The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Something From the Weekend


Paint It Black — Alan Moore talks to Pádraig Ó Méalóid about the latest instalment of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Century: 1969 (available next month) for the Forbidden Planet blog:

What we’ve got in 1969, in keeping with the League’s usual practice, is that we’ve got a world entirely composed of references to the culture of that period, or around that period. So we’re taking bits from various films, television series, books, comics, any culture of that time we’re working into the fabric of our story… I hope that people will have as much fun digging out the various references as we had putting them in there…

See also: Pádraig Ó Méalóid’s recent interview with Alan Moore for 3AM Magazine.

Gonzo Graphic Novels — Six leading cartoonists discuss their own favourite cartoonists for The Guardian. Here’s political cartoonist Martin Rowson on Joe Sacco:

Although Art Spiegelman’s Maus is a work of incredible importance, I think it gave the entire genre a bum steer. It then got into this terrible kind of introspective, personal, adolescent angstiness. All this “you have to be serious about this because it’s a serious art form”: well, it is and it isn’t. Therefore, discovering Joe Sacco was a liberation. Here is somebody who is using the medium as journalism and reportage. It’s taking the best bits of the underground comics of the 60s – the radicalism – with the personal immersion you got with Spiegelman. It’s an extraordinarily powerful way of telling a story – a true one in this case. The fact that he places himself in the heart of it makes it gonzo journalism turned into a graphic novel, although it’s not really a graphic novel, it’s a sort of visual journalism.

Also in The Guardian… Lee Rourke, author of The Canal, on The Book Barge, a bookstore in a travelling canal barge:

It is the brainchild of Sarah Henshaw. “By setting up on a canal boat,” she explained, “we hope to promote a less hurried and harried lifestyle of idle pleasures, cups of tea, conversation, culture and, of course, curling up with an incomparably good Book Barge purchase.” I was immediately sold. But why a canal boat? “I hoped that by creating a unique retail space, customers would realise how independent bookshops can offer a far more pleasurable shopping experience than they’re likely to find online or on the discount shelves at supermarkets.”


And finally…

Recording the Disjunction — Errol Morris talks to the A.V. Club about truth, self-deception, and his new documentary Tabloid:

People sort of imagine that they go to a documentary—and this is also true [when] you read an article, a work of journalism—that they’re [experiencing] a work of non-fiction. We know that what we’re reading is not the absolute truth. If we’re reading a first-person account, we know that each and every one of us, myself included, have a great desire to be seen in a certain way, or to be perceived in a certain way. It’s unavoidable. What a movie can do—and this is what really does interest me, it’s at the heart of documentary—is not so much delivering the so-called truth. Yes, pursuing the truth, trying to investigate what really happened, trying to uncover some underlying reality, but recording that disjunction, that distance between how people see the world and the way the world might really be—that’s at the heart of the enterprise.

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