Paul Elwork Likes Weird Sisters and Comic Book Movies [FIERCE ANTICIPATION]

This week’s Fierce Anticipation blogumnist, Paul Elwork, lives in Philadelphia and is the father of two sons. His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including Philadelphia Stories, Short Story America, SmokeLong Quarterly, and Word Riot. His novel THE GIRL WHO WOULD SPEAK FOR THE DEAD (Amy Einhorn Books/Penguin Group) is available online and in bookstores everywhere. For more information and links to short fiction and other content, please visit


Fiercely Anticipating My Copy of The Weird Sisters

I’m waiting on a signed copy of Eleanor Brown’s novel The Weird Sisters. Eleanor and I share the same editor and publisher in Amy Einhorn. I’ve made her acquaintance out there in that vast cyberworld and over the phone. Eleanor is a generous cheerleader and advisor to her fellow authors—the kind of warm, funny personality that draws and holds people.

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The Weird Sisters has done very well, making it to the New York Times bestseller list, and certainly doesn’t need my little plug here. But I’m very interested to see how the spirited person I describe above performs on the page, so this novel belongs under my Fiercely Anticipating heading here. According to Booklist, I won’t be disappointed:

There are no false steps in this debut novel: the humor, lyricism, and realism characterizing this lovely book will appeal to fans of good modern fiction as well as stories of family and of the Midwest.

Count me in. I’m also very intrigued by all of the talk of how Eleanor weaves Shakespeare as a presence into the novel—suggested in the title Macbeth reference—through the voice of the sisters’ professor father. I get the sense from the reviews and descriptions I’ve read that this book features people who have fled from each other (as family members often do), fled from themselves somehow in the process, and flee home under the acknowledged cause of their mother’s cancer. So, yeah—I’m eager to get reading.

I Kinda Want to See Thor

Yes, I kinda want to see Marvel Studio’s movie Thor, coming out on May 6. I’m an old comic-book geek—mostly sentimental in terms of actually reading comics these days, or should I say a mostly non-practicing comic-book fan? However you want to phrase it, when a movie is on the horizon featuring one of the super heroes I grew up reading about in comics, I at least raise an eyebrow. If the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy were coming out on May 6, this would all be in the Fiercely Anticipating spot. But I happen to think that along with making the smartest, most enthralling thrillers out there (Memento, Inception, etc.), Nolan is making the best super-hero movies—and we’re talking about Batman here. No offense to Norse cultural tradition intended…

As I say, I raise an eyebrow at least when any comic-book hero shows up on the big screen. This summer is loaded with them: after Thor gets his turn, movies featuring Green Lantern and Captain America will also have them lining up at theaters. I’m sure I’ll make it out for all three. Green Lantern’s my favorite of these guys, though the Captain America flick looks like it may be the best film (the trailer’s got an Inglourious Basterds feel to it that appeals to me). I’ll be very happy to find out, believe me.

Okay, so here’s the kinda part. I’m friendly toward comic-book movies to say the least, but the catch is, I think most of them are fair at best and often pretty bad. And I think this is because these movies strain to suck. I know: some fanboys will tell you that if you just lift the source material whole from the pages of comics—complete with whatever color tights these folks have often been featured wearing—good movies will come together almost by accident. I think it takes very skilled hands to adapt super-hero comics into movies with success, and that “adapt” is the key word. For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on, I’m sort of expecting that the adaptation of Thor to the big screen will be just okay or worse. Kenneth Branaugh directed the movie, and I’ve been a fan of former Branaugh films, but I also can’t forget my disappointment at his take on Frankenstein (which I admit I haven’t seen since its release in 1994). I’m hoping for a two-hour diversion, I’ll take pure escapism, some compelling story and drama would be nice—I just hope it isn’t terrible. And I kinda want to see it. Yeah—the cost of that ticket is as good as spent.

I Wouldn’t Eat at a Chick-fil-A If You Paid Me

As far as I’m concerned, Chick-fil-A, Inc., and its subsidiaries can eat me. When a company goes on the record as being a bunch of narrow-minded bigots—declaring that same-sex couples don’t deserve the same rights as straight couples because of family values and religion and all of that—I sure as hell don’t want any more of their waffle fries set in front of me.

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