Happy "From Hell" Day

At about 4:00 in the morning, 118 years ago today, a patrolling constable in Whitechapel discovered the body of Mary Ann Nichols near a slaughterhouse. She was Jack the Ripper’s first victim.


Writing is Hard: Letting go

In his most recent Newsarama column, Marvel Comics’ Editor-in-Chief and artist Joe Quesada said something about the act of creating that got my attention.

When a fan asked him how he stores his comic collection, Joe used the question to seque into another topic: “I have next to nothing of the comics created over my tenure in my collection. I remember an artist once telling me that you will never be able to do your best work until you lose reverence for the work that you do. I found that to be an incredible truth about creation, if you hold it too dear you tend to focus on the tree and not the forest. It’s the same with what I do as EIC. While I love the books that we’re currently producing and feel that we get better with every issue, I don’t hold any of it in reverence or permanence. Spend too much time admiring any accomplishment or holding onto one for too long, don’t be surprised if you never have any more.”

I’ve written some stuff that I’m pretty proud of, but I’m green enough that I haven’t really been tempted to fall in love with my own work yet. It’s an interesting, potential pitfall though that kind of goes along with the concept of “killing your darlings.” I can see how getting emotionally attached to your work could cause you to lose the objectivity you need to know when it needs to be better. Something to keep in mind for later.

To See: Giant Monsters Attack Japan!

Because I’m writing a comic about giant monsters destroying the world, I’m interested in other stuff going on in the genre. I don’t know if this counts, but Trey Parker and Matt Stone are making a movie called Giant Monsters Attack Japan! Production starts next year.

Because it’s them, expect it to be intentionally corny. Especially since they’ll be using guys in rubber suits to play the monsters.

It’s times like this that I wished I lived in Britain

I’m so behind on all the Doctor Who news.

Apparently, there’s a Captain Jack spin-off in the works called Torchwood that’ll air on BBC Three this fall. I don’t know how I feel about that. On the one hand, Captain Jack is a cool character and I’m interested in seeing a show about his adventures. On the other, I can see myself not enjoying it because I’d be constantly troubled about the fact that there was no Doctor in it. Best to give it a shot and see, I guess.

Too bad they’ve scuttled the Rose Tyler spin-off. At least it would’ve had Billie Piper in it.

Hotel Transylvania

Anthony Stacchi and David Feiss are directing an animated movie called Hotel Transylvania. They describe it as a domestic drama a la The Sopranos, but with classic monster characters. The Bride of Frankenstein is leaving the Monster; Dracula’s Daughter is causing problems for her dad; the Wolf Man and the Mummy have troubles of their own. So far, so good.

What concerns me is the comedic level of the previous work of the two directors (see below), as well as their take on the concept. In an interview with Sci Fi Wire, Stacchi says, “As a kid… I always felt bad for the monsters. I didn’t get the sort of Victorian horror of Frankenstein and Dracula. I was like, ‘Why don’t they leave them alone? Why are they beating them up? Why do they shoot King Kong? Leave them alone.’ And I always wanted to do a movie where you’d get to see that other side of them and see why they were these sort of sad, tortured souls. I mean, Frankenstein didn’t ask to be made. Werewolf didn’t ask to be made a werewolf. Or the rest of them.”

The thing is, King Kong, Frankenstein, and The Wolf Man did a pretty darn good job showing that their monsters were both sad and tortured. There’s no need for a cartoon made by the creators of Open Season and ALF: The Animated Series to hammer that idea home. As for “the rest of them,” maybe I didn’t see the same versions of those movies that Stacchi did, but I’m pretty sure that Dracula and the Mummy were just evil and deserved what they got.

To Read: The Evidence of the Sword

Speaking of Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein books, he’s plotted them, but isn’t writing them by himself. One of his collaborators (on the not-yet-released third book in the series) is crime author Ed Gorman, who I bring up because he’s got a new column at Bookgasm called “What Ed Read.”

In his first article, Gorman recommends The Evidence of the Sword, a collection of mystery stories by swashbuckler writer Rafael Sabatini. So, the author of Captain Blood and Scaramouche also wrote “deductive detective fiction set in various historical times?” Sold!

Thanks, Ed!