Thursday, November 30, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Holiday Hours

Starting today:

Atomic Books:
Sun 11-6pm
Mon - Sat 11-8pm

atomic POP:
Sun 11-5pm
Mon - Sat 11-7pm

And a new blog for POP!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Friday Review - Ok, It's Saturday

Rachel read The Crafter's Companion edited by Anna Torborg:

Do you really need another book of projects? Have you even finished anything in the last few months? Do you have thoughts like, "Why am I doing this? Why make stuff when I can just buy stuff?"

If you're like me, your crafting eyes are bigger than your stomach (perhaps it's some form of Obsessive Crafting Disorder). I'll never actually finish everything I want to do and it can become overwhelming and seemingly pointless.

So it's refreshing to have a book of, yes, more projects, but more importantly, glimpses into the work habits and work spaces of well known crafters from all over the world who'll re-inspire you as tell you why they do it.

Eric read The Road by Cormac McCarthy:

A real page-turner, telling the story of a man and his young son, two of the only survivors of an unnamed (but presumably Bush-related) cataclysmic disaster that wiped out most life on Earth. Together the two attempt to survive a brutal winter, heading south and west as they scavenge for mushrooms, fruits, tins of food, clean sources of water, dry places to sleep -- and safety from the marauding gangs of scum who want to use the boy for food and sex. Dark, dark stuff along the lines of Saramago's Blindness, one of my other favorite reads this year; a perfect holiday gift for that friend or relative who loves literature but hates humanity.

Benn read An Anthology Of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, & True Stories edited by Ivan Brunetti:

Do you want to read comics by the greatest cartoonists? Do you want to read examples of their best work? Maybe get a sense of who's who, who does what, and see what all the fuss is about? Ivan Brunetti creates the most comprehensive and exemplary comic anthology to date. Every established name in the alternative comics world is represented here (R. Crumb, Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, Charles Burns, Julie Doucet, Chester Brown, Jessica Abel, Adrian Tomine, Art Spiegelman), some of the new generation of young cartoonists (Gabrielle Bell, Jonathan Bennett, Jeffrey Brown, James Kochalka, David Heatley, John Porcellino), those who are pushing comics more into the art realm (Marc Bell, Mat Brinkman, Gary Panter) and even a few who influenced all of the above (Charles M. Schulz, George Herriman, Frank King, Henry Darger, Harvey Kurtzman). This anthology is a college course in graphic fiction, a college course in which you joyously do all of the reading and attend every class. Brunetti's Anthology Of Graphic Fiction goes a long way in establishing a canon for comics.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Heroes For A Day


I don't know what your Thanksgiving plans are but we'll be playing an ample amount of Guitar Hero II.

And look! Brian Ralph has artwork in it. That dude is everywhere right now.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Holiday News & Notes

We will be closing early this Wednesday, 6pm, for both Atomic Books and atomic POP!

We will be closed for Thanksgiving.

This Saturday is the annual lighting ceremony for Hampden's Miracle on 34th Street (between Keswick and Chestnut). Happens after dark and I hear HGTV will be there to tape it for broadcast.

Also, there's only 4 weeks left to order from us online. December 18th is the last day you can order to get your stuff in time for Xmas (you'll be taking your chances with the 19th and the 20th depending on where you need your order shipped!).

We have a lot of great stuff in stock and still coming this month, but make your decisions now because a lot of the stuff we carry, as you know, isn't made in mass quantities, especially the art toys. Once they're gone they're gone.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Weekend Roundup


In the new expanded version of Hi, How Are You?, they have my photo of Daniel Johnston and Baby Doll. Aw! This edition has tons of new photos and updated info.

Benn was on Weekend America today, talking about hope and despair in Baltimore (at the very end of the 2nd hour). He also mentions that he's going to Putty Hill for Roller Derby.

Yes, we still have tickets left, but it's cash only!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Review - Tough Love


Rachel reviews "I Heart Bmore" by Nolen Strals (in the catalog soon, in POP right now!):

How many times have you wanted one of Nolen's designs on a tee? Well he's finally designed his own shirt, declaring his love for Baltimore. And it's the best kind of the love, with eyes wide open.

ETA: You can get one here!

Lauren read Graffiti Women by Nicholas Ganz:

Graffiti fascinates me. I often look at it and imagine that it was very exciting to create. I also wonder about what it says or means and find it interesting that some people look at it and speak that language, hear what the paint speaks.

It's always seemed like a male dominated field, though. Occasionally I will see a woman profiled in a magazine but mostly it's boys. As soon as this book hit the shelves I picked it up, and the book did not let me down. With over 200 female artists profiled, a combination of their work and biographies of the artists, and while these tags are also amazing art pieces, I wish they were sprayed all over Baltimore.

It's a gorgeous book, full color with fold out posters. My 10 year old daughter is also in love and pulls it from the shelf to show all her friends. Highly recommended.

Eric read Apocalypse Nerd #4 by Pete Bagge:

I really miss Hate... but then again, when you think about it, between the Hate Annuals and this title, P. Bagge puts much more material out there each year then other artists from the late 80s/early 90s comixplosion, even those whose most famous series are still technically in production (Dan Clowes, I'm looking at you!). Apocalypse Nerd might not resonate with me the way Hate does, and like the Hate Annuals, the amount of material per issue unrelated to the titular series is pretty high, but it's still been an extremely fun mini-series to follow.

The characters feel familiar (in a good way), that Hate sense of humor's generously present, and you can really feel Bagge having fun working within the post-apoc genre.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Have We Flooded Yet?


There's been crazy rain today. I'm pretending that I'm living in an aquarium as I look out the window.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Free Movie: The D

We want to help you see the new Tenacious D movie. For free.

We're giving out free passes to see:
Good for 2 people.
Time/Date: 7:30PM. Monday, Nov. 20.
AMC Loews White Marsh.
Stop by Atomic Books and say you want a pass, and you get one. Er... while supplies last.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Review - It's Like Spring

Eric read Wittgenstein's Mistress by David Markson:

I'm just getting into Markson, one of those authors who has a dedicated cult following, but remains a marginalized figure within the literary community. Apparently he started out writing pulp novels and a screenplay or two back in the 50s and 60s, and then popped back up with this abstract experimental "novel" -- and hasn't looked back since. This one's basically a collection of musings by a woman who either is the last person alive on Earth, or just believes that she is. She talks a little about the primitive post-apocalyptic life she's carved out for herself -- at times claiming to live in the middle of nowhere, and at other times in some of the more famous museums of the world -- but mostly she discusses the tragic lives and foibles of artists, musicians, and authors from antiquity to the present. Interesting patterns begin to emerge, as she's clearly fascinated with personalities who either won little respect in their lifetime, or had great success in the arts but horrible problems in their personal lives. At first glance, it looks like it'd be hard to digest -- but for me, at least, it went down smooth. My only complaint was that having read some of Markson's subsequent novels which featured male protagonists, the narrator's voice here struck me as too similar (a few references to childbirth and menstrual cycles aside). Otherwise, fascinating.

Benn read The Mourning Star by Kazimir Strzepek:

As my current reading stack will prove, there is an abundance of post-apocalyptic stories coming out. And so far, every one I've read has been pretty awesome, and Strzepek's Mourning Star is no different. He's laid the groundwork in this first volume for a sprawling epic post-apocalyptic story that is as complicated as it is weird - ghost-like creatures who live in our mouths and feed off our dreams, amnesiac assassins that use scissors as deftly as ninja use swords, bird-like invaders that sleep in bundles of scarves that they carry on their backs. By the end of this first book it's not clear where Strzepek is going with all this, which is kind of the point. Where does one go once civilization is destroyed (in this case by a betraying comet), and any attempt to rebuild is met with and subsequently wiped out by gangs of those who have been previously oppressed by such civilization? The Mourning Star is amusing, captivatingly illustrated, sprawling and mesmerizing. Great reading while waiting for the endtimes.

Rachel played Atari Plug n' Play Keychain:

I almost squealed with joy when this came in (ok, maybe I actually did). Because it's Pong. Pong with the paddle control! Hours and hours of childhood OCD inspired play came back to me in a rush.

One would think that because it's a keychain (and the named "plug n' play") that it's highly portable and instantly playable. Well, first, you need batteries. Three AAA batteries. That alone took me about a week to get together (I'm old, I can't remember shit). And yes, the actual controls easily fit in your bag, but you need the RCA cords, which it comes with, but that isn't going to fit on your keychain.

But once you get the thing actually plugged in...all is forgiven, because it's Pong! On my tv! And Breakout! And Warlord!

It's not really like I'm going to be taking the game around with me to my best video game playing friend's house anyway. He's getting Wii.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday Review - God Again??

Benn read A Last Cry For Help by David Kiersh:

If you were disappointed to find The Hold Steady's album Boys And Girls In America to be little more than an evangelical morality play for kids instead of an intelligent look into the lives of teenagers, than David Kiersh's A Last Cry For Help will not let you down. All the angst is here, the creepiness, the danger, the bad decisions - it's just like the OC, except without the corporate indie rock soundtrack, the rich kids and the hateful characters. Okay, so maybe it's nothing like the OC. Twisted geeks, victimized wallflowers, villianous popular kids, dangerous bad boys - they're all here, presented in a series of seemingly unconnected tales of reoccurring characters that almost serve as a high school yearbook (or Facebook). Kiersh's bold-lines and clean, minimal but evocative artwork comes off like a grittier, slightly more detailed John Porcellino, and serves his subject matter well.

Lauren read The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian:

It's a big book. It's a heavy book. This might be enough to turn you off. Don't let it. Chris' book is almost perfect. The world has ended in flood. All that has been saved is a hospital that floats upon the water filled with sick children, parents and doctors.

Children's Hospital takes you on a journey of the end of the world. People question life, religion, politics, love. It felt very true, the struggle between old world values and creating a new world. The book mainly follows Jemma, a medical student that seems followed by death. Through her eyes we watch a story unfold that is at times truly fantastic and at others completely believable.

The book is well written, shifting through past and present almost seamlessly. There is magic, love, politics, religion, thrill, mystery. I felt it combines the best of many genres. I found myself looking forward to being able to sit down and read. The Children's Hospital will remain on my shelf and be read at least a few more times.

Eric read The Psychic Soviet by Ian F. Svenonius:

This pocket-sized collection of essays by former Nation of Ulysses and Make-Up frontman, Ian Svenonius, consists of bizarre musings on the state of rock and roll that strike a pseudo-intellectual tone -- but in a good way. Svenonius will start each chapter with a provocative and seemingly ludicrous premise -- Alan Greenspan spawned the folktronica movement; Seinfeld spearheaded a government program to corporatize, suburbanize, and sanitize the urban landscape -- that, for better or for worse, becomes convincing over the course of a few angry, off-kilter, and sometimes hilarious pages. The end result makes for a satisfying and surprisingly cohesive read. Mao had his little red book; now this restless, relentless, and often even inspirational rock and roll personality has his a little pink one of his own.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Drinking Club?

Ghost World is this month's Reading Club selection. As always, 15% off for the month.

And as is the new fashion, we meet at atomic POP, 3620 Falls Rd, last Wednesday of the month, starting at 7pm, and drink strange foreign liquors and see where the discussion takes us.

More Graphic Penguin Classics

This time it's Jason, Frank Miller, Tomer Hanuka, Yoshihiro Tatsumi and Chester Brown