I never thought that there could be a book adaptation of Final Flesh, but then Vernon Chatman follows that film up with Mindsploitation, which… kinda is. With Final Flesh, he found a couple of porn studios that would let you write up your own 15-20 minute script and for a certain amount of money, they’d film it — so he wrote a few surrealist shorts to be shot, which he then edited into a film. In Mindsploitation, the porn studios have been replaced by the oldest Internet profession: Companies that will do your homework for you. Continue reading
When I was younger, for whatever reason, I thought that Jack Handey was actually Al Franken. The idea that Jack Handey — known most for the “Deep Thoughts” segments on Saturday Night Live — was a pseudonym is a surprisingly common one. But later, I discovered that the idea that he was Al Franken in particular was also pretty common. Al Franken even wrote a foreword where he declared that many people thought that he was Jack Handey — he’s not, and Jack Handey is a real guy — but why Al Franken in particular? That’s something I’d really like to know. “Jack Handey” sounds kind of like a made-up name itself (especially that “Handey” is a misspelled version of an everyday word, and coupled with “Jack” just makes it sounds vaguely dirty), but why do people think that it’s made up by Al Franken? Why did I think he was Al Franken? Continue reading
I guess I have a soft-spot for weird, short-lived magazines. I’ve talked about how much I love RAW here before, and now I’ve just read Leonard Koren’s book Making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing about, well, making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing. That was probably pretty obvious. Unlike RAW, though, I’ve never seen a copy of WET — but I was hipped to it when MetaFilter ran an incredibly interesting piece on it. Once I read the articles linked, I knew I had to have this book.
I wasn’t disappointed. Continue reading
Bell Labs was awesome, and Jon Gertner’s new book The Idea Factory sets out to prove this simple fact. The Bell Laboratories (funded by AT&T when they were a government-sanctioned monopoly) was the place where vacuum tubes were improved and ultimately replaced by another Bell Labs invention, the transistor. The labs went from creating ways to treat wood so telephone poles would last a very, very long time without needing to be replaced to figuring out how cellular telephony would work. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Bell Labs created the future. Continue reading
When “Weird Al” Yankovic was recording “Belvedere Cruising” in his home back in the 1970s, he probably never expected that he’d have a coffee-table book about him one day. At least, I would hope not, as that would probably betray a strangely-specific form of narcissism on Al’s part. If Al DID, though, I’d bet he’d expect one as good as Weird Al: The Book, by the AV Club’s Nathan Rabin. Continue reading
Like the movie it captured on the printed page, Howard The Duck (ISBN 0-425-09275-5) has been doomed to ridicule. Unlike the movie, however, far fewer people remember it or know that it ever existed in the first place. This is a true shame. As the popular saying goes, one should not judge a book by its cover, and it can be argued that one should not judge a book by its movie, either.
And why not?
For people of a certain age, it’s almost mind-blowing to think that Cracked is good now. Back when it was a magazine that was a knockoff of MAD, Dan Clowes‘ (a Cracked contributor in the ’80s) description was right: It was “comedy methadone“, for months when MAD wasn’t published. Never that great, but it seemed to fill the need. So, why of all things, would anyone read a book on the history of Cracked? Mark Arnold’s If You’re Cracked, You’re Happy is just that — and it’s surprisingly interesting.
Image via Wikipedia
Codex Seraphinianus is a very, very large book by Luigi Serafini, a neo-Surrealist from Italy. It was written (or, rather, created) in 1981 (or thereabouts), and it’s referenced in Douglas R. Hofstadter‘s Metamagical Themas (a collection of his early 1980s columns for Scientific American).
Question: how do you follow up on two action-packed novellas in which clairvoyant women solve strange cases and leave considerable destruction in their wake?
If you answered “why, you write a full-length novel for those two women and turn the dial on everything up to a ten!” then you are correct. And that’s just what The Dirty Pair Strike Again (ISBN 978-1-59582-101-0; $8.95) is: the first full-length Dirty Pair novel, and the story that kicks it up a notch.
Some people can’t grasp certain concepts. The medium of comics is something that still has a long way to go before being fully understood. Despite the enormous selection and diversity present on bookshelves, in store windows and online, there are still those who have a very close-minded and unfair view of what comics are. Some are merely dismissive of all comics as “kid’s stuff,” while others say anything from it “not being real art” (whatever that means) to it being “utter garbage.” Truthfully, I think there will always be those who just won’t try a comic or a graphic novel out just because of what it is. They’ll literally judge a book by its cover. Hell, they might judge the book without even bothering to look at the cover. If it’s a comic, well, it’s not grown-up enough for them.