Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Burton Raffel Writer and Translator Passes Away


Sometimes when translators are good they do not get credit for what they do.  They become invisible if their work is great, and only become noticed if they make mistakes or are vocal about making changes from the canon of an accepted piece.  Burton Raffel didn't translate my favorite version  of Beowulf.  But he did make a version available that was accessible and brilliant.  His translations on other works of the era, Lancelot: Knight of the Cart, Perceval the story of the Grail, Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight, were magnificently done in that the works had poetic fiber, and he made certain that the translated versions maintained that, but also revealed themselves as clear to understand for modern readers.

Raffel was also a poet, and writer of prose.  He taught English and Classics in many settings, including overseas, and was made Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities and professor emeritus of English at the University of Louisiana/Lafayette where he taught since 1989.
 

“Quickly, the dragon came at him, encouraged
As Beowulf fell back; its breath flared,
And he suffered, wrapped around in swirling
Flames -- a king, before, but now
A beaten warrior. None of his comrades
Came to him, helped him, his brave and noble
Followers; they ran for their lives, fled
Deep in a wood. And only one of them
Remained, stood there, miserable, remembering,
As a good man must, what kinship should mean.”
― Burton Raffel, Beowulf  


 “Art does not have to be dull, to be effective; the artist does not have to be a bore, to be real.”
― Burton Raffel, 41 Stories




Doom Awaits Us

Timor mortis morte pejor.


Soon we will enter the month
that brings us horror and ends with Halloween.


Prepare yourself. 

To prepare I have been reading from the 451 library from Flame Tree books.  The 451 comes from Fahrenheit 451, and they have assembled a fine assortment of horror.





 I plan to have a contest if all things work for me in the month of October.  There is a chance not, as I have some personal affairs that might affect my being able to do so.  But if I am, a box of reading material might be a reward.

Have a lovely last day of September 2015.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Presenting: Artist Alan Lee


Alan Lee's work was the perfect compliment to the high fantasy writing of JRR Tolkien, Brian Froud and Dennis McKiernan.  Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Giants, Trolls, Towers, Castles, and pristine forests became just some of the many magnificent subjects of his brush.



He is an award winning illustrator from the United Kingdom, having attended Ealing School of Art.   Along with the book illustrations, but Lee worked as a movie concept and story board illustrator.  His work is recognizable everywhere it appears.






















Monday, September 28, 2015

Introducing Jamie Delano

I've interviewed Jamie Delano here, on the first now defunct websites, RobinGoodfellow.net, Popthought.com and I think even Slushfactory (but I might be mis-remembering that.) He is a friend, a mentor from a distance and someone who gave me very well appreciated advice a number of times.

When one of the artists of my first book sent his artwork back he also sent a reworked and rewritten version of my work (seeking a credit by his spouse), and I was stunned.  I had never heard of this happening and none of the other artists had done anything like this.  So I sent out the pics of the artist's work, the rewritten work, and copies of the email exchanges to the five people who were my mentors.  I didn't have a clue what to do, and said to those people I deeply respected whatever you all say I'll do.  Mike Grell offered to commit physical violence upon the artist and his wife.  Tim Truman said send the work back, the guy is a jerk. Bob Giadrosich who was the art director and sort of publisher, (he did a great job on the physical book, and his great amount of the art, but then life issues put a stop to further support) said this is your book as author, what they are doing is a copyright violation.  And Jamie, bless his heart, said, "This fellow seems to be a daft cunt, fuck him."  I hadn't ginned up the conversation with the artist in question.  I simply was hurt and thought wow, maybe I am stupid.  But these mentors and friends let me know, the artist was a daft cunt.  And I needed to know how the real world works.

Jamie is a writer from the UK who had written with Marvel UK and 2000AD both wonderful publishers of comics in the UK.  He was recruited to write for DC Comics with Hellblazer and he blazed a path of darkness that few could predict nor best.  There were many great writers that came over from the UK in the so-called first wave from the UK, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and Jamie.  Of those I like them all, I collect every work of Grant and Jamie.

Follow the many links here, collect his works, and one last thing...  Jamie Delano did some wonderfully dark and thoughtful works for Avatar.  It seems as if that Avatar has collected just about every work they've ever put out, by every talent, but for some reason, Rawbone and Narcopolis have not been collected.  I have no idea why not, I suspect these works would sell better in book form, and am tired of waiting.  So, chop chop, let us have it Avatar!

Lastly... I want to say something important to me... Jamie is a person who has never turned me away when I needed an ear to listen to my questions, never averse to helping me with advice, or just to chat when I was alone in the vacuum of writing without much response from others.  And when I had cancer, Jamie was amongst two or three people who kept in contact constantly making me update him upon my situation.  I more than appreciate his writing, I more than respect him.  I love him.  He is like family.  And I am not ashamed of that.












And now I present a long lost interview from 11 years ago.  It had been lost after three hard drives died, but a person printed it without crediting me and I found it.  So thanks to their theft, it lives again.




JAMIE DELANO INTERVIEW (from 2004)

The writer who made John Constantine come alive, however rudely, is about to return to comics in a major way. He strikes, first with a reprint of his work 20/20 VISIONS and then with a multitude of projects at unnamed publishers to appear throughout the coming months. Jamie Delano was one of the first people I contacted when I started using the internet. His writing made an impact upon me and his immediate responses to my questions made me a greater fan, and I am happy to now after 4 years to call him a friend. This interview follows a much shorter one done in 2002 and a simple web search would reveal where that interview has been posted. This interview was done between February and May of 2004 via email. 


AN: What are your secret origins? What were the circumstances of your early existence and what did you experience that made you Jamie?
 
JD:  My childhood seems pretty distant now: I grew up in 1950s/60s English suburbia, the eldest of three brothers. My father was a sales rep for a construction supply company and my mother what used to be known as a housewife. The wartime and personal insecurities of my parents (my mother in particular was afflicted by a father whose religious monomania warped and made precarious her own childhood)instilled in them a desire to provide a stable and comfortable home in which to raise their family. Neither were the type to take risks - social, economic, or political - and our lives were thus far from adventurous: holidays were regular but domestic, approved hobbies placid and introspective— fishing and reading in my own case; bird-watching and photography in those of my brothers.
 
Like many others of my circumstance I alleviated the endless tedium of this existence through the vicarious adventures of fiction, which in turn seeded my own fantasy double-life. For several years, between the ages of 8 and 11, a close friend and myself operated in our neighbourhood as 5th column agents of the Reich, planned (but never executed) many acts of infrastructure sabotage to lay the empire of boredom low.. Later we managed our own clandestine space exploration programme, reached the far planets before the eagle ever landed. Later still I discovered drugs and significantly enhanced my potential for adventure through exploration of my own dark and mysterious interiors.

AN: You grew up and worked here and there, stole stuff from the library, got stoned, dealt with deep boredom... essentially until you found your writing niche you wandered. Did that wandering lead to you being a more hardened and wise writer?
 
JD: Wandering is not necessarily aimless, just an indirect method of moving from A to B, taking in sites of interest, randomly assuaging curiosity, dallying with the pleasant, abandoning the miserable with alacrity before it mires one in its clay. I think, as a general rule, writers, like teachers, should not practise their vocation until they have put in at least a decade of creative wandering.

AN: How are you as a parent do you think? I mean you are a rebel in your own way,a hippie by your definition, so has it been hard to be a parent with so much need to lay out and uphold boundaries and such?
 
JD: If I ever described myself as a “hippie”, I assume it was intended as a mildly ironic shorthand.
 
These days, I am both a parent and grandparent – neither job is a walk in the park. I never saw the role as authoritarian, rather as that of facilitator and guide for those first steps taken out into the minefield of life. The only boundary for which I have ever encouraged acknowledgment is that between simple good-mannered respect for ones fellow inhabitants of the planet, and the example of crass indifference and abuse provided by the prevalent “culture” we inhabit. I have tried to give my children liberty to discover both the delights and perils of the world, to explore and appreciate its realities, both of pleasure and pain, fear and security. The most important (and arduous) task of a parent is to be there – constantly, and to develop the strength to trust ones children, thus earning their reciprocation. Doesn’t mean you don’t have dark nights of terror when you see them teetering on the abyss’ edge – but so far none of ours are dead or in jail.

AN: What was your favorite moment of parenthood?
 
JD: The look on the face of my young adopted son the first time he summoned the confidence to call me “Daddy”. But enough! This track will lead only into the mire of sentimentality.

AN: You refer to being stoned on your website bio... what is your recreational drug of choice? Why so open about your use? Having mentioned this I must say I have greatly enjoyed painkillers and am addicted to caffeine so I am not altogether different.
 
JD: Might have been “recreational” once, but these days hashish, nicotine and caffeine are the chemical facilitators required daily to produce the physical and mental conditions I need for work – bodily passivity, mental agitation. Once in a while I enjoy the diversion of a psilocybin-powered excursion, and have recently planted a “retirement crop” of peyote. Something to look forward to: plants take at least a dozen years to reach maturity. I don’t proselytize the use of any drug, but I’m not ashamed of my own predilections and see no reason to pretend that I am.


QUESTIONS ABOUT THE WRITING CRAFT

 
AN:  Are writers born or is it a skill learned? I am interested because I see myself as being skilled but not altogether talented. You seem to write just out of primal talent but skilled through years of practice... true?
 
JD: First you have to want to do it – which I guess requires some “genetic” spark – thereafter ones skills are developed by practise, thousands of hours of keyboard angst.

AN: While you write does background music play?
 
JD: In my subconscious, no doubt, but never from the stereo. Too easily distracted toward reverie. My writing requires total immersion in the angst and misery of task.

AN: Does a cat abound on and off your lap?
 
JD: Our cat knows better than to inhale the toxic fug that I exist in. Never gets proximate with my emotional static unless it's starving and neglected by my wife. Which it never is.

AN: Do you write as in a fever favored or touched by the muse or scientifically, with a logical and paced progression not likely to deviate from outline or starting plot?
 
JD: I write like a drunk traversing a nightclub of characters and possibilities of plot, lurching from keystroke to keystroke, traveling hopeful, but still grateful for arrival.

AN: I ask because I am curious about the practise of your craft
 
JD: Me too. It's kind of a curse. Sometimes I hate doing it, but then James Joyce's words kick my ass: "Write, you bastard! What the hell else are you good for."


CAPTAIN BRITAIN

AN: How did you make certain that the Character Captain Britain under your pen and or keyboard did not become a jingoistic patriot in the same light as some critics have considered Captain America?
 
JD: Without wishing to appear fatuous, I just wrote him that way. As someone who has always despised patriotic jingoism (and all dogmas, religious, cultural and political), it was easy.

AN:
Is it possible to be a nationalist without being patriotic or vice-versa?
 
JD: I don’t know. The terms do not compute for me. I’m a flag-burner. Torch all the banners and insignia and discard the ideological hypocrisies they foster. My tribe is better, smarter, more humane than your tribe: I’m gonna fight you to prove it… Schoolyard shit. Grow up, world! Fuck, it’s so boring. That said, people are never happier than when they have an enemy to define them, justify their self-perception, become a focus for their fear and insecurity, so you can’t blame the average schmuck for not evolving beyond his primal instinct. I reserve the majority of my opprobrium for the cynical assholes who callously exploit that human tendency/weakness for their own political and commercial advantage. Professional patriots should be rolled up in their flags and beaten with sticks until they stop squealing.

AN: Compare your run on Captain Britain to Alan Moore’s how were the two runs essentially different?

JD: Job for a critic, really. I’d guess Moore’s stories were carefully plotted for dramatic effect, with the characters acting his lines; whereas mine were hung on a rickety scaffold of happenstance and coincidence with the characters calling the shots.


HELLBLAZER

AN: What story arc of yours was the best of your run ?
 
JD: I think The Fear Machine had the most to say (whether it said it or not is debatable);but the bisected Family Man “arc” was probably the most cohesive.

AN: What writer outside of yourself has become your favorite on Hellblazer?
 
JD: Can’t say – all have brought something of themselves to the job (and paid some kind of blood price, I wouldn’t wonder).

AN: Would you ever return to the book if the opportunity presented itself?
 
JD: I wouldn’t rule it out, but I doubt it.

AN: Why not?
 
JD: That was then, this is now. All things have their time and place. Pick your own cliché.

WORLD WITHOUT END

AN: Was World Without End an anti male diatribe of sorts waiting to be heard or an epic poem on your part that came to us in the form of comics? I think the second whilst others I know think the first.
 
JD: I like the sound of “epic poem” best. “Anti-male”,” misogynist”: both epithets have been applied to WWE, so I guess, whatever game I was playing, I maintained a semblance of balance.
 
As I remember World Without End was an (over) exuberant fantasy allegory of the culturally complex ongoing war between the sexes (fuck – how may wars can we take?) Ultimately it was meant to be a (largely tongue-in-cheek) assault on the dogmas of early-‘nineties sexual polarisation.
 

AN: What was going on in your life at the time to help make the project so powerful?
 
JD: Let your imagination run riot.

AN: Ummm well when I imagine things I think of unlimited piles of mint Jack Kirby comics sorry...

ANIMAL MAN

AN: Were you a vegetarian when writing this book?
JD: Lapsed, I think.
 
AN:
I loved Grant Morrison’s run on Animal Man but it was your run that made it into a book worth collecting every copy of. What was different about your take on the character than all the previous ones? What is the best thing to have happened as a result of the run?
 
JD: Sounds like I’m evading the question, but the truth is I never read any Animal Man (DC Comics) before or since I wrote it, so I have no idea what was different – critic’s job, again. All I can say is that I exploited the opportunity my run on the book afforded me to explore some contemporaneous preoccupations concerning the inter-relationships of organisms and their host planet. I had some fun doing that: I hope it came through to the readers.



THE HORRORIST

AN:
  Working with Lloyd made this series somewhat noir ish in regards to the style. Would you agree that that was the intent and is Lloyd a person with whom you’d like to work again?
 
JD: “Noir” was indeed our intent. We set out to recreate the ambiance of the pulp dime novel in comic form. I think we succeeded, largely as a result of David’s literary/artistic sensitivity and skill.
 
Whoops, I answered that question under the misapprehension you were referring to Night Raven-House of Cards (Marvel UK), which was the first occasion I worked with David. He brought the same sensitivity and skill to The Horrorist (DC Vertigo), although that work was less of an homage. Self-evidently I wanted to work with David again, and did so on The Territory (Dark Horse)

GHOSTDANCING


AN: You are a Brit, so what is with your fascination with Native Americana? 

JD: US culture was the one preeminently influential in the 20thC – and it’s kicked off strong in the 21st. Its earlier treatment of the people and land it conquered and displaced whilst struggling toward latent maturity gives some insight into (and warning of) of its innate voracity. A lot of people in the world feel like “injuns” now.


THE TERRITORY

AN: I consider this work by you to be a lost gem, most people I know who like your work missed it when it came out and with David Lloyd art it is BRILLIANT. I wonder why you think audiences might have missed the boat and is there any hope of it seeing trade paperback in the future?
 
JD: Glad you liked it, but I suspect that the book, as David and I delivered it, was not considered a strong commercial prospect and suffered from critical and marketing neglect. The prospect of a TPB is a slim, I fear. That ball is entirely in the publisher’s hands – give them a call and see what they say.

BAD BLOOD

AN: An aged Constantine returns to find a royal “situation” and raises hell like always. Were you writing yourself here? Crusty good hearted old fart taking on the overdue crisis of the crown and corruption?
 
JD: Crusty and good-hearted I’ll accept under protest, but I resent the “old fart”. Didn’t you hear? Fifty is the new teenage.   Bad Blood set out to be a satire on “royal conspiracy” and the eery (but fortunately short-term) hysterical post-mortem beatification of the sadly dead, sad ex-wife of a miserable would-be king – then Constantine came on board and threw his own crazy spanner in the works.


HELL ETERNAL
 
AN: I have heard some say that this was your moment of reveling to revel in darkness. Do you think this book was unnecessarily dark or evil and what was your take on the book at the time?
 
JD: I don’t recall much reveling in the writing of Hell Eternal. As for ” unnecessarily dark and evil” Take it up with God – or whichever “Big Scriptwriter in the sky” you care to hold responsible. 80% of Hell Eternal is true story, the rest “dramatic extrapolation” to fill in the gaps in the reportage and satisfy the qualms of lawyers. I was commissioned to rewrite the story for film a couple of years ago, but don’t hold your breath – the project is out of my hands now and mired in some development hell.

OUTLAW NATION 

AN: I am amongst those who believe this series was under promoted, lost amongst the average crap and deserving of much more credit and success than it actually won. What were the factors that played into the work not reaching a large enough audience and tell us much more, if you would about the Johnsons?
 
JD: Blame for the premature demise of Outlaw Nation is largely mine. I deliberately chose not to write it in "arcs" in favor of a truly on-going free-form — almost shapeless — drama of chance and improvisation. In a continuing series, I suggest, it is the protagonist’s protracted odyssey that is important. To arrive is to end the story, and that prospect should loom over vague distant horizons. I designed Outlaw Nation more as a saga, or soap, with a large theme and slowly developing and interlacing plotlines, than as a series of episodic adventures. A reckless strategy, but one embarked upon under assurance that the series would be collected from the start in six-issue volumes to accommodate "new reader access" and hopefully reach that more "mature" audience who, I suspected, were tired of reading their graphic fiction in monthly installments, packaged amongst offensive “Army Of One” US military recruitment advertising. Unfortunately this “assurance” was negated by a publishing policy Catch 22: initial sales too low to justify the trade paperbacks needed to swell the numbers to profitability. Consequently the book endured an inevitable spiraling towards entropy, and the waste of a lot of strong characters and creative energy.
 
Derived from a 19th Century slang term for hobos and petty thieves -- "Johnsons" were characterized by Jack Black in his 1926 autobiography as a society of "yeggs" -- outlaws and small-time crooks -- who were nonetheless honorable in their dealings with one another and always ready to help out those in trouble.
 
Black's concept of the Johnson Family was inspirational to William S. Burroughs, who developed his own inimitable version in "The Place Of Dead Roads." Burroughs' "Johnsons" are a society of homosexual gun-fighting youth assassins waging a ruthless war on the law-makers who persecute those engaged in "victimless" crime, and on all interfering busybodies. To Burroughs, a person is either a "Johnson" or a "shit" - and I always admired the irrational simplicity of that. But to me it's more complicated than just "good guys" and "bad guys". A Johnson would always instinctively choose to do "the right thing". He'd like to mind his own business, avoid judgment on others, never interfere unless asked for help -- but the Shits always outnumber the Johnsons: and identifying with a minority inevitably leads to withdrawal, isolationism, a siege mentality, bitterness and paranoid self-righteousness.
 
So the Johnsons in OUTLAW NATION are different again. Drawing, I hope respectfully, on the established tradition, my Johnsons are members of a larger-than-life, semi-immortal family of mythic outlaw anti-heroes whose experience spans three centuries of American "history". The main protagonist of the book, 100 year-old Story Johnson, MIA in Vietnam since the ‘seventies, returns to the USA at the Millennial start of the story, revisits his own 20th Century Highway 61, treads that cultural road in an attempt to understand the 21st Century America into which it leads him.
 
I put a lot of energy into Outlaw Nation. I miss writing it, but it’s water under the bridge, now. I may reprint as a collection in the future, but although sometimes tempted, I doubt I will resurrect the characters. 
 
BATMAN

AN: I just read Legends of the Dark Knight # 64 Terminus and all I can say is yo Delano belongs on Batman. So I have to say that you're a talented sonuvabitch.
 
JD: Thanks, but my mom says: "fuck you!" ...  I had three flirtations with the fascistic Batman in my career. First was a prose story for a kid's Batman annual published under license in the UK (1983: featured The Joker, I think). Then Batman/Manbat, as it came to be called, which still sells a few from year to year - and finally the Terminus story that you mention.

PLAYS 

AN: You have said that the two or three years out of comics has been spent writing screenplays and plays... could you tell my readers about their subject matter and if we shall ever get a chance to see them?

JD: I’ve been finding a few ways to occupy my time – more outside of comics than in. In between building an extension to my house I have completed a comic miniseries for Avatar Press (see below); an as yet unadopted original screenplay called “Dizzy” – a UK set near-future fiction of party drugs, romance and terrorist assassination in a world divided by cultural/economic war; a couple of chapters of a non-genre novel called Peace”; a zero budget DV short called “Brick on Brick” – one man’s interior reaction to the build up to war; some “experimental” computer composed “music”; and many satisfactory late-night navel-gazing sessions.


AVATAR

AN: Tell us about your upcoming Avatar Press comic and when we can expect for it to come out please?
 
JD: “Narcopolis” is a four-part miniseries – a “science fiction” allegory set in a vast island city state whose inhabitants – coerced by “Terror”, real and imagined – sleepwalk into totalitarianism. A talented guy called Jeremy Rock is drawing it , excellently, but very slowly. I’d like to say he’ll be done sometime this year, but I can’t guarantee it.

20/20 VISIONS


AN: 20/20 VISIONS is coming out from Cyberosia very soon, When 20/20 visions first came out it was at a time when fear over the y2k was on folks mind and as such many saw this work in a light of a paranoid fear of the millennium. Did the millennium falsely enhance your work, or in collected state should we expected to dig up new and more interesting tidbits?
 
JD: Although not published until 1998, 2020 was actually designed and written around 1994/95 and inspired by my personal preoccupations of that time: mutant superbugs - viruses both biological and digital; economic and political polarisation; the tendency for the USA - deprived of it’s traditional 20th C Soviet enemy – to focus its fear on “enemies within”; reproductive rights and their commercialization/politicization… to name a few. As for “Millennial paranoia” – shit, man, the 21st C ain’t showing us many beacons of hope so far.
I’m very happy with Cyberosia’s collection of this series – even in black and white the art stands up well, and the work was designed from the start to be read as a collection. Four self contained three-part stories comprise the saga of three-generations scattered across a disunited states of America.


JAMIE DELANO WEBSITE

AN: I noticed that you upgraded the graphics and such on www.Jamiedelano.co.uk. Are you anywhere near what you imagined doing with the site as when it began?
 
JD: Yeah, learning the software and using it to redesign the site was another work avoidance tactic, I suspect. Took weeks. There are lots of things I’d like to do with the site – not least keep up my hopelessly sporadic online journal—but life is short and I am very lazy, and sometimes I’d rather just play with the grand-kids than splatter more web space with words. I will get back to it soon though.

FUTURE PROJECTS

AN: What are your upcoming projects outside of those already discussed?
 
JD: I’m working on outlines for comic projects for several independent US publishers at the moment, and one for a European house with Goran Sudzuka of Outlaw Nation renown – but to give more details at this stage would be premature. I’m also talking to UK producers this week about another screenplay; and my novel is ongoing.



POLITICS

AN: You are active in the peace movement vis-a-vis the Iraq invasion, why? Wasn’t Saddam Hussein evil and deserving of being deposed?
 
JD: “Active” overstates it; and my futile protests – sullen marches through police-coralled streets of London – were an independent snarl in the face of the perpetrators of a war that was inevitable from the moment Bush and his NeoCon ideologues stole political control of sole superpower America. I don’t consider myself part of any “movement”. 

Evil is a word debased through overuse. Saddam Hussein was a ruthless, vicious, cruel, tyrant – just like hundreds of others around this benighted globe. For many years he operated with “our” (US) permission – just like hundreds of others. Then he got carried away, assumed he had permission to annexe Kuwait, found himself, first “monstered” (justifiably), then militarily squashed and neutered, contained, the Iraqi people bombed and sanctioned for ten years by the “Coalition” under UN cover. Iraqi Shiites tried to depose him, we left them twisting in the breeze, filling mass graves. Along come the NeoCons: Okay, that’s all in the past, we’re gonna do the right thing now, they say. Never mind we’re gonna do it for all the wrong reasons, the end justifies the means. So we’ll scare are own citizens with hyperbolic WMD threats and spurious links to Al Qaeda; shock and awe Iraqi children (already starved and dying of cancer from depleted Uranium weapons of Gulf War One); kill ten thousand civilians and never bother to count them; lock up, hold incommunicado, beat, savage with dogs, sodomise, rape and photograph detainees - 80 to 90 percent of whom Military Intelligence concedes were wrongfully arrested in the frst place - and excuse this by claiming that Saddam did worse… On top of this we’ll privatise security and interrogation, unleash mercenary “civilian contractor” dogs of war to milk misery for massive profit. Then we’ll privatise Iraqi industry and resources, hand over “power” to a puppet regime, garrison our new resource-strategic territory indefinitely with 130,000 troops and call it democratic liberation.

So they chased Saddam into a hole in the ground and made him show us his teeth. Job done, blood-lust exercised, brat slapped down. Now the Coalition should get the hell out of there and let the Iraqis rebuild their homes and country the way they want it to be. And while we’re at it, the US should get its tanks and airplanes out of the hundred plus other “sovereign” nations it garrisons around the world, draw in its horns, reflect on the nature of its self-image in humility for a while. Might find a few more people with it, rather than agains it if it did.

Coalition of the willing? Makes me sick and ashamed to be British.

AN: Who should I vote for in 2004?
 
JD: I doubt that it matters: but you’ll probably find you’ve been electronically disenfranchised because you have the same hat-size as a child-raper from Baghdad, California.

AN: True or false: you will not visit the USA with GW Bush in office?
 
JD:  True. I visited just post 9/11 to pay my respects, planned to return to celebrate my fiftieth year fulfilling a long-held ambition to drive coast-to-coast with an American friend. Iraq and pervasive sentiment of fear and hate seeping from your nation via its administration killed my desire for the open road. But surprise me in November, and I may feel the tug of “freedom” again.

ODDS AND ENDS

AN: What is your favorite meal? 

JD: Coffee.

AN: Constantine meets Baker and they fight, who wins and how?  

JD:  Constantine blows smoke up Buddy’s ass – Baker smiles and acknowledges John’s superiority.

AN: Blair versus Thatcher in a no holds barred match who wins and how?  

JD: Blair calls in a favor and the CIA pull a wet job on the wizened old monster.

AN: Thanks Jamie, you are awesome!! 

JD:  I don’t know whether to feel flattered or defamed, but you’re welcome. 
Jamie Delano, Middle England, May 12, 2004


Friday, September 25, 2015

Spotlight upon: Horror and Comics Painter Dan Brereton



I was first exposed to the work of Dan Brereton with his painted work on the awesome mini-series Black Terror from Eclipse Comics.  Written by Beau Smith and Chuck Dixon, the work was moody, dark, and really hard hitting.  I didn't quite know what to make of Brereton's art.  The figures and shadows, the colors and anatomy were all fine.  I had no issue with the overall look, but, as you can see here, as you click each image, the art is distinctive, and, there is no one else in comics or art in general who paints works that looks like Brereton's work.  That to me is a positive thing.  But, as you might expect, the cookie cutter popular culture does not find it easy to find a fit for his work.  Rather than change the art though, I highly appreciate the using the art when the story and product is right.  The genre Brereton seems perfect for is horror.  I own his work, so I do consider myself a fan.  Not a fan in the sense of buying everything blindly, but close.

He has a website where you can keep track of his work, his appearances and his various media and I suppose auctions.  If you like his work go to Dan  Brereton





The comic Giantkiller was written by Dan Brereton as well as illustrated by the man.  I loved it.  And, without cast aspersions elsewhere, a movie about a certain ocean rim, involving monsters and robots reminds me A LOT of the look and feel of this.  Not enough to be a clean swipe mind you, but if you liked Pacific Rim, you should like this. Or maybe it is just me.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

In Celebration of the works of: Artist TIM WHITE

Because one of my favorite authors is Alan Dean Foster, and another is HP Lovecraft, I was exposed to the work of Tim White.  I loved his work, and soon began to seek it out. That is a very common occurrence, you begin one pastime and it intersects with another, and then you've enlarged your area of interests.  In my case, I thought some of the Tim White work I liked was Michael Whelan's (a future spotlight) due to the color use, and liked very much the covers of another set of books, the Cthulhu/Lovecraft books, and didn't recognize the work as Tim White.  So, for me, I was enjoying the work of Mr. White in one area, but also, two other areas, simultaneously.  I encourage you to click the pics to enlarge them, and just take a look at how bloody awesome, huge, insanely detailed, thought provoking, brilliant they are.

Tim White
Born 1952, UK

Painter illustrator, book covers and interiors

Encyclopedia entry at ISFDB

The Science Fiction and Fantasy World of Tim White (1981)
Mouches (1983)
Chiaroscuro (1988)

Visit Tim White's personal Website








This is perhaps my favorite science fiction based artwork ever,