Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Engineering and more.

Had a customer call yesterday who just got back from the San Diego International Con.

He was all charged up and excited.

Comics can seem like a lonely activity around here. A few guys looking at any one time. It's just part of the small town and single comic shop atmosphere.

So it's always cool when someone goes to a convention and sees thousands of other people like themselves.

In this case, 250,000 people!

Too many for me.

Speaking of customers calling. Had a request for a manga called New Engineering. Looked interesting, so I ordered it. Seems very avant garde.

Other new titles this week:

Reorders of:

Dark Knight Returns (Frank Miller's classic take...)
The Killing Joke (Alan Moore's classic take...)\
The Man Who Laughs.

Astonishing X-Men TP #1-4. Joss Whedon writes the most reader friendly, non-continuity laden X-Men series.

Army @ Love TP. #2; a satire of selling war as a brand. Or....maybe not a satire....

Bookhunter: Interesting indy that I haven't been able to get a reorder.

Korgi 1 and 2. Yep, about a dog.

Alex Raymond, His Life and Art. The golden age Flash Gordon artist. I'm a sucker for expensive art books.

Art of Alberto Ruiz. Pin-up art.

Buffy Omnibus's 1 and 2. There are 4 of these Buffy books, collecting all the previous stories.
(Also got a reorder of Buffy, Season Eight; Joss Whedon's continuation, with "unlimited special effects budget...")

Forgotten Realms Vol. 7. Salvatore's popular series, in graphic novels.

Graphic Classics: Arthur Conan Doyle. I love the idea of graphic novel adaptations of classics. Even if they don't sell all that great.

Journey. I read these adventures of Wolverine McAlistaire, by William Messner-Loeb many years ago. I enjoy stories of early Western lore -- really, pre-gunfighter type westerns. A different feel.

Hellboy and Heroes TP's restocks.

Pigeons From Hell: Lovecraftian story by Conan creator Robert E. Howard. I just love the title.

Planet Earth Monopoly Set.

Restocks of all the Star Wars Legacy Graphic Novels. These are inked by local, Dan Parsons, who is also going to be doing the Clone Wars comics from the movie. I think it may be time to ask him to come in a do a signing this September.

Robots and Donuts. Another great title.

Weird-Oh's Models. I loved these when I was a kid.

And much much more.

On Wednesday.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"Parker" by "Richard Stark"

O.K. This is fun.

I've been on a quest for some time now to track down all the original "Parker" (no first name) novels by Richard Stark. These were potboilers written by Donald Westlake.

Thing is, I've tried reading the Westlake novels starring Dormunder several times, and it just wasn't my cup of tea.

But the Parker novels. Fun and quick and intriguing. He's a bank robber, no apologies. A pro.

Of course, the most famous manifestation of Parker was Lee Marvin in Point Blank. One of the all time great 'noir' movies, though I don't think it's aged very well.

Ironically, Mel Gibson was raked over the coals for coming up with his own version of Parker, Payback, which was really much closer in tone and style to the original novels.

Anyway, fan favorite artist, Darwyn Cooke is going to be adapting the Parker novels, and I'm kinda excited by it. This is one of the synchronistities that make me believe I'm in the right business....

See....the real irony....the Parker novels have been out of print for a long, long time. Don't know why. But I just can't buy any. A few have been reprinted under the Hard Case Crime imprint, but I can only find one for sale.

This seems to happen a lot in book publishing. Seems strange to me, but there it is.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"That Fu#%@%#ing Flowers...."

I'm cheating a bit here, reviewing before I've read the last 30 pages. But there is a reason -- I have no idea who the killer is. And that's pretty rare in a mystery these days.

This book features the character Virgil Flowers (or the running joke in all the "Prey" books, 'That fucking Flowers....")

Good move on Sandford's part. I think the Lucas Davenport character is getting tired, and the author has been mailing it in. Flowers is more interesting, maybe because he's new. But he also doesn't carry all the baggage that Davenport has, which has become a distraction. (Him being rich, and a software developer, and friends of the rich and famous and lowlifes, and a ladies man and a devoted husband, and some kind of loose cannon, and smart and dangerous and charming and generally too good to be true, and..........just what the hell is he?!)

Sandford has an easy style, and is a fast read.

Which sometimes is just what the doctor ordered.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Crazy Days Sale

Sidewalk sale.

We're putting a bunch of hardcovers for 1.00 and paperbacks for .50.

Good books, too.

Linda gets an excess of good books, and we'd like them to find a good home.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Portland is the Hollywood of comics."

In case any of you missed the article in the Oregonian today about comics and movies from Portland.

Just as an correction to the rosy view contained, I've included a picture of Fortune and Glory, which is about Brian Bendis's adventures in Hollywood which I think made me feel like I never want to go near the place.

But good for Mike Richardson.

Hollywood says hurray for Portland comic books
Local creators are following "Hellboy" to an eager Tinsel Town
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The Oregonian Staff

If there were any doubts about the hottest trend in movies, they were crushed like a Gotham City police car last weekend. "The Dark Knight," the latest interpretation of the Batman saga, swooped off with 158.3 million box-office dollars, the highest weekend opening ever, according to Variety.

The superhero sensation is the most dramatic demonstration yet that movies are cashing in as never before on stories from comic books and graphic novels.

While "The Dark Knight" is adapted from the venerable DC Comics franchise, Hollywood's growing infatuation with comics has spread north. Portland's thriving community of comics creators and publishers -- including Dark Horse Comics, Oni Press and Top Shelf Productions -- is playing a major role in feeding the silver screen's voracious appetite.

"Portland," says Eric Gitter, Oni Press' L.A.-based producing partner, "is the Hollywood of comic books."

The week before Batman and the Joker commandeered the nation's cineplexes, the No. 1 movie in the country was "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," adapted from the comics series published by Milwaukie-based Dark Horse Comics. Although it fell from its perch in the "Dark Knight" onslaught, even a brief stay on top can do wonders for your visibility, Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson says.

"My phone's been ringing," Richardson says. "Lots of people have been calling and saying, 'Congratulations! Oh, and by the way, I have a project . . .' "

Although publishers won't reveal exactly how much money such Hollywood deals add to their revenue stream, Richardson says the movie connection may account for Dark Horse's sales records for three consecutive years. "We're heading for another record this year, despite the economy," Richardson says. Dark Horse Entertainment has offices at Universal Studios and Sunset Gower Studios in Los Angeles and is developing a slate of productions.

Portland's Oni Press, with several projects in development, has added staff. "We're at seven people now in Portland and two in L.A.," Oni Press co-founder Joe Nozemack says.

Local comics publishers aren't necessarily driving Jaguars and rolling in dough, Nozemack says. "You're not looking at serious amounts of money until the films are actually made. But the money that creators get for option rights gives them the freedom to do their own thing rather than working on somebody else's characters."

The comics-to-movie frenzy will only escalate this week, when San Diego Comic-Con International starts. The Thursday-to-Sunday convention is the largest annual pop culture event in the world, attracting some 125,000 people. The conference is also ground zero for whipping up fan support of comics-based movie and TV projects.

Portland-area publishers will be out in force at "the Con," a place where deals get made and buzz gets built. Brett Warnock of Top Shelf recalls the company debuted "The Surrogates," a five-issue miniseries, at the Con two years ago.

"Immediately we had interest from various parties," says Warnock, who wanted to turn the story into a film. It's shooting now in the Boston area, with Bruce Willis in the lead role.

Other examples of Portland-published comics coming to screens near you are "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," from the series published by Oni Press, scheduled to start shooting this fall under the direction of Edgar Wright; and "Whiteout," from the Oni Press graphic novel by Portlanders Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber, scheduled to open Sept. 19.

Those films are just the start. Dark Horse and Oni both have several more projects in development. With writers and artists moving to Portland every day, comics are shaping up as the city's newest natural resource.

Dark Horse is Portland's comics publishing pioneer, and it was the first to enter the movie business. Building on the success of its creator-friendly approach -- Dark Horse artists could own the rights to their characters, in a change from industry tradition -- the company started its entertainment arm in 1992. After developing two dozen film and TV projects, Dark Horse Entertainment took an even bigger step into Hollywood in March with a three-year deal with Universal Pictures.

Dark Horse and Universal are in the process, Richardson says, of picking projects to develop. Though Richardson prefers not to discuss specific movies until they have the green light to go into production, a number of titles have been optioned -- in other words, a producer or studio has paid for the right to make the comic into a movie. Whether the movie ever gets made is subject to all sorts of variables.

Among the Dark Horse projects: "R.I.P.D.," about a team of "undead police officers," to be directed by David Dobkin ("Wedding Crashers"); "The Ark," which mixes UFOs and Noah's Ark; "Rex Mundi," set in an alternate past in which the Catholic Inquisition still rages, to be produced by Johnny Depp's company (and, maybe, star Depp himself); and "The Goon," an animated version of Eric Powell's stories, to be produced by director David Fincher ("Fight Club").

And, Richardson adds, "I hope that we'll be discussing 'Hellboy III.' It's way too early to say if there will be a third one, and (director) Guillermo del Toro is very important to that. But we're talking."

Comic book artists -- and, eventually, small comics companies -- followed Dark Horse to Portland. And now they're following the company to Hollywood. Hot on Dark Horse's heels is Oni Press, which has been racking up movie deals at a breathtaking pace.

"Yeah, it's been an interesting few months," says Nozemack, who helped start Oni Press in 1997. Oni's output is eclectic. For example, the hit "Scott Pilgrim" series, by Bryan Lee O'Malley, is about an underemployed 23-year-old who falls for a young woman, but to win her he must defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends. Not exactly superhero-with-a-cape material.

For director Edgar Wright, the Englishman who made the acclaimed zombie comedy "Shaun of the Dead," the "Scott Pilgrim" combination of "flights of fancy coupled with very mundane kinds of situations" reminded Wright of his own work. "The dialogue, the characters, the style of it is something I can develop in live action and take it to another sort of stage that comics can't," he says.

Other Oni-to-movie properties in development are "Resurrection"; "The Leading Man"; "The Damned"; "Maintenance"; "Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things"; "The Last Call"; and "Three Days in Europe," a romantic action-adventure with Jennifer Garner and Hugh Jackman set to star.

Since teaming with Oni in 2003, Gitter has seen interest in comics-based material soar in Hollywood.

"When you're in this town, you see a lot of the same types of stories over and over again," Gitter says. He wanted to team with Oni, he recalls, because "I felt like there was this world out there that we could be tapping into for fresher choices. Movies and comics are both visual storytelling."

Comics first, movies later

Hollywood's ardent embrace of comics has inspired some publishers to print comics with the idea of selling them for films. Walt Disney Studios has helped launch Kingdom Comics, which is charged with developing graphic novels to create film projects for the studio.

Comics veterans, however, say that puts the cart before the horse. Brett Warnock of Top Shelf Productions says in an e-mail, "While of course we're all about optioning our comics to other media, we NEVER make comics solely to pimp for that purpose. We make comics for comics, not TV or film."

But the upside of having your comic made into a film is considerable. What did movie version of "Hellboy" do for its creator, former Portlander Mike Mignola?

"It makes a heck of a lot more people aware that there is something called 'Hellboy,' and hopefully they get curious and look at your book," Mignola says. "There's so much stuff out there that having a movie is like having a giant spotlight in your stuff."

Steve Lieber, who illustrated "Whiteout," writes in an e-mail that "in the short time since the movie version was announced, the new edition of the two 'Whiteout' books have already sold more copies than the old ones did over the past eight years. And they haven't even started promoting the movie yet."

Speaking for many of his colleagues, Lieber adds: "I hope the movie does well, but at the end of the day, I'm a comic book illustrator. And what I want is more people reading our comic."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Penguin Books

I've mentioned before, that at least while I'm getting started in this process of becoming a bookstore, I've decided to eschew the 'best-seller', 'trendy', 'Book Sense', aspects of most independents, and go with the quirky, the unique, the books I've read and can recommend, books that other people love and recommend, books that people ask for but never come in used, books that people can't find.

Classics are a big part of that.

I think I've found a new trick. Plug in a classic author, say Charles Dickens, or Mark Twain, and then plug in the word Penguin, and up pops all the classic, classy, and moderately priced Penguin editions. Which most readers recognize as quality.

Doing that with every order, now. Yesterday it was Dickens and Twain. Next time it might be Robert Louis Stevenson or Tolstoy.

Meanwhile, I still find enough books to pluck out of the ether to fill my orders. In fact, I blew my entire budget yesterday on just replacing sold books and a few quirky choices.

This is my favorite part of being a bookstore, even if I'm not able to read every book. I've found I'm way more influenced by covers than I would have thought -- unique and interesting covers, or titles or subjects.

I'm going to be very interested to see where this all leads.

Monday, July 21, 2008

American Flagg

AMERICAN FLAGG, by Howard Chaykin, 1983.

When I first bought the store, I wasn't into comics. I went on a reading spree, and slowly acquired the taste -- or more, recollected how much I used to like the taste.

But it wasn't until I read American Flagg and Swamp Thing that I understood the full potential of the form. (Swamp Thing was a toss away title that DC gave to a newcomer by the name of Alan Moore -- who went on to do V for Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell, and the Watchmen.)

They are finally releasing a collection of the American Flagg series; and I'll be interested to see if it was as prescient as I remember. (The U.S. consists of corporate malls -- where everyone lives and shops....)

Also this week:

Comic Book Tattoo SC
Daredevil #109
2009 Dragon Calendar
Dmz #33
Flight GN 05
Gon Vol. 5
Hack Slash Annual Suicide Girls
I Killed Adolf Hitler
Invincible #51
Korgi GN Vol 02
Mad Magazine
New Avengers 343
Scud the Disposable Assassin TP
Serenity (restock)
Star Wars Legacy #26 (inked by local Dan Parsons)
Superman #678
Ultimate X-Men #96
Uncanny X-Men #500!!
X-Files Special

And of course much more.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Who watches the Watchmen?

Now that the Watchmen trailer is out, I thought I'd remind everyone that we are well stocked with this graphic novel, which no matter how good the movie proves to be, is a hell of a read and cannot possibly be contained in a single movie.

Postscript: Sold the Heath Ledger Joker bust within the first hour on Friday. But then stocked up on a really cool Joker vs. Batman statue that a customer had, and several more Black and White interpretive statues, and got another 1/2 sized Batman Head, that is a companion to the Joker Head (below) that is coming in September.

Also, I recommend the Joker's Greatest Stories, and the Killing Joke. And I personally enjoy the All-Star Batman and Robin, by Frank Miller and Jim Lee, which is controversial.

I don't know what to say. As I mentioned below, I think there are a number of themes and motif's in the movie that are well represented in the graphic novels.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Stand.

After a strong showing with The Dark Tower I series, and a not quite as strong but still pretty good showing with DT 2; Marvel is offering an adaptation of The Stand.

This used to be one of my favorite books.

Used to be because, like my love of David Brin's The Postman, my love was diluted by subsequent ham-fisted movie and T.V. adaptations.

Still, I'm going to be reading this, and hoping they can capture Stephen King's doomed aura. To me, this is the best King book, not the DT.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Joker Bust.

I ordered this Joker bust as a companion to the half-sized Batman bust. It's the more 'classic' version of the Joker, if you will. It's not coming out for awhile. Amazingly, I sold the Batman, if at a third off due to some 'glueing' problems.

At the last minute, I ordered a smaller Heath Ledger style bust. Which I got in.

This week, I decided it wasn't ghoulish to get a 'Heath' Joker, but a tribute. Tried ordering more of them. But they're all gone.

This is one of those situations that happen where I actually have a bust in stock and I'll have dozens of people think about buying it and walk away and I don't like to manipulate people by saying "Buy it now or forever hold your peace!" even though in this case its true and then someone will finally and begrudgingly buy it and they'll never realize they got lucky and then all the people who walked away will come back and it will be gone and they'll be mad at me for not having enough and not understand that I can't order more but "I'm sure they'll satisfy demand eventually" I'll tell them and DC will rush out a replacement but by then you won't be interested anymore and I'll have to stare at Heath's Ledgers doomed face for a year or two.

And I need say nothing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Recommended site.

A short post to recommend a website I've found that posts wonderful art on a regular basis, most of which isn't available in book form that I know of.

It's really all kinds of wonderful illustrative art, not just comics.

I still don't know how to hypertext a link, but here is the title of the blog, so by all means google it.

Golden Age Comic Book Stories.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New this Week.

Acquire Board Game. One of those classic Bookshelf games coming back.
Angel: After the Fall Hdc. Joss Whedon penned story, all in one book.
Astonishing X-Men #25, reorder. The beginning of Warren Ellis run.
Batgirl #1
Captain America #40
Conan the Cimmerian #1.
New writer and artist, new story.
Dark Knight the Joker Bust. Scary, creepy Heath Ledger likeness.
Doctor Grordborts Contrapulatronic Dingus Director: Companion book to my $700.00 raygun.
Gentleman Jim
Incredible Hercules #119
Iron Man #31
Moon knight #20
Mice Templar #5
Swamp Demon:
Killer Frazetta cover.
Marvel 1985: Marvel villains invade the 'real' world of 1985.
Spike: After the Fall. Another Buffy spinoff, because we can't have too many of those.
Universal War.
Zot: Complete stories.

And much much more. Arriving Wednesday.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Image fest.

Had a real image fest yesterday.

First went to see The Fall. Linda and I had both loved the imagery in The Cell, so expected a real treat. I was a little surprised by the gentle nature of the movie -- which contained a core of realism with a beautiful fantasy story.

The imagery was fantastic, the little girl who so wonderfully mangles the story in her mind, coming out with a mix of cultures and symbols, was charming.

It didn't quite have the emotional depth I hoped for: but I would've watched this movie with the sound off, I think. (Indeed, I went to the movie expecting no real story, just images, and only got my hopes up for an emotionally satisfying movie after I started watching it.)

It has a bit of leisurely pace, and though it's told from a child's viewpoint, it has violence and death. Kind of a mix between The Princess Bride and Pan's Labyrinth. (Though not as good as either -- a smaller movie, despite the images.)

Speaking of Pan's Labyrinth. We then drove across town to see Hellboy 2, which was much faster paced, an action flix with a heart. Linda and I have always liked Ron Perlman, ever since Beauty and the Beast days. (I informed her that the guiding force behind that show was none other than our favorite fantasy writer, George R.R. Martin).

It's amazing how much fantasy and comics have pervaded popular culture -- without much real awareness on the part of the public, I think, who just take it all for granted. I've always wished that Hellboy graphic novels would become a hit, too, because of their beautiful Gothic art. Mignola was co-writer of the movie, and it contains a great deal of his sensibilities. Equally good, maybe better in some ways, is his B.P.R.D. stories -- which have the characters in the movies, plus many others. It think seeing characters like Abe Sapien and Johann is probably the most satisfying part.

There was a big 'Producer' credit for Mike Richardson again, and Linda and I talked about how much he has become Hollywood, and wondered how central he is to the whole process. I started to talk about Barbwire again, and Linda told me something I didn't know. I had always assumed that Mike Richardson had forgotten where he got the name Barbwire (Linda had told him of a dream she'd had where the main character was named Barbwire) but Linda told me he had asked her if he could use the name. He may have forgotten where he got it, but apparently Linda had said go for it. Other than the name, he didn't actually take any of the ideas.

It's our little in-joke.

Hell, Mike didn't even take any credit for creating The Mask for a long time. (He told me that the writers of the comics and the movie had taken it so much farther....but still....)

But it shows how small a world it is, and how a casual conversation can have unexpected results.

Friday, July 11, 2008

William Gibson and Neal Stephenson.

I hate to say it, but I think William Gibson may be a one trick pony.

Neuromancer was a revelation. I don't know if Gibson created the cyber terms we use today, or was just responsible for their wide usage. But a fun and interesting book, if a little difficult to read.

His next 3 books were equally good. But....pretty much the same book.

His last two books, Pattern Recognition and Spook Country are set in the present to near future, and I've had a difficult time getting into them.

He has an oblique style, coming at things sidewise, never really explaining. Which is O.K. if the payoff is there. He throws out brand names and new technology -- but it comes across as desperately hip to me now, as if he's gleaned all the fresh concepts and words off the net.

Contrast Gibson to Neal Stephenson, who maybe didn't create cyberpunk, but who wrote the quintessential cyberpunk book: Snowcrash. Then moved on to a Victorian flavored S.F. book, Diamond Age, which seems to me the quintessential steampunk book; and then wrote his own near future novel, Cryptonomicon.

It seems to me that Stephenson tackles bigger subjects, in more depth, and more entertainingly than Gibson. He's matured as a writer, where Gibson seems to have reached his limits.

Stephenson's Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World) is a magnificent trilogy, and I breezed through the 1000 pages of each. Didn't understand all the science and philosophy, mind you, but enjoyed the story and maybe, just maybe, picked up a few mind expanding concepts.

I really need to plow through Spook Country and Pattern Recognition before I come to any final conclusions.

But there it is -- just the fact that I feel as though I need to "plow" through the books shows the problem.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Whither 40K?

Without great fanfare or to-do (unless you consider this blog fanfare and to-do) I am going to start carrying Warhammer 40,000.

As anyone who has been reading my Best Minimum Wage Job a Middle Aged Guy Ever Had blog knows, I've been struggling with this choice for a couple of years now, or at least since Gambit Games went out of business.

This is one of those times when all the roadblocks that once seemed so insurmountable have suddenly disappeared.

The time is right.

5th Edition is being released this Saturday. I can simply pick up each new release as they come out, instead of trying to go backward, trying to figure out what to buy and what not to buy. Money is no longer a huge problem; and space has been created by the reorganization.

The biggest change in my thinking has come from my experience with sports cards. I've made it no secret that 5 or 6 years ago, I was pretty much disgusted with cards. I was barely supporting them, hardly paying attention.

What caught my attention was when Fleer, which had been one of the three big companies when I started (Donruss and Topps being the others) joined Donruss and Pinnacle and many other companies on the scrap heap; to remain as a brand, only. I figured it was the bottom of the market: I could come in and set my own terms.

I also got the sense that the consumer had finally come to realize the difference between the junk they were selling at the chain stores, and the more premium product I could offer. That the price shock had already driven everyone out of the hobby that was going to be driven.

And finally, I thought that if I just concentrated on buying new boxes of cards, putting a reasonable retail markup, and stacking them, (with a sampling of packs, available) that I might have a viable product without having to go through all the gyrations I used to; without taking up too much of a footprint; and without the huge risky expense. (Not trying to carry singles, sets, and packs as well.)

And it's worked out.

Basically, I started carrying the product on MY terms; and if the customer hadn't accepted that, then I would've stopped carrying it.

I'm comfortable with carrying the boxed Warhammer sets, which I can stack, and the new hardcover books, which I can slot into my shelves. If it's a huge success, I'll revisit the idea of carrying blister packs later. I'm buying through a middle man, and I'm just going to carry one of most items. (Some of the armies are 240.00 retail! So I'll find out pretty quickly if I spent money for nothing...)

I am going against almost all the advice I've heard. I'm not buying direct, I'm not stocking deeply, I'm not playing or demoing the game, I'm not carrying paints and accessories, I'm not carrying the blister packs. But I am experienced at selling similar product, and I'm going with my instincts this time. I went with the experts last time, and felt I was duped; that it was overpriced, overblown and over hyped.

My store is different now; much less dependent on the 'fanboy' and much more open to off the street business. I figure I'll get the occasional sale this way. If a couple of the locals check other venues first and can't find it, they may come in and buy from me. They may even buy from me first, if I prove I'm dependable. And once I have a viable product in the store, I'm very good at keeping it in stock.

The customer is going to have to accept the fact that -- just like anime and manga, most boardgames and role-playing games, sports cards -- my expertise is limited. I'm just the bartender, and I'm selling you a product, and I don't pretend otherwise. I won't be able to chat you up, I won't be able to host games or demo them. I'll have them for sale, and in stock, at regular retail and that will have to be enough.

If it isn't enough...well, I figure the upside potential is much higher than the risk to me right now. I can take it slow and easy, instead of trying to dive into the huge Warhammer world. I calculate there is enough demand in Central Oregon, that -- just like sports cards -- I'll be able to sell enough to make it worthwhile.

War and Criminals


I read the Lawless storyline last night, without really realizing that the graphic novel was coming in today.

Good timing. I'm really enjoying these stories by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.

One thing that has always kind of bugged me about comics is how rare it is to find a pure crime story or a pure fantasy or a pure science fiction or a pure western. Most stories seem to be hybrids. Makes it hard to create genre displays in the store.

But this is pure criminal noire. Three interconnected but stand alone stories.

As with the first series, I'm also enjoying the guest essays in the back, where underappreciated novels and movies are brought to light. I think the 1950's hardboiled novels are fascinating time capsules on another time and place.

Speaking of hybrids. STORMING PARADISE, by Dixon and Guice, is a war comic with a twist. The nuclear test at Las Alamos went wrong, killing all the scientists. Truman gives the orders to invade Japan.

It's got some fun elements. MacArthur being forced to include Patton in his invasion plans. John Wayne enlisting (after being shamed by an old guy who I assume is John Ford). The Japanese succeeding in getting the Nazi nuclear materials.

Alternate history.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

One of the bonuses of my wife owning a used bookstore is that I get to pop in every night and scope out what got traded in. Every once in a while, I find a real prize.

If there was any justice in this world, Thomas Perry novels would outsell Grishem and Patterson and Evanovich combined. I thought I had read all his Jane Whitefield novels, so I was completely delighted to find BLOOD MONEY.

Jane Whitefield is one of those rare characters in novels who is smarter than everyone else and also shows it. She rarely does something bone-headed in service to the plot. At the same time, she's a deep character who we know very little about. She has an native American heritage, but Perry doesn't overplay that aspect. She's stoic and closed mouth but has a huge empathy. She's quiet and courageous. And she's sly.

Very, very sly.

She helps people disappear.

So...what's different about that? An Indian character, who helps people disappear? It's all in the intricate and believable plots, the dead on characterizations. There is never that moment when you think, "Why did she do that? Why didn't she do that?" She never makes a wrong move, but the people she's protecting are constantly creating complications, which she has to fix. You really like her, because she is always making the most ethical choice, and she's thinking about it, and she's doing it even though it puts her in great danger.

If you like Connelly and Sandford and Crais and Child, do yourself a favor and track down Thomas Perry. All his books are great, though I particularly like the Whitefield novels.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Gargoyle eyes.

Because of my gargoyle eyes, (see my BMWJAMAGEH blog), I'm doing a shorty, without the extras.

Went and saw Incredible Hulk finally.

It was fun. I was one of those who didn't mind the first movie -- and I thought this rendition looked just as artificial, if not more so. Still, I enjoyed it.

Two things.

When Stan Lee drinks the juice, they missed a bet. Instead of him saying, "Oh, my." They should have had a sexy female voice calling, "Are you coming to bed, Stan?" And then, a beat, and a "OH......MY!" in appreciative tones.

And why do the crowds hang around the streets when two monsters are fighting. Huh? Why are they still going oh, and ah ten minutes into the fight? Have they no instinct for preservation, Huh? Huh? Just wondering.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

This week's books.

Yesterday, a graphic novel review, today... a used book.

I haven't quite figured out this picture placement process, yet. The review of this >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
is below.

Meanwhile, comics are coming in on Thursday this week, because of the holiday. Some of the more significant titles:

Amazing Spider-man #565
Berlin #16
Bone BK #8
Captain America White #0
Goon #26
Indiana Jones & the Tomb of the Gods #1 (New Story!)
Powers #29 (About time....)
Secret Invasion #4 (Best-selling story of the Year.)
Spawn # 180
Trinity #6 (Every week.)
Ultimate Origins #2

And.....drumroll.....Halo Action Figures! The first wave of these sold out everywhere and nary a one to be found.


I'm going to review books as I read them. I don't read quite as much as I used to: this internet thing has gotten in the way. And I'm not certain how useful it is for the store to review books that aren't new books. Especially books I may not have liked all that much.

But....like I said, I don't read enough books anymore to not review every book I read.

Usually, T. Jefferson Parker is a reliable read. A good writer, mining Southern California. But this book was a miss, mostly because of the female character. She's one of those quirky sort of gals that used to be in 1950's movies -- but completely unbelievable in this day and age. I kid you not, within three pages she has the following three lines of dialouge.

"...you big lug."

"Jeezy peezy," said Frankie."

"Take 'er easy, cowboy..."

Once you start questioning believability, a book can simply fall apart. Too bad, too, because there is some interesting history here; the same history that was in the movie Rainmaker, and Chinatown.

But this was no Chinatown.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

4th of July report.

The Watchmen. Written by Alan Moore. Often considered the best graphic novel ever created. There is a big Hollywood production slated for the prime May movie kickoff season next year, directed by Zach Snyder, the directer of the 300. (It' s not a blue screen movie -- at least, no more than any action movie these days....)

You're going to hear a lot about it.

DC is especially helpful with their movie licenses, giving us a chance to order large quantities in advance and return them on consignment. First time it happened, I ordered what I considered an outrageous number of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (also written by Alan Moore; the book which isn't the movie) and sold through them in half the time I expected. Next up was the V for Vendetta movie (also by Alan Moore, who is in my opinion an absolute genius) and I ordered an even more outrageous number and again sold through.

After a bit of a dud with the Superman movie, DC is again allowing us to get as many copies as we need.

Nothing like having a large inventory of a book that you can look people in the eye and say:

"This is the best graphic novel ever done...."


Downtown was crazy yesterday. We opened at the regular time, but I told Patrick he could go home at 2:00, and I would decide if I wanted to work the rest of the day or not.

We were doing well enough, I decided to relieve him.

I was astounded by the number of people. It was like Disneyland (well, I've never been to Disneyland, but it's how I imagine it.) For someone like me, who gets a little tight in crowds, it was a bit intimidating. But, being a Holiday, I could park in front of the store and escape safely inside.

We did just a little below average in sales.

Patrick's remark was that when he came over the hill to work, he thought he was in New York. (I don't know if he's ever been there, but it's how he imagines it.)

This has got to be a healthy thing. People milling about, having fun. I know, I know....I hear you thinking....you don't like these things. But that's not exactly true. This was a genuine event, not one that was manufactured. It's traditional and somehow just more authentic to me.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Still working on it.

You get to watch the flailings of a technophobe. (or not.) I have an automatic, emotional rejection of new technology. Along with an intellectual realization that every bit of technology I've added to my repertoire has been a vast improvement.

But I know my own pace of acceptance, and try to accommodate it. It doesn't take much to feel overwhelmed.

This makes very little sense to people who are comfortable in this new world.

As Jon says: "Right on. One thing I've advocated to you before (I think) is blog the new comics/products you get in each week."

Well, yeah. I knew that.

But I've always thought that any new technology I install is useless unless I learn it. I could've hired someone long ago to make me a webpage, whatever. But I want to be able to use it on a daily basis, and that meant doing it myself.

I'm not above asking for help for one time things, like installing a logo to this site. (Even that I probably should learn myself.)

So it's a challenge. It's good to have challenges.

As long as they don't overwhelm you.

So I've become somewhat familiar with Blogger. I decided to make my new blog for Pegasus my de facto website. Later, I may want a real website with a shopping cart and all the trimmings, and add my blog to it. But I ain't ready for that, yet.

So here it is. Cut me some slack.

Meanwhile, I managed two new tricks. One, as you can see, is adding a picture to the blog. This is a view of the deck outside my home office. (Those are two concrete pigs I brought back from our trip to Astoria.)

Secondly, I added sitemeters to both of my active blogs. I'm especially proud of this, because in following the instructions I kept failing, but when I substituted a step, I managed to make it happen! On my own initiative!

I wouldn't have been able to do that a couple years ago. I'm picking stuff up slowly, by osmosis.

I'm hoping after a month or so of this, I'll have an actual actively functioning website, instead of journal of my technical travails.

Bear with me.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Dressing up the blog.

First thing I want to do, is dress up this blog. Make it the Pegasus Books 'website' for the time being.

Things like having my logo; posted store hours; brief description of the store.

I'd like to be able to post pictures.

THEGOON.COM is proud to announce that THE GOON has been optioned by acclaimed director and producer DAVID FINCHER and Academy-Award nominated BLUR STUDIO to develop as a CG animated feature film with Dark Horse Entertainment.

That pesky Dave

I'd like to be able to hyperlink.

I'd like to be able to Link.

And so on.

Anyone out there want to come in and help me out on these things? I warn you, I'm a total luddite.

I figure I can tackle about one of the above things per visit, or my head will explode.

Meanwhile, does anyone know where I can get Bend postcards? I'm constantly being asked. (By the way, Mother Hen, don't I owe you money?)

Also, anyone out there have a full list of books concerning local subjects? I'd love, for instance, to get ahold of the High Desert Museum book list.

I'm going to google both these subjects at the store, when I get to work.

Finally, Jake? Is there anyway you can include this blog on the BendBlogs? Jon? Could you use your influence?

Once I've got all the mechanics out of the way, I'm kind of excited about being able to concentrate on store issues, leaving the politics and commentary out of the mix.

I love my store, and I wish I could show it off better, and I'm hoping this blog will help me do that.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Welcome to the Pegasus Blog

Turns out I'm a serial blogger. I can't help myself.

I'm interested in Bend, Oregon. And small business. And everything else.

So I've created a third blog, (or a second blog that will be active), to address subjects that come up about Pegasus Books of Bend, (Oregon), my business.

And the Best Minimum Wage Job A Middle Aged Guy Ever Had will continue to be everything else.

This may or may not be a daily blog; probably will be daily, knowing my tendency. But no more than once a day.

I'm also going to be holding myself to one blog entry a day on the BMWJAMAGEH blog. (But as many comments as I feel like.)