August 6th, 2009
A new, regular linkpost. Check it every Thursday
- Great post by Bob from Tearoom of Despair on the stunning conclusion of Garth Ennis & Goran Parlov’s penultimate Punisher MAX arc. For a moment it looks like Frank is going to justify the abandonment of his daughter and the hope of a normal life she offers with the Aunt May defence: ’She’s not safe around me’, but Ennis’ Punisher extends his unflinching brutality even to his own illusions. He admits to himself that’s just another lie, with a chilling line that goes something like ‘I know that one day I’d open up the paper and see something that needed to be done’. The long, cold, dark of the story’s title isn’t a simple hole, a gaping void that he has to bear as an affliction of fate – it’s the act of digging that grave all by himself, the responsibility he bears for his own damnation. Frank’s need for violence is ultimately bigger than the love for his daughter. He knows that and hates himself for it, but can’t escape the future of his traumatized past, or the hard, sharp, facts of his own crimes. Ennis’ run can be summed in the mighty Marvel manner as ‘With great violence comes greater violence’, and this is the moment he pins it to the wall and forces Frank to realise that for himself. (b)
- Whether in Paris or the New World, a stroll up Main Street, U.S.A is a profoundly psychedelic experience, an essential lesson to psychogeographers, architects, ergonomicists and other occultists everywhere. It imparts a nitrous oxide elation, a weightlessness overlaying but not entirely erasing the walker’s pre-existing mood, in the clearest modern example of the power of the managed environment to elicit subjective alterations in human emotional states. The universally reported alienation experienced in the glassy warehoused atmospheres of the airport or shopping mall is a means to another end, an encouragement to either endlessly consume or sit quietly to ease the anxiety, but the Disney dream hidden in the oppressively perfected frontages of Main Street is pure end product, the unholy culmination of the arts of masonry. Usually a brand will have only contextual meaning, and will only have the purpose of self-propagation, but Disney’s has an actual psychophysiological corollary in that Main Street saunter that is unique, and uniquely dangerous. Uncle Walt, Uncle Phil and K-Punk work it out in a typically headspinning post here. (b)
what if our earth is their heaven?
- Reading John le Carré’s fiction is a little like reading James Ellroy’s – both bleed fact into fiction, sometimes to frustrating effect. While le Carré’s work is less obviously historical than Ellroy’s, the shady worlds he describes and the characters that haunt them have an often frightening plausibility. So it came as a wonderful surprise to this le Carré neophyte when Radio 4 announced that not only were they going to run dramatisations of all eight of John le Carré’s exquisite George Smiley novels, they were also planning a series looking at the history of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) – Smiley’s very own Circus. Go listen. (z)
- I note that fellow comics blogger Sean Collins has already linked to this, but you really should check out the trailer for the Coen brothers’ new movie, The Serious Man. Not only does it herald new Coen output, which in my book is pretty much always a very good thing in and of itself, it’s also a creative and smart little entertainment in its own right, which is more than can be said for the trailer for Wes Andersen’s Fantastic Mr Fox, which perhaps understandably is just a little too conventional for its own good. (z)
- If you have been deeply irritated by the knowing, arched eyebrow that has framed so much of the criticism of Lars Von Trier’s latest, Antichrist, then this is the comment piece for you. You don’t have to have seen the film to know that the kind of cooler-than-thou rot that has been produced by so much of the liberal press over the last few weeks will be quickly consigned to the bin of history when everyone stops behaving like teenagers and actually starts writing about the film rather than how they’re in on Von Trier’s oh-so-wicked sense of humour, or similar nonsense. Thirlwell’s opinions aren’t perfect – it is, of course, entirely possible to be shocked by things that aren’t real – but it’s nice to see someone try and cut through the crap that has clogged up the critical process. This is, hopefully, the thin end of a much smarter critical wedge. (z)
- Comics! Everyone fucking loves comics, and if you don’t, you can fuck right off. Part of loving comics, a necessary and not contingent part, is that you have to love ‘internet personality’ Abhay Khosla; unless you don’t know who this is and therefore cannot fully realise your love of comics! You will then love him so much sputum forms at the end of your organs (all of them), possibly after a swatch at Abhay Khosla’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
- A big part of modern life is proliferating your ceaseless self into virtual nirvana (i.e. the internet) via things called ‘avatars’. Neal Stephenson wrote about this, it is very complicated, but if you have an XBox you probably have, like me, spent countless hours modding the moderately effete 3D cartoon of yourself to look “just right“. This is an avatar. Mine has a vintage Italy 1970 top, just like me! Anyway, if you want to be ‘hep’ and ‘with it’, like all the messageboard (web 2.0?) kids what you need is to make a Mad Men self, just in time for series 3. Help, I’ve not watched s2 yet and still can’t shake the implacable feeling the show is set in the 1950s! It isn’t! Mmm, relaxing music.
- If you follow just one of the links from this post you need to follow this one. Mindless Ones’ blogger of the moment, Teatime Brutality, gets stuck into the problem (yeah, it’s a fucking problem) of canon, and gives the fucker a good and well deserved hiding. The focus is Dr Who, but don’t worry non Who fans, TB offers some enjoyably all purpose arguments wrapped up in lulz a plenty.
- When David Lynch’s Dumbland cartoon first came out they were only all available from his website to the exclusive content subscribers. NOT ANY MORE! We’re probably late to the party but these hilarious, disgusting, disturbing brain-twists are all up on Youtube. (gl)
- This trailer for Robogeisha has everything you’d possibly want to see in this film! Consequently we have a great trailer for an almost certainly terrible film. (gl)
- Listening to most podcasts about comic books is by and large like having your eardrums slowly pierced by turds (see our very own efforts), but some of them are actually quite good. One recommendation would be Everything Comes Back To 2000AD. It has a simple and effective format in which two laddy-but-likable types, Stephen and Richard review an old prog (currently they’re on #8) and the two or three most recent progs. A weekly schedule would be even better, perhaps reviewing more than one classic prog. After all there’s over one and a half thousand of them so it’s a pretty safe bet they won’t catch up with themselves anytime soon! (gl)
- Thanks to Douglas Wolk’s heads up, I found the rather wonderful Slow Wave web-comic, produced by Jesse Reklaw described as an ‘ongoing webcomic that incorporates actual dreams submitted by readers into a fictional narrative’. It’s in a similar vein to Rick Veitch’s equally brilliant Rarebit Fiend dream comic, but in producing it sequentially Reklaw captures the same strange fluidity and crazy logic that characterise the best dreams. Lovely understated artwork reminiscent of Jeffrey Lewis’s work. (tbmd)