy nilly or arranged by chronological order. On the contrary, I tracked this behemoth, and arranged the poems in a specific order. That means certain thematic elements all get grouped together.

Like the five poems here. They are terrible, which is why I didn't take the time to retype them. Instead I have scanned them, typos and all, and uploaded them. If you really want to read some of them, you will have to follow the Flickr links and look at the different sizes. I refuse to make it easy for you to laugh at me.

Yet, I do find these interesting for a variety of reasons. One, because I think you can see the kernels of things that have become part of my vocabulary. I was writing Cut My Hair at the same time as many of these, so my identity as a writer was already firming up. You'll also see some fanciful musings on where my authorial future could have gone were life more romantic.

There is a lot of amusing tough-guy patter in this, I was already a student of film noir. I was writing about drinking, despite at this point only maybe getting drunk, on average, once a year since I was 15. 1994 and the corrupting influence of the comic book industry and yet more girls were to start me on my boozehound ways. Yet, I write of drunkenness and even cigarettes despite never smoking anything ever even to this day.

My two obvious influences here are Bukowski (you college students think you're all so original, but you're all the same!) and e.e. cummings, with the latter being, of course, the reason for some of the arrangements but also for the use of phonetic language. The poem where I drink with those two, as well as with Walt Whitman, reminds me that I read a lot of Whitman, though I don't think I ever finished Leaves of Grass. I also was a big fan of Wallace Stevens and Charles Baudelaire, but I see nothing of the exactness of what was one of my all-time faves, Emily Dickinson.


Despite whatever else is going on here, I really, really like that last stanza.

But oh! Once!
Once I resembled the Sistine Chapel.
God himself reached down
and cleaned my fingernails.

Don't be surprised if I recycle that.


I was almost washed up by 34. Have You Seen the Horizon Lately? was published when I was 35, so maybe I was a year off or so.

This next one was two pages, two scans:





Another two-pager. I am guessing now that Mog is Mowgli, also mentioned in the previous poem, and that Tonio was Tonio Kroger, the title character from a Thomas Mann story.



The "straight on to morning" reference is a nod to Peter Pan, though now I could see an argument made for it as a statement against the homoeroticism of the trio of guys steering clear of women. "Have you ever" etc. is good ol' Quentin from The Sound and the Fury defending his sister's dirty underpants.

Current Soundtrack: Morrissey, Years of Refusal

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All text (c) 2009 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Taking stock for 2009:

- TO SEE THE LIGHTS (a.k.a. the Love the Way You Love YA novel) is about halfway to completion with a current count of 33,000 words. I alternate between liking it and not knowing what the hell I feel.

- JAMIE S. RICH'S 5 1/2 is on hold while I work on the above.

- LYING DOWN, the comics series with Mike Holmes, is still in limbo. Need to make a decision soon.

- SPELL CHECKERS, the graphic novel series with Joëlle Jones and Nicholas Hitori de looks to have a publisher, and I am very excited about that. If you recall, Nico leaked some art, which got things rolling.

- YOU HAVE KILLED ME is so very close to being done. Joëlle has been cranking, and it looks awesome.

- BP & MJ is in limbo. So is THIS WORLD AND BODY. I'd really like to have something definite for them ASAP, and in the order of their listing, but sadly the world works on its own timetable, not mine.

Current Soundtrack: Blur, "Tender;" El-P, "The League of Extraordinary Nobodies;" the Who, "Our Love Was"

Saturday, January 03, 2009


I don't think I've posted this cover for Portland Noir as of yet.

The publisher's page.

It's up for preorder at Amazon, though let's not forget our local booksellers who need our business, as well. I got proofs yesterday, including a table of contents. Looks like it's going to be a pretty swell collection. Expect it in late May/early June.

Current Soundtrack: Johnny Foreigner, Arcs Across the City

Friday, January 02, 2009


DVD Talk has posted its top 20 of 2008. I was part of the voting panel and I think we came up with a pretty good consensus.

The Top 20 DVD Releases of 2008.

For the curious, I actually wrote the blurbs for Persepolis, Mishima, Touch of Evil, and Bonnie & Clyde.

Current Soundtrack: The Very Best of Badfinger