Aug 1, 2015

What I'm Doing When I'm Not Blogging

It's Saturday afternoon, and I've been in the midst of writing and editing (and finishing up freelance work).

I've also been dating. On a frequent basis.

But since another month has come and gone, I thought I would do what I usually do - my semi-regular blogaround with a variety of posts, podcasts, and online mentions...all in the name of keeping my online reputation clean.

(As if my personal website, my consulting site, and my Amazon AuthorCentral site weren't enough....)

First, since you may have heard that Comic Related  is closing its doors, you might want to read my thoughts on the subject before the site vanishes....(and yes, I've copied all of my old posts....and I'm seriously considering assembling an ebook. Your thoughts in the comments below).

Speaking of all things Comic Related, Zone 4 is undergoing some changes as well....feel free to give it a view and listen on YouTube.

You know, I never thanked pal Roger for linking to my Christopher Lee tribute. Thanks, Roger!

Finally, via Chicago Now, a post that combines technology and nostalgia.....

Jul 30, 2015


By all accounts, comic writer/artist Fletcher Hanks was a mystery...and an oddball. His work during the Golden Age of Comics (reprinted in I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets! ) has a very distinctive, erratic quality. It's not a hyperbole to claim that once you read it, you will always remember it for its unusual tone...

...and it's that very tone that Flinch Books takes in its anthology of Fletcher Hanks-inspired prose entitled Something Strange is Going On!: New Tales From the Fletcher Hanks Universe Don't be misled by the title or its potential campiness: there are some really good, outright strange tales in this collection, and it's well worth checking out.

(Note - it's only available as an ebook, but you can always use the Kindle App for Android or iOS, or even Kindle's Web Reader).

It's hard to single out one story because....well, they all contain Fletcher Hank's uniquely surreal tone. (Think of Roky Erickson if he wrote/pencilled/inked comics in the 1930s rather than start a psychedelic band in the 1960s). Edited by Jim Beard (with whom I have worked via Airship 27), Something Strange Is Going On features a variety of characters from Hank's distinctive imagination, including Stardust, the Super-Wizard; jungle heroine Fantomah, and boxer Moe M. Down.

(No, I'm not making that last one up. Quick sniggering).

You may be wondering if I've suddenly turned hipster on you, and promoting something that's so bad, it's good - far from the truth. One of the great things about Something Strange Is Going On is how each tale manages to balance Hank's eccentricities with solid storytelling. It's the kind of book that you can't imagine yourself enjoying....yet it becomes one of your favorite hidden treasures.

Flinch Books is doing something very intriguing: taking the public domain work of a little-known artist and making it available via new stories. Managing to capture the unique tone and flavor of Hanks' characters, Something Strange Is Going On is one of the more unique reading experiences you will ever have.

Buy it. Read it. Now.

Jul 29, 2015


So this past Monday night, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a special screening at Second City (it pays to be on their press list, you know) of I Am Chris Farley, a documentary to be featured as part of August 10th's "Chris Farley Day" on Spike TV. So I attended with my date for the evening, and enjoyed a fine, fine piece of work.

(The documentary, that is - I would never, ever refer to a woman as a "piece of work". And apologize for the slight innuendo)

I have to admit - I wasn't a fan of Chris Farley's work: I found much of Saturday Night Live during that period a bit tedious, and quit watching. However, I Am Chris Farley takes a completely opposite tack: instead of focusing on his comedic career, it focuses on Farley as a human being, and made me want to do something I thought I would never do - go out and watch Tommy Boy.

Although the movie is similar to other films - a mix of vintage footage, home movies, and talking head interviews - I Am Chris Farley takes a much different approach to the subject matter. Yes, there are the requisite clips of past humor, but it's the tone of the film - seeing Farley as a human being driven to entertain - that gives it a life and presence that other, similar documentaries may lack. There's a great thread of warmth about Farley, even in the midst of revelations around his substance use (some participants claim Farley was in drug rehab seventeen times), and there's never a sense of exploitation about Farley.

(Although I still say that David Spade hasn't quite redeemed himself for this example of poor taste).

Granted, Spike TV may not be my kind of channel, but between this film and their earlier entry on Bruce Lee, they're showing exquisite taste and insight in their subjects. I Am Chris Farley will be shown on August 10th on Spike TV - if you have cable, be sure to catch it. If you don't, you might consider one of the more....esoteric ways of acquiring content, even if it means waiting for the inevitable DVD/streaming release. (Because my audience would never pirate things...nor would they admit that publicly).

As for me, the one thing I will admit that I'm going to watch Tommy Boy again. If I Am Chris Farley gave me a new perspective on Chris Farley the man....the least I can do is revisit his work.

I Am Chris Farley celebrates the man's life, as well as provides a great opportunity for reevaluating his work. It's a must-watch.