Salvatore Pane

Tag: Gabriel Ba

Bi-Weekly Friday Comics Roundup IV: Archie Meets the Punisher

I’ve decided to change this feature around a bit, as I’ve realized I don’t have the vocabulary necessary to talk about visual art in new and compelling ways every two weeks.  But I can talk about words, and I can talk about writers, so instead of “Bi-Weekly Friday Art Roundup”, I now christen this segment “Bi-Weekly Friday Comics Roundup”. Let us begin!

1. Umbrella Academy vol. 1 Apocalypse Suite written by Gerard Way with art from Gabriel Ba

I talked about this while discussing reading material on the way to AWP, but it’s so outstanding that it has to be mentioned again. A month or so back I did a top ten list of comics best suited for the literary inclined. This should be on there. Dense, madcap, and framed in the straight-on wide angle style of Wes Anderson, Way and Ba give us a twisted mashup of The Royal Tenenbaums and the X-Men. The best recommendation I can give for this book is that one of my friends–a woman who is certainly not a regular comic reader by any means–devoured this collection in its entirety on the plane.  An absolute must buy.

2. Punisher #16 written by Rick Remender with art from Tony Moore

The Punisher hasn’t been a character I’ve cared about since I was a kid. Sure, a younger, more vulnerable Sal enjoyed Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe and Archie Meets the Punisher, but I’ve found that I just don’t connect with his grim and gritty tales in the way I did when I listened to Slipknot and Korn. This changed with Remender and Moore’s latest arc on the title, “Frankencastle”, in which the Punisher is brutally murdered and resurrected as a Frankenstein-esque monster that has to defend an underground city of sentient beasts. Ok. Go back and reread that last sentence. How are you not reading this?

3. X-Force #26 written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost with art from Mike Choi

Like the Punisher, I haven’t really enjoyed X-Men since Chris Claremont and Jim Lee relaunched the title. I was about 8 years old. But the latest X-Crossover, “Second Coming”, has returned the title back to form. The macro-story involves the return of a mutant savior from the future with Rob Liefeld creation Cable. But on the micro-level, “Second Coming” is a popcorn action story about faith, humanity, and whether or not the ends justify the means. If you’re curious about the current state of the X-Men, start with the “Second Coming” one-shot. If not, try Joss Whedon’s Astonishing.

4. Artist Shintaro Kago

Scott McCloud (have you guys read Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics? If not, run out to the local comic shop and purchase them both immediately) recently blogged about an awesome manga artist who hasn’t been published much in America. His name is Shintaro Kago, and while some of his art is NSFW, it’s very clear that the way he totally breaks the conventions of the comic page makes him an absolute master. I haven’t seen much from this guy, but this page alone makes me want to track down those anthologies McCloud mentioned.

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Media Survival Guide: Flying to AWP

I am not a good flier. I don’t get extremely nervous (except that one time from Denver to Oklahoma City when I could see lightning bolts outside my window), but I do get anxious being in such a cramped area for prolonged periods of time. My body is lanky and unruly. I do not fit comfortably practically anywhere. My knees bang up against the seat in front of me. I never knew all this until recently, because I never flew much before moving to Pittsburgh. Before last spring, the only place I’d flown to was Disney World for my twelfth birthday (I prayed before and after each flight because the trip messed up my confirmation schedule and I was positive God would blow up the plane in retribution).  Since then I’ve flown a lot. Atlanta. Chicago. Vegas. Baltimore. And what I realized flying from Atlanta to Vegas while reading Jane Smiley’s Moo is that one book will never be enough for restless flier Sal Pane. Especially when the in-flight movie is Confessions of a Shopaholic and the woman besides me keeps telling me about Twilight.

I’m leaving for AWP early on Wednesday. It’s a long flight with a long layover. I’m going to need a serious amount of entertainment (and booze) to do this comfortably. Below you will find my list of all the crap I’m taking with me just for the flight. If you have any suggestions please let me know.

Prose

1. Mattaponi Queen by Belle Boggs

I’m reviewing this collection of short stories for BOMB and need to get the review done in the next few weeks. I’m hoping to make some headway during the flights, but I’ve already read three stories and they’re not really my aesthetic cup of tea. But as a reviewer, I have to be objective about my personal feelings on sub-genres and take the book on its own merits. In that regard, it kind of reminds me of a mix of Sherman Alexie, Russel Banks and Jean Thompson.

2. Last Mountain Dancer by Chuck Kinder

This meta-memoir by Pitt fictioneer head honcho Chuck Kinder is a rollicking good time spent in the honky tonky bars of West Virginia. I started it a month or two back but keep taking breaks. I think it’s better that way, otherwise you become overwhelmed by the power of Chuck’s voice. I prefer it in doses.

3. Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth

I tried to read Roth in college and failed miserably. I read American Pastoral and enjoyed it but didn’t think it was for me. Since then, I’ve realized the error of my ways. I went back to Goodbye, Columbus and was absolutely floored. This one was recommended to me by Irina Reyn after she read the latest draft of my novel, so I’ll be looking at this one extremely closely.

4. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon

This is another Irina recommendation, and yes, I know it’s astonishing I haven’t read this considering I’ve attended Chabon’s alma mater these last three years. I read Yiddish Policemen’s Union and The Final Solution but never his early work. Hopefully I can rectify that over the next week.

5. Three Delays by Charlie Smith

I don’t know much about Charlie Smith, but I received this book in the mail from the same editor who hooked me up with a copy of Justin Taylor’s Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever. This is the first novel I haven’t had to request to review. I got this one with no strings attached and I’d like to review it if I can.

Audiobooks

The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized Biography by John Ortved

I’ve never been a fan of audiobooks, but I recently listened to Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation during a nine-hour drive and really enjoyed the experience. This is one I’ve been looking forward to for awhile, and if you’ve met me in real life, you already know my penchant for quoting Milhouse at (seemingly) random moments.

Graphic Novels

1. Daredevil: Born Again by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli

I just finished Miller and Claremont’s Wolverine a few weeks back and desperately wanted another Miller take on a classic Marvel character. Really looking forward to tearing into this. I splurged and got the copy with the original scripts. Hoping they’ll help inform the way I think about comic scripting.

2. The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba

When this was originally coming out in monthly format I refused to jump on because the writer is also the lead singer of My Chemical Romance. In the few years since he launched Umbrella Academy, he’s transformed from a crappy emo singer to one of the most revered writers in comics. People love this book. People who would never even dream of listening to MCR. Plus, Gabriel Ba is a god. Ok. Fine. I’ll give it a shot.

3. Justice League of America: New World Order by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter

I love Grant Morrison. I don’t know a ton about the JLA, but if I’m going to read a book about them, I want the Big 7, not the crap DC’s currently peddling. And the inclusion of Kyle Rayner as the group’s token Green Lantern instead of Hal Jordan? That’s a major plus in my book.

TV Shows on my iBook

Episodes 8-20 of Battlestar Galactica Season 2

I know this is starting to get insane, but man, I’m really loving BSG so far and completely regretting my decision to avoid it in favor of LOST.

Video Games

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimore of the Rift

A week ago I posted about video games and mentioned how I was once very addicted to Japanese role-playing games but broke the habit about four years back. On Friday I drove to my local gamestop and purchased a Japanese role-playing game for my Nintendo DS. There’s lots of math and swords and mages. I planned on starting it on the plane and have already logged six hours. I am frightened that I will read nothing and return from Denver with level 99 summoners casting Ultima like it’s their job. I really hope that isn’t the case.