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

Friday, May 27, 2011


Natalie Nourigat calls this "My favorite panel from this chapter."

Chapter of what? Mysterious!

(By the way, pretty sure that's the same girl that's in her blog header. More mysterious!)

Current Soundtrack: Suede, "Everything Will Flow" CD2


This week, I did a capsule review of Shoah for the Portland Mercury. Shoah is having some rare public showings at the NW Film Center. The 9 1/2-hour documentary about the Holocaust is a rightly revered historical record, telling the story of death camp survivors in a straight-forward manner. The details are harrowing as they are, they require no embellishment, just the human voice to relate the facts. Seeing Shoah was a large inspiration for Steven Spielberg to make Schindler's List (a movie I personally think is fantastic).

You can read what the Mercury printed here.

I like how it turned out, though it's particularly no-nonsense, just-the-facts in approach. Which might best fit the movie. The assignment was for 150 words. That's not a lot when it comes down to it. In fact, I had a different write-up originally that I couldn't find a way to cut. It's 216 words:

Halfway into Claude Lanzmann’s 9 ½-hour Holocaust documentary Shoah, the importance of his monumental undertaking becomes all too clear. An anonymous man emerges from a crowd in front of a Polish church, mere miles from the Treblinka death camps were 400,000 Jews were murdered, to relay a story he heard about a rabbi instructing his people to go with the Nazis willingly as atonement for killing Jesus. It’s an unsettling moment. Lanzmann has been rooting around for just this kind of justification, and there it is. That one of the only two people to escape Treblinka is standing in the group, silently observing, makes it all the more haunting. The technique in Shoah is raw, but it’s not about cinema, it’s about making sure the stories don’t fade away. Lanzmann gathers up survivors, observers, and persecutors and pushes them to tell their version of events. With them, he travels to the notorious camps and ghettoes, tracing the long march of death. Completed in 1985 after a decade of work, Shoah is a towering tribute to those lost. It’s also difficult to sit through, both in terms of content and presentation. The Film Center will be showing it in two parts, and whether you go all day or two days in a row, expect a long haul.

You can see how I worked some of the info around for the final piece. The basics were easy to communicate, but there wasn't much room to get flowery.

It was weird watching Shoah and Charles Chaplin's The Great Dictator within a couple of days of each other. Both films touch on basically the same subjects in very different manners, and yet both moved me to consider the evil that men do and the possibility of such evil repeating. I noted in my review of the Chaplin that actions our government has taken since 9/11 seem to come from the same willful blindness that comedian warned about. I had similar thoughts while watching Shoah and listening to how Jews were packed onto trains and whisked away to prisons and slaughterhouses with no one questioning a thing. I couldn't help but think that extraordinary rendition and Guantanamo Bay are really no better. Isn't our government removing people from their lives and imprisoning them for no other reason than because of their race and religion? Most of these victims are never charged with a crime, never given a trial; some have been arrested just because of their name. Have we really learned so little in all this time? And who among us is going to answer for these crimes in future generations? Have we tried to stop it enough, if at all? You can pretend it's for the greater good, but the greater good makes for easy justification when the definitions are malleable. Move the line, there is no penalty.

History may judge us just as unkindly as it judges the people who lived near Treblinka and Auschwitz, who watched the trains roll in full of people and then leave empty, all those lost souls never to be seen again.

Current Soundtrack: The Black Ships, "The Kurofune EP" [free download]; Ride, Nowhere (20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

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

Thursday, May 26, 2011



* Hesher, Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as the title character. Hit an open chord, take off your shirt, and be a teenage dirtbag, baby.

Playing Portland at Cinema 21 starting this weekend.

* True Legend, a disappointing new action flick from the awesome martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping. Lame story, too much CGI.


* The Great Dictator, Charles Chaplin's daring comedy parody of Adolph Hitler still packs a punch today.


* The Misfits, John Huston directs Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe in their final screen roles. Also stars Eli Wallach and Montgomery Clift, in a script by Arthur Miller.

* The Unloved, Samantha Morton's softly rendered, heartfelt directorial debut.

Current Soundtrack: Adam Wade, "Gloria's Theme;" The Indelicates, David Koresh Superstar [album available for download, name your own price]

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

A panel from the second book (due in September), featuring the Spell Checkers creative team and a bunch of our friends.

The gag from the original script actually read as:

Outside the stall, boys stand around and stare in disbelief as [redacted]. Goran has also come in.

Maybe the crowd can be teen versions of you, me, James Lucas Jones, and Smoking Adolescent Tomboy Joëlle(TM).

Nico took the inside joke and ran with it!

Noemie is the lead singer of Virgin Princesse, while Vanyda is the creator of the comic book The Building Opposite

Young James refers to James Lucas Jones, editor in chief of Oni Press, and Tally is the nickname for Natalie Nourigat.

Erika Moen is the talented artist of Dar and, most recently, Bucko.

There are even funnier cameos planned for vol. 3...but you'll have to wait for those.

Current Soundtrack Cults, Cults

Sunday, May 22, 2011

SCATTERGOOD: We are the Broken Ones by Vincent Lavious and Corey Lewis

Corey Reyyy Lewis hooked me up with one of his latest minicomics at Stumptown. It's a collaboration with writer Vincent Lavious called We are the Broken Ones.

Short and scattered, Broken Ones is basically a comic book poem, a clipped narrative of two people circling one another, a boy and a girl subject to their own metamorphoses and who become estranged as a result. Is it a metaphor for growing up, for falling in love and moving apart? Possibly. It could also just be a collection of randomly chosen cool images, arranged into a kind of beautiful sequential mash-up. Its impact isn't lessened regardless. There is a happy, hopeful punchline, surprisingly poignant. The closing nugget is also just as weird as the rest of the reality this pair capture and relate through these pages, a tasty emotional fortune cookie baked with their own unique recipe.

Corey has put all of We are the Broken Ones online. You can read it here. I like it better printed, the way the pages flip and the images juxtapose, so if you can still get it that way, do it.

Corey has also finished his long-gestating second Sharknife book, so watch for an announcement of its 2012 release from Oni Press soon.

Current Soundtrack: Arctic Monkeys, "Don't Sit Down 'cause I've Moved Your Chair;" Nicki Minaj, "Set it Off/Baddest Bitch"

Saturday, May 21, 2011


This is a dismal week for new movie releases; I haven't seen a single one and don't intend to. Luckily for those of us living in Portland, we have a lot of great revival houses and alternatives to the multiplexes. Starting tomorrow, Sunday the 22nd, and ending Thursday the 26th, Cinema 21 will be showing a 35mm print of Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin. Here is the blurb I wrote for the Portland Mercury:

Sergei Eisenstein pretty much invented cinematic language in his 1925 silent film about rebellion on a Russian cruiser, but don’t mistake watching Potemkin as akin to reading a textbook--it’s as stirring today as it was nearly a century ago. The dizzying battle sequences and iconic riot on the Odessa stairs (you’ve seen it ripped off hundreds of times) turned what would’ve otherwise been a standard propaganda film into tension-filled art. Fully restored with its original score, this 35mm print is a rare chance to see a masterpiece in public with all the P-town Bolsheviks.

In lieu of that, here are three new DVDs worth seeking out, and one you're better to ignore...


* Diabolique, Henri-Georges Clouzot's white-knuckled thriller. After half a century, it will still keep you guessing.

* Pale Flower, a chilly tale of Japanese gangsters, gamblers, and nihilistic romance. Directed by Masahiro Shinoda, released 1964, now on Blu-Ray. (Also at DVD Talk.)


* Ayn Rand: In Her Own Words, an interesting story given a dull presentation.

* Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno, a stupendous documentary sifting through the remains of the Diabolique-director's unfinished would-be masterpiece.

Current Soundtrack: Jesus & Mary Chain, 21 Singles

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, May 18, 2011

MYTHS OF THE NEAR FUTURE: Gang of Fools by James Smith III

James Smith III slipped me a copy of Gang of Fools at the New York Comic Con last fall. It's an immediately impressive package, a fully printed 96-page book, spine and everything. It's also completely packed with comics. James' pages rarely have less than six panels, and they regularly have nine, and each one of them counts. The artist packs each unit with as much storytelling he can muster, allowing his characters to be chatty, but also maximizing the visual punch. In terms or style, his sketchy drawings work with Paul Pope and Jim Mahfood as a base aesthetic, but with a thin line more reminiscent of Jim Rugg. The combo gives the cartooning a sense of immediacy, but the expressive characters and the heavy detail of his futuristic world suggests there is far more consideration than that. Smith must work hard to make it look so easy.

Gang of Fools takes place in an overcrowded urban environment sometime in the near future. Living space is precious, as is information and mobility. The title is no joke, Gang of Fools has a huge cast of pornographers, gangsters, artists, and hustlers. Its central subjects are a group of twenty-something friends working the system and navigating the high-tech social structure in hope of carving out their own space in things. The ultimate center is Aditi, an Indian-American girl working as a messenger to raise her rent. Not the smartest move: the two most dangerous things in future living is traveling and real estate. Getting from place to place to drop off a package, crossing turf lines and jammed roads, is bad enough even when your landlord doesn't want you dead.

Smith builds a complicated storyline with crisscrossing plots, all of which converge, diverge, and then converge again. As Gang of Fools progresses, the technique grows more frenzied, the narrative more choppy, and Smith cuts from scene to scene faster and faster. Honestly, some of it can be a little hard to keep straight, and Gang of Fool kind of ends more than it really finishes in any real satisfying sense, but I was thoroughly caught up in the madness nonetheless. Gang of Fools is a fascinating debut from an intriguing new talent.

Gang of Fools Motion Flyer from Daniel J. Kramer on Vimeo.

Gang of Fools began life on Act-i-vate, and this book and more was serialized there. You can also read more of James' comics at his own site. Some of the unfinished feeling might come from the fact that more was coming.

Read an interview with James at Talking Comics with Tim.

I'm not entirely sure the best way to go about getting the books, but the Facebook group might be a good way to start looking.

Current Soundtrack: The Go! Team, Rolling Blackouts; Christina Perri, Lovestrong

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, May 16, 2011


Big things are happening. Today was the official announcement of Tr!ckster, an alternative to Comic Con, a sidebar if you will. The Beat rightly compares it to Slamdance, the rogue film festival that sets up during Sundance. It's a different venue, offering different ideas, running concurrent to the big event.

Check out the official website here.

There's going to be a ton going on: signings, symposiums, live art battles, Mike Allred's band The Gear playing live--the whole thing is going to be an amazing chance to meet your favorite comic book creators, get special products, and get a more interactive con-going experience.

More details are to come, including more of how I will be involved and what I hope to put together for Comic Con. Big thanks to Scott Morse for inviting me out. I can't wait!

Add Tr!ckster on Facebook.

Current Soundtrack: The Indelicates, David Koresh Superstar [album available for download, name your own price]

Check it!

More updates from Marc Ellerby--including info on all his projects, personal appearances, and the story I teased about last week--over on his blog.

The three-pager we put together is for a comic promoting the new Art Brut album. Other contributors include Jeffrey Brown, Jamie McKelvie, Bryan Lee O'Malley, and Hope Larson. Eddie Argos has more details at his blog.

It's a fun project to be a part of, some great company, and awesome to have worked with Marc again. It was pretty punk rock, moving at that speed. Just two boys, a couple of computers, and a whole lot of ink. I can't wait to see what everyone else cooked up.

Current Soundtrack: Christina Perri, Lovestrong [Deluxe Version}

Friday, May 13, 2011



* The Beaver, Jodie Foster directs Mel Gibson, who talks through a beaver puppet. Yes, it's pretty crazy.

* Bridesmaids, this Kristen Wiig-led comedy is a real winner. Funny and heartfelt. And next time someone asks if Bridesmaids is a chick version of The Hangover, ask them if that's a stupid person's version of a smart question.

* Everything Must Go, in which Will Ferrell drinks some sad beer, channels Raymond Carver, and is pretty good at doing it.


* Something Wild, Melanie Griffith's star turn still intrigues and provokes more than twenty years later. Directed by Jonathan Demme.

Poster by Connor Willumsen


* Araya, Margot Benacerraf's 1959 blending of fact and fiction on the salt marshes of Venezuela.

* Bananas!*, a documentary about the fight against Dole Fruit, accused of poisoning Nicaraguan workers in the 1970s.

* Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, an intriguing mash-up of classic indie cinema and classic movie musicals

* Hold On!, Herman's Hermits come to America, join the space race, play some music, pitch some woo.

* Shoeshine, a Neorealist classic from Vittorio De Sica, released 1946.

Current Soundtrack: Eve, "Nothing to Say" & Sincere, "90" (download both from the Timbaland site); Raphael Saadiq, Stone Rollin'

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, May 11, 2011


Promo image of the Spell Checkers that Nico drew for the upcoming comics festival in Amiens, France.

More details on the show here.

Current Soundtrack: Violent Femmes, Hallowed Ground

Monday, May 09, 2011


My old pal Marc Ellerby contacted me last week to help out on a short comic he was needing to get done. Five days and three pages later, he's got the thing colored up and in my inbox. Bam!

More details to come, though I am sure the comics detectives out there can put two and two together and come up wiht something close to 1, 2, 3, 4, GO!

Current Soundtrack: Cee Lo Green, The Ladykiller

Friday, May 06, 2011


The guys over at the Tales from the Parents' Basement podcast had me back on the show to talk about comic book movies, including Thor and a bunch of other stuff, ranging from my pedantic definition film noir to what the hell Joëlle Jones is up to these days.

You can download or listen to Episode 81 here.

As a big Twilight Zone fan, I of course dig the keen graphic they created for the episode:

Current Soundtrack: The Go! Team, Rolling Blackouts; Swoon 23, The Legendary Ether Pony

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

Thursday, May 05, 2011


Poster designed by David Williams; check out his site.


* Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Werner Herzog's 3D documentary about the Chauvet Caves. My favorite movie of the year so far.

* Thor, another winner from Marvel. Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of the comic is mighty fun.

* The NW Film Center in Portland is also starting a festival of twelve films starring Catherine Deneuve. I picked some of my favorites for the Portland Mercury. Read "The Two Faces of Deneuve."


* Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, Terry Gilliam's odd and entertaining adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson. (Also at DVD Talk.)

* Kes, an involving coming-of-age drama from Ken Loach, starring a boy and his falcon. (Also at DVD Talk.)

* Smiles of a Summer Night, the fetching romantic comedy from Ingmar Bergman. (Also at DVD Talk.)


* The Captive City, Robert Wise's by-numbers anti-crime PSA from the 1950s.

* Not as a Stranger, starring Robert Mitchum as a doctor who can heal anything but his own bad impulses. Directed by Stanley Kramer.

Current Soundtrack: Eminem & Royce Da 5'9", Bad Meets Evil mixtape; Suede, "Lazy (Greenhouse Demo Remastered)"

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, May 04, 2011


Late last night, both Nico and Joëlle entered into a Twitter-fueled race to finish Spell Checkers vol. 2. Around 2 a.m., Joëlle tweeted that she was done, and Nico sent over the last pages via e-mail this morning.

That's right, all principle art for Spell Checkers vol. 2 is FINISHED! September needs to hurry up and get here!

Current Soundtrack: Del the Funky Homospaien, Golden Era


I won't be at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival this weekend, but somehow I have a shopping list for things I'd buy there. So, if you're going, walk a mile in my imagined shoes, and go shopping in my guise.

First, you should seek out stuff I've talked about on this blog before. Namely, find Vera Brosgol and Becky Cloonan and buy their new comics. If you find Vera, you will also find Emily Carroll and Jen Wang, both of whom also have products you should by. All those links take you to my previous write-ups.

Ross Campbell, the creator of Wet Moon and Shadow Eyes has put together a collection of his self-published Mountain Girl comics, most of which (if not all) are out of print. It also features some brand new material for an unfinished issue.

Ross is a tremendously talented artist. Wet Moon is one of my favorite books. It's a tragic soap opera with elements of horror and comic-book action tropes. Its main draw, however, beyond Ross' gorgeous line work, is the characters. It's a narrative driven by dialogue and behavior, following a bunch of college girls in the South as they struggle with dating, identity, and the general ennui of youth.

Mountain Girl is a bit different. It's a subversion of the "jungle girl" genre, so essentially an adventure book with giant monsters and fighting. Whereas Wet Moon is about small things that feel very large, Mountain Girl is just BIG!

Ross has more info on his Live Journal. Because it's 2002 and he's a teenage girl.

Speaking of, have you been reading The Adventures of Superhero Girl online? You should be, because it's super hilarious.

Faith Erin Hicks' ongoing serial stars an average girl whose main activity is, well, being a superhero. She's not that good at it yet, but she's trying. The comic is funny and charming and drawn with equal verve and wit.

Faith has collected the first 55 strips, along with some sketches and other material, into one fancy book called Just the Usual Superpowers. I would think that having that many of the original comics under one cover should make good introduction to the strip, and the pictures of the actual printed volume suggest that it is a handsome book and well worth the purchase. You can read more from Faith here.

You won't be sorry. This humorous take on the notion of "superheroes in real life" is far funnier and full of more genuine character than the more "serious," generally hyper-violent mainstream endeavors in the same genre. There is a sweetness to Faith's work that is irresistible, and it helps that the kid is one hell of a cartoonist. Her drawing only gets better and better. I love the way her lines curve and the solid blockiness of her shapes.

There are going to be a ton of people at TCAF, but those are the books I'd seek out first if I were there. You can do it, too. Don't let me down!

Current Soundtrack: miscellaneous Drifters and Duane Eddy; Beastie Boys, Hot Sauce Committee Part 2

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