Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Memorial, Part Three: The Crazy Puppet Takes Us Home

Capcom wanted to know if Harry's site was still up, and I've told a few of you our plan is to get The Book of Harry (well, that's not really the title) out by this time next, well, this year. (Hmnn, I'm in a time loop). So I've posted a few things that Harry has left behind in the books I, too, will leave behind. Here, too, are the last of the photos from Harry's basement. I keep looking at that empty chair. I have a new printer/scanner/hoobajoo so when I get it set up and have the time, I'll scan other pieces he has done, for my story "Shots Downed, Officer Fired" in VICIOUS CIRCLE#2 and "When The Dead Men Walked Down Division Street" from THE SCREAM FACTORY's Night Of The Living Dead issue, and one more off the top of my head, from BIZARRE BAZAAR, "The Givers of Pain & Rapture." I think of that empty chair, but its more fitting that the puppet on strings is what I saw as I left Harry's world most likely the last time. And now it is 2009.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Memorial: Part Two

Here is Harry's Lab. I'm just going to let the photos tell the story, except for #2. Harry had done kind of a Castle Revolving thing with the basement, and in one corner, he had cleared an area into a miniature dojo. The wall caught my eye, as that large splotch reminded me of the silhouette of a cartoon character, maybe Felix the Cat. The other photos face the same direction, and I've mentioned the bulletin board and, possibly, the bookshelf with the skull. The highlight for any visitor to the basement to see, though, were Harry's Chthonian sculptures. Scattered on those shelves are small props for any number of b&w HEF photos, but those sculptures are a wonder to behold.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Memorial, Part One: East Avenue Freezedown

I have the photos from last Sunday's trek to Oak Park and I'll post photos I took of Harry's secret lab tomorrow. The water in my crawlspace is gone and the temperature was back around 35 today. Compared to a week ago, it was still nice enough for me to saunter aimlessly and clear my head this afternoon, which resulted in me remembering to pick up the photos. The first photo I took a few days before the deep freeze; I live in the midget bi-level. Its comforting to know that, while my crawlspace floods, the giant building's entire basement floods. Might be a contributing factor in why the house is in foreclosure. Here's how it went, the 87th Street bus to State, then the Red Line took me to Jackson, the photo of the warehouse smoke plumes is close to 35th Street. Jackson Boulevard is a subway stop, then you go even further below and cross a tunnel to the Blue Line, which is where I met Playing Card Man. From there the Blue Line comes above ground and follows I-90 in a line straight west. The last two photos show the frozen snow and a neat Chicago City limits sign as well as the complete desolation of the platform leading towards East Avenue above. More tomorrow, I'll post a couple of shots in the afternoon, I think.

To See If I Still Feel

A friend of mine out east had posted the Sonseed YouTube on her blog awhile back, and I swiped that. I guess it was all real, the band played in East Brooklyn in the late 70s, stranger still one of the male singers eventually headed a school district and died choking on a sandwich. So, yeah, I guess every little thing is on YouTube now. So if any of you choose to look up Wayne's Veins and see me do my vein-popping
trick, well, that's my sole contribution to the YouTube library. For those of you who have already seen my parlor trick, skip ahead to read my December entry for Storytellers Unplugged, as follows.


by Wayne Allen Sallee

28 December 2008

Years ago, I starved myself one day just so I could write about it in my commonplace book, this was when I thought it important to experience something instead of guessing or taking someone else’s word for it. I’d make notes of whatever random words or metaphors came to mind as I hungered. Mind you, I share my father’s metabolism; we both bleed long and fast, and we burn through calories like nobody’s business. I’ll eat three to five times a day and I’ve never stayed above 155 lbs. for long, and I do feel (my own patented) physical pain faster if I do not eat. I’d often have a milk shake to ease the spasms in my back, maybe the same way people grab a smoke, so on that long ago late Saturday afternoon, I made my notes, I took some photos of my immediate surroundings for story referencing, then spent fifteen dollars at Gold Coast Dogs under the Wabash el tracks. My metabolism pretty much plays a big part in how fucked up I am when it comes to the spasms I get this time of year, my body eating up calories in double time when Chicago spends three days without topping the zero mark in temperature.

Present day now, and, yea, I’m listening to Johnny Cash, and, yea, his cover of Trent Reznor’s “Hurt.” In the last eight days we have gone from sub-zero temps to thunderstorms and the expected flooding as a foot of frozen snow sank into the erff and into my crawlspace, still there because its still raining as I type this, still nearly 60 degrees. Yesterday morning on Twitter, I was kidding the local gang that the only thing we are missing this week is a volcano erupting on the Tri-State Tollway.

A week ago today was the memorial service for Harry Fassl, though we did not go to Lake Michigan because of the ice and cold. Everyone gathered in Oak Park, his 80 year old dad amazed at just how many people were webbed together because of Harry, who signed his work HEF, and his ashes will instead be tossed along Pratt Beach on the vernal equinox. I no longer have to make notes about things like hunger pains and the effects of the weather, but I was thoroughly amazed that when I had left my home in Burbank it was -15 and two trains and two hours later, it had dropped to -35. (The gathering had been planned for the solstice sunset.) I had to cross a park to get to Harry and Diana’s place, when I rounded the conservatory building I entered a white out. I felt as if I had been punched in the bridge of my nose while simultaneously being force fed ammonia. I actually dropped to my knees and bounced back up like a marionette. Harry passed away in October; Jeff Osier put it best, saying it was as if he had left at the end of a paragraph. After my co-conspirator in Texas, Sid Williams, I emailed Harry most often, the crazy stream-of-consciousness stuff you’d expect from two guys who shared a love Green Lantern, H. P. Lovecraft, and sumo wrestling. Two months later, I still feel as if I lost a roommate I knew over fifteen years. I went in the basement and took photos of his lab equipment, various sculptures and pinboards. I found a rubber banded stack of postcards I had sent him going back to 1993, many more in recent years as I did not get a chance to visit once I fled Chicago to this relatively boring street just a mile from my old house, because bus schedules changed and a mile west translates to another hour travel time. He sent postcards, as well, I think we both just liked mystifying our respective postal employees, and his last one was signed Your reporter on the fringe…

By Tuesday the weather hit the thirties and it was snowing amidst thunderstorms. Thunder snow is what they call it. I had stopped taking my pain medication–those goofy things that jiggle the receptors in my brain–for close to a week, because what is the point if you are constantly in pain regardless. Part of it is getting no respite from typing my one-fingered tap dance, but I suppose I could throw being lonely and insane into the mix. So Tuesday afternoon when I started up the snow blower, I closed the garage door and stared and the blades, determined to know what it felt like to want with every synapse in my brain to shove my good arm into the blower, just like I wanted to know what it was like to be starving that time years past. I stopped thinking about it once I realized I was rationalizing about it. On Christmas Eve, I spasmed while checking the amount of water I poured into the coffee pot for the next morning, and I smashed my head into the bottom of a cabinet, waking up on the floor a few minutes later. Sometimes my body will subconsciously screw with me so I don’t have time to rationalize; Wednesday I waited for the bleeding to stop and then I applied Super-Glue, which works almost every time. Doubtful this one will scar, so I still look like Frankenstein in spirit only.

One writing venture I took up this month was starting a novel on Twitter along with Horatio Salt, its called Joy Motel. Even when I’m at my worst, typing then stopping and rubbing different muscles while I chew a toothpick, making so many gestures I could be mistaken for a third base coach in an asylum, I can still dole out 140 characters, the limit of a Twitter entry. Over the last few months, Horatio and I–complete strangers–had started writing about Salt & Sal in odd crime noir sentences that we batted back and forth like a ping pong ball. We thought it was time to write something more modern to reflect Twitter, yet we ended up with a still-ongoing tale that reads like a mix of PK Dick and James Ellroy. Horatio, much more versed in technology than I, has started a blog, that reflects the novel from the beginning, each few days beginning a new chapter. It’s the kind of mental displacement like Bruce Willis had in 12 MONKEYS, so I’m certain my portion of the novel has my brain on spin dry at false dawn each morning. I’d suggest checking it out, if only because part of me sees this as one of my last big writing ventures. It has taken me two hours to type this, yes, a lot of thought going between each brick of a sentence, but still. Without spell-check, I’d be lost. I’ve learned from the ghostwriting gigs that it does me no good to meet a deadline by typing for ten hours a day and not doing much of anything else. Yet still not being able to write in a timely manner. I think my biggest disappointment was not being able to get the voice activation software to work properly, I had set my hopes too high. I really do want see if I still feel, and those snowy blades looked damn inviting, so that means I’m still making mental notes for some reason. Things getting clearer as I head west into the black. Your chattel, Wayne

This entry was posted on Sunday, December 28th, 2008 at 12:21 am.
Categories: advice, forensics, inspiration.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Tombstone Will Be My Diploma

From a quote by Eartha Kitt, who passed away today. She said how she learned something new every day, and that the tombstone would be her diploma. I'm lucky I even heard the news, its been so crazy here. From hideously cold temps to thunderstorms and literal four inch stacks of ice in the streets, and now more freezing rain and flash flood warnings because of the tons of snow and ice; we surpassed the wettest December on record about a week back. I get spasms in my neck quite easily, and last night (well, early today), I was checking that the water was at the 12-cup mark in the coffee pot and then I was cold-cocked as my neck jerked and my temple went into the corner of the cabinet. I woke up on the floor holding my head, I doubt if I was out for more than a minute or so, my hand covered in blood, but very little on the carpet. The wound bled for about an hour, but I was able to pour SuperGlue into it and then sleep with a bandanna on, like I was a pirate. Before and after shots up above, you can see SuperGlue works wonders, so who really needs health insurance? I haven't had any since March 2005.I think this will heal fine, so I'm still at Scar 39. If you visit my blog 18 March 1989, you'll see most of the other scars. Then there's my Mitchum blog. Man, Bobby the Mitch and Eartha the Kitt in a film together, that would have been the cat's pajamas.

Heading west into the black...Your chattel, Wayne

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Answers On A Postcard

First, the Playing Card Man. All good titles for the story, Steve, I thought of Travis McGee's boat, THE BUSTED FLUSH. Bob, he couldn't use the deck correctly because the cards were already on the tracks, each train blowing a few on the platform. Funny the train only blew red cards, I have an idea about how the story will go, thx, Bob. Horatio, like your thoughts, I'll use all three in the story, because that's what I do. Onward.

This is the last postcard I received from Harry, postmarked October 2nd. Those damn turbines. Years ago, I read a Starman comic and in the heat of battle someone asked Jack Knight who they were fighting and all he could say was "Answers on a postcard." I assume it might mean that the answer is short enough to put on a postcard, past that, I really do not know. I'll have photos soon, when they get developed, of Harry's photo lab and billboards. A photo of Sean Doolittle a decade past in the corner, me as the enigmatic Mister 1934 from a Woolworth's photo booth. His dad, now 80, Edgar Allen Poe. Odd little things filling the margins. And on a shelf, rubberbanded (new word, guys, use it), a stack of postcards going back to 1995. I would assume they were in order, because I could recall the Captain America postcard as one I bought at Chicago Comics in September, I think I sent Bob a Ditko Spider-Man that same day. A load of free postcards they'd have in slots at the Red Lion, for bands or hair products. One was in green ink, which baffled me, I don't recall ever using a green ink pen. Harry's last words on the postcard, Climo Bumpkid, your reporter on the fringe...

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Feel It In The Air, Summer's Out of Reach

First off, as this is a continuation of the lyrics from "The Boys of Summer," Harry would at this point be growling that this is a song about chicks, man. Well, its about that big old desolation boulevard, too. I'm doing a double post tonight, look for "Answers On A Postcard" later. This first part is about my trek to Oak Park and the tribute to Harry. And there will be a tossing of the ashes on the vernal equinox, but, this being Chicago and all, it will probably only be thirty come March 21st. Here's the thing, I left the house fully ready for the fifteen below wind chill, but it somehow morphed into a crazy THIRTY-FIVE BELOW near the time I hit East Avenue on the Forest Park like. When I crossed Rehm Park and the first full gust hit me in a literal whiteout, it was like I had gotten punched on the bridge of my nose while pure ammonia was being shoved up my nose in some ethereal way. Disorienting enough that my body just flopped to the ground out of pure whatthefuckedness. The gathering itself was stupendous, and I will indeed address this in a few hours, a wonderful remembrance of HE Fassl. Let me back track a bit though, and relate the subway incident. To get from the Red Line to the Blue Line, you descend even lower underground and walk a tunnel two blocks in length and BAM, up the steps again. I heard the Playing Card Man while I was still in the tunnel. He was an enigma himself, balding white guy in his thirties, ver nice black car coat, banged up old suitcase with wheels, and quite definately off his meds for at least a few days. There was a deck of card on the tracks and a dozen or so lay on the platform. This guy would pace, either fighting obessive-comuplsion or just not knowing what decision to make, then he slapped a card over, grabbed his head and screamed O MY GOD! THE THREE OF DIAMONDS! Maybe seven of us in the frosty tunnel, no one moved back, we are used to this. O MY GOD, THE TEN OF HEARTS! From thirty feet away, the cards blown onto the platform in odd places from the wake of the previous el train. He was still grabbing at the snakes in his head by the time the train arrived, and I found it strange that he never called out a club or a spade, maybe he truly was angered and/or astonished that he always flipped up a red card. Walk in circles, bend down like slapping a live wire, cry out. The train turned west a block up and barrelled above ground at UIC. I was impressed enough by this guy that I've worked out a story in my head, but of course my own obsessive-compulsiveness will not let me start it until I have a title. So that's what I leave you with for now, the guy who drew only red and me falling to my knees in bafflement of the whiteout, my destination still three blocks away. Heading west into the black...Wayne

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nobody On The Road, Nobody On The Beach

Here's the temperature readings for tomorrow:

Sat 9PM: 20F (Wind Chill 9F) Wind SW 10 Light snow
Sat 11PM: 17F (Wind Chill 3F) Wind W 13 Light snow
Sun 1AM: 14F (Wind Chill -2F) Wind W 16 Cloudy
Sun 3AM: 12F (Wind Chill -7F) Wind W 22 Cloudy

Sun 2AM: 13F (Wind Chill -5F) Wind W 20 Cloudy
Sun 8AM: 5F (Wind Chill -18F) Wind W 26 Cloudy
Sun 2PM: 8F (Wind Chill -14F) Wind W 26 Partly clear
Sun 8PM: 11F (Wind Chill -9F) Wind W 23 Cloudy
Mon 2AM: 9F (Wind Chill -9F) Wind NW 16 Cloudy
Mon 8AM: 8F (Wind Chill -7F) Wind W 11 Clear

Currently: 23F (Wind Chill 15F) Wind SE 6 Cloudy
(on Sat 6:51PM CST at Chicago Midway Airport)

So, yeah, we are not going to the lake with Harry's ashes. Hell, half of us could deal with it, but there's a few that might fall on the ice. So I'll be taking the bus & trains to Oak Park, Red & Blue Line. And here's how I am, pretty much breaking into misty eyes (which I TOTALLY EFFING HATE, mind you) when I heard not Don Henley, but Black Flag, singing "Boys of Summer," hence the title of my blog entry. I feel like a fool, but hell, after Sid Williams, Harry was my next big email buddy. I've mentioned that before (our email and postcard antics), but considering how I go on about despising technology, those almost daily emails made Harry a kind of roommate. Now, after Sid, I cannot think of anyone even close, so I'm pretty much afraid I'll be crying on an empty Sunday el train tomorrow. I get off the second train at Oak Park Avenue, walk to East Ave and then cut through Rhem Park and the house is about a block up. Diana called on Friday and we joked about Harry's voice telling us not to go to the lake: "mmmm.....maybe not...todayyy." So we will head out in the spring with his ashes. Tomorrow is the Ursa meteor shower, so if its not overcast, I'll look up as I wait for the train home and maybe he'll flash by. I think of times past as I, myself, keep heading west into the black...Wayne

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

First Snow Cuts The Deepest

I'm surprised I've never written about this before, maybe its because the last two years I've been doing this blog, the first snows have always come on days that I have been working and just didn't blog. I'm going to talk about sensation. My right side is always a mess because of the cerebral palsy, but my left arm has no real circulatory system, after all the operations on my left arm made the nerves wired wrong. We've had temperatures at -15 wind chill the past week, piece of cake after the first time. Snow is different, and this time it wasn't even from shoveling; I used the snow blower. I came back in and had to email NY before an editor's office closed and then a fellow writer in CO re: a joint project. The photos above might help by at least portraying my odd posture. The sensation takes me back to when my arm was in a bag of ice for days at a time throughout the spring of 1989. Demerol every three hours, Tylenol w/c codeine every half hour, yet I felt almost every minute of it. Fire and ice at the same time. I look at my own fingers yet they move as one, as if encased in some astronaut glove. Heat running through my palms at the same time my one finger touching the keyboard having the feeling of frozen cement. Just as with the ice bag in 1989, my fingers were splayed as if I was a hero drawn by Jack Kirby, the wrists cracking from cold and yet the palms burning up. Then the fingers, to type, I hear the wrist make a snapping noise, then its like I am a giant becaui se I start hittingmutiple keys at obnve and tyhemn I;'m poundinfg ojn the keybo0ard lijke a deaf man trying to tell someone a clue of some sort. The first snow always affects the skin baggie that is my left arm. A nemesis that always comes back to start the battle anew. Its good to be in a fighting mode again. Your chattel, Wayne

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Different Seasons, Times Past

The middle photo only needs explaining if you hadn't heard me piss and moan about how totally messed up our Comcast service was in August after I signed up for high speed, phone, and the already existing cable. The winter photo I took about a decade ago. I'm on Lake Michigan in the summer of 2002.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Kidney Stone Story

Late this summer, Not From Michigan Mike had problems with a kidney stone. I told him I would tell the story about my stone, but not until after his was gone down the drain and into the erff. This is a Harry Fassl tale, as well, and I've posted the front & back cover a a SILVER WEB magazine that Ann Kennedy so kindly mailed me after I contacted her about wanting one. Harry used to go to Forest Park cemeteries and take photos of graves from the early 19-teens. Anyhow, he is an integral part of the story. World Fantasy Convention, Schaumburg, Illinois, October 1995. I take the el to Harry's, we drive up I-294. I'm not feeling well, but this was in the days that the muscle relaxants gave me stomach problems. Everyone goes to a Chinese place for dinner, I wave bye and go to the room. Within minutes, literally, I have come to the assertion that I am dying. Dry heaves, blood pressure skyrocketing, sweating buckets. I call the front desk, saying I need an ambulance (this was in the days I had health insurance). Minutes later, a knock on the door. I'm in my eyeball sleeping shorts and a Superman shirt drenched with sweat, I see a short redhead in a suit and two of the tallest men I have ever seen, it was like a scene from a Ben Stiller film. I sit on the bed and explain how I am feeling, the bedsheets twisted in a ball. Harry walks in, he thinks I'm being interrogated by bad people. Harry tells them he will take me to one of those medical joints, you know, whatever they are called, care centers or something, up on Golf Road. He had to miss being at the opening of the Art Show because of me. I'm diagnosed with having a kidney stone right away and I'm put on an IV drip. Harry picks me up a few hours later, pick up some Vicodin, and head back. Its not even 11 PM, people are still at the bar or all over the hall, and there I am, better yet wearing a bandage covering a piece of cotton on my arm I had forgotten about. The rest of the convention was uneventful, but I slept at odd times, more because it felt good to lay down and not hurt. I was set up for one day surgery the following Tuesday. Hey, you can stop reading now, but it is interesting. I was frozen from the waist down because after going under full anesthesia 12 times back in the arm wreck days, I figured I'd just nap. The doctor put this weird stick up my penis shaft and it opened inside me like the Alien's mouth does and chomped on it and then it shrunk to a tube again and came out. The story does not end here, no. I can't be discharged until I urinate and I'm just not doing it. Hours go by, I read most of a James Ellroy novel. Drank a six pack of Lemon Lime stuff. I'm thinking maybe its because I'm still frozen (or whatever), so I look beneath my robe. Well, there was A small piece of bloody gauze held to my penis because THREE RUBBER BANDS WERE WRAPPED AROUND MY NUTS!!! A shift changed had occurred, no one had thought to ask or look, needless to say, the nurse saw my predicament, took the rubber bands off, and I pissed close to three quarters of a gallon. Went home and back to work the next day. Harry did end up selling some of his art, and when we next caught up, we both agreed that the reason those two men were there would be, if I was dead for whatever reason, they would dispose of my body, no questions asked. It would've gone down exactly that way, really.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Walking Between The Seconds

Its fifteen below. I'm up typing for hours at a time, and my body structure has found new definition, as if a different artist took over chronicling my spiral downward, my descent. I wish I could shove nanites down my throat and slice off my arms and replace them with wiper blades, the only thing handy right now that comes as a matching pair. Thinking about women in faraway places, thinking of novels and stories and being melded to the keyboard. And wishing I was a drifter, walking the railroads, an insane unknown. Happy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Percy From Oblivion

I'll get there, just let me start here. I kind of liked when my life was more linear; boring as hell, but still running in a straight line. The line is running, myself, I'm shambling, but you know that already. Sure am proud to live in Illinois, where we get dead people to the polls and the slogan is Vote Early & Vote Often! How cool would that have been to be up on Ravenswood, the FBI agents in front of Gov. Blago's pad at 6 in the morning? Trying to sell Obama's Senate seat, certainly makes you forget Gov. Ryan giving out drivers licenses to people who can't even read for bribes, one of those drivers then killing seven out of nine members of a family on I-294. (For those keeping count, 5 of our last 8 governors will have seen jail time while in office). Makes you proud. Started into my new writing project fairly heavily, thats the only linear thing going right this week. Used to be, I'd be focused enough to have a handy title ready and not bounce all over the place, but I guess the blog is the first thing to go, then the major internal organs. I'll miss you, spleen. (Yea, this is me with four hours of sleep since early Wednesday). I picked up the latest issue FINAL CRISIS, where the idea of who gets to rape Supergirl gets played out vividly, Grant Morrison once again finds things from Jack Kirby's incredible Fourth World mythos that made me go nuts. One the one hand, I'm happy that someone is finally using just about every Kirby character the correct way, but on the other, like with the scene with Supergirl, I'm like, how the fuck is DC letting him get away with this? Yeah, yeah, its comics, but in FC#5 you get to see Frankenstein on a motorcycle quoting from Milton's PARADISE LOST. There's still JG Jones' artwork, but you can see the transition. Seriously, guys, and for those of you that know of Kirby, he created some whack stuff in the early 70s, and to see it all play out like the early scenes of the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake, with everything going to hell in minutes, again, its something to see. And read. George Chesbro died awhile back, GW Ferguson told me about the man, and can you look at that beautiful cover? He was lucky enough to retain rights to his work so late in life he and his wife were able to release his Mongo books in a new format. All the better. And I have been doing some house cleaning, really shelf cleaning. I discovered a long-lost CD with scanned poems from a now-gone notebook. So you followed me from up there to down here, oblivion to the road ahead, and here's a city bus driver named Percy. I didn't date this, but from my handwriting I know its before I could get the decent pain blockers like gabapentin, so lets say this was 1998. Heading west into the black...Wayne

Monday, December 8, 2008

Knockin On Heaven's Door Knock Knock

Listening to Eric Clapton on a CD mix. Yeah, I got glasses again. Bifocals, even. Very low prescription, but it amazes me how many people think that because I had Lasik in 2000, my eyes would always be fine. I'm like, I don't have Terminator eyes! Though that might be cool, until I sent a laser beam into my crotch when my neck spasms. I had glasses when I was 5, and in 2000, my eyesight was 30/400 (no typo there). So the last couple days have been interesting. I was going to post last night on it being the anniversary of the United plane that missed Midway and landed on four homes, my dad being the second squad at the scene, coming home a day later and leaving our house smelling like blood and smoke for a week. But I'm involved in a writing project and I outlined an entire novel until 3:30 this morning. The weather has been below zero as soon as the sun drops away. Forrest Ackerman passed away, though obituary ghouls were calling him gone in the middle of November. GW Ferguson sent me a link for a Cthulhu coloring book for kids, and I recall a time when my sister gave me the stinkeye for giving Ashley MAKING FRIENDS WITH FRANKENSTEIN, a book of poetry that she adored. I'm way tired. And I'm not shaving, for a few days I'll have that Bruce Willis 12 MONKEYS look, then I'll keep it until it turns grey, or maybe not. I'll be around.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Expressions of Dread

This post is comic geeky, just so you know. DC is publishing a book called FINAL CRISIS, and its written by Grant Morrison, the guy behind BATMAN RIP. JG Jones is doing the art, and he is best known for doing the 52 covers for DC's weekly comic in 2006-7, 52. The man can convey dread more than any other artist I know, if the sky is raining blood, I know it. The idea behind FC is that Morrison has taken every single mother-loving character Jack Kirby ever created in the 1970s for DC and put them in these pages, basically using the Anti-Life Equation to spread across the Internet and usher in the Fifth World of Gods (both good and bad). A defining moment is when Barry Allen and Wally West run two weeks into the future and realize that shit has gone down in those two weeks, as they see Wonder Woman in a Hannibal Lecter kind of mask and Batwoman with a ball gag, riding on top of giant pit bulls. The sad part is that Jones was falling behind on the over-sized issues and DC brought in Doug Mahnke to replace him on the final issue. Won't be the same, but at least I'm relishing the current pages. I've talked about how I dream in the past, its like how Jones illustrates the night, the reflected shadows in rain puddles in the alleys. Anyone who has ever read comics will know of Jack Kirby's input, going back to the 1940s. To see Grant Morrison bring his creations back for one last wild ride, Lois Lane with shrapnel in her heart and Superman using his heat vision to keep her alive (and keeping him out of action), the Fantastic Super Young Team, fetish heroes from Japan, an example being Sexy Shy Lolita Canary. Pure insanity, a comic that reads more like an adult book, but, as the illustrations show, this book would be next to nothing without the art of JG Jones.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Two Harrys

I was talking to Diana the other night. She had written to Harry O. Morris (AKA Harry Zero) about Harry (AKA HEF) out in Albuquerque. I met Harry Zero in Tucson, at the World Fantasy Convention, October of 1991. The following April, when THE HOLY TERROR premiered in Nashville at World Horror, I gave one of my contributor copies to Harry and met his wife Christine. Harry has always been shy as hell, even when he chain smokes, and couldn't believe I was giving him my book. I'll always be baffled why anybody thinks my writing is so meaningful, and I'll always feel that way. Over the years, the two Harrys corresponded a lot and our Harry even went to Albuquerque (Harry O.'s hometown) for Bubonicon several times. The photo of Harry O. is one of several he has sent me over the years, strangely printed on something like fax paper. The photo of our Harry is courtesy of Yvonne, and he's looking in the window of the long gone Stars Our Destination bookstore on Belmont, a few blocks off Sheffield. The lot of us had quite a few book signing there, Von, me, Harry, Jeff Osier, Andrew Lynch, even Frederick Pohl, the science fiction great, was there once. Well, full circle, Diana told me after getting a card from Harry and Christine, she mailed them a thank you. A few days later, she received another letter postmarked Albuquerque. She thought it might just be another quick note, but it was Harry writing to tell her that Christine had been killed in a bus crash. Sometimes it is a strange fucking world.