Salvatore Pane

Month: May, 2011

Review of Seth Fried’s The Great Frustration

Today The Rumpus published a review I wrote of Seth Fried’s hysterical The Great Frustration. Check it out.


Free Comic Book Day 2011

So most of the people who read this blog are probably from the literary world, and hey, that’s awesome. That’s my primary… world I guess. But I wanted to take some time to talk about another medium of fiction that is near and dear to my heart: comic books. Most indie lit writers/readers always come out to support indie bookstores, and I think it’s time that we recognize we have a cousin in arms in comic book stores. They’re all indie. And they might be dying on account of a host of factors (mostly the same ones plaguing the brick and mortar book stores). This Saturday is Free Comic Book Day, an event which I think has become the comic store’s best attempt at bringing in new readers. But what is Free Comic Book Day? Glad you asked!

Free Comic Book Day is exactly what it sounds like. You go to your comic store and get free comics. Not just any comics, but a whole host of comics prepared from the major publishers and the indies to try and hook in new readers. Most comic stores have other events as well. I’ll be at Phantom in the Attic in Pittsburgh this year, but last year I went to my childhood store, Comics in the Green in Scranton. They had face painting for the kids and a couple of artists and writers doing free signings for the adults. The local news team even dropped by. But what are some of the comics you can get for free? CHECK THIS SHIT OUT!

I’m a massive fan of Dan Slott’s Spider-Man and this is the perfect jumping on point. If you enjoyed the Spider-Man films, go to your local comic store and pick this issue up for free.

Ian Brill has been knocking his Darkwing Duck and Rescue Rangers series out of the park. If you have any nostalgia for Disney Afternoon, check out this book FOR FREE.

There’s a Green Lantern movie coming out. Read this and you’ll know who the character is. Plus, it leads into Flashpoint which is DC’s big summer event.

Remember The Dark Crystal? It’s back. In comic form! This one’s from Archaia and they always put out quality work. Recommended. I picked up their Fraggle Rock book for my goddaughter recently and she seemed to enjoy it.

It’s called Super Dinosaur and it’s written by Robert Kirkman, co-creator of The Walking Dead. What else do you people want?

I’ll admit I wasn’t on the Atomic Robo bandwagon when it first came out, but I was totally wrong. This book is hilarious. Bizarre science and wacky time travel. Did I mention it’s free?

There are these movies coming out. Captain America and Thor. Prepare yourself!

More people need to be going to Free Comic Book Day. You have nothing to lose. It’s free. Seriously, if you’ve ever even considered getting into comics now is the time. Pick the series you want to get into then take the free issue. It’s that simple. They tell you want to buy next. And if you do go, buy something (I recommend volume one of Ex Machina). Support your local comic stores or we’re not going to have a comics industry ten years down the road.

Oh! And you say you don’t know your local comic book store? BOOM! This site finds it for you.

Writing Routines

One question I was surprised so many students had for me this semester was how exactly I begin writing in the morning. We talked a bit about getting on a writing routine during workshops, but I knew how hard this was to do, especially in college when there’s so much going around you at any given minute and you’re so busy anyway. I didn’t have many good answers for them. “I don’t know,” I’d say. “I get up, and then I write. That’s pretty much it.” And I know that’s a luxury afforded to me by working at a university, but I don’t think that’s what they were getting after. I think they wanted a routine.

I’ve been thinking about this more and more now that the semester’s over, and I remembered being consumed by similar questions when I was an undergrad. I thought if I could just nail the right writing routine all my prose would shine. Andre Dubus III visited Susquehanna one time and said he read a poem, or a few pages from a short story, before he sat down to write. So I tried that for awhile back in college. I’d bring Among the Missing or the Collected Stories of Richard Yates or any of the Carver collections and read a few pages, make some notes, and then get started. But that never worked for me because I’d inevitably end up reading the rest of the story.

These days, my routine is far simpler. I wake up, I make coffee, I check e-mail, I drink coffee. When I’m a third of the way through the first cup, I begin. But actually, now that I think about it, there are two videos I watch before I really get going. It’s kind of interesting to me that I would never read a poem or short story now like Dubus does (I find it’s too distracting and influences my own prose too much), but I have no problem watching YouTube. I wonder if other writers do this, especially ones around my own age.

This video. THIS VIDEO! If I could get all my writing to feel like this I’d be set for life. It has this eerie quality. A sadness to it. From the music. But also there’s this nostalgia, the hyper cliches of American children. Then the robot at the end gives it this bizarre humor followed by the apocalyptic mushroom cloud. And of course, the Japanese announcer. So you can’t really get at the true meaning, you can only scratch at it. No crying until the end. Guaranteed masterpiece. I love this video. I love everything about this video. It mostly inspired this story I wrote up at Dark Sky.  And I still watch this video before I write, still remind myself that this is the tone I’m going after: the tone of a 1980’s Japanese Nintendo commercial. I can live with that.

Then there’s this:

This one immediately brings me back to childhood, to endless potential, to singing this song in the shower. Watching it now, there’s such an amazing mix of iconic American imagery–the constitution, Mount Rushmore, Lincoln, the Twin Towers–juxtaposed with utter nonsense–Hulk Hogan doing air guitar in front of the Statue of Liberty. Sometimes I watch this one, because if I can just hit that perfect note of sincerity mixed with an oh I was just kidding please don’t take this seriously attitude, I’d be set. Plus, the song just pumps me the fuck up.

So to sum up, Earthbound Zero and Hulk motherfucking Hogan. You’re welcome, reality.