I love this. I also got into stairs via Escher and the tribute to him at the end of Labyrinth. I also liked learning about l’esprit d’escalier from an issue of The Sandman. These days, my favorite personal associations with stairs have to do with the cover of Bauhaus’s Swing the Heartache and Ann Lauterbach’s On a Stair and the photographs she took for the cover of Or to Begin Again.
More stairs here.
I found my copy of The Sandman: Endless Nights yesterday, which will apparently be ten years old next year. I remember having pre-ordered it several months in advance. After a wait that seemed unendurable, I finally picked it up, opened it with no lack of ritual, read it once and then again and again. I kept buying comics after that, but it was the beginning of the end of a serious comic-buying habit that began around 1990.
As much as I enjoyed reading Neil Gaiman, however, it was really Grant Morrison who was my favorite back then. His run on Doom Patrol was my introduction to (the Brotherhood of) Dada and pretty much soured me on most superhero comics that were, well, normal. Later, when Flex Mentallo: Man Of Muscle Mystery came out, I bought that and felt it was an even better way of introducing people to Morrison’s work.
Now comes news of a Deluxe Edition of Flex Mentallo, of which Morrison himself says, “I was really happy to see it. And Pete Doherty has done such a great job on the new coloring. It’s like a whole new book.” I’m certainly going to buy it, but I don’t think I’ll forget about my single-issue copies. The new coloring isn’t without controversy, as can be seen here and here. Still, it’s Flex Mentallo, and it would be nice to revisit it with a little more serious analysis than I’ve given it myself so far. I’m hoping it’ll be cheaper than the 1500-page The Invisibles Omnibus, which I also want unfortunately.
Here’s what I don’t want though: Archie Meets KISS (preview here). If I want an outrageous pairing of Archie and something else, it would have to be the now-iconic Archie Meets The Punisher. That was hilarious.
I first heard about this poetic form after I read Neil Gaiman’s “Vampire Sestina” ages ago (and I’m pleasantly surprised to know that his is not the only example from SF/F/H). I’ve never actually tried it myself, but I’m not alone in being attracted to it in some way. It can quite delightful:
- John Ashbery’s “Farm Implements and Rutabaga in a Landscape” made me laugh out loud with its title and kept doing so after I found out it was about a certain spinach-eatin’ sailor.
- Sandra Beasley’s “Let Me Count the Waves” also cracked me up big-time, from the first verse on.
- Lloyd Schwartz’s “Six Words” is the sestina at its most minimalist.
- Jonah Winter’s “Sestina: Bob” is also a highly limited example of the form that works.
- The entire set at Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, which pretty much demonstrates the quiddity of the McSweeney’s “spirit.”