Month: April 2005

It’s Always Gonna Be Somethin’ With You, Isn’t It Pete?

“It’s Always Gonna Be Somethin’ With You, Isn’t It Pete?”
(adapted from a very Marvel moment from the final scene of Joe Vs. The Volcano… Have you seen this site? 40 sound clips from the film! All of them worthy of a berth on your answering machine! J V the V is one of the finest films made in my lifetime… I am not kidding–and, what’s more, it’s no accident that the people responsible for this film’s “5.3” rating on the IMDB also went for George W. Bush last year…)

Anyway–here are a couple more missives from the mists that survey the “soap-operafication” (I prefer to call it neo-existential romance) of the superhero genre at Marvel in the mid-1960’s… Creators and readers alike discovered (in some cases, to their chagrin) that Parker’s problems were going to persist, regardless of whether he got dates…in fact, as Paul O’Brien notes, the complete dork, as a figure, is much more amenable to a “power fantasy” narrative than the chronic worrier…  All of this set the stage for the Golden Age of Neurosis that Conway would foment in the early seventies!

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Good Afternoon Friends!
Dave

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“You guys know that Cap is a defender of the establishment”

What Would Albert Rodriquez Say About New Frontier?

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uh….probably the same thing, don’t ya think?

(from  Captain America #110–February 1969)

The cool thing is that, a few issues after this letter was printed, even Stan’s Cap would find himself besieged by very Rodriquezian thoughts (i.e. page 3 of issue #122: Colan’s Cap saunters down a New York street, trailing thought balloons of self-doubt…”it isn’t hip–to defend the establishment!  Only to tear it down! And in a world rife with injustice, greed, and endless war–who’s to say the rebels are wrong? But I’ve never learned to play by today’s new rules! I’ve spent a lifetime defending the flag–and the law! Perhaps–I should have battled less–and questioned more!)

This sets the stage perfectly for Englehart’s Cap’s manic-depressive crisis of belief late in Nixon’s presidency, and–on the other side of the Kirbyan abyss–Gruenwald’s Cap’s realization that he (and each of us) exists to judge the laws–and the country–he once defended…

Good night friends!
Dave

Just follow Roy…

Just Follow Roy…

Who says Vertigo and Bill Jemas ushered in the “Age of the Comics Writer”?
(well Sean Collins, for one, has said this)

But I think that Chet Jelinski would beg to differ!

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You know how some people wish it could be Christmas all year ’round? (okay, okay…I’m one of those people)

I wish that the “Age of Roy Thomas” could’ve lasted forever!

But, even assuming that you aren’t quite as mad about “The Boy” as I am, you’ve gotta admit, this is a fun letter–and it aptly demonstrates that, even back in the days of Gary Groth’s craftsman-gods, the reading public understood the importance of the superhero scribe!

Good night friends!

Dave

Arts and Crafty

Arts and Crafty

Our first Animal Man course-entry is up!

If you know anything about me, you know that this is the big one, as far as superhero comics and I are concerned… Hopefully, this will translate into wonderment in the classroom! We’ll see!

This week’s post is a snapshot of the lettercol reaction to “The Coyote Gospel”. I chose this route because I don’t want to impose my reading upon the students just yet (also, the letters are mostly quite good!)–but if you’ve got anything to contribute, please… impose away!!

The Animal Man lettercol provides the perfect opportunity for a segue to my other announcement, which is that–during this end o’ semester craziness, anyway–my new plan is to use this site to post daily (or near-daily) lettercol items (with brief annotations)… We’ll call it “Missives you (might’ve) Missed” or something like that…

good night friends!

Dave

Colanoscopy

 Colanoscopy

Is this an awesome page or what?

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Also, from the same era (late sixties DD)–the secret origin of the blogosphere:

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I refer, of course, to the style of the debate that Pasko (destined to become a fairly lame comics-scribe himself) laments (and furthers, with his whining about being misinterpreted…or should I say “Shratt upon”?)–however, even the content ought to be pretty familiar to most of you… This futile attempt to define “realism” has droned on long enough, don’t you think? I wish the editor had had the guts to disavow the term completely–in favour of “existentialism”, ‘natch! (of course, this is precisely what the invocation of O’Neill accomplishes, in a round-about way…but isn’t it sad that popular storytellers–if they want any respect at all–have to pretend to be striving for motherfuckin’ “realism”?)
 

Good night friends!
Dave

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Cerebus Part X — Issues #23 to 25
(see also: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part V
I-and-a-half, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX)

This will probably be my last Cerebus post for a while, because I’ve got a lot of research to do on the historiography of the New Left + the connection between 19th century sentimentalism and the rise of the ASPCA…also, I have to figure out where I’m going to live and how I’m going to be earning money this summer! But I wanted to reach the doorstep of High Society before withdrawing further into the academic cocoon.

There’s a lot going in these issues…let’s start with a couple of letters, from #23:

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Mr. Summers’ qualms are positively O’Neilian!  (I’ve written at length on this subject elsewhere–so I’ll try not to belabor the point…)  And I love the way that Bannon–the master letterhack–enters the narrative in full possession of his spastic persona .

Onward!

We begin with “The Beguiling” (a name to conjure with, in comic book circles!), Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

which sets the stage for all kinds of shenanigans by maneuvering the earthpig into a convalescent stupor on a cot in the attic of “Madame Dufort’s School for Gifted Debutants”–which turns out to be a front for the universe-destroying aspirations of one Charles X. Claremont (who spends most the first two issues in drag). As Madame Dufort, Chuck comes across as a distaff Yoda–schooling Cerebus in the virtues of patience, making sure that her young ladies (one of whom just happens to be Jaka’s sister) observe the proper etiquette (and keep their crossbows in fine fettle) and exuding a cosmic certainty which convinces us that this homey little group will easily resist the incursions of marauding Sepran soldiers (who all speak perfect ChicoMarxese).

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Cerebus makes some interesting speeches–whilst taking the young women for everything they’ve got in a profoundly moronic card game–on the subject of “heroism”

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On one level, it’s a pretty standard cynical expose of chivalry–i.e. he muses upon the usefulness of the code to the undeceived adventurer (“did Cerebus ever tell you about the time that he used a woman as a human shield?”), and he puts the kibosh on Theresa’s romantic account of Prince Rashazar’s escape from Eshnosopur (where the aristocracy enjoy playing “poison your in-laws”) by adding the detail that her idol was wearing the garb of a slave girl as he slipped through the enemy’s cordon. Sure, sure–there are no “white chargers” in Cerebus’ world. However–when the ladies begin to regurgitate his own exploits, in garbled form (Lord Julius–looking very Nick Furyish!–saves the Festival of Petunias; Elrod takes on an army), Cerebus keeps mum… Isn’t this because he does buy into his own legend? And doesn’t Cerebus (the narrative) ask us to join him?

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The aardvark may not look terribly prepossessing, but make no mistake, he is the hero of his own life, and he is becoming more and more conscious of this fact. How could he not–what with all of the scene-stealers that Sim forces him to contend with? Why else would he spend so many pages wondering how to protect everyone from the strange “mystical” squooshes in the night that disturb his delirium? Fear is not the motive–he’s concerned about being upstaged by the old woman and her crossbow wielding debutantes. Of course–that whole line of thought takes on a new meaning when he discovers that “Madame Dufort” is the real locus of danger in the piece–thanks to his “Woman Thing” (I’m not too excited by the parodic aspect here–although I am in awe of the way that Sim managed to work Claremont’s favourite dictum–“is there any reason why this couldn’t be a woman?”–into the proceedings)

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Basically, Claremont is Necross the Mad, redux. I love the way that Sim’s loons always take Cerebus into their confidence… There’s no need for them to fight. Cerebus knows that these fools are going to doom themselves somehow–gnosticism is its own (final) reward… But he is compelled to watch them go down in flames–just as we find it hard to resist the suicidal buffet served up by Sin City… And so, as it must to all madmen–death comes to Charles X. Claremont (at the slime-encrusted hands of his own weapon of mass destruction).

There’s a lot more that I could say about these issues–

here’s your innovative lettering of the month:

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and here’s Sim’s Infantino tribute (everyone does one–sooner or later…and it’s only right! Infantino is a genius!):

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us ….but maybe I’d better stop now, hunh?

I’ll be back over the weekend to discuss Deni Loubert’s interesting editorial concerning the “Canadian-ness” of Cerebus, because I think that’s an interesting question…but High Society will have to wait until May, sadly…

Good night friends!
Dave

Sin City–AKA…

 Sin City–AKA…

Sure, sure, I talk way too much about It’s a Wonderful Life, but this one’s obvious!

The movie was pretty good–unquestionably the most stylish adaptation of a comic book ever–although the gnosticism didn’t appeal to me…  “No exit”–that’s my philosophy… every single one of these fuckers spends their life looking for the way out of the narrative–and maybe I would too, if I believed that Pottersville was all there is… but, of course, I don’t…

loved the line about punching out God, though! Melville would be proud…and you know–I really like Brittany Murphy (“eyes on the stage pilgrim”…)

it was worth the five bucks…

good night friends!
Dave