So I guess you just have to stop trying to out-think Stenson and instead enjoy the ride. I read Fiend in three huge gulps over the course of a day—seventy pages in the morning over breakfast, another fifty pages stolen in the afternoon when I really should have been doing something else, and then the rest in a marathon evening page-turning session. Fiend is the very fast-moving story of a pair of meth addicts, Chase Daniels and his friend Typewriter, as they come back to consciousness after a long meth binge to find the world fundamentally changed. You've read a lot of these situations before: How do you travel in a world dominated by zombies? Where do you go? How do you survive? In Fiend, it's a journey that involves internet porn, a couple meth cooks, a long-lost love, and duffel bags full of guns. But the addition of the protagonists' need for a steady supply of meth somehow manages to make the book's challenges even more harrowing.
The author bio notes that Stenson is "a recovering addict and has been sober for ten years." That explains why the drug scenes read like the "before" chapters in a recovery memoir: The desperation (and the thrills) of Daniels finding and taking his next hit are in many ways more compelling than the zombie encounters. Fiend could have been a grubby, cheap-thrill ride through an over-obvious metaphor, but Daniels brings real literary merit to the endeavor. These sentences are beautifully crafted, the story feels personal, and the story goes to some dark places that feel totally earned and not at all exploitative. It's not the feel-good read of the year, but if you're looking for some genre to spice up your summer, Fiend is the kind of book that you won't put down, even when your brain is telling you you can't take the darkness any more.
Last week, I picked up a couple of new books. Phoenix Comics owner Nick Nazar suggested that I try the first issue of Lazarus, by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark. And I decided to give the first issue of Sheltered by Ed Brisson and Johnnie Christmas, a whirl. They're both excellent first issues.
Of the two, Lazarus is probably closest to what you expect from a comic book. It's the story of a woman named Forever Carlysle who gets shot and dies while protecting her family's property. Because the book takes place in the far-flung future, and because Carlysle belongs to one of the wealthiest families on the planet, her death is impermanent; most of the issue deals with her readjusting to the living world. A lot of information gets dropped on us in the course of Lazarus # 1: we learn the characters are living in a dystopian future, where all the wealth belongs to the top .00001 percent, leaving everybody else to scramble for essentials. Despite basically being a huge exposition dump, in this issue Rucka manages to introduce us to several characters and their motivations and connections without it feeling at all forced. Much of the easy flow is thanks to Michael Lark's art, which is smooth and stylish and reminds me of John Cassaday in a lot of ways. The female lead doesn't feel sexualized, which in comics is a minor miracle, and the tech looks believably futuristic. In the back text pages of the issue, Rucka promises that Lazarus has a planned ending, but that the ending is a long way off. I'm looking forward to what appears to be a solid sci-fi story, spun out in monthly chapters.
All Art No Pay has the details on the Greatest Graphic Novel of All Time*.
* Kickstarter willing.
(Thanks to Slog tipper Renée.)
ThinkProgress says Amazing Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield is pushing for a new direction for his character:
Recently, [Garfield] says, he had a philosophical discussion with producer Matt Tolmach about Mary Jane or “MJ” to fans. “I was kind of joking, but kind of not joking about MJ,” he tells EW. “And I was like, ‘What if MJ is a dude?’ Why can’t we discover that Peter is exploring his sexuality? It’s hardly even groundbreaking!…So why can’t he be gay? Why can’t he be into boys?” Garfield even has an actor in mind: “I’ve been obsessed with Michael B. Jordan since The Wire. He’s so charismatic and talented. It’d be even better—we’d have interracial bisexuality!” The star has clearly suggested a sexually flexible Spidey to his director, Marc Webb, as well.
I've got no problem with this. In fact, I think it would play pretty well with Peter Parker's established personality.
First of all: The books are gorgeous. I'm not a big fan of Andy Kubert's artwork, but even I can appreciate his art on Nite Owl, especially since the pencils are inked by Joe Kubert and Bill Sienkiewicz, giving his work more of a solid, finished feel than usual. And the other three chapters—Dr. Manhattan drawn by Adam Hughes, Comedian drawn by J.G. Jones, and Rorschach by Lee Bermejo—are some of the best-drawn comics I've seen this year. The layouts are dense and the figures are all exquisitely rendered, but your eye will glide easily across every page. Even Bermejo, who occasionally can lean too far toward the painterly and stiff, is doing some of his best work.
Amazon Publishing has announced the launch of Jet City Comics, a new imprint devoted to comics and graphic novels, and they already have an impressive lineup of titles on deck. First up is Symposium #1, adapted from the fantasy book series The Foreworld Saga, and October will bring original adaptations of George R.R. Martin’s short story “Meathouse Man” and Hugh Howey’s sci-fi self-publishing phenomenon Wool. Jet City issues will be available as Kindle downloads and print editions.
The Foreworld Saga, of course, is the series created by (2013 Stranger Genius Award shortlister) Neal Stephenson, along with Greg Bear and many other writers. Previous Foreworld books have already been published by Amazon.com, so the publication of a comic in the same world is just smart synergy. I'm a little less excited by the idea of a bunch of prose adaptations—comics made out of prose novels are often really bad comics, because they're too wordy and they tend to lack the vibrancy of good comics—but I'll reserve judgment for when the books are published.
I've gotta say that Amazon really got the name of the imprint right—it keeps with the Seattle theme, and it's fun—and you've got to give them credit for putting the writers first and not doing a bunch of superhero stuff. I'll be interested to see how these comics sell.
Everybody's favorite serial killer doll returns in what appears to be a soft reboot* of the Child's Play series.
If you have an opinion, shove it in the poll-box below:
* "Soft reboot" basically means "ignoring all the stuff that came before this movie, but not expressly stating that it's a reboot." I hate that I know this.
This is big publishing news: Today, Image Comics announced that you can now own their comics in digital format. Sure, before today, you could "buy" digital comics from Image via Comixology, but you don't really own those comics. As Wired's Laura Hudson explains:
Image’s Director of Business Development Ron Richards says that offering the direct-to-consumer downloads is important. “There’s something to be said for the ownership factor. If readers purchase a book on ComiXology, that may be their library [on the service] but from what I understand that could be revoked. And God forbid, if ComiXology goes under or their data center has an earthquake all their hard drives go away — then you’ve got nothing.”
In an unprecedented move, Image has also revealed their sales data: They predict digital comics will make up 15 percent of their total sales this year. (In the interest of fairness, it must be noted that Image is not the first to sell DRM-free comics, they're only the first big publisher to do so; Double Barrel and The Private Eye, among other comics, are both precedents for this model. Those two are also, perhaps coincidentally, both great comics that I highly recommend.)
Park Commissioner Erik Hanberg and Daniel Rahe, a Tacoma landmarks commissioner and editor in chief of the online magazine Post Defiance (postdefiance.com), have started a campaign to name the park for a famous Tacoman that most people don’t know is a Tacoman.
Frank Herbert is the author of the fabulously popular series of science fiction novels based on the fantastical desert planet called Arrakis, or “Dune.” Herbert, who died in 1986, won the two top awards for sci-fi writers — the Nebula and the Hugo. His books are the basis for both the 1984 David Lynch film starring Kyle MacLachlan and the 2000 mini series staring William Hurt.
I am absolutely in favor of this. Herbert's Dune series is rightfully popular with sci-fi fans, but it's also an often-overlooked work of Northwest literature. Naming the park after Herbert would be an effortless way for Tacoma to raise his name recognition as a Northwest author. You should read Hanberg's whole great post about Herbert's relationship to Tacoma and why this park would be a good idea over at the Post Defiance.
Here's something non-spoiler-y: According to the LA Times, Warner Bros. is distributing religious Man of Steel resource packs to pastors who want to include lessons from Man of Steel in their sermons. You can see what those lessons entail at the Man of Steel Ministry Resource site.
Now. If you're looking for a spoiler-free review of Man of Steel, you can find my review right here. After the trailer, I'm going to be talking about the climax of Man of Steel. Let me repeat: You should assume that everything after the trailer is made out of spoilers. (I'll get back to that ministry thing after the jump, too.)
(In the film section this week, you can find my review of Man of Steel, which I had to shear down to 300 words to fit the constraints of print. But since the internet doesn't have a word count, I thought I'd share my full Man of Steel review here. This review, as in the one in the film section, is spoiler-free. I really want to talk about spoilers, but I'll save that for a clearly marked post early next week.)
Even though he’s the original superhero—let’s for a moment pretend Doc Savage doesn’t exist, for simplicity’s sake—Superman might be the single hardest superhero to get right. We’ve heard all the complaints a million times before: He’s too powerful. He’s too pure. He’s too earnest. He belongs to an America that doesn’t exist anymore. First, the complainers probably haven’t read Grant Morrison’s excellent 2005-2008 comic series All-Star Superman, which gave us a positively positive, folksy-but-godlike Kansas farmboy who could create whole universes and fend off intergalactic threats without breaking a sweat and still managed to tell a terrific story. Second, let it be said that Henry Cavill, in The Man of Steel, proves those doubters wrong by giving great Superman: He grins a lot, flashing a great big wide welcoming smile that would leave Batman rolling his eyes. And he moves like he’s indestructible. This is a man who doesn’t fear stubbing a toe or, say, getting hit by a mack truck, but he is always slightly worried about accidentally crushing these delicate fleshy humans all around him.
And as you probably already suspected, Amy Adams is a wonderful Lois Lane, a gutsy, smart reporter guided by a strong sense of justice. And Michael Shannon, who is the closest thing to a Christopher Walken our generation is going to get, is a great, creepy General Zod, the nightmare side of the Superman coin: Godlike power honed with military discipline and a pragmatic worldview that puts Kryptonian lives above all else. (And since the score is such a vital part of this film, let's take a second to mention here with the major players that Man of Steel's score, by Hans Zimmer, is absolutely incredible. Superman's main theme is rousing and catchy and completely original. Most modern film composers could learn a lot by locking themselves in a room with Zimmer's work for a month or two.)
The goal with the film is obviously to pull a Batman Begins for DC Comics’ most recognizable intellectual property. They’ve even got most of the Begins team together behind the scenes: David S. Goyer wrote the script, and Christopher Nolan produces. But while Begins delivered a few surprises and felt like a layered reimagining of the Batman story, Man of Steel glosses over the same story beats we all know by heart.
We open on Krypton, which seems to be intentionally the opposite of the cinematic Krypton we’ve already seen: While Marlon Brando’s Jor-El walked around a pristine crystal palace, Russell Crowe’s Jor-El frets over a dusty, brown-and-grey desert land, replete with dinosaur-like creatures and incredibly phallic machinery. (Some of the Kryptonian design feels like floor-model H.R. Giger leavings.) We get to see some of Kal-El's childhood in Kansas and his God-bless-America upbringing by the Kents (a could-be-better Kevin Costner and Diane Lane). We very briefly meet Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) and the rest of the Daily Planet masthead before Zod is introduced into the plot and the movie becomes a straight-on conflict. There’s none of the nimble self-awareness or ingenious reinvention of Christopher Nolan’s first Batman movie, only good-guy-versus-bad-guy schematics that play out just about the way you figure they will.
So it looks like a couple of people were taking pictures of cosplaying women at comic book conventions and then selling pillows with photographs of the women printed on them. The pillows are no longer for sale. This story gets creepier and creepier the more you think about it.
I've Slogged about the upcoming salary dispute between Robert Downey Jr. and Marvel's movie-making division. It looks like Marvel wants to treat the talent in their films the same way they do the talent in their comics: Interchangeable, in service of the intellectual property. But that's going to be a harder sell with movies than it is with comic books, especially since it looks like Avengers director (and upcoming Marvel TV show Agents of SHIELD developer) Joss Whedon is in Downey's corner:
He is Iron Man. He is Iron Man in the way that Sean Connery was James Bond. I have no intention of making Avengers 2 without him, nor do I think I’ll be called upon to do that. I don’t think it’s in my interest, Marvel’s interest, or his interest, and I think everything will be fine. But I know that this is Hollywood and you roll with things. You have to be ready for the unexpected. But I loved working with Robert, and everybody knows he embodied that role in a way no one else can. The day he was cast, I went up to [Marvel Studios president] Kevin Feige and said, “You brilliant son of a bitch.”
It's a pretty great interview, and you should read it all. Whedon also talks about how he hates that there are no female-led superhero movies on the horizon:
It’s frustrating to me that I don’t see anybody developing one of these movies. It actually pisses me off. My daughter watched The Avengers and was like, “My favorite characters were the Black Widow and Maria Hill,” and I thought, Yeah, of course they were. I read a beautiful thing Junot Diaz wrote: “If you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves.”
Matt Smith has announced that he's leaving Doctor Who. I'm not a big enough Who fan to thoughtfully suggest new Doctors—I've only ever seen the Eccleston season all the way through—but local novelist Matt Ruff has a pretty great suggestion:
So I've given it some thought and I've decided #thenewdoctorwho should be Lena Dunham, with Grumpy Cat as her companion.
— Matt Ruff (@bymattruff) June 2, 2013
Yes! The internet would love it!
It's the last Friday of the month, and that means it's time for Slog Nerd Happy TONIGHT at Raygun Lounge!
The Raygun Lounge opens at 5pm, and Slog Nerd Happy commences shortly thereafter. Come hang out, have a beer, play a game! See you there!
The film sets from the original Star Wars movie are just sitting there in Tunisia, rotting away. They're kind of beautiful.
(Thanks to Slog tipper Ben.)
Though it's hard to write meaningfully about Star Trek Into Darkness without spoiling anything—it's packed with surprises—this review will be spoiler-free. Which means I have to keep the specifics about the plot to a minimum. (I'll do a spoiler-filled review after everyone gets a chance to see the movie this weekend.) So here goes: The crew of the Enterprise runs up against a mysterious man named John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch, a delight of growling disdain) and then they find themselves drawn into a much larger conflict that could imperil the entire United Federation of Planets. As is shown in the trailers and on the poster for the movie, the Enterprise suffers a considerable amount of damage along the way.
So let's start with the good news: With one unfortunate exception, the actors are all growing pleasantly into their roles. Some of them (Chris Pine as Kirk, Simon Pegg as Scotty) choose to riff on the performances of Star Trek: The Original Series actors while wisely not hewing to staid impersonations. Zachary Quinto's eerily exact Spock feels less like a perfect copy of ST:TOS Spock and more a kind of seance—is it insulting to say that this is the role he was born to play? And Karl Urban's DeForest Kelley schtick, all bad metaphors and outraged puffery, is hambone acting at its finest, which makes sense, because no one in their right minds would want to watch an understated interpretation of Bones. Of all the actors in rebooted roles, Zoe Saldana gets shortest shrift. Her Uhura is an embarrassment, the highest-profile female character in the movie pushed to the periphery, only earning a line when it's time for her to react to men, never truly getting a great moment of her own.
And now for the bad news: There's very little trekking in this Star Trek. Outside of a pre-credits taste of interstellar adventure involving a dilemma around that classic Star Trek saw, the Prime Directive, way too much of this movie is set on Earth or is simply floating, semi-stationary, in outer space. The script from Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof doesn't get the point of Star Trek, really: It's too petty and small and uninterested in adventure. A silly little analogy to current events wraps the movie in the wrong tone, and the pacing, with a series of tense, exciting action scenes layered between some very long expository passages, is downright weird. Star Trek Into Darkness is a pretty thing to look at—the 3D is decent, but by no means necessary for enjoyment of the movie—but it's just so dumb and uninterested in the possibilities of the premise that it feels like a waste. And one of my favorite parts of the 2009 Star Trek reboot, the commitment to comedic adventure, fails to materialize here. This movie is too busy dwelling in darkness to remember that Star Trek should be about optimism and aspirations and fun, and that's a goddamned shame.
Pitch Black was a fun little pulpy creature feature. I think I tried to watch The Chronicles of Riddick once, but I certainly didn't get all the way through. Now, nine years later, the third movie starring Vin Diesel as Riddick is about to be released. It's titled Riddick. Here's a trailer:
Is it me, or did that trailer feel like five times longer than it really was?
The PINTO tag at Suicide Blonde brings Kirk/Spock slash fiction into the age of the .gif, and it's totally fucking adorable.
(Thanks to Twitter user The Amateur Cineaste for turning me on to this.)
As promised/warned, here is the first official teaser/trailer for the most awesome, yet annoying to type, show of the fall season Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. And it features every fanboy's current fave, Coulson. And his car! And somebody punching somebody else in the face with fire, I think? I dunno. Life moves fast when you're with the annoying to type Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D! (That's why you should also read io9's report on "Every single clue hidden inside the Agents of SHIELD trailer!")
Deadline Hollywood has a great piece up right now about how Marvel Comics' notoriously cheap business practices are running headlong into actors who feel they're worth more than they're getting for starring in Marvel's wildly profitable movies.
The issue going forward is how many of the Avengers stars and starlets are still bound by early agreements and longterm options which Marvel can continue to exploit individually. To counter, I’ve learned the Avengers cast are becoming united behind Robert Downey Jr who is seen as the “leader” – like “a big brother” in the words of one rep - for all the younger actors in the ensemble. “He’s the only guy with real power in this situation. and balls of steel, too. He’s already sent a message that he’s not going to work for a place where they treat his colleagues like shit,” one source explains. Another rep tells me, “I have four words for Marvel – ‘Fuck you, call Robert.’” As Downey himself has said publicly about his $50M-plus payday, ”I’m what’s known as a strategic cost,” adding that Marvel is “so pissed” he earned that much.
It's funny—this almost exactly mirrors the way that Marvel has mistreated comics creators for decades now. (Read Sean Howe's excellent Marvel Comics: The Untold Story for more information about the history of Marvel's shameful history with artists and writers.) But unlike comics, where Marvel successfully bet that fans wouldn't care who was drawing Iron Man as long as Iron Man comics came out every month, I don't think an Iron Man 4 starring, say, Joel Edgerton as Tony Stark will be breaking any box office records, although it might still be a profitable movie. Could you imagine an Avengers 2 with an almost-entirely new cast? This issue, rather than superhero fatigue, might wind up being the thing that upends the Marvel Comics movie universe.
Since it's in the bizarre position of being the third film in one series and the seventh in the larger Marvel Comics movie universe, the average viewer will probably enter Iron Man 3 with at least two questions: With its focus on a solo superhero, can it possibly outdo the over-the-top team geekfest that was Joss Whedon's Avengers? Or will it at least be better than the property-management-obsessed mess that was Iron Man 2? The answers: Of course not, and, oh my God, so much better.
New Iron Man writer-director Shane Black treats Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark as less of a superhero than a jittery cross between James Bond and Thomas Edison, a wholly American, tech-obsessed adventurer. But he's got a sensitive side: Stark is suffering anxiety attacks after saving the world at the end of The Avengers, and his nervousness manifests as a lack of sleep, a compulsion for building dozens of new suits of armor, and an inability to be close with his girlfriend, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow, surprisingly likable)...
Slog tipper Tim asks, "Are we going to stand for this depiction of Seattle?" Tim was linking to a Slate story from yesterday headlined "Seattle Is Overrun With People Who Dress Up Like Superheroes and Cause Trouble." Here's a sample paragraph:
Seattle, being a somewhat silly place, is the home town of the Rain City Superhero Movement, a group of eccentric citizens who roam the streets wearing homemade superhero costumes, occasionally attempting to stop crime but mostly posing for photographs. Last year, several of the Rain City members inserted themselves into the protests, attempting to stop the anarchists from causing trouble. The independent review on May Day 2012 found that the superheroes just made things worse: “Rain City Superhero Movement individuals were allowed to participate in the melee at 1010 5th Avenue (U.S. Appeals Federal Courthouse). Their participation resulted in allegations of assaults/crimes.”
I'm ordinarily the first person to come to Seattle's defense when a journalist pokes fun at Seattle's provincialism. But the answer to your question, Tim, is that there is no defense for this shit. Our city deserves every ounce of ridicule that it gets for tolerating—and even, on the media's behalf, encouraging—these sad little children LARPing their little-kid fantasies all over the city. This is one case where a little street harassment could do some good; I'd love to see an entire block of Seattleites shouting "GROW UP" at these preening fuckwits as they mosey around feeling good about themselves.
Phoenix Jones trolls the parts of town where drunk people mill about after bars close, looking for a fight and calling it heroism. He causes more problems than he solves. I have no problem with him wandering around Emerald City Comicon acting like a celebrity, but the people of Seattle need to let him know that he's not welcome on our streets until he puts on his big-kid pants and behaves like a responsible citizen. The anarchist clowns silly-stringing Phoenix and his dress-up fanboys was a good start, but if you can think of any legal, nonviolent ways to shame these jackoffs into retirement, I'm all ears.
Did you know that the word "superhero" is jointly owned by Marvel and DC Comics, and that anyone else who uses the word is likely to get a cease and desist order? There's a suit to change that fact, but it's going nowhere fast, The New York Daily News explains.
Ray Felix grew up idolizing Spider-Man, Batman and other stars of Marvel and DC Comics. But when he created his own superheroes, the companies he once loved became his archenemies.
Felix' battle with the comic conglomerates began after he registered his online comic series "A World Without Superheroes" with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Marvel and DC opposed the move on the grounds that the companies own the trademark on the word "superhero." Almost two years later, the case is still awaiting a decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board.
Felix says he knows he'll probably lose, which is a safe bet when you're battling an unholy consortium of lawyers from both Time Warner and Disney. But still: This is bullshit.
As of today, your Kinect is now good for something: You can use it to place Pizza Hut orders through your XBox. That is all.
Iron Man 3 is almost here, but it's not the only Marvel movie coming out this year: In November, the Thor sequel, The Dark World, will be released. Here's a trailer:
Visiting New York two weeks ago, I wandered into the great gallery of Ed Winkleman and found the works of Shane Hope.
The hype of Hope is strong.
He creates his own 3D printers to make his boggling works, about which:
Accelerating progress in nanometer-scale science and technology continues to expand the toolkit with which we can eventually assemble things from the atom up. This will potentially give rise to nearly costless systems for controlling the structure of matter itself.
The statement about Hope's exhibition grows more byzantine and absurd as it progresses, in a hilarious mirroring of what happens when you fall into the batty surfaces of the works.
Forever optimistic, Hope puts forth these pieces as plans for playborground ball pits of pure operationality all about an atomic admin access-privs picturesque.
In Hope’s own words, “So run this, for here’s how you in the form of pathetic-prophetic techno-poetics for reals forge future’s futures: nano-nonobjective-oriented ontographic scribblin’ on scriptable-scalable species-tool-beings... metacompetitive metabolisms of things-executin’-things-executin’-things-executin’-things…”
Got it. The gallery web site is here, and more pictures are on the jump.
But you should pre-order it anyway!
Did you like Devil in the White City? Of course you did. Who doesn't? Chicago By Day and Night: The Pleasure Seeker's Guide to the Paris of America was a guidebook published for visitors to the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. Daniel Burnham might've picked it up, though he's never once mentioned (the book was written before we began to worship architects as artists). H. H. Holmes's hotel might've rated a mention, had it been built when the book was composed. If you're a DitWC fan, this book will complement your enjoyment of Larsen's.
CBDN guides potential visitors to "free and easy" shows, saloons, carousels, masquerades, and other fun things to do away from the Fair itself. It's a fascinating artifact of the late 19th Century, when any woman who flirted with a man on the street might be an "adventuress" who planned to take him for all he was worth, via blackmail, the badger game, or the panel room. A taste from that chapter, with our notes after the jump:
The term adventuress is applied to women of careless reputation who, being much too smart to endure the ignominious career of professional demi-mondaines, resort to various shrewd schemes to fleece the unwary. Some of their class work in concert with male partners, and in such cases the selected victim generally becomes an easy prey. The confidence man may be dangerous; the confidence woman, if she be well educated and bright, as well as pretty, is irresistible except with the most hardened and unsusceptible customers. The shrewdest old granger of them all, who steers safely through the shoals and traps set for him by male sharpers, will go down like the clover before the scythe under a roguish glance, as it were, from a “white wench’s black eye,” as Mercutio said.
There is no mortal man in this universe of ours, be he never so homely or ill-favored, who does not cherish in his heart of hearts the impression that there is a woman or two somewhere whom he could charm if he wished to. It is the spirit of masculine vanity that forms the material upon which the adventuress may work. With the art of an expert she sizes up the dimensions of her victim’s vanity the instant she has made his acquaintance and plays upon it to just the extent she deems expedient and profitable. If it were not for masculine vanity, the American adventuress could not exist.
Along with my colleague Paul Durica, I've introduced, edited and annotated this fascinating bit of history. Some key features you might like: lots of dirty jokes, along with serious economic history (the chapter on gambling, for instance, includes the Chicago Board of Trade as just another way to lose your shirt, along with back-alley craps games or faro banks in saloons). Reminders of how cities change, and how they stay the same. Very cool illustrations, and lots of double-entendres (watch for the "delicious lays").
But all in the service of scholarship. Pre-order! Use the code DURICA13 for a discount.
Today at Disney’s CinemaCon presentation, the studio announced that beginning in 2015 we’ll see a new Star Wars movie every summer. The plan is to begin with Episode VII, written by Michael Arndt and directed by JJ Abrams, then alternate between standalone “spin-off” movies and new Episodes in the core storyline.
You see, if we cut the goose wide open and take a look at its intestines, we'll be able to figure out how it lays those golden eggs. Then we'll all have more golden eggs! It's what we like to call a win-win situation.