Tough Shit Review

If you are a fan of Kev Smith, you’ve probably read this book already, maybe even multiple times.
Or maybe you were like me, a huge fan of Kev but somehow this book just kept slipping through your grasp for one reason or another.
Either way, that’s okay.
As with much of Kev’s work, it’s always there, like a warm hug ready to engulf you in its loving embrace.

We try not to talk too much about Kev because in podcasting it gets a bit tiresome and redundant because EVERYBODY does it, but the gloves are off, it’s all gonna hang out here, gang.
If you haven’t guessed…yeah, this is gonna be one of THOSE reviews, just a slobbering suck off of Kwigleeuh proportions.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, about 85-90% of this book is shit you’ve heard Kev say on a stage or in a podcast 3 or 4 times.
But, much like your favorite band that tries to sling new songs at you or a comedian that wants to work new material, you’re not gonna be pissed if they just stick to the hits.
Think about it, were most people ever like “fuck me, here comes Carlin with this 7 Dirty Words shit again.”?
No, folks wanted him to continue using that bit, but he took it as far as he could and left it behind.
Kev did the same here, he collects the hits and, though he still told some of these stories after, he didn’t bang the drum on them all forever.
And not for nothing, but presenting it in a new medium actually makes these stories feel fresh again.
That’s a great thing about him too!

With podcasts we have hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of his voice, he’s done 6 Stand-Up esque specials, countless interviews, so while reading this book you hear him more clearly in your head than most writers.
It feels more like he’s creepily whispering the stories of Cop Out, Red State, and SouthWest in your ear, hot breath on your neck, caressing your moob, and squeezing it ever so slig…maybe that’s just me…um, anywho!
It feels like he’s telling the tales directly to you, is my point!

Part of that 10-15% that you’ve not heard is painstaking detail about an incident with an unruly mega star on the Cop Out set (3 guesses who!), the inner workings of pulling off Sundance and the road show details of Red State, and then the general inspirational shit that he sorta says all the time but is presented in a fresh way.
The blow by blow account of the SouthWest incident and media bias against tubby fucks (like myself) is painful to read, but true.
Mocking fat people is still one of the only socially accepted, and in some cases encouraged, form of prejudice.
The theater and denial involved are just disgusting and, though he has lost a lot of weight since his heart attck, this particular albatross is forever around his neck as some folks still see him as that fat guy that tried flying.

He devotes a lot of time to SModcast and the creation of the SModcast Podcast Network, specifically TESD and how that turned into the Comic Book Men (RIP), his family and friends, love and relationships of all sorts, and passion, but the chapter that really, truly, brings the house down is the chapter on Carlin and Carnegie.
The story of his Dad bringing him the albums, meeting with George for Dogma, rocking one of the grandest stages of them all, and turning that into creative fuel is gold.

The bottom line is this: Kev knows how to spin a yarn.
Most chapters easily flow into the next with an ease that makes it hard to not read 50 to 100 pages at a clip.
This is the 1st book he’s truly written (the others were just collected material never intended to go together) and it’s a great 1st outing.
The thing this makes me most excited for though is the day Smitty decides he wants to write a novel.
Because this proves, without a shadow of a doubt, that he could do it better than most.
And I’m happier than a pig in shit that he’s still around to potentially do it.
If you are a fan, don’t wait as long as I have to check this out.
It is more than worth it.

Advertisements

Star Wars: Kenobi Review

Since it was published, this book was proclaimed to be one of the best books of the EU.
Written by one of my favorite Star Wars authors, focusing on one of my favorite Star Wars characters, can it live up to that hype and my own personal expectations?
Patience, my very young Apprentice.
We’re about to find out.

As per usual, this is your official ***SPOILER WARNING***

I didn’t know too much about this going in, just that it was set almost immediately after Ep III and showed Obi-Wan settling into his new reality as a guardian of the future, of hope.
And that is definitely here, Obi-Wan has the weight of the entire galaxy on his shoulders, and at times it’s pitiable.
The moments of torment as he laments his former life make him even more sympathetic.
The working in of the alien accountant that was *Jabba* in the 1977 Marvel adaptation of the movie is perfect.
But there are 2 things I didn’t expect.
1. I didn’t expect Obi-Wan to almost be a background character.
2. I didn’t expect the arc of A’Yark (I’ll have more on this in a bit, hang tight).

Concerning the 1st point, I have read John Jackson Miller and others talk about why we really only see Obi-Wan from everybody else’s perspective, and I have to say it really annoyed me at 1st.
But the longer it goes, the better it works.
Seeing everybody else try to crack this nut is far more effective in maintaining mystery and looking at an iconic character than just jumping into his head.
It makes things more challenging for the writer and the audience, which in the end I dug.
I do love the 1 sided meditation conversations with Qui-Gon as an insight into Kenobi’s thought process, but more importantly I just love seeing the training Yoda set out for him in the closing moments of Revenge Of The Sith.

As for the 2nd unexpected point, A’Yark is a Tusken leader that we spend a surprising amount of time with.
Probably like most people, I went into this thinking that Tuskens were animalistic savages driven by rage and some unknown destructive need.
We go into the head of A’Yark and see something far more fascinating, a deep seeded superstition based on Tatooine’s twin suns.
We see some actual critical thinking, instead of base urge.
We learn about the history of the wrappings and look of Tuskens.
It’s great seeing how they’re treated vs how they really are, and learning how them and their attacks have effected and molded this community.

The worst part of this book is that it was a victim of the great EU Purge.
As seen above, JJM was walking between worlds, he was clearly tying all of his Star Wars works together.
But mentions of Duchess Satine and their relationship, which is official Canon, are examples of great moments of connectivity the Canon is currently missing.
Maybe if they do a Obi-Wan movie they’ll retread this territory (why would you do that!?), but stories like this, that could fit so well into the tapestry of the singular cohesive story, are now slightly depressing to read.

Overall, I love this book.
Maybe I’m easy to please, but there is so much to love.
If you want more insight into this legend of Lucas, read this book and hold out hope something like this comes around again and Miller gets to work on it.

The Franklin Affair, 2nd Look

Hey, gang.
Since we aren’t dropping a new ep this weekend (our 2 year anniversary show drops Monday, so keep your eyes peeled for that), I thought it would be cool to give you a 2nd look at the story I’m writing.
What follows is just the rough 1st draft of page 2.

Please keep in mind that this is just page one of 12.
The hope is, once completed, that we may turn it into an audio drama for our Bandcamp page.

And just so you get the vibe I’m going for, check out this playlist I made of mood music.
Sort of an unofficial soundtrack.

Also, just in case ou missed it, be sure to check out Page 1!

Anywhoo, let us know in the comments below what you think of it.
Without further ado, enjoy this 2nd taste of, what is tentatively titled, The Franklin Affair!

“In the quarter hour it took to ride out, the sun had set and the air took on a chill.
When we finally got there and dismounted, the horses were clearly unsettled.
As each rider climbed off, their horse backed away and bolted up the hill we’d just come down.
If something bad were to go down, we were alone.
A clatter came from the small house and we all cleared leather in near record time, while still advancing slowly.

We crept forward in silence, when our boots hit the porch, a creak came from somewhere just beyond the door.
As the sheriff reached for it, the door exploded outward on its hinges with such force it shook a hanging lantern from the nail holding it up and shattered on the porch soaking the old wood, and splattering the front wall, and door.
Willard Franklin charged out of the house, snapping and growling. Bloodstained and shockingly pale his hands groped frantically out in front of him in search of some unknown purchase.
As we all stood there stunned for a second, he hissed and a thin stream of blood leaked out of the corner of his mouth.

Before we could recover our senses, Willard lunged at the sheriff and sank his teeth into the left side of his neck.
Blood oozed and frothed from the wound as Franklin continued to gnash and slurp.
The sheriff crumpled to the ground still clawing at the gaping hole in his neck and gagging on blood.
Willard then turned his attention to the rest of us.
Brought back to reality by the shock of violence we all unloaded on him.

After a good fifteen seconds of dancing in the hail of our gunfire, Willard collapsed to the porch thrashing and growling in a pain.
With his gun still drawn, Toby ran up to check on the sheriff.
Even from several feet away it was pretty clear the sheriff wouldn’t be making it back on his own.
Toby asked if any of us had a cloth to try and stop the bleeding as the sheriff clutched at his deputy and desperately whispered in a hoarse voice.
I could swear I heard him say “kill me”.”

The Franklin Affair, 1st Look

Hey, gang.
What follows is just a rough 1st draft of a story I’m currently writing.
As of right now, this is just page one of 6.
The hope is, once completed, that we may turn it into an audio drama for our Bandcamp page.

And just so you get the vibe I’m going for, check out this playlist I made of mood music.
Sort of an unofficial soundtrack.

Anywhoo, let us know in the comments below what you think of it.
Enjoy this 1st taste of what is tentatively titled The Franklin Affair!

“We were having a great time, it felt like the whole town was at the saloon that evening.
Billy Johnson was at the piano, playing away, Madam Curtis had her girls mingling amongst the crowd, it was a hell of a party…until Marsha Franklin burst through the swinging doors covered in blood and muck.
Her scream silenced the place in an instant.

She ran up to the bar, damn near launching herself over it.
“Is Sheriff Wilkens in here?” she panted. “My Pa, he lost it! He attacked my Ma and Charles! Please, I need help!”
The bartender poked Toby, the deputy, and jerked his thumb towards the stairs.

Toby ran up to pull the sheriff off one of the Curtis girls, while everybody else gawked at Marsha.
A few of the fellas tried to get her to sit down and settle a bit, but she wanted none of that.
She was bordering on hysterics when Toby and the sheriff came stumbling down into the bar, they pushed their way to the front of the group surrounding Miss Franklin.

She dove into his arms sobbing, wailing about crazy eyes, broken nails, and cracked teeth.
While she was trying to tell her tale, Madam Curtis rounded up some of her more delicate girls and ushered them up to their rooms.
The Franklin Clan was known in town for being a bit dramatic, the blood on her clothes and the fresh wounds on her pale skin had bought her some measure of belief in the room.

The sheriff brought Madam Curtis back down to take care of Marsha while he got Toby and a few others together, myself included, so we could head over to the Franklin homestead.
Since guns aren’t allowed in the Saloon anymore, I retrieved my revolvers from bench out front, strapped them on, and mounted my horse with the rest of the posse.
In a cloud of dust, we set out.”