Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Funnies

While waiting for the fog to clear from my Sunday Morning Brain, I usually scroll through the work of comic book artists. Today was William Stout Day, and after the cursory Google Image search, I clicked over to his website for a closer look.

Selfie by Stout
The site includes a journal, which I didn’t hold out much hope for — most artists don’t have a facility for words, and are understandably stingy about posting artwork online.

Three hours later, I forced myself to finally close the browser. Holy Moly, what a trove! Stout posts artwork (his and others), he critiques and analyzes (his recent posts on Moebius are delicious), he reminisces about his days working in La-La Land, he interviews, he writes (prolifically — check out the man's book) about the Blues. But enough of my yakking: go check him out yourself.

And speaking of comics, this piece by Daniel Rasmus about the bygone era of the Star Trek daily strip has piqued my interest. The strip is considered non-canonical — primo catnip to Yours Truly.

Unfortunately, the collection consists of not one but two(!) pricey(!!) coffee-table(!!!) books. Yo, IDW — call me when you release the digital version, please.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Weird Al's Weird Blitz

How do you like Weird Al Yankovic?

Oh, Al: in my eyes you'll forever be preserved in the pastel-hued amber of 1984.
If you’re a guy in my demographic (straight, Canadian, on the cusp of fifty, too clever by half for most of that time) you like him just fine — happy to have him around, adding his goofy-gas to the pop zeitgeist; a living, breathing, accordion-playing Alfred E. Neuman.

Not that I've bought any of his albums — catching his parodies on the Dr. Demento Show or MTV was exposure enough for my taste. Mind you, I’m the father of daughters — parents of sons usually acquire a disc or two (or more) by the ten-year birthday celebration. I imagine these parents feel a tad more conflicted about the wavy-haired joker, much the way I’m ambivalent about Hairspray! The Musical.

Anyway, the video for “Tacky” just came out. I giggled, of course, and came this close to sharing it on a couple of platforms, before stopping myself and thinking, I know at least a dozen people who are going to do this: what do I add to any of that? Then he followed that video up with two more in the span of days, plus of course the brand new album. And now I’m wondering why in the world have his people taken this route of sudden saturation? And why an album? With some performers, there’s an inherent appeal to the structure of an album: 45-to-90 minutes of music, thematic explorations, altered movements that cohere in resolution, etc. Weird Al has at times indulged in that, but he’s chiefly the master of the one-off. I’d think that puts him in an ideal position to exploit the new media for all they’re worth.

I’ll be curious to see how the album fares. Are today’s ten-year-old boys buying anybody’s CDs? No, of course not. But how about their parents?

Addendum: Al responds directly to "Why an album?" with typically disarming candor.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Gone Fishin'

Took some books for the shade: Peter Mathiessen's In Paradise (link), The Friedkin Connection, by William Friedkin (natch), and The Longer I'm Prime Minister: Stephen Harper & Canada, 2006- by Paul Wells (discuss).