Book Reviews, Graphic Novels

Farewell to Fairest, the dumpster-fire of misogyny and naive political diatribes

series supervised by Bill Willingham

Bill Willingham’s Fables universe is incredibly addictive, yet only seems to make me grumpier and grumpier with every page.

The final Fairest arc follows in the footsteps of the two prior collections: The Return of the Maharaja (2013) and Cinderella: Of Men and Mice (2014), meaning it’s barely relevant to the universe set-up by Fables and even less relevant to the advertised purpose of the Fairest spin-off — i.e., “The women of Fables in a series all their own!”.

Continue reading “Farewell to Fairest, the dumpster-fire of misogyny and naive political diatribes”

Book Reviews, Graphic Novels

Marc Andreyko’s Fairest, vol. 4: Cinderella — Of Men and Mice (2014)

series supervised by Bill Willingham

This story arc in the Fables-verse illustrates too many of the issues inherent in the Willingham’s universe. To start, Fairest is a series meant to give character to the oft-underdeveloped women of Fables, and the advertising gives the suggestion they’re going for an outdated “Girl Power!” approach.

Continue reading “Marc Andreyko’s Fairest, vol. 4: Cinderella — Of Men and Mice (2014)”

Book Reviews, Short Stories

Clive Barker’s Books of Blood, vol. I (1984) — a silly collection of angry misogyny, cool ideas, and purple prose

It’s easy to see the quality horror fans attribute to Barker’s early work. He’s an excellent writer, and his ideas are jaw-droppingly creative and original, at times.

Personally, however, I don’t connect much with it. After a couple of his books, it’s hard to put my finger on why. Part of it, I think, is I find his prose too clinical and passive, his use of uncommon words and phrases too hand-me-that-Thesaurus. Some of his stories are affected by personal pathos, too. There’re no interesting or realistic female characters in any of his early stories that I’ve read, for example: They all amount to being described as worthless whores not just by characters, but by the omniscient narration itself. Their only personality traits are being dumb and craving sex with everything. (Granted, in a lot of Barker stories, you’ll find all anyone craves is sexual depravity, but at least one gender is granted a will.)

Continue reading “Clive Barker’s Books of Blood, vol. I (1984) — a silly collection of angry misogyny, cool ideas, and purple prose”

Book Reviews, Novels

Ronald Sukenick’s UP (1968)

Ronald Sukenick was one of the founders and vocal leaders of the Fiction Collective back in ’68, a club of (largely) New York innovators taking advantage of the postmodern, self-reflective revolution they were simultaneously witnessing and instigating in literature. They — including authors like Steve Katz and Jonathan Baumbach — argued for an embracing of verbal tricks, of cut-and-paste visual collages in place of story progression, accompanied by a self-awareness of their own limits and possible stylistic pretensions in order to combat the novel’s stagnation. Does it add to literature? Does such a question matter, when the novel itself is the author unloading his soul and dumping all his relationship issues out on the reader in as humorous and creative a way he can cough up, no boundaries considered?

Continue reading “Ronald Sukenick’s UP (1968)”