In my interpretation of The War of the Worlds, the Martians attack hapless planet Earth not because they need water or are merely imperialistic, but in retaliation for us having sent El Brendel to their planet.Armed with the knowledge of the shtick El Brendel will force upon both his Martian and human viewers, when the 1930 science fiction musical comedy Just Imagine asks us to “just imagine,” it seems more of a chilling warning than a hopeful dream. Once you have experienced the comedic stylings of this one time vaudeville sensation, you will have no choice but to stare directly into the muzzle of that Martian heat ray, shrug, and admit that we’re really getting what we deserve. In fact, we’re probably getting off easy. Continue reading…
This site is updated Thursday afternoon with a new article about an artistic pursuit generally considered to be beneath consideration. Carol Borden draws out the best in comics, Chris Szego dallies with romance, alex MacFadyen stares deeply into the screen and Keith Allison probes science fiction.
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Days after we rang in the New Year, I finished a year spent reading all of the Fantastic Four comics, from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s earth-shattering first issue in 1961, which explained how four family members and friends were transformed by cosmic rays into super-powered adventurers, through the latest issues in 2015 by James Robinson and Leonard Kirk, in which those same four people are facing yet another trial that threatens their very existence. My reading included most of the related mini-series and secondary series, plus crossovers and event books (even though I have yet to read the entire run of Marvel Two-in-One, the long-running team-up book starring the idol o’ millions, the ever-lovin’ Thing).
As soon as I finished the epic run by writer Jonathan Hickman and various artists—the last run that I had not read in its entirety when it came out, much to my detriment—my first thought was, like a kid on a roller coaster, “I want to do it again!” I find myself with a profound love for these characters, even though I didn’t read them as a kid, coming to them only as an adult (and fairly recently at that). What is it about Reed Richards, the self-proclaimed Mr. Fantastic, whose body became as flexible as his scientific genius, while in the area of romance he remained as stiff as a board? Or Sue Storm Richards, the Invisible Woman (and Reed’s long-suffering partner), who transformed over the years from the perpetual hostage into the powerhouse of the team? What draws me to Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, who is the group’s Peter Pan while at the same time possessing awesome destructive power that he constantly struggles to keep under control? Or Ben Grimm, the Thing, whose focus on his rocky exterior blinds him to his inherent goodness and virtue, which his beloved (and literally blind) Alicia Masters can perceive all too well? Continue reading…
Category: Guest Star
Hasbro’s toy brand Transformers turned thirty last year. Children around the world have been hearing the Transformers’ story for decades, passed on by cartoons, comics, movies, and toys. It’s always the same, more or less. An alien race of transforming robots is at war, divided into two factions:
the villainous Decepticons, led by Megatron, and the heroic Autobots under Optimus Prime. Their battle takes them across the stars to Earth, where they use their abilities to disguise themselves as everyday vehicles.
Things are a little different these days, at least in some corners of the galaxy. In 2012, publisher IDW revamped its Transformers comics. Senior editor John Barber and his team replaced the central conceit of a never-ending interplanetary war with an uneasy peace between Autobots and Decepticons. IDW’s offering is diverse, sophisticated, and provocative. It has ranged from the political drama Robots in Disguise to Tom Scioli’s psychedelic Transformers vs G.I. Joe and the offbeat space opera More
Than Meets The Eye. Continue reading…
Category: Guest Star
I never expected to be reading Archie comics. Archie Andrews’ irresistible appeal to ladies mystified me and I came late to an appreciation for soap operas and straight melodrama. Then there was residual stuff around romance, a punk rock hostility towards the wholesome squares, a dash of internalized sexism mixed with gender dysphoria and a general preference for anything with monsters or things that one could just not find very easily in the real world. I like my escapism pretty fantastic and unrealistic. I did use bits of Betty & Veronica Double Digest in the zine I organized for my college women’s center. But somehow I always end up reading and watching things I never expect to. I got curious about Archie. With Archie: The Married Life and the release of a standalone book for Archie’s out gay character, Kevin Keller, something was clearly up at Archie comics. Then Chris Sims recommended Archie: The Married Life at Comics Alliance and one of my favorite comics writers, Marc Andreyko, recommended it on Fresh Ink with Blair Butler saying, “I love that Archie is probably the most progressive mainstream publisher right now.”
And that made me decide I needed to read it. Continue reading…
Paul Quinn interviews actor Lee Byung-hun (The Good, The Bad, The Weird; I Saw The Devil) for Hangul Cellulloid. “Every actor, especially the beginners, if they’re asked ‘Do you eventually want to be a star or a real actor?’ will answer that they want to be a real actor and not a star, 100%. However, […]
The bullets fly in Weng Jiang’s new Asian Western set in 1920s China: Let the Bullets Fly. It stars Chow Yun-Fat, Carina Lau and Weng Jiang himself. And though that sure sounds like Chow Yun-Fat, word is Mr. Chow has been dubbed. It would make a nice double feature with The Good, The Bad, The […]
It’s Twitch round-up time. Supporting martial artists Mike B. and Russell Wong take the lead kneeing and kicking people in the chest in Thanapon Maliwan’s The Sanctuary. Lee Byung-Hun, Kimura Takuya and Josh Hartnett go to Hong Kong and walk the line between the police and organized crime in Tran Anh Hung’s I Come with […]
How about a little more of Kim Ji-Woon’s The Good, The Bad and the Weird, my favorite Western, weird or not, in a while. Look at Jung Woo-Sung ride! (And watch out for some horse-tripping). Like this:Like Loading…
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Watch Nigerian writer and director Nosa Igbinedion’s Oya: The Coming Of The Orishas here.
At Bitch Media, Sara Century wonders why Michonne isn’t in charge and considers which medium is better for the ladies of The Walking Dead: comics or tv. “As I was thinking about the numerous questionable writing choices made with these could-be-so-great female characters, I got to wondering, which medium is better for the ladies of The Walking Dead: the TV show or the comic? In other words, which one is less sexist?
I wrote up a short list of the main female characters that appear both on the show and in the comic to decipher the differences in how these women are written. These descriptions contain spoilers through season five of the TV show, because it’s impossible to write about The Walking Dead without talking about how people die all the time.”
Vixen Varsity shares Olufemi Lee-Johnson’s tribute to Milestone Media and Dwayne McDuffie. “For the first time in my life, I was around comic writers of color telling stories that mirror or surpassed the storylines of America’s favorite heroes. Icon dealt with being the ultimate immigrant and not understanding current black culture. Rocket (Raquel Irvin) was his guide, but also aspired to be more than just a woman in the projects. Static (Virgil Hawkins) was just a normal teenager dealing with fitting into school and then was put into this extraordinary circumstance of being a hero. Hardware (Curtis Metcalf) wanted respect from his mentor, but later learned about the bigger picture when it came to being a hero and the characters from Blood Syndicate…they were just trying to make it day by day and maintain their respect as a gang.”
At Soundcheck, John Schaefer talks with Jim Jarmusch about “making music for someone else’s films, and a penchant for walking the tightrope between narrative and abstract art in his own movies. And if you thought his C.V. was looking a little thin, Jarmusch is also working on an upcoming opera about the Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla, with Robert Wilson and composer Phil Kline.” (Thanks, Kate!)
Alex Deuben interviews artist Nate Powell about the second volume of The March and working with Rep. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. “We are taught — and we tend to perpetuate this myth — that the Civil Rights Movement was nine words long: ‘Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream.’ I think what you’re saying really backs up that notion. In terms of John Lewis’ personal journey, ‘Book Two’ is certainly a deepening of discovery and involvement. Not just a worldview broadening, but becoming much more personally aware of the counter-escalation to any progress that the Movement made.”
At Vox, Alex Abad-Santos interviews Kelly Sue DeConnick about feminism, raising girls and her new comic, Bitch Planet. “DeConnick says Bitch Planet, which debuted late last year, is her take on the exploitation films she loved as a kid. The sci-fi prison saga is confident, slick, and hilarious on multiple levels. But it also vibrates with frustration over the sexism still alive today and the impatience in wanting to eliminate it.”