What’s Hot & What’s Not : What’s Worth Buying in Comics & Slims!

What’s Hot & What’s Not : What’s Worth Buying in Comics & Slims!

 

You can order most items listed below (or earlier issues) by going here:

LONE STAR COMICS

or going here:

from this link you can search for everything else Highlighted in this installment.

IMAGE

Back Issue #81 (C: 0-1-1) -Well last installment we covered comics you can pre-order in March for May shipment, and covered some of the best from a variety of publishers. But we have saved the absolute best publisher and its best books for this installment.

Β blksci14

As the Dimensionauts struggle to save a helpless reality from the chaos the Pillar has wrought, their newfound heroics are threatened by one of their own. Is Kadir up to his malicious old ways again?

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Rick Remender
  • Artist: Matteo Scalera, Moreno DiNisio
  • Product Code: MAR150556
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/6/2015

dyingatded5

‘THE CITY’ All our disparate players collide together in an underground City, and it all hinges on an ultimate betrayal.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Jonathan Hickman
  • Artist: Ryan Bodenheim
  • Product Code: MAR150562
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/20/2015

inject1

Once upon a time, there were five crazy people, and they poisoned the 21st Century. Now they have to deal with the corrosion to try and save us all from a world becoming too weird to support human life. INJECTION is the new ongoing series created by the acclaimed creative team of Moon Knight. It is science fiction, tales of horror, strange crime fiction, techno-thriller, and ghost story all at the same time. A serialized sequence of graphic novels about how loud and strange the world is getting, about the wild future and the haunted past all crashing into the present day at once, and about five eccentric geniuses dealing with the paranormal and numinous as well as the growing weight of what they did to the planet with the Injection.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Warren Ellis
  • Artist: Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire
  • Product Code: MAR150468
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/13/2015

Once upon a time, there were five crazy people, and they poisoned the 21st Century. Now they have to deal with the corrosion to try and save us all from a world becoming too weird to support human life. INJECTION is the new ongoing series created by the acclaimed creative team of Moon Knight. It is science fiction, tales of horror, strange crime fiction, techno-thriller, and ghost story all at the same time. A serialized sequence of graphic novels about how loud and strange the world is getting, about the wild future and the haunted past all crashing into the present day at once, and about five eccentric geniuses dealing with the paranormal and numinous as well as the growing weight of what they did to the planet with the Injection.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Warren Ellis
  • Artist: Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire
  • Product Code: MAR150468
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/13/2015

 

intersecttpb

The terrifying, surreal journey of the Intersected begins in this volume! Start at the beginning with the book critics have called ‘truly original, truly unreplicable, and truly terrifying…’ Collects INTERSECT #1-6

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer/Artist/Cover: Ray Fawkes
  • Product Code: MAR150538
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/20/2015

 

intersect

NEW STORY ARC A new chapter in the twisted world of Intersect brings readers to a disturbing new setting, following the story of the mysterious Lady Flock as she flees the remains of Detroit and navigates the new world…

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer/Artist/Cover: Ray Fawkes
  • Product Code: MAR150567
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/20/2015

lazarus17

 

NEW STORY ARC: ‘POISON,’ Part One The Families are at war, Malcolm hovers at death’s door in the wake of Hock’s assassination attempt, and Forever must hold the line against enemies from without as well as within…including her siblings.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Greg Rucka
  • Artist: Michael Lark
  • Cover Artist: Owen Freeman
  • Product Code: MAR150572
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/13/2015

manhattanproj3

‘UNRELIABLE’ If you’re depending on a lying robot not to get you into trouble with an intergalactic criminal science organization called the Library, then always bet on Black. The greatest FEEL GOOD, BAD SCIENCE book in the long history of man returns in THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS: THE SUN BEYOND THE STARS.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Jonathan Hickman
  • Artist: Nick Pitarra
  • Product Code: MAR150574
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

 

manifestdest16

One of the crew goes native, while the rest try not to lose their heads. Or get them ripped off. Or bitten off. An issue of unimaginable horror!

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Chris Dingess
  • Artist: Matthew Roberts, Owen Gieni
  • Product Code: MAR150575
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/20/2015

 

material1

A man comes home from Guantanamo Bay, irrevocably changed. An actress receives an offer that can revive her career. A boy survives a riot and becomes embedded within a revolutionary movement. A philosopher is contacted by a being that dismantles his beliefs. Look around you. Everything is material.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Alex Kot
  • Artist: Will Tempest
  • Cover Artist: Tom Muller
  • Product Code: MAR150477
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

 

mythic1

SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY PRICE OF $1.99! Science is a lie, an opiate for the masses. The truth is, magic makes the world go ’round. And when magic breaks, MYTHIC fixes it. Apache shaman Waterson, Greek immortal Cassandra, and cell phone salesman Nate Jayadarma are the crack field team assigned with keeping the gears of the supernatural world turning, and more importantly, keeping you from ever knowing about it. Join Eisner nominee PHIL HESTER (Green Arrow, The Coffin) and Eisner winner JOHN McCREA (Hitman, The Boys) on their latest expedition to the dark heart of weird comics.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Phil Hester
  • Artist: John McCrea
  • Product Code: MAR150473
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/6/2015

 

nameless4

The world descends into chaos and the astronauts stranded in the Tunnels of Xibalba must endure unspeakable tortures when their captors finally reveal themselves. As all human hopes, fears, doubts, and dreams are subjected to the cruel and merciless scrutiny of an inhuman, sadistic intelligence, is reality collapsing? Or sanity?

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Grant Morrison
  • Artist: Chris Burnham
  • Product Code: MAR150580
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/13/2015

outcast9

What lurks within.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Robert Kirkman
  • Artist: Paul Azaceta, Elizabeth Breitweiser
  • Product Code: MAR150584
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

 

sex21

The next phase begins right here.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Joe Casey
  • Artist: Piotr Kowalski
  • Product Code: MAR150594
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

spread8

‘THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE’ There is a place that offers sanctuary from the Spread. The only problem? No and company need to escort a group of children through the Spread to get there.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Justin Jordan
  • Artist: Kyle Strahm, Felipe Sobreiro
  • Product Code: MAR150601
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

surface4

The city mutates. Nasia runs. The ghosts are more than ghosts now-they are real, and decisions are made.

 

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Ales Kot
  • Artist: Langdon Foss, Jordie Bellaire
  • Cover Artist: Langdon Foss & Various
  • Product Code: MAR150603
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

notlikeus6

CHAPTER SIX: ‘COMPLICATED SHADOWS’

 

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Eric Stephenson
  • Artist: Simon Gane, Jordie Bellaire
  • Product Code: MAR150605
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

 

velvet13

Velvet’s answers begin falling into place, and everything is much worse than she ever thought it would be!

 

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Ed Brubaker
  • Artist: Steve Epting, Elizabeth Breitweiser
  • Product Code: MAR150612
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

walkingdead141

Opportunity.

 

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Robert Kirkman
  • Artist: Charlie Adlard & Various
  • Cover Artist: Charlie Adlard, Dave Stewart
  • Product Code: MAR150613
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/13/2015

 

wicked11

The end of Fandemonium. The end of Ragnarock. The end of the arc. The start of something else. Everything’s going to be okay.

 

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Kieron Gillen
  • Artist: Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson
  • Cover Artist: Matthew Wilson, Jamie McKelvie
  • Product Code: MAR150616
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

 

wytchestpb

SPECIAL LOW INTRODUCTORY PRICE OF $9.99! When the Rooks family moves to the remote town of Litchfield, NH to escape a haunting trauma, they’re hopeful about starting over. But something evil is waiting for them in the woods just beyond town. Watching from the trees. Ancient…and hungry. Collects WYTCHES #1-6

 

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Scott Snyder
  • Artist: Jock
  • Product Code: MAR150524
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/20/2015

zero17

There’s still time.

 

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Ales Kot
  • Artist: Robert Sammelin, Jordie Bellaire
  • Cover Artist: Robert Sammelin, Tom Muller
  • Product Code: MAR150617
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

 

the majority of titles listed i read, and the others i am interested in, and have pre-ordered to read. titles like velvet, lazarus, spread, wytches, outcast, manifest destiny are not just good comic books/slims, they are great books. surpassing the quality of most tv shows you’ll find, and the fact that one company, image, produces all these quality books is impressive, to say the least.

if new to graphic literature, or comic books, or slims (pick your name) there is no better company to start with and no better books to start with than those listed above.

use the above links to try them for yourself. We’re getting this month’s list out late, next month april, we’ll get our list out earlier. THANKS FOR PERUSING THIS segment, AND IF YOU FIND IT USEFUL SHOOT ME A MESSAGE.

HAPPY READING!

 

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TOP 5 DESERT ISLAND Directors! Part 1 of 3 Under Construction

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

This is an idea that the filmspotting podcast covered in their latest episode, and while they had intriguing choices it spurred me to a slightly different list and slightly different choices.

If you can only, for whatever reason, have the films of five directors to watch, on a desert island, for an uncertain amount of time, or for all time… what five directors do you choose? Fritz Lang? F.W. Murnau? Louis Feuillade? Alfred Hitchcock? David Lean? Orson Welles? Ousmane Sembene? Mary Harron?

They list very interesting choices, not as good as the names I list above (I’m joking), many of which I myself am a cheerleader for (Kurosawa, Howard Hawks), but it occurred to me that diversity, particularly when it came to Hollywood films, was a rare exception rather than a rule. And that concerned me because, if I am trapped on a deserted island with the filmography of only 5 directors, that I wanted the filmography of at least a couple of those directors to represent the ethnic width and breadth of the human condition. The beauty of a range of colors and women and cultures.

I being someone who even today gets bored with the lack of diversity of films, the idea of being stuck with films not representative of the larger world, and the rich tapestry of people in it, gave me pause. For all our berating of terms like political correctness (which when really defined is respect, so when people rail against political correctness what they are really arguing against is giving people respect) we have become a more intolerant and stratified society. And part of that I think has to do with our mass media. Our obsession with vilifying the other.

The (seemingly increasing) lack of diversity in recent films and television, being I think a dangerous sign of a tail wagging the dog society. Of a vocal minority calling for a return to ‘the good old days’ which, when finally viewed, never really were that good.

Hollywood has from its inception been a propaganda machine, where a few people’s fiction altered often negatively many people’s facts. And before discussing Desert Island directors, another discussion has to be had first… about the values of film. Not the value of film, but the values portrayed or reiterated or held dear, in perhaps too many films. We have to talk about exclusion and stereotyping in films beginnings, and in film’s present.

While willing to give a slight pass to pre-1960 films given their historic placement, I have less interest or sympathy for segregated and nearly Apartheid rich, post-1960 into 21st century, Hollywood films. Or worse the 21st century version of Step and Fetchit, black actors used to deliver White Messages. Be it MONSTERS BALL or TRAINING DAY it’s the eye-bulging, debasing, cartoonish extremes, that Black actors are saddled to wear, that hearkens to what is worst in cinema.

If the choice is between only debased caricatures… of people of color, ala Frank Darabont or David Ayer or practically no characters of color ala Woody Allen, I’ll take the latter evil. But ideally the filmmakers I want to support and revisit, are those who can represent characters of color with the same broad diversity we grant to the human race, the Michael Manns, the Carl Franklins, the Tony Scotts, the Gordon Parks.

This idea of us as hero and villain, Sexual and chaste, brilliant and imbecilic, honorable and flawed, important and funny, savior and victim. In the 21st century that diversity of roles is generally relegated to White actors. In the 21st century the number of Hollywood movies that portray characters of color with any of those positive aspects listed… are few and far between.

Even supposed mass market films like XMEN FIRST CLASS and SIN CITY reek of this ingrained stereotyping and caricature as truth, when it comes to the non-pale characters. And I could deal if this mentality and programming and white wish fulfillment was the occasional film, however in the last two decades it has become practically every film and tv show. The White hero has a woman of color pining for him, his backup girl typically. And the male actor of color, seldom a protagonist, and even less seldom does he get the girl, he is now relegated to comedy relief or side-kick; Rochester for the 21st century. Far have we drifted from the sexually virile Black stars of the 70s.

This creates a cinema of exclusion and to some extent, social engineering. Our facts are shaped by our fictions, arguably more than anything else, and a cinema of marginalization, legitimization and feminism of the male of color, bodes not well.

We are not DW Griffith we are not Cecil B. DeMills making entertainment for a virulently segregated, Jim Crow America. We have made some progress since then, and for filmmakers not to acknowledge that progress or that shifting audience, is to take a stance against that progress, and against that diverse viewing base.

We are not in the early days of the 20th century, we are in the early days of the 21st and while it is a filmmakers choice whether to be exclusionary or boring or homogeneous to a fault, you do so at the risk of failing to become a better filmmaker. You do so at the risk of making scared, redundant, and repetitive early 20th century films, here in the 21st century.

Well I’ve gone on about the pitfalls of cinema, here 15 years into the 21st century, now let’s discuss the strengths of film. The people I think are portraying an America and a world far more intune to the one I walk through, where heroes can be both Black and White.

In the Hollywood system the names are few, but welcome, and waiting… waiting for viewers, reviewers, actors, writer, producers, studios, and directors to recognize there is an inequity, a growing one, at the heart of our fictions, that much be addressed to make our cinema and ourselves… better.

Those filmmakers are (among others):

The late great Gordon Parks
The late great Tony Scott
The very much with us and Great Michael Mann
The very much with us and Great and underutilized Carl Franklin
Sergio Leonne
Ossie Davis

Very, very different directors, but what they were all able to do, sometimes for a single movie, sometimes for multiple movies, is something so rarely done in Hollywood today that it’s like there is an unofficial Hayes code prohibiting it…

…prohibiting having a movie with a character of color or Black character as both heroic protagonist and a male with a functioning libido, who doesn’t have to die or be sacrificed for the majority. πŸ™‚

Outside of the great explosion of films in the 70s extending a bit into the 80s, and the subsequent eradication of locally controlled/independent theaters, The Heroic, virile Black hero has become a scare commodity on Theatrical screens.

Which is why when it gets done well… these days, such as in Peter Berg’s poorly named and badly marketed HANCOCK… the film becomes a wild success. Because there is a large population starved for empowering images of themselves. 2013 with its BUTLER and FRUITYVALE STATION and 12 YEARS A SLAVE, showcases Hollywood’s debasement attitude when it comes to theatrical releases. “Multiple characters of color? You better be a comedy, or telling us about getting your ass whupped.” πŸ™‚ .

Hence 2013s abundance of films of victimization, while they should be valid stories that have their place, if you counter them with just as many films of triumph, or winning, or adventure, or thrilling action and heroism. However the Heroic Tale is a rare one, and that is the failing of the system we have to change. Without the heroic myth to contrast it, tales of victimization are just an assault, a tool, a club… to beat a population into shape.

— to be continued —

WEDNESDAYS WORDS

WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.

Star Trek USS Enterprise Original Series Crew James T Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura & Chekov T-Shirt

Yes, I’m kicking this off with one non-book item just cause I thought it was pretty awesome looking. :). Okay, now onto the books!


Night Watch
Publication Date: July 26, 2006
The Night Watch series has caused a sensation never before seen in Russia — its popularity is frenzied and unprecedented, and driven by a truly great, epic story. In 2005 Fox Searchlight announced it had acquired the Russian film adaptation for an American release. Interest in the books here is now set to reach a fever pitch.

Set in modern day Moscow, Night Watch is a world as elaborate and imaginative as Tolkien or the best Asimov. Living among us are the “Others,” an ancient race of humans with supernatural powers who swear allegiance to either the Dark or the Light. A thousand-year treaty has maintained the balance of power, and the two sides coexist in an uneasy truce. But an ancient prophecy decrees that one supreme “Other” will rise up and tip the balance, plunging the world into a catastrophic war between the Dark and the Light. When a young boy with extraordinary powers emerges, fulfilling the first half of the prophecy, will the forces of the Light be able to keep the Dark from corrupting the boy and destroying the world?

An extraordinary translation from the Russian by noted translator Andrew Bromfield, this first English language edition of Night Watch is a chilling, engrossing read certain to reward those waiting in anticipation of its arrival.

I caught a bit of the DVD, but not enough to really get a grasp of this 4 book Russian series. So interested enough to pick up the first book and give it a read.


Voyage: A Novel of 1896

Editorial Reviews
From Library Journal
Hayden’s wonderful 1976 novel is a historical page-turner with a social conscience. The book compares the treatment of the rich and poor as it juxtaposes the journeys of the pampered daughter of a shipping titan and the crew aboard one of her father’s hellish barks. (Classic Returns, LJ 11/15/99)
Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover
“Violent, colorful… you keep turning the pages to find out just what in the name of God is going to happen next.” –Boston Globe

“A book of savage beauty.” –Boston Herald American

“A rousing epic… Big, muscular, profane, cynical, romantic.” –Chicago Daily News

“A rare sort of sheer drive and vitality carries this novel… a raw fury about class distinctions and privileges… strangely refreshing in our blase age.” –New York Times Book Review

“A story of extraordinary richness and power… Sterling Hayden here proves himself a master novelist. His prose is vivid and brawny, his characters come to individual life… At once a magnificent epic of the sea and a dynamic portrait of turn-of-the-century America.” –Publishers Weekly

Painting With Light
Book Description
Publication Date: May 18, 1995
Few cinematographers have had as decisive an impact on the cinematic medium as John Alton. Best known for his highly stylized film noir classics T-Men, He Walked by Night, and The Big Combo, Alton earned a reputation during the 1940s and 1950s as one of Hollywood’s consummate craftsmen through his visual signature of crisp shadows and sculpted beams of light. No less renowned for his virtuoso color cinematography and deft appropriation of widescreen and Technicolor, he earned an Academy Award in 1951 for his work on the musical An American in Paris. First published in 1949, and long out of print since then, Painting With Light remains one of the few truly canonical statements on the art of motion picture photography, an unrivaled historical document on the workings of the postwar, American cinema. In simple, non-technical language, Alton explains the job of the cinematographer and explores how lighting, camera techniques, and choice of locations determine the visual mood of film. Todd McCarthy’s introduction, written especially for this edition, provides an overview of Alton’s biography and career and explores the influence of his work on contemporary cinematography.


Denim: From Cowboys to Catwalks: A Visual History of the World’s Most Legendary Fabric
Book Description
Publication Date: September 1, 2005
The story of denim is a tale rich in paradox. Cherished alike by cowboys and models, the fabric is at once a symbol of the counterculture and the raw material of a major industry. A simple fabric, dating back to 17th-century France, denim today is ubiquitous: Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood have pushed it into the forefront of high fashion; and Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani have made it the basis for billion-dollar brands. This homage to the much-loved fabric delves deep into the archives to trace the origins and development of denim. It features rare pictures of icons wearing denim, like Marilyn Monroe and Steve McQueen, plus specially commissioned photos of rare and classic garments from the 1880s to the present day. It is complete with a glossary and a guide to valuable vintage items.

Even though like all of you I own denim clothes, I admit to until prepping for this post, being relatively ignorant of exactly what Denim was. I mean fabric content, is typically not on the foremost of my mind. I’m sure I picked up it was cotton in the many years of buying jeans, but if so only as background noise. With prepping for this post, it became actual consumed and recognized knowledge. So what is Denim? For those of you like me, ignorant of fabric content… Well, it’s a uniquely American popularized byproduct of the slave-trade it’s nothing more than an incredibly tough form of cotton weave. I admit to being intrigued enough, to want to learn more.


Eyes with Winged Thoughts: Poems and Photographs
From Booklist
Gordon Parks is remarkable: a Renaissance man who has mastered photography, filmmaking, and writing. The story of his life is certainly an incredible one, which explains why Parks has written a new memoir titled A Hungry Heart (2005). This collection of poems and photographs, however, will add yet another dimension to Parks’ life story. From the resonant words and lessons of his parents to meditations on current events–terrorism, the tsunami, the war in Iraq–the poems are candid snapshots of Parks’ emotional life. Words harmonize with landscape photographs and images of strangers walking through their lives without a sense of being observed. Transcending voyeurism, Parks’ photographs reveal vulnerabilities of the human experience with grace and compassion. After all, Parks understands vulnerability and willingly displays it in his writing. In his 90s and still driven to experience what the world has to offer, and to express his response to it, Gordon Parks is an inspiration to us all.– Janet St. John

Gordon Park’s was a renaissance man, in the highest definition of that word. Photographer, writer, musician, cowboy, director. And with his passing, the world lost one of the last adventurers, one of the last of a dying breed… called men. All his books, are highly recommended.


Face Forward
Amazon.com Review
“Makeup should be fun, not fascist,” celebrity makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin avers in Face Forward, his third book. One of the most adored stylists among fashionistas, entertainment divas, and high-society jet setters, Southern-born Aucoin arrived on the New York fashion scene in the early ’80s, a period he ridicules for its ’50s-era conservatism and McCarthyist us-against-them values. His career since has been motivated by the feel-good ideals of acceptance, diversity, and self-love, and the vain world of beauty has eagerly participated in his vision. While one may puzzle on how it is he finds fulfillment in an industry known for its superficiality and elitism, Aucoin’s words are nonetheless infectious and the touches of his brushes inspired.

Conceived as an exploration of the past, present, and future of beauty, Face Forward is an ingenious showcase of the transformative, creative possibilities of makeup, with portraits of everyone from Julia Roberts to Sharon Stone, Martha Stewart to his mother, Thelma. His crafted visages range from minimal-application makeovers of friends to elaborate re-creations of such Hollywood icons as Audrey Hepburn (Calista Flockhart), James Dean (Gwyneth Paltrow), and Veronica Lake (shockingly, Martha Stewart) and such pop-culture personalities as Cher (socialite Alexandra von Furstenberg) and Siouxsie Sioux (Winona Ryder). The final pages present his ideas for looks to come, such as “Explorer,” Mary J. Blige covered in eggplant body makeup with a rainbow of metallic eye shadows over her eyes and thickly glossed red lips; “Floralia,” a freckled Lucy Liu resembling a sprite from A Midsummer’s Night Dream; and “Venusian de Milo,” Sharon Stone as an orange-haired, one-breast-baring sci-fi femme fatale. Throughout, Aucoin augments an already colorful book with step-by-step instruction, chatty commentary on each look and model, and riffs on such topics as friendship, politics (he repeatedly applauds the Clinton Administration for embracing diversity in the ’90s), and the environment.

“Appreciating (even highlighting) individuality is one of the great things about makeup,” asserts Aucoin, and Face Forward is a dazzling testament to that belief. For those who see the fun of makeup and are eager to experiment with the virtually unlimited possibilities of it, this book is a boon. –Rebecca Wright –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Okay I admit this last one is an odd choice. But I love that cover, plus we all have women in our lives that we can give this book to as a present. πŸ™‚


The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!

If you’re a publisher, writer, or other creative representative looking to submit items for WEDNESDAYS WORDS, just leave a comment on this post with your email/contact info, comments don’t get posted they come right to me, and I’ll reach out to you with the snail mail details.

And as far as readers, if you see items on WEDNESDAYS WORDS you’re considering purchasing then, if you are able and would like to support this blog, please utilize the attached links.

Your helpful purchases through those links, generates much appreciated pennies to keep this blog running. Your feedback and support… just way cool, and way appreciated. Thanks!

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Television Reviews: Dan Harmon’s COMMUNITY Season I DvD!


Having just watched all of the first season of COMMUNITY, I thought I would jot off a quick review, that I think would have been very helpful to myself before purchasing this series.

I was swayed by the reviews which unfortunately had this being the best thing in the universe, with little to no moderating reviews. Having watched the series, I have to say while not horrible, I did have some problems, and in the scheme of things find myself far closer to the 2 star grades than the 5.

The show is not horrible. It has its moments, at times it’s brilliant, one of the standout episodes being PAINTBALL.

And the cast has talented character actors, that could be interesting characters. Unfortunately by the time you get halfway through the season writer/creator Dan Harmon, has fallen into the rut of not developing most of the characters beyond stereotypes.

While I think he’s trying to do something interesting with some of the characters, most notably the character of Abed played by Danny Pudi, who I think is great (Though I understand how Arabs may not really dig the idea of an Indian playing an Arab. Not an isolated incident in Hollywood). Unfortunately for every Abed it seems you also have to get a Troy.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Donald Glover, but I think the character of Troy falls back into the happy medium of White writer writing weak or flawed or sexless or emasculated or non-threathening Black Male characters. You see that a lot in television, and hell going back to vaudville, writers working out their issues of fear and race through “humor”/ridicule. But god we’ve seen that same tune sung so often, that it is a glaring, and boring, and uninteresting stereotype. I would rather a writer not have Black characters in the show, rather than drag the characters into the show to do his version of Step and fetchit. To bring characters of color in, only to break them down. Be it Buffy, or Smallville or the first season of the new Dr. Who, etc.

And the craziest thing is these writers think they are being edgy, and cutting edge, and original, and liberal, when what they are being is very predictable, very 1920s, very tired, and very bigoted. Note to Dan Harmon… tokenism… it is just what it sounds like.

The dumb over-compensating funny Black jock was just about passable the first half of the year, because at the very least you had the romantic subplot that gave you a hint there could be more there. But by the end of the season you have the dumb-over compensating funny Black Jock eunuch, which is oddly enough also a reoccurring Hollywood staple.

Nice one, Dan. Didn’t see that coming.

It’s just tired, tired writing.

I mean, and this is not to fault the actors, they do the best in the horrible stereotypes they are given to work in, and it’s a testament to their skill that I like them, despite the limitations. But I’m nagged incessantly by the fact that I would like them a lot more if they were more than their foibles. I would like them a lot more if they had contrasting cool Black characters to play off of. It would be great the day Black characters can be represented by their “Peirce” but also have their “Jeff”. Or have their “Shirley” but also have their “Britta”. Have the same diversity of quirky and cool characters that White actors get.

Unfortunately, that’s what tokenism does, it gives only a narrow view, to a broad people. And usually it’s the worst, most dismissive, most denigrating view possible. Which listening to Dan Harmon in the commentaries he comes across as more than a bit dismissive and denigrating.

All in all, by the end, I felt the show does a disservice to Harmon to write it, and it does a disservice to Glover to perform it. Add to this the character of Shirley (My God, is that a call back to “what’s happening?”!!) the sassy, but matronly, Black woman. My God we haven’t seen that a thousand times. Black women seemingly to White writers in Hollywood, can only be perceived as Hors (ala Halle Berry) or as sassy, bossy matrons, but nothing in between.

Good, one Dan. Way to be original.

Let’s try something new. How about something crazy, Black guy gets the girl. The hot Black, smart girl. Or the Hot White, smart girl. Wow, imagine that. Oh, wait… that would mean moving out of the 1920s.

So yeah by the end of the season, the blatant stereotyping, took away from what I thought was otherwise an interesting show.

I mean at the price it currently is of like $12 for the entire season, it’s worth getting if only to see the paintball episode. Then sell the thing when done. You’ll make out far cheaper than renting. But just realize, you’re going to see something perhaps a little more flawed than Amazon reviews lets on. Grade: C+.

Community: The Complete First Season — Buy it Here

On Sex, Savagery and Cinema. Horror films in the 21st century!

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As any frequent sampler of this blog knows, I like movies. I also tend to listen to my share of podcasts.

And a few of those podcasts, are about movies. One in particular recently had an episode devoted at least partially to Nudity in Horror films.

I was going to reply to them specifically, but it kicked off a train of thought about horror, and sex, and cinema in general, that I wanted to share… with you. Plus it’s not just their show, seemingly many people put forward this stance that sex and nudity is… uncomfortable or uncalled for, and violence is cool.

The belief that sex and nudity, particularly in genre films… is gratuitous.

Are you guys joking?

Genre/Horror films by definition are gratuitous.

I’m going to get up on my soap box now… πŸ™‚

To say a film “by showing a woman’s boob” or “having a sex scene” is gratuitous, while ignoring the fact the very nature of the film you’re watching be it SCREAM or FRIDAY the 13th or INSIDE is about carving up women, is to have your priorities slightly askew.

I think the argument against “gratuitous nudity” would be far more rational if it was advocating less onscreen violence against women period. (And on the phrase “gratuitous nudity”, I don’t subscribe to it. Do you think Rubens saw his nude paintings as gratuitous? He saw them as works of art. I’d be hard pressed to disagree with him. If nudity was art 400 years ago, why would it be any less art today),

But advocating less nudity, while being completely happy with the violence in a genre film, typically against women, is a suspect argument. While the anti-nude πŸ™‚ argument may be a prevalent mindset in movie going audiences today… I do not think it is a healthy one.

Women are beautiful, so if a filmmaker wants to shoot that beauty, and make it part of his drama, or his mystery, or his comedy, or his sci fi, or his ghost story… and an actress (or actor, don’t want to be sexist here) has no problem being nude, I don’t see the issue with nudity in films.

American cinema (and increasingly World cinema, as other countries adopt America’s misogynistic cinema as their own) can do with more sex and nudity, and less violence. There’s an unhealthy attitude toward sex, that I think is illustrated by conversations I’ve heard from various quarters.

Movie goers are uncomfortable watching nudity or healthy sexual situations on screen, but give them a movie about a rape or a serial killing and somehow, “that’s just good horror fun”.

It’s a bizarre stance to me. The violence should feel like the aberration, the uncomfortable part of a horror film, not the nudity, not the sex.

I like a good thriller as much as the next guy, but I think you have to be cautious about blurring the lines between hero and villain, between sympathizing with victims, and salivating over them.

The word morality is out of fashion, but I think there’s a morality inherent in everything, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. Even in genre fiction. And the morality you are prepared to accept from your fictions and your facts, says much about you. It says how you came up, and for what you are prepared to fall down.

One of my favorite Thrillers is Michael Mann’s MANHUNTER. It’s everything I want a thriller to be, and at the end of the day, the monster is put down, and the damsel is rescued. And yes I read the book RED DRAGON by Thomas Harris, and Mann’s film is far superior because of the changes he made, because of its… simplistic morality.

MANHUNTER superior in every way, because it believes… in heroes.

Contrast that to the morality of these early 21st century Thrillers/Horror films, such as DEVILS REJECTS.

DEVILS REJECTS is everything I don’t want in a movie. I mean it is stunningly shot, fantastically constructed, Rob Zombie is a talented filmmaker no doubt. And I really, really wanted to like the movie, but I couldn’t. Because its morality is fundamentally at odds with my own. I do not want to see a woman get raped in real life, and I don’t want to see one get raped on the screen. In DEVILS REJECTS no one comes to save the damsel. No one comes to stop the violations. The films purpose IS the violations, it is to glorify the monsters, and for you to silently participate and condone and revel… in the crimes.

That is the reality of horror cinema in the young years of the 21st century.

And it is not for me.

And I’ll be the first to admit, I haven’t seen SAW or IRREVERSIBLE or INSIDE. After seeing DEVIL’S REJECTS and the new HILLS HAVE EYES, I don’t need to see anymore of those movies.

I want there always to be someone arriving in the nick of time to save the damsel. And yes it’s an old-fashioned morality, but it’s the one that I grew up with, it’s the one that leaves me feeling good, and it’s the only one I’m willing to accept.

Horror movies for me, have always been about heroism.

And you take heroism out of the mix, and I have no interest in horror movies.

Today’s films and video games increasingly sublimate the desire for sex, with the desire for savagery. And I fear for the type of children it breeds. As if all of America and Canada and the world, is young serial killers in training.

Increasingly desensitized monkeys, being bred for the mill.

So cinema today, genre cinema, horror cinema; is about a willingness to sublimate sex to savagery. And define the wrong one of those two things… as pornographic.

Just my 2 cents.

This installments picture is from one of my favorite poster artists, and one of the greatest surrealist artists currently working, Wieslaw Walkuski. Quite similar, though not as evocative as the work of another favorite of mine, and another Polish Artist, the late, great Zdislaw Beksinski. If you can pick up any of the posters of Walkuski or the art book of Beksinski, do so. They are the best of the best.