Best TV show I saw: HBO had a special called Talking Funny which featured Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK and Ricky Gervais sitting around together discussing comedy. Seinfeld kind of stuck out like a sore thumb to me because he has an entirely different way of looking at comedy than the rest of them. His opinion is more old fashioned while the rest seem to be more from the newer generations where comedy isn’t simply setup-punchline, but there is more nuance. If you are a fan of comedy though, I can’t recommend watching this hour of four great comedians discussing their craft.
Best thing I read: I read two amazing books this week. The first was a series of short stories by Joe Hill called 20th Century Ghosts. The 300 page book featured 17 short stories. Most of these were horror stories, and some were very raw since this was Hill’s first published work and he has gotten better as he keeps writing his novels and comic book series, but there is some greatness in here. My own personal favorites was the story from which this collection gets its name. The twenty page story 20th Century Ghosts is a beautiful story about a woman that died in an old movie house while watching The Wizard of Oz and now she haunts that old theater. I loved the idea that her ghost only comes back when a great movie is showing, and its only to talk about the movie with someone. Joe Hill seems to feel the same way about movies and books that I do, how a great movie can change your life in some ways. Also this story had one of the most perfect endings I’ve read in a long time.
The other story I really enjoyed was the longer novella Voluntary Commital where Hill seems to have picked up his father’s theme where special needs children have special powers. This tells the story of a young autistic child that is not all he seems. The story shows maturity in its pacing and how it unfolds. After finishing this series of books and I realized I was all caught up in everything that Joe Hill has published I said to myself “I look forward to reading everything this man writes for the rest of our lives”. I think he will grow as I do and look forward to what he writes.I Also Read: There is a Vertigo book that was just cancelled called Madame Xanadu. This week I read the first 20 issues of the series. It is unfortunate that this book has gotten cancelled since I really enjoyed it. The first 10 issues were especially great, telling the story of this wood nymph who became a human seer for such famous historical legends as Kubai Khan, Marie Antoinette and Merlin. The way Matt Wagner was able to weave her story into real and DC History reminded me of some of the magic I felt the first time I read Sandman. With the appearance of The Phantom Stranger, this book really does sit between Swamp Thing and Sandman in tone and scope. Also the art on this book is absolutely stunning which helped keep the pages turning.
Best thing I heard: It is rare that I hear a song on the radio that makes me sit up and listen. But this week while driving in the car, New York’s 101.9 put a song on the radio called Sail by AWOLnation that made me stop and say “WOW”. Give it a listen for yourself and maybe you can help explain to me why I like it: