Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday morning. Six a.m. It's still dark out. I've been awake for an hour, tossing and turning, feeling like my body is rotting from within. I should never drink. And I certainly should never eat chili-cheese fries, stuffed clams, and calamari at ten o'clock at night. But I was celebrating after my book release party and wasn't thinking straight.

First of all, THANK YOU to all my friends and readers who showed up (two in the most incredible zombie costumes!) and listened to me ramble on about God knows what. You people are amazing, and I don't know how I got so lucky as to be friends with so many talented artists, writers, actors, and simply cool people. I've done comic books with some of you, acted in plays with some of you, and hung out with most of you--it's an ongoing privilege for me to be in on this fantastic creative community.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Oh my God, I feel like I've been waiting forever for my sequel to XOMBIES (and the recent reissue, XOMBIES: APOCALYPSE BLUES) to be released. I wrote it back in 2003, and my original title was XOMBIE RAMA. Then I vanished into limbo for the next six years. But now the day has finally arrived, and I deeply thank all the wonderful XOMBIES fans out there for their patience.
For anyone who's in the vicinity of Rhode Island this weekend, I'll be having a book release party at 7pm this Saturday, Feb. 27th, at Books on the Square in Providence. There will be refreshments and a reading by yours truly, followed by a Q&A and probably not a sing-along. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Still on the subject of the Coen brother's remake of the wonderful movie True Grit, based on the novel by Charles Portis: The thing I find especially interesting about this is that I have always had a deep suspicion that the Coens were major Charles Portis fans. Their movie Raising Arizona is extremely similar in tone (particularly Nicolas Cage's narration) to my favorite Charles Portis book, The Dog of the South. In fact, I always thought The Dog of the South would be a perfect sequel to Raising Arizona. But I was never absolutely certain they had read the book...until now. I mean, for them to be making True Grit is pretty ample evidence that they are familiar with the work of Charles Portis. It's about time they gave the guy his due. I was watching the special features on a DVD of True Grit recently, and it pissed me off how everybody kept harping on John Wayne, as if John Wayne was what made that movie great. Sure, John Wayne was really good, but he was so good because the character of Rooster Cogburn is so damn good--and that's all Charles Portis. Is Charles Portis even still alive? The last thing I read by him was the great little novel Gringos, over ten years ago I think. And also an incredibly funny parody of travel writing he did for The Atlantic, called Nights Can Be Cool in Viborra. If he's still around, he's one of my idols, and I really hope he's writing something new.
Speaking of movies, I just heard some news that was very interesting to me. Apparently the Coen brothers are remaking True Grit. Wow. This is like a supernova in my personal universe, because True Grit is one of my favorite movies and perhaps my favorite book of all time--or at least in the top ten--and Charles Portis is one of my favorite authors. Believe it or not, one of my major inspirations for Xombies was True Grit, which is readily apparent if you read the two books. A lot of idiots think True Grit is only notable because the movie had John Wayne in it. The hell with John Wayne--True Grit is amazing because it is both a hilarious satire and a loving homage to the Western genre...while also being the best Western ever written. In the Coen's remake, the Rooster Cogburn role (John Wayne's part) is going to Jeff Bridges, which is pretty perfect casting. The other key character is the tough-girl narrator, Mattie Ross, who was terrifically played by Kim Darby in the original film. Whoever they get for her, I hope she's good. But it's the Coens, so I'm not worried.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Oscar time again. I don't know, I'm just not that excited about most of the Oscar nominees this year. I liked Avatar, but it's not really my idea of Best Picture. I was disappointed by The Hurt Locker--from the ad campaign I was expecting something really unusual, but it's just a typical gritty war movie. I hated Up in the Air, because it seemed to me like an apologia for corporate dirtbags: Oh, look how much it hurts us to fire people, and look how adorable we are. Next they'll be doing a movie about the charming angst of being a Nazi. Precious was one of those movies that has a valuable social purpose, and I'm glad it exists, but I have absolutely no desire to see it. Nine sucked--worst songs ever (though it gave me a greater respect for the talents of that Black-Eyed Peas chick). Crazy Heart was crazy boring. Julie and Julia was pleasant fluff, which would have been ten times better if it was just the Julia Child story. Invictus and The Blind Side--just like Precious, you know exactly what you're getting when you buy the ticket: inspirational hokum. A Serious Man and Inglourious Basterds--two lesser films from great directors. District 9--meh, though I'd give it an Oscar for the first twenty minutes. All in all, not a truly great film in the bunch.