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#277264 - 05/11/06 11:11 AM Can't Get No
Paul O'Keefe Offline
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Registered: 03/21/02
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Is this book still coming out in June?
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#277265 - 05/11/06 07:03 PM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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June 7.

Paneltopanel is offering a signed plate edition at no extra cost.
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#277266 - 05/12/06 07:04 AM Re: Can't Get No
Paul O'Keefe Offline
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Registered: 03/21/02
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I was just checking, because I was putting a big order into Amazon.ca and wondered if I should wait a bit. As it is, I have to split it up into two orders now anyway.
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#277267 - 05/12/06 10:24 AM Re: Can't Get No
ChrisW Offline
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I wannit I wannit I wannit!!!
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#277268 - 05/14/06 10:24 PM Re: Can't Get No
B. Michael White Offline
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I'll be buying it too. But Previews has it solicited for May. Not that I'm disputing Veitch, he would know better than anyone. But obviously Previews has it wrong.


Wait a sec... not Previews, it was CSN. CSN got it wrong. But there is a nice one page ad for it.
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#277269 - 05/14/06 11:16 PM Re: Can't Get No
Matthewwave Offline
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Registered: 06/04/00
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Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Yeah, it was advance-solicited in the March cover-dated Previews for arrival in comic book shops on June 7. I'd rather it be sooner, but I guess I can make it a few more weeks. Veitch is worth at least that amount of wait!

Matthew

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#277270 - 05/23/06 06:51 PM Re: Can't Get No
Scott Torino Offline
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Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 248
No offense, really, I am new to the board and I am positive this question will only provoke certain individuals to attack me, but what else has Rick Veitch done? I just want to know if I liked his other stuff, I also saw the add for some work of his I recognized his name from here. The ad depicted a guy standing back to the viewer on a red planet/moon looking at a planet and stars in the distance. If he's from here I may want to support his work just for that. I was just curious is all.

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#277271 - 05/23/06 09:24 PM Re: Can't Get No
Matthewwave Offline
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Registered: 06/04/00
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I certainly hope you don't get attacked just because you don't happen to know the work of one particular cartoonist. That would be stupid.

One thing for which Veitch is best-liked is his run on Swamp Thing. He started out pencilling, then took over the writing as well, when Alan Moore left. Before that assignment, he contributed some uncredited art assistance to the series.

I like his Swampy, but I find a lot of his solo work to be much better. The One, The Maximortal, and Brat Pack (the latter two volumes/stories are part of a proposed trilogy, The King Hell Heroica) all deconstruct the mythology of the superhero in various ways. Pocket Universe, Rabit Eye, and Cryptic Zoo collect his comic book stories about his dreams.

All are wonderful.

But he's done a lot of other stuff. He was the artist for Alan Moore's Greyshirt, in Tomorrow Stories, and he's written some Greyshirt stories, too, including the spin-off mini-series, Indigo Sunset. He's done writing and/or art for some other tales in Moore's ABC line, here and there, as well.

He wrote a Question mini-series not too long ago, and, before that, the first twelve (or ten?) issues of the latest Aquaman series.

Back in the eighties (he's really, really, REALLY old!*), he contributed a number of sci-fi and fantasy works to Epic Illustrated -- Marvel's answer to Heavy Metal. Some in color, some black and white, some single short stories, one the multi-episode saga, Abraxas and the Earthman. He also shared art (and writing?) chores with Steve Bissette on a sci-fi/horror short story called... was it... Monkey See? A nice body of work, there.

Also from the Marvel Epic line was his full-color graphic novel, Heartburst, which I hate that I don't own. If Veitch ever reprints it, it'll probably be in black and white, and I'd really like to have it in color. I'll have to track it down somehow someday.

His brother, Tom, wrote for underground comix in the sixties and/or seventies, and I think Rick did some underground work, too. Also, correct me if I'm wrong here, Rick, but he attended, maybe graduated, the Joe Kubert school and contributed to back-up features (in just the war titles, right?) for DC series Kubert edited, as did many other Kubert students.

There are probably lots of things I'm forgetting.

Matthew

*Heh, heh. Don't ban me, Rick

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#277272 - 05/23/06 09:26 PM Re: Can't Get No
ChrisW Offline
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Registered: 11/25/00
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Loc: Lincoln, Nebraska USA
What hasn't he done?
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#277273 - 05/23/06 10:48 PM Re: Can't Get No
Scott Torino Offline
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Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 248
I would most likely know his work on Swamp Thing then, but the era you are talking about puts me right about when I started collecting comics, around 21 years ago. I was collecting the Marvel published The Transformers comics, and didn't collect anything else until The Evoltionary Wars crossover that sucked me in with a Punisher Annual with a great cover. From there I read Avengers until, I found the X-Men around issue #258 which relatively is around the end of Claremont's great run. All this time later, all these books later and I hate to admit: After all this time I am not familiar with any of this guy's stuff.

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#277274 - 05/24/06 10:43 AM Re: Can't Get No
ChrisW Offline
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Registered: 11/25/00
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1941 the movie adaptation with Steve Bissette
The One limited series from Epic (and available in a King Hell Press edition)
Abraxas and the Earthman more Epic work now available in a King Hell Press edition
Further miscellaneous stories for Epic Illustrated
Swamp Thing as artist for Alan Moore and later as writer/artist, and by the end writer with others drawing.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The River probably not available anywhere any more.
Bratpack miniseries/graphic novel and one of the greatest revisionist superhero comics ever, the troubles of kid sidekicks (and available in a King Hell yadda yadda yadda)
Maximortal continuing the revisionism with an examination of the Superman icon, this series was collected in graphic novel form (available in a King Hell Press edition) and was supposed to have been followed up with further series, bridged by the two issues of Bratpack/Maximortal, but other problems derailed these plans.
Rare Bit Fiends, dream comics and Veitch's 'dream' project.
The Question A limited series starring Steve Ditko's philosophical superhero character
Aquaman giving this character another series.
(as artist) Supreme with writer Alan Moore, a thinly-veiled Superman rip-off that's more fun than Superman has been in decades and more meangful than he's ever been.
1963 A likewise fun Marvel rip-off from the earliest days of Image.
Greyshirt A likewise fun Spirit rip-off in Tomorrow Stories from ABC comics.
Greyshirt: the miniseries as writer/artist, exploring themes introduced in the series.

Well, for a top-of-my-head list, that's not too bad. I know I missed some stuff (like drawing Sgt. Rock stories while a student at the Joe Kubert School, or Heartburst) but on the whole that's pretty good.
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#277275 - 05/24/06 08:01 PM Re: Can't Get No
dorian grey Offline
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Registered: 10/02/99
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Quote:
Originally posted by ChrisW:

Abraxas and the Earthman more Epic work now available in a King Hell Press edition
When did this get released? I was totally unaware of a King Hell Edition of this!!

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#277276 - 05/25/06 05:12 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 3531
Loc: Vermont, USA
My whole life is passing before my eyes!

Chris left out one major project; Teknophage with Brian Talbot at Tekno Comics.

Abraxas and the Earthman will be solicited in the July Previews for September ship in a full color King Hell edition. If all goes well it will be followed in 2007 with a companion volume of the other Epic work, probably including Heartburst.
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#277277 - 05/25/06 07:23 AM Re: Can't Get No
mollygal Offline
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Registered: 03/10/03
Posts: 30
Loc: NY
Hey, you forgot CY-GOR and CABOT: BLOOD HUNTER!!!

There was one issue of CABOT, which was followed by a back-up or two in SUPREME, and then it disappeared. I liked what I saw of it. Had a cool story and great art.

CY-GOR was never given the chance to see its full potential. There were elements of both SWAMP THING and GREYSHIRT in there, but was tied a little too tightly to Spawn-tinuity to really take off. I loved the story of the homicidal performance artist (and the one with the guy drivin' around with a car-full of dead bodies too).

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#277278 - 05/25/06 07:31 PM Re: Can't Get No
Scott Torino Offline
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Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 248
Well, since I seem to have access to a man who is where I want to be, and has been where I am,
; Mr. Veitch how do I break into writing comic books? Who could I submit writings to that might look at my work, and actually consider hiring an unknown?

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#277279 - 05/27/06 02:40 AM Re: Can't Get No
Scott Torino Offline
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Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 248
Didn't mean to scare everyone off.

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#277280 - 05/27/06 06:39 PM Re: Can't Get No
Matthewwave Offline
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Registered: 06/04/00
Posts: 4993
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Scott,

Well, I waaaas going to say, "Non, please meet Sequitor," but then I decided against it.

--------------------

Rick,

To hear that Heartburst will probably be reprinted in full color is wonderful. I may still try to track down the original graphic novel edition, tho, since I already have all the material from Epic Illustrated, and because of the issue of dimensions. If I recall correctly, Marvel/Epic graphic novels were printed at slightly different dimensions than Epic Illustrated, which, itself, of course, was printed larger than the regalah comic book.

Do you know what size at which the companion book will be printed?

Matthew

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#277281 - 05/27/06 11:13 PM Re: Can't Get No
ChrisW Offline
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Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 10034
Loc: Lincoln, Nebraska USA
Matthew, the store I got my copy at had a couple extra, if you need to be hooked up.
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#277282 - 05/28/06 12:12 AM Re: Can't Get No
Scott Torino Offline
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Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 248
Matthewwave
I have heard NON SEQUITUR before,but have never looked it up before... and I still don't understand. Do you mean my assumption that Mr. Veitch would respond was non sequitur? Or did you mean that my assumption that I chased everyone away with my newbie question was a NON SEQUITUR? If I didn't chase EVERYONE away that's great, otherwise I am embarrassed.

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#277283 - 05/28/06 12:55 AM Re: Can't Get No
Matthewwave Offline
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Registered: 06/04/00
Posts: 4993
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Chris,

Oh, HAY-YELL, thanx! I've got to go to my shop to get my newphew a graduation present. I hope to do that this holiday weekend. If it's not there, then I'll contact you? Thanx again!

---------------------

Scott,

Your appeal to Mr. Veitch on the 25th, while hardly a major crime or anything, just seemed like a jarring turn in the thread. At least to me. It was very out of the blue.

Matthew

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#277284 - 05/28/06 08:26 AM Re: Can't Get No
Scott Torino Offline
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Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 248
Newly awakened aspiring artist thig... sorry if I offended anyone.

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#277285 - 05/28/06 09:07 AM Re: Can't Get No
Matthewwave Offline
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Registered: 06/04/00
Posts: 4993
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Scott,

Well, I for one wasn't offended, I was more just, "huh???"

Matthew

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#277286 - 05/28/06 09:14 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 3531
Loc: Vermont, USA
Just heard from Vertigo that CAN'T GET NO will ship a week late (June 14).

Both ABRAXAS AND THE EARTHMAN and the companion volume that (hopefully) follows will be 7.5 x 10", which is smaller than EPIC Magazine. I like the size, which is the same as TABOO, the CEREBUS trades or the recent HUMANOIDS stuff. Just seems to fit well with the other King Hell books while keepuing the pricepoint reasonable.

The biggest improvment will be to the new scans. With desktop publishing, I'm able to clean and adjust each one myself to get the closest reproduction to my originals. The look of the book should be a revelation to those familiar with the horrendous EPIC scans.

ABRAXAS has 4" flaps on the cover (I'll be posting the ultrawide wraparound image soon).

Scott, I'm thirty years into my professional career and really don't know what the best break-in route is these days (other than the generic "go to school" "keep drawing" "self publish" "go to cons" etc etc). Sorry!
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#277287 - 05/28/06 06:29 PM Re: Can't Get No
Scott Torino Offline
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Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 248
Thanks for just answering that Rick, I was beginning to think I offended you. I'm working at it. It's just writing fiction for a living is the only thing that really excites me, when I take a look at where I want to go.

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#277288 - 05/29/06 07:07 PM Re: Can't Get No
Matthewwave Offline
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Registered: 06/04/00
Posts: 4993
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Rick,

"Just heard from Vertigo that CAN'T GET NO will ship a week late (June 14)."

No, no, no!!!

(Heh heh. Get it?)

Matthew

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#277289 - 05/29/06 07:10 PM Re: Can't Get No
Matthewwave Offline
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Registered: 06/04/00
Posts: 4993
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Or should that be,

(Heh heh heh. Get it?)?

Matthew

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#277290 - 05/30/06 01:08 PM Re: Can't Get No
ChrisW Offline
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Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 10034
Loc: Lincoln, Nebraska USA
Can't get no Can't Get No?
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#277291 - 05/30/06 07:49 PM Re: Can't Get No
Matthewwave Offline
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Registered: 06/04/00
Posts: 4993
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Not yet No.

Matthew

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#277292 - 06/14/06 12:23 PM Re: Can't Get No
Occult Offline
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Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 1
I had read several things about the atypical format of "Can't Get No", but one really has to hold the book in his/her hands to fully appreciate the format... and needless to say, I'm very anxious to read it.

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#277293 - 06/14/06 09:50 PM Re: Can't Get No
SwampMuck Offline
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Registered: 12/30/04
Posts: 417
Loc: 1127 Shinault Road,Byhalia, Mi...
I flipped through it tonight after picking it up at another bookstore (the shop I work for did not order it from Previews), and yes it is definitely atypical in format. It is very entertaining, and though it may be that I need sleep, I am going to read through it again at a slower pace to catch all the depth I missed on a breezy first-through. First impression is brilliance.

Heath P. Lail

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#277294 - 06/15/06 11:48 AM Re: Can't Get No
mollygal Offline
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Registered: 03/10/03
Posts: 30
Loc: NY
Same here, I've read it through once, but definitely need to give it another read-through.

As a whole it is profound. The art and layout are fantastic (as expected). The text reads like an epic poem. But it is the combination/convergence of the two that power the experience. I think each reader will find their own interpretation of the story and its meaning.

My recommendation: buy it, read it twice, then donate it to your local library so other folks can read it (the ones who might not otherwise come across it).

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#277295 - 06/15/06 07:06 PM Re: Can't Get No
SwampMuck Offline
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Registered: 12/30/04
Posts: 417
Loc: 1127 Shinault Road,Byhalia, Mi...
I would take you up on that idea mollygal, but unfortunately my local library is too small to host even a modest graphic novel section, and the librarian (although a nice lady and a friend) is way too conservative in her views to allow anything too risky in the library. I donated some comics last year when I thought the Katrina victims were gonna come through town, and she decided against getting her son the Golden and Silver Age Archive samplers I left there. Nothing I considered risky there, but perhaps too much violence for her taste? (I dunno) So, as of last month, I brought them back here to be enjoyed by all.

Good idea though Molly and I too encourage the spreading of good reading materials such as this in our national libraries.

Heath P. Lail

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#277296 - 06/16/06 07:07 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 3531
Loc: Vermont, USA
CAN'T GET NO has been named one of this summer's Best Beach Reads by The Village Voice.
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#277297 - 06/16/06 11:38 AM Re: Can't Get No
Not From Around Here Offline
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Registered: 06/20/05
Posts: 1489
Yes, you'll have a better chance of getting something like that accepted at a larger library that already has material of that sort. But offering to donate comics (in book form) to libraries is a good thing in principle. We'll all look at donations!

I'm surprised the librarian didn't even care for the Silver Age comics. Maybe she just doesn't have any affinity for comics at all. You'll find less and less of that in the profession now, though. "Library Journal" reviews graphic novels, and Diamond even runs ads.

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#277298 - 06/16/06 02:19 PM Re: Can't Get No
mckracken Offline
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Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 354
[img]http://boners.com/content/792111.1.jpg[/img]

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#277299 - 06/17/06 07:15 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 3531
Loc: Vermont, USA
Variety reviews CAN'T GET NO:

So? Despite the title, satisfaction is very much what you get from Rick Veitch’s new graphic novel. This is a fascinating, dream-like look into the life of a man who’s successful at business and wakes up one day to find his life falling apart. And then, 9/11 happens. Veitch has never shied away from big questions, and as such has produced some of the most thought-provoking and opinionated comics of the past 20 years. Can’t Get No continues that trend, telling a story with poem-like script and no dialogue. The art is excellent, as well, having all the qualities that make comic art compelling from excellent storytelling to images that can only be brought to life on the page. A quick but deep read, even at more than 300 pages, this is a top-notch book that likely will inspire, offend and confuse in equal amounts. What it is guaranteed to do is make you think and feel. Grade: A
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#277300 - 06/19/06 10:11 PM Re: Can't Get No
Sir Jon Offline
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Registered: 12/02/98
Posts: 368
Loc: Portland, CT USA
Rick, it was inventive and intense. I hope it resonates. So. How do you reinvent yourself after this?
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#277301 - 06/20/06 05:41 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 3531
Loc: Vermont, USA
More reviews:

Beaucoup Kevin

Daily Yomiuri


Washington Post Media Mix

For some reason I can't find the link to Hilary Goldstein's review on IGN.com, so I'll post the text here:

From IGN.com:

Can't Get No GN Review
A strange, but beautiful journey that takes us beyond 9/11.
by Hilary Goldstein


June 15, 2006 - Nearly five years after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, few comics have come out dealing with the emotional impact on the American psyche. With Can't Get No, Rick Veitch examines the destruction of the WTC in a unique, lyrical graphic novel unlike anything I have ever read. At times whimsical, Veitch crafts a story that marries the bizarre with the ordinary and tragedy with beauty.

To say that Veitch's story is solely centered around the events of 9/11 would be misleading. In fact, it is perfectly placed in the midst of a very different story, one that could easily exist without the WTC attack. Many people were embroiled in their own strange stories before the morning of September 11, and once the Twin Towers fell, those stories shifted focus, their likely outcomes sometimes drastically changed. Chad Roe's story is no different.

Days before the eleventh, Chad Roe was in a bad place. His company, which had created the first truly permanent marker, was being sued by the city for a rash of new indelible graffiti. His stocks worthless, his company in dire straits and his wife absorbed in online chat romances, Chad was certain it could not get worse. Following a bender with a pair of disreputable women, he awoke to discover that, indeed, things can always get worse. A victim of his own product, Roe was covered, head-to-toe in marker tattoos that could not be washed away.

There are moments in Can't Get No, particularly early on, that are reminiscent of Alfred Bester's classic science fiction novel, Stars My Destination, which also features the main character unwillingly tattooed. This serious businessman is now a joke. How can he save his company or his marriage covered in tribal designs?

It is in the midst of this drama that two planes strike the World Trade Center. Veitch delivers powerful imagery throughout Can't Get No, but it is most striking in the moments immediately following the attack. This is raw, honest, powerful storytelling.

The second half of Can't Get No follows Roe on a journey into the heartland, where he stumbles upon a world seemingly unaware of the tragedy in New York. Veitch slathers the final half of the novel with social commentary, which some may find difficult to match with the
events of 9/11. It is fascinating, especially if you can reconcile the drastic cultural shift as Roe gets further from New York and, by the
same token, further from himself.

There is no dialogue in Can't Get No. There is no concrete written narrative. The entire postcard-sized book is a poem. It rarely speaks directly to any single panel, but evokes emotions similar (and sometimes contrary) to the images on the page. The lyrical nature of
Veitch's storytelling creates a mesmerizing graphic poetry. While you can choose to focus and analyze Veitch's word choice or the deeper meaning in his poetry, it is more effective to allow the words to simply wash over you. As the pages turn, the conscious act of reading each caption box disappears and the words become a distant song playing
in the background. It's somewhat like reading a book while playing a CD and having the music subconsciously emerging in the emotional context of the novel.

Can't Get No is not for everyone. Certainly those who need comics to follow tried-and-true storytelling methods will have difficulties enjoying Veitch's work. Though the poetic narrative might sound off-putting, Veitch does what many indie creators fail to do. He wraps his surrealism in a fairly traditional story structure. Though it may not perfectly follow the Joseph Campbell model of storytelling, you can wipe away the poetry and silently follow the images without the slightest bit of confusion. The words, however, add to the emotional impact.

Though Vertigo has always offered inspired and intelligent books, it has rarely published a book that takes as many chances as Can't Get No. It could easily have failed, but Veitch makes it work. This is one of the best graphic novels Vertigo has ever published

Rating: Must Read
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#277302 - 06/20/06 05:45 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 3531
Loc: Vermont, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Sir Jon:
Rick, it was inventive and intense. I hope it resonates. So. How do you reinvent yourself after this?
Jon,
I'm four issues into my new Vertigo series, ARMY@LOVE. Script and pencils by me, inks by Gary Erskine. I think they plan to announce it at San Diego.
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#277303 - 06/20/06 08:45 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 3531
Loc: Vermont, USA
Another good one from 9th Art.
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#277304 - 06/20/06 12:14 PM Re: Can't Get No
Paul O'Keefe Offline
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Registered: 03/21/02
Posts: 5308
Loc: Newfoundland, Canada
Rick, any idea when he book with be available on amazon.ca?

It's only listed as a pre order. June 14th is listed as the date, but still it's only a pre order.
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#277305 - 06/20/06 05:26 PM Re: Can't Get No
B. Michael White Offline
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Registered: 09/25/01
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Another great review, this time from CHUD.com:

RATING:


Can’t Get No
(Vertigo)


By Mark Wheaton


Jay McInerney tells a story that when he mentioned to Gore Vidal, soon after 9/11, that he was planning to write a book about it, Vidal replied, “Wait five years.” Earlier this year, we got McInerney’s first truly great book in some time, “The Good Life” and Vidal’s advice couldn’t have been better taken.


In the world of comic books, the reaction to 9/11 was swift with the big guns releasing tribute books to the police and fire fighters of New York as well as independent books collecting various stories of reflection that was filled with raw emotion and reaction. But now, five years later, writer/artist Rick Veitch comes along with an incredibly challenging and layered meditation on the events of 9/11 in the form of an epic poem that recalls Homer, but most interestingly, “Queen Mab,” one of Percy Bryce Shelley’s reflections on the State of Things that became a rallying point for the English working-class opposition (well, the Chartists) even years after it was written.


We’re introduced to Chad Roe on the day of his greatest triumph – his super-permanent marker company is turning super-profitable and everything’s coming up roses…until an unexpected side effect of the markers, the fact that they become the favorite for graffiti artists and taggers, destroys them overnight. Frustrated and distraught, Chad ends up drunk and subsequently attacked by two female guerilla artists who use his markers to cover him from head to toe in half-Maori/half-Samoan-looking tribal art that effectively makes him a pariah to anyone who sees him in public.


And then 9/11 happens.


What happens next to Chad is almost indescribable (so, um…go to the comic shop and pick it up for y’erself). He goes on an epic journey that’s equal parts road and acid trip. Coupling striking visuals (the kinds of things we’ve seen Ralph Steadman conjure in response to Hunter S. Thompson’s writings) and a breathtaking, stream-of-consciousness poem, Roe descends into a surrealist/nightmarish vision of America – assaulting its icons left and right – as he tries to come to terms with his condition and the feeling of madness that sweeps through him after witnessing the destruction of the twin towers and the violent patriotic zeal it immediately inspires.


By the time Roe reaches the end of his journey, the reader is nothing short of exhausted. Veitch infuses his book with so many thoughts, words and images (from the cartoonishly funny to the profanely vile) that “Can’t Get No” is the kind of thing that takes several reads to take everything in. Though that may make it sound dense, it is similarly a page-turner that refuses to be put down. Poetry, for the most part, has been relegated to funerals, weddings and graduations beyond a few opera fan-like aficionados who still push the medium forward and retain a small, easily encroached on section of Barnes & Noble. With “Can’t Get No,” Rick Veitch proves that it can be as powerfully vibrant and devastating today as it was in the hey-day of “Original Sex Pistol”/Dracula Lord Byron or Shelley himself.
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#277306 - 06/20/06 07:02 PM Re: Can't Get No
Sir Jon Offline
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Registered: 12/02/98
Posts: 368
Loc: Portland, CT USA
I'm so pleased to see the multitude of positive reviews for the book, Rick. Let's hope that translates into big, bazooming sales.

And you and Gary Erskine on a book together? Count me in, and I don't even know what it's about yet.

Sir Jon
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#277307 - 06/21/06 08:22 PM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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A brief one from the AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN:

“Can’t Get No” by Rick Veitch (DC, $19.99) - A trippy, tone poem meditation on Sept. 11, the dangers of permanent markers, the big lie that was the 1990s economic boom, a thinly disguised Burning Man and the existential crises we face everyday without knowing about until something really goes wrong. It’s the sort of measured, intimate weirdness than comics do amazingly well.
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#277308 - 06/22/06 12:46 AM Re: Can't Get No
THE Anti-Hunter Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by mckracken:
[img]http://boners.com/content/792111.1.jpg[/img]
Recine?


P.S. Veitch you did Tecknophage and worked for epic?


Wow.
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#277309 - 06/23/06 03:21 PM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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From Utne Reader on-line:

You don't often expect a graphic novel to be a challenging read, but Rick Veitch's Can't Get No (DC Comics imprint Vertigo, 2006) is one of those rare finds that furrows the brow even as it entertains. The story is set in New York on and around September 11, 2001, and gives new, puzzling, surprising meanings to the day's events and after-effects. The absence of spoken language forces the drawings to the forefront as the main storytelling mechanism, Veitch's narration, is not really narration at all but a kind of dreamy, philosophical voice-over that deepens the meaning of the images but does little to clarify them. Veitch's illustrations carry the plot and define the characters all alone, a testament to the author's artistic prowess. -- Rachel Jenkins
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#277310 - 06/24/06 03:42 PM Re: Can't Get No
ChrisW Offline
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Registered: 11/25/00
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Loc: Lincoln, Nebraska USA
I still wannit! Alas, I have no decent comic store nearby. Hopefully I'll go home on leave in a week, and I'll try then.
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#277311 - 06/24/06 06:06 PM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Chris,
Order it from Paneltopanel.net. He's got the free signed and tipped in color plate.
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#277312 - 06/28/06 01:06 AM Re: Can't Get No
mollygal Offline
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Registered: 03/10/03
Posts: 30
Loc: NY
Rick,

Reread CAN'T GET NO. It is powerful.
There's a scene at the end that really gets to me.
It's the one with the ravers watching the video screens, and the towers rise out of the dust.

It is exactly like a recurring dream I had after Sept. 11. Gives me a gut-ache just to think about it. I was working in NY that day, and ended up staying at the Hilton by Rockefeller Center for two days, as I was unable to go home for work-related reasons. I spent the nights on the phone with my wife, 25 miles away on Long Island. The same stench of burning rubber and plastic that filled the hotel also filled our home.

The recurring dream started in the hotel and continued for many months. I always felt it was a mass, communal dream, that I was not the only one having it. Like a wish that everyone shared. The scene in CAN'T GET NO confrimed it for me.

Early in 2002 I cut a video version of the
recurring dream.
Even though it is incomplete (the dream continued back about a thousand more years), actually seeing it did the trick, and I stopped having the dream.

I don't expect everyone to appreciate it. Not everyone I showed it to did. But I feel like sharing it as that page at the end of Rick's book gave me that same feeling of sadness and hope.

Well done.

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#277313 - 06/28/06 01:13 AM Re: Can't Get No
mollygal Offline
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Registered: 03/10/03
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Loc: NY
confused
Sorry, couldn't get the url thing to work.

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#277314 - 06/29/06 06:48 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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From the Portland Mercury: http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Content?oid=41984&category=22148



Can?t Get No
by Rick Veitch (Vertigo/DC Comics)


BY ERIK HENRIKSEN

As comic books have evolved, they've dealt with everything from massive alien wars to the pedestrian annoyances of Harvey Pekar. But they've always had a pretty standard
relationship with language: Comics' text informs the images, and vice versa. Ideally, the two parts are clear and artful, creating an inimitable middle ground: an otherwise impossible
amalgamation of image and thought. But with Rick Veitch's Can't Get No, comics venture into the realm of haughtily poetic literature.

Can't Get No fails fantastically at some things, and is remarkably effective at others. Single-handedly written and drawn by Veitch, it's a black-and-white epic that follows Chad Roe, an exec at a permanent marker company. Shortly before 9/11, Roe's company implodes, and he doesn't fare any better: After a wild night, Roe wakes up with every inch of his body covered with makeshift tattoos, drawn on his skin with his own indelible brand of marker. The tattooed, confused Chad hits the road, and so begins his rambling journey—through a surreal and broken post-911 America.

A friend of mine who tried to read Can't Get No summarized it in one word: "Unreadable." Which both is and isn't true. Yeah, Can't Get No is clunky and heavy-handed, and
Veitch's lilting, dense prose—split into barely sensical snippets, and punctuated with endless ellipses—annoys. But something weird happens about halfway through the book: The words pick up a rhythm, and Chad's trip takes on an entirely visual life. With Veitch's words fading into the background and his images becoming ever more hectic, it does become unreadable—in the sense that, unlike most graphic novels, it's impossible to experience Can't Get No with the same expectations as one would have for a prose novel. No, this is a true synthesis—of barely understandable words paired with jarring images, of sequential illustrations leading the story, of text fading into the cadence and tempo of a background soundtrack. Eventually, Can't Get No hits a strange, fascinating balance, sneaking in a few profound messages and more than a few memorable images. Of all the twists and
mutations that comics have taken, the one demonstrated by Can't Get No is a new one—and one that's unexpected, tough, weird, flawed, and welcome.
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#277315 - 06/29/06 08:05 AM Re: Can't Get No
mollygal Offline
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Registered: 03/10/03
Posts: 30
Loc: NY
Finally figured out how to make it work with UBB:

recurring dream

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#277316 - 07/01/06 02:46 PM Re: Can't Get No
Matthewwave Offline
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Registered: 06/04/00
Posts: 4993
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Rick,

Congratulations on all the good reviews. Truth to tell, I think Henriksen's comes the closest to mirroring my experience of Can't Get No. The narration of CGN is of the abstract sort -- so much of it is in the form of questions, nay, Big Questions! -- upon which my brain, with apparent instinct, has difficulty finding purchase. Especially when I'm not only trying to follow another strain of narrative working on an entirely different level (in this case, the sequential images) but also trying to put those two narrative strains *together* to see what the author means by using them both and by juxtaposing particular segments of them.

But, this difficulty in reading Can't Get No is precisely part of what I liked about the comic book (after one reading -- I hope to re-read it soon, depending on how caught up I get with my other reading). As a review you posted earlier pointed out, few Vertigo titles have taken the chances that CGN has, and I like that you've tasked me this way with those chances you've taken.

And not just on principle. Yes, I'm pleased on principle that you've produced a work that demands effort on my part -- and that DC, of all people, have actually published it -- but I also find the process of trying to "put together" and ponder Can't Get No is engrossing and even entertaining. The synthesis which Henriksen discusses -- yes, that's just it. The odd combination of your abstract narration and the much more concrete sequential images really maps it's own territory. It isn't the words, it isn't the image -- it's very much they long-form manner in which you've chosen to wed them that make Can't Get No's "story" -- make the graphic novel what it IS. Trying to put it all together as a reader makes it what it is.

For me, at least. And it's a really cool experience.

The way I looked at it, when I came away from that first read, is that the choices you made, in terms of what kinds of words to use, with what kind of sequential narrative, was that you'd created a POEM. An Epic Poem, in it's own way. But, as Henriksen might agree, not an Epic Poem like ancient, classical Epic Poems. A work that achieves its poetry by the JOINING of your subject matter, your philosophical intent (for want of a better term, if it sounds too high-falutin'), the actual words and narration you've chosen and the actual images and visual narrative you've chosen. You've transformed the comic book medium into a kind of political/matric (I just made that word up: it means "like unto a mantra") poetry in a way only the comic book medium can be transformed.

So, I'm not sure everything works perfectly, but, then, I'm not sure I've really absorbed it all after only one read. But I do know that it is beautiful, it is compellingly expressive and WHOLE a reading experience in that it so fully FORMS itself into itself by doing what it does, and it is marked by masterful cartooning.

Matthew

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#277317 - 07/02/06 04:49 PM Re: Can't Get No
ChrisW Offline
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Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 10034
Loc: Lincoln, Nebraska USA
Are these available in any stores yet? I got to my comic store (for the first time in 6 months) yesterday, and there wasn't any. I went to B. Daltons and Barnes & Noble and didn't find one there either.
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#277318 - 07/02/06 08:37 PM Re: Can't Get No
Chase Cutter Offline
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Registered: 04/10/06
Posts: 41
I didn't see any at the Heroes Con when I went Saturday, although I might have just missed spotting it on the various dealer tables I was pawing through. I sure would have picked it up.

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#277319 - 07/03/06 05:35 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 3531
Loc: Vermont, USA
If you guys can't find it at your local retailer, get it on-line. Amazon.com sold out last week but has since re-stocked. I believe Paneltopanel.net still has some of the signed bookplate editions.

An in-depth review of CAN'T GET NO, MAXIMORTAL and CRYPTO ZOO over at Rain Taxi.
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#277320 - 07/03/06 10:03 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
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This guy didn't think the narration worked at all: Nashville City Paper

Forbidden Planet is recommending it to their Fantagraphics customers.
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#277321 - 07/05/06 04:48 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Posts: 3531
Loc: Vermont, USA
From Bill Baker at Bookslut.com:

There've been a fair amount of comics about 9/11 in the wake of that tragedy. They've appeared with any number of purposes, bearing a fairly wide range of messages delivered creatively or crudely, depending on the abilities of the authors and artists involved. And while I haven't read all of those books, I think I can say with a fair amount of certainty that there's nothing else out there quite like Rich Veitch's Can't Get No.

There are a number of obvious things that mark this trade from Vertigo as something different. Take the format, for instance. Can't Get No is a thick, squat graphic novel with black and white interiors, a real departure from the full color interiors featured in the majority of Vertigo's line. Then there's the art style, a rich blend of Jack "King" Kirby, EC Comics, and '60s Underground sensibilities intermixed with Veitch's rough-hewn realism and dead-on storytelling. But what's really distinctive about Can't Get No is Veitch's daring, even defiant approach to telling his story, and this is what truly sets this particular book apart from the others released since the fall of the towers.

In essence, what Veitch has presented readers with is a tale featuring two seemingly separate and distinct narratives -- the visual tale focuses on the life of troubled businessman Chad Roe whose fall from grace nearly coincides with the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC, while the script consists of an extended poetic vision of an apocalyptic apotheosis, redolent of William Blake and other visionary poets. These two narratives share the pages and panels, their individual plot courses converging and diverging thematically, symbolically and otherwise. This sets up resonances and almost forces the reader to create new and unusual associations between words and their meanings, and even words and the things they represent, creating an atmosphere which echoes the strange and awful chaos the characters are experiencing firsthand. Even more amazing, both narratives in turn are enriched and further informed by all of this interaction, gathering subtle and surprising connections and meanings which would never have been produced by a more traditional approach to storytelling.

The cumulative effect is somewhat overpowering, and certainly results in a rich reading experience that is singular and uniquely individual. While I know that every encounter and reacquaintance with a book is special and particular, this is one of those rare books which I believe will provide a totally idiosyncratic experience for each reader. Furthermore, I strongly suspect that each and every re-reading will result in a distinctive experience, as the reader’s changing moods, circumstances, etc. will affect the outcome.

But if you dig just a little deeper, concentrating on the essential arc of both of these narratives, you'll discover something even more iconoclastic about Can't Get No. Yes, this is a book about The Tragedy of 9/11, true. But in a very real sense, this is a book about how that larger event reflects and is in turn reflected by our individual tragedies and losses. It is about the journey we've all been on since then, since we've all had to embark on something analogous to a voyage of discovery to even begin understanding what has happened, much less initiate anything resembling a healing process. We're sailing uncharted waters, traversing terra incognita, scanning the horizon or the surrounding brush for sea serpents and tigers alike.

As mirrored in Can't Get No, we've entered a strangely familiar, yet terribly deformed landscape both culturally and individually. There are all manner of pitfalls, terrors, and unfounded fears, as well as real and present dangers. But we must never forget that there are also good things everywhere, and good people in those places, despite what any cynic or doom-mongering profits [yes, the spelling is intentional] would have you believe. As demonstrated throughout this phenomenal and powerful work, we have more in common with both our friends and foes -- real or imagined, global or local -- than any of us would like to admit. We are all capable of thinking, and even doing, terrible and hurtful things, just as we are also able to lend that helping hand or show of support. We are all foolish and wise in our own ways. And we all aspire to be more than we are at present; we all desire a transcendence of sorts, literal or otherwise. The fatal difference arises from the manner in which we strive for our goals, and our choices to either help, hinder, or even block those who might be reaching for something else.

We are all standing in the gutters, lusting after stars of one nature or another. Now all we have to do is find a way to stop killing each other in our desperate efforts to reach those shinning and distant dreams.

In an ideal world, Can't Get No wouldn't have been necessary. Sadly, in this world, at this time, it just might be the first comic that is necessary reading.

Bookslut review
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#277322 - 07/05/06 04:57 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
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Ooop. Looks like Bookslut has a second bit on CAN'T GET NO. This is part of an overview of Vertigo by Clayton Moore with me answering a few questions:

By far, the most unusual of Vertigo’s upcoming offerings is Rick Veitch’s Can’t Get No, a new book that explores the American landscape and culture in an entirely new way. Published in June, this is a book so startling that even Neil Gaiman calls it, “supremely, magnificently strange.”

Can’t Get No, written and illustrated by Veitch (Swamp Thing, Bratpack) is a surreal chronicle of one man’s adventure during and immediately after 9/11. It begins sedately enough as Chad Roe, the repressed CEO of a company that makes Eter-No-Mark permanent markers, heads off for work in New York City. That day, the city joins with property owners in a suit against the company for graffiti damage. The resulting chaos sends Roe into a drinking binge that culminates in two female artists tattooing him from head-to-toe with his own permanent marker. He tries to cover his new markings but can’t. His odd appearance causes him to be driven away from certain death in the Twin Towers. Subsequently, Roe snaps and goes on the road.

“I’d heard the urban legend of the guy who got drunk and woke up drawn all over with Magic Markers,” Veitch remembered. “It kind of struck me that it might be interesting to follow through on someone in that predicament. It’s also a way to graphically ‘tag’ a character. You always know it’s Chad, even in long shots.”

The project took two years and even with nearly five years’ psychic distance from the event, Berger finds Can’t Get No very timely.

“What we’re finding with many works about 9/11, both fiction and film, is that the resonant effect of that time takes a while to seep in and that it comes out creatively in different ways,” she said. “I will tell you that it was very amorphous. Rick knew how it started but he wasn’t sure how it was going to end up. I knew that whatever he did would end up breaking new ground and exploring new territory in graphic novels, though, and I think he succeeded brilliantly.”

Perhaps the most aberrant aspect of Can’t Get No is its “narration,” a kind of sing-song, incongruous poetry that adds an otherworldly soundtrack to Veitch’s startling black-and-white artwork.

“Can’t Get No differs from most graphic novels in the way that it works, with the lyrical captions dancing in and out of the unfolding visual narrative,” Veitch explained. “It’s meant to work on a reader’s brain in a new way. The trick was in creating just the right amount of dissonance between word and image so readers naturally fill in any gaps with their own imagination. People seem to see all kinds of things in there that weren’t my intention, which is really cool. It means that they’re making Can’t Get No their own.”

It also differs from the traditional 8x10 comic book in size. Roughly the shape of a thick paperback turned on its side, the art is presented in a widescreen format that is cinematic in its presentation.

“I knew from the beginning that I wanted the format of the book to be different,” Veitch said. “It wasn’t just to make it look original but also to break through the mindset that comes from reading the same shaped comics all the time. Vertigo came up with the final size and shape and I think they made a perfect choice. I like the way the book feels like a fat brick and just falls open in your hand.”

The book is heavy. So are its messages.

“When I talk to individuals, most of them are still struggling with aspects of how the event impacted our lives,” Veitch observed. “It seems like after the actual shock wore off and we geared up for war, our media moved on and a dialogue we needed to engage in never happened. I suspect there is something about the whole tragedy that we, as Americans, don’t want to face in the political sphere. Fiction is a good tool to get at complex issues that are stuck in the craw of the national consciousness, and of course I hope my book facilitates that in some way.”

VERTIGO RAISES THE BAR
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#277323 - 07/08/06 08:44 AM Re: Can't Get No
Brandon J Beane Offline
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Registered: 08/05/99
Posts: 98
Loc: Frisco, TX
I am about half way through the book and felt compelled to post on it.

First off, Bravo, Rick! Truly an important work in a medium that may only see something that will stand the test of time every 2 to 3 years. I would put it in the same category as Safe Area Gorazde, From Hell and Jimmy Corrigan.

The other thought/ takeaway is that the narrative is as close to a "Soundtrack" as I've ever seen in comics. By that I mean, I get the feeling intended from the words if not the entire meaning, much like a film's soundtrack.

Gotta go finish it now...

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#277324 - 07/11/06 03:16 PM Re: Can't Get No
Frank Carrera Offline
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Registered: 02/27/02
Posts: 5938
Loc: Houston, Tx
Rick,
I just finished the book.

Wow. That was amazing. Congrats on putting together an astounding read.

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#277325 - 07/11/06 08:10 PM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 3531
Loc: Vermont, USA
Rain Taxi reviews CAN'T GET NO and a couple of my other titles:

The Many Sides of Rick Veitch
as seen through the prism of

Can’t Get No (Vertigo/DC Comics, $19.99)

Crypto-Zoo (King Hell Press, $17.95)

The Maximortal (King Hell Press, $17.95)

by Eric Lorberer

As the medium of comics earns a greater place in the American reading imagination, it’s worth recognizing the plethora of remarkable creators who have shaped its contemporary contours. Superstar writers like Neil Gaiman, Harvey Pekar, and Warren Ellis have pushed the boundaries of storytelling, as have artists such as Neal Adams, Frank Quitely, and Alex Ross, to name just a few. And then, god bless ‘em, there are the auteurs who manage to excel at both words and pictures: in the underground a golden road stretches from R. Crumb to Chris Ware; groundbreaking work has been done overseas by people as disparate as Osama Tezuka and Marjane Satrapi; and the mainstream has made a place for mavericks such as Frank Miller and Rick Veitch. Although that last name may not be as familiar to many readers as some of the previous ones, it signals an accomplished and diverse body of work well worth investigating.

Veitch’s latest graphic novel, in fact, is one of his most challenging, because unlike most comics—indeed, contradicting what many hold to be the very essence of comics—the words and the pictures of Can’t Get No have only the most tenuous of relationships. The image sequence, a tour de force of graphic storytelling recalling the wordless, socially engaged woodcut novels of Lynd Ward and Frans Masereel, presents a dark portrait of man’s fate. Veitch’s hapless hero, Chad Roe (a name rife with connotations), is an executive at “Eter-No-Mark,” a permanent marker company that goes belly up when a graffiti-stricken New York City retaliates with a lawsuit. Chad’s luck goes from bad to worse when two underground cartoonists—they’re working on a comic called “The Adventures of Mi$ter Moneybag$”—draw all over his body with his own indelible product after he’s drowned his sorrows in booze. And from there, things really get weird, not the least because at this point two planes hit the World Trade Center, a sight our tattooed protagonist witnesses from the Jersey side of the Hudson River.

As strange as it gets, however, the narrative remains clear. Veitch excels at presenting information without dialogue or exposition; we learn necessary background from ads, billboards, signs, posters, newspaper clippings, etc., and his palette of facial expressions and gestures is large and varied, communicating worlds. But here’s the kicker: Veitch has placed captions over the picture narrative that offer a measured essay on contemporary life—a poetic, occasionally abstruse, and above all relentless dissection of the world Chad Roe inhabits. “Professional mourners line the shores. Snake charmers plant kisses on the crowning heads of cobras. And dowsers divine hot springs just beneath our feet,” is as emblematic a passage as any. The only time the diatribe is interrupted is when the towers fall on September 11; for this sequence, a similarly toned passage from Renaissance artist Albrecht Durer (whose dark, symbolic engravings feel like a precursor to this work) takes over.

Veitch’s layering of an existential treatise over a rather zany visual narrative is a calculated risk, and is likely to earn the book as many detractors as fans. The text and imagery are parallel more than complimentary discourses, and the reader’s inevitable struggle to make them fit together isn’t always pleasurable or rewarding; on top of that, Veitch’s monologue can wear dangerously thin, and the post-9/11 action of Chad Roe’s journey feels purposely bizarre at times (a scene set in a presidential theme park, in which Chad romps with a Jackie O. impersonator inside John F. Kennedy’s head, comes to mind). But the large ambition of Can’t Get No outweighs its small failures, as the book pushes the boundaries of the word-image art form, and while doing so takes up some profound questions: “What does it mean to be alive?… Why are we suspended in this vacuum / Of empty comfort and false contentment /Denied authentic grace / Or any real experience / of satisfaction?” The whole book has the feel of a fevered hallucination, drawn by a tortured soul who can’t get the classic Rolling Stones song which gives the book its title—itself a stellar evisceration of America’s consumer culture—out of his head.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


The chorus from “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” actually appears in a panel from Veitch’s Crypto-Zoo, his third volume of “The Collected Rare Bit Fiends”—comics that relate his own rather developed and intense dreamscape (the series title pays homage to pioneering cartoonist Winsor McCay’s “Dreams of the Rare Bit Fiend”). Here, generally using a simple, six-panel grid, Veitch marries the clarity of graphic storytelling to the nonlinear, heavily iconic narratives of the oneiric mindset—a winning combination, since the grammar of comics is uniquely suited to the recounting of dreams. It’s a better medium than just words, just images, or even the word-image art form of film, because comics allows for the simultaneous presentation of dialogue, thought, and exposition.


For example, in dreams we often know who someone “really is” despite appearances; here the cast of crazy characters can be efficiently labeled with a pointer arrow (Veitch often seems to interact with “Playmate of the Year”). Likewise, we often inexplicably realize what another person in our dream is thinking or intending, and comics similarly convey such third-person information unobtrusively yet energetically. And of course the controlled flattening of visual imagery in comics lets the “special effects” the unconscious can conjure feel as real as the more realistic elements they counterpoint—which as any dreamer knows is essential to the coherence of the dream and the subsequent memory or telling of it. Finally, the fact that certain people and places (e.g. “Childhood Home”), as well as events and themes, recur in one’s ongoing oneiric record lends a dream diary an eerie narrative stability amidst the symbolism-strewn strangeness, one that a consistently drawn set of comics can enhance.

Veitch deploys all these strengths in Crypto Zoo, and the result is an unusual and intriguing graphic novel. This partly, of course, derives from his particular skills and inclinations as an artist—without question the surrealistic impulses and penchant for nonlinear narrative we’ve found in Can’t Get No find a natural home in dream telling—but the comics here are also well informed by Veitch’s reading in archetypal psychology, which seems to have offered an enabling theoretical background for his thinking about the framework of relating dreams; in the book’s introduction he talks, for example, about deciding how to render the “sacred landscape” in which his dreaming self seems to exist. Whatever the cause, the effect is an art full of sharp and interesting edges—perhaps more fascinating for its formal delight than for the personal mythology it excavates, but fascinating nonetheless. More comics practitioners would do well to experiment with converting their dream diaries into full-blown comics.

------------------------------------------------------------------------


If the above examples make it sound like Veitch is strictly a psychedelic wanderer or constraint-based formalist, it’s worth pointing out that he works quite often in mainstream comics, whether directly (he’s provided art and/or scripts for existing corporate-owned characters from Aquaman to Swamp Thing) or in spirit, as is the case with a substantial portion of his independent output. Veitch has penned three full-length graphic novels—The One, Bratpack, and The Maximortal—that attempt to deconstruct the superhero archetype. This output, though perhaps not as well known as key books by Frank Miller, Grant Morrison, and Alan Moore, is nevertheless contoured with penetrating ideas about the superhero, and deserves to be regarded in the same study.


Take The Maximortal, which like Crypto Zoo is published by Veitch’s own King Hell Press. A Nietzschean fable about the dark societal impetus of the Superman (here named “True-Man”), the book deftly weaves together the splitting of the atom, the early history of superhero comics, and a vision of what would have happened if a super-powered being actually appeared on this earth. In the second of those threads, it plumbs territory similar to Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (though it was published, in serial form, first), exploring the creation of a fantastic hero by Jewish teenagers and how the corporation that made millions off the property took them to the cleaners. Yet it’s the final narrative thread that is most vicious: rather than beginning life as a human with the kindly old Kents, this super baby from a strange land unleashes a violence that becomes harnessed by the military; whether or not that’s the best choice in an impossible situation is part of Veitch’s probing, glaring look at our country’s most innate values.

Unlike Can’t Get No and Crypto Zoo, The Maximortal showcases Veitch’s ability to pastiche recognizable tropes, just as his Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset engages pulp literature or Swamp Thing transforms horror conventions (which are not entirely absent from The Maximortal: at one point the super baby goes on a spree decapitating the townspeople and throws their heads in a silo, saying “I’m workin’. Doin’ my farmin’.”). Veitch’s writing and art may not have the formal elegance and postmodern savvy of his sometime collaborator Alan Moore’s, but his rougher, edgier style generally serves his story—this is an urgent warning communicated in thick yet kinetic strokes, as if by the love child of R. Crumb and Jack Kirby. Veitch’s pacing of the complex story is masterful (with one caveat: I would have liked the occasional pause of chapter breaks, conventionally offered through blank pages or the issues’ original covers, rather than having the story rush headlong from one scene to the next), and his panel composition is nicely conceived, engaging and variable without being flashy or overwrought. There are plenty of grace notes in the language, too: one interlude imagines Sherlock Holmes playing a role in the proceedings, and is pitch-perfectly narrated by Watson; another, about the actor who played True-Man on the silver screen, is told from the point of view of fellow actor David Niven.
Whether one reads The Maximortal, Crypto Zoo, Can’t Get No, or any of Rick Veitch’s other noteworthy works, one hears and sees the hallmarks of his style on every page, the personal stake he has placed in setting pen to paper. If some of his books seem extreme, cynical, or difficult, well, they are. But they are also shaded by a fervent belief that the medium of comics can and should grapple with such states. In the end, this creator seems to have eschewed a single voice in favor of chasing down as many ideas as possible through his comics—and in this, his comics smartly reflect more about the absurd complexities of life than most.

RAIN TAXI full review
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#277326 - 07/13/06 05:18 AM Re: Can't Get No
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This one from Morphizm.com

Can't Get No

[by Stacy Borah]

As a child, my love affair with comic books was brief. Yet I still have vivid memories of reading and sharing the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and Spider-Man with my friends. In
between sandlot games and bicycle wars, we sat in a makeshift treehouse, spread our latest acquisitions over the loose boards and read them until our parents began yelling for us.

But when I started high school, I made new friends and discovered Salinger, Twain, Faulkner, and Pynchon. Symbolism and metaphor that Spidey could never give me.

Which brings me to Can't Get No by Rick Veitch, a groundbreaking graphic novel that interrogates the effects of September 11 on businessman Chad Roe, contemporary American
Everyman. He has an elegant suburban home, a beautiful wife, and a successful business selling the Eter-No-Mark, an “ultra-permanent” magic marker that cannot be taken off of
any material or skin. And as darkness rapidly encroaches upon Chad's idyllic lifestyle, Can't Get No's typical tale of suburban ennui and dislocation evolves into a contemporary
American story of soullessness and artificial gratification.

But Veitch tells Chad's story entirely through poem; there is no dialogue whatsoever in Can't Get No, a groundbreaking aspect of the novel. Better yet, the poetry rarely gets in the
way of the story. It is impressive enough itself, starting off with great lines and rarely deviating from them:

“Even as it opens the eye might recoil. Fearing the temptation of all that low-hanging fruit on the Tree of Knowledge. Better to stare straight ahead and affect the chiseled grimace that
goes with one's prescribed position on the totem pole of life. Better to crouch in an origami darkness hypnotized by the endlessly replicating features of your own amoebic face. A
multitude of tentacles curling and uncurling in suffocating self-embrace.”

As Chad drives to work in Manhattan traffic, Veitch illuminates more of his “prescribed position on the totem pole of life”:

“Look down at your hands. They're gripping a weapon. You and all the other conscripts advancing shoulder-to-shoulder across the front. Lockstep. Goosestep. Double time.
Throwing yourselves against a stubborn entrenched enemy sworn to capture their Virgin Queen or die trying. The soul is a cageling here, stripped and hobbled, perp-walked through
a crush of preprogrammed obscenities. Scourged and blindfolded, checked for disease, then put up on the auction block with all the other good ideas.”

And that's just the opening thirteen pages: Veitch's graphical eloquence is as solid as that of many a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist or poet. And as graffiti artists use Chad's
Eter-No-Marks to tag buildings across town, prompting New York to sue him for six billion dollars, his financial bankruptcy becomes a physical one, driving him headlong into
debauchery.

After two bar pick-ups take him back to their apartment and tattoo his naked body with the Eter-No-Marks, the people of New York shun him. Even his wife thinks he's a stranger
come to rape her. This fallout occurs right as the first World Trade Center catches fire, and Chad's anxiety kicks into overdrive as New York catches fire. Fleeing, like the rest, he
hitches a ride with an Islamic couple all the way to Nevada and a spiral of self-discovery.

Throughout this ambitious novel, Veitch references various literary, historical, occul and popcultural events and figures, including Albrecht Durer, H.P. Lovecraft, American history,
the atomic bomb and more, melting it all into an alchemical dissertation on the nature of human interaction and prejudice against a backdrop of fear and paranoia. His examinations of
racism, mysticism, casual sex, fluid identity, and the effects of mass marketing are precise and rich. 

In other words, Can't Get No may not be the only novel of its kind, but it should definitely kick start its own counterrevolution in comic storytelling. If it doesn't, then Veitch's novel
will stand as one of the most poetic records of possibly the most disastrous and polarizing event in American history.

July 8, 2006
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#277327 - 07/13/06 12:08 PM Re: Can't Get No
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Okay, I'm convinced. If the idea of how this project was tackled didn't sound interesting enough, those reviews paint a really great picture. I think the quote from Publisher's Weekly really struck me most:

"The words and pictures move in and out of synch with each other, sometimes exemplifying the power and possibilities of comics. When they seem to be telling two different stories, it goes even further to show how several ideas can be communicated at once."

Just dropped this onto my Amazon wish list and will likely add it to my next order. Looking forward to it.
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#277328 - 07/14/06 06:02 AM Re: Can't Get No
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From City Link Magazine

Can't Get No
Written and illustrated by Rick Veitch
(Vertigo; Dccomics.com/vertigo)

Five Stars

Chad Roe begins his workday as usual: downing pills, leaving home all but ignored by his Internet-obsessed wife and taking the ferry into Manhattan. The head of a company that
manufactures ultrapermanent markers, his world crumbles as he faces a $6 billion lawsuit to clean up graffiti made with his seemingly irremovable product. After he drinks himself into a stupor at a bar, two women take him home and proceed to "decorate" every inch of his unconscious body with the markers. That's when the tale really gets interesting.

Rick Veitch's Can't Get No provides a trenchant allegory about the fragility of identity, set against the backdrop of 9/11. Rather than providing narration or dialogue, Veitch tells his
story solely through his illustrations, tying everything together with prose that reads like beatnik poetry. "The soul is a cageling here," he writes as Roe makes his way through the
graffiti-strewn city. "Stripped and hobbled, perp-walked through a crush of programmed obscenities, scourged and blindfolded, checked for disease, then put up on the auction block with all the other good ideas."

Once the veneer of respectability is removed -- Roe is no longer welcome in restaurants, let alone the halls of industry -- the illustrated man can begin to get down to the real business of living. The free-spirited female artists who marked him up in the first place help him on his way, as do a kindly Arabic couple and a blithe performance artist who engages in a kind of guerrilla theater.

An excellent cartoonist, Veitch imaginatively weaves a tale of self-discovery into the fabric of 9/11, the twin towers a constant presence in the skyline that are echoed by the two
markers Roe keeps in his shirt pocket and other visual clues. The imagery becomes even more surreal when Roe stumbles on an abandoned U.S.-bicentennial theme park filled with enormous heads of historical figures and inhabited by squatters. Here, at a rave, he meets the performance artist, who's dressed like Jackie Kennedy and lives in the hollowed head of -- who else? -- JFK.

Roe gains perspective from his experience and the events of that horrible day in 2001. It ultimately comes down to this, Veitch writes: "Every lover's note, every bathroom scrawl,
every novel on Amazon.com is trying to find the answer. What does it mean to be alive? … Why are we suspended in this vacuum of empty comfort and false contentment, denied
authentic grace or any real experience of satisfaction?"

For a couple of hours, readers can find some real pleasure and plenty to think about while getting lost in this absorbing tale. Can't Get No provides a stellar example of the graphic
novel's potential for transcendent storytelling.
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#277329 - 07/16/06 06:08 AM Re: Can't Get No
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From Richard Gehr at Newsday.

July 16, 2006
CAN'T GET NO, by Rick Veitch. Vertigo, 352pp., $19.95 paper.

Rick Veitch's ambitious "Can't Get No" is not only a landmark graphic novel or, more accurately, a graphic epic poem; it's also one of the more thoughtful and even satisfying artistic responses to Sept. 11 to date.

Taking advantage of comics' unique ability to suspend and bend time, Veitch envisions an all-American cross-country odyssey with roots in Renaissance artist Albrecht Durer's hard-core Christian allegories.

Graffiti-inspired lawsuits bankrupt Chad Roe, the New York manufacturer of the "ultra-permanent" marker Eter-No-Mark. Roe drowns his failure, passes out and enjoys a full-body tribal makeover with his own product courtesy of a couple of wild art girls who let him join their road trip. The journey stops short at a New Jersey rest stop, where the trio witnesses the destruction of the Twin Towers. Roe proceeds to Atlantic City's condemned "Bicentennial Land" and, finally, to a version of Burning Man, where he discovers his unique markings have inspired a cult following.

There's no dialogue, per se, only the ongoing Gnostic ruminations of an anonymous narrator who strikes a tone somewhere between poet John Ashbery and the cynical bullet points of "The Colbert Report." As we ponder a giant bust of John F. Kennedy over several panels, Veitch's narrator invokes "The Eternal Flame ... It comes complete with an intelligence agency. The black-ops kind that runs things out of a secret headquarters ... and stands behind every successful man." Heady stuff indeed, and all the more so thanks to Veitch's propulsive black-and-white imagery. With icons like the Twin Towers to deploy, "Can't Get No" may represent his own Eter-No-Mark.
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#277330 - 07/19/06 07:00 AM Re: Can't Get No
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From the AV Club.

Can't Get No
(Vertigo)
Reviewed by Tasha Robinson
July 19th, 2006

Tracking how the specter of 9/11 has fallen over the comics industry for the past five years has been much like watching the grieving process after a death: From DC's quickie, gushy 9-11 collections to Art Spiegelman's sophisticated elegy In The Shadow Of No Towers, comics have digested the attacks by gradually taking them less literally, processing personal experiences into metaphorical resonance.

Case in point: Rick Veitch's Can't Get No, which draws heavily on the New York attacks for mood, but ultimately reduces them to a mere backdrop, with the Twin Towers' collapse as an easily packaged metaphor for one man's personal collapse. Veitch's protagonist, overstressed executive Chad Roe, loses his tentative grip on normalcy when his "ultra-permanent marker" company is sued into oblivion over the indelible graffiti blanketing Manhattan. In a haze of booze and anxiety meds, he winds up unconscious in the
merciless hands of artists who cover him in ultra-permanent-marker patterns from scalp to sole. With his inner alienation suddenly transformed into a visible mark of Cain, he's
rejected at home, at work, and in public, and he flees into a picaresque journey full of societal dropouts, taking kindness and joy wherever he finds it. When the hijackers' planes descend, it's just one more blow—but one that mostly stuns the people around him into the sense of dissolution and devastation he already feels.

Remarkably, Veitch accomplishes all this without word balloons; Can't Get No is almost entirely textless, apart from a dreamlike prose poem that parallels the action. It's the hardest
part of the book to swallow, thanks to pretentious language and ellipses-packed stream-of-consciousness nattering like, "Under a pale radioactive moon… Tender young wings are breaking through the ovum… and unfolding. The milk of human kindness runs white… and virgin sweet. We're playing for all the marbles. Or none at all." Trying to suss out any possible meaning for such gibberish is a constant distraction, but the text controls the pace, encouraging a leisurely stroll through the black-and-white art rather than the headlong race implied by the propulsive narrative. And by forcing readers to slow down and breathe, Veitch gives them time to absorb his fetish for grotesque detail, from the scraggly hairs on a policeman's upper lip to the saliva dripping from a set of fake teeth. For someone operating on such a small scale, the enormity of 9/11 is an appropriately monstrous and distant
calamity.
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#277331 - 07/20/06 01:45 PM Re: Can't Get No
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From today's Arkansas Democrat Gazette:

COMICS : Metaphors drawn from Can’t Get No
BY VAN JENSEN

Since I brought up the coming reign of graphic novels over single comic book issues a few columns back, a few interesting ones have crossed my desk recently. These three very different books illustrate the dexterity of graphic novels as an art form. And there’s no — OK, very little — spandex in sight.

CAN’T GET NO At its most basic, Can’t Get No by Rick Veitch (Vertigo, $ 19. 99 ) is about a man going to New Jersey after a traumatic event and challenging his easy, medication-fueled existence. That’s where similarities to the film Garden State end. Can’t Get No shares little with other graphic novels. It comes in a strange format, contains a single image of a superhero (good luck spotting it ), and the text is looseform poetry that’s often more dizzying than educational.

The plot follows Chad Roe, who works for a New York company that has created the world’s first truly permanent marker. A massive lawsuit against the company (they should’ve used the tag line “Great for graffiti !” ) sends his life into tailspin, as his existence seems dependent upon professional success.

Drunken Chad is taken home by two female artists who proceed to draw elaborate designs with his markers on every part of his body. Every part. The final touch is a third eye in the middle of his forehead.

Because of his newfound tattoos, Chad misses a meeting at the World Trade Center only to witness the towers explode as planes smash into them.

The moment of impact is typical of Veitch’s understated work. If you’re looking, you’ll see a small plane on the horizon as a sidelight. The actual crash is reflected on the stunned faces of his characters.

What follows is Chad’s journey through a strange America that has been disfigured as badly, if not more, than he has.

With understated black and white art, courtesy of Veitch as well, the book visually resembles many indie titles, the most notable of which are the work of R. Crumb and Harvey Pekar.

What sets this book apart — aside from the poems — is the depth and nature of the story. A lot of indie books can be impressively boring, sort of like film school movies: colorless, abstract and dull.

Can’t Get No drips meaning on every page, from every word. Beyond the overarching metaphor — that Sept. 11, 2001, changed the way Americans live — there are smaller meanings tucked away constantly that give the book a depth that begs for repeated readings.

Imagery such as a benevolent Lebanese couple mourning the Sept. 11 victims and a woman dressed as Jackie Kennedy who lives in a giant reconstruction of JFK’s head are par for the course.

Now, those poems.

“Trapped in the lard. Is the Light of Perpetual Fire. To possess it. Heat the blubber over a low flame until it sweats a glistening grape of mercury.”

That’s a typical example, and it appears on two pages that contain none of the imagery written. At times, it’s easy to glaze over the words, which run a tad nonsensical. But when they click, they really click.

Like all great literature, Can’t Get No ends with ambiguous malaise, leaving the reader to wonder, after an event that supposedly rocked us to our core, where are the marks to prove it ?

Full Review
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#277332 - 07/24/06 05:40 AM Re: Can't Get No
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From Las Vegas Weekly

Can't Get No
DC/Vertigo

We're nearing the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks; is it still too soon for comic books about them?

I'd say so, at least based on writer/artist Rick Veitch's epic graphic novel Can't Get No. Comics started responding to the attacks almost immediately, of course, but the first round of
works, from the many benefits books to Art Spiegelman's strange In the Shadows of No Towers, were mere gut reactions—short, sad, angry, confused.

Veitch's graphic novel—and it's earned that title more than many of the books that bear it—is the opposite in every way. He's had the time and distance to think about the event,
develop a point of view and draw more than 350 pages about it.

Veitch explores the effects the shock of the attack had, the psychic sinkhole it made in the American collective conscious, but he uses it as an event within an entirely fictional story
about a fictional everyman, and the tactic occasionally seems a little cheap, even crass. If you want to evoke an immediate emotional reaction in your audience, all you need to do is
draw a plane heading for a building.

But Can't Get No is not an easy work to write off—or to digest—and not simply because of its 9/11 connections. The story, told entirely in silent pictures, is of the odyssey of one
Chad Roe, a wealthy suit-and-tie type in the permanent-marker business.

When his company, Eter-No Mark, is sued for billions because of the product's use in graffiti, a devastated Roe spends a night mixing anxiety medicine and booze. Two art girls use
his own markers to decorate his unconscious body in a head-to-toe tattoo.

Literally a marked man, he's all but laughed out of his old life in New York, then the planes hit and he and the reader are plunged into a powerfully charged road trip from the beaches
of New Jersey to a strange theme park rave to a Burning Man-like desert party. Roe seems to be searching for a new life, and Vietch for the meaning of life, but what follows is
mostly a lot of drugs, sex and some violent encounters with Roe's fellow Americans—it's like a vision quest for a white, modern businessman. searching for the meaning of life.

Veitch's incredible black-and-white art tells the story perfectly well without traditional dialogue or narration. But Veitch includes narration boxes filled with stream-of-conscious prose
that doesn't pertain to the action and is so vague it's hard to tell what it's about at all. Comics by definition are words and pictures working together, but here they're at
cross-purposes. It's a shame, because the story the art seems to tell is a highly emotional mythologizing of today's headlines, and the prose functions more as white noise, interfering
with the signal. If you can manage to tune out the latter, the former stands on its own just fine.
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#277333 - 07/24/06 04:20 PM Re: Can't Get No
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Quote:
Originally posted by Shoegaze99:
Just dropped this onto my Amazon wish list and will likely add it to my next order. Looking forward to it.
Mission Accomplished.

I had to trim back a bit to stay within budget, so I dropped Essential Fantastic Four Vol. 5 in order to keep Can't Get No on the order.
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#277334 - 08/04/06 07:45 AM Re: Can't Get No
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From Cincinnati City Beat:

All Lit Up
RICK VEITCH -- CAN'T GET NO (VERTIGO)

Chad Roe is a man who loses his business, his wife and his life as he knows it. Can't Get No takes place days before and two weeks after the 9/11 attacks. It sounds like your typical pre- and post-terrorist attack story, but Can't Get No transitions into a tale of a man stripped of his mundane life and thrust into an exploration of modern America. During the crumbling of Roe's life, he is imaginatively assaulted by two artists with a custom permanent marker. His tattooing is visually striking. As the proverbial sore thumb, he is alienated from his middle-upper-class life. Roe's story is told in wordless panel-to-panel work. Veitch's art is brilliant and haunting. He skillfully uses body language and expressions to tell this lush story. Running parallel to the graphic storytelling is a narrative of prose, quotes and poetry relating to the story, God and man's place in the universe. Roe's bearing witness to the jets hitting the two towers is an incredible section. The impromptu crowd formed around him is molded from tragedy. Veitch perfectly captures the crowds' expressions and reactions. From there, Roe's "On The Road" journey explores immediate reactions to 9/11 from the diverse people of America's melting pot. From a Middle-Eastern barber to gung-ho teenagers to a visually stunning romp through a presidential theme park, Roe finds humor, violence and kindness in an America in shock. Veitch's past work includes Swamp Thing and Miracleman. He evolves graphic storytelling both in art and in prose. Can't Get No is a perfect addition to one's graphic novel library. (Jay Kalagayan) Grade: B-
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#277335 - 08/05/06 03:03 PM Re: Can't Get No
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From SilverBullet.com.

Can't Get No GN Review

Bryan Sandala
Aug. 2, 2006

Allow me to preempt this review with a statement: this is going to be a most glowing review. But I haven’t been receiving kickbacks from Rick Veitch for this one. Every compliment is well-earned and deserved. Can’t Get No isn’t just a good story with the words to match; this book is (hopefully) the first of a new generation of graphic storytelling where the work transcends plot or characterization to become a cultural statement, a fresh perspective on humanity in a time of confusion, deceit and the constant erosion of personal liberties.

The story begins easily enough: Chad Roe is a successful entrepreneur and CEO of a permanent-marker company. This thing is better than Sharpie, so much so that the city of New York has blamed graffiti on the company. Stocks plummet, Roe loses his sanity and sets out on a wacky all-night bender where he meets two women who turn his product against him: they illustrate him into a walking permanent marker tattoo.

It that wasn’t bad enough, Roe’s wife is disinterested in him, he’s self-medicating, and then September 11, 2001 happens. He witness the horrific events, which begin act two of his journey, where Roe meets up with a cavalcade of strangers, some who help (the Muslim couple who offer him wound care in their RV), some who hurt (a gang of jingoistic, xenophobic military goons), and some who are all-out strange (the family living in a rundown patriotic theme park outside of Atlantic City, NJ).

Can’t Get No takes odd turns, usually where you’d never expect it, but these narrative gambles are always interesting and provocative. Roe rolls with each turn of his journey and generally is playing reactionary to the events around him, many of which are spurned by the nation’s bruising. By far, the most unexpected element of the story is the total lack of dialogue. Nobody in this book speaks, and nobody has to. Veitch creates words through gesture and reaction. The characters wear their words on their faces. In place of speech bubbles, Veitch adopts the form of a long poem, one without beginning or end, which continues through each panel in small turns of phrase. While the words sometimes enhance or articulate the images, they usually run parallel to the black and white artwork, creating another story which traverses the thoughts of a disembodied narrator reacting to and anticipating Roe’s adventure.

It’s a challenging book, but one that is replete with rewards to the reader. (I’ll need to read this one many times to really believe I “get” it.) The images Veitch creates (most memorably and horribly an over-the wing shot of a plane just before slamming into the World Trade Center; the reader can see office workers toiling moments before their lives would end) are haunting and will be burned into the long-term memory. Chad Roe’s journey is wholly unconventional, but any reader will understand his reactions to what the world is throwing at him. He’s the personification of a culture thrown into uncertainty.

Matter-of-factly: miss this book and you’ll be missing out.
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#277336 - 08/09/06 08:29 AM Re: Can't Get No
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I’m going to avoid posting the full scope of my thoughts, because honestly I’d like to save them for a review on the HOT PANTS section of DVD In My Pants , but certainly after this reading experience I’d like to share some impressions.

First and foremost, and I suppose the hardest thing to avoid when talking about Can’t Get No, is the presentation. Not as much the sizing of the pages (which made for some attractive layouts), but rather the mix of image-driven storytelling overlaid with a twisting, druggy poem of epic length. I really enjoyed this device. While from time to time the two would drift a bit too far apart, when they two came together they really impacted one another in a big way, the verse adding weight and heft to the story, and vice versa. Very effective technique. It moves along at such a smooth and rapid clip that the moments when the text gets jarring or clunky (and there are a few) are put behind you swiftly. And far from being a gimmick, it’s truly an essential part of the experience.

One thing I noticed was that early on in the story, when our main character was still grounded in a reality we could sort of relate to, the overarching verse and the image-driven narrative were locked into one another. Constant bang, bang, bang. One commenting on the other; clearly, focused, in synch. Yet the further along he gets in his journey of self-discovery, loss, humanity, and self-examination, the more fractured it all seems to be, coming together less and less infrequently as the graphic novel moves along. As a reader, trying to make sense of how it all links together becomes an exercise in leaps of confusion – which is totally story appropriate, I might add. By the end, though, it comes back full circle (for story-related reasons, I presume – but I won’t spoil it). I’m not sure how purposeful this was, if it was truly planned this way, but it really managed to bring the whole thing home for me. The end especially, which tied the whole piece together nicely.

Loved the art and storytelling. I think others have mentioned that you could easily strip away the words and still have a crisp, clear narrative. This is true. Reading this just after reading through the second half of Alan Moore’s Supreme run, in which Rick Veitch did some art, helped bring home the fact that stylistically it’s all about what best serves the story; you’d be hard-pressed to notice these two works were from the same guy, because the work is so different. Excellent.

And finally, the narrative. Despite a hefty 350 pages or so, it’s pretty tight. Few are the times it drifts or meanders to the point of distraction. Oh, it does from time to time, taking little side paths here and there, but most of the time when you feel as if you’ve gotten off the path it snaps back in place pretty quickly. That, or there is something there worth reading for, even if it does seem to be a left turn in the narrative. I’m thinking of the Presidents’ heads. Not sure how much I enjoyed that as part of our main character’s journey - in fact, I know how much; not a ton - but the visual commentary was so rich here I was willing to take the ride. The JFK/Jackie O segments were great.

Overall, really strong stuff. That Rick managed to make me like those two awful women who did the markering job surprised me. That he managed to tie 9/11 into the story in a tasteful way that was essential to the story without being the story – despite what you may have read, this is not “a 9/11 graphic novel” (at least, it wasn’t to me) – deserves props. And the fact that he tried something with the medium that felt fresh and creative and unlike anything I had read before was a breath of fresh air. It has its flaws (the Erik Henriksen review posted above isn't unfair), but in many ways those 'flaws' are Can't Get No's strengths. As Matthewwave points out, it doesn't meet you halfway; it challenges you; it asks you to take a chance with it, and rewards you for doing so. I really appreciated that.

Check this thing out. It’s only about $12 from Amazon.com. Money well spent and a comic experience you’re not likely to forget.

...

(Errrrrr ... I think I may have just written my review. Hah!)
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#277337 - 08/09/06 03:06 PM Re: Can't Get No
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Quote:
Originally posted by Shoegaze99:
A twisting, druggy poem of epic length ...

Early on in the story, when our main character was still grounded in a reality we could sort of relate to ...

The further along he gets in his journey of self-discovery, loss, humanity, and self-examination, the more fractured it all seems to be, coming together less and less infrequently ...

As a reader, trying to make sense of how it all links together becomes an exercise in leaps of confusion ...

A hefty 350 pages or so ...

It doesn't meet you halfway; it challenges you ...
Shoe wrote a flattering review of this book that nonetheless just encouraged me to skip it. These were the phrases that cried out to me, "Run!"

I'm still trying to wade through Chris Ware's massive JIMMY CORRIGAN without slitting my wrists. 50-page chapters of bald, homely Jimmy staring wordlessly at a glass of milk while snow falls outside, with the conclusion being Jimmy thinking, "I want to die."

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#277338 - 08/09/06 04:52 PM Re: Can't Get No
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lawson:
I'm still trying to wade through Chris Ware's massive JIMMY CORRIGAN without slitting my wrists. 50-page chapters of bald, homely Jimmy staring wordlessly at a glass of milk while snow falls outside, with the conclusion being Jimmy thinking, "I want to die."
Can't Get No is far more life-affirming than it is depressing. If you took my comments to indicate that it's dreary or tiring or otherwise bleak, I did a bad job.

In the GN, the main character loses a major part of his life and has something done to him that essentially makes him an outcast. Through that he discovers a sense of life he never had before. A zest for experience that makes him a new person. While it does go through darker passages and bleak moments, the journey is always up, not down.

Mind you, it's not life-affirming in the same wistful, meditative way that, say, Concrete is. From what I know of your tastes, it still might be on the ponderous side for you. But honest to god, an exercise trudging through depression it ain't. The main character is a guy you want to root for, not hate.
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#277339 - 08/09/06 05:43 PM Re: Can't Get No
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Even if it's not as depressing as JIMMY CORRIGAN (and it almost couldn't be), it does sound mostly impenetrable.

And that's not just your description of the book as a 350-page twisting, druggy poem that fractures and confuses and challenges the reader as it pulls away from any reality we could relate to.

There's also lines like "Trapped in the lard. Is the Light of Perpetual Fire. To possess it. Heat the blubber over a low flame until it sweats a glistening grape of mercury.”

And "Under a pale radioactive moon. Tender young wings are breaking through the ovum. and unfolding. The milk of human kindness runs white. and virgin sweet. We're playing for all the marbles. Or none at all."

It takes me back to college, where I endured countlesss Goth-and-acid themed poetry nights in the neighborhood coffeehouse in order to hook up with the hippie chicks I so loved. I could sit through stuff like "Tender young wings are breaking through the ovum. and unfolding" when I was 18, and the person uttering it was a perky, buxom girl in Birkenstocks with a ponytail. I'm not 18 anymore. And Rick — well, I've not seen a photo, but I'm guessing he ain't a perky, buxom girl, etc.

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#277340 - 08/13/06 09:13 AM Re: Can't Get No
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From Sunday's Boston Globe.

Margins to mainstream
Recent novels bring the outsider experience in
By Carlo Wolff  |  August 13, 2006


Nearly five years after the fact, 9/11 continues to resonate and inspire, only now it's the stuff of a more complex anxiety. The phantasmagorical nature of the contemporary is the subject of Rick Veitch's graphic novel ``Can't Get No" (Vertigo, unpaginated, $19.99). One of a gang of recent entries in this rapidly expanding medium, it conflates 9/11, Enron, the lunatic right, and Katrina in a quasi-allegory that thankfully bites off more than it can chew.


That run-on, multifaceted thought applies to a work in which the art is expansive but the text is dense with ideas; looking at ``Can't Get No" (nice Stones sample there) is easy, but absorbing it as a whole is more difficult. Veitch's ambitious book is full of stimuli and is one of the more provocative attempts to make sense of events that continue to throw the world for a loop. It stars Chad Roe , head of Eter-No-Mark. When his permanent marker company goes belly up, Roe finds himself adrift in an unmoored society. A pair of grotesque but sexy women mark him permanently and set him loose to wander, drugged and aimless, through 9/11, a bizarre funhouse based on Revolutionary themes and an aquatic disaster of Katrina depth. Roe ends up largely where he started; Veitch doesn't draw conclusions or tie things up neatly, so the finale is as disquieting as the beginning.


The language is portentous and freighted, the allusions rich (how many people do you know who quote Albrecht Durer?), the black-and-white art vivid. Veitch varies his pages, splitting a single image into pieces or filling his laterally designed graphics with numerous ``windows." Read ``Can't Get No" wide and long, rather than up and down; it's designed like those little flip-through comic books of the 1950s, forcing the reader to slip into its rhythm.


Graphic literature often draws on society's margins; outsider art celebrating those challenged to join the mainstream, it is among the most democratizing literary forms.
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#277341 - 08/18/06 06:16 AM Re: Can't Get No
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From the Columbus Dispatch

BOOK REVIEW CAN’T GET NO
Road trip presents questions to readers
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Ken Howell
FOR THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH


In one of their best-known songs, the Rolling Stones document the itchy malaise that comes with being young, affluent and smarter than your elders.

Satisfaction is one of those rare songs that becomes a sort of anthem or anti-anthem: a rhythm-and-blues paean to nothing in particular.

The rhythms and especially the blues of contemporary life are the concerns of writerartist Rick Veitch, whose graphic novel Can’t Get No is quietly extraordinary — a hugely original work that details the anxieties of 21 st-century America with a pop poetry that recalls the Stones’ song both literally and in attitude.

Can’t Get No tells, without dialogue, the story of Chad Roe, a New York City businessman whose life and country are headed for dark days. His business fails just before Sept. 11,
2001, and, with the rug pulled from under him, he does what any fictional American in search of answers does: He hits the road.

His travels through almost every stratum of society, as imagined by the underground sensibilities of Veitch, take on a surreal air: Roe meets immigrants, hippies, Jackie O lookalikes, a blind guide dog and a bevy of everyday Americans.

Even his eyewitness account of the World Trade Center tragedy takes a back seat to his interaction with the other characters — interactions made palpable by Veitch’s skill at
rendering facial nuance and body language.

In the book’s most bizarre artistic conceit, the protagonist wakes from an all-night bender covered head to toe in a permanent-marker tattoo. It turns yuppie Roe into a sideshow freak
and marks him as indelibly as the destruction of the towers marked New York.

Veitch’s story is a free-form prose treatise that touches on philosophy, politics, physics, music and spirituality in a way that not only comments on the story but speaks directly to
readers, asking of them some of what Chad Roe might be asking of himself.

And that’s what makes Can’t Get No different from the didacticism of Hollywood movies and the jingoism of Top 40 popular music: a willingness to ask questions, to demand
something of its audience.
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#277342 - 09/02/06 03:27 PM Re: Can't Get No
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A new review on Playback.

Can't Get No (DC/Vertigo)
Written by Byron Kerman   
Friday, 25 August 2006
Comics don't get more philosophical - or more dense.

(DC/Vertigo; 352 pgs. B&W; $19.99)

(W/A: Rick Veitch)

Rick Veitch's new graphic novel Can't Get No is ambitious. Epic. Huge. Like Robert Crumb's most disturbing tale of self-loathing or Will Eisner's most intimate beseeching to an unjust god, Veitch's 352-page monster asks the big questions: Why are we here? What does it all mean? What's the point of connecting with one's fellow man? And what does Salma Hayek look like naked, anyway? (Give or take that last one).

Can't Get No is the story of a common businessman who wakes up one day the victim of a prank - he's covered in crazy freak-show tattoos (technically, they're lines drawn by an "indelible" marker) from head-to-toe. He wanders the country in a dazed state, made even more so by the events of September 11, 2001.

A strange plot, even for Veitch, made entirely trippy by the writing, which is one, very long extended poem. The abstract poem matches up with the panels only after some studied contemplation - it's portentous, heavy stuff, like T.S. Eliot's Wasteland got the Vertigo treatment. Comics don't get more philosophical - or more dense. This one's an acquired taste.
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#277343 - 09/04/06 07:55 PM Re: Can't Get No
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Dirk chimes in over on TCJ.com:

Can't Get No
Written by Dirk Deppey   
Monday, 04 September 2006
Can't Get No
Rick Veitch
DC/Vertigo
352 pages, $19.99
ISBN: 1401210597
Chadwick wanders amidst the symbolism in Can't Get No (©2006 Rick Veitch)

There's no polite way to say this: Rick Veitch's new graphic novel, Can't Get No, is a pretentious, semi-comprehensible mess.

A seemingly endless parade of ham-fisted allegory and unreadable prose, this book traces the downfall of a New York City marketing executive named Chadwick Roe against the backdrop of the 9/11 destruction of the Twin Towers by fundamentalist Islamic terrorists. Chadwick's business prospects have seemingly been shattered by lawsuits over a super-permanent marker manufactured by his company. A night of drinking and drugs leaves him unconscious in the hands of mischievious, artsy pranksters, who strip him naked and cover his body head-to-toe with pseudo-tribal linework drawn with the very markers that brought about his despair. From there -- and after witnessing the 9/11 attacks -- Chadwick embarks upon a soul-seeking journey through an endless, mindnumbing forest of iconography, symbolic situations and clichés, his new markings branding him in the eyes of everyone he meets, his travels ultimately culminating in a life-changing reversal at a thinly-disguised Burning Man.

The action takes place in pantomine, the dialogue replaced by ponderous, purple free-verse poetry. I tried to follow the text for more than five pages at a time -- really, I did -- but it just drove me out of the story and made me set the book down with each attempt. Ultimately, I was able to make it to the end by ignoring the words and reading the visual storytelling, which cut down on the embarrassingly bad metaphors but not by nearly enough. The lowest point occurs when Chadwick stumbles upon an abandoned theme park originally built for the American Bicentennial, a weed-infested, open-air funhouse littered with giant busts of former Presidents and people inexplicably wandering around. (Look, a couple dressed like Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio! And Marilyn's holding up a can of beer! Ain't that America?) He eventually ends up inside the bust of John F. Kennedy -- a bullet-wound sized hole rotted out in the back of his head, naturally -- which serves as the home of a woman dressed as Jackie who looks great nude in silhouette, but up close and in the light is revealed to possess a mangled upper lip and bad teeth. Chadwick kisses her anyway, seemingly for no other reason than because that's the symbolic thing to do in such a situation. The make-up then falls away, revealing a perfect mouth that laughs as him as she departs. Can't Get No never stops presenting scenes like this to the reader.
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#277344 - 09/06/06 06:14 AM Re: Can't Get No
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Testing out the new Google News Archive, I found this little bullet review in the Atlanta Constitution; part of a larger article on graphic novels. No link because its in the pay per view stacks.

Can't Get No. By Rick Veitch. Vertigo, $19.99. Mature readers (violence, nudity, sexuality).

Free of dialogue but far from wordless, this odyssey through Underbelly America builds impressive resonance after a shaky outset. Writer- illustrator Rick Veitch uses narrative captions that relate ironically to his often grotesque drawings. Early examples read like bad verse ("They force-feed us lyrics written down in Tin Pan Alley"). As businessman Chad Roe goes from financial ruin and a surprise tattoo, through the Sept. 11 attacks and beyond, Veitch's average with his hit-and-miss commentary improves. Likewise, his people look less freakish by the time this tale is told -- perhaps because he invests them with a semblance of true heart.
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#277345 - 09/08/06 01:45 PM Re: Can't Get No
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Found this from Cory!! Strode over on BartCop Entertainment :

Cory!! Strode On Graphic Novels

'Can't Get No'
"Even as it opens, the eye might recoil."


When it comes to the events of 9/11, the comic book artistic response has been slow in coming, much like the response in movies. Usually when a large tragedy happens, there is an immediate reaction, and then, as time goes on, a response by artists to what happened, and comics aren't any different. In the month after 9/11, there were benefit books from every major comic company, and a number of smaller ones. Marvel even tried a series in which firefighters and policemen were the main characters, not super-heroes, but it did poorly and was quietly canceled. Movies are starting to deal with it, but they are sticking to the heroic stories of that day, rather than the effect on the rest of us.

Rick Veitch has put out what could be the first true artistic response in the graphic novel arena with "Can't Get No." Veitch has long been an artist who pushes at the barriers of what is acceptable in comics, using dream-like images and unconventional storytelling in his work, and is probably best known for his revisionist superhero work in "Bratpack" which told an adult story of super-hero "sidekicks" that delves into psychological and sexual issues, and quitting his run on the long-running series "Swamp Thing" after editors scrapped a story in which the character met Jesus during the crucifixion. His fascination with dreams led to a self-published series where he illustrated the lucid dreams he experienced called "Roaring Rick's Rare Bit Fiends".

It is that series that came to mind as I read "Can't Get No". The book is unconventionally laid out, only half as tall as a normal graphic novel, but is still the same width. As I read the story, it took a while to understand the kind of storytelling Veitch was doing, as the captions seem to have little to do with the story being told by the pictures. While it tells the story of an executive whose company is destroyed when the permanent markers end up being permanent on human skin, the captions read as a poem that overlays the art, seemingly unconnected, but running in parallel.

However, as I turn the pages, things become more clear. The art carries the story effortlessly, showing the lead character, Chad Roe, as he becomes a victim of his all-too permanent markers after a night of drinking in Soho, taking the reader through the events of 9/11, and Roe's personal breakdown mirrors with a breakdown suffered by the country itself. The story has a dream-like feel to it, with the reality of events being questionable as we follow Roe's journey. As I read, the counterbalance of the thoughts expressed in the captions provides a deeper thought process behind the story. What at first seems overly complex and hard to read becomes clear about halfway through the book, and during a second reading, the impact of Veitch's poetic captions hits harder than on a first reading.

The artist leaves it up to the reader to decide what it means, what is real, and what is a nightmare, mirroring how many people said at the time of 9/11 that it all seemed like a bad dream. Roe, even with the absence of dialog, becomes a fully rounded character through Veitch's use of body language and storytelling style, using symbolic imagery as well as the reader's own knowledge of other stories involving characters who are scarred in some way and have to live apart from normal society.

"Can't Get No" gives no easy answers, doesn't rely on conventional storytelling, and avoids the jingoistic response that most fiction I have read connected with 9/11 has been connected to. It is a meditation on events big and small, the meaning of art, and an examination of personal reality in a way that couldn't have been possible in either prose or film. It is not an easy book to read, but I feel it is an important one, and shows that Veitch is capable of great works, this being one of them.

"Can't Get No" gets a 5 out of 5 and is highly recommended.
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#277346 - 09/10/06 06:32 AM Re: Can't Get No
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This piece isn't so much a review of CAN'T GET no as a look at how various Vermonters have reacted to the 9/11 attacks over the years. I guess I'm the token artist.

Rutland Herald.
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#277347 - 09/11/06 09:40 AM Re: Can't Get No
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From The Metrobeat.

Tattoo You
Rick Veitch goes looking for America.


BY MICHAEL BROWN


There are people who consider silent movies the ultimate artistic expression of the cinema. Sound, these people say, was a weight that strangled moving pictures of all that was unique to the medium. Instead of finding an inventive way to indicate love through editing, for instance, sound meant the characters could just come out and say it, like in a play, and the medium was poorer for it. Only the most pretentious dork would argue this point today, of course, but it has at least some merit, both literally and, as you will see, as an extended metaphor.

Comics are, to state the bleedingly obvious, not movies, but that hasn’t stopped scores of comics creators from creating comics in the guise of movies that don’t move. And why? The comic book is its own medium, with its own conventions, with its own unique ability to express. Over the years, luminaries like George Herriman, Will Eisner and Jack Kirby have embraced these unique qualities and shown what heights comics are capable of reaching when given the proper respect. It is taking a while for them to receive all of the mainstream respect they deserve, but things are getting better. When Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s brilliant League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was devoured by Hollywood and unscrupulously shat onto celluloid, movie reviewers accused the filmmakers of dumbing down the original work – a sign that comics have at last achieved some level of critical esteem.

It would be weird, then, and a little presumptuous, to attempt to reinvent the medium. But that’s just what Rick Veitch – himself a giant in the comics industry who has collaborated with Moore on a number of projects and produced some terrific work on his own – has tried to do with his new graphic novel, Can’t Get No.

The story concerns a businessman named Chad Roe. As the story opens, he’s fabulously wealthy, but his permanent-marker company is soon dealt a mighty litigious blow that causes its stock price to fall to three cents. Chad immediately starts popping pills and draining booze, but his co-worker, Quint, thinks maybe the situation isn’t so grim; he wants to talk things over, so he schedules a meeting at the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11th. But the night before, two young women find Chad passed out in an intoxicated stupor and drag him to their apartment. They proceed to draw all over him with one of his own Eter-No-Mark ultra-permanent markers. The trouble is, marks made with these markers are indelible (thus the six-billion-dollar lawsuit) and Chad is now covered from head to foot in an ultra-permanent tattoo. He tries – and fails – to make his appointment. He lives. And after the attacks, Chad, like Peter Fonda before him, goes looking for America; unlike Fonda, he finds it everywhere.

Now that’s a pretty straightforward summary. Aside from the full-body tattoo, there isn’t anything particularly weird about it. It’s a road novel. Fine. But what’s weird is the execution. Veitch has pared down the comics medium’s resemblance to other media and accentuated the elements that make it unique. There is no dialogue in Can’t Get No; there are only captions, which are both omnipresent and rarely relevant in any immediate way.

The following quote has not been altered for affect: “Skimming the skin from the gruel of existence... We find at the bottom of our beggar’s bowl... an unblinking eye. It gazes into infinity... Observing space and time and solid matter... As a Liliputian subset... of some eternal multidimensional hierarchy.” And so on, for the length of the work. These Captain Beefheart-style ruminations border on incoherency, and you could go mad trying to unravel them. It’s possible, though, that Veitch doesn’t mean for us to.

Can’t Get No functions, in some ways, like a song. The panels tell the story; they are the lyrics and the melody. The captions, however, provide rhythm and, occasionally, a counterpoint that creates a harmonic relationship between words and pictures. The panel, for instance, that precedes the lines “In its hands we’re silly putty... Pressed flat against the Sunday comics section... imprinted with the wit and wisdom of Dagwood Bumstead” features a dog whose loopy wanderings are represented by black dotted lines straight out of Bill Keane’s Family Circus. But this kind of obvious relationship is rare. Most of the time, the words are a rhythmic fog.

Can’t Get No is an endlessly strange, surprisingly exhilarating piece of work. It doesn’t really succeed – at least not as a reinvention of the medium – but it doesn’t really fail, either. Probably the oddest thing about the whole endeavor, in fact, is that Rick Veitch made such an esoteric comic worth reading.
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#277348 - 09/12/06 07:03 AM Re: Can't Get No
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A bunch of graphic novels arrived from amazon.ca the other day. Can't Get No was among them. I am glad to see that this book was printed in Canada. By being printed in Canada (or the US) it's much more likely that the workers who printed it are unionized and are able to bargain collectively for good wages, health benefits, job security, etc.

Also, by being printed in North America it is supporting the North American industry which is in a downturn right now. We either use the infrastructure we have or we'll lose it. I happen to live in a town where the paper mill shut down within the past year.

Part of the reason the industry is in a downturn is because people are getting more of their information and entertainment from non-paper sources (ie: tv, the internet, video games). Another major factor is that the North American has to now complete with cheaper production from overseas where good wages, working conditions, evironmental mangement, and unions are not included in the price because they're not part of the production.

I applaud Vertigo for printing this book in North America and more specifically Canada. In the past Rick Veitch has printed his books in Canada but has more recently switched his newer publications to overseas publication, so it was a joy to see thing book reverse the trend. However, this is likely more to do with Vertigo's choice than Veitch's. (Though I may be wrong about that point).

As a self publisher for much of his work, Rick Veitch is in a unique position to control almost every aspect of its production, including where it is printed. Most comic artists don't have this ability with contract work. Obviously he has to balance issues of quality, cost, and distribution and that shapes his decision. In the future I hope to see more of Veitch's book's printed within North America as it would support more local industry, workers, and the environmental principle of keeping prodution near where it will be consumed.

The means of production and transportation of goods in our society relies heavily on the idea of "cheap oil" to create and move products around. That is why we often see our resources transported overseas, go through a manufacturing process and have the end products shipped back over to us for consumption. While this may not seem like good enivronmental sense it does make good economics sense in our society at the moment. However, this depends on the concept of "cheap oil". However, cheap oil doesn't come cheap. It comes at a heavy price. We all pay for it when our militaries interfere with oil rich nations and go on misadventures called invasions and occupations. Cheap oil costs us billions of dollars each year and it's paid for with our taxes.

The attacks of September 11, 2001 and it's aftermath are indirect results of ecnonomic dependence on Middle EAst oil in the production and transportation of products in our consumer society. I am therefore glad that Can't Get No helped lessen its dependence on oil by keeping its production more local. That's not to say that by having a product made overseas one is directly complicit in the violence, however, every action is a political action.

Hopefully I haven't gone on too many tangents or became too preachy so that I have obscured what I am trying to communicate. As a unionist and an environmentalist I want to reiterate my main message and applaud Vertigo and Rick Veitch for having this book, Can't Get No, printed in Canada.


And no I haven't read the book yet, but when I do I'll post my thoughts of it sometime afterwards.
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#277349 - 09/15/06 08:56 AM Re: Can't Get No
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I just ordered my copy off amazon.com, along with The One, Maximortal, Making Comics and a few other books without pictures.
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#277350 - 09/17/06 09:27 AM Re: Can't Get No
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Paul
I made the move from my Canadian printer because their quality was so abysmal. The folks I ended up with in Hong Kong are in another league all together in terms of producing a beautiful book that can compete in the marketplace. They also have the latest CTP presses (which is what really gives them the price advantage against the antiquated film based system my old printer used.)

These days, with oil so high, that price advantage is pretty much evened out by the high shipping costs from Hong Kong. But I am so happy with the quality and the customer service that I plan to do my next book with them as well.

While I understand the economic and political reasons for working closer to home, I also recognize that the secret hand of capitalism, which rewards innovation and quality, will push North Americans to improve their services to stay competitve.

When you see the gorgeous job I just got on ABRAXAS AND THE EARTHMAN, you'll understand why I like these guys!
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#277351 - 09/17/06 09:36 AM Re: Can't Get No
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In a review of the 9/11 Graphic Adaption, the Chicago Sun Times says:

"In the five years since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the day the United States came of age in becoming aware of its vulnerability, numerous words have been written, our government has been reformatted, and wars have been launched. In addition, several graphic novels, like In the Shadow of No Towers, Art Spiegelman's moving, appropriately chaotic 2004 conjuring of 9/11, and a notable book of 2006, Rick Veitch's Can't Get No, a haunting conflation of that day's horrors with other, anxiety-related incidents and fantasies, have dealt with
terrorism and its consequences."
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#277352 - 09/18/06 01:55 PM Re: Can't Get No
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Thanks for responding, Rick. We've talked a little about this before.

As a artist seeking quality reproduction of your work, I can totally understand why you would seek out a higher quality printer. I can attest to the quality (or lack there of) of one of your Canadian printers on one of your older self-published trades (the binding separated from the pages while I read it for the first time).

I too think North American companies will be forced to raise quality to compete with overseas printing. Even in my humble province, the two major printers both use computer-to-plate (CTP) printing. One of them even uses frequency modualation (small randomized dots) to print tones rather than amplitude modulation (line screens).

I understand that once you find a relationship that works well for you that it is hard to break it, but when the time comes to do another book, please consider a more local printer. You may find that quality has improved and prices have become competitive with overseas prices + the cost of shipping.

I'm absolutely sure that Abraxas and the Earthman will look great.
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#277353 - 09/26/06 09:28 AM Re: Can't Get No
ChrisW Offline
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I just got my copy today! smile

I also got a copy of Maximortal, and I'm struck by the colors on the cover. Rick, is that an example of the job your new printers do? If so, I look forward to seeing new printings of your Epic airbrushed work.
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#277354 - 09/27/06 10:05 AM Re: Can't Get No
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The MAXIMORTAL is from the Hong Kong guys but it isn't a really great example of what they can do. The original art to that was lost so I had to scan from an earlier printed version and futz with it in Photoshop. The greenish cast on the melting MAXIMORTAL head ended up a little stronger than I wanted, but I liked the way it looked.

ABRAXAS is scanned from the originals which were done with Dr. Martin's dyes and which are so vibrant they are nototiously hard to duplicate on press. These guys pulled it off.
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#277355 - 09/28/06 05:38 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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This from Shabbir's Diary.

"Can't Get No" by Rick Veitch

I am slightly hesitant to make this comparison, but I think I just read the "Howl" of the 9/11 generation.  Generation is probably an incorrect word, as several generations have been affected by 9/11, but I think it's fair to say that the book I just finished, "Can't Get No", by Rick Veitch is by far the most insightful treatments of modern culture after 9/11 that I'm likely to ever come across.

When I first flipped through the book, it read like a comic and so I bought it without thinking.  When I got it home I realized that Rick Veitch had intertwined an epic poem about modern culture and the death and rebirth of our souls after 9/11 with a graphical tale of one man's journey through the same.  The graphic story and the poem are both linked and separate, and can be read one at a time as well as simultaneously.  I found it all too much to take in at once, and read it for the graphics the first time, and then returned to the story.

There's a lot here.  The roller coaster of emotions we've all felt during and after 9/11, a modern treatment of the spiritual void of consumer culture, the disconnectedness of modern techn-fetishism, and many other angst-ridden elements of our modern life are all treated beautifully.

This will most certainly be the book that defines my adult life for the decade without being so much 9/11 nostalgia.  I recommend you pick it up.
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#277356 - 09/28/06 06:07 AM Re: Can't Get No
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From Line Of Fire on Silver Bullet.com.

Can't Get No

Posted: Wednesday, September 20
By: Stephen Holland


by Rick Veitch
Publisher: DC/Vertigo
An original graphic novel in black and white, landscape format, which is Veitch's personal reaction to America-gone-mad post-9/11. Veitch, of course, went mad a long time ago (just kidding, Rick), which is why this narrative quickly takes a turn for the surreal, launching itself into the LSD cosmos of Veitch's imagination, before touching back down on Planet Corporation whence the protagonist came. Now, as evidenced by that previous sentence, I'm not immune to purple prose myself, but, compared to language on offer here, that was a mild and miniscule detour. Neil Gaiman calls it "...supremely, magnificently strange, and like nothing else I've read," and that's a fair assessment of a book which is at once silent (no dialogue), yet at the same time thundering with a relentless, unremittingly metaphysical commentary. Let me give you an example from the opening sequence of the second of three chapters, as waves break upon the shore:

"Behold the sagging sky...
"How it collapses along a perfect curve...
"...of rising uncertainty.
"Subatomic yeast is fermenting...
"Possibility is kneaded like ropy dough.
"Baked into spongy molecular meringue.
"Coughed up like single-celled jellies...
"...twisted and stretched by the rigours of transmogrification.
"Slates wiped clean...
"...of the great salt sac from which they have been expelled."

I've never read anything like this, either - it's a very brave book! If you recall from a previous review, Veitch brought his love of language to SWAMP THING, but here he unleashes his entire poetic armoury without compromise, and in some ways I heartily applaud. Unfortunately, as you'll also recall from another three dozen reviews, I'm not keen on poetry, and to be subjected to 200 pages of similarly dense metaphorical musing does my bloody head in. You might fare far better than myself, of course, and there are passages here even I enjoyed, as when Veitch sums up the act of blind and self-righteous carnage which destroyed two towers and thousands and thousands of individuals' lives:

"For when men gave name to that which they worship...
"And claimed to know its motives...
"They described that part of themselves...
"That is at war with its own divinity.
"Man against God.
"Man against nature.
"Man against himself."

There are plenty of examples of that on offer, including the lynching of a kindly Lebanese couple by rednecks on a beach (building tanks instead of castles in the sand!) acting on their not-so-latent xenophobia, which, I can only suppose, they believed 9/11 gave licence to. The link above will give you a breakdown of the actual plot, as well as a sample of what's on offer. It's not an easy one, I warn you now.
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#277357 - 10/03/06 02:12 PM Re: Can't Get No
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http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=86307

For those interested, good interview with Rick "Pool Party At His Place" Veitch over at Newsarama, talking about Can't Get No, as well as projects old and new.

Rick, your dissonance vs. resonance comment was a really great way to frame the juxtaposition of text and image in Can't Get No; that's very much what the "drift" between the two often felt like. Two pieces of music often at odds with one another.
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#277358 - 10/07/06 10:42 AM Re: Can't Get No
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Finished reading it yesterday, Rick, very impressive.

Funny, just as I reached the pages where the plane hits the towers, a plane flew in very low above me. Unnerving.
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#277359 - 10/09/06 10:35 PM Re: Can't Get No
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smile Yeah , it is good news, the novel will come out soon, I am a reading lover, and it is lucky to join the community to enjoy the updated information about you guys.
Thank you again!
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#277360 - 10/18/06 12:29 PM Re: Can't Get No
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This from Modern Mask.

Rick Veitch’s bizarre and idiosyncratic Can’t Get No touches on some similar themes, but could not be more different from The Left Bank Gang; where the latter is intimate and quiet, its ambitions modest, Can’t Get No aims to be a Major Contribution to Our 9/11 Literature. I use the slightly mocking capitalization because the florid, often purple writing in Can’t Get No seems to invite it; we are being given a lesson, by some kind of mystical adept, in the Meaning of It All. What makes Can’t Get No interesting, however, is the primary way in which it takes advantage of its medium: the silent, dialogue-free pictures tell a story on their own, without reference to the captions, which comprise an extended prose-poem that runs parallel to the story and make up a kind of skewed commentary on the action. Our protagonist is Chad Roe, the type of soulless businessman who tends to populate stories about the emptiness of contemporary Western existence; the difference here is that the termination of his employment, which kicks off his existential crisis, happens to coincide with the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. Having gone on an all-night bender culminating with his waking up to find himself covered in a full-body permanent-marker tattoo, Roe wanders off into a series of increasingly surreal escapades in various locations across America. When Roe is peeing at a roadside urinal, being ogled for his bizarre appearance by other bathroom-goers, the caption-story is going on about how “we” (there is much use of the all-encompassing “we” of humankind in Can’t Get No) have become “crystalline structures of palpable light . . . free of all the antiseptic framework . . . that defines our social etiquette.” The metaphors pile upon each other in waves, making the prose-poem aspect of the book impossible to follow on its own, but taken as a kind of seasoning on the main story told through Veitch’s busy and detailed artwork, Can’t Get No’s ditzy and “deep” meditations are more digestible.


Can't Get No by Rick Veitch
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#277361 - 10/18/06 12:46 PM Re: Can't Get No
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From Creem Magazine.

Rick Veitch – Can’t Get No (Vertigo) :: Forget the Stones allusion, this 200 page allegorical history of America, triggered by the events of 9/11, is a surprisingly better read than I anticipated and has an unexpected ending that makes it all worthwhile. Guaranteed to contain at least one drawing that will send a chill through you.
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#277362 - 10/30/06 07:08 PM Re: Can't Get No
Paul O'Keefe Offline
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I recently read Can't Get No. At first I found it hard to get into the book. The text and images didn't seem to flow well at first. Alot of the text felt like word association cliches.

It wasn't until second part of the book that I think it found it's pacing and its rhythm. When the journey really begins at the Beach it feels like a dream. Like other nonsensical Veitch dream comics which flow somehow with incongruitous content. The book finds its legs then when it's out of the city and exploring strange terrain and strange people.

Sometimes the text and images really resonant and sometimes they are completely at odds.

The bit with the hobo dog was so moving for me and I don't know why. Following a dog might have been just a technical way of connecting scenes or it might be some sort of following the wise old mysterious zen master. Why not follow a lame blind mutt when you have nothing else to lose?

I hope I'm not spoiling the book for anyone.

So while I found the beginning of the book hard to get into, the remaining two parts seem very lively and freeform in comparison. I was easily lost into the strange narrative of the last two thirds of the book.

Oh and the milirary guys on the beach was bit much. It felt too heavy handed. Their appearance later on seemed more forced, more "plotted". It's funny how the visual images stay in your head longer than the words. I could most easily talk about the book and summarize it by it's visual story, but I wouldn't be doing the "prose" part of the book justice.

I think one of my favourite parts of the book is the scene where the women begin to draw on him for the first time. "Suffers...? A shot of open hand and wrist and the threat of impending offence. A nail through the hand of Christ? Followed by "... and creates?" with a extreme close up of the human made mark being applied to the figtips. Fingerprints being the Creator's mark, each of us an individual creation?

That's some good shit going on right there on those pages. The images alone might speak to some of some of those ideas, but the text really reinforces and often creates new meaning and power for scenes like that.
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#277363 - 10/31/06 04:08 AM Re: Can't Get No
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Let's talk sequel...
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#277364 - 10/31/06 05:51 AM Re: Can't Get No
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I'm scheduled to record a podcast of me doing a reading of the poem today.

Will let you know when its available for down-load.
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#277365 - 11/06/06 09:27 AM Re: Can't Get No
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CAN'T GET NO was named one of the Best Books of 2006 by Publishers Weekly.
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#277366 - 11/09/06 06:21 AM Re: Can't Get No
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A short one from Amazon's Listmania . In terms of what I was trying to do, this critic nails it.

Can't Get No by Rick Veitch
Buy new: $14.19 / Used from: $6.95
Maybe this was really pretentious. I'm not sure. I do know it somehow unlocked part of my subconscious. Not much does that.
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#277367 - 11/09/06 02:07 PM Re: Can't Get No
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I was always of the opinion that Abraxas and the Earthman was truly Arr Vee's masterpiece and my personal favorite of all his works, but I was wrong.

Congratulations on all of the glowing reviews as well as the blowing of my mind.
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#277368 - 11/15/06 06:44 AM Re: Can't Get No
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Mania.com includes CAN'T GET NO on a list of "best examples of non-superhero related graphic novels from about the last decade. "

Can't Get No by Rick Veitch. It almost feels like cheating to include this as the first selection for this list, because what Veitch has done here is create a sort of post-post-modern costumed hero tale. It's the story of Chad Roe, an ordinary businessman who, under a set of rather extraordinary cirucumstances, acquires a bizarre kind of full-body tattoo. This tattoo immediately sets him apart from the rest of his New York commuter world, turning him into a societal outcast; and a day after this new condition is set upon him, 9/11 occurs. What follows is an account of Chad's journey through a bruised new America, seen from the perspective of an unwilling outsider. The entire book is a series of nearly wordless panels depicting the story, using no word-balloons or dialogue, but including a stream-of-consciousness narrative that wanders near and far from the action depicted by the artwork. From the way it's described here, it may sound like an incoherent mess, but the book has a strong central narrative pull, and a handful of twists and turns to the story. The book is unique in physical format as well, printed in "landscape format," a short, wide horizontal construction about half the height of a normal comic page. This format allows for Veitch to explore some large ideas with large spans of picture. The book is unique in many ways, and bears repeated readings well.
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#277369 - 11/15/06 12:08 PM Re: Can't Get No
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Isn't Shad Roe a type of fish eggs?
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#277370 - 11/19/06 05:21 AM Re: Can't Get No
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This from Comic Book Resources.

Rick Veitch takes us on a weird acid trip through pre- and post-September 11 America, and the results are decidedly mixed.  Can’t Get No is very much an allegorical work, and bogs down as a result.  It’s not a bad book, because Veitch is far too talented to write and draw something bad, but while the metaphors - even when blunt - drive the book along and make it worthwhile, the story and method Veitch uses is very distracting and detracts from the power the book could have.

The story is simplistic enough.  Chad Roe is a successful businessman who owns a permanent magic marker company.  He lives in a beautiful house and is married to woman who pays no attention to him.  One day he goes to work and discovers that his company is being sued because the graffiti that is drawn using his markers (which are called Eter-No-Mark) won’t come off.  In despair, he gets drunk and hooks up with a couple of women, who take him back to their apartment and, when he passes out, draw intricate lines all over him with his own marker.  He can’t go through his day normally because he looks like a freak, and when he goes back to the women, they have sex.  He leaves New York with them, but things fall apart when the women get busted for drugs in a rest stop in New Jersey.  Chad escapes, but at that moment, the planes fly into the World Trade Center.  The people at the rest stop stare across the river as the towers collapse.  The world has changed for them all.

This is really the beginning of Chad’s journey.  Before this his life had fallen apart, but now he needs to figure out what he’s going to do with it.  He can’t return to his life in New York, and he scared his wife when he showed up covered in marker lines.  He wanders to Atlantic City and eventually to the Nevada desert, where all the people he has met on the road end up in a celebration/eulogy for the events of September 11.  He discovers that he has become a cultural icon, as others are drawing strange symbols all over their bodies.  He also discovers that there is a way to get the marker off, and he is filmed and shown on television getting cleaned off.  Finally, he returns to his life and regains his business, because his stunt at the festival has made his product viable again.  At the end of the book, Chad is back to the status quo.  Has anything really changed?

Veitch’s art is spectacular in this book.  There is no dialogue, and therefore we need to be able to track the characters’ emotions through their movements and facial expressions, and Veitch is up to the task.  The lack of dialogue makes the scene at the rest stop, when all the people watch the towers fall, all the more powerful, as we linger on each face and feel the horror they experience.  The scenes at the end, when Chad ends up in Nevada and gains a measure of redemption, are also strong, especially when he hallucinates that he is on one of the buildings as it collapses.  It’s truly a gorgeous book to look at, and it makes a powerful impression on us.

Unfortunately, Veitch adds an omniscient narrator telling a convoluted story that mirrors the art but doesn’t follow it.  The narration is supposed to be portentous, but it’s much more bloated and pretentious than that, and it meanders through long sentences stretched over pages and pages that appear to mean deep things but really don’t.  Let’s look at the first few pages: “Even as it opens …” in one box, and “… the eye might recoil.” in the next, over a full-page shot of Chad’s nouveau-riche bedroom, our star in the bathroom looking into his medicine cabinet.  Next page: “Fearing the temptation …” in the upper-left panel; “Of all that low-hanging fruit …” in the upper-right panel; “… on the Tree of Knowledge.” in the bottom panel.  All this while Chad takes out a pill from the cabinet.  It continues: “Better to stare straight ahead … and affect the chiseled grimace … that goes with one’s prescribed position … on the totem pole of life.”  Open any random page of this book and soak in the goodness: “As false arguments are rocked and toppled … The illusion of separation between I and thou … collapses … Leaving a fragmenting certainty … that each of us is just as disposable as the next poor cabbage-head … sliced and diced in the Veg-O-Matic of life.”  Or: “Delirium successfully postponed … He hands over responsibility for his upkeep … to the nearest false idol.  But phony gods don’t generate heat … They absorb it.”

I shouldn’t bash the narration that much, because Veitch does keep it pertinent to the images we see, but the point is - we don’t need it at all.  Everything he writes, in that overwrought, pompous tone, is spelled out on the page, and it’s much more interesting for us to follow Chad through his journey to his own heart of darkness and imprint our own thoughts on it than have some disembodied voice intoning dull words to us that only reinforce what we could have figured out on our own.  It’s extremely distracting, and only weakens what Veitch is trying to do.

Because, when it comes right down to it, this is an allegory about America.  It has to be, obviously.  Veitch offers both a celebration and a critique of the American way of life and our response to September 11, which is an impressive achievement in its own right.  He fills his book with American icons, especially when Chad wanders into an abandoned bicentennial theme park with giant papier-mache heads of all the presidents.  He experiences a weird rave there of the dispossessed, with all sort of little symbols - the woman dressed as a colonial soldier with the child sucking her breast, for instance, and the fake harelip on the woman who looks and dresses like Jackie O - that are heavy with meaning.  Veitch does not want to deal with the attacks themselves, which is a subtle dig at how we as Americans want to bury our heads in the sand.  Chad flees New York instead of dealing with not only his own problems but the problems suddenly present in the country.  The fact that he goes through this very weird time is a reflection of what happened to our country in the aftermath of the attack.  Directionless, we clutched at icons to lead us out of our despair, and Chad does that as well.  In the end, however, he must confront the tragedy head on, and it’s only when he does that he can be reborn.

Veitch is celebrating America by saying that we are strong and even something as devastating as the attack on the World Trade Center, despite sending us into a tailspin momentarily, cannot dampen our spirit.  Chad recovers from his depression and his weird markings to resume his successful life.  This is, however, also a critique.  Has he actually learned anything?  He is no longer addicted to pills (I assume he’s taking them for anxiety, but I can’t find the drug on-line so I guess it’s made up), but other than that, has he grown at all?  Veitch believes that this can-do spirit of America is, on the one hand, admirable, but also somewhat shallow.  Chad Roe had a chance to leave his old life behind and become something new, and although it’s heartening that he was able to resassert himself and get back up on his own two feet, it’s also a bit of a tragedy that he does not appear to have learned anything from his experience.  Has America learned anything? is what Veitch wants to know.  He leaves the question unanswered.

Can’t Get No is a difficult and challenging book, and it’s fascinating to page through it.  Veitch shoots himself in the foot with the over-the-top narration, but if you can get past that it’s a troubling yet hopeful view of us after a great national tragedy.  Like any interesting work of art, it asks you questions but provides no easy answers.
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#277371 - 11/21/06 06:20 PM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Here's a Yahoo! translation of a Spanish review on the comics site La Carcel de Papel. Its fun reading in its own right!

Readings: Can't Get No

If I say that ground to have certain homing by the authors more "raritos", I suppose that, at this point, nobody will be surprised. But cured that is one of frights after so many readings, with the "sense of to wonder" lethargic from long ago, the truth it is that the "rare thing" began to have a worrisome appearance of normality, although somebody able one to cause an earthquake in your neurons, to squeeze them, to twist them, to cause electroshock luckyly, always there and soon to leave them there, means undone, so that soon we spend hours returning to put each thing in its site.

Like Rick Veitch, that with Can'get (Vertigo the USA) has not been able to leave me nailed in the sofa. You do not ask to me exactly what I have read, because it would not know to define it with words. Can't get is not a tebeo of sensations, images and flashes that are projected in our retinas and causing hipnóticas impressions, is a lysergic trip, a philosophical treaty, a reflection on the moral and the humanity... He is all that and, possibly more.

Starting off of the massacre of 11-S, Veitch is centered in the life of a manufacturer of permanent labellers to take it to a iniciático trip by America pre and post 11-S, that begins following Bradbury, awaking a completely tattooed day, disturbed as they were it the Americans 11-S. And, from there, a dream, a trip, a madness... America is opened in channel before our eyes, reflecting the incoherences, resistances and greatnesses in a mesmerizante route.

Much of the fault of these sensations that the reading causes is arriesgadísima narrative option that chooses Veitch, counting as a dumb history the epic of the poor man tattooed while a voice in off is speaking to us, developing to a philosophical speech on the existence and its sense. Paradoxicalally, and although letter and drawing take different ways, these are crossed and descruzando, with moments where the reflection agrees with the drawn thing, and others where the writing is against, generating a strange confusion in the reader, that is forced to enter the narration, must necessarily decide on which is reading, to stop to think and to emit a judgment that allows him to follow in the reading. The most complicated game, but that is absolutely fascinating.

A tebeo which it does not leave indifferent, that is able to put in doubt the scale of values of one same one, our own conception of "good" and "badly", of internal coherence. A demolishing document that is, without a doubt some, most surprising than I have read east year. And it can that in long time.
Published in Vertigo in the USA; let us hope that Planet publishes it in Spain (4).
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#277372 - 11/23/06 04:58 AM Re: Can't Get No
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From this month's Guttergeek.

The Discontinuous Review of Graphic Narrative

November 2006

Rick Veitch, Can’t Get No (DC/Vertigo, 2006) $19.99, paper.

By Alex Boney

On the whole, Americans aren’t very good at talking about national tragedies. My uncle served in Vietnam, where he was severely wounded, but my parents never talked about it. For many in my generation, Vietnam was (and remains) a mystery war. I suspect that the same might be true of the present conflict in thirty years. But after September 11th, 2001, Americans had no choice but to talk about that day. The political and financial centers of the United States were directly attacked, and the symbolic heart of the country was covered in ash and debris. There was a moment of confusion, then a short time of harrowing clarity, and then the rhetoric started up at a fever pitch. The discussions taking place in the public sphere soon became redundant and unproductive, and we are where we are now in large part because we’re not good at talking about these things. Or creating films or television shows about these things. Or making music about these things (thank you, Toby Keith). The one medium that has successfully engaged September 11th in any meaningful way in the last five years has been comics. The twin anthology volumes titled September 11th 2001: Artists Respond (published by DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics in January 2002) were compiled quickly but offered a multi-faceted portrait of that day that was simultaneously thoughtful and visceral. A few years later, Art Spiegelman’s In the Shadows of No Towers provided the same type of insight, this time from the perspective of a single accomplished creator. And in the more recent Can’t Get No, writer/illustrator Rick Veitch makes the most convincing statement yet that comics provides the most effective way for capturing what September 11th means to a collective American psyche.


Can’t Get No presents the story of a man named Chad Roe, a CEO of a company called Eter-No-Mark that has created a marker that is truly permanent. The ink from the markers cannot be removed. In fact, the streets and buildings of Manhattan have been so marked up by Eter-No-Mark markers that New York City files suit against the company and sends its stocks plummeting. The story opens on Friday, September 7th, 2001—the day Chad goes into his office and receives the news that his company is spiraling toward inevitable bankruptcy. That night, Chad goes on a drunken bender and wakes up the next morning to discover that two art students with whom he had spent the previous night have drawn an intricate, full-body pattern on him with his own markers. He can’t remove the pattern, of course, and the following weekend turns into a Dionysian, hazy binge. On the following Tuesday, Chad is on the verge of being arrested when he and the cops who have stopped him see the World Trade Center billowing smoke. The rest of the novel follows Chad as he leaves New York and embarks on a surrealistic trip into dark, symbolic recesses of America. In broad strokes, that is the story.

But what marks Can’t Get No as innovative and unique (even within the experimental Vertigo imprint) is that there actually isn’t a straightforward story—at least not in a traditional narrative sense. Veitch draws a sequence of illustrations which guide the story of Chad Roe, but the book contains no descriptive captions and no dialogue—nothing that explains what is happening in each illustrated panel. We discover background plot only from snippets of newspaper stories and headlines, and even those are sparsely scattered throughout the book. Instead, Veitch pulls the panels forward with word captions consisting of poetic verse—an extended, almost unbroken rhythmic chant that taps into the Beat poetry of the 1950s and 60s. There are times when William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg (channeling Walt Whitman via Ezra Pound) seem to be narrating the story. The captions reflect a widely confused, uncertain spirit of America—a time of aimless hope and impending despair—in the time immediately before and after September 11th: “The war is over. We join the wounded, limping home from the battlefield…Disillusioned with our own propaganda…That once promised us ‘Peace in our Time.’ We turn the last corner of home…Only to arrive at a crossroads…And a separation so vast…No familiarity can ever fill it.” In a sense, the language reflects a spirit not only out of place, but out of time. Just as Whitman conveyed the despair beneath the lingering hopes of the Enlightenment—as well as the urgent need to adjust the traditional, unrealistic portrait of America—the prose of Can’t Get No conveys a perplexity that perhaps can’t be expressed in a conscious, linear way. The rhythm of the language—and the intricate rhythm established between word and image in each panel—creates a surreal, otherworldly effect I’ve never experienced in a comics narrative.

Actually, there isn’t much about Can’t Get No that I’ve experienced before. The language is poetic and the story is deeply allegorical, but even the design of the text marks a departure from just about every other book (comic or otherwise) currently on shelves. The book is 7” x 5.5” and lain out in a structure that adheres more to comic strips than conventional comic book layouts. Veitch varies the panel compositions nearly every page, though—an effect that further keeps the reader off-balance and invokes the type of vertigo that Chad experiences on his journey. The art, which subtly alternates between realistic and cartoonish, is some of the most polished and accomplished Veitch has ever produced. For a comics text this long (352 pages), the sustained consistency is surprising and impressive. The one major complaint I have about the book comes from a frustration I’ve had with almost every major comics company for the last 20 years. I’d love to be able to quote more of the book’s captions in this review, but it wouldn’t be terribly useful without page numbers. If Vertigo is going to continue publishing novels and trade collections worthy of serious discussion, then it should start printing its books with page numbers so that readers can have meaningful, productive conversations among themselves. It would be terribly hard for a group of people to gather (either in a book discussion group or a classroom) and talk about this book—or almost any other Vertigo graphic novel—whenthere is no easy way to reference a specific page or image. This doesn’t diminish the aesthetic effectiveness of Veitch’s book, but it does make the resulting discussion difficult.

Ultimately, Can’t Get No is a high point not just in Veitch’s career (which includes such notable works as Swamp Thing, Brat Pack, and Rare Bit Fiend), but also in public discourse about September 11th, 2001. Veitch merges language and image in a way that is jarring even for readers familiar with the comics form, but this initial unfamiliarity is effective given the subject matter. The novel forces us to think about how we make sense of lived experience and how we process that experience both in visual and linguistic terms. It invites a new method of processing trauma and disillusionment—one that pushes boundaries even further than Art Spiegelman’s landmark Maus. Can’t Get No is a book that needs to be read. And maybe it can help us find new ways to think and talk about that which has become so difficult for Americans to express.

—Alex Boney
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#277373 - 11/23/06 05:34 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Johanna Draper of Comics Worth Reading commenting on CAN'T GET NO being included in PW's Best of 2006:


Can’t Get No — Flipped through this a while back, and for all the hoopla about it saying important things about life post-9-11, I found it pretentious and, well, stupid.
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#277374 - 11/26/06 12:13 AM Re: Can't Get No
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Comics Worth Reading — Never looked at the site or even opened the headers on UseNet, because I find declaring which comics are "worth reading" (presumably those not mentioned are not worth reading) to be pretentious and, well, stupid.
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#277375 - 11/27/06 06:54 AM Re: Can't Get No
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From an overview of graphic novels by Amy Mendenhall in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel (can't get the link to work).

A strange, dark look at one man’s journey after September 11 is Rick Veitch’s “Can’t Get No.”
Chad Roe’s business is dying after the permanent permanent markers he makes are being used for graffiti, and Chad isn’t dealing well with it. After a drunken and drugged binge, he wakes up with a full-body marker tattoo and then witnesses September 11. Chad goes off on a voyage of self-discovery in the wake of the tragedy and just may find a way back to life.

Told in art and lyrical poetry, “Can’t Get No” is a graphic novel beyond compare. It is worthy of a read or two.

“Can’t Get No” is a Vertigo comic, published by DC Comics. It is $19.99 and is suggested for mature readers.
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#277376 - 12/05/06 10:36 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Update: We've finished post production on the podcast of me reading the text from CAN'T GET NO. My son, Ezra, did the engineering and created a ghostly soundscape to run behind me. The effect is terrific and I think will allow interested readers new insights into the meaning of the poetry. DC has the stuff now and there will be a round of meetings to figure out how best to use it. More info when I have it.

Also, the Comics Journal #279 reviews CAN'T GET NO. Its not on-line yet, but as soon as I can link to it I'll put it up here.
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#277377 - 12/09/06 05:55 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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From Eurotard.

Not Exactly Satisfaction
Can't Get No - Rick Veitch
2006, DC/Vertigo

My god if I don't adore the Roaring One. On an aesthetic level, he's divine. Knows his nibs, loves his brushes. Has an ungodly knack for dimension. Creates amazing backgrounds. Looks best in black & white.

Anatomically, he's a nightmare. He's had some peak moments, when it comes to rendering believable faces & hands-- parts of The Maximortal come to mind, and the first two volumes of Rare Bit Fiends --but mostly his people look awful. The eyes are never quite right (I think demonic is the word), and those mouths! The lips the snivel and blubber, the teeth that snag and glare! Admittedly, you can always identify a person in Veitch's work. The designs are always carefully adhered-to. But they're always so ugly.

His writing's a weird creature. It has a tendency to snake around inside itself, doing rifle drills with well-worn metaphors; sometimes it hacks them, creating interesting bastards, other times it rolls them down the slope to see what they'll accrue. The best thing I can say is that sometimes I like it better than others.

Can't Get No has all these attributes and more. I can't give it a rating, because the book doesn't work like that. None of Veitch's stories do. You have to read them some ten, twenty times before you understand exactly everything that's gone in, and even then you might not like them. I think that's where I am with this one. It's got everything that Veitch is capable of (in spades!) but I don't know how I feel about it.

It's certainly innovative, as far as the Graphic Novel goes. Rigorous, non-conformist format. Page layout is one of Veitch's strengths, and this book showcases it. The narrative is two-tiered, visual and verbal, and the twain DO NOT MEET except with the assist of the reader. It reads like a mime show covered in post-it notes. This gives me some trouble, occasionally-- I wish it were wholly silent, no narrator at all --but Veitch gets marks for doing something that you only see every once in a while, like when the writer on a monthly title gets burned-out and feels the need to do something tricky. Unlike the burnout writer scenario, this is not a stunt-- this is a whole book, something labored over.

I very nearly have some issues with the subject matter (it's a IX-XI story), but Veitch gets around me by doing the obvious, by making the whole figurative political landscape concrete. You want to compare & contrast the current rhetoric with the progressive stance of the founding fathers, take things out of context and bend words? Fine, we'll take a traipse through a dilapidated theme park dedicated to Americana. The story takes several direct steps off a ledge and lands in J.G. Ballard's backyard every time. The visual narrative is perversely pleasurable where the story is most off-balance. I'm not even sure balance is the right word, given the amount of detail-- think the grotesque amount of visual information contained in the temples of Angkor Wat and you're close --but balance is what keeps coming out because the story careens like a drunk in a wiiiide alleyway.

It's a Walk. That much is certain. It's well worth owning, if only to puzzle over. I found my copy by accident. I don't imagine it's stocked in every bookstore. You might have to order it.

POST-SCRIPT:
If you think you might want to hit Can't Get No, I recommend investigating Vetich's other works first. Start with the Rare Bit Fiends books; they're the most personal (also, suprisingly accessible). Then do Maximortal and Bratpack. Heartburst is a laugh.

The One and GreyShirt: Indigo Sunset are strictly for completists.
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#277378 - 12/09/06 12:45 PM Re: Can't Get No
Paul O'Keefe Offline
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You have to put a pullquote from Eurotard on the back of you next book... just for the name.

I'd have to agree that you don't draw stylized good looking people. Your characters often seem more normal because they are not drawn to look beautiful. They're just fat, skinny, old, wrinkled, people. Instead of characters beautiful carved out of stone and polished, they are people made of clay, all lumpy and fugly like regular people.
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#277379 - 12/11/06 11:21 AM Re: Can't Get No
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I can't tell if Kubert's comment is a compliment or an insult.
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#277380 - 12/11/06 12:45 PM Re: Can't Get No
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Now, THAT should be an edorsement on the back of any new book!
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#277381 - 12/12/06 06:44 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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From Pop Image.

REVIEW: CAN'T GET NO
Dan Coyle
***1/2
Writer/Artist: Rick Veitch
Letterer: Nick Napolitano
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics
Plot: Marker magnate Chad Roe is swimming in the despair of his business’ failure when a wild night lands him covered in his own product- a full body permanent marker tattoo. This sparks a journey of debauchery that is interrupted when the events of September 11, 2001 harsh his buzz. Roe then decides to get lost in America for a while.

Critique: In January 2002, DC Comics published 9-11 Vol. 2, a collection of stories about the fateful day that “Changed Everything”, and the book featured a creator who had been apart from the company for many years: Rick Veitch. Veitch was a contributor to Alan Moore’s legendary Swamp Thing run in the eighties, and eventually took over the book when Moore departed as writer/artist, having already proved his skill at both with graphic novels such as Heartburst and The One: The Last Word in Superheroics. An infamous dispute over an issue of Swamp Thing in which the time traveling title character met Jesus- the issue was approved and finished, then abruptly canceled by DC top brass- led to Veitch’s departure from the title and the company. However, in recent years Veitch has mended fences with DC, and has cited the events of September 11 as one of the reasons he decided to do so.

The reunion between DC and Veitch has, up to this point, yielded decidedly mixed results: a yearlong run on Aquaman had interesting ideas but was a huge disappointment creatively. Can’t Get No is a far more interesting prospect than the one thousandth attempt to make readers care about Arthur Curry. It’s also not like the usual DC OGN: 352 black-and-white pages, and published in manga-size landscape format. Aside from that, in an interesting artistic choice, there is not a single line of dialogue: the events of the story are abetted by a sort of tone poem related to, if not exactly describing, the events in the story. Sound like a risky proposition? You bet; I believe it was originally announced as a miniseries (you can still detect the cliffhangers Veitch built into the narrative for the issue breaks), but DC has decided to take the plunge and release it all as one volume. Can’t Get No is a fascinating work, and quite unlike anything out there right now.

As Can’t Get No starts out, Chad Roe is the typical upper middle class man’s man who is successful, has a beautiful if distracted wife, and crams Xanax into his mouth several times a day. He’s swimming in dough thanks to Eter-No-Mark- the marker that one really can’t erase. However, this is creating a graffiti epidemic throughout New York City, leading city hall to sue the pants of Roe’s company, driving its stock into the toilet and leaving Roe destitute. He tries to drown his sorrows with alcohol, and that leads to an encounter with a pair of female artists- they draw a comic strip making fun of him, and they respond to his insulting them by taken his drunken self back to their apartment, and covering him with the first Eter-No-Mark body tattoo. Understandably, looking like a Maori tribesman causes massive interference with Roe’s attempt to save his company. A reunion with the artists leads not to revenge but understanding- after a shaky start, Roe joins the two girls for a road trip to the very heart of darkness- New Jersey. It’s there, at a rest stop, that “it” finally happens- the planes. The twin towers. It’s a mesmerizing scene, as Roe and everyone around him are transfixed, with the same this can’t REALLY be happening, can it? Look on their faces, as I and I’m sure many other people did on that fateful day. The events of 9/11 almost seem like a rude interruption to Chad’s story at first, but then, everyone’s “journey”, whether it was a drunken run with two artists or simply going to work that day, was rudely interrupted by 9/11. Everyone, to some degree, made it a part of who they were at the time in my opinion. I remember the first few days afterwards, wandering around, looking at people, and feeling a strange sense of “unity”- because we all “knew” what was going on. And were terrified of what was going to happen next.

Can’t Get No isn’t overtly political like The One, which was a master work of the paranoia of détente. Veitch is more interested in the emotional effects of 9/11 on Roe more than anything else. That doesn’t mean Veitch doesn’t get his digs in, however. Roe falls in with a kindly Lebanese couple after his artist friends are arrested- this leads to an encounter with a group of white beachgoers in New Jersey that ends predictable, albeit not without a twist on the proceedings. The book’s middle- and least successful- section is Roe encountering a dreamlike, is-it-real-or-isn’t-it rave amid an abandoned theme park, whose theme was, natch, patriotism. Need I even tell you there’s a scene where Roe finds himself climbing through a giant paper mache JFK head that has a big, BIG hole in the back? Yet, just when the sequence wears out its welcome, Veitch moves on. Roe’s journey is compelling because he finds himself in a perpetual state of motion, and the poem helps propel the reader along in a way that simple narration and dialogue- or even no words at all- would not.

It’s a risky stylistic choice, but for the most part Veitch pulls off the “script” well. There’s a real stream of consciousness feeling to the omniscient narrator/poet’s take on the event. Letterer Nick Napolitano’s gray toned captions dance across the pages, creating a nice flow for the readers’ eye. At times- particularly the aforementioned rave scene- the narration tends to get overly pretentious and tiresome, but it pulls itself back for the conclusion. I’ve not really read anything quite like Can’t Get No in comics for a very long time. Veitch has always been on the cutting edge of storytelling, whether it be the side and enraged meta-commentary of Brat Pack and Maximortal or the puzzle box tales of Indigo Sunset. While I’m not aware of how well Can’t Get No is selling, I’d like to think it would start a bit of a trend.

Veitch’s artwork looks fine in color, but in my opinion, his art is always better served by being in black and white. Chad Roe’s pre-and-post-9/11 world is filled with colorful, memorable characters surrounded by a stark, strange world that’s rich in detail and not nearly as black and white as the illustrations would have one believe. Veitch even manages to do a good job of keeping Roe’s marker tattoo straight, something a lesser artist might have cheated on. Yet although it takes place in a world of grey, Veitch isn’t exactly shunning away from a Manichean viewpoint. A recurring image is a shot of Roe’s Xanax, represented by a black and white capsule. It represents the “with us or against us” dichotomy that Roe, and perhaps the country at large, faces- does one retreat into the black, closing oneself off and retreating, or does one head into the light like Roe does, traveling across the east coast and trying to find some meaning in not the flag, but other people? Roe’s flight is driven by despair, but he meets and makes connections he might otherwise never would have done, had things gone right for him.

Given the surreal flights of fancy Chad Roe goes through, it’s interesting that Can’t Get No concludes on such a quiet, conventional note. The book isn’t perfect; the third act fling Chad has with a flighty performance artist suffers from her not being as fully developed as the other characters (probably because it takes a while to figure out that she isn’t a figment of his imagination). And readers may be stymied by where Roe ultimately ends up. Does Chad Roe change as a result of his ordeal? Has keeping an open mind worked out for him, made him a better person? Or perhaps that’s the question Veitch wants to ask of readers- 9/11 “changed everything”, but did it? More importantly, if there were changes, did we change for the better? Maybe if one just keeps an open mind, keeps progressing, things will work out. In any case, keep and open mind and read Can’t Get No, one of the must read graphic novels of the year.
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#277382 - 12/12/06 07:08 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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From goombah Steve Bissette on Panel to Panel.

CAN'T GET NO
Written & Illustrated by Rick Veitch
Published by DC Comics/Vertigo 2006
Review by Stephen R. Bissette
Since Rick Veitch’s latest solo original graphic novel
is receiving (richly deserved) praise from all corners
in and out of the comics arena, I’ll avoid
redundancies. The one fresh perspective I can offer
CAN’T GET NO readers and prospective buyers/readers is
that of a privileged insider who has seen Veitch’s
work mature over three decades. This newest work is
the current culmination of key aspects of his creative
life in a way that is most likely invisible to all but
the truly devoted, diehard Veitch aficionados and
collectors.

CAN’T GET NO is the tale of an upper-class Manhattan
ad executive whose life is derailed by a catastrophic
business upset, a subsequent drunken one-night stand
with lesbian guerilla artists who indelibly ‘tattoo’
his face and body with the very “ultra-permanent”
markers his firm promotes, and the September 11th,
2001 strike on the World Trade Center. Unmoored by the
lethal combo of his personal apocalypse and that
striking the heart of Manhattan and the US, Veitch’s
protagonist is not so much cast adrift as he is thrown
to the dogs and thrust into a purgatory road quest.
This is the meat of the novel, as evocative of Jack
Kerouac and EASY RIDER as it is of both Dantes --
Alighieri, of INFERNO fame, and filmmaker Joe, with
whom Veitch shares a potent grasp of and impudent
irreverence for national landmarks and trademarks, and
their subversive potential (note his perfect union of
Jackie Kennedy, Mount Rushmore, the Universal Monsters
and Amusement-Park-America-in-ruins in one of the
novel’s most deft, breathless sequences). Unlike EASY
RIDER’s biker antiheroes Wyatt and Billy, Veitch’s
tattooed everyman doesn’t go looking for America, but
he finds it everywhere.

Like all Veitch graphic novels since ABRAXAS AND THE EARTHMAN, it’s an arduous transformative quest, for his put-upon hero and the reader, and Veitch
skillfully drives his philosophical points home with
deceptively playful surgical precision. Significantly,
unlike Veitch’s idiosyncratic (in mainstream terms)
earlier works, this one is utterly attuned to the
collective zeitgeist of NOW -- the post-9/11 world we
live in today. Thus, it is absolutely contemporary,
urgent, and a heartfelt dissection of shared traumas
both private and public, making this the most
accessible of all Veitch’s creations. It’s also a
much-needed antidote to the jingoistic post-9/11
patriotic garbage the mainstream comics publishers (DC
included) have been cautiously but shamelessly
grinding out for five years; kudos to Veitch for
countering such shallow, patronizing exploitation with
such an expansive, explorative and introspective
creation.

Though the creator of this magnificent work might
resent my saying so, CAN’T GET NO can be read two
ways. It can be read comprehensively as the synthesis
of poetry and sequential narrative Veitch consciously
forged. Or it can be read as a ‘silent’ graphic
narrative, of a piece with Franz Masereel and Lynd
Ward’s early 20th Century metaphoric woodcut graphic
novels, in which Veitch’s staccato beat poetry
(echoing Don Van Vliet/Captain Beefheart as much as
Allen Ginsberg) becomes a sort of background cacophony
to be engaged with or ignored at whim, as one chooses.

In this, CAN’T GET NO stands as the summit, summation
and a coherent one-stop totality of everything Veitch
has created to date. It’s a marvelous tapestry
composed of threads I clearly recognize as individual
fabrics and weaves he has labored over throughout his
career.

Many colors and patterns of this tapestry may be
obvious to the casual comics reader with a passing
knowledge of Veitch’s most mainstream work -- the
transformative quest is characteristic of all his
Marvel/Epic serializations and graphic novels, as well
as his SWAMP THING years (working from Alan Moore’s
scripts, and as writer/penciler until the abrupt
termination point that was SWAMP THING #88), redolent
with pop culture touchstones, political and religious
thematics and icons, and a flamboyant fusion of high
melodrama and sometimes brutal violence. Those aware
of his Tundra years and self-publishing ventures under
the King Hell moniker will recognize more: the
affinity of his fictional protagonist’s plight and
apparently goalless quest, and the mercurial
landscapes he explores, with Veitch’s own dream
persona (in all its incarnations) in RAREBIT FIENDS;
the disorienting speed with which the arena shifts
from the microscopic to the cosmic, a’la RAREBIT and
the entirety of the King Hell universe (THE ONE,
MAXIMORTAL, BRATPACK, etc.); the predilection for
grotesque caricature (when it suits his purposes) in
jarring contrast to subtler observations of character
and nuances of body language; etc.
But how many of you have ever heard of, much less
seen, Rick’s mini-comics? Does anyone recall their
mini-eruption onto the newsstand via the
text-column-filler strips entitled “L’il Tiny Comics”
that appeared in HEAVY METAL for a short time around
1980? Ah, I thought not.
If memory serves, Rick once told me “L’il Tiny Comics”
were introduced long before he and I met at the Joe
Kubert School in September of ‘76 (relevant to CAN’T
GET NO, the American Bicentennial year). The first
sample I saw was a hand-drawn, one-of-a-kind
mini-comic Rick drew as a birthday gift for a friend.
These were unique items, not meant or designed for
publication.

Over the years, these never-published “Li’l Tiny
Comics” would sporadically appear as needed, lovingly
drawn, glued and stapled together most often as unique
gifts or commemorative souvenirs. Together, we did a
completely silly “L’il Tiny Comic” as a regional
giveaway item for a friend of Rick’s, featuring
“Rivits the Stinkiest Dog in the World” -- this was
the closest “L’il Tiny” came to mass production,
happily relegated to limbo of instant obscurity.
When I became the first Kubie (our affectionate term
for Kubert School students; alumni are Ex-Kubies) to
land a sale to HEAVY METAL magazine back in ‘77, Rick
was quick to submit his own work to art director John
Workman, and one of the first sales Rick scored there
was a full-color short serialized variation on “L’il
Tiny Comics” fusing Rick’s off-the-cuff poetry with
crazy-quilt visuals. The loose narrative drive and
frame was deliberate: while still living in Dover, NJ
in a shared house, Rick and I once pinned up all the
material we had sold to HEAVY METAL on the wall
alongside the roughs for concepts HM had rejected, and
arrived at the revelation that the magazine tended to
purchase only the non-narrative, nonlinear work --
comics that made no sense! Thus, we both plunged into
completing full-color non-narrative experiments,
almost all of which John Workman was delighted with
and purchased (most were published, too).

The
incarnation of “L’il Tiny Comics” that appeared in
HEAVY METAL was among these (as I noted, as
“text-column-filler” strips, as HM was at that time
seeking something Workman could plug into the text
pages), and its fusion of beat poetry, rock’n’roll
licks and visionary art always defined for me Veitch
at his most freeform and adventurous.
The format also yielded Rick’s breakthrough RAREBIT
FIENDS series, first drawn as his inventive
permutation of the Scott McCloud “24 Hour Comics”
challenge. Instead of addressing the challenge head-on
as a marathon run as Scott and I had -- an unnecessary
component for Rick since he always made (or beat)
deadlines -- Rick dedicated one hour each morning over
24 days to delineating his dreams in landscape-format
pages, and photocopy-published the complete
24-days-of-single-hours harvest as a “L’il Tiny
Comics” variation, mailing it to Scott, myself, and
others in that first month or two of “24 Hour Comics”
exchanges. These remain to my mind some of Rick’s
all-time best work. The art was spare and elegant,
never overworked or clumsy, effortlessly embodying a
grace and immediacy his pro work too often subsumed in
labor-intensive elaborations. That dancer’s touch was
occasionally muffled in the “real” dream comics he
eventually began publishing in 1994, but it still lent
his art some rarified “breathing room.” Thus, Rick
launched the dream comic that became his ambitious
self-published Jungian autobiographical series RAREBIT
FIENDS, elevating what had been “L’il Tiny Comics” to
a whole new platform. The rest is history.
Thus, it is with great satisfaction that I hold his
newest “L’il Tiny Comic” -- which, format-wise, is
what CAN’T GET NO is in the context of contemporary
trade hardcover and paperback graphic novels in
general, and the template formats of DC/Vertigo
graphic novels in particular. This is the richest,
densest incarnation of Veitch’s venerable “Li’l
Tinies.” There, the secret is out.

Some (including Veitch) have complained about the
paper stock and printing (one friend emailed me,
bemoaning the lack of color), but I celebrate that
aspect of CAN’T GET NO; it is somehow apropos, an echo of the conundrum of preciousness (only one copy!) and disposability (mini-comics!) inherent in the “L’il
Tiny Comics” of yore. It’s the WAR AND PEACE of “L’il Tiny Comics,” thick as a brick, concrete yet
ephemeral, substantial yet elusive and wonderfully
ethereal, despite its physical heft. That such an
ideosyncratic and personal work emerged from the
DC/Vertigo stable is further cause for celebration. I
get a chuckle from the final page’s l’il tiny typeset
masthead of DC/Vertigo credits; it perversely sweetens
the package, echoing the fake comics companies Rick
and his brother Mike competitively mounted as
grade-school children and brothers vying to dominate
their illusory one-household, small-town-America
market. Ya beat him, Rick -- this is the Big Time!

But maybe that’s just me. Hell, I don’t care -- I hold
this book in my hands after re-reading it for the
umpteenth time, and I feel a circle coming together,
an axis shifting, and I unapologetically love it like
no other graphic novel.
As in CAN’T GET NO’s slippery-as-black-ice narrative,
nothing -- NOTHING -- is permanent, much less
“ultra-permanent.” That, Veitch reminds us, is the
heart and deceptive beauty of art, illusion, love,
hate, God and Empire and country and death and life
itself. Like the wellspring of its title, CAN’T GET NO
is a song, a grand song -- in pages and panels. Let
your eyes dance, and sing.
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#277383 - 12/20/06 05:58 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Rich Watson's GLYPHS blog has named CAN'T GET NO one of the Top 10 Books of 2006 over at PopCultureShock.com.

Can’t Get No (DC/Vertigo). A businessman’s abrupt series of changes in his fortune culminates in the events of September 11, which prompt him to journey across America searching for a renewed sense of purpose. Perhaps the most challenging comic I’ve ever read, Rick Veitch tells the story of the businessman exclusively with images, accompanying them with a stream-of-consciousness poetic narrative that seems to reflect the plot at times, depending on your interpretation. It’s a worthy effort towards pushing the boundaries of what comics can be; a book that demands your attention by its very nature and forces you to think carefully about what you see and read.
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#277384 - 12/20/06 10:17 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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CAN'T GET NO has been named a runner up in the First Annual PW Week Critics Poll.
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#277385 - 12/28/06 05:31 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Peter Hensel at Convival Parlays on CAN'T GET NO:

Can't Get No by Rick Veitch
After this was released, it suddenly dropped off the face of the planet. There was a tremendous buzz and excitement for a major new release from the critically acclaimed Rick Veitch, and after its release? I think I read one review on a blog, and the compulsory reviews on large reviewing sites weren't very clever or insightful.

The nature of the work makes it very hard to discuss or review besides a superficial reaction, though. Veitch's almost incessant prose style matches with a similarly meandering plot to make any writing on the subject tend towards unfair criticism that sounds like merely a negative reaction to the very odd choices Veitch makes. That said, I'm not about to write about the work, and it's best to be experienced by yourself with an eye slanted towards the visual storytelling as opposed to the written captions. I could easily see it becoming an unearthed classic twenty years from now when nostalgia for our current era sprouts (a possibility I'd have thought impossible before all the G.I. Joe and Transformers remakes), but for right now it's firmly defined as an odd book enjoyed by odd people in a very odd manner.
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#277386 - 12/29/06 06:44 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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CAN'T GET NO is named #1 on the Best of 2006 list by Bob Weinberg at City Link Magazine.

1. Can't Get No by Rick Veitch. Comic book veteran Veitch penned an intriguingly offbeat narrative with this dialogue-free tale of self-discovery set against the backdrop of New York on Sept. 11, 2001. The fragile existence of a high-powered executive shatters after he becomes marked from head to toe with indelible pens. Can't Get No provides an important reminder that sometimes the most profound changes come when we're forced outside our comfort zone.
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#277387 - 12/29/06 09:24 AM Re: Can't Get No
Shoegaze99 Offline
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Registered: 06/15/02
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I've been watching this thread, hoping Rick's Google searches would turn up my writeup at DIMP ... but alas! no such luck. Google loves me not.
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#277388 - 12/29/06 12:31 PM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Shoe,
Feel free to post it (or send me the link and I will!)
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#277389 - 12/30/06 06:49 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Here's a CAN'T GET NO thread over on Newsarama with a great title: Rick Veitch: Comics most talented writer no one cares about.
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#277390 - 01/02/07 05:22 PM Re: Can't Get No
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CAN'T GET NO is named one of the Best Graphic Novels of 2006 by La Carcel de Papel.
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#277391 - 01/04/07 06:19 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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CAN'T GET NO is named one of the Best Graphic Novels of 2006 by Matt Brady at Warren Peace Sings The Blues.
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#277392 - 01/04/07 06:26 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Every Day Is Like Wednesday names CAN'T GET NO as one of The Thirty-Three Notable Graphic Novels of 2006.
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#277393 - 01/04/07 05:57 PM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Here's an excerpt from from Rob Vollmar's review in The Comics Journal #279:

The logic of Can’t Get No is dreamlike. Its messages are at once garbled and instinctively understood. Its characters and symbols are the currency of American culture; the businessman, the bohemian, the foreigner, the bigot, sex, drugs, and, lest we forget the title, old-time rock and roll.

In order to evoke this state of altered consciousness, Veitch employs some fairly restrictive narrative conceits. The entirety of what actually happens in Can’t Get No takes place in the images. It is a 352-page parable in pantomime accompanied by a captioned narrative that obliquely references the emotional contour of that story in something resembling free verse. The extreme separation between the two streams of info is not a passive decision as it, in effect, shapes the way the reader is allowed into the story. It constantly begs re-examination of the page as the images flow across it, redirecting the eye to process the text, perhaps in tandem this time, with the discrete image with which each segment is grouped visually. The through-composed nature of the narrative verse discourages the cumulative association of what is happening textually on any given page with what came before or necessarily what comes after. In so doing, it invites the reader, with some degree of self-awareness on display, to be here now.

Moving from what Can’t Get No is to what it is about, one may be surprised to find that it is not really about 9/11 at all. The real events of that day are, within the context of this story, merely the impossible midpoint on a line composed of fantastic improbabilities. Enmeshed in this work of unrepentant fiction, the surreal nature of the World Trade Center buildings crashing to the ground before the eyes of millions transforms otherwise implausible coincidences and/or shortcuts necessitated by the mute visual storytelling into useful material. This freedom is exercised liberally throughout, adding to the dreamlike atmosphere by virtue of its purposeful randomness.
Even as he creates a story that is difficult to anticipate, though, Veitch stays committed to the purpose of the piece, which is to satirize and criticize culture through his morality play. In this sense, Can’t Get No is defined by the not-so-coy contrasts that it draws between the loose confederation of ideals associated with the American youth counterculture of the 1960s and the values he presents as being indicative of contemporary culture in America. The story’s protagonist, Chad Roe, is a soulless young businessman who is all too willing to despoil the world around him in his quest for more money and more power. His marked transition from his high position of status to social outcast not only ultimately spares him the fate of those who were trapped inside the WTC buildings when they fell, but sends him on a hero’s journey from which he returns transformed. While his tribulations are many and his suffering great, he does manage to consume a lot of non-prescription drugs and have wacky psychotropic sex with Jackie Kennedy inside JFK’s head, as well as make back all of his money with dividends by practicing a more responsible form of capitalism.

If that encapsulation comes across as inappropriately glib in relation to the somber 9/11 theme, there’s a really good chance that Can’t Get No will seem so as well. One of the unavoidable drawbacks of delivering this particular story through the images alone is the vacuum of nuance it encourages as the philosophical debate is waged in the narrative equivalent of semaphore code. As such, one could accuse Veitch of preaching only to the choir as his fable leaves little room for dissent, well-reasoned or otherwise. The values on display are the causa prima for the story’s existence, the very meaning of its purpose. Resting on a foundation such as this, the burden of reaching the intended response is placed squarely on the reader.

Even without the transpersonal catharsis, Can’t Get No easily ranks among the best of Rick Veitch’s as a solo act. For whatever it detracts from potential sophistication of its message, the creative decision to let the images carry the story provides an admirable showcase for his imaginative cartooning. Can’t Get No ambitiously builds upon pre-existing themes in Veitch’s work even as it commits itself narratively to the task of seeking previously untested storytelling avenues for its creator. Considered one last time in context with other 9/11 related comics and graphic novels, this feverish allegory is fundamentally unsuited to the tasks of clarifying its causes or ramifications in any meaningful way. Its purpose is limited to parsing a hopeful lesson from otherwise senseless destruction that, if properly motivated, even the most self-serving among us are capable of living a better life.
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#277394 - 01/08/07 08:16 AM Re: Can't Get No
Shoegaze99 Offline
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Registered: 06/15/02
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Review of CAN'T GET NO from DVD In My Pants .

As an artist and writer, Rick Veitch has paid his dues in the world of comics. While probably best known for his work on Swamp Thing (first as an artist with writer Alan Moore, then taking on full duties with his own acclaimed run) and Heavy Metal magazine, as well as other Moore collaborations, including 1963 and co-creating ABC Comics' Greyshirt character, he has in recent years built up an impressive library of graphic novels, including The One, Brat Pack, and Abraxas And The Earthman.

The most recent addition and one worthy of inclusion on your bookshelf – if you're up for a challenging read, that is – is his latest work, Can't Get No. Billed by some as a post 9-11 work, it's far more than that.

Chad Roe, a businessman who is down on his luck, gets terribly plastered one evening and against his will is tattooed from head to toe by two women. This sends his life into a downward spiral, a spiral accelerated when he is witness to the attacks of September 11, 2001. What follows is a journey of introspection and self-discovery.

First and foremost, and the hardest thing to avoid when talking about Can’t Get No, is the presentation. Not as much the sizing of the pages – it is presented in a “widescreen” 7.25” x 5.75” format, which made for some attractive layouts - but rather the mix of image-driven storytelling overlaid with a twisting, druggy poem of epic length. The images crispy, clearly and dynamically tell a story, while the text is a book length, sometimes pretentious poem that ostensibly has nothing to do with the narrative, yet more often than not intertwines with and comments on that narrative. I really enjoyed this device. While from time to time the two would drift a bit too far apart, when they two came together they really impacted one another in a big way, the verse adding weight and heft to the story, and vice versa. When we see the markers that will disrupt Roe's life in several ways, and the text speaks of a “suffocating self-embrace,” the two separate works become one. Very effective technique. It moves along at such a smooth and rapid clip that the moments when the text gets jarring or clunky or pretentious (and there are a few, most especially the latter) are put behind you swiftly. Far from being a gimmick, it’s truly an essential part of the experience.

It's also a device that seems to speak directly to the state of mind Chad Roe is in. Early on in the story, when our main character was still grounded in a reality we can sort of relate to, the overarching verse and the image-driven narrative are locked into one another. Constant bang, bang, bang. One commenting on the other; clearly, focused, in sync. Yet the further along he gets in his journey of self-discovery, loss, humanity, and self-examination, the more fractured it all seems to be, coming together less and less frequently as the graphic novel moves along. As a reader, trying to make sense of how it all links together becomes an exercise in leaps of confusion – which is totally story appropriate, I might add. By the end, though, it comes back full circle (presumably for story-related reasons). I’m not sure how purposeful this was, if it was truly planned this way, but it managed to bring the whole thing home for me. The end especially tied the whole piece together nicely.

With Veitch's resume, it should come as no surprise that the art and storytelling are strong. You could easily strip away the words and still have a crisp, clear narrative.

And speaking of the narrative, despite a hefty 350 pages or so, it’s pretty tight. Few are the times it drifts or meanders to the point of distraction. Oh, it does from time to time, taking little side paths here and there, but most of the time when you feel as if you’ve gotten off the path it snaps back into place pretty quickly. That, or there is something there worth reading despite the left turn in the narrative. I’m thinking in particular of a journey through giant models of dead presidents' heads. (Trust me, it makes sense in the story.) I'm not sure how much I enjoyed that as part of our main character’s journey - in fact, I know how much; not a ton - but the visual commentary was so rich here I was willing to take the ride. Segments with JFK and a Jackie O look alike were great.

Overall, really strong stuff. That Veitch managed to make me like the two awful women who did the markering job on Roe surprised me. That he managed to tie 9/11 into the story in a tasteful way that was essential to the story without being the story – despite what you may have read, this is not “a 9/11 graphic novel” – deserves praise. And the fact that he tried something with the medium that felt fresh and creative and unlike anything I had read before was a breath of fresh air. It has its flaws, not the least of which is language that often seems cumbersome just for the sake of being cumbersome, but in many ways those 'flaws' are Can't Get No's strengths.

This graphic novel doesn't meet you halfway; it challenges you; it asks you to take a chance with it, and rewards you for doing so. I really appreciated that.

At only about $12 from Amazon.com, if you're looking for something unlike anything you've read before, this is money well spent and a comic experience you’re not likely to forget.
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#277395 - 01/11/07 07:09 AM Re: Can't Get No
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The Sunday Guardian has included CAN'T GET NO on a list of "exceptional books that attracted attention" in 2006.
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#277396 - 02/15/07 02:43 PM Re: Can't Get No
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DC hasn't actually announced it yet, but if you slip on over to their podcast page you can find and download a 49 meg file of me reading the text to CAN\'T GET NO.

Engineering and ghostly soundscape courtesy of my son, Ezra Veitch.

Enjoy!
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#277397 - 02/19/07 09:32 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Here's a weird one. When I created the rundown Bicentennial theme park full of giant busts of the presidents, I didn't realize that something like it actually exists!

The Presidents Park, in Williamsburg VA.

[img]http://www.williamsburggrouptours.com/images/theme_PP_park.jpg[/img]
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#277398 - 02/19/07 10:33 PM Re: Can't Get No
mollygal Offline
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HAW! I never heard of this place.
Completely hilarious!!!

And an easy location for the movie version too.

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#277399 - 03/28/07 04:07 AM Re: Can't Get No
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This thing is STILL getting reviewed! This from Sarah Jaffe on Best Shots at Newsarama.

Can’t Get No
Written & Drawn by Rick Veitch
Published by DC/Vertigo
Review by Sarah Jaffe

Can’t Get No is an allegory and yet a simple narrative, a story of a businessman whose product is wreaking havoc—minor havoc, admittedly, compared to the corporate malfeasance that we’re accustomed to these days. A permanent marker that really won’t come off seems harmless compared to Enron or any number of pharmaceutical disasters. With his work life in shambles and his personal life almost as bad, Chad Roe sets off to drown his sorrows and hooks up with a couple of women (one with an absolutely terrifying face—Rick Veitch has a knack for the creepy and the all-out disturbing in his stark black lines). When Roe wakes up, he’s become the target of his own product. His entire body, including his face, is permanent-marker tattooed. At first he tries to hide them, to attend a business meeting in the World Trade Center, but the makeup starts to melt off like the façade of his perfect life, and he flees the city—just in time to look back and see the planes crash into the Twin Towers. It’s September 11, 2001, and this book is an attempt to put feelings to paper in its aftermath.

Chad Roe finds himself in a creepy Americana theme park filled with giant hollow heads of presidents and relics of more innocent times—including a woman dressed as Jackie Kennedy who reappears several times. The heavy focus on Kennedy perhaps is meant to draw a parallel between the death of the President and the collapse of the Towers—not in magnitude, perhaps, but in the feeling of loss, the chaos that followed, the sense of innocence lost.

To take any part of this story purely at face value would be to miss the entire point, however. It invites thought, evokes discomfort, and gives us no pretty answers. It leaves politics the hell alone and deals instead with the collective unconscious of us, America. Its America is a road trip in a ’59 Cadillac with a Jackie Kennedy impersonator and a bag of pot, a backwards baseball cap and a smile. It’s strangers holding hands in fear, and it’s a sand-sculpture of a tank and a brutal, xenophobic attack on a beach. It’s a man alone in the desert. In Veitch’s own words, it is “A culture in which separation . . . From the eternal . . . is a matter of business.”

It isn’t really a graphic novel so much as a story told entirely through illustrations, with a prose poem overlaid for narration. I was tempted to copy out the entire text without the pictures to get the full effect of it, but that would defeat the purpose. It at once shows the complete effectiveness of sequential drawings as a storytelling device (and might serve as a lesson to some writers who provide unnecessary narration), and gives you words simply for feelings, emotions, fears and hopes. The words are beautiful and slightly painful and ask you at once to consider the sacred and profane, the serious and the absurd. For example: “Every moment is a Bach Fugue, conducted by Salvador Dali. Hallucinated on henbane. Performed with period instruments . . . by a traveling flea circus,” or “A rattle rushes up the throat . . . to die like a fib on the lips of an evangelist.” It reads like a T.S. Eliot poem for our times, a list of images, impenetrable but evoking feelings, events, different meanings for all of us and yet somehow the same feeling of loss and maybe, somewhere, redemption.

Can’t Get No is a fever dream of a book, a psychedelic vision-quest through a nightmare America and an attempt to get at the fears of a once-invincible society after a shocking wake-up call. The text often has nothing to do with the picture and yet you can feel its relevance as you get lost, with the protagonist, in Veitch’s visions.
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#277400 - 04/27/07 09:32 AM Re: Can't Get No
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Reviews still trickling in.. Here's one that takes on both CAN'T GET NO and ARMY@LOVE from Signal Bleed.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Veitch @ Vertigo: Can't Get No and Army @ Love

Although Rick Veitch is something of an icon of indie comics and the early days of Vertigo (collaborating with Alan Moore on Swamp Thing and later taking over as both writer and artist), I wasn't familiar with his work until recently, when I happened to read his 2006 graphic novel Can't Get No and the first issue of his new ongoing series Army @ Love (both kindly sent over by DC/Vertigo) around the same time. These are very different works in many ways - obviously foremost in format, with one a longform, self-contained work, while the other is a serialized, open-ended story (the second issue was out last week, although I didn't read it). And Can't Get No is somber and sweeping, even in its moments of humor, while Army @ Love is a full-on satire.

Let me get this out of the way before I go any further so you can understand my opinion on Veitch: They are both really, really bad. In fact, Can't Get No may be the most unbearable reading experience I've ever had with a graphic novel. It only took maybe 10 pages for me to realize I was going to hate it, and yet I read all 352 pages of it for the same reason, I suppose, that I refuse to walk out of a movie or turn off a DVD even if I can't stand what I'm watching. Veitch's art is clear and accomplished enough, but his subject matter and storytelling style are so pretentious and cloying that they easily overwhelm any enjoyment that comes from the appealing visuals. The book is in an odd horizontal format, with long, squat pages, and the art is simple, black-and-white linework. The most striking formal element, though, is the disconnect between the words and the pictures. There are no dialogue bubbles or thought balloons; rather the entire book is filled with narrative captions that form sort of an epic, free-verse poem, using overwrought and pseudo-profound language that generally has little if anything to do with what the reader is looking at.

On top of that, the subject matter here is 9/11 and its aftermath, which is certainly legitimate but takes a special touch not to seem like exploitation. Veitch's meaningless, irritating narration makes it look like he's tacked it onto a national tragedy in order to give it false resonance, and the actual story, with a protagonist covered accidentally in indelible ink, seems like some sort of hazy metaphor for the country being marked by something it can never erase. While the art is good, it can't really convey much without dialogue, and thus the characters are all just ciphers. Veitch seems like someone with very strong political views who has trouble expressing them without resorting to obtuse literary devices.

Which is essentially the same problem with Army @ Love, an unfunny and completely bizarre satire that, although it's told in a much more straightforward style, is no less baffling than Can't Get No. Veitch's near-future world in which the U.S. Army uses battlefield sex to recruit people and makes war cool again is both illogical and confused, and I'm not exactly sure what aspect of current political or military life is being satirized here. It's so over the top that certainly none of the characters are sympathetic or easy to identify with, and the humor seems rather dated. Again, the art is solid, and helped by Gary Erskine's strong inking, but Veitch's point is lost under his strained efforts to shock. I also can't imagine how this is sustainable as an ongoing series.

Not many people are doing explicit political commentary in mainstream comics (unless you count something like Civil War, which I wouldn't), so it's good that Veitch is making the effort and Vertigo is supporting it, I guess. As much as I admire grand, ambitious failures, though, I'd much rather see something more down to earth with fully realized characters that makes its point less showily, but maybe with greater effect.
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#277401 - 05/10/07 04:48 PM Re: Can't Get No
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CAN"T GET NO has been included on the New York Public Library's 2007 list of recommended graphic novels for teens.

Newsarama.
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