Tea with the Creature

Not a new strip, but I thought people might enjoy seeing what I’ve been painting, especially as it’s related to Hex Libris. It was fun painting Frankenstein’s Creature, it’s got me wanting to do more with the characters.

I’ve also done a painting of Lilith, but as it contains some nudity (artistic, I assure you), I won’t be posting it here… I’ve tried to keep this site “all ages”. If you’re interested, though, you can see it in my portfolio right here.

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link
Rating: Highly Recommended

I would have loved Pretty Monsters when I was a teenager. Heck, I loved it now that I’m farther away from my teenage-hood than feels comfortable.

While I’ve read what’s called “high fantasy” with elves and dragons and such trappings, I’ve always preferred the “magical realism” school of fantasy. Stories that depict events that seem normal until, suddenly, they aren’t. Here, you find obsessive teen-age poets, summer camp outcasts, wannabe soccer professionals and more than one surfer. Nary an elf and hardly a sorcerer to be seen.

The magic here, and I will call it magic, is the way she slowly and naturally gives information that changes the way you see what’s happened so far. Several pages into the first story, there’s a line that sums up what goes on in this book.

Anyone might accidentally dig up the wrong grave. It’s a mistake anyone could make.

–From The Wrong Grave

I mean, how could you not love that line? ↓ Read the rest of this entry…

Don’t Look Now: Selected Short Stories by Daphne Du Maurier
Rating: Recommended
Buy this from Amazon.com

If you think you know Daphne Du Maurier and haven’t read her short fiction, you’re in for a surprise. Outside of Rebecca, made into a creepy but strangely denatured film by Hitchcock (Hitchcock replaced premeditated murder with an unfortunate accident), I never could get excited about her novels.

One of the results of a turbulent, doomed relationship was my discovery of these amazing short stories on the girl’s bookshelf. I remember sitting on my cheap couch in my crummy post-student apartment and reading a collection of Du Maurier’s stories in a single sitting. I got to bed very late, and had uncomfortable dreams. These stories are hard to classify: they have elements of horror, supernatural, and mystery without truly being any of the above. And the short story format seems to suit Du Maurier, making her prose more spare and adding a tautness to her storytelling.

↓ Read the rest of this entry…

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Rating: Recommended
Buy this from Amazon.com

I’ve loved Bradbury since I was a a young teen. Often, the stuff you loved at that age doesn’t hold up on re-reading. You look back on many youthful enthusiasms with a mix of nostalgia and embarrassment. So I’m pleased to report that this classic still worked for someone a good deal older and less wide-eyed than the kid who read this book back in… well, a long time ago.

This isn’t so much a novel as a cohesive short story collection that spans man’s colonization of Mars from first landing onward. You can read it alongside the brilliant Fahrenheit 451, in which we get to see some of the events in this book from an Earth-bound perspective. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…

Bad Machinery by John Allison

Rating: Try It, You’ll Like It
Visit the Comic

I was sad that John Allison decided to bring his long-running Scary Go Round to a close. But I was delighted to discover that his new strip, Bad Machinery, is every bit as charming. Not only that, it contains some of the characters from the original strip, along with a group of great new characters.

I think you’ll have no trouble getting into Bad Machinery, though the longer you read it, the more rewarding it is. You can enjoy individual strips for their little touches and witty dialogue, but it works better when you get to know everyone and their bizarre situations.

↓ Read the rest of this entry…

Higglety Pigglety Pop! by Maurice Sendak

Rating: Must Read
Buy this book from Amazon.com

This book belongs on every shelf, possibly next to The Little Prince or Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. This beautifully illustrated fable (Sendak wrote this to deal with the death of his beloved Sealyham Terrier, Jennie) stars the always hungry, always selfish and always charming little dog Jennie. Though Jennie has everything, she decides there must be more to life and sets off to find it. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…