Ian tagged me on this one, and while I don't always respond to tags (OM is notorious for sending me chain mail) this one is fun. Also, just because I can, I'm using favourite book and comic book. I have lots and lots of both and way too many favourites…
1. One Book That Changed My Life
I think it would be "Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clarke. It was the first "adult" novel I read when I was about 10-12 years old. I was just enthralled with the book and spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the end meant because it wasn't "Happily ever after". It was the first time I realized that science fiction, at its best, is far more than big action sequences, aliens and space ships trying to blow each other up (ie. Star Wars).
The one comic book that changed by life was "The Anatomy Lesson" from #21 of Saga of the Swamp Thing by Alan Moore. Which might sound silly, but 25 years later it remains a masterpiece on the level of Edgar Allan Poe in terms of crafting a truly scary and disturbing story. It was the first time I realized that comics could be more than guys in tights beating each other up.
2. One Book I Have Read More Than Once
"Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Yes, maybe it should be some great piece of literature. But I've lost one copy of this book from lending it out so much and had another destroyed from over-reading. I'm on my third copy. Fifteen years after it came out it remains one of the funniest books I've ever read.
Comic book wise I'm going with "The Complete Frank Miller Batman" which contains two of the best Batman stories ever written – "Year One" and "The Dark Knight Returns." It laid the ground work for every cinematic version of Batman since 1988. Except for the horrific "Batman and Robin" which was inspired by Joel Shumacher's wallet not having enough cash in it so he decided to sell his soul to toy companies.
3. One Book I Would Want On A Desert Island
So here's the rub, would I pick a book that everyone tells me I should read just so I'm finally forced to go through it out of sheer boredom, or something I genuinely love? Because the only time I was able to get through the terrible "The Shipping News", which everyone told me I had to read, was when I was in South Korea and desperate for anything written in English.
So if it's the former, I'd go with "Lord of the Rings" in the hope I might find out why people love this book and I've been bored into a coma within 10 pages. If it's the later, then I would pick the "Complete Short Stories of Arthur C. Clarke." And yes, the "SAS Survival Guide" might be more useful, but I'm going with the assumption someone is going to rescue me before starvations sets in.
The comic book would be "Absolute Watchmen" by Alan Moore. Given enough time I might finally figure out all the narrative tricks he used in completing what Time Magazine called one of the 100 greatest novels of the 20 th century.
4. One Book That Made Me Laugh
I already used "Good Omens", so instead I'll use "Bloodsucking Fiends" by Christopher Moore. Almost anything by Moore is funny (his funniest idea is still "The Stupidest Angel" about the Christmas Angel accidentally unleashing a plague of zombies on Christmas Eve who chant "First we feast, then IKEA.", but it's more of a novella than a full book), but this was his first book, which I picked up on a lark and was floored by how funny it was.
Comic book – "The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius" by Judd Winick. A foul mouth 10-year-old, who just happens to be the smartest person on the planet, and his well meaning, not so bright, hormonally over-charged best friend and the weirdness that they get involved in. I've laughed so hard while reading this on public transportation that I was unable to explain why a comic was doing this to me. Find it, seriously.
5. One Book That Made Me Cry
A tough one. Not because I'm so macho that I don't cry, just having a hard time remembering one. I think I got upset several times while reading "Shake Hands With The Devil" by Romeo Dallaire. The poor bastard.
Comic Book - "Maus" by Art Spiegelman. The story of a Holocaust survivor as told to his son. However, both are portrayed as mice while the Nazis are portrayed as cats. It sounds stupid, but it's a masterpiece and is at least as emotionally powerful as "Schindler's List." It also won the Pulitzer Prize, the only graphic novel to do so.
6. Two Books I Wish Had Been Written
"Craig, this is how you write a novel and become rich"
"Final Foundation" by Isaac Asimov.
Comic Book – "Barry Ween: Boy Genius in Space" by Judd Winick.
7. One Book I Wish Had Never Been Written
"Lure of the Labrador Wild", which a high school English teacher once described to me as "like reading Revelations backwards". Not entirely sure what that means, but it was said in a context that indicated it was horrible. And it is. Part of my problem with high school English is far too often terrible books are selected. And really, if you ever want some of these kids to read again, let alone pick up another novel, this book should be banned from the Newfoundland curriculum. Just a dreadfully dry, dull, boring book. I understand it's still being taught. May God have mercy on their souls…
I'm not especially proud of that "Charles Barkley vs. Godzilla" comic I bought back in the day, but there has been much worse. Probably Todd McFarlene's "Spawn" because it was a mediocre comic that had plenty of dramatic, and not always positive, impacts on the comic industry and many of its professional.
8. One Book I Am Currently Reading
"Two Trains Running" by Andrew Vachss. "The Custodian of Paradise" by Wayne Johnson is up next. Oh, I don't know if "Lonely Planet: Costa Rica " counts.
Comic Book – Just finished rereading "300" by Frank Miller. Waiting for Ed Brubaker's run on "Captain America" to arrive from Chapters.
9. One Book I've Been Meaning to Read
I have bookshelves full of books I've been meaning to read. Probably "A Crack in the Edge of the World" by Simon Winchester, which is about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Meant to read it before going on the big trip. Ah well…
Comic – "Fell" by Warren Ellis. I'm a big Ellis fan and have most of his collections. However, Fell isn't out in it yet and might not be for some time, which is a pity.
As for who I want to see respond to this – OM, Mireille and Helmut.