Random thoughts

August 5, 2006

What’s that you say? I can enjoy another comic about the settlement of North America? Why, thank you! This time around, it’s George O’Connor’s Journey into Mohawk Country from First Second, profiled in the latest Publishers Weekly Comics Week. It sounds like the perfect companion reading for Scott Chantler’s excellent Northwest Passage from Oni. (I wonder if Oni is planning an omnibus edition for after the three-volume series concludes this month? That would be a very library-friendly gesture.)

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Greg McElhatton has a review of Ueda Hajime’s Q-Ko-Chan: The Earth Invader Girl (Del Rey) up at iComics.com. I picked this book up this week and found it to be visually arresting but a little hard to follow. It looks amazing, and the character design is stunning. It’s also only two volumes long, so I’ll definitely give it a closer read after I plow through some of the backlog of books that are sitting there in a pile and judging me.

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I should have learned by now not to assume that even great comic shops will have precisely what I want all the time. I had planned to do a lot of shopping at Alternative Reality during a recent trip to Las Vegas, but all of the books on my list (the first issue of the new Castle Waiting series from Linda Medley and Get a Life from Drawn and Quarterly, among others) were sold out. So I guess I have good taste and bad timing.

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The main reason behind the Vegas jaunt was to see Cirque du Soleil’s at the MGM Grand. It was amazing, but I was surprised to be bothered by some of the same issues of design versus functionality that I’ve found with some publishers’ web sites. It’s a masterpiece of technical theatre, with this phenomenal turntable that goes in every conceivable direction, but the flourishes eventually overwhelm the narrative completely. It’s too bad, because the story started extremely well. Still, if you’re a fan of “we did that because we could” showmanship, go for it. (After looking through the gift shop and laughing at the prices, we decided that Cirque is probably working on a sequel called CHÏNG.)

But if you’re in Vegas and want to feed a Cirque jones, I’d recommend Mystère at Treasure Island. If you want to feed a Cirque jones and don’t feel like dealing with the Vegas fracas (and who could blame you?), just wait until Quidam comes to a city near you. It’s still my favorite of their productions.

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If you’re in Vegas, are a Top Chef fan, and feel like sampling some of Tom Colicchio’s cooking, I’d recommend stopping by ‘wichcraft at the MGM Grand. The sandwiches are great, and the prices are pretty reasonable for celebrity chef casino food. (I’d love to have the kind of money to be a shameless, fame-whoring foodie in Las Vegas, but who can afford it?)

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My approach to gambling in Las Vegas is to spend as little money as possible for the longest possible period of time. I never assume I’m going to win anything beyond the cost of a cup of coffee. The best spot for that kind of play was Sam’s Town, which is way off the Strip, but that only makes it more appealing to me. If we ever go back, we might just have to stay there, as it’s a lot cheaper, seems friendlier than most of the mid-range Strip options, and has undergone a serious renovation in the last few years.