Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's got Laurence Fishburne in it

Dorian Hall takes a running joke to new heights with Ifburne.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hornet's Night Off

Hornet's Night Off, the action-packed sequel to The Hunters, has been uploaded to deviantART. It is another commission for Kilkov Masmus, again using his characters and plot. In it Hornet discovers a secret about his date that he wishes had been kept hidden. A whole lotta chaos ensues, most of it taking place in a single apartment.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Spera via Afu Chan

Afu Chan has created a beautiful and highly-detailed ad / poster for, the full version of which can be found here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Hunters: A New Short Story

I've uploaded a new story called The Hunters to deviantART. It was written as a commission for Kilkov Masmus, using his characters and plot. The story is in line with my more masculine works such as The Runners and the Battler stories, starring a cast of demon hunters as they work together for a rather unique hit. I definitely had a great deal of fun writing it and feel I've learned a few things about writing action scenes in the process.

More information on commissions can be found in this post.

Six months in the making, the first Part of Spera -- a fantasy comic that will be presented in four large Parts -- has been published online. Each Part of Spera will be told in short sections by an incredible assortment of artists, creating a world formed and coloured by their inventive visions. The comic has been given its own unique domain at, while news updates for it will appear here and on

The story for the comic comes from a four-part novella written exclusively for this project. It is about the adventures of two princesses – Pira and Lono – and a fire spirit in the form of a dog named Yonder. Fleeing their homelands after a cataclysmic event, the trio turn their escapist fantasies into a stranger reality, venturing into a land of which they had only ever heard the tallest tales.

The characters were given elegant designs by Sarah Ferrick, while the website was meticulously designed and coded by Joel Hentges. The Part 1 comic features the talents of Sarah Ferrick, Ray Jones, Matt Houston, Joanna Krótka, Afu Chan, Sourya Sihachakr, Angie Hoffmeister, Timothy Weaver and Bettina M. George. Marisa Williams proofread the novella.

We hope you enjoy the first Part of this beautiful and magical project.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Convergence Of High And Low Culture In The Limits Of Control

The Limits of Control is a film that only ‘clicks’ once Bill Murray arrives in its final moments. Until that point it is another type of film – a cold, desperately philosophical film which aims to serve as a document of what it means to be cool in the 00s. Another cold, desperately philosophical film attempted this for the 60s: Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï, which The Limits of Control owes a great deal to.

Isaach De Bankolé’s detached samouraï is a hitman who must harness the power of his imagination in order to make his hit. He does this as a pop culture hitman, wearing a blue suit and sculpted demeanour, through paintings found in the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid. By viewing these paintings – here used as an example of legitimate art – and applying them to his pop imagination, he is able to form encounters with other genre caricatures. The ‘legitimate art’ of these encounters is found in the characters’ simple philosophical musings.

Until Bill Murray arrives, the characters of the film only tell Isaach what he wants to hear. His imagination can only stretch so far. After all, the reason Isaach exists is so his life can be given its empty poetry by the writing and direction of Jim Jarmusch and the cinematography of Christopher Doyle: the bulk of the film is comprised of sometimes gorgeous, always cool shots of Isaach as spare selections of drone metal accompany his existence. Then Bill Murray gasps ‘fuck you’ and the film suddenly means something.

What little dialogue and lyrics there are up to this point focuses on the need for arrogant men to remind themselves they’ll be in the same spot at the end of their lives as everyone else. At its most basic and obvious, the film is about the battle between artistic bohemians wishing for a world of colour and stuffy businessmen not knowing what colour is. I believe the film is not necessarily on either side, and in this way the film becomes an allegory on the need for the low in high culture and vice versa.

To illustrate this I will use the film’s references to film history. There is, first of all, Isaach De Bankolé’s approximation of Alain Delon’s character in Le Samouraï: both are hitmen who exist solely in their own minds, who rarely speak and only hear what they desire. Both have their own unique rituals: Isaach De Bankolé does his controlled stretches every morning and drinks two (2) cups of espresso, while Alain Delon straightens his hat in front of a mirror every time he leaves his apartment. Through references to noirs of the past, Le Samouraï is both an art film that aims to be a gangster film and a gangster film that aims to be an art film. Through references to Le Samouraï, The Limits Of Control is a film that aims for these aims.

There are the constant references to film in the dialogue: when Isaach De Bankolé meets the Always Nude Woman, the Always Nude Woman – lying on a bed on her stomach much like Brigitte Bardot at the beginning of Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt – asks Isaach De Bankolé if he thinks she has ‘a nice ass’. He replies, with only a split-second of hesitation, ‘yes’. This is, of course, the opening to Contempt, and will be obvious to many film buffs and European cinema-goers but obscure to most North Americans. I use this as my example of a reference to a film considered art, and thus a reference to film as art.

For the reference to film as pop culture, Tilda Swinton stops by Isaach De Bankolé’s favourite café and not-so-casually says The Limits Of Control is a Hitchcock film. If Jim Jarmusch had not focused on the film’s alienating aspects, this would almost be true, at least as far as film as entertainment is concerned.

For one other example of one of the many ways in which The Limits Of Control both contrasts and parallels high and low culture, I will use the Always Nude Woman. When she first appears on screen, as a reference to Contempt, her body is utilised both in a gently exploitative way (far more gently than Brigitte Bardot’s producer-mandated appearance) and as an example of beauty in the female form. This combination then branches out in the two directions: there are the sequences where she is posing in a transparent raincoat, a packaged object, and there are the sequences in which she is lying on the bed beside Isaach, and the lighting is hitting her just right, and we’re able to look at the female form as an example of the highest possible art.

That it is not until Bill Murray appears on screen – a comedian known to one generation for his roles in films such as Ghostbusters and Caddyshack, and now known to another generation for his roles in films such as Rushmore, Lost In Translation and Broken Flowers – is only suiting. Like the paintings Isaach De Bankolé uses to ignite his imagination, The Limits Of Control offers a lot to read into, far more than its juvenile philosophical musings might imply. The fact it is so ceaselessly cool while doing this makes it a (mostly) successful convergence of what is considered high and low art in our culture today.

Monday, November 30, 2009

On Tumblr

It's strictly reblogs but there ya go.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Buy Thulu: The Hot New Graphic Novel By Timothy Weaver

Timothy Weaver is one of my most prolific collaborators, with our first team-up battle being the very second episode of The Untitled Saga Of Hana: Volume 1. Since then I've been coming up with as many excuses as possible to work together.

Timothy Weaver breathes his art. His style is his life. If this man was ever killed in a street, his chalkline would be rendered with jagged lines of ink, the body filled in with gradient half-tones. And such are his autobiographical tendencies that he would probably draw this with his own hand.

If his art wasn't self-referential enough, his sense of humour has a sense of humour about its sense of humour. His dialogue is biting but knows that it's biting -- and so goes on to bite even harder. He is as honest with others as he is with himself.

His new graphic novel, Thulu, is fun, ridiculous, hilarious, beautiful, meaningful, vulgar and a call for people to live as they want to.

You can purchase Thulu here.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Une femme mariée

'Are you crying?'

'No. Why do you ask?'

'Because there are tears in your eyes.'

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Few Thoughts On Film

Good movies are entertaining.
Great movies are engrossing.
The greatest films are alienating.

We go to the cinema to escape the lack of miracles in our lives.
We go to the cinema to see miracles occur in the lives of others.
We become changed by the cinema when, instead of providing that escape, we are shown how beautiful the world is regardless, and are reminded of our place in this beautiful world as conscious entities.

To be confronted is to think,
and I want to think,
so let greatness confront me
lest my mind become someone else's.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Josh's Arcade

Animal Crossing is a cute video game I sometimes play with my wife. Here is the totally awesome arcade I made in it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Magic & Mystery Of Stark Black Backgrounds In 8-Bit Nintendo Games

When I think back on my times playing NES games as a child, the feeling that comes through to me even after all these years is a spine-tingling sense of the unknown. This is the feeling I get when I think about the deeply atmospheric backgrounds of Kid Icarus (I could never make it past the first level), Metroid (I always got too lost or scared to make it far) and World 3 of Super Mario Bros. Mario would be the one that I played obsessively as a child, though I never managed to beat the game. It was the only one of the three I actually owned: Kid Icarus was played at a cousin's house, while Metroid was only rented once or twice.

These deeply atmospheric backgrounds are not highly-detailed. In fact, they're entirely black, with various objects in the foreground for the character to jump around on. It is this blackness that I remember most. It is a blackness that brings to mind eternal nights, realms that are so vast they seem stretch on for eternity. The black backgrounds charge the games with an entirely otherworldly quality: there is a sense that anything can happen in them, that anything can appear in that void at any time. Playing these games, I remember the black swallowing the world around me, taking me inside the games' unique worlds. There was so much mystery in them that my mind couldn't help but add in things that weren't there. These are memories I can cherish.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Three Photos From LOLA 2009

Here are three photos I took during LOLA Fest 2009. One is of bells, a fixture of Victoria Park, while the other two are of Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy) and Tim Hecker (Tim Hecker!), respectively.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Auteurs

I've semi-recently joined the cinema-based social networking site The Auteurs, a Criterion Collection sister site I feel all true film fans should become members of. It's a terrific way of keeping track of what you've seen, how you feel about what you've seen and what you're looking forward to -- for those who are into such things. I just hope the site remains true to the history behind its name.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Favourite Albums (In No Particular Order)

I'm done with obsessive film lists, so here's some albums for a change. Music inspires and influences my writing about as much as film and literature does.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Perfect Strangers

Here's something that's fun to do when you're bored: listen to the Paul McCartney song 'Ram On' and then listen to 'While You Wait for the Others' by Grizzly Bear (for bonus points listen to just about every other Grizzly Bear song, which seem to have been influenced by 'Ram On' and other old gems).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Accepting Short Story Commissions

As the title says, I am currently accepting commissions to write short stories. These stories will be around 3,700 words, or -- as I tend to think of it -- ten pages in Microsoft Word using Times New Roman 12pt. They will revolve around your original characters and/or the situations they find themselves in. All you need to do is provide me with their backstories, scenes you may have in mind (if any) and any particular guidelines. I will then create an original story that you can do with as you wish -- post on websites, publish in zines -- with the only stipulation being that I am given credit as the writer. Each short will take up to two weeks to write.

These commissioned short stories will be 20$ each, with payments accepted via PayPal ( Other payment options can be discussed.

Four shorts from 2008 (the fantasy/fairy tale of The Light in Glass Flowers, the comedy of The Story of Bogovich and Gregorovich, the angst of Yi Mao Rises to Heaven and the abstract ghost story of For Real, For Serious, For Everything) offer a good idea of my range: [link]

I am also the author of The Untitled Saga of Hana ([link]) and Radar Doesn't Believe In The Supernatural ([link])

Please send me an email if you're interested.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ja Noise - No Shotgun

Two of my wife's friends put together a song for her as a wedding present. The song can be downloaded here. The lyrics are as follows:

No short stories to proofread
No babies to breastfeed
Today you're getting married
Oh, it's your special day
Here's to you "who's Josh?" I've no clue

Sometimes love is so latent
Sometimes love is so blatant
Sometimes love gets you naked
Can't leave that ovum vacant
But wild love like that
Lead to kids and you can't put those back

Marriage is crazy exciting
Marriage is awesomely huge
Marriage took place between Josh and Marisa
Today when they said I do

Damn, you've all full grown
How quick the years have blown
No sign of a shotgun
Kids can wait there's lots of time for that
So for now, just focus on Fat Cat

From single life you are now freed
Proof love's not just a tease
You're geting married
Oh, check that shiny rock
Down the aisle you have happily walked

Living down in London in the famous forest city
With the Whiteoaks with the Westmount damn those malls are oh so pretty
We be driving down wonderland to the Sears Outlet Store
Yo, everyday they get some new deliveries to their door
Yeah this Josh guy we don't know him, is he cool? "I guess." You bet
Cuz Marisa seems to like him and I betcha she knows best
In the houses with the roommates with the boys and with the cat, "what's that?"
That's right, you heard, the truth, the word,
Marisa's got a cat, "say what?"

Marisa's got a cat, "damn straight"
(callback) Marisa's got a cat!
Marisa's got a cat, "hell ya"
(callback) Marisa's got a cat!
Marisa she be cool like that
(callback) Marisa's got a cat!
Marissa possesiez une chat
(callback) Marisa's got a cat!