My Favorite Things with Leigh Dragoon

They might not be raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, but that doesn’t mean that we love them any less. Welcome to the new and improved version of My Favorite Things, a weekly column where we grab someone in speculative circles to gab about the greatest in geek. This week, we sit down with writer and comics creator Leigh Dragoon. What does Leigh love? Grey-Winged Angel Girls, Wind-Up Mice, Reboots Done Right, and The Thing. Trust me, you’re gonna want to read on.


John Carpenter’s 1982 adaptation of The Thing lands right at the top of my favorite things. Great pacing, acting, setting, plot, and direction, as well as legendary special effects, and it holds up for repeat viewings. It also offers a rabbit-hole of related entertainment. For starters, there’s the novella the film is based on: Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell. Easy to find online, and I highly recommend giving it a read. The Youtube channel Collative Learning has produced some very entertaining and thought-provoking analysis of the movie. I also love biologist Peter Watts’ short story “The Things,” published by Clarkesworld Magazine (click here if you prefer audio), which does an impressive job postulating a thought-provoking motivation for the creature. Last, but not least, my all-time favorite tie-in has got to be “All About the Thing” by Robert Meakin, an ebook available as a PDF through the best The Thing fan website of all time, Outpost 31. It offers an in-depth and fascinating exploration of the themes and narrative tricks utilized by Carpenter in the movie. As an author, I found it very enlightening, and an all-around inspiring read. Not bad for a freebie!

Image from The Glorio Blog

For those who would prefer a recommendation involving less gore and mutated body parts, the next favorite on my list is Haibane Renmei. Considering the sheer volume of low-quality, poorly written, flat-out juvenile anime I’ve slogged through over the years, Haibane Renmei remains a breath of fresh air. The Miyazaki-esque series, written by Yoshitoshi ABe, introduces us to several gray-winged angel girls who live in a cozily dilapidated building they’ve named Old Home. The first thing I love about the series is that it’s SHORT. Comprised of twelve half-hour long episodes, it doesn’t represent an enormous time sink. The second thing I love is the story, which is tightly focused on strong character development and an exploration of personal growth. The soundtrack, composed by Kow Otani, is a real gem, and well-worth tracking down.  If you watch Haibane Renmei and enjoy it, I’d also recommend another series of his, NieaA Under Seven, which tells a similarly warm-hearted story.

Next, I must mention a Hallmark special I grew up watching: The Mouse and His Child. Based on a Russell Hoban novel, the movie is a seriously messed-up tale of a wind-up toy father mouse along with his son, who go on a quest to become self-winding. It deals with such themes as child-friendly slavery, free will, and murder. Somehow, despite all this, it retains an undeniable sense of whimsy. In short, when I was a kid, I fricken LOVED it. My family watched it all the time. If you feel like dusting off your Beta or VHS player, you can see about tracking down a physical copy from Amazon. Otherwise, I’ve seen it uploaded to Youtube.

If I recall correctly, I believe the movie features a cosmic turtle.

Enough of the moldy oldies!  For a real-time rave, how about the Twin Peaks relaunch? The X-Files, take note! THIS is how you update a cult classic! Not only did Lynch secure the majority of the surviving cast-members (RIP Miguel Ferrer. I loved Albert!), he’s so far managed to avoid merely aping the original. The relaunch is darker but still possessed of the same spirit that made Twin Peaks such a cult classic back in the 90s. After reading Lynch’s autobiography Catching the Big Fish, which dealt heavily with his creative process, I had a lot of faith in his writing ability, especially where Twin Peaks was concerned. I’m glad to see he has not disappointed. The man has a lot of creative integrity, and it shows!


Web programmer by day, writer and comics creator by night…and weekends, and just before dawn, and on lunch breaks. Leigh Dragoon has adapted popular YA series such as Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy into Times Best Selling graphic novels. She has also authored three prose novels set in the Adventure Time universe. She is currently working on a fantasy graphic novel adaptation of Little Women, forthcoming from Oni Press. You can find her on her website at http://www.leighdragoon.com.

3 Comments

  • Speculative Chic Guest Post – Leigh Dragoon June 19, 2017 at 10:38 am

    […] The very kind Shara White invited me to write a guest post for Speculative Chic’s “My Favorite Things” article series. I had a blast writing the piece! Please check it out. […]

    Reply
  • Lane Robins June 19, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Do you have to remember all of the first Twin Peaks to watch the relaunch? Or is it a stand alone kind of restart?

    Reply
  • ladragoon June 21, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    I think you can get away with not rewatching as long as you remember the broad strokes.

    Reply

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