March 31, 2014 § Leave a comment
It is that time again: if you live in Minnesota, you should be gearing up for the Cracked Walnut Literary Festival! Featuring 25 readings at an incredible array of venues throughout April, it will bring the work of over a hundred writers to diverse audiences. Each night has a unique theme, so there should be plenty of interesting connections to draw. You can get the full schedule of events here.
I will be reading at 7pm on Friday, April 4th at The Coffee Shop Northeast (you can get full details here) and will share the stage with a couple of friends I’m looking forward to seeing again and some new names I’m excited to hear for the first time. The theme of the night is “Hooked”; I’ve written a lot about addiction in the past, but I’m planning to read from Slash in order to get everyone in the audience hooked on it’s unique blend of literary/trashy suspense. And I guess, while not as classic as alcohol or drug addiction, the novel’s protagonist is addicted to erotic fan fiction, so it works with the theme in that way, too.
In addition to hooking people on Slash (which will be FREE on April 4th-8th, by the way!), I hope the reading will hook everyone on the Cracked Literary Festival, as well. It is a great part of the Twin Cities Literary Community that writers and readers in other cities ought to be jealous of and that we Minnesotans should support in every way possible. I’m planning on attending a few in addition to the one I am reading in (my wife is reading at the April 14th event), and I hope to see you there.
March 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
Although it doesn’t bode well for my hopes of posting weekly essays on this blog again, I’m excited to share my new podcast with y’all. For almost a year now, Film Strip Heroes has been disseminating and discussing the latest news related to super-hero movies, TV shows, and the comics that inspire them, and due to some recent moves, Josh Wodarz, the show-runner and a friend from our MFA days, invited me to fill a co-host spot. We recorded my first episode earlier in the week, and it was even more fun than I thought it would be, talking funny-books with Josh and Robert Algeo, the other co-host. Hopefully it is fun to listen to, as well: you can find out if it is here and check out www.csicon.net for future episodes and lots of other great, geeky podcasts.
Despite all the fun, there is a bit of work involved, and adding another commitment will only make it harder for me to get back to regular posts on this blog, at least until I get the last episode of Slash all set for publication later this year. That said, I think a lot of my views on humor will come out in my views on comics.
For example, this first week, we got to talking a bit about my preference for Marvel over DC, a distinction that is lost on a lot of laymen, but one that I feel can be most easily felt by contrasting two companies’ use of humor. While there are certainly over-serious Marvel heroes (and plenty that try, but just aren’t funny), I feel they mostly capture that symbiosis between humor and drama, one feeding and sharpening the other, that I look for in stories.
Even if you’ve never read a comic, just think about the contrast between DC’s flagship hero Batman—dark, depressed, and revengeful; only cracking wise if it seems like it will make his punch more punishing—and your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man—always joking, even when all seems lost; more interested in helping the little guy than exacting some sort of conservative justice—and you’ll get a sense of the different spirits driving the two universes. And if you need any further proof, consider who the biggest villain in the DC universe is, and you’ll get a sense of the esteem they hold for humor.