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Now Available: The Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit Vol. 6!

Brutal Blade Vol. 6 is live and on the air! With this book, we reach the midpoint of the Bruno the Bandit archives, and also reach a turni...

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Worst Possible Meme...

That moment when you open the working file for the new Bruno book and realize that the file has become corrupted, all your images are missing, and just when you thought you had finished, you've got to start the whole thing from scratch.

EDIT: The problem is mostly fixed.  For reasons known to no one, Scribus decided not to recognize all the linked images in the book.  It kept the layout for all the pages, but just showed empty frames where the images were supposed to appear.  I was able to restore most of it with a couple of hours work, so I can pick back up from there to get the book finished.
I don't get how this happened though.  I don't recall having moving any directories around, and shouldn't these links be absolute anyway? 
Oh well...live and learn!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Reading the Unreadable

I have several concurrent problems that gelled together in an odd way for me.

I am a voracious reader.  To say that I read a lot is like saying that Niagara Falls is bit damp.  Thanks to e-reading apps and services like Project Gutenberg, Kindle and Archive.org, I am never without a library of books on my person, and will whip out a book at the slightest provocation, regardless of context or company.
That's not the problem.  The problem is that lately I've found a lot of my reading is rather pointless.  I tend to stick to the same genres - horror, science fiction, true crime, with a smattering of fantasy - with a slight ratio of nonfiction so I don't feel like I'm completely wasting my time.  After a while, the titles, characters and plots all sort of run together so that none of it sticks, and very little of it stands out.  I can't help but think that something that takes so much of my attention should have a little more meaning - or at least direction - behind it.
 A related problem is that I have a long list of "someday" books that I've been meaning to get to - books that I know I should read but always pass over in favor of something much easier and much more disposable and forgettable.  I've no doubt that these books will prove enlightening in some way, but always seem to be less entertaining and more difficult to process.
Less related are the problems of social media and attempting to supply content for a website/blog.  I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr that hardly see any use, like I've shown up for the party but have decided to just stand in the corner all night, nursing an Aquafina and admiring the wall art.  Additionally, the AIM Comics blog hardly ever sees updates any more, due to the slow production cycle of just about anything I am not being directly paid for.

So, partly inspired by the great rereads I follow on Tor.com, partly by some comments about Gravity's Rainbow heard in a recent Marc Maron podcast, and by my own lack of literary intertia, I've decided to challenge myself to read the unreadable....to conquer the important bits of my "Someday" pile by reading the books that are considered to be the most challenging to even experienced readers.  The books that everybody talks about, but no one has read, or at least not finished.  I'm going to take a run at them, provide some direction to my reading habit and broaden my literary horizons in one fell swoop.

More than just that, I'm going to commit the possibly unforgivable crime of doing this in public (gasp!).  I plan to tweet about the books as I read them, and to write up commentaries about them here as I finish them.  The idea is that the process will give a little bit of accountability to this habit I'm trying to change, and hopefully provide some interesting reading for others at the same time.

If this goes well, I might be inspired to do some of the other heavy reads I've been planning, such as the complete works of Robert E. Howard and Isaac Asimov, just to name a couple.

So if you're interested in finding out what I think of Finnegan's Wake, or Gravity's Rainbow, or a host of other "unreadable" books, be sure to follow me in (more or less) real time on Twitter, check out my posts on this site, or follow me on Facebook.  Feel free to post comments to tell me how I've missed the point of each book (I never said I was going to UNDERSTAND these books!) or how I should go back to Little Golden Books, or (less likely) how the depth of my insight has opened your eyes to new vistas of literature and inspired you to shout James Joyce's name from the rooftops.

Speaking of James Joyce, I'll be starting with "Finnegan's Wake", so we've got that to look forward to.  There may or may not be whiskey involved in the reading process.  Follow along and see if I can manage to hold it together enough to get through this exercise.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Pulp and Not Pulp

One of my favorite...sites? ...feeds?  It's a Tumblr feed, so I guess either one applies.  In any case, one of my favorite sources of information right now is Not Pulp Covers, which bills itself as "Pin-up, Illustrations, Advertisements, and Other Things that are Not Pulp Covers".  It's a fantastic source for art and photography, classic and modern, that has a pulp or pin-up influence.  It's helped introduce me to classic illustrators whose work I've seen but never been able to name, and broadened my perspective on artists that I've known for a long time.
It's also helped me realize a few things about myself.  Mainly that I enjoy the movie poster art a lot more than I enjoy a lot of movies.  I enjoy book covers a lot more than I do many books.  I enjoy game concept art much more than I enjoy any actual gaming.  I appreciate a powerful single, visual image more than I do the work it illustrates.
Just for example, look at the image above, pulled from a recent post on NPC....there's more dramatic tension involved in that painted scene than I suspect inhabits the entirety of the movie, which can't help but look dated and dull in comparison.  I think it has a lot to do with the imagination that's engaged by a powerful image like this.  An interested viewer will create their own backstory for such an image, and do a quick bit of mental worldbuilding that explains how this moment came to be, and projects how it could possibly work out.  So much more happens, for me at least, in even a quick analysis of that one image than results from a viewing of the entire film, and like a Lovecraftian vision, it has greater scale and scope in the mind than can ever be shown in the screen.
I am a reader, and a cinemaphile...but definitely not a gamer in anything more than a casual sense.  But I am a visual artist, first and foremost, and I think I need to spend more time focusing on that aspect rather than trying to consume so many books and movies, and feeling guilty for not getting around to my growing game disc and Steam library collection.  It's a  somewhat liberating feeling to be able to recognize what it is that you love about a thing and be able to put aside the rest of it.  It certainly has the potential to free up a lot of time.

Related to this, by the way, is the companion site, Pulp Covers.  Run, as far as I can tell, by the same people, this one showcases the covers and some interior art from classic pulp magazines and trashy paperbacks.  The art is melodramatic and often cheesy, and much of it is blatantly sexist, but it also has a visual style that's fascinating to look at.  It's amazing to see the level of skill and sense of design that was brought to work that was essentially considered throwaway.  Except, of course, that thanks to sites like Pulp Covers and Not Pulp Covers, it's no longer throwaway, but it recontextualized as Art, and that's good to see.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Bruno's Back! Brutal Blade Vol. 7 Is On the Way!

After too long an absence, The Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit is coming back with Vol. 7, collecting more stories from the archives of the webcomic.  With a couple of bonus features and a new cover by Mike Dominic and Bruno's creator, Ian McDonald, this is gonna be a good one...but then, they're all good ones, aren't they?
Here's a small preview of the cover of the newest collection.  Just what this bandit is goggling at will have to wait a little while...but not much longer!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Time to Close the Book on the Journals

Due to an overwhelming lack of interest...not least of all on the part of the creator...the series "The Journals of Simon Pariah" is cancelled at AIM Comics.

I've been flogging this dead horse for over two decades now, and it's time to admit that it's just not working.  At this point, all I'm doing...when I'm doing anything at all...is rehashing old material, and I haven't got the fire in me to create any new stories.  There's still a lot that could be done with the series, but I don't see myself doing it, and even if I did nobody's reading it.  I've run it up the flagpole and no one's saluting. 
That's not to say that I've got no creative ideas left at all...I've got more ideas than I have time to get to (that's a problem for another day).  So, it's time to close the door on this project and see if I can't free up some brain space for something that I actually feel inspired to finish.
The existing books will remain on sale for now; they're pretty good in their own way so they might be worth a look.  Other than that, the only project at AIM Comics for the next little while will be my reprints of Ian McDonald's "Bruno the Bandit" series.  At least until I get something else interesting up and running.

That's all.  Move on to something more interesting.  I think I saw some cat gifs around here somewhere.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Brutal Best of Bruno the Bandit: Day 17

I'm including this one for no other reason than that I absolutely love the expression on the face of the waiter in the last panel.  Ian absolutely nailed it.  I mean, the rest of the strip's good too, but c'mon...look at that face!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Brutal Best of Bruno the Bandit: Day 16

Brunella!  Ian was gender-swapping before gender-swapping was cool! 
While I know Ian's not a fan of cheesecake for cheesecake's sake (don't even get me started on our disagreement over Frank Cho!), he occasionally pulls an interesting twist on the idea out of his hat.  The Brunella story was one of those times.  Imagine the personality of Bruno in a female body.  What changes?  What doesn't?  And what will happen when a stripling prince mistakes him/her for his beloved Octavia?  It's a fun story in all respects!