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February 12, 2008

Savage Jeff Lester on the passing of Steve Gerber

The Savage Critic(s): Saying Kaddish: The Passing of Steve Gerber.

This is nicely done.

It's been said by much smarter men than myself (Jules Feiffer and Gerard Jones being but two) that Judaism is perhaps the real secret identity at the heart of the superhero experience--one doesn't have to look much farther than Lieber and Kurtzberg, who built Marvel comics under the pen names of Lee and Kirby, to make a case for it.

Of all the many things I've thought about Steve Gerber--and believe me, I've thought about him a lot since learning of his passing earlier today--what sticks with me is that Gerber was the hero without the mask, the guy brave enough to forego the secret identity. I grew up in whiter-than-white Humboldt County and even I could tell that Gerber was Jewish: his stories were always of outsiders (outsiders even by Marvel's standards) and usually focused on defiant, frequently angry, guys who viewed with both bemusement and amusement the world surrounding them. By the time I got to high school and started reading Malamud (a little), Bellow (embarrassingly less), and Roth (a whole shitload), I could see how Gerber and his work belonged as much to their tradition--that of the soulful shit-stirrer--as to Stan's patented mix of soap opera and winking carnival barker.

The term "patented" is almost more than cliched hyperbole, by the way. What makes eulogizing Gerber difficult--and it will be even more difficult when other writers of his generation pass on--is that his most substantial work was done while stylistically imitating someone else. Every writer passing through Marvel in the '70s had to write in Stan's house style and now that styles and mainstream tastes have finally progressed, I find it's a bit of tough sell to convince younger readers--and more than occasionally myself--that there's good writing buried underneath all the labored rhetoric, and the expository diatribes and the "Dear God, no!" melodramas, and those last panel captions that read, "And somewhere, in the distance, comes the gentle weeping...of a clown."

Torchwood babies -- Torchwood for kids

• why kids and torchwood should never meet •

(via)

Repo Man to get graphic novel sequel

Alex Cox's ''Repo Man'' sequel | EW Exclusive | News Notes | Entertainment Weekly | 1

Great, loopy, cult movies don't come much greater, loopier, or more cultish than 1984's Repo Man. A freewheeling blend of black comedy, science-fiction, drug use, conspiracy theories, and anti-corporate polemic, the film was centered on a car-repossessing suburban malcontent named Otto (Emilio Estevez) and a possibly alien corpse-containing Chevy Malibu. Made by first-time Brit director Alex Cox, Repo Man boasted a titanic punk-rock soundtrack — led by Iggy Pop's title song — and appearances from such top-notch character actors as Harry Dean Stanton and Tracey Walter. It also featured an utterly bizarre conclusion in which Otto and the Chevy disappear into the sky, leaving viewers to ponder quite where the hell they have gone.

That question will finally be answered — well, sort of — on March 31 when Gestalt Publishing releases Waldo's Hawaiian Holiday, a Cox-penned graphic-novel sequel to his debut movie. Set a decade after the original film, the comic finds our hero returning home from parts — or possibly planets — unknown, with no clue as to how he spent the last decade. It also finds him insisting that he is called ''Waldo.'' In fact, Waldo may not really be Otto at all.

February 10, 2008

The History Project vs. Emperor Norton

Merry Christmas!

ALL of these are worth reading.

*Thanks, Riley!*

February 08, 2008

Explaining Marvel Comics' "X-cutioner's Song" crossover to a non-comics fan

Marvel.com Blogs - Hey! Kids! Comics! by Nathan Cosby

This was actually the crossover that drove me away from comics for a few years. It's one of the lowest points in all of x-men history.

Cable shoots Professor X with a bullet that infects him with a techno-organic virus. Meanwhile, Caliban kidnaps Cyclops and Jean Grey. It’s all a scheme by the duo of Mr. Sinister (who is pretending to be Apocalypse) and Stryfe (who is a Cable doppelganger, and who actually shot the Prof). The X-Men scramble about, fight X-Force, fight the MLF, and attack Apocalypse, who they incorrectly think is behind it. In the end, all the villains betray each other, Cable saves Cyclops and Jean, Stryfe reveals that either he or Cable is their lost son, and the Legacy Virus is released.

It was painful to try to do that in 100 words.

NATE: Excuse me while I run screaming in terror at the notion of trying to comprehend any of this.

JORDAN: OK, I can’t say I blame you. The wikipedia plot summary weighs in at a whopping 997 words, and even that is sort of hard to follow. OK, let me make it even simpler.

Stryfe shoots professor X, pretending to be Cable. He gets found out. He and Cable look alike because one of them is Cyclops’ son, and the other is a copy. Uh-oh, there’s a virus that’s eventually going to kill all mutants. The End.

. . .

NATE: I want to hurt both of you with sticks.

So Diet Cable shoots Professor X with a sniffle bullet because he didn’t get enough hugs in the clone future. After this, the X-Men go out and fight (SURPRISE!) other X-Men/-Factors/-Forces, then they fight Apocalypse. THEN…what?