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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

SOME BOLD-ASS PREDICTIONS FOR THE SEASON FINALE OF EMPIRE


The season finale of Empire is happening tonight, and what better way to celebrate the first season of a ridiculously over-the-top primetime soap opera with some BOLD-ASS PREDICTIONS?

1.  Andre chills out and gets medicated, but still resentful of his family's musical talents, switches teams and works for Anika and Beretti.

2.  Malcolm finds out about how Cookie wrongfully set up the hit on that drug dealer, then he finds out about Lucious killing Bunkie.  But he's super loyal to both of them and sweeps it under the rug anyway and handles any problems that may arise because he's really good at his job and he's the best.  I love Malcolm.

3.  Lucious finds out about Cookie and Malcolm and decides to file this away for season two.

4.  Lucious fucks Rhonda.

5.  Vernon reveals that he loves Lucious.  Like, LOVES Lucious.  Lucious, predictably, does not have time to deal with this.

6.  Lucious faints right before the credits roll.

7.  Hakeem, disillusioned by the music industry, buys a motorcycle and just drives off to see America.  He is not in season 2, save for a snippet of "Drip Drop" that we hear before Jamal does something far more interesting.

8.  Titan is released from prison just in time for the season finale concert, where he and Royale-T promptly get into a fistfight.  Cookie loves it.

9.  Jamal's ex-boyfriend comes back.  He's gotten deep into the Bushwick art scene and he needs money to pay back some kickstarter backers for his foray into the conceptual sculpture scene.

10.  Porsha and Becky hang out and become best friends and get their own spinoff show.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Daredevil Tonight! (Today!) 210

Daredevil #210
Marvel Comics
Denny O'Neil, David Mazzucchelli, Danny Bulanadi, Christie Scheele, Joe Rosen

Thursday, March 12, 2015

"On Learning To Love The Futility of Keeping Up With DC Comics," or "I Assure You, This Isn't About Comics Criticism"


I haven't been really keeping up with a lot of new serialized comics lately because I'm not really feeling any of them, but I've been checking in with them here and there, and I think I kind of like that better?  It makes me feel kind of like when you tell yourself you're only going to be making an appearance at a party because there's a better party that you're saving for the night's destination, except instead of parties, it's comics or movies or whatever media I'm feeling like consuming, and that destination is completely non-existent in the long run, so the best you can hope for is to find an opportunity to bow out gracefully.  Does that make sense?  I don't go to as many parties as I used to, maybe that's changed.

That's all a pretty roundabout way to say that while I don't like a lot of the things that are out there so much, I can't stop myself from following my whims and dabbling.  I'm a fickle man when it comes to things that truly don't matter, and I've never had great impulse control, so I figured I'd work these issues out on a public social media platform (I'm also a millennial, duh) while talking a little bit about popping my head into DC Comics.

I've been keeping up with three DC Comics titles: Multiversity, Justice League Dark, and Superman.  It took some doing, but I've worked my way past my first issue hangups with Multiversity and now I'm having fun with it.  I've been reading Justice League Dark because I picked up the annual that Klaus Janson drew and I liked it and figured I'd keep going because J.M. DeMatteis is doing a typical J.M. DeMatteis story, and that's comforting to me, knowing that even after so much about me and my life has changed, J.M. DeMatteis can still make a story with heavy handed ideas about time and life and death.  It's a very "serious superhero comics from the 90s" vibe, different from how most of the other comics in the DC feel like stale throwbacks to early 2000s "realistic" conventions.  Think less like an attempt to make comics "realistic" and more a feeling like trying to make comics right up there with "serious literature."  Likewise with Superman I picked it up because John Romita Jr. was drawing it, and looking at his art and knowing that JRJr is still truckin' along drawing rectangle people and exploding wreckage makes me feel good.  I don't know shit about what's going on with the DC Universe as a narrative, but things like Justice League Dark and Superman, while not great works of comic art, are uncomplicated and undemanding, and I think that's what I need from superhero comics right now.  I think I'm tired of searching for the profound in superhero comics.  That's not to say that it can't be there, but I'm just having a hard time thinking that I have to look at something like, I dunno, that Pizza Dog issue of Hawkeye or fuckin' Batgirl and consider it as great art that elevates the medium of comics storytelling.  I mean no disrespect to those titles, but at the end of it I think they're fun stories that do a great job of making you feel a certain way; none of them are changing comics forever and I feel like nothing out there right now really moves me on a personal level.  I enjoy superhero comics because they're fun, but it's been a while since I've felt positively affected by them.

Whatever enjoyment I am getting from them, I know I'm not going to be following them forever and actually I enjoy that about them.  I'll eventually get sick of Justice League Dark and find it being overwrought and cliched will be less comforting and more grating.  John Romita Jr. will eventually leave Superman and I'll have to figure out if I still have room for new JRJr comics in my life or if I'd rather just go back and flip through old Ann Nocenti Daredevil comics that he drew.  Multiversity will end and dovetail into story seeds that someone like Scott Lobdell will pick up and misuse.  There was a time not very long ago where I would have just kept going despite how overwrought and cliched and JRJr-less these titles were becoming, a time when I was so set on finding an ending.  There won't ever be a real ending to those things, and I think you just have to accept that.  Then you can keep going because that's what you're into (which is fine, I'm not going to give you shit for that if it makes you happy; I just admitted I read Justice League Dark comics because they make me feel good, so who am I to judge?) or you can just drop it and move on.  That comic universe is gonna keep spinning with or without you, so I figure you should have your fun and get out while the gettin's good.  Eventually, if you're like me, you'll get drawn back into it and you'll have no idea what's really happening, but I think that helps makes it fun and exciting again, like when you were discovering comics for the first time and you had no idea what the deal was with any of these characters, but you definitely felt like you needed to know more.  Because of their ongoing serial nature, I think superhero comics will rarely have that sense of closure necessary to be something truly affecting to me, so I figure taking a break from it and making it feel new again is the best way to keep it exciting for me.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Daredevil Tonight! (Today!) 209

Daredevil #209
Marvel Comics
Arthur Byron Cover, David Mazzucchelli, Danny Bulanadi, Christie Scheele, Joe Rosen

Monday, February 16, 2015

MULTIVERSITY POWER RANKINGS: The Bottom 10 Earths

Last week I wrote about the Top 10 Earths so far in Multiversity, so this week I'm following that up with The Bottom 10 Earths so far.  It's always good to keep an open mind about these sorts of things, but it's also true that there are a lot of stinkers in the multiverse.

THE BOTTOM 10
10.  Earth-7
This is the earth that was based on Marvel's Ultimate universe, and also it looks like Mike Mignola's Hellboy has been thrown in there for some reason?  It's not that important, considering this entire Earth was wiped out in the first issue of Multiversity to show how bad and tough those tough bad guys, The Gentry, can be.  Maybe it was a kind of cheeky/petty move having the analogues of everything wrong with the comics industry destroying the stand-in for the basis of the incredibly popular Marvel Cinematic Universe, but whatever, I'm glad it's gone.  This Earth is here because on top of being a first issue casualty, it's a copy of a copy mashed up with an adaptation of a copy of a universe.  It's like Walter Benjamin's nightmare vision, plus Hellboy is hanging out for no reason.

9.  Earth-46
Throughout The Multiversity Guidebook, Grant Morrison includes entries for seven unknown worlds that were created by the seven "Monitor Magi" with no further information beyond that.  It's a nice way to create some more mystery around the Multiverse, and I'm pretty interested in seeing what develops, though I have my own ideas.  Earth-46, however, is the worst one of the mysterious bunch because it is listed as "The second most mysterious of the 7 UNKNOWN EARTHS."  It's the second most mysterious because we actually know one thing about it: it apparently came SECOND PLACE in the mysterious Earth Olympics, which means it is the silver medal of mysterious Earths, and we all know that second place is just first loser.  On top of that it's being proudly billed as "the second most mysterious?"  Nobody cares about who's second most mysterious!  You're either the most mysterious or you shut the fuck up about it and fall back in line with the other Unknown Earths.

8.  Earth-34
I literally have no idea what this Earth is about.  It looks like an Earth whose superheroes were influenced more by Ancient Greco-Roman theater than adventure pulps?  Which, now that I'm thinking about it, could actually be a pretty interesting concept that, upon further reflection, would most assuredly fall flat on its grease-painted face.  Who cares.  Oh, also, shoutout to Piotr Rasputin hanging out in his overalls and boots in the back there.

7.  Earth-38
I believe this one is sort of based around John Byrne's Superman & Batman: Generations Elseworlds stories, which I'll admit I've never read, but a quick look at this makes me think that the most interesting idea here is our two main superheroes aging in real-time.  According to this entry the premise is about Superman and Batman being heroes in the 1930s and generations of their sons and daughters taking up the mantle after them, which means that this Earth is filled with a bunch of entitled, self-righteous prick superheroes that probably aren't as fun as my dudes in The Just.  The idea of Superman and Batman in the 1930s just makes me think of Tom Brokaw and all his "Greatest Generation" horseshit, and their children, a group of asshole baby boomers enforcing the status quo in a world of coded racism and late-stage capitalism.  I don't give a shit about John Byrne comics.

6.  Earth-35
This appears to be an Earth populated with ripoffs of characters from Supreme or WildC.A.T.s or Youngblood?  Maybe it's loosely based around Wildstorm properties (Although I think the Wildstorm properties were folded into the regular Earth-0 continuity)?  Is it just a general Image superheroes dump?  At any rate, it's another case of a copy of a copy being forced into a Justice League template, and I'm clearly not a huge fan of those.  You know what while we're at it, what does it mean that the majority of these Earths feature a Justice League-type of configuration?  I mean I know it's all about branding and legacy with DC, but I'm talking story-wise here.  Almost every Earth seems to have a version of the Justice League and given Grant Morrison's interest in spirituality and mysticism perhaps there's something there about that Justice League configuration repeating itself throughout the Multiverse?

5.  Earth-19
Is this a Gotham by Gaslight Earth?  Whatever.  Not interested.  I've read Gotham by Gaslight, and it was a fine comic book that I certainly did not want more of.  There are also some pretty steam punk-y looking designs here so *dismissive jacking off motion*

4.  Earth-33
This is supposed to be our Earth.  This is the Earth where you wake up and read twitter and facebook and get angry about some stupid bullshit and it bugs you for a good chunk of your shitty day and you wonder whether there's a specific point where everything went wrong or if it's just always been this bad and you just weren't smart enough to notice.  And now that you are smart enough why can't anyone else figure it out?  This is the Earth where you are reading a blog post about The Multiversity Guidebook.  Thanks for reading, by the way.  This is also the Earth where I truly do appreciate you taking the time to read any of this.  Also this is the Earth with ISIS and anti-vaxxers.  It sucks.

3.  Earth-1
This is the Earth based around DC's line of Earth One graphic novels, the bulk of which JMS is largely responsible for.  (I don't ever want to try to fumble my way through spelling Straczynski ever, so thank god for whoever came up with the ol' JMS.)  I'll admit to having never read any of those books, but I will also admit to never really being that interested in them.  Also, the thought of JMS setting the tone for an entire universe of stories is upsetting to me.  I believe at some point this was supposed to be DC's attempt at an Ultimate-style version of their universe but with serialized graphic novels instead of monthly issues, but from what I've heard there is still some confusion about how this universe is supposed to function in the scope of DC's business model.  Apparently none of the creators on any of the titles set in this Earth are sure whether they're bound to an official Earth One continuity, and to be fair the description in the Guidebook does playfully acknowledge this, but story-wise there are fifty one other Earths that seem to have figured out their shit.  What's Earth-1's excuse?

2. Earth-36
Earth-36 just looks like another off-brand Justice League but not even with the twist of a different theme like most of the other Earths.  It's lazy.  This just looks like a straight up one to one copy of Earth-0's Justice League, but with some typical, boring redesigns.  It'll probably fit in great with DC's lineup when it gets its own book and some asshole who claims that this is their favorite thing tries to revitalize it or whatever and make their own suitably derivative Justice League of Earth-36 stories to sell to other fans who keep whining about wanting something different and diverse but are still largely unwilling to look past superhero signifiers for that.  I'm sorry if I'm being hard on all the brave work that went into giving Earth-36's Green Lantern a torch or whatever, but I'm using Earth-36 as an example of just how lazy superhero comics can be and how willing we are as fans to not only take this nonsense but to play our part in the hype machine for something as meaningless as a Justice League redesign, or worse, superhero movie casting news.

1.  Earth-32
Speaking of the laziness of superhero comics, take a look at Earth-32 and their mashup version of the Justice League.  This is an Earth so lazy they couldn't even bother to come up with some original redesigns.  They just decided to smash a bunch of characters together in totally boring combinations.  As unexciting as this Earth is, I am pretty compelled to wonder a few things about this Earth: Is everyone in this world a boring mashup?  Are ordinary people mashed up with their other equally ordinary counterparts?  Is the Earth's population cut down in half because what would typically be two people on our world is now actually just one mashed-up person on Earth-32?  Is all music mashed up?  Is everyone just listening to Girl Talk and the Hood Internet like all the time?  Is there still a demand for that type of mashup party music over there?  There are too many stupid questions that come with this Earth, and none of them are that fun anyway.  Fuck this place.