Death in Manhattan: review of Gun Machine by Warren Ellis

Originally published in Souciant Magazine on February 4, 2013. Warren Ellis’s latest novel Gun Machine is like a cop thriller set in a fever dream, twisted genre fiction that employs the conventions of a primetime police drama to investigate a series of brutal crimes, but also the bloody history of New York City itself.

The novel starts with a compelling premise — an empty apartment hiding 200 guns, each implicated in a separate unsolved murder — and then plays out the mystery with the familiar elements of a hardboiled detective story or an episode of CSI.

But while Ellis, who is best known as a renowned graphic novelist, toys with the genre’s well worn tropes with glee, the real joy in this book is not in police work itsef, but in the archaeology it makes possible.

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Captain Marvel seeks new heights for women in comics

The new Captain Marvel is definitely not the first female superhero. In fact she’s not even the first female Captain Marvel. But she might end up being the first truly feminist icon in mainstream superhero comics — if her series manages not to get cancelled. The upcoming series, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and drawn by Dexter Soy, features longtime Marvel character Carol Danvers as the new Captain, promoted from Ms. Marvel, and DeConnick has made it clear in a recent CBR interview that she will be a different sort of female lead:

“C’mon now, people: prove me wrong. Show me that a female-led book about the power of the human spirit, about the many guises of heroism, a book wherein no one gets raped or puts her cervix on display, can break six issues, won’t you?”

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A Romantic Weekend of Comic Books

Originally published on mrchair Jamie and I spent a good part of the weekend on the couch reading comics we picked up at the library Saturday. The Denver Library has two comic book sections. One is upstairs above the second floor skylight. The second is a young adult section, which forces me to break the rules by entering without an accompanying teenager. If you combine the two, you get a pretty decent collection, but you never really know where anything is going to be, or in what order. That and someone who is clearly ordering fresh stock on a pretty regular basis makes it a serendipitous visit most days. You could find Lone Wolf and Cub a shelf away from Baby Blues.

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The Hall Closet

Originally published on mrchair. The hall closet is a space big enough for a couple of refrigerators, that is almost completely full of my stuff. Not stuff like tools, or good china. Stuff I've collected over the years that almost never has an immediate purpose, but that I haul with me from apartment to apartment with every move, and then stash away somewhere for posterity. It's a random assortment, but the bigger boxes hold 1) old newspapers, most my old clips but some not, 2) old papers, like college literary analysis papers, tax returns, pay stubs, that kind of shit. And 3) comic books.

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