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Weird Moment

Today on the site, Frank Young returns with a review of Cathy Malkasian's acclaimed fourth graphic novel, Eartha.

Eartha was created just before a certain unrestrained egomaniac gained control of the White House. Malkasian must have sensed something in the air. Her charismatic, volatile City leader, Primus, shares some off-putting and abrasive behaviors with You-Know-Who, but is not a caricature or satire of You-Know-Who. He embodies the pettiness and self-importance of the unchecked male ego—strutting and preening, absurd in a tiara and checkered sports jacket, seemingly sure of himself as he struggles with his confused libido and sublimates it through acts of greed and violence.

Primus has hooked the City’s residents on buttery pieces of shortbread stamped with random ennui-causing phrases (FAT JACKASS OOZES CALAMITY, reads one biscuit). These fattening crumbles of blank verse have the urban dwellers in hysteria. Due to this citywide focus on the cookies and their depressing messages—to which the residents are addicted—their dreams have almost ceased to be. A metaphor for Facebook, perhaps, or for the compulsive way we ingest social media, which confronts us daily with the ugliness of the world, alongside adorable cat videos and the occasional grain of good news.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. The prolific, colorful, and controversial short story and television writer Harlan Ellison died this week. The Los Angeles Times obituary is here. Ellison dabbled in comics often during his career, and longtime TCJ readers of course know of his contentious relationship with the magazine. We will have an obituary early next week, and will republish other Ellison-related TCJ material as soon as we can prepare it. He was a legendary character, alternately brilliant and infuriating, capable of both grandly noble gestures and shabby, self-centered ugliness. He was a perfect writer to discover in middle school or junior high. I hope a good biographer is on the case, because the book that is possible now that the famously litigious Ellison is gone could be a masterpiece.

—Interviews. io9 talks to a Game Stop executive about the video-game retailer's decision to start stocking comics.

[We’re] going to align with Diamond. We’re doing tremendous business with them to date, more on the collectors’ statues, action figures, and the collectible side of the business. We’re going to be [rolling comics out] in a small subset of stores, probably in the next couple of weeks on both the GameStop and ThinkGeek side.

But truly, our biggest opportunity is around Marvel. Marvel is one of our largest fandoms, but also one of the fastest-growing fandoms. It’s actually out-performing Star Wars, currently, with some of our mainstream products. But the opportunity is just opening doors around the Marvel and DC categories. We really, truly have gone after Image and Oni and Boom, as well. Those are some of the indies we’ll be approaching. But, really, I think you’ll see most of our stores cater to the primary Marvel and DC fans.

The latest guest on Inkstuds is Tommi Parrish.


5 Responses to Weird Moment

  1. David Delahoussaye says:

    Personally, the only person I’m interested in eulogizing Ellison is Gary Groth.

  2. James Van Hise says:

    An official biography of Harlan was published in 2017. Titled A Lit Fuse by Nat Segalhoff, it has some gaps but also has more than one would expect to find in it. It has a detailed index and in examining what it says about The Last Dangerous Visions, the book is brutally honest in making it clear that it would never be published in Harlan’s life time. Such gaps I’ve found seem to come from spotty research because even though the author had access to Harlan’s detailed files, he seemed unaware that Harlan and Philip K. Dick had a contentious relationship even though letters had been published about that, such as in the British review magazine Foundation. Harlan had found Dick’s 1970s short story “The Pre-Persons” (an anti-abortion allegory) to be particularly misogynist and F&SF published a letter from him (under a pseudonym) attacking the story and its author. But a careful reading of the book would still turn up a lot of interesting material.

  3. Daniel T says:

    There is an Ellison biography that came out about a year ago: A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison by Nat Segaloff.

  4. Tim Hodler says:

    Thanks. I’m aware of that biography. I had heard mixed things about it, but maybe I should check it out. In any case, I’m betting the books that might come out now will be more interesting…

  5. Ariana says:

    As for myself, I can’t wait to eviscerate Gary when he’s finally six feet under. When it comes to misogyny, abuse, and sociopathy, he’s tops. And unlike Harlan, Gary has no writing talent to make up for it.

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