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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

On the Road with Floating World: Paul Verhoeven!

Posted by Alison Hallett on Tue, Apr 6, 2010 at 4:17 PM

It's time for a special installment of On the Road with Floating World. Usually, Floating World Comics proprietor Jason Leivian handpicks a few comics recommendations for musicians playing in town, but today we're mixing up the formula a little bit. Jason was inspired to make a reading list based on the films of his "favorite living director," Paul Verhoeven, who is reading tonight at Powell's books. Reminder: Swing by Floating World (20 NW 5th) this week, get 10% off recommended titles. Now here's Jason with tonight's recommendations:

I told a friend at dinner that my favorite living director was probably Paul Verhoeven. I know it might sound crazy at first, but I had just gone on a marathon watching Spetters, Flesh and Blood, Soldier of Orange, Showgirls, Black Book, and topped it off with Starship Troopers which sealed the deal. He looked at me like I was an idiot.

When I heard that Verhoeven's next project was a book and possibly a movie about his studies of Jesus Christ I was pretty excited, but also disappointed that there were no English translations yet. Then a friend in Seattle mentioned this book tour where Verhoeven compares Robocop to Jesus and I got excited again!

Here's some comic recommendations that may appeal to fans of the following movies:

Spetters (1980)—Possibly one of his most underrated films. I believe this was one of his last Dutch films before making the switch to Hollywood. Let's see, how can I sell this? Amazing late 70's soundtrack with Blondie, Iggy Pop, and Michael Jackson. I would describe it as Excitebike The Movie, only with more erections. The motorbike racers in this movie are young, dumb, and full of cum. The graphic novel that comes to mind is Fantagraphics' new release King of Flies, by Pirus & Mezzo. Similar stories of fucked up youngsters spiraling into a black hole of self destruction with incredibly rendered artwork that will appeal to fans of Charles Burns.

Robocop (1987)—WE3 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Robocop meets Homeward Bound. The government is developing a weapons program that turns cute little housepets into cybernetic killing machines. The animals escape from the lab and simply want to get home. In addition to Frank Quitely's game-changing artwork I love how Grant Morrison writes the personalities of the three animals. They have voice chips that allow them to speak, so the cat, dog, and rabbit all behave the way you suspect they would.

Jesus of Nazareth (2010)—I know that Verhoeven's new book is a more academic look at the life of Jesus, but I suspect he would still get a kick out some well done religious satire. Garth Ennis' Preacher series is actually based off of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, the same book that inspired The DaVinci Code. So I guess imagine The DaVinci code written by Bill Hicks. The backstory —an angel and a demon have an unholy coupling and give birth to a new force called Genesis, just as powerful as God or Satan, but a perfect mix of the two. God actually fears its power and tries to imprison it in Heaven, but it escapes and takes residence in the body of a preacher, Jesse Custer. God fears what it may do and actually leaves Heaven to hide. As Jesse tries to discover what his purpose is, he learns that God has abandoned his creation. So Jesse decides he must literally find God, so he can kick his ass. Ultimately this book is great because it is more than just a juvenile shredding of organized religion. It's a western, it's a road trip across America, and the relationship drama stuff with Jesse and Tulip and Jesse's best friend Cassidy runs through every emotion imaginable. Finally, between Herr Starr, Arseface, and the Saint of Killers, Preacher assembles possibly the most memorable supporting cast of characters in any comic ever.

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