Personal Best

Alright… haven’t quite had the time I wanted to post and such this year overall, but, y’know… here’s the stuff I liked/loved this year.

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL YOU PROBABLY READ

Pride of Baghdad

BKV shows us why he’s the best damn writer in comics yet again with… god forgive him… a talking animal book. Really splendid stuff that manages to be poignant, heart-breaking, and pulse pounding at the same time.

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL I’D BET MONEY YOU DIDN’T READ

Lone and Level Sands

While you probably don’t know the initials ADL as well as you do BKV, I’d bet you probably will soon enough. LaLS is the book about some obscure Egyptian folks with crazy names like Moses and Pharoah. All kidding aside, I’m far from a fan of just about anything bible related, but ADL and mpMann manage to make a book that’s researched without sacrificing compelling story for factual accuracy. Of course, from what I can tell, it doesn’t go too far off the known facts/biblically accepted truth, either. It’s really a splendid piece of work that shows exactly what the medium of comics is capable of.

BEST ONGOING SERIES

Usagi Yojimbo
Hmmm. This is harder than I thought it would be. 2006 was the year I stopped reading monthly comics. The ones I do still read are Ex Machina, Fables, Captain America, Powers, and a handful of others. The best though, is the book that I’ve read consistently for nearly twenty years now. Usagi Yojimbo. There’s just literally nothing better than Stan Sakai drawing the book he loves. That’s right. That would be the SECOND talking animal book on my best of the year list.

BEST MOVIE

A Scanner Darkly

In a year that saw me go to the movies less and less, and miss virtually every movie I wanted to see, there was one that I made an effort to see, and loved it so much I saw it twice, and have already watched all of the special features and the feature once or twice since picking up the DVD a few days ago. The movie manages to do a couple of things that have never been done. 1) Almost perfectly capture a Phillip K. Dick novel. 2) Almost perfectly capture a GOOD Phillip K. Dick novel. 3) Redefine for a new generation what a Sci-Fi film can be. The movie is small, almost miniscule, by plot standards, yet is about big, big ideas. Bigger than any movie, bigger than any piece of literature. It’s a movie that’s about blame… and how sometimes EVERYONE is to blame, instead of just one side of the equation. The animation is fantastic, a real huge step forward from any other rotoscoping that’s been done (including Linklater’s other wholly different (and still wholly awesome) Waking Life.

Anyways, this is speculative Sci-fi filmmaking at it’s best. Although I hear Children of Men accomplishes a lot of the same in a very different, and very excellent way.

Oh, and Rocky Balboa is a fucking blast. Well worth the price of admission.

BEST DVD RELEASE

Homicide – The Complete Series

Holy Fuckballs, this is what I’m talking about. Every episode, including the crossovers with Law and Order, the Movie, all the documentaries etc. from the individual sets, and probably the best packaging of a box set ever. Holy Shit. This is how one of the best shows ever made deserves to be presented, and it’s worth every penny. A masterclass in research-based writing that knows when to put the research aside and let the character and story take over. There’s never been a better cop show, and I severely doubt there ever will be.

Oh, and thank god for the impending Writers and Actors strikes that got them to finally release my beloved St. Elsewhere.

BEST ALBUM

Fast Man, Raider Man by Frank Black

You sort of just wait for a guy to make a solo record like this. Frank Black’s had some pretty great solo stuff, but aside from Teenager of the Year, nothing that quite rivalled that of the early Pixies stuff. This does. Equal parts Rock and Roll and Rockabilly Country, FMRM is just an amazing piece of work from a still vibrant pioneer of a an entire genre of music. As long as he keeps making albums even half as good as this one, I think we’re all lucky to have him.

SO I’M ASHAMED TO BE A LATECOMING FAN OF…

Harry Potter

I’d seen the movies, enjoyed the 3rd and 4th one a lot, and the girlfriend coaxed me into reading the first book. It’s a big improvement over the movie, and despite the increasing length the books manage to become more engaging as they go on. I’m fucking ashamed, man.

I’M NOT ASHAMED TO BE A JOHNNY-COME-LATELY TO…

Doctor Who

I remember watching Doctor Who with my older brother as a child. I never quite grasped what the fuck was going on, but I always seemed to enjoy it. Of course, I always thought it was a lesser version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxybut that was clearly just my own stupidity (aside from it pre-dating Hitchhiker’s, Douglas Adams was a story editor on Who while developing the Radio show. ) Doctor Who from the very first episode has always been Boys Adventure to the nth degree. It has more in common with TinTin than Star Wars, and that’s why it’s lasted so long and becomes so all consuming. You want to follow these characters because they’re so much fun, and despite the effects, every script is beautifully crafted, and the actors always do their best to capture that sense of childhood fun that is missing in so much children’s entertainment. The new shows are perhaps a bit too adult considering the source material, but, it’s something that I for one look forward to watching with my kids once they, y’know… exist.

Genesis of the Daleks is a good place to start. It’s a Tom Baker, it’s got assloads of Daleks, and, well, it’s the shit.

BEST THING ABOUT THIS YEAR

That’s an easy one. Christina. Meeting her was like a dream come true, and I couldn’t be happier, seriously.

WORST THING ABOUT THIS YEAR

Also fairly easy. That’d be how I had virtually no creative output this year, thanks to circumstances beyond my control.

WHAT’S ON TAP FOR 2007

Well, next year you’ll see the complete Elk’s Run, the long awaited premiere of Punks, Noel and I will be unveiling Three Rivers and Tumor, J-Rod’s superbly excellent, Postcards (which has a cover… it’s pretty sweet), and who knows what else in the new year.

Plus, I’ve got a bunch of work for hire on the way. You won’t be getting rid of this guy any time soon.

So, have an amazing New Year and go buy stuff.

I broke my finger

In the middle of a string of deadlines, that saw me write more than i have in months, I broke my finger in the middle of the night on Saturday/Sunday. I have a stupid little splint on, and can only hunt and peck. It’s pretty lame.

Announcements coming on Punks, Three Rivers, and a third untitled project that’s coming along nicely.

UPDATE: After going to the doctor from the pain, it looks like I actually just sprained my finger, but managed to give myself whiplash in the process.  GO TEAM!

Elk’s Run

The image Hey Gang,
In case y’all’ve been living under a rock, the Seven Time Harvey Award Nominated, Critically Acclaimed, Underground Sensation, Elk’s Run is being released by Villard Books, a division of Random House Publishing. Finally the complete series will be collected under one cover.

It feels incredibly good to say that.

The book has a flashy new introduction by beloved novelist (and Moon Knight writer) Charlie Huston, a brand new cover by Noel and Scott, and the complete story of Elk’s Run, remastered (thanks in no small part to Jaco) and ready to be enjoyed. It’s been a harrowing experience to say the least, and each and every one of you have played a part in seeing it come to fruition.

Of course, being the needy bastard I am, I have yet another request for you.

The book has hit Diamond Previews, meaning it’s available for order at your local comic book shop. The book will also be available at your local (and internet) book store, but, it’s nice to support the folks who supported the book the first time out.

If you’d like to find your local comic book shop, I’d recommend going here: comicshoplocator.com/

Once you’re there, simply ask the kind and friendly retailer to order you a copy of Elk’s Run from Villard. The order number for the book is DEC06 3960.Again, thank you all for your support, and I can not wait for y’all to see what we have an in store for you this coming March.

Woof

It’s been a hellaciously busy couple of weeks, apologies for the lack of communication.

Thanksgiving was great, nice and relaxing, and I’ve been working my balls off between day job and creative stuff.  Judging by where things stand now, the creative works going to continue to be a big demand, and there should be some announcements fairly soon on that front.

The Hoarse and Buggy site’s been down for a while now, and my programmer is completely incommunicado, so I’m not sure when it’ll return, or in what form.  I’ve been too busy trying to meet deadlines to actually sit down with Chris and figure it all out.

So, apologies for the short update.  I’ll have pictures of Christina and I at Hearst Castle in the next day or so uploaded, so keep ‘em peeled.