Saturday, March 20, 2010

Reading/Watching/Listening #3

READING: Desperadoes Omnibus by Jeff Mariotte, w/ art by John Cassaday, John Severin, John Lucas, Jeremy Haun, and Alberto Dose. I love weird westerns, so this series -- about a Magnificent Seven-style group that draws down on bad mojo at every turn -- is a must-have. Mariotte lives on a ranch in Arizona, so he just naturally knows his stuff when it comes to westerns, but Jeff also knows how to draw on the strong tradition in film and fiction when crafting his own dark landscapes. There's nearly 500 pages in this collection, and in them you'll encounter supernatural serial killers, tentacled Lovecraftian beasties, zombies, dark mysticism, and buffalo dreams. Plus: several fistfuls of those pages are drawn by JOHN SEVERIN, which is more than enough to make me feel like a fanboy. (And the rest of those artists aren't exactly chopped liver, either. Meaning: there's some really, really fine stuff here, amigos.)

And hey, once Josh Brolin gets done with Jonah Hex, I'd love to see him take a crack at playing Mariotte's Gideon Brood. Now that would be something.

WATCHING: Hang 'em High. If you want to know why Brad Pitt's got that hanging scar in Inglorious Basterds, check this one out. But be prepared. When you slap a movie in the DVD player that opens with a lynching, then briskly moves on to a sheriff gunning down a lunatic with a Messianic complex before galloping on to a six-man hanging, you know you're in for a sardonic ride. Eastwood's perfect as a cold coffin-nail of a lawman bent on tracking down the nine men who lynched him, and so is Pat Hingle as the calculating judge who pulls the lawman's strings. The ending may be a bit of a fizzle, but when you've piled up about six great confrontations before the ultimate showdown, it's hard to keep the rope taut...even with a pretty great twist.

LISTENING: Casting Shadows Tall as Giants... by Have Gun, Will Travel. I think I found this one by cruising, putting terms like "gunfighter" and "gunslinger" into their search engine. So sue me. There are weirder ways to find good music.

And this CD is better than good. It's great. Spooky traditional music saddled up with quick-draw rock. Titles like "Pistolas at Twenty Paces," "Blessing and a Curse," and "Come All Ye Sinners." My favorite is "It's Not the Heat, It's the Humanity": "I wandered deep into the forest; I lost my way among the trees. The wolf appeared dripping crimson from his beard; He grinned and whispered, 'Come with me.' The wolf just smiled and whispered, 'Follow me...'"

Yep. That's the real hungry deal. Check 'er out.