Under the heading “Don’t drink and Youtube” 🙂 – Dr. Von-Chilla went on a bit of a tirade regarding people speculating on comics and buying comics based on movie, tv news. Which I can get behind his feelings on that.
He also threw in there, ‘Brown chicks taking over for white guy superheroes’, which I think is a whole separate argument that I don’t get behind.
Now I know Dr. Von Chilla is not one of those anti social justice warrior nut-cases, who were hating on creators like Mark Waid and Ta-Nehisi Coates and Dan Slot, but that issue he brings up of characters changing, is one of the arguments of this mob.
It is that faulty ‘anti social justice warrior’ thinking.
If you do not like social justice warriors, you should not be reading superhero comics, because Superman, Batman, and Captain America in their origins were Social Justice Warriors. Before there was a term for it, these characters in the Golden Age were taken it to the fat cat businesses and corrupt syndicates and regimes that were sticking it to the little guy. From slum lords to Nazis the comics of the 1930s 1940s were all about saying things about what was wrong in the world. Far more courageously I might add, than most books do today.
So to hate on today’s comics for doing the same thing is to be disingenuous at best, and a moron at worst.
Now that’s me going on a tirade against people with an issue with Social justice concepts in comics. Here’s the thing, not all comics are for you or for me.
We have our preferences and there is nothing wrong in wanting to stick to that. What is wrong, is to not allow others there preference.
If the publishers can sell new characters to new populations, great for them, if they can spike sales of existing story-lines, by changing up the character, great for them (changing up not being the same thing as a mashup, which is what they are doing wrong today). That is nothing new. After the first 110 issues of the original IRON MAN he got in a rut. Back in the 80s… the creators, to get him out of this rut, wrote a FANTASTIC very long storyline where Tony Stark, became an alcoholic, stopped being IRON MAN, and James Rhodes became IRON MAN. And those were STELLAR issues from the 1980s. For my money the only issues, along with the original 110 issues, worth owning.
The same thing happened in GREEN LANTERN, the book was going nowhere after Neal Adams’ departure in issue 89 (IT SHOWS YOU HOW MUCH NEAL ADAMS BROUGHT TO THE BOOK AND THAT HE WAS A HUGE PART OF THE CREATIVE DIRECTION, BECAUSE WHEN HE LEFT EVEN THOUGH THE WRITER DENNY ONEIL STAYED, THE BOOK WAS UTTER CRAp. THE SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS STORYLINES THAT MADE AND STILL MAKE THEIR PARTNERSHIP SO GOOD, WENT BY THE Way-side AND THE BOOK DEVOLVED INTO A BORING BOOK. AND I LIKE DENNY ONEIL AS A WRITER, BUT WITHOUT NEAL ADAMS HE DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THESE CHARACTERS. I SPECIFY THESE CHARACTERS BECAUSE HE DID VERY WELL ON BATMAN AFTER NEAL’S DEPARTURE) .
THE BOOK WAS BAD A LONG TIME AND DID NOT GET GOOD AGAIN UNTIL ABOUT #172 when writer Len wein comes aboard and started to direct the book back to earth, and replacing Hal Jordan with John Stewart. LIKE ALWAYS THE LATE, GREAT LEN WEIN WOULD BE CALLED IN TO HELP RIGHT A SINKING SHIP, AND WITH THE HELP OF HIS ARTIST WOULD COMPLETELY REVAMP IT, AND BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO the series.
AND ONCE HE GOT THE BOOK winning again, WEIN would turn iT OVER TO ANOTHER WRITER TO CARRY THE book to the championships (to toss in a sports comparison).
HE DID THAT WITH THE X-MEN, fixing it and HANDING IT OFF TO CHRIS CLAREMONT AND HE DOES THAT HERE WITH GREEN LANTERN… fixing it and HANDING IT OFF TO STEVE ENGLEHART AND JOE STATON, till about issue 200, with wonderful Joe Staton art and great Englehart stories, along with the ONeil/Adams run… those are my favorite issues of GREEN LANTERN to this day.
SO IF LOOKING TO COLLECT GREEN LANTERN IN MY Humble OPINION YOU GET ISSUES 42 to 80, then 172 to 200. Use the following link(YOU GET GREAT BOOKS, AND YTOU EARN A FEW PENNIES FOR THIS BLOG TO KEEP THE LIGHTS ON. A WIN-WIN!):
And they were experiments, creators tossing stuff at the wall and seeing what stuck. They were allowed that freedom in the 1980s, they should be allowed that freedom today.
The ones that do not appeal to you, don’t buy. Like me I no longer buy Marvel Comics in monthly form. I think to pay over $3 for Marvel’s horrendous paper quality, and obvious attempt to milk the speculator market rather than create good stories is asinine. And their obvious editorial mandate to create new characters, mashup characters, to get the mindless speculators, to buy cosmic ghostrider, or phoenix wolverine, or Thor venom, or Hulk Wolverine; is not creative, it is actually them in real ways making of themselves a horrible parody and joke. The same for DC, to a lesser degree, ever since Bendis went over there. He’s a good writer, but I find him more trojan horse at DC, bring the fratboy idocy, and disrespect for readers intelligence and pockets, that he championed while at Marvel.
No sooner he is over there and DC raises its prices to $3.99. So yeah these days, with Marvel and Dc, if I hear good things about a story, I’ll check it out at my library when collected or pick up the trade online. But as far as monthly books, you just get a whole lot more bang for your back from Independents like Image, Dark Horse, IDW, After-Shock, etc. DC and MARVEl, the two companies that realistically can afford to keep the price point of new comics at $2.99 or less, are the ones driving the price up($4,$5,$6,$7 is unsupportable, when realistically speaking most of these books will end up in dollar bins in a few years. It is bad business from the big two.)
So these days companies like Alterna and Chapterhouse who sell books for under $3, are the ones I am happy to purchase everything they sell. For me they are the future of comics.
So alll that to say, there are hundreds of comics released every month, there is no shortage of Alternatives.
And quite frankly to expect Superman or Captain America of today to appeal to you the same way as the Superman of your childhood did, and never allowed to experiment or change that character is moronic. Characters change, writers changes, the audiences they write for likewise change.
You hate slabbing. Don’t slab. You hate variant covers don’t buy variant covers. (Quick aside : I’m not a huge fan of either of those things. I think pressing comics, while it removes imperfections from the cover, is PROVEN to shorten the lifespan of the interior newsprint pages. I think it is people moronically pursuing short term goals, at the expense of the longevity of the actual book. People are going to unslab these books in several years and find pristine covers over deteriorating interior pages, especially as it relates to older books. Newsprint+moisture+heat=mistake. Every single time.
But hey if people want to continue doing this even after being informed of the potential damage (every single person you see pressing on youtube, presses differently. Different ranges of heat, different amounts of moisture, different drying time before slabbing. I guarantee you 99% of the people slabbing comics are doing more harm than good, and are making a mold infused mess rather than preserving a collectible. It is all experimentation and guess-work with the lot of them.
If you were to do it perhaps to salvage a book that already had interior water damage, I would only use CGCs original service, rather than one of these diy -let me get my iron out -guys. Also going through CGC you have some potential recourse through your insurance company if things go wrong. Better than some of these guys who are doing pressing at their kitchen sink. Okay that may have been a long aside. 🙂 )
You hate new characters or change to your existing characters, don’t read those characters. Read the 80 years of back issues, or choose new comics to support. It is not that effing difficult, it is not effing brain surgery, it only becomes a problem when you want YOUR choices to be the only choices everyone else has available. That is the problem I have with the anti social justice warrior nuts.
They think their right to hate something, should supersede someone else’s right to love something.
Don’t tell me the things you hate. Tell me the things you love, and that is how you move the needle.
It is what is great about the Youtube comic community. A lot of people sharing their loves, has inspired me to buy a LOT of books this year. People telling me what they hate, has not gotten me to drop a single book, or change a single purchasing decision. I decide for myself what is worth hating, and I hate very few things. I dislike a lot. I have no interest in reading books or watching tv shows about trans or gay characters. I’m not saying these books or Tv shows shouldn’t not exist, OR THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH IT, but I have no interest in them IN MY COMICS OR MY TV SHOWS. So AFTER THE FIRST SEASOn of supergirl tv show (which i enjoyed) I dropped out of the second season, because it was too much soap opera bs about her sister coming out. no interest. same thing with arrow, mr. terrifics relationship i think is out of place and just detracts from the show, etc.
so instead I just find something I like, to watch or read. SO while I may dislike or avoid many things, I hate very few. Your hate is not something I catch from you, like the cold.
But tell me of the things you love, and that I will check out, to see if I love it too.
Dr. VonChilla, knows this. Because I have watched his videos where he introduces us to books he loves. And some of those books I’ve bought.
That’s how you change the world for the better Dr. Von Chilla… one great recommendation at a time.
I think I mentioned in an earlier blog that I went to TERRIFICON in Connecticut this year, 2018, and absolutely loved it.
But I am not sure I adequately conveyed why, or why I see this convention becoming the only state-side comic book themed convention I see myself paying to attend, going forward.
Most cons are a ludicrous hard-sell to anyone who is not a fan of that con. You stand around in long, moronic, snaking lines, to get into an overstuffed hall with too many people jostling or bumping or waiting in more lines that impede traffic. The panels are moronic, the hot guests uninteresting, and the deals… not there.
What helps sell TERRIFICON is the location. Now unless you are a guest or wealthy, staying at the casino is probably not what you want to do. But there are quite a few affordable and nice places to stay within a short drive.
We made a little vacation out of it. Close to Mystic Connecticut and New London Connecticut, areas I had not been before, we made a couple of days of touring the area before ever getting to the con. And you know what… the area is great. There is a bit of a learning curve, but once you get in the swing of it the area is beautiful and made for boat rides, and strolling through the picturesque neighborhoods and shops, and trying the wonderful food.
And then by the actual day of the convention we had already had a great and full fledged vacation.
The convention was a surprising and welcome capper to it. For a variety of reasons. The actual location itself, the Mohegan Sun Casino is simply massive, so you never feel (even with thousands of people) crushed, or swamped, or impeded, or over-whelmed. The distance between booths and space between aisles allows tons of space to maneuver and enjoy. Add to that it is exceptionally well laid out, with great panels, great guests, informative hosts, great shopping options… and did I mention it is in a world class casino.
That means instead of the overpriced awful food and drink options you have to endure at other conventions, here you can walk over to Bobby Flay’s restaurants and sample just stupendous food. And there were tons of other great restaurant and shopping options.
It is the holy grail of comiccon locations.
And getting back on the panels. With guests that interested me, Roy Thomas, Larry Hama, Christopher Priest, and the list goes on, the panels that felt enlightening rather than trivial; trivial being generally what panels are at most other shows. I really have no interest in getting anything signed or photo ops, but great deals, great panels, great stories, great vibe, and access to great food make it a no-brainer of a draw for comic and non-comic fans.
Having been to comic book conventions from New York to Philly to Awesomecon in Dc, those are venues that don’t really do much for me, but Mitch Hallock’s TERRIFICON, I guess because he is a fan like me, and came up on the same Bronze age goodness, he is putting on a convention for himself, and thereby all the other adults of his age, so it can still offer the kids and families their anime goodness and gaming goodness, but has the sort of experience we Bronze, Silver, and Golden Age fans appreciate.
Having been to Terrificon this year, I do not see myself going back to New York Comiccon, or Awesomecon, or any of those. Those cons are oft geared to selling the new hot thing, and these days I’m more geared to want to see the proven talent.
I see myself making a yearly pilgrimage to the gracious New England area and making a fantastic weekend of it, most of which has nothing to do with comics, but having that convention at the center of it, It’s a win-win for me and the Mrs.
As long as Mitch Hallock puts on TERRIFICON I see myself being a returning attendee.
One suggestion Mitch, if you see this, try an get Larry Lieber for next year’s TERRIFICON.
I have been singing his praises since hearing his interviews on the MARVEL EPIC Podcast. While everyone remembers Kirby’s run on RAWHIDE KID, for my money the Larry Lieber written and drawn work on that series, is western comics at its best. Tutored by both his brother Stan Lee and original Artist Jack kirby, Larry became a perfect amalgram of these two men, becoming both a compelling writer and a great artist, and that shows best in his (unfortunately unreprinted) multi-year run on RAWHIDE KID. I recommend back issue diving and picking up RAWHIDE KID from issue 42 to issue 120. It is as great a run of consecutive comics done by ONE person as you will see. Nearly eighty consecutive books both written and drawn by Larry Lieber between 1964 and 1974. Ten years and a stunning body of work, by a true unheralded workhorse of the medium.
Go to the above link and listen to the Lieber episodes and you’ll be singing his praises too.
p.s. And if looking for a great panel moderator, I don’t think Kurtis of EPIC MARVEL PODCAST would mind if I suggest him. His show speaks volumes for his love of the medium.
Well if you found my recommendation of either TERRIFICCON or EPIC MARVEL PODCAST or the criminally overlooked work of Larry Lieber helpful, show your support by using the link below to check out today’s book of the day. Purchasing using the below link gets you a great book and earns this blog a few pennies to keep the lights on.
Here is a nice selection of Stan, Jack, and Larry monster comics:
If you can only afford to get five Larry Liber RAWHIDE KID comics, then get these five:
Thanks for viewing!
If you are in debt, see my previous post. You should be using any free money to pay down or pay off your debt, not adding to it.
A simply essential Youtube channel for sensible money management tips is :
A lot of it is seemingly common sense, but if common sense was common, most of America would not be drowning in debt, and a person who did not win the popular vote would not be in the oval office.
So we can not have too many people… talking sense to us.
Obviously as a nation and a world, common sense bears repeating often. 🙂
Anything you buy, should not be bought on credit until any existing debt is paid on first. If you can pay cash for it, after paying down on your debt, than go for it.
For the few of you who have done this, this list is for you:
For COMIC BOOK/GRAPHIC NOVEL/SLIM Fans:
First get the comic book fan in your life, quality bags, boards and tape. As a fellow collector I speak from experience, few things are as aggravating as a disorganized collection.
So let us start there, by helping the comic bibliophile in your life get more organized.
Every single comic fan needs comic book bags and backing boards, and typically never gets enough or the right kind for themselves.
I’ve done the hard work for you. Here are the ones to get:
Comic Book Bags AND BOARDS:
E. Gerber without a doubt is the name to trust in this hobby, and his MYLITES2 a must own. Get “standard size” as that will support not just today’s smaller comics but the older, larger bronze, silver and golden age comics. But plastic is not enough you will also need a backing board (preferably full back as it is acid free on both sides) to keep the books from getting damaged when stored or being moved.
Also with the board each bag can store two comic books, with the books facing out. Storing it this way actually better protects the books. Buy the bags and boards together and save money.
Get them here:
Now, traditionally to close the bags a little bit of scotch tape was used, but that proved to be an issue as that tape would end up sticking and damaging the comic book, when it was removed or inserted into the bag. Some people use painters tape, but it defeats the purpose of having these books beautifully displayed in crystal clear mylar, if you are going to use unsightly blue tape to close the bags.
No, a good upgrade from both scotch and painters tape is two sided tape. There are several varieties one that works well for me is :
There is arguably nothing more outdated about this hobby, than grown ass men and women filling their homes with these unsightly cardboard boxes. 🙂 Now don’t get me wrong, for many years I was one of these men. I think sometimes we go on inertia, and what worked for us yesterday, we continue with today and into tomorrow, unexamined.
And if you are still a kid, or even a bachelor, living by yourself, maybe that comic box fits your needs. But maybe it doesn’t. Maybe you outgrow it.
The surest way to entrenched failure, is to not continually reexamine the constants of your life.
It is like people voting along party lines, or treating elections like a horse race, or a basketball game. Where we need our team to sweep, rather than putting the best person in the position. That is not the way. You have to always reexamine, on a case by case basis, who we love and who we hate, because everything changes.
Midterm elections, is an example.
I had several Democrats, a couple Republicans, a couple green party, because sometimes the label does not tell you who best represents your or your family’s or your community’s best interest. That is the problem with America, we are voting for the label, and not the measure or voting history of the specific man/woman.
All this highly political tirade, — hey its my thing, to say always be on the lookout for the better mouse trap.
And the standard comic book box or even the newer drawer box, may not be the better mouse trap for you.
Here in 2018 I have completely transitioned away from the standard comic book box for a variety of reasons. Cardboard is a nice home for bugs, particularly spiders, silver fish, etc.
I love watching those storage reality shows, and people grab these comic book boxes, and the boxes are stained and rotting away around the comic books. And even when brand new, it is not something for a more mature, tailored environment.
And while your comics may be safely bagged and boarded the cardboard box itself is a convenient home and meal and breeding ground for such pests. And whether a storage unit or your home, insects, particularly spiders, find a way. Especially if cardboard is involved. Now definitely keeping your collection in a temperature controlled location, with ceiling fans constantly gently moving the air, and dehumidifier material/desiccants (such as that derived from volcanic rock) helps. But until you remove the main attractant for humidity and moisture and pests, stacks of cardboard, you are fighting an uphill battle.
So what do you do instead? You replace the cardboard box. You put all that cardboard where it needs to be… in recycling bins.
There are 5 great options out there, to replace your outdated comic book box. Two display options and 3 portable options.They are:
IKEA’S KALLAX is just wonderful for displaying books, graphic novels, and even bagged and boarded comics, to include certified CGC/CBCS sized comic books. I own six of the above Kallax cubes and they are one of the best purchases I have made.They look GREAT in any room, and display your collectibles beautifully as opposed to the horrendous traditional comic book box.
Price them here:
Another great and essential storage and display unit, that also resolves the cleanliness and organization and appearance issues with traditional cardboard boxes, is the above CASA PURA METAL STORAGE SHELVING UNIT. I have the 4 tier unit, that is rated to hold 155lbs per shelf.
Price them here:
Okay now while great for displaying your collection, the Kallax and Casa Pura storage units are not portable options. That is where the next options come in…
MUSCLE RACK BLACK MILK CRATE fits perfectly in the above KALLAX or is great stacked on the CASA PURA. Very reasonably priced and holds as many comics as the standard short box. Conservatively 150 bagged and boarded comics per milk crate. That means inserted into the Kallax you can hold up to 600 comics. And used 2 to the shelf on the Casa Pura you can hold at least 1200 comics with space in between for trades and hardcovers.
Made of hard plastic, you can toss away your stain and bug collecting cardboard box. As these MUSCLE RACK CRATES will not trap humidity (the enemy of paper based products) like your traditional comic book box.
Price them here:
Okay for strictly display needs, the above three items will handle everything you could want. They will turn your comic collection space, from a kids room, to an adults room, where your collectibles will not cause your significant other or guests to groan upon seeing it. The above items would be equally good for record or figurine or movie collections.
However, portability for the books you do not need displayed, but still want easy access to, and to be able to easily move them; you need something more. We will go over those last two options in the upcoming installment.
If you have found this post helpful, please like it up, spread the word, and use the associated links. You get great items and it generates helpful pennies for this blog.
Thanks! And more next installment!
The first season of DAREDEVIL, was and remains game changing , ground breaking TV. In terms of action choreography, and initial complexity of storyline, and some amazing performances. It remains an astounding season of television, however it didn’t quite stick the landing.
There was something rushed and not quite satisfying in the ending. Something that did not quite live up to the AMAZING buildup.There was always a slight worm in the apple, and that was what was best and most enjoyable and most likable about the series, what was really brilliant about the series, was never the main three protagonists, the great acting of the series was done by the so-called villains such as Wilson Fisk, Alexandra, Wesley and by the supporting characters such as Ben Urich and Stick.
What was annoying about season 1, was Karen Page, and she got increasingly more annoying, like nails on chalkboard through the season. Her remaining on the show, when two other astounding characters met violent ends, really for me weakened the show going forward. Also Matt Murdock, his maudlin approach, begins to wear thin at the end of 13 episodes. But all those caveats aside, the strengths outweigh the failings of that first season. A solid A- of a season.
Fast forward to season 2 , which has a strong first half, but disintegrates in the 2nd half, Karen Page gets more annoying, Matt Murdock gets more whiny and maudlin, and Elektra storyline doesn’t do much for me. Karen Page playing girl reporter, just emphasizes everything I find annoying about that character, and how much the character of Ben Urich is missed. Season 2 has its moments, largely due to the Punisher in the first half, but overall is strictly fast forward material through much of the 2nd half of season 2. This season is the definition of uneven, coming in at a C+/B-.
The DEFENDERS series plays very much as DAREDEVIL Season 2.5. Because we get to minimize exposure to the weakest parts of season 2, namely Karen Page. Even though the Elektra/Black Star storyline is largely nonsensical and uneven (she can take blows from Power Man, but is affected by blows from Daredevil. Nonsensical.) the series moves at a fast clip, and seeing these actors together, enjoyable. Overall, inane ending excepted, a fun series. Grade: B+.
That brings us to the just finished third season of DAREDEVIL. It starts off intriguing, But quickly, particularly in the later episodes, drowns in all the unlikeable characters.
Karen Page is show stoppingly annoying every-time she is on the screen. Also three seasons of watching Matt Murdock suck all the joy out of everything, is just tiring. “Ooh, I have special powers, to make up for being blinded, I have friends, a good job, a great apartment… Oh I’m so angry!” what the hell does he have to be mad about all the time? 🙂
Just a joyless, depressing performance. And I am not saying it is badly acted, the actor is good, it is just he is written with nothing to do but complain all the time.
By comparison all the so-called villainous characters are far more interesting, to the point I was rooting though the later episodes for Fisk and the Mystery Villain 🙂 to take out Karen Page (Again, a fine actress, she is just written with nothing to do but eat the joy out of every scene. And what works in a few scant panels in a limited story, over three seasons… tires), and beat Matt Murdock.
I felt the ending was very unsatisfying. Matt Murdock/Daredevil just comes across as much a psychotic as those he fights, and a hypocrite on top of it. And again the character flaws that work briefly in panels on a comic page, does not wear as well over three seasons. Add Karen Page to the mix, and you have a season 3 that I lose interest in whenever the three so-called leads are on camera. (To be fair, I quite liked the character of Foggy. He was the one thing that worked in that triangle.)
Overall a very dissatisfying wrap up to DAREDEVIL Season III. Karen Page survives, where yet more good characters die in her stead. I bought the first DAREDEVIL on BLURAY, I bought the first LUKE CAGE on Bluray, and will be buying the 2nd season when it is available. I might buy the DEFENDERS, its flaws aside, overall it worked very well, and what IRON FIST couldn’t do in his own series (be good) he manages to pull off in the DEFENDERS and LUKE CAGE Season II.
With Luke Cage having been canceled, I don’t see anything to bring me back to the Netflix/Marvel Properties. Not a fan of PUNISHER Season 1, Jessica Jones I fell off of, Iron Fist show was a train-wreck, and DAREDEVIL can not get out of its own way. Should a MOON KNIGHT show pop up, or a WEREWOLF BY NIGHT, I would definitely give those a look, but for now it appears the great Marvel/Netflix ship of success… has capsized.
DAREDEVIL Season 1 A-
DAREDEVIL Season 2 C+
DAREDEVIL Season 3 C+/B-
Overall Grade: B
Cheo Hodari Coker’s 1st Season of Luke Cage was one of my favorite TV shows of 2016, right up there with the excellent Noah Hawley LEGION. They were each in their own way, game changing and ground breaking TV.
LEGION largely for its visuals and innovative storytelling, and Coker’s LUKE CAGE for in many ways being one of the few shows to offer a multitude of characters of colors in non-stereotypical ways, and with innovative roles, with unfettered storytelling. One of my favorite shots in the 1st season of LUKE CAGE, was four strong, upstanding women of color, captured in one great shot. Not as prostitutes, not as rappers, not as comedians, but as heroes. Likewise their male counterparts were admirably done.
LUKE CAGE, the series, sings/rewards… largely because of those conversation of books in the barbershop, those conversations on playwrights and writers. Those things, those conversations, that mostly uninformed people (who mainly know Blacks via the stereotypes they have consumed through mass media), would right off as preachy, or talky, or unrealistic, those are the conversations, that immediately sang for me, and clued me to the greatness of this show.
As someone who grew up in those Barbershops, those conversations are very true, to how many of us escaped the traps of the street, and found our way to something… better.
If SEINFELD can be acclaimed for being, in places, a show about nothing, we should allow that same latitude to a serious show such as LUKE CAGE, that uses those seemingly frivolous nothings about the writers, and the artist, and the books, and the music; to say profound somethings.
Of All the Netflix shows, it is the only one that says something more profound, than the standard super-hero or for that matter action or drama tropes. It says something about the world outside our door, and how to meet it. Not preachy, not banal, and never losing the joy and beauty we can find, despite the dire days, and the dangerous nights.
It is the balance of crime and charm, violence and virtue, war and wit, that can sing, to those with ears. And it withstands repeated viewings better, because of all those layers you can view it on.
Cheo Hodari Coker’s LUKE CAGE is one of the best written and most innovative and ground breaking shows to come along in years for precisely this reason. It takes you the place all great writing should, beyond your prejudices, your assumptions, your comfort zone.
For my money it is one of the best of the Marvel/Netflix TV shows, right up there with the first season of DAREDEVIL. But edges it out, because I find the characters in LUKE CAGE, especially the protagonists, far more interesting and likable. DAREDEVIL’s main characters are various stages of unlikeable and annoying.
Add to that Coker’s plot has something valuable and timely and timeless to say about our world, that transcends bad guy fights good guy. There is a complexity to the storyline and the conflicts, that rewards repeated viewings.
Ten episodes in and that complexity remains for Season 2 of LUKE CAGE. It is not perfect, I can do with less Alfre Woodard, particularly her and the character of Shades getting intimate, I can really do without. I never really buy Shades attraction to Woodard’s character, and the more they try to sell it, the less it works for me. Also Alfre’s unhinged performance, while I get it.. she is Lady Macbething it up, for me it is too much. She is always in her twitches, and sputterings, always at eleven, always wildly and uncomfortably out of control, which for my own taste would have been better dialed back to 4 or 5. Also the poster for season 2 is absolute garbage, whoever came up with that poster should be fired. It is that inept of a poster. Right up there with the HANCOCK boxart and poster.
But those minor weakness aside, LUKE CAGE season 2, following strongly in the footsteps of Season 1 is crushing it; the story and performances shine, and like season 1 it has the best soundtrack of the year. Ten episodes in and I’m loving it… Grade: B+.
More to come as I watch the last few episodes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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