Given the family atmosphere of the production, you can imagine how hard it is for us to go our separate ways. A regular weekend is bad enough but a long weekend?! Emotions run the gamut from delirium to outright frustration. Don’t believe me. Check out the above pics of my co-workers facing the prospect our having to go our separate ways – however briefly. Carl angry, Ashleigh anxious, Brad’s seeming joy belying a bitter disappointment. And then check out Carl’s reluctant departure for home in the video (note: I‘m interpreting that exasperated sigh at the end as his sad realization that he won‘t be back in the office until next week). Can you imagine a sadder individual?
To tide myself over while I’m away from the office, I bring my work home with me. This way, even though I convey the illusion that I’m at home relaxing, I’m actually still toiling away. Only the setting had changed! That’s the beauty of being a writer – you can work anywhere: at the office, from home, in your car, lying in bed trying to get to sleep, while watching t.v., in the shower, in the bath, in church, while out for dinner, while your significant other is complaining about something you’ve done, in the hospital emergency ward, at a friend’s wedding ceremony, when company’s over, at a dinner party, while someone is telling you about their life-altering trip to Machu Picchu, in a taxi, on set, walking down a corridor in the production office, in a plane, on a train, on a boat, while cooking, in your dreams, while brushing your teeth, while getting dressed, while walking the dogs, while working out, during your uncle’s speech at a family reunion. The possibilities are truly endless! And the best part is that even if you have no desire to write, you’ll be writing anyways because ideas, like alien memes and that new Flo Rida song, are going to be swimming around in your head despite your best efforts to dismiss them. I ask you: Who wouldn’t want to be a writer?!
Speaking of writing – I, uh, actually didn’t do any today. No, not true. Technically, I didn’t put pencil to paper (Actually, I haven’t put pencil to paper since high school. The advent of home computers did away with the needs and, besides, I was always a pen guy. The scratchy-scratch of pointed lead on paper always made my skin crawl. But I disgress.), but I did re-read, and re-read the Atlantis movie outline (titled Stargate Atlantis: the Movie though I think we‘ll eventually go with something a little more dynamic like Destiny of Chaos, Dark‘s Mercy, or The Quickening), made some mental notes, read what Paul has got so far, wrestled with that last unanswered question, started thinking about how to reunite a couple of separated players, thrilled to the diabolical twist, corrected a couple of spelling errors, then set the whole aside so that I could take a break and read a chapter o Jasper Fforde’s The Big Over Easy.
I’m about a hundred pages in and truly loving this book. It’s funny, entertaining, and immensely clever. And it also happens to be up for next week’s book of the month club discussion. Author Jasper Fforde will be fielding reader questions so if you haven’t started reading it yet, there’s still time. And, in case you’re wondering what it’s about, allow me to offer up the following from the publisher:
“It’s Easter in Reading – a bad time for eggs – and the shattered, tuxedo-clad corpse of local businessman Humpty Stuyvesant Van Dumpty III has been found lying beneath a wall in a shabby part of town. Humpty was one of life’s good guys – so who would wnt to knock him off?”
Who indeed? Pick up the book and find out. Says The Observer: “I love it. [It] is great not just because it’s very funny but also because it works properly as a whodunnit. Comic genius.”
Speaking of comics – as I mentioned in my previous posts, I’ve decided to rekindle my love for comics. Well, that’s the plan anyway but I seem to be having trouble finding a spark. The plan is to pick up close to all of the major books being published, read an issue or two, abandon the ones that fail to interest and keep reading the ones that leave me wanting more. Over the course of the past couple of weeks, I’ve picked up about 85 titles (including limited series and one-shots but not including trade paperbacks which I also picked up), read 16, took a pass on 11, really enjoyed one, was impressed enough with another, and am on the fence about three that I’m willing to give another chance. It’s pointless to focus on the books that didn’t thrill me (sadly, one was a title I used to enjoy now with another writer at the wheel, natch), but I will make special mention of Batman: Detective Comics that I did enjoy in the past. I picked up issues 851 and 852, hoping to get back into the swing of things with my favorite caped crusader (I loved Rucka’s gritty storytelling back in the day). I read 851 and was intrigued enough – only to discover the story was to be continued in another title (Batman 684). I moved on to issue 852 and, amazingly, was confronted with a similar situation (“Continued in Batman #685”!). The dreaded crossover! Bane of my existence! I mean, seriously! What’s the point? Why not just start and finish a story within the same title? Or, if it’s a matter of making more sales, make it a bi-monthly title. Don’t leave me to scramble back to my local comic store in search of titles that may or may not still be on the racks. I’m sorry, but this is reason alone for me to drop both Bat titles.
As to what I enjoyed:
Secret Warriors – Nick Fury: Agent of Nothing, Story by Brian Michael Bendis & Jonathan Hickman, Script by Jonathan Hickman, Illustrated by Stefano Caselli.
I know nothing about these characters outside of Nick Fury, and little about recent developments in the Marvel-verse, but I was able to quickly catch up and follow what turns out to be a fairly intricate and engaging storyline involving an on-the-run Fury, an interesting group of heroes, S.H.I.E.L.D., H.A.M.M.E.R., Hydra, political intrigue, and more than a few surprises. Really smart and exceedingly enjoyable. Caselli’s art is an eye-grabber.
Dark Reign: Elektra – Written by Zeb Wells, Illutrated by Clay Mann.
It’s only one issue but so far, so great. Both script and artwork deliver. An injured Elektra falls into the hands of the Harry Osborne-controlled H.A.M.M.E.R. Things look grim for Marvel’s sexiest assassin – until an unexpected guest pays her a visit. I’m cautiously optimistic.
Dark Reign: New Avengers – The Reunion, script by Jim McCann, pencils by David Lopez.
I’ve always been a big fan of hothead Clint Barton (a.k.a. Hawkeye), so imagine my surprise to hear that Marvel had killed him off. And then imagine my surprise to hear they’d resurrected him. No, no, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. While this limited series has a lot to offer, the fact that I didn’t know what the hell was going on half the time made the going a bit rough. Hawkeye is Ronin now? And there’s another Hawkeye? And there’s a new Captain America? And what’s the history between Hawkeye and Mockingbird? I know, I know. Clearly, I’ve been out of the loop for too long. Still, the highpoint for me in the two issues I read is not so much the action hero element but the relationship at the heart of the story.
The Flash: Rebirth – Written by Geoff John, Illustrated by Ethan Van Sciver
I’m really on the fence about this one. For the most part, I had no idea what was going on as we hopped, skipped, and jumped our way through various scenes and characters. Loved the opening but didn’t know how it related to what followed (though I suspect we won’t get an explanation until next issue) and while enjoyed the check-in with the Flash’s rogue’s gallery, I was left with innumerable questions. What was the deal with that kids in the cornfield scene? And, more importantly, while I understand why Barry Allen hasn’t aged (presumably he’s remained as youthful as the day he disappeared into the speed force) but what’s the deal with Iris? Why is she young too? Wouldn’t it have been both unbelievably cool and heartbreaking to have Barry come back to find the love of his life had grown older while he had remained the same age?
Fantastic Four – By Mark Millar & Bryan Hitch.
While I really didn’t like the story (Isn’t it kind of coincidental that the Richards happen to be related to this guy who lives in a tiny village in Scotland that, for generations, has held a terrible secret?), I did love Hitch’s artwork. Also, more than any other super group, I’ve always enjoyed the inner-team dynamics of the FF. The fact that they’re more than just a team but, quite literally, family make this title particularly engaging read. I’ll stick it out for now.