Last year I wrote a blog post on my birthday about a couple of things I had rediscovered in my old age – Volunteering and Comic Books. In that post I mentioned that I had reignited a new love for comic books. In particular, one of the comic books that I’ve found myself obsessed with is the new Hawkeye series.
Now there has been a huge shift in the Comic Book world since I was a little lad … or at least to me it seems like there has been a shift. An influx of indie publishers and crowd funded titles have improved the overall maturity of the genre, as well as the demands of an aging core audience.
Since that post I’ve also been introduced to such great titles as Vertigo’s Fables and Image’s “Saga” (which is drawn by local Calgarian Fiona Staples), but of all the titles I’ve picked up over the past year and a bit, Hawkeye still holds a special place for me.
Yes, I’m really talking about Hawkeye.
The goofy guy in purple that only shoots arrows… and shoots arrows… and shoots more arrows. How in gods name can that be entertaining?
I’ve tried to explain why this series is interesting to a few people and like clockwork I ultimately fail. But it really boils down to a quirky story concept and also some fabulous minimalistic design. Aesthetically, Hawkeye is randomly the most interesting comic I’ve come across. It really flips the whole concept of what a comic should look like and feel like, by doing much less than other comics.
The covers are brilliant and the artwork inside feels more like a short in a local alternative newspaper rather than a Marvel comic. There’s no bulging biceps, unnaturally protruding bosoms, over the top waistlines, glossy finishes and intense shadowing, just straight lines and a beautiful off purple hue. Hell, I don’t even think there is an issue where Hawkeye wears his traditional spike ears.
The storyline of the series is just as minimalistic and oddly fascinating. Fracton (the series author) and “Aja”;http://blog.davidaja.com/ (the series drawer…or whatever it’s called) took a massive chance on the Hawkeye series. Thinking that the series would be over after two issues they decided to just tell the story of what Hawkeye (Clint Barton) does on a Thursday afternoon. In some editions he’s trying to set-up a Home Theatre system with Iron Man or dealing with some run of the mill gangs in New York and of course there is the famous Pizza Dog issue.
There’s no intergalactic super villains or plots to destroy mankind, just a guy in Brooklyn doing normal stuff.
13 year old c.t.overdrive would be mocking me for writing this post… because it’s Hawkeye and nobody has ever liked that guy. But Fracton and Aja’s version of Hawkeye is quirky, simple, sophisticated and enduring. I’m sure this sounds ridiculous, but it’s probably one of the most fascinating and rewarding reads I’ve come across. Even as a casual comic book lover I can’t help but count down the days until the latest trade back comes out.
Ok, ok, so I’ve let this whole c.t.overdrive book club thing slip even more. But I promise before I set-up shop in Washington, I will finish this section.
So back on track.
Book 3 on the list is the bible for all Web Cocks – It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be.
Alright, so maybe it’s not really the bible for all web cocks. But in the same vein as The Prince is the bible for all politicians and The Art of War is the bible for all Soprano/Business wannabes, It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be is the bible for all inspiring design/web/creatives.
Written by advertising legend Paul Arden, this book is essentially a pocket guide to surviving in the Advertising/Creative industry. Arden’s general theme is to work like a mad man, never back down, do the opposite of others and generally act with extreme confidence.
If you’ve started to delve in to any of the new media think-tank books, you’ll see many of the fundamentals that Arden touches upon in this book form the basis for many of these new-age books… Except for one difference.
This book can be read in about 30 minutes.
It’s a design book like no other. Instead of rambling en mass about what you should do, Arden fosters his poignant concepts through simple layouts. It’s a fantastic looking book and is a cornerstone for anyone in the creative industry.
I make it a point to read this book once every three months. That revelation in itself is quite cheesy.
But I find that there are days, when it would be so much easier to throw everything away and walking into the nearest Virgin Megastore and just accept a job there. It is on these days that this book becomes a life saver. It’s simple, it’s easy and it reminds me that what I’m trying to do in my career is possible. You just have to step outside the box.
Getting Fired is a Good Thing. It means that you’re job was getting stale and it’s time to move on.
The idea being that, sometimes getting fired is the best thing in your career (of course this assumes that you are getting fired for something not illegal or detrimental to your company). Most people who are fired, know it’s coming. They’ve felt it for a while and they’re not fitting in any longer. Getting fired means it’s time to move on and the you and the company you work for are no longer a fit.
So look at is a positive and move to the next challenge.
This post probably won’t make a lick of sense, but run with me anyways. I spent most of my attention last week getting all my glutastic posts in line that I nearly forgot I need to write on c.t.overdrive again. P.S. I hope you enjoyed glutastic’s posts last week.
Anyways, yesterday morning my addictive reliance on Internet, Email and the World Wide Web was brutally revealed to me, as I was forced into a Monday morning without Internet connection. Because of which I was unable to read the latest news and tidbits of the world and instead had to satisfy my constant desire for information by relying on cached web pages in my Firefox browser from the week before. Which really means nothing, but it does give a reference point to explain that one of my browser tabs was logged on to Douglas Copeland’s NY Times web site blog and because of which I spent most of the morning reading every single Douglas Copeland post on that page. Including one post about Wasps and turning his most famous books into Wasps Nest, by chewing the pages in 2006.
Now, I’m not entirely sure if he actually chewed the pages himself, but it was a very interesting article. And an article by an author who I have a love hate relationship with.
See a couple of years ago I read Hey Nostradamus!! and absolutely fell in love with his work. it was brilliant, deep and intense; a really emotional read. Unfortunately, I decided to read JPod shortly after, thinking it was going to be a novel that would absolutely blow my mind, but instead left me feeling cheated and angry with Copeland. I’m not sure what it was, maybe the ridiculous nature of the story line or the way Copeland tends to ramble and misguide people in a way to get a point across. Either way it was a frustrating read and one that has left a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to Douglas Copeland’s work.
I always get excited when I hear of a new book or exhibition or interview or even a movie featuring his work, but since reading JPod, a few seconds later my mind reminds me of how frustrating that experience was.
Needless to say, his article on Wasp nests was really interesting and reignited my love affair with his work. So if you’ve got time you should read it. So in a long, convoluted and annoying way, I’ve essentially wasted your time when all I needed to say is read this posts on wasp nests.
So this whole c.t.overdrive book club thing was suppose to be a Spectacular Summer Special Series of posts. Unfortunately, I got a bit distracted. So my goal is to finish the book club before December 1st. Maybe provide some Christmas gift ideas … for that special someone … on your list … with the weirdest taste in books.
Book 4 on the list is none other than the oral history of mankind after the Zombie War – World War Z.
Set years after a UN Postwar Commission study on the outcome of the Great Zombie War is released to the world, World War Z is the raw conversations of key survivors of the Zombie Epidemic. In short World War Z is a set of interesting anecdotes told about a fictional war against zombies.
Told in a format that chronicles the entire lifespan of the conflict; from the initial Asian outbreak to the decimation of society to the first rendition of The Redeker Plan all the way to the ‘present day’ status of society. WWZ is a time capsule of a fictional world; one where Cuba is the economic centre, N. Korea has completely disappeared, China is a Democracy and Canada is nothing more than a decimated frozen haven from the Zombie Hordes.
If anyone reading this is surprised that a Zombie novel is on this list, please raise your hands … Yeah, I didn’t think there would be anyone.
But rest assured World War Z is far more than just a Zombie novel. It really is a thoughtful examination of society, all wrapped up in our fear of death and the marauding hopelessness of doom. Oh yeah, World War Z is that deep … and it’s gruesome too.
As someone who spent most of what they would call a Higher Education studying our societies natural inclinations and his youth enthralled by God-like games such as Civilization, X-Com and Shining Force, World War Z is really a literary perfect storm. 20 parts horror and 40 parts an intriguing dissection of current day society … at it’s worst hour.
There’s a section in the book where Brooks details the difficult campaign to reclaim the Eastern ‘United’ States. In this section, witnesses describe the impossible of task of sweeping through the Zombie infested wastelands of Suburban America on foot.
I’m not sure what it is, but this thought has lingered with me since I put down the book last January. I can’t remove the image of society where the necessities of our daily life; automobile transportation, packaged food and readily accessible electricity, are non-existent and pointless. The world of WWZ is a place where pretty much 75% of what we cheerish today is useless. Then throw in the added complexity of trying to eradicate the Zombie hordes hidden in the endless sea of pastel coloured houses … And it becomes a pretty haunting image.
I will probably never be able to explain why this book cracks the top five. But for some god forsaken reason, it’s quirky little refrences and philosophy has stuck with me since High School.
The story is about a small outpost farming community on the nation of Labrador. It revolves around the main narrator David Storm, the son of the local religious leader, and his newly found six toe’d friend Sophie. In the rural fundamentalist little house on the prairie society they all live-in, any abnormality is frowned upon and is subsequently terminated to ensure society is kept in-line. The story revolves around David, Sophie, some other bratty kids and their attempt to save the six-toed freak from persecution from pitchfork wielding Luddites in the village.
BTW did I mention, it’s set 2,000 years into the future and involves Mutants, ESPN (Telepathy) and even more MUTANTS! HOLY TOLEDO, I just blew you’re mind!
Now, this isn’t included because I needed to add a High School era book to complete a top five template. Rather, it’s just a weird and pretty decently written story that for some reason resonates within me to this day.
Mr. Marlett, the grade 10 Thespian English teacher who forced this upon us, is someone I’ll never forget. But out of Othello, Night by Elie Wiesel), and Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron Short Story, The Chyrsalids is the one piece of work we studied that stands out the most.
I can only guess at the reasons for this. I seriously don’t know why I reference this book in the middle of conversations, but I think the beauty of the book is not in the philosophy, but in the guessing game that occurs while reading it. The game of piecing together what happened in the past to bring society to this awkward little point. The game of trying to figure out the geographical refrences and relate them to the kids awkward little journey. Wyndham did this in an extremely exciting way and the books, even though oddly cheesy, is really well written.
(Don’t worry, I’m going to do this for each of the books on the list)
How would you react if you’d never seen a helicopter and one flew over you’re head?