I recently reread a bunch of Daryl Seitchik's comics and mini-comics. She has an interesting voice - minimalist but literary. Like Raymond Carver or Amy Hempel, she knows what moments to reveal so that the reader is able to infer the rest. Her linework is clean and elegant - cartoony, but appropriate for the intimate stories she tells. Most of her comics are based on old diaries or surreal dreams. You can grab digital copies of four of her diary-inspired mini-comics, praised by the likes of indie comics' DIY icon John Porcellino, here for just $4. I'm eager to read her upcoming graphic novel Exits, which will be her first book-length work.
I didn't know about the English rock group Pulp until after they'd disbanded. I doubt I'd heard of them until William Shatner recorded a goosebump-inducing cover of their song "Common People" (produced by Ben Folds for Shatner's album Has Been and featuring Joe Jackson's vocals during the bridge). Pulp's best-known work is on the poppier side, though often with a subversive undercurrent. On their album This is Hardcore, they explore the darker side of fame and success and all that rigmarole. The lead-off song, "The Fear", is an operatic nightmare, sonically drawing from Nick Cave and the Pixies (and perhaps invoking Hunter S. Thompson with that title)... sharp and loudly-snapping drums, haunting background vocals, abrasive and unnerving guitar, and lyrics of depressive self-commentary (the song even refers to itself and its part changes). It's best heard at ear-bleedingly high volume through headphones (though anyone who saw Pulp play the song at a concert may disagree - here's a live TV performance of the song - the video quality is lousy, but the audio survives). And if you play it several times in a row, you and I will have shared a similar experience this week.
I watched John Carpenter's The Thing for the first time the other night. It doesn't touch Ridley Scott's 1979 masterpiece Alien for the grounded, lived-in worldbuilding and well-drawn characters, to say nothing of the visceral horror, but 1982's The Thing is a taut horror/sci-fi thriller, alternating between slow-burn suspicion and on-screen scares... tight-plotted Agatha Christie mystery meets 1980s David Cronenberg body horror. It's well worth a viewing, especially if you can get it on Blu-ray (the picture quality is shockingly beautiful for a John Carpenter film).
Today and every Tuesday, you can read new pages of Flesh Machine at MichaelAvolio.com. I hope you're enjoying reading it at least half as much as I'm enjoying writing and drawing it each week. And if you know anyone else who might like it, please pass it along to them.
Thanks for reading!