INTERLUDE: Back from WorldCon / Humanoid Graphic Novels / Otto from Realms of Fantasy
Ann and I got "stuck" in Boston for three extra days after WorldCon. There are worse places to have to ride out a hurricane that's ravaging your home state (Florida). The weather was wonderful and we spent a lot of time exploring the Back Bay, Harvard/MIT, and Boston Commons areas. After the (enjoyable but fatiguing) hustle and bustle of WorldCon, it was wonderful to be able to relax. (I do have a WorldCon report, but since an online publication is planning on running it, I'll just wait until that happens and link to it.)
Boston has some great comic book shops, and at one I found a ton of Humanoids Publishing graphic novels. Humanoids is my favorite graphic novel publisher--it's the one line where all I have to do is find "Humanoids" on the spine and I know I'm going to enjoy the book, regardless of who it is by. It doesn't hurt that they publish amazing, visionary work by Jodorowsky, Moebius, and Bilal on a regular basis.
In addition to picking up some of Jodorowsky's Meta Baron work, I also found Bilal's Townscapes, a triptych of short pieces from the 1970s revolving around weird towns or buildings.
The artwork by Bilal is wonderful and the stories by Pierre Christin beautifully strange. A recurring figure for change and/or justice, a blonde-haired man, drifts through these stories as the main linkage in the triptych.
In one story, the dwellings in a village literally drift away. In another, a castle becomes a ship. I really enjoyed these stories--art and narrative. And if somehow you've managed to miss Bilal's work to this point, this is a good place to start. Although his masterpiece, for me, is still The Nikopol Trilogy. Any graphic novel in which ancient Egyptian gods return in a floating pyramid to a future France ruled by a somewhat insane despot makes me suspend my disbelief and is both moving and disturbing gets my vote for one of the best of all time.
I picked up a lot of cool books at WorldCon (and got to talk to dealers such as Justin Ackroyd, Mark at Kathmandu Books, Sean Wallace, and Otto from Realms of Fantasy--more on him later), the prize, for me, being J.G. Ballard's collected short fiction (I'm not daft enough to add that to my reading list for the blog--it's over 1,000 pages and I just want to enjoy it in the leisure of my own thoughts, since the man was such an influence in how he dissects and re-configures time and space in his short fiction.) More on what I picked up at WorldCon in a future post, along with more commentary on Mortal Love, Crowley's collection, Flights, and The Circus in Winter...
But for now, let me just close by saying Otto at Realms of Fantasy Books is someone you need to meet (and buy from) if you're ever at a convention with him. He had me in stitches.