Tag Archives: comics

Old Man Logan

I saw Logan and was moved. A superhero movie made me feel something besides glee when the bad guys got their asses kicked! This is unprecedented. That final X almost brought me to tears. I saw the movie twice in the theatre, which is something I very rarely do.

You know, in the comics whenever the X-Men travelled to the dystopian fascist future it always looked ridiculous and cartoonish, whereas in this movie it’s almost painfully plausible. The Guardian‘s review called Logan “a feral howl of rage”, which pretty much is the prevailing mood in a lot of the US today.

Yet this movie was made while Obama was still president, and let’s not pretend Hillary would have done more than half-assed work in reining in the neo-feudal society the obscenely wealthy keep trying to bring about. It’s like Aliens vs. Predator said: Whoever wins, we lose.

The rage of the movie is not merely the rage of the decent despairing at the rise of the despicable, but also the rage of the dispossessed wailing at the cruelty of the world.

Logan is many things, but one of those is a cri de coeur. I recall what Marx said of religion:  “[It] is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”. For good and ill, one can also say that of art.

Happy Belated Glycon Day

Alan Moore, scraggly-bearded and wild-haired comics curmudgeon.

Yesterday was Alan Moore’s birthday. Yesterday was also when I learned that there is a Japanese doujinshi (i.e., a fan comic)  which answers the question, “What if Alan Moore were a teenage schoolgirl?”

The beardless wild-haired and be-ringed She-Alan of Earth-2.

The comic is only a couple of pages but it additionally answers the related question, “What if Neil Gaiman was also a teenage schoolgirl?”

Teenage Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, thick as thieves.

I believe this comes under the heading Real Person Fiction (RPF), which is a thing I don’t understand at all. Every time I think I’m getting a handle on fan culture I come across yet another weird-ass thing like this.

 

Ultraelectromagnetic pop

I’ve noticed that a lot of manga that I like were initially published by BEAM COMIX (rendered as Comic Beam in the linked Wikipedia article for reasons I can’t ascertain).  It’s a magazine that serializes manga mainly targeted at an adult male audience.

It seems to me, judging from their published titles that I’ve enjoyed, that the publisher releases offbeat works with unique premises that are compellingly readable. What have I read of theirs? Let’s see, there’s the magical realism of Ran and the Gray World, the character-driven kitchen sink comedy of Hinamatsuri, the indie comic action of Bambi and Her Pink Gun,  the anthropological detail of A Bride’s Story, the science fiction violence of Immortal Hounds, and the adventure comedy of Dungeon Meshi. This is an all star line-up.

According to the ol’ Wiki, the magazine is considered by many as focusing on “alternative” manga, which from context sounds like the Japanese equivalent of indie comics. It has a very small readership of 25,000 but consisting largely of hardcore enthusiasts and art students. To my mind, BEAM COMIX’s readers would probably be the type to own copies of Understanding Comics (the comic book bible) were they to live over here instead. In fact, quite a few of the magazine’s Japanese audience probably do own copies of Understanding Comics themselves.

Whatever they’re doing, BEAM COMIX is doing it right. Their editors know how to pick a winning story. I’m going to keep an eye out for their other stuff from now on.

April showers and May flowers

I just watched all the episodes of Your Lie In April that have been broadcast so far. I rather liked this teen-romance-between-classical-musicians thing. At first I was afraid it would be too much like Nodame Cantabile, where a free-spirited pianist slowly teaches her fellow student how to appreciate music again, but this show is different enough to be interesting on its own (nice shout-out to Nodame, by the way). Anyway, I don’t really have a review so much as a bunch of scattered thoughts.

First, there’s a lot of crying on this show. Do classical musicians cry this much in real life?

Second, I had no idea that Peanuts was that widely read in Japan. Teenagers can actually quote Charlie Brown out of the blue without having to explain where the line is from? Although “I’m not always going to be around to help you” sounds more ominous in the show.

Third, I think the book that the protagonist is reading in one of the early episodes is The Little Prince. The illustration on the cover looks familiar.

And fourth, I can’t tell the difference between a good or bad performance in classical music. Well, maybe if something was egregiously terrible and dissonant, but otherwise I have no idea what the characters mean when they say one rendition is rough and another is full of honest yearning. This reaction is to be expected, of course, since classical music is an elite pastime specifically meant to exclude those without the proper background, but what that means is that I’m watching the show for the characters instead of the music. I do kind of want to take up piano again, though.

Addendum: Based on further research (i.e., asking people who can read Japanese) the book in question is actually The Genius Liar by Ulf Stark.

The superhero from apartment 23

Everyone, meet your new Jessica Jones: Krysten Ritter, the bitch from Apartment 23! And Michael Colter is the frontrunner for playing Luke Cage. I’m not familiar with him, but I lurve Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23. Possibly Ritter may need to bulk up a bit to play our washed out superhero, but she’s certainly got the comedic timing for the funny bits, and her turn as Jesse Pinkman’s drug addict girlfriend in Breaking Bad shows that she’s pretty good at this drama thing too.

It’s interesting to look back on my posts about the TV adaptation of Alias. The earliest rumblings of such a thing were back in 2010, meaning that it took at least five years, and probably a bit more, to get this show from being a vague idea to something that shows up on your TV screen. I wonder, is that the normal development timeframe?

Anyway, I’m cautiously optimistic. I wonder who will play Daredevil and Iron Fist? Here’s hoping for more casting news soon.