Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I've been fiddling with the design and layout of this blog all day today—if you've popped in and noticed it morphing before your eyes, that's why—and I'll probably be fine tuning for a few more days.  Bear with me.  We'll arrive at the new normal shortly.

And, with a little luck, I'll be back in a day or so to discuss my summer reading.  While you're waiting, feel free to post and let me know what you read these past few months.


  1. Hi J.M., good morning from Italy :D

    I like the new layout of the blog, it's very readable.

    I used to follw you on the Amazon blog, but then I tought that you may have been switching to another blog and I was right, so here I am!

    As an Italian I obviously like soccer, so this summer I enjoyed a book by a British sports journalist, Jonathan Wilson, called "Inverting the Pyramid".

    It's about the tactical evolution of the game, but it's not boring at all and helps every fan of the game to understand why a certain team is much better than another one, even though they paly 11 vs. 11.

    In a certain way it's like life (sports is a wonderful metaphor of life, I think), where you learn from your mistakes and the next game will give you the opportunity to improve and eventually win :D

    Anyway, it's nice to have found you again on the net.

    have a good day

  2. Thanks so much for tracking me down, Pino. Now that you found me, I hope that you stick around and join our Creation Point community.

    I've never been a big sports guy, but I totally get the "metaphor for life" aspect. And I'm sure there are plenty of sports fans out there reading this who'll want to check out INVERTING THE PYRAMID. So thanks for the recommendation! All the very best -- JMD

  3. Hi there J.M.

    This past summer, I read Frank Herbert's Dune. Wow, I felt like a stronger reader upon finishing this book. I'm halfway through Dune Messiah now. The vast scale of the story is unique. Ideas within ideas!

    I also read a fascinating novel by Stephen King called The Long Walk. It's about a deadly game that is the American national pastime in some alternate reality. I recommend it if you haven't read it already.

  4. I read DUNE back when I was (I think) eighteen, Kelly, and fell in love with it, immediately leaping into DUNE MESSIAH, which I loved just as much. Went through a pretty big Frank Herbert phase for a while.

    Don't know the Stephen King novel, but I'll investigate!

    Thanks for checking in. All the best -- JMD

  5. Design fiddles indeed! It was nice to see the explanation, as a mysterious experience with there-then-gone Google logos, then a Twilight-Zone-esque trip through 'Creation Point' was stretching the 'open mindedness' I try to keep.

    I like the new look, assuming it's stable enough as is to consider the new look. Suggestions I would make involve the 'comments' links which appear on my screen nearly the same color as the blue background of the end-bar. I think it is the 'followed link' color not the 'unfollowed link' that is harder to see, with a dark blue on a slightly not as dark blue. And the font of the 2-line title is quite large on my window, with the title bar, browser menus, and blogger dashboard taking up about 1/3 of my screen's height.

    Summer reading for me included The Crack in the Cosmic Egg by Joseph Chilton Pearce which I found gave me a wonderfully optimistic take on the concept of arbitrariness.

    The ongoing Image comic Chew written by John Layman, art by Rob Guillory, continues to impress me. It looks like it's also impressing enough others to secure the full story gets told. Currently at Issue #13, 60 issues has been thrown out as an expected length for the full thing. The trades come out almost as fast as the comics, with Volume 1 and Volume 2 available.

    The Vertigo ongoing 'The Unwritten' is another favorite of mine. Written by Mike Carey, art by Peter Gross. It's a slowly building story stretching across literary history, and suggesting a much larger vision to come. Vertigo's trades are a bit slower than Image's, and Volume 1 and Volume 2 are available.

    As mentioned, I also read your novel, Imaginalis (by J.M. DeMatteis :) this summer, and I found it wonderfully enjoyable, hopeful, and inspiring.

    I made it through Diane Duane's So You Want to be A Wizard and the sequel Deep Wizardry and enjoyed both of 'em. Book #1 published in 1983, #9 in 2010. I'm looking forward to following the rest as I get to 'em.

    Others I'm 'in the middle of' and enjoying include:
    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Intriguing, fun, and exciting so far... but I keep not opening it.

    Holy Spirit's Interpretation of the New Testament by the Foundation for the Holy Spirit, an interpretation of the New Testament with similarities to the teachings within A Course In Miracles. This one keeps my reality concepts stewpot bubling.

    A Vision by William Butler Yeats, which has been enjoyably fascinating to me so far.

    Thanks for asking!

  6. I've been messing with the comments link colors, Tim, and this is the best I've come up with so far.

    I think the problem is that things appear differently on different monitors, colors change, etc. The blog title isn't anywhere near that big on my screen but I was wondering if it was larger than it needed to be. I suspect an adjustment is in order. Thanks!

    What a great array of books you've been reading. I'm a great admirer of Yeats...and the INTERPRETATION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT sounds fascinating. Actually, just about every book you mention sounds fascinating...especially that IMAGINALIS thing! :)

  7. I read a book about the 1939 NY World's Fair called Twilight at The World of Tomorrow, which was excellent. I also read a history of the Prohibition movement called Last Call, which was also very good. And I re-re-re-read(x10) The Razor's Edge, but I do that every year or so!

    And I am hoping next summer everyone will be reading a great little book called Hey Kids, Comics!

  8. I'm fascinated with the '39 World's Fair, Rob -- so that book sounds extremely intriguing to me.

    Have you ever seen the two movies adapted from THE RAZOR'S EDGE?

    And feel free to share more information about HEY KIDS COMICS! I think the readers of this blog will be very interested.

  9. JMD-

    The World's Fair book was great. When my Great Uncle Fred (aged 96!) passed away, we found a '39 World's Fair program book in his attic. Its sitting on my shelf a few feet from where I type this.

    I have seen both Razor's Edge movies, several times each. They both have their pluses and minuses, as films and as adaptations of the book.

    As HKC gets closer to reality, I will be relentlessly whoring it and myself all over the place. :) Can't wait to see what you come up with!

  10. Check this out, Rob: I think you'll get a real kick out of it...


  11. Oh, wow...I've never seen that. Can't wait to watch the whole thing. Thanks!

    I was talking to my Dad about the book the other day, and he told me our Uncle bought him a '39 World's Fair ring. He lost it in the intervening decades, but I've found it online. I think I might need to buy one for myself...it's got the trylon and the perisphere on it!!

  12. There's something about that era -- American culture on the verge of the horrors of WW II, still filled with hope and expectation, straddling the borders of innocence and experience -- that just fascinates me.

    There's a book by David Gelernter -- 1939: LOST WORLD OF THE FAIR -- that should be right up your alley.

  13. THE TAO TE CHING. Read two online translations, one by James Legge, the other by S. Mitchell. I prefered the latter for stylistic reasons, though I can't speak to the accuracy.

    One of my favorite passages:

    "Since before time and space were,
    the Tao is.
    It is beyond is and is not.
    How do I know this is true?
    I look inside myself and see."

    It gels nicely with my favorite Martin Luther quote, "I do not believe it so much as find it true to my experience."

    Some passages on water and fluidity as a disciple of life proved VERY beneficial to a personal project of mine. I didn't intend it that way, they just intersected. Amazing how that works.

    And I suppose I also discovered the origins of Harrison's "arrive without traveling" line.

    G.K. Chesterton's THE EVERLASTING MAN. Chesterton is, in my opinion, the wittiest of all the apologetics. It's great, funny stuff that turns a purely materialistic view of the universe on its head.

    Dante's DIVINE COMEDY. Not very far into it, and it's been a while, but it's still as impressive as ever.

    Martin Luther's PREFACE TO THE BOOK OF ROMANS. A little dry, but edifying nonetheless.

    C.S. Lewis' ON THE PSALMS. My favorite of Lewis' nonfiction works, and the most influential in my life. Led to some exciting changes.

    CLASSIC GI JOE VOLS 1, 2 & 3. This stuff is a blast. I think you worked with several of the artists whose work finds its way to JOE, JMD, including none other than Herb Trimpe. But the most prolific artist in these volumes is Mike Vosburg, and he does fantastic work.

    Things really pick up with the second volume, and it just gets better from there. Larry Hama spins stories that mix cheesy surface elements with real drama quite nicely. And the third volume features the infamous 'silent issue,' which any comics fan should read at least once.

    Reading through JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY from the beginning, and up to 100. The first Thor stuff isn't very good, but I've just gotten to the point where Jack Kirby draws the TALES OF ASGARD backup. That's exciting stuff!

    IMAGINALIS. 'Nuff said!

  14. Here's what I love about comic book people, David: you give me this list of incredibly deep, heady, fascinating books -- and then follow it up with two volumes of G.I. JOE, embracing it with equal enthusiasm. Perfect!

    I worked with Herb Trimpe early in my career: hugely talented artist and an extremely nice man.

    Yes, the early THOR stuff leaves much to be desired. Once the "Tales of Asgard" flavor was absorbed into the main feature, the book really took off and became, for a period, one of the greatest series Marvel ever put out. Kirby at his most imaginative and glorious, Stan adding emotion and poetry and humor. Great, great stuff!

  15. One more thing, David: I'm pretty sure ALL the "Inner Light" lyrics come from the TAO TE CHING. Harrison might have changed some of the phrasing, but it's all there in the book.

  16. Hello! I noticed that today's Booster issue was cover-credited to Keith and Pat only, though your usual credit was inside. Did you have a diminished role in the issue or was it just an atrocious oversight?? I'll let you know what I'm reading as soon as I learn how ...

  17. Well, that's the first I've heard about that, Jeff!

    No diminished role for me, just a screw-up on the editorial side. Maybe not "atrocious," but certainly annoying!

  18. It's amazing that we live in a time when I see something like that and I can just ask you directly what the story is! Gotta love the 'net!

  19. And what's even more amazing is that I didn't give the exchange a second thought: We've adapted to this new technology, and the new world it's created, with almost startling ease.

  20. I'm anxious to get to the Kirby/Lee stuff. I kept expecting for Lee (or his brother Larry) to address the Blake/Thor duality. But so far, they just kind of pass over the idea that Blake really IS Thor without the sense of wonder it deserves. Lee's the kind of writer who tends to get excited when his artists are excited, and I'm guessing those backups inspired him to take over the writing chores.

    Still, from a historical perspective, I'm always fascinated by how Stan threw stuff against the wall and went with what stuck! (Like how Ben Grimm was originally jealous of Reed and Sue.)

    And if you ever pick up a volume of GI JOE, do yourself a favor and watch at least one clip of Cobra Commander on youtube. It's the Platonic Ideal of how a 'Cobra Commander' should sound.

  21. It's amazing how long Stan and Jack avoided directly addressing the Thor-Blake split, David. There's a story, from much later in their run, which finally explained just who Don Blake was and how he came to be. It's a single issue tale, almost a throwaway, but illuminating -- and necessary -- nonetheless.