Friday, January 01, 2016

Read in December

If all goes to plan -- and when has that ever happened? -- this will go up on time, just after the stroke of midnight on January 1, and I'll be back on schedule with these monthly posts for the first time in about six months.

And I'm going to leave that sentence up top either way -- so we'll all see if I lived up to my own expectations.

This is a list of the books I read in December. I prefer to have it link out to individual posts for each book; that's more searchable and friendly, and keeps this post from becoming a wall of text. But I'm an adult, which means I long ago learned that things don't go the way I prefer about nine times out of ten. So this will be what it is, like everything else in life, and we'll move forward from there.

On that cheery note, here's what I read:

Brian Fies, Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? (12/1)

Mike Baron and Kelley Jones, Deadman: Lost Souls (12/2)

James W. Hall, Hit Lit (12/4)

Ernie Bushmiller, Nancy Is Happy (12/6)

Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell, Zenith, Phase One (12/7)

Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell, Zenith, Phase Two (12/8)

Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell, Zenith, Phase Three (12/9)

Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell, Zenith, Phase Four (12/11)

Suu Minazuki, Gou-Dere Sora Nagihara, Vol. 1 (12/14)

Suu Minazuki, Gou-Dere Sora Nagihara, Vol. 2 (12/15)

Suu Minazuki, Gou-Dere Sora Nagihara, Vol. 3 (12/16)

Suu Minazuki, Gou-Dere Sora Nagihara, Vol. 4 (12/18)

Ian Frazier, Family (12/18)

Richard Sala, Violenzia And Other Deadly Amusements (12/21)

Richard Sala is a quirky, idiosyncratic maker of comics -- he works in the general territory that's also been home to Gahan Wilson and Charles Gorey and Charles Addams, full of horror-movie monsters, secret societies, sudden violence, and lurking dread. Sala doesn't aim to be as funny as often as those other cartoonists; his work is closest to Addams's longer stories, though Sala generally aims at a bit more verisimilitude than Addams, with stories that the reader is meant to take seriously and threats that aren't just fodder for mordant jokes.

Violenzia collects four stories from Sala -- it's bookended by two sequences about the title character, a nearly-silent gun-wielding force of vengeance with punky pink hair that always falls carefully over one eye. In between are a very Addams-esque abecedary called "Malevolent Reveries," with an alliterative page of various shivery things for each letter of the alphabet, and "Forgotten," a meditation in duotone, following the stream of consciousness of one young man as he wanders through an eerie landscape and avoids remembering unpleasant truths.

So this isn't a major work, but it's a nice big slice of Sala for those of us who like that sort of thing.

Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen, Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars (12/22)

Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin, Satellite Sam, Vol. 3 (12/23)

If I'd known this was a limited series, I would have saved it all to read at once. (And maybe paid more attention while doing so!) Surprisingly -- to me, at least -- this third volume finishes up its story set in the world of early TV, full of live shows with bad actors and utter hams, scheming political and network types, inventive geniuses passing as white, and a Bob Crane-esque secret collection of amateur pornography that could destroy at least one career.

(Confused? Perhaps my reviews of volumes one and two will help. But perhaps not.)

It does all wrap up here, more or less neatly, and it's paced in such a way that I assume this was the plan all along. (So this is just another case of me not paying attention to the right things.) I'm more familiar with Chaykin's work than Fraction's -- I've had an additional thirty years to become familiar with Chaykin, so that certainly helps -- but I can say that Fraction gives us a somewhat happier, sunnier resolution than I would have expected from pure Chaykin. Otherwise, anything I can say here would be spoilers, and we know how much the Internet detests spoilers.

Thomas Lynch, The Undertaking (12/23)

Links for most or all of the above should pop up over the next few days; as I write this, I've finished all but two of them. (And two books from much earlier in the year.) I won't make any promises or predictions for 2016, but it's here now -- I hope you deal with it as well as you can, and that it brings you as much joy as you can stand.

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