If there’s one thing I’ve learned about correspondence, it’s that the longer you let yourself go quiet, the harder it is to get the dialog going again. What do I say to break the ice? Will I sound desperate? I’ve been writing many such emails of late, and while I’m at it, I figure it’s high time I open up another correspondence left hanging for far too long – gobblin.net.
As for what Jake T. Forbes, writer of comics, has been up to, last month my Fraggle Rock backup story, “Boober and the Ghastly Stain,” was released by Archaia. Artist Mark Simmons and I talked to the Tough Pigs about it here. Other than that, there are a couple of projects rapidly moving forward that I hope to be able to talk about soon, but that’s a post for another day.
Mostly of late, it’s the day job that’s been occupying my time. After a year of working from home and cafes, for the past four months I’ve been working full time in an office, and you know what? Overall, I’m a lot happier for it. It helps that I get to work with a great bunch of people on projects where I can experiment creatively while learning new technical skills. (And perhaps most importantly, being in an office again has pulled me back from the brink of becoming an Oatmeal punchline).
What else have I been up to? Here, in no particular order, are the five things that have given my brain the most pleasure since last I wrote:
Comics Division: Dungeon
I mentioned Trondheim & Sfar’s Dungeon in passing on gobblin before, but I just recently caught up with the last two translated volumes of this series and was reminded of why it’s my favorite comic in the world right now. At first glance, Dungeon is a D&D parody with funny animals and deadpan French humor, but it’s the series’ humanity that is its greatest asset. Dungeon gave me a newfound appreciation for anthropomorphic comics, as the complicated friendships and awkward romances are made all the more universal when played out between ducks, dragons, cats and serpents. Plus, the rotating cast of artists are consistently amazing. I can’t recommend the series enough! (So long as you aren’t offended by the occasional non-explicit sex scene and frank adult talk).
Music Division: STRFKR
My wife got me into this naughtily named Portland band last year. Their new album, Reptilian, doesn’t officially debut until next month, but if you preorder from the label, you can download it now. Here’s a sample:
Book Division: The Hunger Games
Probably the most unputdownable books I’ve ever read. What an amazing premise and cast, and the way Collins tells the story – in the first-person, present-tesnse – incredible! And that ending – I don’t care what the haters say, Mockingjay was a perfect ending for the series. I’m lucky in that I was able to read all three books with only minor wait time between volumes (stupid library wait list); can’t imagine how painful the wait would have been for those who have been reading each book as it came out.
Gaming Division: Agricola
Agricola is an $80 board game about farming, in which you can have babies, eat horses and where a corn scoop can make all the difference. It’s also the most addicting Euro board game I’ve ever played, and one of the few that’s as fun with 2 players as with 4. The sheer number of cards and pieces is overwhelming at first glance, but the core game mechanics of growing your family to take more turns and having to plan for the harvests are such a great fusion of fiction and gameplay that I’ve found people pick it up pretty quickly. If you like board games and haven’t tried anything new since Settlers of Cattan or Ticket to Ride, then do yourself a favor and seek out Agricola!
TV Division: I, Claudius
My dad introduced me to the 1976 BBC production of Robert Graves’ novel when reruns turned up on Masterpiece Theater in my youth, then I watched it again during Latin class in high school. Watching it again on DVD, I’m amazed by how well it holds up. Most modern depictions of Rome emphasize soldiers and gladiators. For daily life, no one’s captured Rome better than this. Great sets, great writing and great Shakespearean acting. It’s got a sexy young Patrick-Stewart in it, plus a wacko John Hurt, but my favorite performance is Brian Blessed’s Augustus, who is in turns a loveable teddy bear and a terrifying monomaniac.
750 words and counting. That wasn’t so hard, was it? I’ve got a lot of writing ahead of me in the coming months. In the past, posting here helped me keep the momentum going. Here’s hoping the trick still works. Wish me luck!