Youtube Channel Roundup : On Harlan Ellison, DC Comics, Brian Michael Bendis, and SLEEPYREADER666!

This blog post is on a recent video courtesy of SLEEPY READER, via his excellent Youtube Channel. Watched it courtesy of the Youtube Channel on my Roku streaming device

SLEEPY READER 666 Vlog #76 I like the fact that Sleepy reader covers diverse content, rather than just showing you the latest comics, or variants. I like that his stories are a little deeper than that and more informed.

In his most recent episode he discusses the late great Harlan Ellison, as well as Brian Michael Bendis, and kinda wags his finger at them for being too self aggrandizing. Based on a bad meeting he had with Harlan Ellison when he was 24.

And that got me thinking about the impressions we make of a person, the life long animus, or bad impression we somehow cement of a person, based on a cursory meeting in our youth. When you might have been catching your idol on a bad day.

Evidently seeing Ellison being bombastic and vocal, an impression of Ellison was created,  a definition of Ellison based on that one meeting, that some can carry through an entire life.

It is a common mistake that young people do (I have done it), imagining that one moment is the man. A lot of people go to conventions or meet their heroes, and because the hero doesn’t say what they wanted him to say, or respond how they expected him to respond that creator is suddenly for all time, and in all things, an asshole, or pompous, or whatever.

And most of the time it is that the person may have have a bad day, or a bad interaction, or a bad lunch, or a rude fan before you, or his mind is on a personal issue at home, so perhaps he doesn’t fully pay attention to the 200th person in the line, asking  him the same stupid question, or make the same inane joke as 50 people before.

Most of us barely are able to get along with the small circle of people who make up are 9 to 5. A celebrity mutiplies those interactions by the thousands arguably, and even if he is on most of that, 99% of that time, that leaves 1% he is not going to satisfy, or be at his best for.

I’m saying that basing your view of a person on one peripheral incident, that that person arguably has forgotten, five minutes after it happened, if he were to bump into you the day after he would likely not know know you from Adam, yet for you that incident of decades ago has become a defining , enlightening moment on that person’s personality for all time.

And all of us have done this at times. It is the reckoning of someone very young, and the mistake of someone very young. We who are older, who have been on both sides of that being disappointed, and disappointing a person, should hopefully grow to know better.

 

People have bad days. You call em on it, or you don’t. But either way you let it go, and you do not try and define a person you really do not know, based on just that one incident at a convention or party.

An idol doesn’t owe you the approval of his character, he produces work, an if the work speaks to you, he’s done his job. The judging of his soul or his character is not a part of that contract we develop with those who amaze up.

I’m one of those who grew up on the work of Asimov, Bradbury, Baldwin, and Harlan Ellison. Along with a good helping of Stan Lee, and Bill Cosby and Edgar Allen poe and Electric company.

What I gained from all those influences, those creators remain. I’m an immesurably richer person for the creativity of people I know only through their work for the most part.

And if later time finds them in places far from the heroic heights we met them on, it does not change the great things their work did for us, and many like us.

It’s the concept that is lost on a witch hunt America, that a man’s evil does not erase his good. No matter how our culture of championing falls, would like it to be so. 

I think sometimes, particularly in America, we raise people up, just to tear them down. That is arguably not the way, I’m not a bandwagon guy.   Judgement not by the consensus of the media or Social media, or one cursory interaction.

We all make up opinions on people, but perhaps those opinions should be as cognizant of our own… fallibility, as we can make it. And look at the supposed sins and failings of others, always in relation to our own sins and failings.

Something I absolutely do not think is currently happening in the media.

Was Harlan Ellison a prickly, abrasive, off-putting, and arguably contrary and combative person? As someone who has listened to just about all his recordings as well as read and listened to his writings… I believe Harlan Ellison would be the first one to say Yes!!!

He famously said, something to the effect ‘I’m a snake on a rock, don’t mes with me I’ll leave you alone. Mess with me i’ll bite you and hang on.’

That was Harlan Ellison. He suffered not fools. And he believed, he believed the wrong things should be railed against.

And that fire permeated his work, like the fire of invention. Harlan Elision changed the landscape of fiction, with an almost incendiary mirror to the fallacies of our age. His DANGEROUS VISIONS, written before I was born, and that I discovered as a teen, is (I think) for most who read it… the defining anthology of an age.

And in the decades since its publication that anthology and its sequel, continue to be the standard bearer by which all future anthologies are measured.

Harlan Ellison has been chastised for having been self aggrandizing, for his ‘look at me, aren’t I great’ attitude.

I, for one, think Harlan Ellison was a great writer. And his body of work will remain… great and essential, and oddly timeless.

He in many ways was some odd ying to Ray Bradbury’s yang, both of them being the voice for reason, in a world embroiled in madness. They both were masters of the cautionary tale, and their shadow looms large in the works of popular culture to this day. Like Poe they were the masters of the short story, and those short stories will only grow more beloved and adapted in the years to come.

Was Harlan Ellison self aggrandizing. It is the poor creator who isn’t , if he wants to sell his work.

Some creators are bad or uncomfortable with it, and hire others to do it for them. Some are great at it.

Harlan Ellison in addition to being a great writer, was arguably just as great a performer and showman. Like Jim Steranko he had the circus in his blood from a young age. Likely the way such men came up, kicking down doors is the reason the world knows their name today.

So to expect them to be something meek, because you are not comfortable with their breed of strong, is both inane and arrogant.

I love reading Ellison’s Books  for the very brashness of them. and their elegance, and the breath of his imagination, all  imposed by a hard early life, where dreams and the scraping, and shouting, and biting for them was all that made them real.

The very  ‘center of attention’ nature of Ellison, that so can put off others,  is the very thing that galvanizes me to him. And is one of the reasons listening to him perform his works makes them even richer.

He was a natural performer, and one of the best audio performers. Which is surprising giving his slightly nasally voice, but him performing was the audio equivalent of the energy Jack Kirby brought to his panel breaking drawings. It was raw energy and emotion and passion.

If you only know Harlan Ellison’s fiction from just reading, pick up the audio books.

He was one of the best audio actors of the 20th century, right up there with Orson Welles, Vincent Price, James Mason, Roddy McDowell, David Birney.

The thing about Ellison, he earned the right to be proud of his work. As did Bradbury, who had his own very good tv series. And there were plenty, and remain plenty to sing the praises of Ellison’s work. i own his 50th anniversary tome. An updated followup to it, containing the newsletter and other work he did prior to his passing, I definitely look forward to.

So to bring this back, if anyone does not like people who they feels push their importance’ that is their right.

But for every one who for whatever reason finds that behaviour bragging or pitiful, there are a lot that find it neither bragging or insincere, but simply informative, and the person’s personality.

And for me, Ellison, the personality I saw as a fan, was a great personality. And God knows we could use more of his take no bs personality  now, in a world of sheep meekly being bled to death by corporate gleed and malfeasance.

I’m sure he saw in this 21st century, everything he railed against in his fiction.

People also to do a sharp, awkward pivot off Harlan Ellison to accuse Brian Michael Brendis of disappointing publisher DC  Comics, because he misled them by , like Ellison, over-hyping himself.

That is to paraphrase some complaints I have heard. I like the work of Bendis, but he is no Harlan Ellison. The two do not fit in the same sentence. But you can get the gist of the thematic comparison Sleepy was making, by checking out his channel, and the video in question at the link below.

And to be clear, i like Sleepy Reader’s channel. I think it is very informative and you should subscribe. I have enjoyed just about all his shows and find him a highly intelligent, informed and informative person, providing a wealth of great information to this niche community of Comic Book fans on Youtube.

I take the time to write this post not to highlight how all of us in this talk show age, even the most intelligent of us, have started to internalize the sloppy thinking that has brought us to an America, that is regressing rather than progressing.

 

I am reminded of an Alan Moore line, that highlights the discrepancy between the truth of who we  were as angry young men, and who we hopefully grow into being.

As angry young men we have monologues rather than a conversation.  ‘Monologues  we have mistaken for the world’ to quote Alan Moore.

In closing HUGE FAN of Harlan Ellison here, as I mentioned, I hope they will releases a 70th anniversary anthology to follow up his 50th anniversary book.

 

For those reading this who want more from the late, great Harlan Ellison, as well as some of the other greats mentioned please use the following links:

https://amzn.to/2KNsJDA

Originally published in 1962 and updated in later decades with a new introduction, Ellison Wonderland shows a vibrant young writer with a wide-ranging imagination, ferocious creative energy, devastating wit, and an eye for the wonderful and terrifying and tragic. Among the gems are ”All the Sounds of Fear,” ”The Sky Is Burning,” ”The Very Last Day of a Good Woman,” and ”In Lonely Lands.” Though they stand tall on their own merits, they also point the way to the sublime stories that followed soon after and continue to come even now, more than fifty years later.

https://amzn.to/2MDGrLa

 

https://amzn.to/2MeAHv9

A Lit Fuse is an unguarded, uncensored, unquiet tour of the life of Harlan Ellison.

In late 2011 Harlan Ellison the multi-award-winning writer of speculative fiction and famously litigious personality did two uncharacteristic things. First, he asked biographer Nat Segaloff if he d be interested in writing his life story. Second, he gave Segaloff full control. The result is the long-anticipated A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison. The expansive biography, which is the first such project in which Ellison has permitted large portions of his varied works to appear, is published by NESFA Press.

Segaloff conducted exhaustive interviews with Ellison over the course of five years and also spoke with many of his friends and enemies in an effort to get inside the man and pin down the best-known Harlan stories. Their wide-ranging discussions cover his bullied boyhood, his storied marriages, his fabled lawsuits, and his compulsive writing process with more depth and detail than has ever before appeared in print. But it also delves deeply into the man s deeply held principles, his fears, and the demons that have driven him all of his 83 (so far) years. Friends, colleagues, and admirers such as Neil Gaiman, Patton Oswalt, Peter David, Robert Sawyer, Michael Scott, Edward Asner, Leonard Nimoy, Ed Bryant, Alan Brennert, Robert Silverberg, and many other notables add their voices.

Along the way the reader is treated to an analysis of the Connie Willis controversy, the infamous dead gopher story, allegedly pushing a fan down an elevator shaft, and the final word on The Last Dangerous Visions. What emerges is a rich portrait of a man who has spent his life doing battle with his times and himself, always challenging his readers to reach for a higher plane and goading himself to get them there. It s funny, wise, shocking, and well, it’s Harlan.

https://amzn.to/2Me0vY7

Rediscover the Early Ellison. This collection restores to print fifteen never-collected tales from the first dozen years of his career. Hard-hitting crime stories like “Thrill Kill,” “Girl at Gunpoint,” “Kill Joy,” “Knife/Death” and “Burn My Killers!” share the table of contents with stories of betrayal, including “Death Climb,” “Riff,” “Mac’s Girl,” and “The Honor in the Dying.” And, together for the first time, Ellison’s three detective stories featuring insurance investigator Jerry Killian. Toss in the solo outing of a diminutive private dick named Big John Novak (of whom Ellison expected to write much more, but never did) and a sexy Western called “Saddle Tramp” and you’ve got quite an assemblage of tales from the seamier side of life. All that, plus “The Final Movement,” a never-before-published story from the mid-1950s. Better than a poke in the eye with a white-hot bone of Amenhotep, I think you’ll agree.

 

https://amzn.to/2Oyn6vw

Harlan Ellison is probably best known as a script writer for sci-fi and fantasy movies and TV series such as the original Outer Limits, The Hunger, Logan’s Run, and Babylon Five. But his range is much broader than that, encompassing stories, novels, essays, reviews, reminiscences, plays, even fake autobiographies. Essential Ellison includes contains 74 unabridged works, including such classics as “A Boy and His Dog,” “Xenogenesis,” and “Mefisto in Onyx.” Includes black-and-white photos.

https://amzn.to/2KQ2Z9I

 

 

Best to any one reading this!

 

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WEDNESDAYS WORDS

WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.

A one item, abbreviated WEDNESDAYS WORDS. Enjoy 🙂 :

Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury: A Critical Edition : 1938-1943

Book Description
Publication Date: February 21, 2011 | Series: Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury
Inaugurating a critical edition of one of America’s most popular storytellers

In the past, collections of Bradbury’s works have juxtaposed stories with no indication as to the different time periods in which they were written. Even the mid- and late-career collections that Bradbury himself compiled contained stories that were written much earlier–a situation that has given rise to misconceptions about the origins of the stories themselves. In this new edition, editors William F. Touponce and Jonathan R. Eller present for the first time the stories of Ray Bradbury in the order in which they were written. Moreover, they use texts that reflect Bradbury’s earliest settled intention for each tale. By examining his relationships with his agent, editor, and publisher, Touponce and Eller’s textual commentaries document the transformation of the stories–and Bradbury’s creative understanding of genre fiction–from their original forms to the versions known and loved today.

Volume 1 covers the years 1938 to 1943 and contains thirteen stories that have never appeared in a Bradbury collection. For those that were previously published, the original serial forms recovered in this volume differ in significant ways from the versions that Bradbury popularized over the ensuing years. By documenting the ways the stories evolved over time, Touponce and Eller unveil significant new information about Bradbury’s development as a master of short fiction.

Each volume in the proposed three-volume edition includes a general introduction, chronology, summary of unpublished stories, textual commentary for each story, textual apparatus, and chronological catalog. The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury is edited to the highest scholarly standards by the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and bears the Modern Language Association’s seal of approval for scholarly editions.

I have my doubts in regards to people dusting off early, arguably rough draft versions of Bradbury’s stories and compiling these as if they are offering something significantly new. However the statement that these stories, have not been collected before is intriguing.

Though perhaps the reason they have not been collected is because, they were the imperfect forms of stories that Ray Bradbury went on to perfect.

So beyond the obvious… he got better, I’m unsure what, of value, can be mined from this approach. And what critical analysis one can offer on Bradbury’s stories, that are not inherent in a/the stories themselves or b/ Bradbury’s discussion of his stories that thankfully the great man left us with, in multiple forms, from books, radio, television, and even film. Bradbury being perhaps one of the most consulted and interviewed writers of our time.

Rather than a best of compilation, or even a chronological compilation, the selling point of this book would seemingly be… this is the rough draft compilation.

I’m not sure if that’s the collection, that any writer wants of their work.

But this is all guesswork. I’ll withhold final judgment till I can get a reading copy. And the fact that I’m intrigued enough to give this a look means it is… WEDNESDAYS WORDS material.


The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!

If you’re a publisher, writer, or other creative representative looking to submit items for WEDNESDAYS WORDS, just leave a comment on this post with your email/contact info, comments don’t get posted they come right to me, and I’ll reach out to you with the snail mail details.

And as far as readers, if you see items on WEDNESDAYS WORDS you’re considering purchasing then, if you are able and would like to support this blog, please utilize the attached links.

Your helpful purchases through those links, generates much appreciated pennies to keep this blog running. Your feedback and support… just way cool, and way appreciated. Thanks!

Sponsored by Ebay Store: Deals of the Day!

Remembering ELIZABETH TAYLOR:THE PURPLE ROSE 1932-2011

Remembering Elizabeth Taylor : A life in pictures.

Others will speak on her as both actress and person, I will simply say that if you haven’t seen her movies, for whatever reason, give them a try. I think you’ll find in her work, regardless of whether or not the specific film speaks to you, a voracious talent who brought that passion to bear on film.

And I think there is much for a new generation to learn, from those oft scathing films and performances that remain of her.

Will always remain of her.


“What can you say about a legend? Elizabeth Taylor is a courageous survivor, a hell of an actress and someone that I am extremely proud to know… Her sunny looks also often led the critics to overlook her powerful performances and underrate her acting ability … But she has won over her detractors with tenacity and dedication to her craft. She was always striving to push herself to the limit. Revisiting her work is revelatory… In the midst of our filming Cat on a Hot Tin Roof she became a widow … Yet she persevered and acting was therapeutic. I was overwhelmed with her professionalism. She later said that playing Maggie ‘The Cat’ saved her.”

— Paul Newman on Elizabeth Taylor

And taking the late, great Paul Newman’s example, please reach out to people who matter to you and say how you feel about them now, when they can hear you. When it matters.

Family, friends, influences, inspirations, tell them now.

Through this blog I got to meet and speak to two people, and thank them for their work, who have since passed. I got the chance to say to them, rather than speak in memory of them, and that does make all the difference to both you and them.

Take 2 minutes today and thank someone who matters to you.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Grant Morrison’s BATMAN RIP vs Morrison’s BATMAN AND ROBIN I

On the graphic novel front, Grant Morrison continues to be hit and miss. His BATMAN:RIP being a definite miss. It’s unreadable, part of this is largely the art by Tony Daniels that seems to have very little to do with the words actually on the page. I found it not interesting enough to finish.


Now that said, Morrison’s BATMAN AND ROBIN, the graphic novel covering the first half dozen issues, brought to life by the fantastic, stylish, and more than a bit disturbing art of Frank Quietly is amazing.




“Well to begin with, it’s Frank Quitely. This is certainly looser than what he was doing on “All Star Superman.” There was more control on that book, because we wanted it to be more like Superman. So it was all very controlled, very measured. The “Batman & Robin” stuff is more brazen. And he’s producing things like sound effects, because nobody does sound effects anymore. Everybody has given up on them, so what we’ve done is incorporate them into the artwork. When someone hits water, the water rises up and makes the “splash” effect. It just looks fantastic.


Again, it’s much more playful than “All Star Superman,” which was more classical and maybe more restrained. This is more wired.”– Morrison discussing Quietly’s art on BATMAN AND ROBIN





Morrison bringing his A game, creates an unsettling tale of this new Dark Knight’s baptism, and a new breed of monsters that he, and the new Robin… must face. A great, great book. Looking forward to future volumes. A-.

Check status or purchase BATMAN AND ROBIN DELUXE HARDCOVERS here

Check status or purchase BATMAN AND ROBIN latest issues here

Michael Jackson, Alien Doors and Media Hypocrisy

michaeljackson

A brief post.

I’m in a repair shop and watching the media feeding frenzy on Michael Jackson, in between digital drop-outs of the picture of course (this forced march to a digital spectrum, is yet another glaring robbery of the American people. With free Airwaves, Analog Airwaves GIVEN to big business and governmental interests. The FCC, joing the FDA, the FBI and every other governmental acronym in selling out America.); and I’m struck once again by the hypocrisy and mendacity of the Master Media.

A media that for decades has hounded and derided Michael Jackson, and not too long ago was dusting off a prison cell for him, and yet here they are, all those well paid talking heads, crying their crocodile tears, over the stopping of a man’s heart, that their medium had no little hand in trying to break. They didn’t literally drive him into a wall like the reporters did to Princess Di, but their harassment was no less designed to destroy.

You know that old joke about lawyers, I think it applies even more to Newspeople, to talking heads. What do you call a 1000 Newspeople at the bottom of the sea?

A good start.

I grew up on the music of the Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson. Don’t effing tell me about Michael Jackson, you don’t have the goddamn right. Michael Jackson was, to even say a great talent is to practice immense understatement, he was a wunderkind, a boy genius, A Mozart of his age.

And as such a talented boy, he was beloved. But as a burgeoning talented man, he met up with a medium, the unchecked press, that is adept at eating its young. And on top of that, as a man of color, in the heart of the nation that has always held itself the last, best hope for slavery, he came up against the destroying wall reserved for men of color. A wall that increasingly in this new 21st century has only 3 doors for men of color, the criminal system (as guard dog or guarded), the coffin, or the coffers of big business (as smiling fool or sexless token).

Throughout his brief life they tried to break Michael Jackson for all three doors, most notably the last, and most damagingly the last. We can see the impact the last had on his mind, and his flesh. A sensitive young man, perhaps no person of color best physically represented the pressures of being squeezed to fit such alien doors.

And now the media machine, and the pieces of offal that gleefully helped make of Michael Jackson’s life a joke, and a cautionary tale, have the temerity to have all their talking heads speak sweetly of that life? Spin their derision into accolades, now that he is beyond the hearing?

People wonder why I will never take sides against a Michael Vick, or and OJ Simpson, or a Marion Jones, or a Wesley Snipes, America has too much of its own sins not yet atoned for, to try and judge another man’s sins. Particularly a person of color. America lacks the moral high-ground to do that.

The media lacks the moral high-ground to do that.

I wish you… all media pundits, all talking heads, all pullers of strings; I wish you plague and death.

Plague and death.

“The only reason people are so upset when you die is because they haven’t finished using you yet.”
Jimi Hendrix

(Thanks to Taalam Acey for that quote- from his great CD… Blues Resurgence)