Favorite Purchase of the Day : NEGRO ROMANCE #1

 

Romance books as well as Comic Books in general really picked up steam in the post World War II years. The comics finding themselves picked up by everyone one from kids to teens to adults. GIs and their wives also making a regular audience for these comic books.

In the prosperous post World War II years America was riding high, and you can see it in everything from the cars to the boom in home ownership to the boom in the birth rate, to the boom in comic genres and publishers.

In an America where currently comics struggle to sell a 100000 issues, comics back then routinely sold upwards of half a million copies. The more popular titles in the millions.

Romance Titles were one of those lifted by the general explosion of comics. And mainstream comics, though another war had just been won, ostensibly for liberty and freedom, were still victim of an America cowtowing to Jim Crow restrictions. Books that had people of color,could not be sold in some southern states if those depictions were not jingoistic or demeaning.

Evenhanded or respectful depictions of people of color, would likely get your book banned from that particular retailer. It was an extension of the same restrictions movies dealt with, that led to the ‘race’ movies of pioneers such as Director/Producer Oscar Micheaux in the 1920s and the creation of Black Film Production companies, and more importantly a Black owned circuit of theaters.

However Comics, while more popular than today, were still a niche medium and attempts to break the Jim Crow mandated codes against people of color, while valiant and brilliant… were unfortunately short lived. Especially where legal protections against mob behaviour/lynchings were virtually non-existant.

So that the NEGRO ROMANCE comic  existed at all (much like the earlier ALL NEGRO COMICS) is down to the courage and talent of people who at the end of the day just wanted to tell good stories, without the Minstrel Show trappings of the time. That the book lasted two issues before being literally white-washed, removing characters of color and renaming it, is unfortunate.

But at least we had those two issues. And Thanks to Karl A. Therrian, after 70 years of being  lost from the light of day, these issues, along with ALL NEGRO COMICS are currently available.

I could not be happier to own these reissues, in FANTASTIC condition of these extremely rare comics. Get them while they last.

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https://amzn.to/2M5427P

I will cover the book in more detail in an upcoming post.

However, I would strongly suggest not sleeping on these books. Yes, you can buy them from various people, but it is apparent the love and care that Karl A. Therrian puts into his reissues that sets them above the competition.

Buy it while available.

My Favorite COMIC BOOK Youtube/Roku Channels of 2018!!! Starting off with AFTA COMICS, MERCENAUT and HERB TRIMPE!?!

COMICS

  • TheGO2 Geeks
  • Silver-Aged Dave
  • AFTA Comics
  • Regie Simmons IFBB Pro
  • DS Comics
  • Earl Grey
  • Comics with Bueller
  • Wallace Ryan
  • ComicTom 101
  • Pop Culture Philosophers
  • SleepyReader666
  • Professor Thorgi
  • Metarog
  • Chycho
  • ETA Nick
  • Nighttiger
  • Comichyjinx
  • LeeKirbyDitko
  • CurtisCamron
  • Farley’s Nerdcave
  • Rwheatley0206
  • Saddle City Comics
  • Forest City Coins and Comics
  • BargainHuntersThrift
  • Area 51
  • Arkham Comics las Vegas
  • Comic Buying
  • Tony Sanders
  • Tony Tothe
  • Tom Ryan
  • DrVonChilla
  • CaptainStrangeLife
  • Simon Comics
  • UltimateChance
  • Thugie1
  • Comic Book Ninja
  • ComicHero77
  • Comic News Network
  • Gotham Comics
  • HeroHunter81
  • Longshanks_78
  • Master X
  • Lord Tatman
  • Symphonic-Elk
  • Knights_of_Old
  • Jerno’s Comics
  • YicketyYackety
  • TJ Watson
  • WhatCulture
  • Wiebes TV
  • Windy City Comic
  • Yanni Gogolak
  • Islord 372
  • Batzman’s Classic Cars & Comics
  • Mercenaut

I will be speaking on all these channels in more detail, regarding why they made my 2018 best of List.

I am going to start with the last on this list MERCENAUT and work my way up.

https://www.youtube.com/user/mercenaut

Mercenaut is on this list, not for being a White Supremacist or Black Activist ( inside joke, watch his channel) but for a single show he did in 2018, where he showed off a copy of CAPTAIN BRITAIN #8. With that episode, this guy along with the Epic Marvel Podcast and Afta Comics, started my hunt and love for Herb Trimpe covers in 2018. The CAPTAIN BRITAIN mag sported a STUNNING Herb Trimpe cover which is shown below.

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Prior to that while i remember Herb Trimpe, I never really paid attention to how great of a cover artist he was. Between MERCENAUT’s showing, and the brilliant Trimpe Western cover’s that AFTA Comics showed, this year has very much been the year of collecting Herb Trimpe and Larry Leiber comics. Some of Trimpe ones I picked up this year are:

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https://i2.wp.com/www.comicbookdb.com/graphics/comic_graphics/1/511/183423_20120804222034_large.jpg

 

As great as Trimpe’s Super Hero Covers are (With his work on the INCREDIBLE HULK being arguably his finest) his western work which I did not get exposed to until this year, I love even more. Just look how much storytelling he puts into those covers.

In an age where modern comic covers no longer tell a story, largely are just pinups having nothing to do with the content of the book, Herb Trimpe was able to tell a great story using just the cover.

Thank You Mercenaut, Afta Comics, and Epic MArvel Podcast for putting the late great Herb Trimpe on my radar!!

Okay quick rant on variant/multiple covers.

Darn you Variant Covers!!! You are diluting the medium. You can not have an ICONIC issue and multiple covers. Now again everything in moderation. A variant cover here or there is fine, but it has become the rule rather than the exception.

As a consumer, buy what you like. But as the publisher/producer of this content too much choice in a market can be as harming as too little, if it generates confusion, and stymies adoption by potential readers, in favor of courting speculators.

 

And that is just what is happening in the market place. In an effort to milk a diminishing audience, the mainstream publishers resort to the skankery of pimping multiple covers (yes I did just coin the word skankery 🙂 ) to the speculator segment, which harms the iconic nature of a work as much as alternative endings, to those of us who actually think books should be read.

To be iconic a thing must live memorable, in the shared consciousness and memory of the audience.

A memorable cover, or a memorable line, or a memorable poster, or a memorable ending. You think of Exorcist you think of a singular poster, You think of Casablanca you think of that ending, you think of Citizen Kane you think of that beginning, if you think of the original UNCANNY X-MEN 138, you think of the classic cover of Cyclops walking way from the X-MEN and toward the reader. And the background framed by all these beautiful UNCANNY X-MEN covers tinged in purple. For my money the single most beautiful and poignant X-men cover of all time, by John Bryne, another great artist,

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That… for an image, or line, or scene, to stay memorable not just in your memory, but in the memory of a generation,… is to be iconic. People my age have a shorthand, a shared pop-culture language, that makes us part of a shared conversation.

Unfortunately people growing up on comics today, have no such singular, iconic cover or image to define a moment or a book. Because that one clear vision is muddied and diminished by multiple covers so the publisher can try and milk the speculator market, rather than serve the longer and more far reaching nature of creating something singular and memorable.

It’s the same way mainstream publishers are diluting their most popular characters with these shoddy imitations/iterations that only help to eradicate what was unique about the original character. You have now 15 variations of wolverine running around, Including one that is part Hulk, part Wolverine. Really? This is fan-fic, being done by the publishers, with no real consideration beyond milking the speculator market. They have strip-mined their own effectiveness as a sequential platform. 

That and the price point of Marvel and DC Comics is why I have stopped getting them in periodic format. There is no reason the mainstream publishers can not hold their price point at $2.50 or $2.99 cents, and make a profit and sell millions of copies at that price point.

The movies and video games have done the hard work of providing name recognition to the masses,the publishers inability to translate the billions these characters make in other mediums to even millions in the comic medium, comes down to mismanagement and an outdated vision/model from the comic publishers.

So these days if I need a monthly comic, I gravitate to the Independents. If I hear good things about a mainstream storyline, I pick it up in collected format or rent it from my library.

And if I really yearn for the days of great iconic covers, in mainstream comics, well thankfully there are always great Herb Trimpe comics to pick up in back issues!

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave your comments or send emails! I will be covering other channels in upcoming updates.

Excelsior!!!

 

 

 

John Krasinski’s THE QUIET PLACE : A Movie/VOD Review!

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So A QUIET PLACE has been on my radar to watch for a while, however other things took priority. However I heard a Youtube Film critic, recently say that A QUIET PLACE was his best film of 2018. Given the stiff competition of monumental film-making occurring in 2018, that seemed like a bold statement.

But I am always open to discovering a new great film. So today I watched, courtesy of Amazon Prime VOD, John Krasinski’s A QUIET PLACE.

John Krasinski came on my radar as he did with most people  in the brilliant 13 HOURS (that reminded Michael Bay critics, Michael Bay can be a great director), and this year in Amazon’s equally brilliant JACK RYAN series.

Here with his Sophomore feature film, A QUIET PLACE, Krasinski makes a solid little horror film. The silent conceit is a nice touch, and the movie plays a bit like an updated SEVEN.

The third act I feel the audience is way ahead of the characters, at least I was, so you are screaming at the characters to catch up and figure out the ultimate solution to the movie. Also somethings seemed odd… why wouldn’t you, in such a world, carry around firecrackers with you at all times to distract the menace, and carry weapons, and set traps etc (ala a bear trap and an alarm clock, as these things do not seem too particular in what they attack).

But overall a good B-movie. A solid B-. John Krasinski as well as being an actor to watch, is a filmmaker to watch.

Grade: B-.

As far as claims of A QUIET PLACE being the best movie of 2018… in a word… no.

Even allowing for film being subjective, it is not even the best b-movie film of the year (that honor goes to the excellent UPGRADE) much less the best film of the year (that would go to films like BLACK PANTHER, AVENGER INFINITY WAR etc).

But it doesn’t have to be. It just has to be worth your time, and for most of its run time it is. Recommended!

p.s.

And in case you wonder what is my bar for great films. here are some films I consider great, as in best of the year great (in their respective years) in no particular order…

THIRD MAN (Carol Reed/Orson Welles)

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

SUPERMAN

WRATH OF KHAN

MEMORIES OF MURDER

DARESALAM

CITY OF GOD

HYENA by Djibril Diop Mambety

Just about anything by Michael Mann

Just about anything in the latter half of his career by the late Tony Scott

Just about anything in the first half of his career by Ridley Scott

THE MISSION (both the Johnnie To Film and the Turkish film of the same title)

TUCKER

BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA

MALTESE FALCON

BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN

GREED (Silent Film)

SUNRISE (Just about anything by Murnau or Fritz Lang or Alfred Hitchcock)

The early films of M NIGHT SHYMALAN

PICKPOCKET (Robert Bresson)

And to this list you can safely put AVENGERS INFINITY WAR, BLACK PANTHER, CAPTAIN AMERICA WINTER SOLDIER, and the first AVENGERS, which all transcend being genre movies, to just be great films.

Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury : THE FINAL WORD

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Well two undefeated fighters, one Heavy-weight champion (Deontay Wilder) and one returning champion (Tyson Fury), who both have seemingly been stymied in their attempts to get another existing champion, Anthony Joshua (he has three belts [wbo,ibf,wba] and Deontay Wilder holds one of the belts [wbc]), into the ring (In Deontay’s case to unify the belts and in Tyson’s case to regain the belt he relinquished); instead these two met each other last night, Saturday 1 Dec 2018, in a match of unorthodox styles.

Having made the rounds of all the fight analysis, and post fight press conferences to save you the trouble of doing so 🙂 , it seems we have a fight that boiled down to Fury being the slippery, better boxer– being able to make Wilder miss and counter punch, vs Wilder being the aggressive, stronger puncher and able to, when he could reach Fury, knock him to the canvas twice. The last knock down in the twelfth round, that by reports EVERYONE was sure was a knockout, and everyone was amazed by Fury getting up from the canvass and beating the count, to finish the round and take it to the cards.

Where I think (based on all the various takes on the fight) the judges (often second guessed mostly by a bunch of people who have never set foot in a boxing ring) got it right; awarding a decision of a draw. And setting the stage in the future for a rematch.

And like both fighters said (who were very complimentary of each other in the post fight, after being complete bastards to each other in the pre-fight build up) the fans were the winners, getting a great fight,

I think the only loser may have been Anthony Joshua’s camp who hoped two of the dangerous people gunning for him, would have narrowed themselves down to one.

But nope, as of today he still has two undefeated wolves, who have been baying publicly and loudly for his blood. Given the fantastic performance by both men I don’t know how legitimately either one is not your next fight. Perhaps even before a rematch fight.

If I were in either of these men’s camp, I would be pressing for an Anthony Joshua fight next, over a rematch. They both have more to gain, and the rematch is now a guaranteed payday regardless of how they perform against Joshua.

However if they do the rematch first, whoever gets the L is off the table for a Joshua Heavyweight payday fight.

 

It is a great time to be a boxing fan.

 

STAN LEE

“WE TELL THE DEAD TO REST IN PEACE, WHEN WE SHOULD WORRY ABOUT THE LIVING TO LIVE IN PEACE.” —Anthony Liccione

 

” WHEN YOU WERE BORN, YOU CRIED AND THE WORLD REJOICED. LIVE YOUR LIFE IN A MANNER SO THAT WHEN YOU DIE THE WORLD CRIES AND YOU REJOICE.” —Native American Proverb

 

“ALL SAY, HOW HARD IT IS THAT WE HAVE TO DIE— A STRANGE COMPLAINT TO COME FROM THE MOUTHS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE HAD TO LIVE.” —- Mark Twain

 

It has been a bloody decade, losing a lot of people we are the poorer for losing. It is odd the things that form our lives, especially cultural pivot points. The very nature of who we are, doesn’t get formed, or forms drastically differently… without those signposts of our youth. Without names like Poe and Bradbury and Baldwin and Assimov and Ellison and Cosby and Lean and Welles and Ford and Poitier and Stan Lee.

And Stan Lee.

Men who spoke to us from distances vast, but with the power of the written word, the movie screen or the tv screen or the radio… seemed to be ever constant friends, and mentors and guides.

I am, like most of us a flawed person, but what is in me that transcends flaw, and looks to brighter horizons, more hopeful climates, I owe to many people. Parents of course, friends and family, but these… ghost people … we knew only by their work, which was entertaining us, these were people who spoke to the creative part of us, and somehow shaped us, while not knowing us.

Shaped us, while not knowing us.

What a great gift.

And yet seemingly knowing us ( the cumulative us, of comic-book fans or film fans) completely.

Stan Lee was one of those people.

I owe him, like I owe all those, living and dead, whose work touched, and moved and shaped me, and offered solace and hope in a world oft devoid of it, a debt that can not be relinquished or shirked, but must be acknowledged and paid the only way it can. By passing it on, in whatever humble ways I can, passing on moments of solace and inspiration and hope.

Excelsior!

Streaming VOD Channel Review -BLACK NEON- And a review on WOLF and the films of Robert Bresson!

So while I advocate always keeping things you LOVE in physical media, DVDs , Blurays, CDs, etc; the benefit of Streaming and Digital is that it is GREAT for exploring, and finding out what out there is worth having. Most things are not worth having or keeping. So Streaming is great for a try before you buy methodology, or simply finding new things to watch right now.

This installment, the channel that is up for review is…  BLACK NEON.

BLACK NEON  – first thing that strikes you about this channel, is unlike the hundreds of options of other channels, this one has a very limited number of movies. Many I have to confess to being unaware of or not having seen on other channels. Always a plus in my book.

To avoid the mishap of doing a lengthy listing of its titles, only to determine the actual streaming service is crap, or ad infested. I decide to pick a movie and test it out.

Wolf (2018)

My eyes gravitate to a film called WOLF, a thriller of some type seemingly, and without reading the description I just start the film. From frame one I’m captivated. And over sixteen minutes in and not a single ad.

I’m loving the movie and the channel so far.

BLACK NEON may be a home-run. I’ll update after finishing the movie and looking around a bit.

***UPDATE*****

Okay I just finished watching WOLF courtesy of the BLACK NEON channel. Do a search for new streaming movie channels to add and you will find BLACK NEON.

Wolf (2018)

They do not have much content, maybe a dozen movies.But it is worth getting the channel just to see WOLF. What an incredibly strange film. Very off kilter, and always has you on the edge and not knowing where it is going, which I find refreshing.

It is very Bressonian. Robert Bresson was a French director, little known, and unfortunately little remembered today, but he used most effectively and most notably the idea of the pregnant frame. An empty frame, and the emptiness, the waiting for it to be filled would create tension.  And while not a horror director, his films such as A MAN ESCAPED and PICKPOCKET (both absolute masterpieces) build incredible amounts of tension by using the empty frame, and our desire to have it filled.

It has been used by directors since, and is used here in WOLF to great effect.  It is a slow burn movie, and has a WTF turn, that you never quite recover from, and is never truly made clear. You leave the film arguably with as many questions as you came, the final meaning of the film, and of what actually happened left up to individual interpretation.

Wolf (2018)

That can be frustrating to some, however I really liked it. I loved it actually, the patience of the film, and its willingness to court confusion.

That does not always work for me, sometimes it is the sign of a lazy filmmaker. But I do not think that is the case here, the filmmaker and writer Michael Jones has crafted a compelling story and wanted to let it finish cooking in the mind of the viewer.

Love it or hate it, I do not think it is a film you will easily dismiss.I fall in the camp of being very impressed by this raw nerve, of a movie.  

WOLF (2016 Australian release/2018 VOD release)

A Michael Jones Film

Grade: B+.

Recommended! This is definitely a movie that deserves to be owned on DVD and/or Blu-Ray.

One of The Greatest YouTube Channels of 2018 : MINDSMASH

If you live  long enough and well enough, well enough to no  longer need to feed ego, or be praised for humility… if you lived that long you know greatness when you see it. And conversely you know folly when you see it.

I have lived that long, and that badly and well, that I know folly when I see it, and I know greatness. The fool will confuse the one for the other, so you get people who call witchhunts justice, and rogues  presidential. But thankfully we are blessed with some who are not fools, who know greatness when they see it… The host of the brilliant Youtube channel MINDSMASH.

With appreciation  the host dissects the great fighters and great fighting styles of our age, but does it with a romantic eye, and a poets hesrt.

Listen/watch his latest episode and you two will see, why it is in my humble opinion, a must not miss you tube channel:

 

 
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC87Lj67s_Ht40lvGhtF9iHA