Carnival of souls: Special “no Thrones” edition

* Tom Neely thinks the curator of the 100 Euros art show, Antonio de Luca, may have stolen his artwork. Beware.

* Ed Brubaker is relaunching his excellent Captain America series as a period piece called Captain America and Bucky, focusing mainly on the latter, co-written by Marc Andreyko, illustrated by Chris Samnee. I’ll be there like I’ve been there for everything Brubaker has done with these characters and their milieu.

* Dan Nadel sings the praises of Ben Jones and his new Cartoon Network show Problem Solverz. Did anyone do better than me and remember to set their DVRs for it last night?

* Zach Hazard Vaupen started a webcomic called Rusted Skin Collection! It’s smutty and funny!

* My movie-going days are dunzo, but I must say that this comment by Jon Hastings (aka the Forager) and this review by Oscar Moralde have me reconsidering my ambivalence toward seeking out Sucker Punch. Sayeth Moralde: “This critical paroxysm against Sucker Punch is quite possibly the most colossal collective misreading of satire since Paul Verhoeven was accused of being a fascist for Starship Troopers.” Now that’s the kind of statement that’ll make me sit up and take notice. Equal time: Curt Purcell.

* Speaking of “Hmm, I guess I better check that out” pieces, Eve Tushnet loved Lake Mungo.

* And speaking of Curt Purcell, he continues to write eloquently about any number of things; here he is on one of the key aspects of Lost‘s final season.

* Another day, another terrific Comics Grid piece, this time Jacques Samson on anonymity, facelessness, and the “perfect progressive tense” of Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library #18. You really ought to be following this site.

* Tim O’Shea talks to Jess Fink about (mostly) her fun porn comic Chester 5000 XYV.

* Tom Spurgeon visited the Center for Cartoon Studies, and all you got was this in-depth report.

* Matt Seneca has launched a dedicated site for his comics. Check ’em out.

* Dustin Nguyen draws Spider-Man and his amazing rogues gallery. I love drawings like this, where an artist with a certain aesthetic basically creates a “set” of characters from a particular property. If I could draw, I’d draw shit like this all the time. (Via Agent M.)

* Uno Moralez is drawing things just for me at this point, I’m pretty sure.

* This is what the new version of Rob Liefeld’s Avengelyne looks like. Wow. The artist is Owen Gieni.

* It’s cool to see Gary Panter incorporating the influence of people he influenced.

* Check out lots of Strange Tales II process art at ComicsAlliance.

* This slow, vocoded George Michael cover version of “True Faith” by New Order is one of the stranger things I’ve heard in a long time. That is not to say I don’t like it, though. Certainly the combination of lyric and artist is enormously apt in this case. (Via Andrew Sullivan.)

* Music critics really, really need to stop treating unusual versions of a certain genre as rebuttals to that genre. That goes for critics on both the pro and con side of any given debate, by the way. First of all, genres are built to be broad, or else you’re not talking about genre, you’re talking about formula. Second, when you definitionally remove unusual instances of genre from genre, you’re hamstringing that genre; rock, for example, would be Chuck Berry and Elvis to this day. Third, I just think it makes no more sense to hold up (say) James Blake as someone out to do (say) R&B or soul or dubstep “right,” whether you’re for such an attempt or against, than it would to say Scott Pilgrim was Bryan Lee O’Malley trying to do shojo manga or videogames “right.” Influences may be incorporated without becoming a commentary, positive or negative, on those influences.

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8 Responses to Carnival of souls: Special “no Thrones” edition

  1. Sam Costello says:

    Good God yes do you need to see Lake Mungo. Probably my favorite new horror movie since Martyrs, though diametrically opposed in style and content. Not too many movies out there that can both create such a pervasive and deep sense of dread, while also succeeding in making me cry. Fantastic stuff.

  2. thanks for the shout out, sean! i’m always flattered to see you mention my stuff amongst all the other stuff that is actually the best stuff.

  3. Thank you once more, Sean. We’re so glad you’ve enjoyed the posts so far.

  4. My pleasure, Zach and Ernesto! You’re both very good at what you do.

  5. Hob says:

    I dunno man, that Oscar Moralde piece was unconvincing to put it mildly– if anything it made me even less likely to see Sucker Punch, on the principle of “if these are the kind of intellectual gyrations required in order to find a way to like the thing, then yikes.” I mean, he asserts that Snyder is an intentional and deft satirist on the basis of Dawn of the Dead and Watchmen, and although there were things I liked in both of those, I saw no evidence that Snyder had a good understanding of his source material or brought anything extra to the table in terms of satire. I never saw 300, so maybe that was brilliant, who knows. But I have to say, these two bits–
    1. DotD “updates” Romero “for a digitized, hyperreal era”
    2. People don’t appreciate Watchmen because “there is such great resistance to reading political critique into a film that features a costumed vigilante who guns down peace protesters in the streets, assassinates JFK, and wins the Vietnam War alongside a personification of American atomic power”
    –don’t really encourage me to trust Moralde’s critical assessment of pretty much anything at all. I mean, that there is some ace bullshit.

    • That’s what I get for reading no further than the opening to avoid spoilers.

      • Jog says:

        Eh, I’d say there’s a bunch of evidence in-movie that Snyder has more than hot-girls-damage-things on his mind… but, like Jon, I dunno if I’d call it Verhoevien. More of a weird, messianic self-loathing… it’s a problematic movie, but I liked it better than anything else he’s done.

        • Jon Hastings says:

          Hob – I enjoyed the movie a lot without having to do any intellectual gyrations and I think the movie, overall, is (productively!!!) messier than Moralde’s piece suggests. I do think it is a pop art film with as much emphasis on the art as the pop and those two sides don’t alternate so much as they’re constantly there, in tension with each other. It really is like Mulholland Drive as an action spectacle, and the potential problem with that is that the spectacle can overwhelm everything else.

          Moralde isn’t the only fan of the movie who’s compared it to Verhoeven, so I think there’s something going on there. Talking about Verhoeven is tricky though. Many fans of Starship Troopers seem to see Verhoeven as “simply”, satirically playing up the fascistic subtext of Heinlein’s novel and American action movies. I tend to think it’s a little more complicated: I’d argue Verhoeven is fascinated by the aesthetics of fascism and, esp., Nazi propaganda, and so he weaves that stuff into his action movies, not just as commentary but because he digs it aesthetically. I think Verhoeven’s “productive messiness” comes across more “clearly” in his two WWII movies – Black Book and Soldier of Orange – whereas I tend to see what he’s doing in Starship Troopers as a bit of a dodge. (That’s not meant as a huge dis on Troopers). If Sucker Punch is “Verhoevian”, it’s closer to Black Book than Troopers.

          re: Snyder’s earlier films: I like all of them, but, to borrow some loaded terminology from decades ago, I would have said they’re the work of an interesting metteur-en-scene rather than an auteur. The satirical ideas in Dawn are James Gunn’s. And the main thing Snyder does with 300 is to put just a smidgeon of distance between the movie and Frank Miller’s comic so that it becomes impossible to quite take it seriously without actually seriously questioning any of Miller’s assumptions. Watchmen is trickier because the people making that movie really did not seem to realize what made the comic great but I think they manage to pull something coherent (and pretty good) from the wreckage of their misunderstanding, but, again, most of the good thematic ideas are Alan Moore’s.

          I do think his earlier movies are interesting on a formal level, though: the CGI-aided images in 300 and Watchmen have a weird sculptural heft to them – 3D in 2D – that I think shows that he’s thinking about moviemaking in a way that the guys making the other big budget, CGI-driven spectacles aren’t. He reminds me a bit of Frazier Irving in this way.

          Sucker Punch, though, is the first of his movies where he’s added a thematic sensibility to his formal interests.

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