Thursday, June 07, 2012

What I read this week

It was pointed out to me that all my stories seem to have me 'winning' or otherwise causing trouble and antagonizing my ever so innocent wife.  Well, this week I want to set the story straight that what comes around goes around at my house.

It started last week when I was working in the attic.  I thought I had taken all the necessary tools up with me, but as with any home project, things quickly got out of control and I needed some additional widgets.  So I leaned out of the access hatch and calmly called out, "WWIIFFFEEEE  IIIII NNNNEEEEEEEEEEDDDDD HHHHEEEELLLLPPPP!"

Which earned me an exasperated, "How come your projects always become my projects, but my projects never become your projects? What do you need now?"

"Sorry darling.  Thank you very much, but could you get me a couple of tools?  I need the socket wrench, a pair of wire cutters, and the small hand drill.  The wrench and the cutters are in my tool bag, and the drill should be on top of the work bench."

Now it should be noted that Wife is a very smart woman and normally this wouldn't be an issue.  But my work bench is a pit, always has been, always will be.  This just means that finding tools isn't always the easiest.  And from the semiglazed look I got I knew I was going to have to provide more details.  So I added, "Sorry, I mean I need the silver tool that goes rinka rinka rinka clack clack clack.  It should be next to the orange tool that you always think I am going to cut my arm off with.  The cutters look like little tiny grooming scissors, and the drill isn't the big orange one but the smaller black one that you always complain sounds like nails on a chalkboard."

"Don't be like that.  I know what tools are."
"Sorry, I was just trying to help," I responded.  But it should be noted that I got the right tools.

The very next day I was in the kitchen cabinet looking for something to eat.  I was digging and rearranging and searching high and low.  All I wanted were some dried cherries.  The cabinet is always a mess, and I was just about at the curse out loud stage when I caved.  "Honey, where are cherries?  I can't find them."

"Have you tried looking behind the green box that goes schwooba schwooba schwooba when you shake it?  Or next to the odd shaped box full of stuff that you're afraid to try?"

Even though I think she was making fun of me, I found the cherries.

Anyway... I managed to read two books this week, Chew Omnivore Edition Vol 1 and Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson.  You can see what I thought of them below the break.

Let's start with a current series, Chew Omnivore Edition Vol 1, written by John Layman, illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image, collects issues 1-10 of the series, 264 pgs, $35.

From Amazon: Tony Chu, a detective, is a cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he's a hell of a detective - as long as he doesn't mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit and why. He's been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest and most bizarre cases.

There's been a lot of hype around this series and I am happy to say it is justly deserved.  This is an outstanding series that is twisted, and warped, and full of the blackest humor you probably ever see.  And, even though our hero tends to chop on criminals, somehow it never becomes too gross or too crude.

Layman has turned in a fine script that makes Chu, for all his weirdness, a likable everyman with a  supporting cast who are equally as strange.  The plotting is brisk and every issue seems to have at least one Easter Egg to future developing plot lines.  The best part of reading trades... it's easy to go back and find them!

Guillory's art is great too.  Reading his commentary at the back, he stated he was using a more realistic style which Layman didn't like.  Once he switched the the cartoony, exaggerated art in the book it was smooth sailing.  Guillory's cartoony style also takes the edge off some of the more gruesome parts which makes it even better.

The othe book, collecting really old material, was Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson written by Bruce Jones, Nicola Cuti, Bill Dubay, and more, illustrated by Bernie Wrightson, Howard Chaykin, Carmine Infantino, published by Dark Horse, 144 pgs, $20.

These stories were originally printed in Creepy and Eerie and this collection is printed at magazine size so you can see Wrightson's art in all it's glory.  And it is glorious!  Even though Wrightson is one of those artists that is held in high regard I get the distinct impression that younger readers don't know/care about him.  Well, this collection will show you why he was so great.  His sense of design, his uses of blacks, his figure work.. heck his everything is just stunning.

But, beyond the art, by cherry picking stories, Dark Horse has made this an incredible read too!  The stories are all very, very good.

If you haven't seen Wrightson at his peak then you really need to get this.  You won't be sorry.

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