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August 2nd, 2004

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12:12 am - Spatch's Junior High Book Review Time
I finished The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay tonight. It is a very good book. It was written by Michael Chabon, the guy who wrote the screenplay for Spider-Man 2, and he won a Pulitzer prize for it. For the book, I mean, not the Spider-Man screenplay.

The book is about the Golden Age of comic books and of two young men who seek their fame and fortune. They do it by basically making their own Superman and getting exploited for it and stuff. If you want to know what happens next, read the book. The book is set mostly in beautiful 1930s and 1940s New York City and there are a lot of landmarks you will recognize if you know the city. Also there's the Empire State Building.

There are some really clever parts in the book, and some parts you knew were going to happen all along after reading one character description or something, and other parts that you didn't see coming. You know who's gonna fall in love with whom, at least. Michael Chabon does not appear to be known for his subtle foreshadowing.

All in all the book really touches on a lot of things about wartime New York and the world around it and comic books. Lots of comic books and characters who show up and actual writers and artists and publishers who are featured (some with speaking parts) and then in the 1950s the whole bit where the psychologist got the Senate to crack down on violent and sexy comic books and put a lot of good people out of work because of it. All that is there and it is a book I could not stop reading until I had finished it, and now I have to go back and re-read it again because when you get all "oh oh oh I cannot stop reading until I finish it" you may tend to rush in parts. So I gotta read the parts I rushed over. But I do not mind because this book is a very good book.

I will say that I liked it. Okay that is my report

(10 comments | Leave a comment)


Date:August 2nd, 2004 03:15 am (UTC)
How the hell do you have enough time to write this many interesting posts? And could you teach the rest of LiveJournal?

Gratuitous Ego-Boosting Man
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Date:August 2nd, 2004 06:00 am (UTC)
Kavalier and Clay is the second-yummiest book I've read in the last four years (number one being Cryptonomicon).

Also, it's neat to run into another Firesign fan! I was raised on early Firesign records, and my brother and I still mumble "This room is soundproofed, so no one can hear us" to each other in crowded restaurants. "What?" "No one can hear us." "What?"
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Date:August 2nd, 2004 10:07 pm (UTC)
Always glad to meet another Firehead! I, too, grew up on the records and could quote Nick Danger verbatim. It took several years and some English classes before I began to appreciate was on the other side, as well as the stuff on the other albums too. My favoritest album of theirs, besides the improvisational radio Dear Friends set, is I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus because of the audio World's Fair pastiche they create.

Man, woman, child, all are up against the WALL OF SCIENCE!
Date:August 2nd, 2004 06:43 am (UTC)
You forgot the quintessential cliffhanger of junior high book reports.

"Does Michael Chabon talk about his evening with three Thai hookers? ...read the book!"
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Date:August 2nd, 2004 07:29 pm (UTC)
I've added the line just for you, Cap'n Corn Chips!
Date:August 2nd, 2004 09:55 am (UTC)
If you like Kavalier & Clay I would also highly recommend Glen David Gould's Carter Beats the Devil, which covers some similar territory (although it has nothing to do with comics).
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Date:August 2nd, 2004 10:13 am (UTC)
that book rocked! i picked it up in an airport and was pleasantly surprised. now i'm going to have to read kavalier & clay. :)
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Date:August 2nd, 2004 12:53 pm (UTC)
I agree Carter Beats the Devil is an excellent book. It's MAGIC!
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Date:August 2nd, 2004 09:38 pm (UTC)
Ok, now there's three glowing endorsements for Carter Beats the Devil so it shall be next on my List O' Books To Get. Thanks!
Date:August 2nd, 2004 05:55 pm (UTC)
If you're curious about the Golden Age of comics, Will Eisner did a basically autobiographical graphic novel called The Dreamer, a (very lightly) fictionalized account of his early days. There's also a new edition of Joe Simon's The Comic Book Makers, about his career with Jack Kirby. Mark Evanier is working on a comprehensive Kirby biography, I am told.

The great resource, which sadly is out of print right now, is Jim Steranko's History of Comics from 1972. He only did two volumes instead of the promised six, but they're quite wonderful, with lots of cool artwork and commentary (based on interviews with many creators who are now deceased).

Sadly there is not really any single, definitive nonfiction text on the Golden Age of comics. There are company histories, which are biased and unreliable, and a fair body of interviews with creators in magazines like Comic Book Artist and Alter Ego, but no 'stnadard reference.'

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