“Brandon, if that man wins, people are going to feel like we’ve been taken over by aliens. No one is going to know what’s going to happen to us next.”
-Brandon’s Mom, several weeks before the election
I’m thinking of a word here, slightly stronger than disappointed, not quite as harsh as disgusted, but some complex adjective with multiple syllables, that could accurately describe my mental state from last Wednesday. Maybe I’m trying too hard though, maybe monosyllabic is the way to go, something nice and suitably profane using just four letters. Whatever the case, I thought Kerry had the game on lock, seeing that the incumbent barely showed up to any of the debates, has been playing “choose your own rationalization” with the war, and so obviously got caught with his pants down and his lies crossed, in the fruitless search for the much lauded “weapons of mass destruction.” How he had the audacity to conduct a campaign from a moral high ground, assailing a woman’s right to choose, and the prospect of same-sex marriage, after conducting a “shock and awe” offensive that was broadcast on primetime television like a Playstation ad, is beyond me.
What soiled Bush in my eyes, even though I honestly never considered voting for him, was his very public dis of the recent NAACP conference, in which he became the first president to deny an appearance there in several moons, for reasons that were suspect at best. Considering that the conference has been visited by what were likely, horribly racist and intolerant administrations, the fact that Bush would choose to make history in this way, just drove home how out of control he really is. He wasn’t even intelligent enough to show up and pretend that he gave a damn about the contributions of African-Americans, here in his home country. And he expects me to believe that he is willing to stake his reputation and immortal soul on the plights of brown-skinned people worldwide? If you’re intolerant and dismissive of one ethnic group, then you’re dismissive and intolerant of them all, and his unwillingness to even pay an historic organization like the NAACP its proper respect is all I needed to hear. Where there’s smoke…
This created the foundation of my support for John Kerry, and everyone else’s individual realities led to their own respective decisions, and I can respect that, but allow me a moment to stare in amazement with the remainder of the 54 million. Time will tell if the results will be as disastrous as some of us think, but right now, all I can think is that you people better know what you’re doing.
Confident that everyone dealt with their disappointment in their own unique way, and in this post-election special edition, I pay homage to the critical elements that offered brief diversion from the initial frightening potential of “four more years.” It’s the geeks’ guide to surviving being part of the vocal minority. Take a look.
The War of Stars-
Allow me to take my rightful place within the larger fanboy chorus, actively heaping praise upon the first teaser trailer for Episode III. That poster is quite suspect, looking like Lucasfilm was intent on using an image that someone online had already rendered in their own personal copy of Photoshop, so this is what they threw together to avoid a lawsuit. Truth be told, they could’ve simply thrown a logo on a black background, and the rabid fanbase would be tripping all over itself to make the first download, but that rapid fire clip of footage looks pretty damn official to me. My interest in seeing The Incredibles had been rising exponentially since they announced most of the prints would be carrying the trailer, but who needs Loews when you have the Internet, and people that know what a “mirror” is?
Importing Alec Guinness’ narration from A New Hope was a touch of brilliance, and getting a little James Earl Jones in there was also a good move, furthering the notion that Lucas just may effectively bridge the gap. Sith is very obviously the most important movie in the “new” trilogy, because if Anakin’s turn lacks emotional weight, or even worse, Lucas “cheats” or cuts corners to place him in the shiny black suit, it almost invalidates the original trilogy. And no amount of fan rationalizing can save him, and mind you, this is coming from someone who will argue that the first two were solid…in parts anyway. The teaser is allowing that cautious optimism to creep back into the frame, but even though we get a little of the Anakin/Obi-Wan fight in there, a little Yoda, a couple Wookies, Mace Windu, Anakin with the freaky Darth Maul eyes, and the Emperor with a lightsaber, the whole thing is definitely a high wire act for Lucas. But it’s really hard to feel bad about any of the material in that teaser, so you know, I won’t.
Wow. Just…just wow. I’m experiencing a very strong urge to go and re-read all of Morrison’s JLA right now. In a very obvious response to comics’ most played out buzzword, the Island of the Mighty takes literally four panels to get started, and then drags us kicking and screaming through characters and situations that Grant seems to be under the impression we’re familiar with. It’s incredibly fast, it’s incredibly flashy, and it’s incredibly fun.
Morrison continues to throw away more cool ideas than the average writer even has, shuffling through his microwave guns, rain rooms, and quantum keyboards without bothering to acknowledge just how notable they actually are. You’re completely sold on the concept of the Ultramarines, not because the characters are telling you to be, but because the opening sequence makes it difficult not to be. And even if you can make it to the end, without demanding an Ultramarines mini, there’s Batman to consider. He’s the only member of the League to even appear in this issue, but you hardly notice, cause Morrison has him chewing up the scenery, giving him a stream of excellent lines that people will be quoting for quite some time. There’s almost no way that giving Batman a flying saucer could work out, but it feels strangely natural here. The magic that is Morrison, I suppose.
Counting the days until Seven Soldiers gets here. Please join me…
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised…The Revolution Is Here-
Warning: The Intimates will systematically destroy lazy comics readers. The sheer amount of text and information that Casey is demanding that you consume, will likely turn some readers off. It’ll be too hard for them to keep up, the transitions are too abrupt, the narrative is too scattered, and it just might take them TWICE as long to read this comic as it will every other one in their stack. And seriously, shouldn’t Joe Casey know better? No one wants to read some superhero book that takes a half hour to finish.
All sarcasm aside, The Intimates is more than just a comic, it’s a genuine experience. NO superhero comic is presented like this one, and I know that phrasing is bandied about, and that I’ve done it on several occasions, for other books and other creators, but I was just playin’ around all those times. This is the real deal right here. It moves too fast for you, there’s too much going on, but if you can last until the end, you will have to come back for another dose. It’s like someone created a comic, and then after everything was finished, went and scribbled little notes in all the margins that fill in all the blanks. And directly reference all of Casey’s previous WS work, and implore you to read Sleeper, among other things.
Hopefully, the Jim Lee connection will help this book achieve some level of market penetration, because while it demands an elevated attention span, I could see a lot of people recognizing the difference between this, and your average teenage superhero epic.
Seriously, how could you not?
Another reason to love Priest. Only a handful of creator interviews can actually make you smarter, but the writer’s candid convo with Joe Casey on Newsarama this week definitely applies. Priest seems to enjoy a considerable level of online acclaim, but if that was enough to guarantee success in this game, then Sleeper and Runaways would be breaking 60K every month. What is refreshing about this particular piece is the incredible honesty that replaces the usual dose of creator hype, even though by walking that path, Priest makes it painfully obvious what separates him from the rest. Instead of following the typical formula, building himself and his works up in the process, he tells the truth, even when it’s ugly and unflattering to himself. But seriously, it’s probably more dangerous when he’s unflattering to others, and with a couple decades worth of experience, that’s probably even easier than it looks.
Whether or not this is responsible for Priest’s lack of commercial success is as always debatable, but the writer’s own self-awareness about his career is refreshing, and reminds me why I continue to be impressed by him. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s just not enough to write smart scripts, and alongside his other vocal supporters, I’m just waiting for somebody to give him that book. That one where his unique voice in comics can finally be properly recognized. Until then, I guess we’re just left with this, something else to give us even more reasons to ask why this guy isn’t one of the biggest names in the industry.
While the preceding might appear the idlest of distractions, they were a few of the things that got me through the remainder of the week, along with much head scratching, and a few well timed curses. Maybe it won’t be as bad as we think? That is possible, right?