I have spent the last couple of columns reminiscing about old paperbacks and comics, and truthfully not being forced to write about new stuff was something I wanted built in to the mission statement for the Junk Shop when we started it. Besides, Travis and our other Greg do the PREVIEWS columns, and Greg tends to keep current anyway.
But I think, just for variety’s sake, I’m going to change it up. This week it’ll be (mostly) new things. Every so often, I get sent a book or pop culture survey and I am hard-wired to never write anything just for free, so I’m going to share it here and lengthen my answers into a column.
The survey’s called “Right Now,” and for any of you pedants out there who are feeling waggish, I am perfectly aware that the answer “this column” is the accurate answer to what-are-you-reading-right-now, but it is not admissible. For purposes of the survey “Right Now” means in the last twenty-four hours. Okay?
What book are you reading right now?
Found the first one on our Edmonds overnighter last month and really enjoyed it, and sought out the others immediately. A little sad at being done, but the new one is out soon and it’s definitely on the shopping list.
magazines comics are you reading right now?
I replaced “magazines” with “comics” because I don’t remember the last time I actually bought a magazine off the rack, and even online I rarely read entire magazines, just an individual article that appears by itself in a feed. On the other hand I read comics all the time and though they come here as books they began as magazines.
So as for the most recently read, it’d be the trade collecting Nick Spencer’s first arc on Spider-Man. That was this morning.
I enjoyed Dan Slott’s run enormously but I have to say it did feel like it was getting away from the Spider-Man baseline a bit. And especially with the movies, I can see the need to do a back-to-basics story. I didn’t love how Spencer got there, though it’s a very plausible way out of the whole Parker Industries setup, mostly because trashing Peter Parker’s reputation seems to be the go-to move for writers looking for a way to change the workplace background in Peter’s private life. First to get rid of his job at the Daily Bugle he was outed as a shitty journalist who faked a story, and now to cut loose of Parker Industries Peter is revealed as a shitty scientist who plagiarized a paper, and he can’t explain why it wasn’t him. So now he can’t work as a scientist or at a newspaper. Really not happy with that.
On the other hand, the story is hugely entertaining and funny — sorry, no matter how tormented Parker might be, Spider-Man comics should be funny at least part of the time. (Yeah, Kraven’s Last Hunt is a classic but it’s also really pretentious. That’s right, I said it. DeMatteis on Spider-Man was better when he remembered to lighten up. Fight me.) And the stuff with Peter’s new asshole roommate really is hilarious; having to deal with roommate wars is exactly the sort of down-to-earth problem that always has worked as a hook for a Spider-Man story.
So I guess I’m in for the next collection.
What are you watching on TV right now?
Last night we watched the new episode of Star Trek: Discovery, which we are liking even more than we liked last season.
Anson Mount is killing it as Pike and it is tremendous fun seeing him bounce off the rest of the cast.
We also watched the second episode of Doom Patrol and so far we are still in. It’s probably my ideal lineup for a Doom Patrol cast– which is to say, the original sixties group and also Crazy Jane. I’m ambivalent about including Cyborg, though the show is playing him as a JLA member who’s enlisting the Doom Patrol, not an actual DP member, which I can live with. But really it’s Alan Tudyk as Mr. Nobody that’s keeping us hooked.
Certainly I like it better than Titans. Julie is enjoying it as well, and she knew nothing about the Doom Patrol.
What movie did you see the most recently?
Well, we almost never go to the theater. Last time we did it was for Incredibles 2, which we enjoyed a great deal. But mostly it’s DVDs for us. Last one that we bought was Serial with Martin Mull. Watched it night before last.
It used to be shown on cable every three hours somewhere but apparently it’s fallen out of favor. But I always loved it –I was in college in Eugene in 1980, and I assure you the entire new age, hippy-dippy woo-woo scene being lampooned was VERY familiar.
Besides, Julie had never seen it. So I invested a couple of bucks and she loved it as much as I did. Especially Christopher Lee, who is hilarious.
What music are you listening to right now?
Ha! This one I can answer with complete accuracy. I like music when I am writing and right now I have a playlist I made called “Surfing and Spying” on in the background.
Book? Probably Two Hawks From Earth.
It’s been sitting on the Shelf of Shame for a while and I think I’m in the mood for it today. Not technically a new book, but it’s new to me and this is a nice new edition from MonkeyBrain Books.
Comic? This one, I think. Sink Atlantis.
I’m still keeping up with Aquaman and this arrived with today’s mail.
Television? Well, we have some stuff we’re catching up on. Next up is probably either this week’s Blue Bloods or this week’s Gotham.
What? We like Blue Bloods. Not enough to have it in the library or anything, but we enjoy it. It’s got a basically conservative point of view but it plays fair on issues, it’s not propaganda. Plus it’s agreeably old-school in its construction; it reminds me of Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct. As for Julie, she is ALL ABOUT Jamie and Eddie.
Movie? Burn Witch Burn.
Again, not technically new, but new to me. Been wanting to see it for YEARS. It’s reportedly the best adaptation of Fritz Leiber’s Conjure Wife.
This is a book I am very fond of and amazingly it’s been made into a movie three times — the other two, Weird Woman and Witches’ Brew, are awful. This is the one that’s supposed to be closest to the book and also it’s got Peter Wyngarde in it, who I’ve always liked.
Music? I have no idea, honestly. But here’s a cool version of Chris Cornell’s Casino Royale theme I stumbled across recently.
And there you go. Feel free to play along at home in the comments if you like, and I’ll be back next week with something cool.
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