As an adolescent I wrote comic books, because I read lots of them, and fantasy novels set in Malaysia and Central Africa. I was a perfectionist and wanted to make them look as though they had been printed, so I wrote them in capital letters and made up title pages, summaries, illustrations. It was so tiring that I never finished any of them. I was at that time a great writer of unaccomplished masterpieces. —
Umberto Eco in the Paris Review. I’ve never read anything of his, but I have The Prague Cemetery on my Overdrive queue so I’ll get to it.
Where should I start with Eco?
The Unseen Drawings of Kurt Vonnegut
I’m sweating. I walk down to the utility road and come back. Come on, I say. An old fuck in a green sweat suit comes out of the Hacienda, his hair combed up into a salt-and-pepper torch. An abuelo type, the sort who yells at you for spitting on his sidewalk. He has this smile on his face—big wide, shit-eating. I know all about the nonsense that goes on in these houses, the ass that gets sold, the beasting. —
From “Aurora” collected in Junot Diaz’s first book, Drown.
I finished this a couple of weeks ago and it was odd reading things in reverse order. The Kirby connection to Diaz’s work is well-established but many of these stories have a kind of Newsboy legion tone to them. I’m probably reading too much into them. This is from “Ysrael”:
“Everyone had a different opinion on the damage. Tio said it wasn’t bad but the father was very sensitive about anyone taunting his oldest son, which explained the mask. Tia said that if we were to look on his face we would be sad for the rest of our lives.”
There’s something that can be said about reading his work backwards. I read Oscar Wao first and then This is How You Lose Her with his first book last, and there is definitely a change in maturity. There’s a carefree attitude of a young man here who doesn’t really feel any connection to anyone other than himself. You can’t say that about Yunior in Oscar, followed by his reflections on his family in Diaz’s third book. Perhaps we’re entering into Diaz’s second turn at Marvel after escaping to DC for a while, like Kirby.
I wrote another article for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise on Charles Whitson: A St. Armand staple.
The Man Behind the Comic Book That Finally Got Sex Right by Laura Hudson at WIRED.
“For a long time superhero comics were stuck in childhood, and for a while they’ve been stuck in adolescence, with notable exceptions,” says Michael Chabon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. “Then Matt comes along with his incredible critical acuity and ironic stance, but still provides all of the satisfactions that you expect: to move you and make you laugh and have it be exciting and well-plotted and reward your attention on many levels… All a comic would have to do is say ‘Matt Fraction’ on the front for me to pick it up and feel excited about what was inside.”
Chabon sent Fraction a fan letter nearly seven years ago about Casanova, the cult-favorite transdimensional espionage comic that first put Fraction on the map. The two have since become friends, and Chabon is currently writing back-up stories for the upcoming fourth volume of Casanova.
A great article, and any time I hear a thing about Chabon working in Casanova-land I do a little twitch in my seat in excitement.
Have you read this story? You really should. It’s a wonder of what web writing can do by the guy I’m obsessed with.
I finished Divergent last night, and to say the very least: it wasn’t for me.