Puff Chrissy’s Shelf Porn: Part 1

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Starting from the top of one of my bookshelves, this shelf has a lot of treasures for me.

On the far left is Mark Z. Danielewski’s The 50 Year Sword. Because of the rarity and price of the book, it was something that I had wanted for a long, long time. It wasn’t until last year when I received an unexpected package that I finally got my hands on it. Now, those who know me know how highly I treasure House of Leaves, not only in terms of entertainment value, but in terms of importance, and The 50 Year Sword is Danielewski’s second best book. I’ve read it six times now and each time I’ve carried something new away from it.

Frank Miller’s Elektra Lives Again is not only a beautiful book, but – I’d argue – Miller’s last great mainstream project.

Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book, by Terry Jones and Brian Froud, a book that is as ridiculous as it is lovely. I love to see people’s faces when they flip through the book for the first time.

Ralph Steadman’s Gonzo Art, is a must-have for those who enjoy Hunter S. Thompson’s work. I can’t imagine Thompson’s writing without Steadman’s contributions. In many ways, Steadman was McKean to Thompson’s Gaiman.

Speaking of, Dave McKean’s Cages is one of the greatest graphic novels ever written. There are so many amazing moments between these covers it’s mind blowing.

The Marvel books, including New X-Men, Alias, Daredevil, Cage, The Incredible Hulk, Ultimate Spider-Man, the Best of Spider-Man, and Elektra & Wolverine: The Redeemer, are a little hit and miss. Misses:¬†Brian Azzarello’s take on Cage is something that has grown on me with repeat readings, but despite all the detective motifs at work, I can’t help but feel like it’s a missed opportunity. Elektra & Wolverine: The Redeemer is a severe letdown, a lot of it having to do with the problematic¬†disconnect between the writer and artist. Hits: Brian Michael Bendis’ Alias is not only fantastic, but has one of the best female protagonist in modern comic books. I’m not thrilled about where she is now, but the Jessica Jones from Alias is as complicated as she is beautiful. And Bendis’ Daredevil run is everything a mainstream comic book should be. New X-Men is worth having to soak in Grant Morrison’s interpretation of one of Marvel’s largest franchises.

The Marvel Masterworks series was my prized possession when I was a child. I regret not keeping up with the whole series. That said, nothing beats sitting down and reading classic Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Spider-Man pages.

Kurt Busiek’s Astro City is a lot of fun. I have three volumes, with my favorite being The Tarnished Angel, especially when I imagine Robert Mitchum playing the part of the lead character.

Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s’ Planetary, started off being a seemingly random collection of amazing stories and ended up becoming one of the most satisfying long narrative stories in comic books. That last issue was gold.

And last is the Sandman collection, written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by one amazing artist after another. There’s nothing I can really say about these books that hasn’t been said a thousand times over. A complex tragedy, on the level of something Shakespeare could do, is a rarity these days. Sandman just might be the greatest tragedy written in the 20th century.

On top of the books are some of the publications my work has been in, including copies of SYSTEMS, GUD and Third Wednesday.

And there you have the first shelf.

Shit, this might be a lot more work than I thought.

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