Great Books 

(for disaffected inner children with brain damage)

Acme Novelty Library #15
Chris Ware
Fantastic Graphics

If you don't know who Chris Ware is, well, I'll tell you: He's probably the greatest cartoonist on Earth, and the author/illustrator of the ultra-beautiful and totally depressing graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Boy On Earth. Ware is also the author/illustrator of the completely brilliant Acme Novelty Library, one of the most ingeniously strange "adult" comic books ever. Oversized Issue #15 (supposedly the last issue) is now available and it's chock-full of all the OCD comics, activities, writings and perversions you could ever need to fill up at least three hours of your loser life.

The Smoking Gun
William Bastone, Daniel Green and Barbara Glauber
Little, Brown and Co.

You can thank LBJ and the Freedom of Information Act of July 4, 1966 for The Smoking Gun: A Dossier of Secret, Surprising, and Salacious Documents from the Files of thesmokinggun.com. This book is the future trashy journalist's wet dream--a collection of original court documents and the like that detail things like: Howard Stern receiving poo in the mail, the artist-once-formerly-known-as-Prince's trademark papers for his symbol thingy, the police report from the cop who first showed up at the scene of Kurt Cobain's suicide. Then you've got your floor plans for Robert DeNiro's house, super-star dressing room requests for the likes of Frank Sinatra and Christina Aguilera, George W. Bush's arrest record card, and oh so much more!!!!

Blab #12
Monte Beauchamp, ed.
Fantagraphics Books

If you're tired of looking at all those crusty old art books and have had enough with superheroes and feeling good, then check out this Fantagraphics compilation of crusty new art and comics by a bunch of dumpster da Vinci's. The Clayton Brothers' cover art of a young amputee smoking a cigarette in his wheelchair out in "nature" should give you some idea of the contents you have to look forward to. Walter Minus brings you "Serial Lover" -- the story of Malicia the leopard-pattern-loving babe who just can't find the right alien or robot and drives them all to suicide. Mark Landman brings you "Fetal Elvis" ("Robitussin parties can be 'high-class' if you have fancy little apertif glasses!"). A collection of wonderfully upsetting postcard drawings by Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh, paintings by Baseman, and my favorite: Greg Clarke's cartoon with the caption: "Ava was perturbed that the long and costly search for her 'Authentic Self' had led her to a dumpster in Van Nuys."

The Drunken Driver Has the Right of Way
Ethan Coen
Crown Books

This book by the producer/writer half of the Coen Brothers has two things that almost all contemporary collections of poetry lack: cleverness and wit. What a joy to read rhymed, formal poetry by a true genius who doesn't have any pressing need to tell us about his unfortunate childhood. Take "Yukon," a four-lined summation of all Jack London's novels, for example.

Hit icehole mushing thrash and climb
Out kindled fire not in time
Feet froze sled sunk no walk no ride
He ate his sled dogs then he died.

Limericks, quips, naughty perverse verse, gruesome goings-on and this very astute advice in "If I May":

If you have sensitive thoughts that you want to put in a poem,
Let me tell you something:
Nobody gives a shit.


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