I have just finished the book City Of The Autumn Stars written by Michael Moorcock.
In a way this is a sequel to "The War Hound and the world's pain".
In this book there are many layers, so many multifaceted characters, the main theme of the book is man always dealing with the boundaries of fanaticism regarding one kind of belief: religious faith, political faith, moral and ethics. I see that Moorcock wrote this book as he said "briefly and for entertainment" but it is hard to put the plot in the backyards of your conscience after reading it.
The books starts dealing with the French Revolution and at the dawn of a century where mankind is transitioning from the dark age to a new age of science and reasoning. At the same time it seems man is still not tolerating well the different, the disagreement.
As the book progresses Manfred, a natural atheist , man of reason and science is confronted with the lust of a real strong and HOT woman that turns his view towards life. Then we have lots of companions that seem to share respect for friendship and tolerance. And a lot of praise for the steam technology which would guide the early 19th Century.
Besides that we have the supernatural and religious aspects. With all due respect I think Moorcock despite clearly fighting for the free will of man, without the need of a God, I believe he did chose to refuse the evil, that he calls it the "beast", which is the essence of the what the devil is for religion, although this has been misinterpreted by those who read the Bible literally not trying to give it bunch of literary meaning. Devil worshipers are not different from nazis or killers and the essence of their evil is human not supernatural. I think despite that Moorcock clearly admits him self to be an Atheist he is not attacking the meaning of a God, which is essentially a meaning that has been twisted by the acts of man and his misuse of God's will.
So, if you show this book to a blind religious person he will definitely think about "devil" in the terms of the religion that hits the regular people these days: Good x evil, and no thoughts given to the complex meaning. In a way, this is not a book about devil worshipers and it is clearly a book about freedom, choices between the right and wrong.
As a religious person I did not feel threaten by the book or scared by the references to Lucifer, after all this is fictional work. I am not sure if I did read it well enough at this point.
And that journey from 18th century Europe to the wonderous setting of Mittlemarch/Mirenburg is quite amazing as well as the descriptions of that ancient, dark city with so good characters, which obviously influenced the fictional cities of Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore or Jeff Vandermeer.
There were comic books that have started carving a new type of super hero comics: it was back in the 80s and we called them "mature comics" or "realistic superheroes". Alan Moore's Watchmen was perhaps the highest peak of the genre. Today the type of story told typically on superheroes stories vary drastically from the fast action, decent art no brains to the high art of guys like Alan Moore, Warren Ellis and perhaps the most optimistic of them, J.M. DeMatteis.
Unlike Watchmen that put a great effort to conjure an universe where super heroes had to have an explanation and around them the whole reality would change, "The Lifes And Times Of Savior 28" by J.M. DeMatteis and artist Mike Cavallaro affirm that reality would not change a bit.
While Watchmen can be seen as a realistic critic of the human race, "The Life And Times Of Savior 28" is a portrait of a superhero that perhaps you and I would become. Unlike Dr Manhattan, Savior or Jimmy did not distance him self from the human race, he did not turn into something else.
This is a story of a man that was turned into a superhero and his good and bad choices, anguishes, fears, mistakes and joys. There was always something something of naive on Captain America, yet, this is what makes him the decent hero he is, that is something DeMatteis explores with a critical eye on Savior.
We know DeMatteis, he likes to craft characters that we will end relating to, and his text is pure poetry. But at this time it is a punch in the face. The art of Cavallaro exceeds the concept of brilliant, it is intense and fantastic. Perfect.
Some artists simply like to embrace a particular style of music and focus at it. A few can try different music styles because frankly, it is very hard. Jose Travieso is an Spanish musician who can undoubtedly write music in a whole diverse range of styles: classical, jazz, prog rock, avant-guarde, post-modern and metal. Jose is a very accomplished guitar player ( if you asked him, he will never admit it ), and he is - like my self- a big fan of technical thrash metal. He wrote, played and recorded one of the best tech thrash metal albums I am aware of: it is called Human and his band is called Cautiva. Cautiva is a modern product of our beloved thrash metal, with colors from Jose experience with music. Well, Cautiva's Human, which I proudly have an autographed hard copy, makes bands like Mekong Delta sounding like a child's play.
Jose happens to be a quite talented pianist, whose expertise is on the modern jazz and modern classical while at the same time he's got some bounds with the 19th century with its Romanticism . In 2011 he finally recorded his opus, which was titled the "The Illusionist" which is a concert that takes place in New York, but the whole thing sounds as if we were travelling between time while he touches the keys.
As much diverse as going from chaotic dissonance, Travieso also writes beautiful pieces evoking Debussy, while he can easily presents us minimalism as if a magician were taking a bunny off his hat.
And in the end everything has an ethereal, oniric atmosphere and nothing is what it seems after all.
And it is free for everybody who wants to listen at :
In the late 80s, when I was 16 or 17 - cannot remember actually- I read one of the best comics ever written, in my opinion of course: Moonshadow, written by the extraordinary author J.M DeMatteis, which also wrote many of my favorite Super Hero comics in his partnership with Keith Giffen and their monumental Justice League.
Moonshadow is a story about a kid and his transcendence to a man or a story of awakening. In 1994 J.M DeMatteis wrote "Brooklyn Dreams" that deals with the same subject but with more personal flavor: it is a story of his 17-18 years, told by the main character a few years older.
Please read this review here posted in the Amazon web site. This review is so good and real that it would still be completely decent and honest even if written by the author him self.
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of humor, spirit & autobiography!, June 5, 2003
By William Timothy Lukeman - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE) (TOP 500 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Brooklyn Dreams (Paperback)
J. M. DeMatteis' wonderful series about being a confused, angry, yearning teenager in the late 60s is finally available in one volume, and it's long overdue! Anyone who came of age in those years will recognize the emotions & situations, sometimes all too closely & accurately for comfort. And if it did nothing more than recall those times, as it does in such perfect & incisive detail, the story would be a thorough success.
But as the narrator reminds us, "This is a story about God."
The voice of an adult Carl Vincent (or Vincent Carl) Santini -- don't worry, that's all explained -- provides the running commentary as we observe & enter into the troubled, searching life of our young protagonist, struggling to express himself, struggling to understand himself & the Universe, searching for Something long before he's consciously aware of it.
DeMatteis' prose is deceptively casual & easy-going, drawing the reader in as a confidante, but it's also insightful & honest. He cares passionately about the story he's sharing with us & that passion comes through. At the same time, his sense of humor prevents his story from ever becoming pretentious.
The powerful artwork of Glenn Barr brings this story to vivid life, changing to suit the tones of the story, ranging from cartoony to photo-realistic, often in the same panel. You'll pause & linger over many a page for the illustrations as much as for the words.
Quite a few writers are mentioned in the course of this story, all the usual suspects on the Road to Self-Discovery & Meaning -- Hesse, Huxley, Dostoyevsky, etc. Add DeMatteis to their company & get a copy of this superb book. I can't recommend it highly enough!
If the above text did not convince you to grab a copy of Brooklyn Dreams, well, check this picture:
I have been always a fan of Michael Moorcock, even before I actually read his work. I had known for ages he had written Elric books and was such a great mind and author. He is actually a real great person as well. One of the most sharp, bright critics of our time and one of the most prodigious imaginations I ever encountered.
I am reading the Elric Omnibus "Song Of The Black Sword". But back in 2001 it was the first time I read him, just before meeting my future wife, I acquired a mass trade paper back of Elric Of Melbinoné which I read and loved it, but I actually did not buy the other books. Shame on me, this last year I became addicted into his works through the phenomenal "Nomad Of The Timestreams", so I bought a few of his books.
Hawkmoon, Von Bek, Elric, etc. I am a constant poster at his web site, linked above and at the left of this site.
I re-read Elric Of Melniboné and I found out in the preface that Moorcock him self feels that Elric is one of his most dear creations because the author simply most identifies to him. Elric is a a king of an old cast of Kings. He is the ruler of Melniboné, which is a reign where people brags about their superiority over the barbaric world of the so-called Young Kingdoms. Elric, however, is tempted by his character, his ethics, his good soul, to change the world he sees by applying the sense of justice he so close follows. Of course, he pays a price. Moorcock calls his saga a tragedy and I may simply concur.