Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bachelor Week -- Since last Friday night, my wife and kids have been vacationing in North Carolina with her parents and other family members, while the cat and I have been holding the fort in upstate New York.

Despite the fact that it is spring, it has snowed twice, the heaviest storm being last night and this morning, when five inches or so of heavy, wet snow dumped itself on our region. On my way to work this morning, I was making a right turn into traffic with my window open for better visibility, when a passing 18-wheeler threw a softball-size load of slush right into my face. That was fun, and reminded me once again of my desire to see it made illegal for anything bigger than a mid-size sedan to be on the roads when the weather is anything other than sunshine and 70 degrees.

Last night was probably the biggest event of Bachelor Week, and certainly the most expensive -- I finally scored a copy of the enormous hardcover Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson Omnibus. I own two others in Marvel's Omnibus series, Fantastic Four Vol. 1 and Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1, and I have to say that while it is nicely designed as a book (I got the variant black-and-red version), it is a bit sloppily produced compared to the other two I have. The binding is quite tight, and no allowance was made for the reformatting, so a lot gets lost in the gutters of the book. It doesn't lie flat when reading it, so a good deal of force is needed, and I refuse to ply it back far enough to crack the spine, as that seems a bit stupid to do to a book this big and expensive.

Some of the features, like the reprint of a great Miller/Janson interview from the ancient Fantaco Chronicles special are shot from the printed book rather than re-done, so that seems a bit cheap and the pages a bit blurry, instead of the sharp blacks the outside design would lead you to expect inside.

I'm not sorry I got the book, just surprised that something that would have been so easy to get perfect was done a bit on the cheap. The lack of some stories, like the second Miller What If...?, wherein Elektra lived and Miller was delightfully inked by Terry Austin, makes me wonder if a second volume is planned. It could include:

That's gotta be around 18-20 issues worth of material, plus there's DD-themed covers Miller did for Amazing Heroes and The Comics Journal, and I'm sure other stuff I am not thinking of.

I wonder if Marvel got anyone's permission to reprint those Fantaco Chronicles pages whole? Did they ask folks like George Perez if it was okay to reprint his spot illo that illustrates the piece? I wonder if Roger would know? He used to work at Fantaco...

Update: Roger says the issue is complicated, and has promised to write about it on his blog soon. Looking forward to that, thanks, Roger!

Anyway, again, the book is not perfect, but I am glad to have it. I'd give it a B- or maybe even a C+ if I thought much more about the quality of some of the reproduction. Quite a surprise given how sterling the FF and X-Men Omnibus volumes were.

Back to Bachelor is my last full day, the gang should be back tomorrow night sometime. This is the longest I have ever been separated from my kids, and I miss the hell out of them.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mary and Brian in November of 2000.Mary -- I found out yesterday that Mary had died, last week, in a Texas hotel room, with her two-year-old son her only companion. No immediate cause of death has been revealed, but it's not thought to have been suicide.

Mary was the ex-girlfriend of my longtime friend Brian, who hosts Comic Book Galaxy. They first met in 1994, when she was a teenager living in the midwest. They fell immediately in love, and eventually lived together not far from where I live. I saw her often when they were together, and I guess my most vivid memory is taking her out to lunch one day while we were waiting for Brian to get out of work so we could all hang out.

I'm pretty much speechless from the news of her death; after she and Brian broke up, she moved away, changed her name and her look and even got married and had a baby. She got in touch with me through MySpace a year or so back, and we had some nice e-mail exchanges. It seemed like she had finally gotten her life where she wanted it to be. I never really understood her, but I liked her, and at her best, she was vital and alive and fun to be around, and she was stunningly beautiful.

Brian posted some video he shot of Mary back in 1995 on YouTube, and there's one moment, between 1:47 and 1:50, where just for a second she widens her eyes like she's sharing a secret joke with her closest friend (which she probably was). It's that look that I remember most about her, the way she made you feel like you shared the same wavelength.

I wish I had known her better, and I wish we had stayed in touch more these past few months. Most of all, I'm glad I knew her, even if just for a short time. Nothing I've said here feels adequate to the task of describing how it feels, knowing she is really gone, and I'm sorry for that.

Goodbye, Mary.


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