Episode 92 Paper Girls

IMG_2853

I love this episode.

Over the past few years, I’ve poured my heart into various episodes and worked to make the ‘perfect score’ for numerous books and comics. I’ve had a moderate and small amount of success and people seem to dig what The Novel Sound sets out to do. But this one, as they say, is just for me, folks.

Brian K. Vaughn and Cliff Chiang have created some kind of wonderful with Paper Girls. Once upon a time in the mythical land known as the 1980’s, the suburbs were ruled by packs of seemingly feral children roving the streets on BMX bikes (ugh, who would dare ride a 10 speed) and armored in jean jackets and multi-colored Converse sneakers. Or Nike if you were of that persuasion. The point is that the youth ran wild. Most summers were spent traversing miles of pavement for Slurpees, slices of pizza, and coin operated video game machines. How I myself loved greasy pepperoni cups and pouring quarters into Gauntlet…I still hear the electric vibrato of “Warning: Don’t Shoot Food” while I, as an adult, grocery shop for organic free range Kale at Trader Joe’s. Times change.

And that is, in a weird way, exactly what Paper Girls plays with. Sure, its got time travel, its got giant microscopic monsters, its got witty banter, beautiful art, and bold colors, but its also got characters battling with who they are, who they were, and what they are going to become. It’s the struggle many of us face on daily basis complicated with actually walking around with those versions of ourselves and trusting that each one shares a similar desire to fix things. I mean, would a sixteen year old me work well with a 42 year old me and could I handle myself as a retiree? Frankly, I wouldn’t trust us to get out of a unlocked, unbuilt, garden shed without it coming to blows. If I had to escape homicidal future teens and time cops, I’d be  quickly relegated to a foot note in history that got edited out for lack of anyone giving a shit.

But I digress.

Episode 92 is another great chance for me to play some tunes (popular and not) from the 1980’s. And, since technology plays such an important role in the book, I decided that I’d invent a radio station (WTNS – The Novel Sound) and put on another fake broadcast (you’ll remember I did it once before). This time I wanted to exorcise the zeitgeist and I, for better or worse, incorporate the voice of Mr. Mark Klee.

Mr. Mark was radio broadcast hero in Allentown, PA. He was irreverent, wild, and told rambling tales of such glorious nonsense, that his fans would sit through hours of Brian Eno, live Roxy Music, and John Cage, for a Terrible Parable or warped PSA warning listeners about dinosaurs, UFO’s, and police. For one semester at WMUH, Mr. Mark’s show came on immediately after mine and we would chat in short mumbled sentences. But I would sit in in the studio and listen to him twist, bend, and splice words into wonderful shapes. I’m sad that Mr. Mark is dead. As are those who knew him better and those who looked forward to his tales. It’s a terrible thing when our heroes pass.

I’d been playing with the idea of mashing in some Mr. Mark dialogue for ages, but never felt I had the right output and worried I’d be set on by people thinking I’d committed a great sacrilege. For this episode, I wanted to create an anachronism. I wanted this to be a 90 minute ‘lost recording’ from the spirit of a long extinct radio show. It needed to fit precisely on a 90 minute Maxell tape because that is what I have left of Mr. Mark…a few clips pulled off the radio in an effort to record him and not the sustained noise he loved to play. And the best way I could work with the present was to incorporate the past. I hope those who knew him forgive me for this.

Part of why I podcast is to share the music and books I love with people and bring a little bit of positive noise to the world. It’s how I chose to push back against the closed minds and daily barrage of negativity and sorrow. There are some who deal with hostility, shaming, and battles many of us can’t even begin to comprehend. To those people, each day is a struggle. And to those who need extra help or feel they may be losing that war…please take the time to reach out. Find a friend. Find a family member. And if you need more than they can provide, reach out to crisistextline.org or another such suicide prevention agency.

You are important.

Episode 92 is not only a homage to Paper Girls, but to the 1980’s as a whole and the radios that provided soundtracks for the kids who ran amok. The streets will never be the same.

Kim Wilde – Kids in America
Joe Jackson – Sunday Papers
The Clash – The Leader
The Go-Go’s – This Town
The B-52’s – Cosmic Thing
The Psychedelic Furs – Run and Run
Sonic Youth – Silver Rocket
Devo – Freedom of Choice
Concrete Blonde – God is a Bullet
Love and Rockets – Ball of Confusion
The Cure – A Strange Day
Husker Du – She Floated Away
The Lemonheads – Die Right Now
Cyndi Lauper – Money Changes Everything
Adam and the Ants – Friend or Foe
Morrissey – Suedehead
Siouxie and the Banshees – Peek A Boo
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – Victim of Circumstance
Depeche Mode – Never Let Me Down Again
Elvis Costello – Waiting for the End of the World
Bauhaus – All We Ever Wanted Was Everything.

Also available for subscription on RADIO MUTATION!

10 Best Comics of 2014

chew_omnivore_hc_v4

10. Chew Onmibus Vol. 4 (Image Comics)
Yes, Chew is a monthly book and, yes, most of these came out in 2013, but I find that some books are stronger in a continuous story. Like Chew for example. The continuing story of chibopathic detective Tony Chew hits its stride in this volume proving that it isn’t one repeated joke.

rq

9. Rat Queens (Image Comics)
If Dungeons and Dragons was played by punk icons Poly Styrene, Joan Jett, and Kathlene Hannah, you would get Rat Queens. Bawdy adventures with low brow fantasy mayhem.

gotham_by_midnight_cover_a_p

8. Gotham by Midnight (DC Comics)
Detective James Corrigan is the supernatural avenging spirit known as the Spectre. His dayjob is leading a unit of supernatural misfits for Gotham PD. As a team, they are off the books, off the charts of sanity, and very hush-hush.

a129f003640d23812c279518c4112770

7. Elektra (Marvel Comics)
Marvel’s bad-ass assassin is being hunted by some new baddies. The story is typical superhero posturing, but the art by Del Mondo is a mixture of Alex Ross, Egon Schiele, and Peter Chung.

3668985-w2+shehulk2014002_int_lr3

6. She Hulk (Marvel Comics)
This now-cancelled series mixed elements of The Good Wife, Law and Order, and superhero punch-ups, into a compelling adult court room talking-head read. The cases were interesting and the cast was compelling. It is fun to read a hero book without big heroics. It’s a shame this book is gone.

rachel-rising-31-108262-600x910

5. Rachel Rising (Abstract Studios)
The most perfect horror comic on the shelves. Terry Moore’s tale of a woman attempting to solve her own murder continually pushes the limits of the twisted and macabre.

Saga_24-1

4. Saga (Image Comics)
This year provided more cliff-hangers for everyone’s favorite space opera. The plot it too convoluted to go into here, but, trust me, you need to read this book.

Southern-Bastards-3-panels

3. Southern Bastards (Image Comics)
A vicious tale of one man’s fight against the town he fled as a child. It was the subject of Episode 51 of my podcast.

detail

2. Secret Avengers (Marvel Comics)
This books is hilarious. M.O.D.O.K, Spider-Woman, Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Coulson, Maria Hill, and Black Widow are Marvel’s dysfunctional first family of espionage. Where most teams succeed on their ability to work together, the All-New Secret Avengers are doing their best not to kill each other. Add a living bomb, syringe toting mouse, and one very angry genetic monstrosity, and the world might be better off ending.

tumblr_n33jpa4Pp91t0060uo1_500

1. Hawkeye (Marvel Comics)
Reading about the down-time adventure of Clint Barton may be cool, but Kate Bishop, Marvels’ ‘other Hawkeye’ is pure magnificence. Struggling to make a name for herself, Bishop attempts to go into the PI business.

Bibliodiscoteque Ep. 51 – Southern Bastards

southernbastards
SouthernBastards1c
Southern-Bastards-3-panels

Welcome to Craw County, Alabama, home of Boss BBQ, the state champion Runnin’ Rebs football team…and more bastards than you’ve ever seen. When you’re an angry old man like Earl Tubb, the only way to survive a place like this…is to carry a really big stick. From the acclaimed team of JASON AARON and JASON LATOUR, the same bastards who brought you Scalped and Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted, comes a southern fried crime series that’s like the Dukes of Hazzard meets the Coen Brothers…on meth. via

Bibliodiscoteque Ep 51
Southern Bastards

Every Sinner – The Toot Toot Toots
We Welcome You Home – Possessed by Paul James
Bad Times Are Comin’ Round Again – The Waco Brothers
Been Down Too Long – Scott H. Biram
Close Your House Down – Cordero
The Day The Sun Did Not Come Up – The Pine Hill Haints
Early in the Morning – Heartless Bastards
Rotten to the Core – The Builders & The Butchers
(Pardon Me) I’ve Got Someone To Kill – Lonesome Bob
Blood On The Bluegrass – The Legendary Shack Shakers
Trouble in Mind – Roscoe Holcomb
Fire & Hail – .357 String Band
Old devils – William Elliott Whitmore
Vengeance Gonna Be My Name – Slackeye Slim
Doubleneck Stomp – John Schooley
I Want to Destroy You – Dollar Store
No Burdens Pass Through – The Stanley Brothers
I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive – Hank Williams
God Don’t Want My Soul – Jesse Morris and the Man Cougars

Incidental Music by Twang Darkly

Every Sinner – The Toot Toot Toots
I feel the horns in this track give it a high school football feel. It’s also a great revenge song.
We Welcome You Home – Possessed by Paul James
This song may be sincere, but its also what drive Tubb home to Craw Country to clean out his uncle’s estate.
Bad Times Are Comin’ Round Again – The Waco Brothers
Pretty self-explanatory.
Been Down Too Long – Scott H. Biram
The opening of this song is pure Tubb and his homecoming. Including waiting for the phone to ring.
Close Your House Down – Cordero
Memories are hard to pack into a U-haul. Exercising the ghosts of your past are even more difficult.
The Day The Sun Did Not Come Up – The Pine Hill Haints
“Should of had a plan for the day that the sun did not come up”. All good deeds are punished and, as Tubb discovers, the path to Hell is paved with good intentions…”but what a fire fight would ensue”.
Early in the Morning – Heartless Bastards
Tubb wakes with vengence on his mind and ‘he’s been living underground’ too long to look away from the horror that he has witnessed in Craw County. It’s time to fight back.
Rotten to the Core – The Builders & The Butchers

The whole damn town is rotten and it’ll take a hell of strong soul to clean it out. But is that person Tubb?
(Pardon Me) I’ve Got Someone To Kill – Lonesome Bob
Yup. Earl has some work cut out for him.
Blood On The Bluegrass – The Legendary Shack Shakers
I selected this song because in my mind it wasn’t just a battle in the streets, but, for some reason, a fight on the football field as well.
Trouble in Mind – Roscoe Holcomb
I love the transition between this track and the next one. Holcomb was a master.
Fire & Hail – .357 String Band
Armageddon comes in numerous forms and sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. Part of what makes Tubb immediately likeable is that we can all empathize with that internal struggle to stand up and fight back.
Old devils – William Elliott Whitmore
Selected by Jason Latour on his blog playlist, but this was one of the first tracks I ran to when I read Southern Bastards and decided to make an episode about it. Mainly because the bootleg hootch reminded me of Walking Tall.
Vengeance Gonna Be My Name – Slackeye Slim
Another track that I feel becomes self-explanatory. Slim’s Tom Waits’ throaty spoken word growls over a dark country track and tells the tale a man who faces down his ghosts and retaliates. Earl’s weapon of choice becomes the magic weapon trope handed down from the gods and allows him to live up to the prophecy just like the tragic heroes of old.
Doubleneck Stomp – John Schooley
A grinder of a track. I imagine this plays in a montage of Earl forging his weapon and heading out to Boss BBQ.
I Want to Destroy You- Dollar Store
This cover of The Soft Boys’ classic is just too perfect a lyrical match to ignore. Sometime we are the only ones unable to look past the bullshit. We have no choice but to fight or become buried under a steaming pile of crap.
No Burdens Pass Through – The Stanley Brothers
Another track about the promise of the land beyond. Until that moment of passing, though, its struggle, violence, and trying to find beauty and justice where you can. Amen.
I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive – Hank Williams
Selected by Jason Latour on his blog playlist.
God Don’t Want My Soul – Jesse Morris and the Man Cougars
Morris sings about no one wanting his soul.

Comics on a Budget

Everybody loves comics these days. Thanks to the efforts of some of the industry’s biggest names and the hundreds of cons happening at this very moment, it is now officially cool to be seen reading a comic book.

battle_001_15
Spend your money! Spend all you money! Don’t draw the line at 3.99!

But what do you do if you’re on a budget and can’t afford to spend 3.99 on a 24 page comic? And with all of the industry’s massive cross-over major events creeping in to every single book, how does the neophyte even begin?

Well, fear not true-believers, I’ve been giving this exact topic a fair amount of thought. Recently, I wrote in to Poptards podcast to see what they would purchase if they were on a $15 a week budget. Their answers were excellent but focused mostly on single issues from the Big Two (Marvel and DC). Sure, the big dogs surely have some books you don’t want to miss, but there are a great many books out there that don’t deal with caped avengers and command you to buy four other books for the complete story.
Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery Vol. 1 (issues 1-5)
Written By: Kurtis J Wiebe
Art By: Roc Upchurch
Image Comics – Price $9.99

rat-queens-by-wiebe-upchurch-coming-in-septem-L-tcurEx

Who are the Rat Queens? A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they’re in the business of killing all god’s creatures for profit. It’s also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!via

Like Tank Girl, after such a small output (only six issues and counting) there is a massive fan base. The appeal of the book rests on its female protagonists and its raw and witty sense of humor. Should you feel like getting the complete Rat Queens experience, there is also a women’s clothing line in support of the book.

Chew
Written By: John Layman
Art By: Rob Guillory
Image Comics – Price $9.99

chew

Tony Chu is a cop with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he’s a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn’t mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why. It’s a dirty job, and Tony has to eat terrible things in the name of justice. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the government has figured out Tony Chu’s secret. They have plans for him, whether he likes it or not. Presenting a twisted new series about cops, crooks, cooks, cannibals and clairvoyants, written by John Layman (Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness, House of M: Fantastic Four and Puffed) with mind-blowing art by astonishing comics newcomer Rob Guillory.via

Chew is a modern classic twist on the detective genre. What at first appeared to be a one-trick pony has turned into one of the best, most surprising, series in contemporary comics. It’s mixes raunchy and adolescent comedy with themes of love and loss. It’s a book which is not afraid to veer from its overall tone and trusts the reader to follow along. Plus, it is chock full of people eating horrible things.

Something Nice – This Week’s Reads – Sept 9

This week’s theme: Before and After covers

 

Idoru – William Gibson

I am sad to say I have only read one and a half Gibson books prior to starting Idoru. I read Neuromancer in college for a communication course and fell in love with Gibson’s dystopian vision of the world. To this day the idea of people becoming ugly in a fight against elective and cosmetic surgery sticks with me and I can’t wait for the first group of people brave enough to go for it (although I have been to Wal-mart it turns out accidental ugliness doesn’t count).

I then read the steampunk classic The Difference Engine which he cowrote with Bruce Sterling. Its a great read although it does drag a bit and for some reason I can not explain reminded me, in parts, of Mikhail Bulgakov’s  Master and Margarita (podcast). Call it a stylistic connection or the long intense narrative descriptions it read like a Russin classic.

I did read Johnny Mnemonic after the movie came out, but the films use of Henry Rollins as the sassy doctor overshadowed any attention I could spend on the pages. It is a fun movie in that I think it certainly makes the future a frightening and horrible place.

Trust your doctor.

Apparently, the book is the second in a trilogy, but doesn’t yet seem to require any type of back story. It’s great to be reading Gibson again. I  honestly forgot how much I enjoy his style.

Torso – Brian Michael Bendis

I am a BMB sympathizer. I understand that there are serios Anti/Pro feelings out there, but I’ll say it loud, “Bendis and Proud!”. Outside of the current crossover at Marvel (which is too long and frankly does anyone really care about cross-overs any more?), his work is prolific, jam packed with dialogue, and deftly executed. Detractors would have you believe that all of Bendis’ characters sound alike, but hell, everyone Joss Wheedon writes sounds the same, too. Writers have styles and what they do best; Bendis has snark. Besides, his current run on Ultimate Spider-man makes up for any fault in his extensive career.

That said, Torso follows the true exploits of Elliot Ness post-Untouchables but pre-obscurity. Ness and his crew are on the hunt for a serial killer who only leaves behind the severed torsos of his victims. It won an Eisner in 1999.

I’m now on Twitter. I’m under the monicker Novel Sound because Bibliodiscoteque was too long. 

Something Nice – Culinary Warfare with Get Jiro by Anthony Bourdain

What? Are you kidding me? My favorite globe-trotting gonzo punkrock chef is penning a comic book?

Here’s the write-up:

In a not-too-distant future L.A. where master chefs rule the town like crime lords and people literally kill for a seat at the best restaurants, a bloody culinary war is raging.

On one side, the Internationalists, who blend foods from all over the world into exotic delights. On the other, the “Vertical Farm,” who prepare nothing but organic, vegetarian, macrobiotic dishes. Into this maelstrom steps Jiro, a renegade and ruthless sushi chef, known to decapitate patrons who dare request a California Roll, or who stir wasabi into their soy sauce. Both sides want Jiro to join their factions. Jiro, however has bigger ideas, and in the end, no chef may be left …

Incidentally, this book looks to be must for any fan of the late Seth Fisher. Langdon Foss‘ style seems to have the same intense line work and brillant lunacy that Seth utilized in his work. As Seth was one of my favorite artists of all-time, that is a compliment.

If you can’t wait until June for this, I suggest heading to the local comic shoppe for Chew:

Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he’s a hell of a detective – as long as he doesn’t mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit and why. He’s been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest and most bizarre cases.

Something Nice – Blue Estate

The cover to Blue Estate #1

Every now and again a book comes out that flys under everyone’s radar. I’ve searched for single issues for this, in person, from Boston to London and only managed to get the issues 1, 3, and 4. Something great happened in issue 2. Something so wonderful and revolutionary that it has sold out and vanished from the world. As we lose ourselves in the less than triumphant relaunch renumbering new DC’s event-thing, let us remember that the biggest gimmick some comics need is to just be well-written.

This week  the collected 1-5 enters comic shops like a thief in the night. Watch, everyone will be talking about Blue Estate next week. Don’t be left out.

Pic Via www.comicvine.com