Archive for April, 2008

told you!

singing 'Absolute Beginners' by David Bowie

Tim Sievert comes through with proof. That’s David Bowie’s “Absolute Beginners,” by the way — I was so surprised to see it in the book that I couldn’t pass it up.


Stumptown Comics Fest!

Charles in charge.
Originally uploaded by slieber234

Well, that was a fantastic weekend for your humble correspondent — shown here at the feet of industry wise men Charles Brownstein and (off screen) Larry Marder. Thanks to Steve Lieber for the photo. for Not much time to recover (and bask in the glory of Sunday night’s karaoke tour de force, featuring Carolyn Main and a duet between myself and Tim Sievert), as there’s piles of exciting work to be done ahead.

Including — hey, what’s this exciting announcement?

More photos:

Note to self: for future shows, schedule time in the mornings to, like, shower and stuff.


Just look at that guest list! This might be the best Stumptown yet.

Douglas Rushkoff and Scott McCloud are both great thinkers and I’d love to have been in New York this morning listening to the panel discussion between them.

But when Heidi MacDonald posted these pictures of the two of them:

I found myself unable to think of anything but:

Birth of a nation

Via Boingboing, another interesting new project from the chaps at Penguin UK — easily the most classy and innovative big-money publisher that I know of, full of great designs (Fairey on Orwell! Why did no one think of this earlier!?) and new ideas (sometimes combining both at once).

It’s We Tell Stories, a project in which “six authors are telling six stories in ways that are completely original to the web.” To formalist readers like me, this stuff is like candy. Unfortunately, the latest story — “Hard Times” by Matt Mason and Nicholas Felton — is not nearly as impressive as it could be. Mason’s layout seems pretty clearly derivative of Chris Ware, which would be fine except that it’s a dozen times more confusing than anything Ware’s ever done. At least once per page I found myself uncertain whether I was supposed to go down or across, and sometimes I finished the page still uncertain.

More fundamentally, there are much more interesting ways of presenting statistics visually. Especially if you’re trying to be all formalist and groundbreaking. H5’s video for “Remind Me” by Röyksopp remains my favorite piece of infographics-gone-wild. Imagine if all those graphs in the video actually meant something.

“Hard Times” still has some compelling things to say, as in the screen shot above. 86 percent?!

I am the Pedant. I speak for spondees.

What a rotten idea to spend millions destroying
This masterful tale kids spent decades enjoying!

The Onion has a nice tribute to the greatest versifier of the 20th century — although they inadvertently highlight his genius by making some pretty clumsy errors in rhythm. Writing that stuff’s not as easy as it looks, folks.

Seuss is a joy to read. Here’s one of my favorite bits:

What’s more, snapped the Lorax (his dander was up),
Let me say a few words about Gluppity-Glupp.
Your machinery chugs on, day and night without stop
making Gluppity-Glup. Also Schloppity-Schlopp.
And what do you do with this leftover goo?…
I’ll show you. You dirty old Once-ler man, you!

Now that’s tasty.

An early draft of my undergraduate thesis contained a bizarre little digression on the nature of free verse vs. rhyming couplets:

It’s the difference between a Japanese sword routine and a juggling act. A free verse performance may be forceful and affecting, but ultimately it consists of waving words about in the air with no resistance. The couplet form is fundamentally different, incorporating countless small crescendoes and denouements, risks, recoveries, tensions and releases. The inevitability of rhyme, like gravity, can lend force and weight to one’s statements. A couplet, nicely put, is stunning in its audacity: a clever phrase seems more clever, almost inhumanly clever, when executed within such a restricted format.

Ah, I see some similarly-snooty editor at Wikipedia is with me: “Geisel generally maintained this meter quite strictly, until late in his career, when he no longer maintained strict rhythm in all lines. The consistency of his meter was one of his hallmarks; the many imitators and parodists of Geisel are often unable to write in strict anapestic tetrameter, or are unaware that they should, and thus sound clumsy in comparison with the original.”

It’s an outrage, I tell you! A horrible shame!
That these trite, tacky tentpoles should taint his good name!
Might the sacks of cash raked in by film adaptations
At least fund improvements in verse education?

10AM: Stick a fork in us

More soon! Congratulations and thank-yous to everyone who came out.

Leigh Walton talks comics and maybe other arts. (RSS)
He also works for the very excellent publisher Top Shelf Productions (which does not necessarily endorse the views and opinions, etc, herein).


Header by me. Contains an interpolation of the final panel from All-Star Superman #1 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Speaking of which.