Issue #61

I was planning something a little different for this week. Not quite this different.

But I got up this morning, switched on the computer.

And nothing.

Almost nothing.

It switched on well enough. But the controller card wouldn't read the C: or D: drives. (Which is interesting, because they're on different chains, and it did read the F: drive, which is actually a partition of the C: drive, so I don't know...) Until I switched it on three or four times. The C: drive finally booted, but started giving error messages while in final loading. I had to reboot, autoloading Scandisk on the way back in, but Scandisk got halfway through, then went to the famous Windows Blue Screen Of Death. Which was about the time the computer started making a rhythmic squeaking noise. Peep. Peep. Peep.

And the C: drive won't boot up again.

So now I'm thinking the drive went for some reason. That in itself isn't a huge issue. It's still under warranty. The manufacturers (Maxtor) will send me a new one, no problem. Recovering the material from the C: and F: drive is a much bigger issue. Right now, I'm on the emergency disk booted from the floppy, and using Scandisk there to rebuild the file allocation table. If this works, I'll borrow a computer (as I'm doing now), load the physical drives onto that, and copy over what I need. At the rate the FAT rebuilding is going, I figure it'll be done sometime after midnight tonight.

The immediate problem is that what I needed for today's column is on the D: drive, and inaccessible until things get corrected, whatever's wrong. (What I really need is a modern new machine, if there's anyone out there who'd like to donate one for review, since this one's about seven years and nine or ten generations old. Windows-based, please.) (Not that I'm expecting it, mind you, but if anyone's a soft touch and has a budget that can justify it, haha.)

At any rate, this is this week's column, such as it is. Sorry about that. I'm hoping, for once, the damage isn't permanent. Some days you just can't win...

A couple quick note: the new issue of WRITE NOW! magazine (TwoMorrows Publishing, 1812 Park Dr, Raleigh NC 27605; $5.95) should be on the stands by now. Edited by former Spider-Man writer and editor Danny Fingeroth, it's a magazine for writers of comics, animation and science fiction. I'm not sure what else is in this issue, but I've written an article on the rules of surviving comics. As a freelancer, natch. Pick it up.

And people still keep writing asking where they might find my work. Coincidentally (if any of this is coincidence; as the Bonzo Dog Band said: there are no coincidences, but sometimes the patterns are more obvious) Brian Wood sent his latest newsletter praises Brian@Khepri.Com, who, through the fabulous online retailer Khepri, has set up a number of "creator boutiques," including one spotlighting Brian Wood's work, which is on sale this month, and one spotlighting my work. I bring this up not so much for self-advertising (though I certainly encourage those looking for my work to head over to Khepri and take a look) but because I've never thanked Brian@Khepri for his efforts. Not for lack of trying: for some reason every email I've sent Brian bounces back undeliverable, even when I'm directly responding to email he sent me. (The same thing happens when I try to email Scott Brown at Cyberosia Publishing.) So, Brian, thanks very much for all your efforts. I appreciate it, I know Brian Wood appreciates it, I suspect every talent with a Khepri boutique – and there are a lot of them! – appreciates it.

One quick review because I promised it:

In Japan, there's a thriving subset of comics aimed specifically at girls called shojo (among other variant spellings), and, in America, TokyoPop seems intent on creating and cornering that same market here, and besides publishing excellent titles like MARMALADE BOY, they're bringing in a number of works from the all-woman studio Clamp, creators of MAGIC KNIGHT RAYEARTH and CARDCAPTOR SAKURA (better known here as CARDCAPTORS). The latest is WISH ($9.99), the odd story of a doctor who stumbles across an inept but charming angel and suddenly finds himself in the midst of the war between the forces of light and darkness. While this has all the makings of a Jim Starlin epic, it immediately takes a more pleasantly domestic swerve, as the angel offer the doctor a wish in thanks for helping her, and the doctor doesn't want anything. Unable to leave, the angel, who can transform between diminutive cherub and sexy young lady, moves in, starts to adapt to modern life, and the fun begins. Just when it looks to descend into a remake of I DREAM OF JEANNIE, the whole light and darkness thing starts up again. And gets resolved, at least temporarily, with rare civility.

I like WISH. I like the way it balances the alternate aspects of its material (one of those things American comics could learn from manga, and one of the reasons, I believe, that manga's making such inroads here). And the way it plays with, and subtly undermines, cultural mores. I like its gentleness. Despite the presence of cute bunnies and talking birdies, it's not really for little girls; it's more like a playful distaff version of PREACHER. Perfectly appropriate for teens and pre-teens, though, not to mention the rest of us.

Next week will either have what I intended this week or the Xmas gift list. I'm still taking suggestions for comics/media-related Xmas gifts if you want to e-mail me your two cents, or you can go public and list your picks at my Delphi forum, EVE OF DESTRUCTION or at the Permanent Damage Message Board here at Comic Book Resources. Thanks. Sorry about the problems this week, but they can't be helped.

Those wishing to comment should leave messages on the Permanent Damage Message Board. You can also e-mail me but the chances of a reply are next to nil these days, given my workload, though I do read all my e-mail as long as it's not trying to sell me something. IMPORTANT: Because a lot of people apparently list it in their e-address books, this account has gotten a slew of virus-laden messages lately. They're no real threat but dealing with them eats up time I don't really have, to the extent I can no longer accept unsolicited e-mail with attachments. If you want to send something via attachment (say, art samples) ask me first. If I say okay, then send. Unsolicited e-mail with attachments will be wiped from the server without being read. You can also leave messages for me and have discussions on other topics at my Delphi forum, GRAPHIC VIOLENCE. Please don't ask me how to break into the business, or who to submit work to. The answers to those questions are too mercurial for even me to keep up with.

Those wanting to subscribe to the WHISPER e-mail newsletter should click here.

I'm reviewing comics sent to me – I may not like them but certainly I'll mention them – at Steven Grant c/o Permanent Damage, 2657 Windmill Pkwy #194, Henderson NV 89074, so send 'em if you want 'em mentioned, since I can't review them unless I see them. Some people have been sending press releases and cover proofs and things like that, which I enjoy getting, but I really can't do anything with them, sorry. Full comics only, though they can be photocopies rather than the published version. Make sure you include contact information for readers who want to order your book.

If you want to know something about me, you can probably find the answer at Steven Grant's Alleged Fictions. Be warned that this site is functionally dead – I've switched to a different server and am prepping a new page – but it's still up and the backstory details are still germane even if the news page is a bit dated.

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