MYSTERIUM LUNAE

It’s been fully The Week From Hell over here, but this turned up this morning and improved things no end:

It’s a CD and 44-page book, from Aurota Borealis Recordings here in Britain. Link. “A concept compilation based on the invasion of the moon 50 years ago on 20th July 1969.”

Like I wasn’t going to buy a record with Hawthonn and Anji Cheung on it. No brainer. It is, as I expected, towering and rippling with the power of the lunar and numinous. I am delighted, and recommend it to you.

Stormlight

I took this last week, just before the storm hit, just as the sun was dropping.

I’ve fallen behind on doing much of anything here, due to work and life, and also the iOS app developing a weird bug which meant I had to delete and reload it. Frankly, I’m a bit crispy around the edges, and I’m going to grab four or five days later this month where I don’t have to turn on the phone or open the laptop, and everyone else can just wait a fucking minute.

So, my single reader, I’m sorry there’s been nothing here, but please enjoy this photo of (look up) probably just air pollution

Temporal Grammar

Marker discusses cinema with technical confidence and a lucid, inclusive conception of its nature and relationship to the other arts. In his review of Henry V, he positions cinema as the inheritor and destiny of both theatre and painting, come to ‘finish their conquests, and fulfil their prophesies’.

…The preamble to his essay on Jiri Trnka’s Prince Bayaya pushes aside the false opposition of painting or cinema with a vision of cinema as the art of time and movement…

Marker locates the nature of cinema in the perpetual conflict or exchange between space and time. These two dimensions are reconciled in his notion of a temporal grammar of film shots, where long shots correspond to the past and close-ups to the present. His analysis of Dreyer’s film, renowned for its use of extreme close-ups of the human face to carry the drama, goes beyond conventional psychological readings to correlate the close-ups (along with the minimal, austere decor and costumes) to a tangible experience of historical events made to seem eternally present…

Chris Marker: Memories of the Future, Catherine Lupton (UK) (US)

Comics Train: 6

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series comics train

The graphic novella is a thing I’d wanted to talk about a bit.

I characterise the graphic novella as 48 to 64 pages, ish. 40 on the “yeah, okay, if I squint at it, I can kinda let you have that” end, 72 at the top end?

This is yet another format that I’ve been banging on about for probably decades. Yeah, there’s a pattern, haha. I’ve been delighted to see Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have so much success with it, most recently with BAD WEEKEND.

In an ideal world, as I enter the late period of my career, I’d have a partnership with an artist where I could write three or four graphic novellas a year. I like the novella form. NORMAL, my last prose book, was a 30,000 novella.

At 64 pages, a graphic novella can be sold in bookstores as well as comics shops. At 48, it becomes more of a comics-shop-only thing, and that’s okay too. With the same team producing them, 48-page books can be collected into a “box set” trade paperback after a year — being very old, I have this memory that The Smiths produced a single every three months and one album a year, and the notion is kind of in that zone.

(Obviously, that citation comes from the simpler days when we’d say “okay, that comment by Morrissey was kinda strange and creepy and a bit racist, he can’t possibly have meant that,” not from today, when… well, you know)

Anyway. There’s nothing wrong with a format optimised for comics shop sales. But comics retail goes through periods of deep financial conservatism, and there’s a fair chance a few thousand stores will not want your graphic novella about something that isn’t Batman, you know? The decision that Ed and Sean and Image took with BAD WEEKEND and MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES, to do chunkier, pricier 64-page hardback editions that can appeal to both comics and books markets, is probably an economically sound one. Doing new original material in comics is always a re-invention of the wheel in a market entirely happy with horsepower and good solid saddlebags. Most people don’t want to bet their own money on the future. I’m not pointing any fingers. Life in retail has become uniquely hard in this period, and comics retail has always been more reading-entrails and rolling-bones than economic science.

I’ve told this story before, but, an aeon ago, I was at a retailer meeting, where a guy said, “I don’t want all this new shit. I just want the old stuff, but done better.” And I said to him, by that reasoning, if WATCHMEN came out today, you wouldn’t order it for your store. And he looked me in the eye and said “So?”

So when I spin out these notions and daydreams about comics formats and engines in this blogchain, I am always entirely aware that, even though I think their consideration and exploitation would enhance the medium – nobody wants these things. I’m just muttering to myself and hoping I’m providing food for thought for somebody down the line.

But, yeah, I daydream about my little line of graphic novellas with an artist who was prepared to strike out for the edges of the territory with me. In my head, they’d even have a shared trade dress, like the Second Run DVD catalogue…

The Last Ambient Hero

Been a big fan since his CASSINI/TRAPPIST-1 last year, discovered his recent THE BIG CHILL was on CD, grabbed it while I could. You can find his output at thelastambienthero.com . It’s all very good. I note now that this photo is not very good. Oh well.

STATUS: 25jul19

Just to join the chorus of pale sweaty Brits, it’s already 32C here, and nothing is going to get done until the heat breaks. But the new issue of THE MODERNIST did arrive. Inbox 12 and seriously nothing is going to get done today don’t even hope.

Library 23jul19

I am way behind on logging these for myself and starting to forget things. Very bad.

If you didn’t buy CALIGULA by LINGUA IGNOTA this month then you are doing it wrong.

It’s a hell of an experience. Hope to write a bit more about it soon.

Almost all the Laraaji stuff I immediately thought I needed to own in permanent editions. The collab he did with Blues Control is still in the post.

Love this simple, tasteful packaging.

Necessary.

NEVERENDING BLUES, Keijo

What are you doing today, Warren? I’m trying to do damage control in the smoking rubble after a project exploded this week and listening to lo-fi Finnish blues, what about you? (The CD arrived today, thank you IKUISUUS label, you are doing great things)