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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Wednesday Morning in the Red Room -- It's just minutes before 6 AM, and my wife and kids are all sound asleep in their beds. The WUP WUP WUP of the living room ceiling fan and the light tapping of the computer keyboard are the only sounds in the room. Occasionally I'll hear the muted roar of a tractor trailer leaving the supermarket around the corner, having made their deliveries for the night and now escaping under the remaining moments of night, as daylight creeps into the neighbourhood and the earliest of birds begins to rise and seek out their daily worm.

The index finger of my right hand is sore. I burned it bringing a pan of boiling water up the stairs to the bathroom, on the second floor of our 250 year old house. We lost our hot water yesterday, and while someone is supposed to come and look at the hot water heater later this morning, I needed to shave and for that I need hot water. Carrying the pan up the stairs, a few boiling hot drops splashed back and hit my index finger. I suppose it could have been much worse. But, as I said, I needed to shave.

WUP WUP WUP. My wife doesn't like the ceiling fan -- she seems to think it could fly off and decapitate one or all of us at any moment. But it's late spring and a bit stuffy in The Red Room, and the light breeze it whips up feels good. Also, in my sardonic, private moments, I must admit it reminds me of the Palmer family ceiling fan. "You were a good vehicle, Leland, but now you're old and full of holes and it's just about time to shuffle off to Buffalo." Selah.

I've read three wonderful graphic novels over the past week, none of which will be in stores before school starts back up. Drawn and Quarterly sent along advance reader's copies of WIMBLEDON GREEN, THE PUSH MAN AND OTHER STORIES and PYONYANG. Each is wonderful: Seth has a lot of fun with the comics collector mentality and lifestyle in GREEN, Adrian Tomine designs and introduces THE PUSH MAN, a collection of previously-unpublished-in-the-west stories by a Japanese cartoonist whose work is frighteningly good, and this book collects some of his earlier work from 1969. Better work is promised in future volumes, but THE PUSH MAN gets a big recommendation from me. Its peculiar brand of relationship horror seems right in the middle between Tomine's OPTIC NERVE and Junji Ito's sublime horror manga. THE PUSH MAN is not to be missed, and should be solicited in PREVIEWS soon (as will all three of these D&Q offerings, I'm guessing).

PYONYANG I haven't quite finished yet, but it's a non-fiction look at life in Korea from the perspective of a North American animator visiting on business. If that doesn't sound riveting to you -- it does to me, but you might not realize how packed with potential that concept is -- well, it is riveting. I love nothing more in comics than when a cartoonist can show me a convincing look at a world I know nothing of, and PYONYANG does that extraordinarily well.

WUP WUP WUP. The ceiling fan hasn't crashed down on my head yet. My e-mail inbox is packed with stuff I need to act on -- new ideas and new proposals, new questions and suggestions, new graphics and designs. So much to do. So little time left in which to do it all, at least if I want to meet my own self-imposed deadlines.

But if you're going to have deadlines, I suppose those are the very best type to have.

There goes another tractor trailer, roaring off into what is no longer the night. The morning is here. My finger still hurts, but I am shaved, I am clean, I am ready for the day. And thanks to the wonders of the three-day weekend, the week is already half over. I feel like it hasn't even started yet.

Let's go.



Blogger Joe Rice said...

Woo! They all sound really interesting. And Pyonyang will be one of those rare comics that my fiancee will want to read, I bet.

01 June, 2005 06:38  

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