Comic Book of the Week : NEW MASTERS #1 and #2 by Shobo and Shof Coker

I purchase a lot of comics (slims) in periodical format a month, but read sadly few of them immediately or even in a timely manner. I try a couple of pages of a book, and more often than not, it gets consigned to the later pile.

A select few grab me enough to finish on initial pickup. There are so many demands for our time, that a book has to compel me to turn pages. NEW MASTERS by co-creators Shobo and Shof Cocker, compels me to turn pages and finish the issues.

It is not a perfect book, the story-telling is at times chaotic and (purposefully I feel) layered to the point of mysteriousness, but the more I turn the pages, the more the storytelling grows on me, and the more invested I become in this strange and mysterious world, and these intriguing characters. And I really enjoy the art, you really need to read it under good light and with 20/20 vision or your reading glasses on, as the art is also richly layered; I love the subtle dot patterns that the art in places is composed of, … I find it charming and increasingly beautiful.

I do think this is a story that only starts to fully tell itself 6 issues in, or 60 issues in, so I don’t think the 6 issue mini-series format is going to help it nail the landing, though I do understand given the market, the need to release in finite mini-series chunks. I am along for the ride, however hopefully the series does well enough that the creators can come back with more mini-series or an ongoing story.

I like the fresh take on science fiction and world building that this series offers, and would like to see a lot more of this story from the Brothers Coker.

Grade: RECOMMENDED.

 

2022 Academy Awards and Will Smith and Chris Rock and Gandhi????

I don’t watch the Academy Awards. I for well over a decade (two decades?) have found the show of no artistic or integral value to me, and no real substantive, qualitative measure of what is best in cinema.

I have found the show to be plodding and cringeworthy at best and the recipients of its awards more politically chosen than via merit derived.

And while I say 2 decades, this has been the case going back to the earliest days of the awards.

So I went into work today oblivious of any Academy award drama, until hearing my coworkers discuss the now infamous Will Smith meltdown.

Everyone and their uncle has had their say, so I will keep my take brief.

What took place was deplorable. And had, I guarantee you, very little to do with Chris Rock or the very innocuous joke. What you saw in that tirade is the camel’s back breaking, and someone overcompensating for months of questions about a relationship on the edge.

That he lost control upon the biggest stage of his life, is proof to the old proverb, ‘he that the gods would destroy, they first make mad.’. That he did it while there to be recognized for a movie about a man of control and family values and raising children right, can not be lost on anyone. As people in the wake of this incident were quick to point out, this reinforces the wrong type of lessons to an America and a World, and its youth, already socially inept in this social media age, about how to conduct themselves in a civilized manner.

Smith (a comedian at his roots) above all should remember, very few people have the luxury of rage and an absence of control. To say he dishonored himself, his family, his friends, and his larger community… I think Will Smith realizes with glaring hindsight right now, and wishes he had done what almost a hundred years of Award participants had done before him, put on a fake smile about an inappropriate joke and keep it moving,

Because true to us losing our temper, we make a bad situation worse. He wanted to play the big man, outraged husband for his wife, and just comes off as the ass who made a joke that would have been forgotten, into a potentially career ending meme that will haunt him, his wife, his family, his fellow actors, and his future dealings and livelihood with Hollywood… arguably forever.

We do not have the luxury of rage.

And again, comedy, already a beleaguered calling in this, witch-hunt age, now becomes grounds for physical altercations by a generation of insecure young men looking to follow Will Smith’s example of showing manhood in a crumbling relationship through violence.

If your wife or girlfriend doesn’t want to be joked, don’t go to a comedy event or a roast.

Well that’s my 2 cents.

I will say, for everyone whose night was ruined and moment of accolades overshadowed by Will Smith’s monumentally stupid loss of control, one person whose stock goes up by leaps and bounds for me, and I think many others, is Chris Rock. His composure under fire, under literal violence, in the face of a worldwide audience and an assault, to try and defuse rather than escalate a horrendous situation, is to be celebrated.

With another person you would have had back and forth cursing or a brawl on the stage of the Academy awards, a real shite show,… that could have been far uglier than what we had.

Kudos to Chris Rock, for remembering in a moment of Gandhi like restraint, the show must go on, we do not have the luxury of rage, and words not weapons.

Here endeth the lesson.

Currently Watching : Criterion Beautiful release of a beautiful film by Marcel Camus… BLACK ORPHEUS

The best films have a timeless quality to endure, being both time capsule and travelogue, of who we were when the world was young. BLACK ORPHEUS is one of those best films. A seminal fable, brilliantly acted, performed and directed in the always somehow mythic locale of Rio, during the equally mythologized time of Carnival. A great film, that plays as strongly in the 21st century as it did in the 20th. Perhaps even more so, as it is also a time capsule of bonds and community and tradition lost, in the march from there to here. Highly Recommended.

 

 

Get your copy at the link below:

 

THE LAST HURRAH : PARAMOUNT PRESENTS Films to Collect in 2022 and beyond!

 

$40 is of course ridiculous for these relatively bare-bones PARAMOUNT PRESENTS releases (I do not give a darn about uhd/4k, and these early 4K titles will be in hindsight looked at a lot like the early Blu-ray releases. Poor packaging, obnoxious branding, inconsistent mastering and anemic to no special features. Blu-ray has finally, almost 2 decades in,  grown into being a top-notch medium, UHD has a long way to go, and arguably lacks the time or audience to get there).

The packaging is nice but the lack of substantive features such as commentaries or interviews or documentaries make these releases nice to have on your bookshelf, but far from worth the retail price. However if you can pick any of these up on sale in the $20ish range (especially the ones that do sport some worthy special features), well now you are talking.

If you find this post useful, support by clicking the images and purchasing through the links, and like, subscribe.

Till next installment… Be Well!

Audio Book of the Week : Rick Yancey’s THE CURSE OF THE WENDIGO (2011)

RE-EXAMINED REVIEW

Softly I called their names. My voice sounded small and muffled, like the cry of a wounded forest animal, and so I called out in a loud voice, “Dr. Warthrop! Sergeant Hawk! Hello! Hello!” My calls seemed to travel no farther than a foot from my mouth, slapped down by the malicious hand of the brooding trees, the syllables smashed to bits by the oppressive atmosphere. I shut my mouth, heart rocketing in my chest, abashed, thinking, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, for I had offended something; my cries were an affront to the malignant animus of the wilderness.

I heard someone speak directly behind me. I turned. Guttural and gurgling with phlegm, Chanler’s voice floated in the frigid air, as ephemeral as the smoke rising from the smoldering brands. Not words belonging to any human tongue, nor mindless blather, more like the gibbering of a toddler mimicking speech, struggling to make concrete the abstract, the thoughts we think before we have words to think them.”

–THE CURSE OF THE WENDIGO

“The thoughts we think, before we have words to think them”. It is lines like that, that have made me a cheerleader for Rick Yancey’s MONSTRUMOLOGIST series.

I highly recommend the boxset of Rick Yancey’s THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST series, but arguably even more I recommend the audio books. Steven Boyer, in the Recorded Books release, does a fantastic job making the language sing, and imbuing each character with a distinct life and delivery. Like the best of all narrators, he gives, convincingly, voice and a strange and haunting agency to all the varied peoples and places that Rick Yancey so ably describes.

Now having finished revisiting the 2nd book in the series it does not nail the landing. It is a book of two halfs, with the latter half overstaying its welcome and becoming a frustrating experience; largely because of the “He doth protest too much” characterization of the titular character of the Monstrumologist,

The character’s irrational fealty to a somewhat friend, and mind-boggingly bullheaded disbelief, particularly considering his stated profession, just from pillar to post does not ring true.

It becomes like those most annoying haunted house movies, where the husband disbelieves or patronizes his spouse, until the obvious becomes extremely obvious. The 2nd half of the book is a study in frustration, and a growing dislike for the Monstrumologist, because his disbelief is the real engine that is killing innocents, which gives you a book, with no one to root for.

I do think the book is worth a listen, if only for the, at times, elegant and eloquent writing in the first half.

“I nodded — and collapsed anyway. With a howl of rage the doctor yanked me back up, wrapped his free arm around my waist, and pushed forward, Chandler dangling over one shoulder, his recalcitrant ward hanging beneath the other. Thus borne down on one side with the burden he’d chosen and on the other with the one he inherited, Pellinore Warthrop carried on through the desolation.”

That line alone is worth the price of admission.

However as a whole I find it far less satisfying than the first book in the series, and not one that will entice, to revisit in its entirety.

Grade: B-/C+.

 

 

 

 

The Curse of Wendigo: The Sequel to The Monstrumologist

 

Click the above image to get your cd copy of the audio book, while you can. And any purchase done through the link is greatly appreciated and earns a few pennies for this blog as well. A win/win.

 

Till next installment… be well!!!! And like, comments, subscriptions and emails are all greatly appreciated! 🙂 .

The essential Graphic Novels/Collected editions of Black History Month and Beyond : This installment– Jay Pott’s WORLD OF HURT

Jay Potts’ WORLD OF HURT

I love this collected edition of Jay Potts non defunct web series WORLD OF HURT. And I am happy enough to own a copy of this beautifully produced widescreen collection of Potts labor of love. Here is the fallacy of the age of digital: his website is gone, his webcomic is gone, the artist has unfortunately fallen off all radars, but thankfully this kick-starter published hardcover remains, to tell us of a unique creator and his creation, that would otherwise be lost to time. The physical medium, this 2011 book remains, when the digital has failed.

Like has happened to many creators, particularly of color, whether in film, or literature, or comics, their work unfortunately tends to not be preserved. And while everything is supposedly forever in the age of digital, the truth is that the tangible, the physical, is still the measure by which something is real. As someone who cannot find any more copies of Sembene Ousmane’s or Haille Gerima’s best films or Mark Olden’s best 1970s paperbacks; I can attest that these sparks of genius, tend not to get subsequent printings/pressings, and end up snapped up in private collections and lost to the larger story, the larger history, of the times in which they were made.

This month, remember Jay Pott’s excellent WORLD OF HURT hardcover, and find a copy if you can. I would love to know that we would be getting future volumes, or a reprint of the 1st volume, but for now all we have is the work made tangible in paper.

Hold onto it.