Monday, September 19, 2011

CORE by JD Glass

Book:  CORE, Volume 1, Issue 1
Author:  JD Glass
Publisher:  Outlines Press

As a kid, I was addicted to Sesame Street.  Bert and Ernie were gay, Oscar was bipolar, Cookie Monster had an eating disorder, the Count had OCD, Grover was a special needs Muppet, and Big Bird experienced random episodes of disambiguation with a woolly mammoth named Snuffleupagus.  Of course, that was before we became a society obsessed with labels. 

Back then; my only obsession was keeping my streak of correctly selecting which one of these things was not like the other alive. 

Forty full years later, I can honestly say that competitive little kid in me is still playing One of These Things.  The thing is, I’m doing it in this blog.  Every week, I read something and try to figure out what it is that makes it the same or different from everything else I read.  Most times the formula is routine – I look at originality, character development, use of plot devices, construction details, and logic progression.  Other times I consider editing, e-book translation, dialogue flow, cover art, and plausibility. 

Once, I even looked at the pretty pictures.

But, when I got my hot little hands on CORE by JD Glass, it was obvious that this is The One that is not like the others.  It tells a story, but isn’t a book.  It has rhythm, but isn’t a song.  It feels familiar, but it’s all brand new.  The narrative is at once edgy and low, and the imagery is both dark and light.  It’s everything and nothing you’ve ever seen before.

It’s sort of like Tony Bennett joining Joey Ramone in a rousing chorus of “Ba-ba-bamp-ba ba-ba-ba-bamp-ba I wanna be sedated”.

In 2006 JD Glass introduced the World to everyone’s favorite punk rocker, Nina, in the game-changing coming of age love story, Punk Like Me.  A year later, we were given Punk and Zen, and followed Nina as she chased her dreams, tore down the walls she’d so carefully constructed, and learned to really love and be loved.  CORE, like these two books, is narrated in the first person by Nina, and maintains their lyrical cadence and easy humor. 

I have to admit, I've always been a bit amused that the story of an unapologetic punk rocker could be told in such a rich, smooth, rhythmic voice.

CORE Volume 1, Issue 1 tells the behind the scenes, between the lines story of the following sentence from Punk and Zen:    “This all went well until we arrived in Vienna where a combination of alcohol, bad communication, and hysteria resulted in Jerkster’s wrist getting broken – he and the wrist got sent home.”  

As CORE progresses, we learn the details of how Jerkster broke his wrist, and why the tour fell apart.  We also find out that Jerkster is much more than a head-banging, kilt-wearing bassist.  And, we are shown that while we thought we were made privy to the full-scope of Nina’s journey into enlightenment, trust, and love, the first step really took place on a bench outside a hostel in Vienna. 

The artwork is a funky cool mishmash of themes and styles, with each piece telling more of the story.  I was blown away by the opposite page drawings of the lily and the iris, and the corresponding discussion of Fran and Samantha.  The flowers, like the women, are beautiful, sweet, and sexy.  They have so many similarities, yet so many differences.  I appreciate that Nina’s symbolic epiphany emerges from the space between the two flowers.

I can't control my fingers I can't control my brain . . .

CORE is the first release from Outlines Press, which was founded by author and musician, JD Glass and artist, kris dresen.  Try as I might, I found it impossible to label CORE.  At first, I wanted to call it a graphic novel, but that felt too pretentious.  Then I thought it could be comic book, but that was too far of a stretch. It’s not a pamphlet – that’s too clinical; and calling it a magazine would just be offensive.  No, CORE is something else altogether.  It draws outside the lines of convention, it answers questions lingering in the dark fringes of conscious thought, and it blazes a thumping, hard driving, three chord trail in a new direction.

JD Glass has emerged as the crazyfunkycool warrior babe of the lesbian outland, and has drawn a clear line in the sand of NextGen publishing.  

CORE isn’t afraid to be different, and the possibilities for the future are endless.  It’s a new way to tell ‘the rest of the story’, and perhaps more importantly, to engage Gen Y readers in a language they can comprehend.

Nothin' to do and no where to go-o-oh I wanna be sedated.

The rules of the game are changing, and authors and publishers need to push the envelope.  Some readers don’t like change, but some crave it.  There’s nothing wrong with the successful formulas of the past, sometimes we all want what is familiar.  But there are other times when we feel restless, and we want to be challenged.  That’s where Outlines Press comes into play. And, if they can continue to satisfy those cravings, CORE and the myriad other Outlines offerings will be around for a very long time.  

I’m giving Volume 1, Issue 1 of CORE a 5.2 out of 6 on the Rainbow Scale.  It is the coolest thing to hit my mailbox this year.

The next offering by Outlines Press will be gone, featuring kris dresen's drawings and a tale of birds, telephone poles, boots, and big dose of gravity. 

1 comment:

  1. This review is another example of why I return to TRR for information, education, an sheer reading enjoyment. I've seen JD's promo and couldn't wrap my head around her concept. This gave me a clearer look at what may be a genre changing idea. Publishing is clearly moving away from center and more authors are willing to give us a peek at something new. I think it's terrific. Thanks for this glimpse.