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

Thursday, April 28, 2011



* Stake Land, a derivative but totally entertaining vampire-killing road trip. Playing this week in Portland at Cinema 21.

* Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, Apichatpong Weerase-thakul's divisive meditation on death, folklore, and horny fish.


* Ingrid Bergman in Sweden, three films from the homeland, before the iconic actress went to Hollywood.

* Leaving, an absolutely ordinary, and thus boring, infidelity drama with Kristin Scott Thomas.

* The Paranoids, a quirky dramedy from Argentina. An intriguing character study made all the better by its awesome lead actor.

* The Perfume of the Lady in Black, a chilly, pretty entry in the "blonde woman goes mad" genre of psychological horror. From 1974.

* Ricky, Francois Ozon's version of a family movie. Those crazy French! (Also, check out my capsule review of his most recent film, Potiche.)

* The Scent of Green Papaya, the perennial art house film from the early '90s is gorgeous on Blu-Ray. A romantic cinematic poem.

* The Vanquished, an early triptych by Michelangelo Antonioni.

Current Soundtrack: A Tribe Called Quest, The Love Movement

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

Monday, April 25, 2011

WHEN WE WERE WOLVES: New comics by Becky Cloonan & Vera Brosgol

It's only a coincidence that I currently have on my desk two self-published minicomics with titles that refer to "wolves." Despite being by two of the finest cartoonists to emerge in the last ten years, there is no grand design here, no intentional trade-off of ideas or collusion. That doesn't mean that as a reader I can't bring them together and hang them under one banner, because they both deserve attention and they both are fantastic examples of pure comic book storytelling even if the final products are vastly different.

Becky Cloonan's Wolves is a brutal, fatalistic short tale that began life in a Japanese anthology and has since been expanded and fleshed out and is now presented by the author all on its own. It's a comic book that is equally violent and romantic--which is as it should be, some of the worst violence in human history has been inspired by the most romantic of feelings.

From a plot standpoint, this one is simple: a medieval hunter in a snow-covered forest tracks a dangerous predator, all the while ruminating on why this task has fallen on him and of the love he left behind to go out and risk his life by order of his king. Cloonan balances past and present effortlessly, and depending on how you read, also gives us a little of the future, intentionally turning the reader round and round in order to unnerve us for the climactic revelations and to leave things obscure enough that we can read into them what we will. I have multiple ideas about how this book ends, about who the beast really was and the literal and/or mystical truth of the "curse" vs. the more existential punishment that it could represent. I have little doubt that Cloonan knew exactly what she was doing, and she is smartly keeping her "true" explanations to herself.

In terms of artwork, I can't think of a time when Becky's inks have looked better. Despite working on Wolves in drips and drabs between her other projects, the pages all cohere. When I think of Becky Cloonan's inks, I usually think of bold, thick lines and heavy blacks--both of which are on evidence here--but linger for a while on the linework and there is so much more going on in Wolves. There is lots of intricate detail, including the finer elements of the tree trunks, chain mail, and the hairy beast that gives the comic its title. There is also a wonderful use of thin lines and white space to differentiate the romantic flashbacks from the bloody action.

Side note: I am currently halfway through the second volume of Demo, Cloonan's creator-owned collaboration with writer Brian Wood, and I see the development of this more assured style in its pages. Becky has really taken command of the black-and-white page since the first time she and Wood tackled this series. Brian has also become a much finer writer, and his stories in this new volume have a more measured impact. Together and individually, they keep raising the bar for their own work, meaning each book they come out with is better than the last, and as far as I can see, they have yet to reach a point where this trajectory will crest or plateau.

Becky Cloonan will have Wolves for sale at upcoming conventions, including TCAF. Details on where and how to get the comic are at her blog. It's limited to 1,000. Don't wait to order.

We still have nearly two months until Vera Brosgol's full-length debut, Anya's Ghost, is released by First:Second. In the meantime, she has started selling her own minicomic, What Were You Raised by Wolves?, at conventions. She will be at TCAF, as well. I bought my copy at Stumptown.

What Were You Raised by Wolves? is a silent comic, drawn in a looser, more open style than some of Vera's other work. The soft lines retain a slightly "shaky" quality that preserve the feeling of original pencils, combining classic Kurtzman-esque cartooning with the fluidity of animation storyboards. In fact, What Were You Raised by Wolves? makes me think of some of the cool, weird one-off cartoons Chuck Jones did for Warner Bros. in the 1950s, stuff like "Rocket-Bye Baby" and "Boyhood Daze." Which isn't at all to suggest this would work better as animation, it's a perfect comic. The storytelling is clear, concise, and lively.

The star of What Were You Raised by Wolves? is a feral girl who, from what we can tell, really was raised by wolves. At the start, she is adopted into a family who entered her forest to camp, and who take her home despite the disappearance of their youngest boy (a grisly fate the girl is aware of, but presumably can't communicate). She grows up with the family, encountering her fair share of troubles, and then strikes out on her own. Existence in the big city, she will find, is far less civilized than her wild life in the woods, and she has to decide what best serves her true nature.

Despite the inherent social commentary, Brosgol keeps the action light. Most of the narrative is boiled down to one or two-page sequences, each a gag unto itself, but they cumulatively push the plot along and build one on the other for the final effect. It's all deftly handled, even when the subject does skew a little dark, reading as much more effortless than it likely is. What Were You Raised by Wolves? makes me even more excited to eventually get my hands on Anya's Ghost.

Explore more about Vera at her website, and be sure to check out her awesome collaborative Tumblr with Emily Carroll, "Draw This Dress." You also want to get their postcard set of drawings from that blog.

Panel from Anya's Ghost

Current Soundtrack: My Latest Novel, various tracks; Law & Order: Los Angeles on TV

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

Awesome Nicolas Hitori de envelope art, next to some awesome Becky Cloonan comics. My mail is the best.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Very excited that this news is starting to take shape more and more. I've hinted at it here, but artist Dan Christensen and I are doing a book for Oni Press that is set to come out hopefully sometime next year. The script is done, and Dan is two chapters in. He is drawing, toning, and lettering.

He gives more info at his blog. Click on the image below to read the rest. It's currently top secret other than what he lays out for you, so no sense prying for more. We won't squeal.

Current Soundtrack: Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Belong

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

Monday, April 18, 2011


Oni Press has released the solicitation and cover for Spell Checkers vol. 2 on their website.

Sons of a Preacher Man is due in September.

Spell Checkers, Vol. 2

Jamie S. Rich • Joelle Jones • Nicolas Hitori de

There are two new kids at school. Twin brothers--one straight-laced and buttoned-up, the other a rebel in a leather jacket--and they’ve transferred in with trouble for the Spell Checkers. Jesse finds romance, but for Cynthia, it’s rivalry. She and the good brother compete for student body president, while Kimmie tries to find out who murdered the last one. Dark magic is afoot, as well as dark humor, in the second mystical volume of Oni’s latest hit series.

Format: Original Graphic Novel, Digest
Content Rating: T+ (Teen Plus)
Available: Sep 21, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-934964-72-9

You can also see Joëlle's black-and-white line art for the cover on her blog.

Current Soundtrack: Peaches, "Turn It On" (Franz Ferdinand cover);

Friday, April 15, 2011


Work in progress.

Nicolas Hitori de from Spell Checkers vol. 2

Current Soundtrack: Johnny & the Hurricanes, "Crossfire"

The 2011 Stumptown Comics Festival is up on us.

Joëlle Jones and I will be signing at the Oni Press signing booth. We will be there both days. Our scheduled times are:

1:00-2:00 pm
4:00-5:00 pm

2:00-3:00 pm

We may stay longer on Sunday depending on the crowds. Oni will have all of our books published through them, and we will try to bring material from other publishers. E-mail special requests if you have them.

And when you aren't coming to see us, here is your mission. Go find these other great folks:

Natalie Nourigat
Jen Wang & Vera Brosgol (and ask them to show you Emily Carroll)
Emi Lenox
Mike Russell
David Walker
Eric Powell
Brandon Graham
Erika Moen
Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover
Terry Blas & Kimball Davis
Sarah Oleksyk
Ron Chan
Cat Farris
Corey Lewis
Monica Gallagher
Farel Dalrymple
Josh Williamson
Camilla d'Errico

And, you know, EVERYBODY. Here is a full list, including maps and table numbers.

Current Soundtrack: R.E.M., Collapse into Now

Thursday, April 14, 2011



* The Conspirator, Robert Redford has some questions about Lincoln's assassination. Asked and answered!

* Super, in which James Gunn takes on the whole "real world crimefighter" thing, and his hero gets upstaged by a little girl.


* Le cercle rouge, an expertly executed crime film from Jean-Pierre Melville. Starring Alain Delon & Yves Montand.


* No One Knows About Persian Cats, noble in its ambitions, not quite as successful in its final execution, a rock 'n' roll movie from Iran and Bahman Ghobadi.

* Whitney Cummings: Money Shot, an uninspired comedy special from the stand-up comic du jour.

Art by Gérard Fromanger

Current Soundtrack: The Colbert Report w/ Morgan Spurlock

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

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Tonight I went out to Bridge City Comics to attend the book release party for D.F. Walker's Darius Logan: Super Justice Force and a whole ton of Mike Russell comics.

Though, if you have to get one Mike Russell comic, it's The Sabretooth Vampire. Like so many great gag cartoons before it, Sabretooth Vampire is a simple concept brilliantly executed. The vampire, you see, has these big fangs...and there his woes begin.

Mike has been serializing the strips online, so you can visit his website and get a feel for how great it is. Then you'll want to buy the first minicollection. If you're at Stumptown this weekend, you can get the comic from Mike in person, plus give him lots of other money.

Mr. Walker is also going to be at Stumptown. You can check out more about Darius Logan at his website, including sample chapters and links to buying the book in various formats. Or, like Mike, give him your money directly this weekend. I'm not all caught up on Super Justice Force as of yet, but what I have sampled suggests that this promises to be a grand, bold adventure. I wouldn't expect any less from David, the man is grand, bold, and an adventure all himself!

These guys are a couple of unique creators doing their own work on their own terms, the kind of fellows you should definitely support. They are both operating at the height of their considerable powers, you don't want to miss out.

By the way, I should have my Stumptown schedule shortly--so you know when to avoid me.

Current Soundtrack: Various Arists, Billboard Hot 100 Singles - 1959

Friday, April 08, 2011



* Hanna, the feisty action picture starring a young female lead to see right now.

* Meek's Cutoff, Michelle Williams and fellow pioneers get lost on the Oregon Trail. So lost, they end up someplace where it's not even raining. Directed by Kelly Reichardt.

* Miral, Julian Schnabel's fascinating yet muddled look at the history of a string of Palestinian women in Israel in the latter half of the 20th Century. Starring Freida Pinto.

* Your Highness: Oooh! Oooh! I got one. "Puff, puff, pass--emphasis on the pass."

In addition to my regular movie reviews, check out my contribution to the Portland Mercury this week, in which I pick a few movies to go along with the Laurelhurst's week-long booking of Full Metal Jacket. (Longer reviews of two of the movies mentioned: The Strange One and Paths of Glory.)


* Silent Naruse - Eclipse Series 26, the five earliest surviving films from the Japanese master of melodrama. (Also at DVD Talk.)

* White Material, the intriguing recent film from Claire Denis. (Also at DVD Talk.)


* A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Spielberg meets Kubrick, and the results are stunning.

* Arabeseque, Stanley Donen tries to recapture the magic of his previous success and fails. With Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren.

* Batman: The Brave & the Bold - Season One, Part Two, more kick-ass cartoon action with the Caped Crusader and a plethora of DC heroes.

* The Incredibles, Pixar's killer superhero adventure gets the Blu-Ray treatment.

* Summer in Genoa, a movie from Michael Winterbottom, starring Colin Firth as a widower father trying to lead his family back to normalcy.

Current Soundtrack: Tindersticks, Nenette et Boni soundtrack

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

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


Nico drew this image of Jesse as promo for Spell Checkers vol. 2.


Current Soundrack: They Might Be Giants, "Can't Keep Johnny Down"

Monday, April 04, 2011


It's a big week here in Snap City. Not only do we have two Madman releases hitting store shelves, but there is going to be a massive party at Floating World Comics celebrating their publication. Plus, a new issue of iZombie, its first-anniversary issue, with guest art by Gilbert Hernandez! (Details here.)

Thursday night's party is going to be a blast. Mike's artwork will be on display, and I will be hosting in-store karaoke. Lots of Portland comics folks should be coming out, including hopefully Emi Lenox, who did a story in the Madman: All-New Giant-Size Super Ginchy Special! The all-new 64-page one-shot features her story, a fresh Madman adventure by Mike, two more guest shorts by Matt Kindt and Tonci Zonjic, 21 pin-ups by the likes of Emily Carroll, Philip Bond, Darwyn Cooke, Gilbert Hernandez, Sonny Liew, Francis Manapul, Frank Cho, Michael Cho, Michael Lark, Rafael Albuquerque, and a bunch more. All edited by me!

Mike has been teasing a lot of the art from here on his blog, which you should be following. Also, if you Madman fans aren't following the Comic Twart blog, you're missing out. Lat week they did a full run of pin-ups featuring Frank Einstein. There are a ton of talented guys in that group, you really should spend some time digging through their archives.

If that wasn't enough, the massive hardcover edition of all the post-Dark Horse issues of Madman is finally coming out. The 1,062-page omnibus, Madman Atomica, collects all of the self-published Atomics series, all of the Oni material, and the Image Comics issues. This includes my story with Joëlle Jones and the collaboration with myself, Mike, and Dave Johnson that was originally printed in Liberty Comics--full color and oversized! This represents more than ten years of working together for Mike and I, it's a huge accomplishment.

Floating World has a full press release about the publication party, but here is the basic skinny:

WHO: Michael Allred

WHAT: MADMAN GIANT-SIZE SUPER GINCHY SPECIAL book release and art exhibit, (plus surprise special guests & karaoke party!)

WHEN: Thursday, April 7th, 6-10pm

WHERE: Floating World Comics, 20 NW 5th Ave #101

Come on out and have some fun with us!

Current Soundtrack: The Kool, "Step Out of Your Mind/Room at the Top;" Broken Bells, Meyrin Fields EP; Acid House Kings, Music Sounds Better With You

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