Saturday, January 16, 2016

What I'm Reading: Roundup

You Can Date Boys When You're Forty The latest humor book by Dave Barry. My wife received this for Christmas, but I started reading it and had to borrow it. Barry brings his absurdist wit to topics like when his daughter can date (see the title for the answer), the differences between men and women, grammar, and his recent trip to Israel.

One good chapter, very relevant to my situation, is "How to Become a Professional Author." It includes the good advice to "plant yourself in front of your computer and perform the difficult--and lonely--task of writing a letter to a successful author asking for free advice. This is the only known way to succeed as an author." Good idea! I'll get right on that.

Art Ops A new comic series, written by Matt Brundage and drawn by Mike Allred. Follows Art Ops, a secret organization devoted to keeping art safe, which is a difficult task as (unbeknownst to the average museum-goer), art has a tendency to come to life and jump out of the frame when nobody's looking. After a slow first couple issues, the most recent one really picked up, with the Statue of Liberty rampaging through the streets of New York, the Mona Lisa joining a punk band as lead singer, and the guy in the Scream painting trying to scare little children. Mike Allred is a master of art that is somehow simultaneously cartoony and realistic. Not sure how he does that. The writing on this series is a little beside the point, you should really get it to see Allred's beautiful work.

Rat Queens Another comic series, this one written by Kurtis Wiebe. It bills itself as "Sass 'n' sorcery," a fitting description, as it's basically a game of Dungeons & Dragons played by your most smart-ass friends. The Rat Queens are a group of four lady adventurers who like nothing better than killing monsters, collecting treasure, and drinking, drugging, and romancing until the morning light, quipping all the while. It's an open question whether their quasi-medieval town, Palisade, sees a net benefit from their monster killing or a net detriment from the cumulative damage of their partying.

This one ran for a while starting in 2013 but then disappeared from the stands for a few months. I believe the artist had some sort of personal crisis but Wiebe has found a new artist and it's recently started up again. I find that issue to issue the quality can vary quite a bit, but overall it's a great read.

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