Blathering on About Books and Comics and Stuff
My cold is on the comeback trail, my back is killing me, and they're predicting snow for tonight. Nonetheless here I am posting through the anguish.
I just have to throw this out there: I don't know what semiotics is. Does it matter? Should I ask someone to explain it?
I must confess that I think at times that Howard Who? is a bit light (nothing against light stories, seeing as how I, um, write them), but "Mary Margaret Road-Grader" and "Man-Mountain Gentian" are both amazing stories and worth the price of the collection on their own.
If you love comics, you should check out the latest issue of Solo featuring Brendan McCarthy. Warren Ellis posted some pages to ScansDaily and DAMN. That's weird (and good) shit. The issue has even crazier stuff. But man, I don't think anything can ever top his take on the Flash.
Also good on the comics tip; Brian K. Vaughn and Niko Henrichon's Pride of Baghdad--fucking gorgeous art and a heartbreaking story that's political, yes, but not in a fist-hammering-table sort of way. It's political in the way that all stories about people (OK, lions) are political. It made me sniffly.
In case it wasn't clear, I really liked "The Science of Sleep." Go see it.
I'm still enjoying "Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip," but it is a messy show. Much messier than "Sports Night" was, at least. (I was never a "West Wing" afficionado.) Too many characters, and the water is pretty muddy as to where the show's real focus is. Is it political? Is it about entertainment? Is it about society, or relationships, or humor (I hope not), or business, or advertising, or copyright, or sports, or celebrities, or what? It can be about all those things, sure; but not, I don't think, in the same episode. Also, it must be said that while I love Matthew Perry on the show and I think that the Harriet Hayes character is underrated and funny, I neither buy nor care about the romantic tension between them. The sketch bits are generally not that funny, although I don't necessarily think they have to be. But that "cold open" set to the number from "Pirates of Penzance"? Not good. Also Amanda Peet still sucks.
Last night I watched the "30 Rock" premiere (it's online; go here--but be warned that I had some minor hiccups with playback) and I can only say Eh. It started out promising enough, and Alec Baldwin is hilarious, but as the half hour dragged on it began to feel like the premise was already losing its appeal. Tracy Morgan is funny for about two minutes. I don't feel the need to make an effort to catch this one.
In fact, although I had a whole bunch of stuff on my list of new shows to check out, "Studio 60" is the only new show that's grabbed my interest. "Vanished" was crap--seriously, crap--as was "Justice." (Sorry, Eamonn, I tried.) "Kidnapped" was well-done but uninteresting, and "Heroes" hasn't grabbed me. I was looking forward to "Ugly Betty" but the fact that it's on opposite "Earl" and "The Office" means that, realistically, I may never see it.
That makes my TV watching for the week just 3 hours: "Studio 60," "Veronica Mars," and "Earl"/"The Office." (BTW, if you're a fan of "The Office" (it's not as good as the British version, no, but it's become a great show) you NEED to go here and sign up to get a call from Dwight.) "Veronica" is still the best show on television, and I probably wouldn't even bother with a TV if it weren't on. If it gets cancelled, I may just get rid of the thing. Well, then it would be hard to watch DVDs. But I'll figure something out.