Sunday, September 12, 2010

Top Shelf, But Not On The Shelf

There are many reasons to keep things out of print and off the shelves, some of which still have validity in an increasingly digital-happy world. Maybe, the work was immature or crafted during a bad moment, outside influences may have overridden the quality impulses with dreck, who knows. But, a lot of the time, it comes dpwn to whether significant money can be made, and well, fair enough.

Without speculation into why these aren't available commercially to me, you, and the English-speaking population as a whole, here are some things I wish were readily available, new, in a format I can enjoy, through markets where I know the people responsible (artists, writers, directors, et al) would be receiving a cut:

The Enigma by Peter Milligan, Duncan Fegredo, and Sherlyn van Valkenburgh. This needs to be in print. Not only is it perhaps the finest thing any of the creators have been involved with, it may be the greatest comics ever done. The story of families, how the mess us up, and the presumptuous instincts that make us sort the world as if it fundamentally exists to sustain and entertain, to test and torment us. Full of tactile and brilliant sensuality, witty and elegant segues, an exceptional range of techniques, emotions, and identity politics, it's just a beautiful work.

Kachou No Koi is a Flash animated series about a company president so deeply in the closet, he can't see that the collection of gay skinmags he keeps at the office, or the lifesized mechanical big brother he uses for a chair, alarm clock, and bathtoy, might be outing him to everyone else. Fastpaced, hilarious, cocky and peppered with moments encouraging empathetic embarrassment, there is no commercially available English-subbed edition, just fansubs online and HK bootlegs that appear to've been translated by drunk pandas.

Will Shetterly's Cats Have No Lord has been out of print way too long, and could use a more indicative cover, anyway. A bold, carefree fantasy work, it has a good time with itself and only looks back, in the sense that Shetterly knows the genre's history and contemporary scene well enough to use the novel as counterbalance to other works and some general tropes.

Rutger Hauer vs The Devi... I mean, Split Second, directed by Tony Maylam (and company?), shouldn't be as good as it is. But, oh yes, it is. Drastically revised from a deadend standard cop chases killer piece set in contemporary Los Angeles by a few hands, Hauer and costar Kim Cattrall among them, into a madcap cop on the edge versus the Devil as a PredAlien cannibal fingerpainting clawbeast in the future, it forgoes plot logic and clues for psychic impulses and oneliners and really big guns. Hauer's character is said to survive on coffee, chocolate, and anxiety, but when this lifestyle looks like the sane option if you want to thrive in this flooded, oily future, then we're getting somewhere special!

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