Monday, October 27, 2003

Mark Twain -- a Pseudo-Dennis Thatcher?

Mark Twain is quoted as having said that it was better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. (A quote that, bizarrely, I've also seen increasingly attributed to Dennis Thatcher.)

I didn't say anything about Claude Lalumi�re's unfortunate description (in his Locus Online review of Endless Nights) of Barron Storey as a Bill Sienkiewicz imitator (he actually used the phrase "pseudo-Bill Sienkiewicz"), because it's the kind of unthinking foolish comment that all of us make from time to time, especially me, and it's not nice to tease reviewers when they're doing their best. (Anyway, Claude has a very good track record of writing sensible and interesting reviews.)

It looks like other people weren't as kind, what with Barron Storey being the originator of a number of styles and techniques that many artists, including Dave McKean and Bill Sienkiewicz, have adopted with enthusiasm, so now Claude has gone back and added a paragraph to his original review. Unfortunately, it doesn't say "oops, sorry, I didn't know what I was talking about". Instead Claude seems to be trying to defend his original goof by, if I understand him rightly, explaining that it doesn't actually matter who learned what from who, because Barron, by doing Barron, is copying Bill because Bill did Barron Storey in comics before Barron did Barron in Endless Nights or the Marat-Sade Journals (neither of which are strictly comics, and both of which are pure and perfect Barron Storey). Which makes (to me) as much sense as accusing Neal Adams, Bob Peak or Bernie Fuchs of being pseudo-Bills because you saw Bill's stuff before you saw theirs, during the times that Bill was influenced by them. Or announcing that the Beatles were just another Oasis-rip-off band.

Lots of people have learned from Barron Storey: Bill Sienkiewicz, and Dave McKean, and Kent Williams and many others, and they're all very proud to admit it. He's a true original, and there aren't many of those around.

... is back up. (Hurray.) For those who've not been there, it's a big, meaty site, filled with things to read and look at, and is Darren McKeeman's labour of love. If you've been there, you know how much fun it is. Go and take a look at it.

And Holly has just discovered the Hunger site, where if you go, and you click, they donate food to the hungry internationally, and says that I should put up a plug here for it. I pointed out that most people must know about the Hunger site by now, and Holly pointed out in return that she hadn't known about it, and that if I put a link up and everyone who comes by this blog clicked on it than that would be almost 400,000 cups of food for hungry people. You can't argue with daughters, so click on the Hunger Site link.


Talking about typing stupid things, I thought I'd mentioned here that I thought Galicia and absent-mindedly typed Andalucia in the intro to Endless Nights, and it's meant to be being fixed in the second printing. But every now and again Spaniards still write me nice letters pointing out where Gijon isn't, and I thought I should probably mention here that yes, I do know, and it will be fixed.

-- and someone else points out another locationally challenged posting...


Have you been in America too long?

Thea Gilmore's new record is available in the rest of the UK as well, you know the other bits like Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales!

If it's only the people in England who buy Thea Gilmore's singles you won't see her on TOTP as the chart compilers legislate against any sales performance with a specific regional bias.

Oops. I meant UK of course. Mea culpa & a twit.


Over at we learn that The Wolves in the Walls is the Washington Post Kidpost Book of the Week.

And tomorrow I shall tell the story of Fred the Cat. Which may turn into an appeal, of sorts...