1. I had a dream this weekend that I was in a used bookstore and discovered that there were two more entries in the “What Do I Do Now” choose-your-own-adventure-type series set in the world of Infocom’s Zork that I had never heard of before, having believed, erroneously in the dreamworld, that the series ended with volume 4, Conquest at Quendor. In the dream I was ecstatic but could find no one who shared my enthusiasm. How thankful I was to wake up to a world where everyone would be excited about two more entries in the “What Do I Do Now” choose-your-own-adventure-type series set in the world of Infocom’s Zork!
2. So I was all set to write about how great PrettyFavorite Victor Gischler’s new X-Men #1 was last week, except that new comics were delayed at my otherwise awesome shop, so now I can’t until later this week. Apparently, someone in the distribution channel believes that “Baton Rouge, LA” is a suburb of Los Angeles, because that’s where the books ended up. (If you’re in the same boat I’m fishing with vienna sausages from, you can whet your appetite with this Gischler interview with Laura Hudson.) I am still pretty sure it’s great, though. I know some of you are thinking, “Oh great, vampires. I have plenty of vampires in my life, thanks.” But you thought that about zombies, too, didn’t you? And have you been reading Gischler and Bong Dazo’s Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth? Because it is all zombied up, and yet it is, by far and no kidding, the flat-out most fun comic Marvel is publishing right now. I laugh out loud at least once an issue, and I chuckle several more, and sometimes I giggle like the whisky priest, but that’s for other reasons entirely. I would say that Gischler’s DP is the best entry in the comical-adventure genre by a mainstream publisher since the Giffen/Dematties Justice League of the 1980s (and it looks all the better compared to G and D’s recent return to those characters). Victor has a knack for exploiting the absurdities of the superhero genre without letting the underlying story collapse beneath the weight of the gags.
So seriously: OK, there’s a lot of Deadpool out there, and a lot of zombies out there. But only Gischler is putting them together in comics that involve blimps, slovenly and uncommitted AIM troopers, and Cowboy Deadpool in a story that has been drawn by both Kyle Baker and Rob Liefeld in the same issue.
If you prefer your books without pictures, but would still like to support Victor Gischler’s gambling addiction, you could do a lot worse than buy a copy of his new novel The Deputy, which I read last week and which stole my wallet and gave me herpes.
Confidential to VG: Please give my dog back now.
3. My usual summer reading program involves reading at least a couple of the books that I pretended I’d already read when I was in grad school. I’m about two-thirds of the way through Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory right now and thoroughly enjoying it; I thought that after devoting the years 1997-2002 to Walker Percy that I had read my fill of a particular brand of Catholic fiction, but Greene is (at least in this work, the first of his I’ve read) a less didactic writer than Percy, and altogether more harrowing. His flat descriptions of the horrible lengths to which life will go and the depraved transformations it will endure, his unblinking portrait of the cost of integrity, his depiction of people living off flecks of ash in a world burned down to the blackest cinder, his scorched and sometimes hallucinatory prose —I can’t help but think that I’d really like to read a very loose Gilbert Hernandez adaptation of this book in his Troublemakers / Chance in Hell format.