odds & ends

Just finished reading Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock and I can heartily recommend the book.

It’s a collection of interconnected short story of the desperate and often violent lives of people living in a small Ohio town. Pollock has a gift for creating compelling characters in the space of ten pages; some of these stories will stick with me far longer than any novel I’ve had the chance to read in 2011.


I don’t buy many comic books published by Marvel these days; I’ve always been more of a DC Comics guy. That being said, Marvel’s publishing one of the best superhero comic books I’ve read in ages right now in Daredevil.

Longtime comics scribe Mark Waid eschews the angsty, world-weary characterization that has pervaded the book for the last few years and instead favors light-hearted swashbuckling. At the same time, Waid is canny enough a writer to use the last few years of Daredevil’s history as a jumping-off point, structuring this more happy-go-lucky Daredevil personality as a reaction to the darkness. In other words, Waid does a remarkable job completely changing direction for the book without throwing out 5 to 7 years of work. It’s a masterclass in showing just how malleable superhero characters can be under the write creative team.

…and oh God, the art. Pablo Rivera and Marcos Martin will be sharing art duties on this title and if there’s a more inventive and wonderful superhero comic to behold on the racks right now, I haven’t seen it. Rivera and Martin have a loose, minimalist style that puts one in mind of David Mazzuchelli or Bruce Timm. Theres an inventiveness in layout which is bold and exciting; Rivera and Martin present Daredevil’s blindness visually like no other artist I’ve seen work on the character.

Anyhow, it’s a favorite. Pablo Rivera has an art blog which I suggest you check out if you’re at all intrigued.


Not too much TV or movie watchin’ going on right now- we’re in the doldrums of glass teetery, at least until new shows and new episodes pop back up at the end of September. I wish there were more shows I was excited about watching in the ’11-’12 TV season, but sadly I can’t think of one. I’m reasonably excited for the return of a couple of sit-coms (Parks & Recreation, Community) and curious to see how several “long in the tooth” series will fare (The Office, How I Met Your Mother). I’m glad ABC decided to move The Good Wife from Tuesdays to Sunday; I’m always too sleepy on Tuesday to make it all the way through the show, which I quite like.

…yeah, but other than that? I guess I’m excited for new episodes of Beavis and Butthead but that to air until October.

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