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While I may not be as busy as I was while Dark Matter was in production, I find myself surprisingly busy for someone without a show to run.  Most of my days are spent reading comic books and reviewing anime…for work!  In addition, I’ve got a little over a half dozen “things” percolating, from being hired to co-develop and write  the pilot for a new sci-fi project to angling on four different book-to-screen adaptations.  Throw in a couple of very intriguing showrunning opportunities and let’s call it a year.  Decisions, decisions.  Cannot wait to share the details – and head back into production.

No, scratch that.  I can wait a little longer.  Enjoying the first real vacation I’ve had in…oh, about 20 years.

Being suddenly free for lunch and dinners has given me the opportunity to enjoy – well, what else? – more lunches and dinners.  Recently, we hit up our favorite place for tapas, Bar Raval, with our friend Nicole Tsang (who took all of the following snaps).

The happy (albeit slightly suspicious) couple.

Order from the menu, but always check out the bar for the daily additions.

Akemi’s favorite – the torta (which is like an Italian frittata and all sorts of delicious).

From their conserva section: mackerel and scallops.

The morcilla.

Crispy eggplant with honey.

Croquetas.

And, for dessert, one of everything – as is the custom!  Well, the custom when you’re dining with yours truly.

If you’re in town, check it out!

Okay, back to the graphic novels!

 

Ideally, I’d like my next show to be either an anime, comic book, novel adaptation – or one featuring dogs in pajamas.

Akemi, meanwhile, has been hard at work designing for her upcoming Suji-themed lapel pin and badge line.

A few shout-outs are in order today:

Marc Bendavid, Dark Matter’s ONE, stars in a new webseries.

How to Buy a Baby is the story of an infertile couple that struggles to conceive with the help of a doctor.  And a nurse.  And a financial planner.  And unsolicited advice from everyone they know.

The six episode miniseries is available to stream online.  Check out Episode 1:

ZNation creator Craig Engler has a new project in the works.  Check out the link for info on how you can support it:

The Last Days of Earth

It’s Wednesday and you know that means?!   That’s right.  It’s New Comics Day!

I no longer get down to my local comic shop as often as I’d like but, fortunately, my comixology membership allows me to keep up with all of the latest releases (and back issues!), purchase those that catch my interest, and even lets me preview the first few pages of each new issue.

I’ve always loved comic books but, the truth is, with so many titles out there and the oft maddeningly confusing crossovers and big events, it’s hard to keep track. Sure, I have my regular go-to’s but, sometimes, it’s nice to make a new discovery. Usually, this is a result of my wanting to check out an admired writer or favorite character, or, occasionally, being drawn to an intriguing premise.  Every so often, however, it’s the art – specifically the cover art that piques my interest.  I know, I know.  Never judge a book by its cover.  Certainly, appreciate the artwork, let it lead you into a new book and, once you’ve appreciated the whole package, THEN judge.  But if the cover art catches your eye, why not reward the artist with a purchase?

Here is the first installment of what may (or may not) be a regular blog feature. My Favorite Comic Book Covers of the week:

Star Wars: Darth Vader #8 (cover art by Giuseppe Camuncoli)

I don’t read Star Wars comics.  Hell, I haven’t seen a Star Wars movie since halfway through Return of the Jedi.  But this is one bad-ass cover with our stripped down Vader looking very zen in the face of a fiery planetary object, his dark accoutrements foreground prisoners of gravity.

Aquaman #30 (cover art by Stjepan Sejic)

Squint and slightly blur your perception, and it’s almost like Jason Momoa is staring back at you through the prison-like bars of Arthur Curry’s trident.

The Mighty Thor #701 (cover art by Russel Dautermann)

I like the way this one play with depth and perception, the fuzzy, unfocused background image of the nameless creature walking way; the shockingly crisp image of a shattered Mjolnir lying abandoned on Bifrost.  And, hey, is that blood?!

Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan #2 (cover art by Declan Shalvey)

All the action is left justified, our anti-heroes facing off, blades vs. blades, as their turning structure crumbles and gives way to a prevailing stark white nothingness.

Descender #26 (cover art by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen)

Along those same lines, there’s this minimalist cover that nevertheless conveys so much.  Have you ever seen a lonelier looking robot?

Maestros #2 (cover art by Steve Stroce)

On the other side of the spectrum is this audaciously detailed masterpiece that mixes magic, tech, and elements of horror.

The Realm #3 (cover art by Nick Filardi, Jeremy Haun, Kelly Jones, Michelle Madsen)

Speaking of horror, even if you don’t partake in the genre, you have to give it up for this eerie illustration that does a terrific job of evoking a sense of mounting dread through color and light.  And, oh yeah, that skull-sporting dude advancing on us.

We were walking back from my favorite pizza joint, Superpoint on Ossington, last night when we were approached by a somewhat disheveled looking man.   “Do you have twenty-five cents for food?”he asked.  I recognized him as the same guy we’d passed not two hours earlier on our way to the restaurant.

“Offer him the pizza,”suggested Ivon.

Great idea, I thought.

“Hey!”I called after the man who was already shuffling off.  “Want some pizza?”  I held up the box of leftovers.

The man stopped and started back at me, stunned, as though I’d just spoken to him in German.  A beat and then, with a  double wave of his hand, he exhorted me to: “Enjoy.  Enjoy.” before continuing on his way.

Hunh.  I thought it odd but, not two blocks later, we were approached again, this time by a somewhat disheveled looking woman.  “Do you have a dollar for food?”she asked.

“Would you like some pizza?”I offered.

Brow furrowed, she frowned.  “No.”  Then turned and walked off.

As I watched her go, I couldn’t help but marvel.  What are the chances of running into back to back gluten-intolerant transients?

Hey, thanks to those of you who weighed in with reading recommendations.  Since uploading yesterday’s list, I started a new book and am about a third of the way through RJ Barker’s Age of Assassins, a terrific fantasy novel about an apprentice assassin tasked with going undercover in a royal court so he can identify and stop another assassin from murdering the young, obnoxious king-in-waiting.

In addition to yesterday’s book list, I need to generate a whole other list for graphic novels.  I’ve been presented with a couple of great opportunities to adapt some titles to the small screen and was wondering what YOUR favorites are?  No DC or Marvel as they’re already spoken for.  Also, as much as Saga rocks, I think it’s unproducable and just perfection in its comic book form.

Also, along these lines, if you’ve got an anime series that you think would make a great live action series (Randomness, I’m sure you’ll have a few suggestions), I’d like to hear them as well!

There are time when I feel like Henry Bemis in the Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough at Last”.  The episode focuses on Henry, a bank teller played by Burgess Meredith, who is constantly prevented from doing the one thing he loves most: read.  One day, during his lunch break, he retreats to the bank’s vault to get some reading in, only to be knocked unconscious by a concussive blast.  He awakens and exits the vault to discover humanity has been wiped out but, in a fortuitous stroke, the public library is still standing.  Henry is delighted and, after sorting through countless books and compiling a huge stack, he prepares to get started – only to stumble and break his glasses, preventing him from doing the one thing he loves most of all.

Anyway, not to make too much of it, but there are times when I feel like Henry Bemis.  Despite my crazy production schedule for much of the year (I do some of my best reading between set-ups and before turning in for the night), I managed to set a pretty torrid reading pace this year.  I figured the show’s cancellation would allow me to get even  more reading in but the truth is I’ve been as busy these last couple of months than I was working on Dark Matter’s third season.  Still, it looks like I’ll surpass my record of 185 books read in 2014 as I just finished my 185th book of 2017, American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in the Vanishing Land, a terrific work of non-fiction about the serial arsonists who plagued Accomack County, Virginia back in the fall of 2012.  A great read.  Sure, on the surface it looks impress, but truth is a good 15% of those 185 titles were graphic novels or novellas.

But looking ahead to composing my list of Best Books of 2017 (which specifically covers books published in 2017, as opposed to my Best Reads of 2017 which covers a more expansive list of books I happened to read in the 2017 calendar year), I realized I really need to pull up my bootstraps if I want to to weigh in with an informed opinion.  By my count, of the 185 books I’ve read to date, a mere 67 were published in 2017, and 9 of them were graphic novels.  Pretty sad.

In order to expedite things ahead of my spring Best Books of 2017 blog entry (I give myself some leeway to catch up on those late December titles), I put together a list of 2017 titles I still need to get around to between now and said blog entry. The list so far, in no particular order:

The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico

Homesick for Another World by Otessa Moshfegh
Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood
The Force by Don Winslow
The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker
Redfire: A Red Peace by Spencer Ellsworth
Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter
The Cutaway by Christina Kovac
The River at Night by Erica Ferencik
Redemption Road by John Hart
The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka
The Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen
A Man of Shadows by Jeff Noon
Age of Assassins by RJ Barker
Words on a Bathroom Wall by Julia Watson
The Stolen Child by Lisa Carey
Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
Ferocity by Nicola Lagioia and
Dark Chapter by Winnie M Li
The Man in the Tree by Sage Walker
The Acolyte by Nick Cutter
My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
The Unseen World – Liz Moore
She Rides Shotgun – Jordan Harper
Spaceman of Bohemia, Jaroslav Kalfar
Quicksand, Malin Persson Giolito
The Widow of Wall Street, Randy Susan Meyers
Down City, Leah Carroll
Book of American Martyrs, Joyce Carol Oates
Sycamore, Bryn Chancellor
Startup, Doree Shafrir
The Destroyers, Christopher Bollen
Grief Cottage, Gail Godwin
Strange Contagion, Lee Daniel Kravetz
To Be A Machine, Mark O’Connell
The Unit, Ninni Holmquist
My Absolute Darling, Gabriel Tallent
If The Creek Don’t Rise, Leah Weiss
A Kind of Freedom, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
Caca Dolce, Chelsea Martin
Reincarnation Blues, Michael Poore
Killers of the Flower Moon – David Grann
Bunk – Kevin Young
Improvement – Joan Silber
***
Whew!  Read any of the aforementioned?  Thoughts?  Are there any I should move to the top of the list?  Others I should move down?  Let’s hear it, fellow readers!

Lulu (10), and Suji (12) may be old timers, but what they lack in mobility they more than make up for in spirit and appetite.

This week, we dropped them of with our new dogsitter, Cynthia, for the day.  Step #1 complete.  In a couple of weeks, Step #2 will see us drop them off for an overnight stay.  If all goes well, we move on to Step #3: Akemi and I go to New York for a couple of days.  And, if that goes swimmingly, it’s Japan in January for Le Salon de Chocolat!

The new guests = Lulu and Suji.

Lulu discovers a comfy bed.

Suji, as usual, squeezes in.

And ends up squeezing Lulu out – also, as usual.

In preparation for the wintry months ahead, Akemi and I have borrowed a red wagon from our friend Gosia who used to use it wheel around her adorable pug Lucy.  We tested it by taking them out for a ride a couple of days ago and the dogs loved it!

And awaaaaaay we go! (Photos courtesy of our friend Nicole).

Alright, I’m off to give them a bath.  Wish me luck!

P.S. The latest from Suji’s instagram (click here).  11,700+ followers and counting!

I fell asleep on the couch and napped for two hours today.

I’m getting more forgetful.

I pulled something doing lunges two weeks ago and now my inability to cut has diminished my confidence in my ability to play the corner position.

Instead of doubling its character limit, I really feel twitter would have been better served by adding an edit function instead.

I prefer the smaller model iPhones instead of the new ones that come with their own backpacks.

My french bulldog Lulu is getting heavier to carry around, but she’s not really getting any heavier.

I find club-decibel level music in retail stores annoying.

The most accessed function on my iPhone is the flashlight app which I use to read restaurant menus.

I think the 2000 and 2003 X-Men movies are far superior to pretty much any Marvel movie produced since (with the possible exception of Deadpool).

Watching Avengers: Age of Ultron was, for me, like watching somebody else play video games for three excruciating hours.

My favorite incarnation of Spiderman remains Gerry Conway’s run on Amazing Spiderman (#111-149).

My “pajamas” consist of a pair of comfy fleece pants and varied anime-themed t-shirts.

I am constantly frustrated by the limit of my laptop’s screen-brightening ability.

I no longer even feign interest in people who dislike dogs.

My bedtime has gotten increasingly earlier as I make time to read before going to sleep.  But once a night, I will get out of bed to go downstairs and watch Monday Night Football.

I drink chamomile tea at night

I remember a time before eco-friendly appliances, when dishwashers would actually get all your dishes and cutlery clean – in less than an hour!

I still open doors for people, strike up conversations with complete strangers, and hold the elevator rather than pretend to look away while surreptitiously hitting the “close” button.

I’ve come to the understanding that whiskey isn’t necessarily something you usually enjoy in company.

I’m getting more forgetful.

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