Everyday Apocalypse: The Sacred Revealed in Radiohead, The Simpsons, and Other Pop Culture Icons - David Dark
In the eighties there was a rash of books put out by Christian publishing houses all about finding God in pop culture. The idea was that, occasionally, television shows, movies, and music might say something that lined up with something you might read in the Bible.
That is not this book.
In Sacred Apocalypse, Dark argues for art and poetry as redemptive forces regardless of whether their creator self-identifies with Jewish/Christian tradition - and urges the reader to develop eyes to see and ears to hear when it comes to such works.
My favorite part of the book is a section at the beginning where Dark tries to dispel the reader of the false dichotomy of secular vs. Spiritual. He takes this modern day gnosticism to task as a cynical, occasionally market-driven, attempt to separate the sheep from the goats on bookshelves and in record bins. The truth is, it’s all spiritual. And if it’s true, regardless of the subject matter, it’s God’s.
Breakfast of Champions - Kurt Vonnegut
I want to be Kurt Vonnegut. I want to speak clearly, and cleverly, and gut-wrenchingly honestly about the things inside and outside of me. I want to be simultaneously reverent of life and irreverent of just about everything else.
Pretty Deadly - Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios
A beautiful, sad western about obsessive love, fathers and daughters, and playing the roles we’ve been handed (or not). I loved the entire book, but the bit I liked most, and this will seem a strange thing to land on, was early on in the book - DeConnick and Rios tell the story of Death taking a lover as a rhyming poem, and it’s really, really well done! I told you it was a weird thing to latch on to. But it was Gaiman like in how authentic it felt.
Afterlife With Archie - Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla
Afterlife with Archie is a fairly adult take on Archie and the gang’s hometown of Riverdale getting overrun with a zombie infection. It’s a fun enough, spooky little story, but I can’t help but think how fun it would have been if it had been played a little straighter. If it weren’t for the title of the book, and the character’s names, there’s really not much there to make it an Archie story. I wonder what a story like this would feel like if the art had more of a Decarlo flair or if the characters resembled their usual bungling, comical selves. It was certainly well written by Auirre-Sacasa and beautifully rendered by Francavilla, but more than anything, it got me thinking, “What if?”