Tai Ho

The excellent Toby Morris piece below calmed me down the other day.

Toby Morris’ Pencilsword at thewireless.co.nz — click through for the rest of the comic.

It’s much more resonant than a “Keep calm and [INSERT EXHORTATION]” meme or what-have-you.

Finding the balance between knowing one’s limits and pushing beyond them is an ongoing challenge.

Yes, on occasion I have rued the consequences of an “How hard can it be?”-inspired adventure.

But however they end, when the smoke clears and I’m either still standing or not in handcuffs (or better, both), I’ve at least learnt something new about the world, my craft or myself.

Some of my limits are just because. Others are there to be extended.

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Box Watch: Marvel’s Jessica Jones

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47431125

Ten episodes in and I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel where:

  • our heroine, Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter)  catches her nemesis, Kilgrave (David Tennant);
  • Jones’ Greek chorus of friends, family and/or acquaintances sing, Kill Kilgrave else he will continue to murder people;
  • Jones counterpoints with, No, I must not kill him yet somehow he must still pay — wait one while I ponder…;
  • Kilgrave escapes — trimming Jones’ chorus by one enroute — and continues his murdering ways;
  • Jones catches Kilgrave…

Do this catch-and-release routine once and if the heroine learns from the experience, it’s a learning experience.

Do it twice, and if the heroine prevails in the end, it’s one of those rule-of-three narrative devices.

Do it three times and there’s still three goddamned eps to go in the season, one begins to wonder: are the writers undercover wingnuts highlighting the inherent weakness of liberals in this harsh, harsh world? or have I just been inured by decades of Old Testament-moral-style action films in which all manner of personal, societal and political problems can be resolved in a hail of lead?

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2015 by Dots per Inch

Whangarei Central Library

I actually read stuff this year — 91 titles as a matter of fact, seven of which I didn’t finish for various reasons. This compares very well with 2014’s measly 24 titles.

Highlights, in no particular order:

  • Justified pilot script by Graham Yost;
  • Transparent pilot script by Jill Soloway;
  • Steve Jobs 19 March 2015 draft script by Aaron Sorkin;
  • The Fade Out issues 1–12 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips;
  • Alex + Ada by Sarah Vaughan & Michael Luna;
  • Lazarus issues 1–20 by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark;
  • X-ed OutThe Hive, and Sugar Skull by Charles Burns;
  • Down Under by Bill Bryson;
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout;
  • No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy;
  • Cop Killer by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo.

Honourable mentions to The Ballad of Halo Jones by Moore and Ian GibsonThe Walking Dead issues 136–149 by Robert KirkmanCharlie AdlardStefano Gaudiano, and Cliff Rathburn, and Ms Marvel issues 1–5 by Sana AmanatG Willow Wilson, and Adrian Alphona.

I feel like I should read more text-only books but I suspect that’s my easily triggered inferiority complex.

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2013 in Print

A terrible year for the reading diary: a meagre 72 titles passed through my grubby fingers.

Still — stand–outs were:

Comics

iZombie Volume 1: Dead to the World by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred
Beast by Marian Churchland
The Hive by Charles Burns

Books

World War Z by Max Brooks
The Good War by Studs Terkel
Glitz by Elmore Leonard

Scripts
Tyrant by Gideon Roff
Modern Family — S01E07 by Danny Zuker
Law & Order — S08E09 — Burned by Siobhan Byrne
Baghdad Baby! by Dean Parker
Midnight in Moscow by Dean Parker

Usually, whatever gets listed in these end–of–year posts is culled from a larger short–list of what made an impact. Not so 2013.

Late new year resolution: Read more.

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Toy Throwing

Saw Man of Steel with The Boy a couple of months back. Besides the decidedly age-based concern about the amount of (inevitable) real estate damage in the final showdown, I couldn’t help thinking about the little people. (I wasn’t alone either.) As buildings were pulped and dust billowed every-which-post-9/11-way, I kept flashing on this film:

By chance, the aiga had watched Chronicle the week before – and during that film’s climactic showdown I was flashing on this:

Yes, Alan Moore‘s Miracleman.  I doubt we’ll see any film or television adaptation of this revisionist beast (a protracted rights wrangle is approaching its twentieth anniversary) but Chronicle‘s tale of three friends who gain superpowers and whose good intentions go wrong not just for them but for the puny humans around them, is a nice and engaging substitute.

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Ongoing

At the end of Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli’s Daredevil: Born Again, our hero, broken in the first act of the story and now painfully reconstituted as a stronger, more focused, more realistic hero and human being, walks into the figurative sunset with the love of his life.

I stopped reading the series at that point.  I knew if I continued, it would just go on and on and on:  there would be more villains, more life-obstacles – more of the same, but different.

Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever been a big fan of ongoing serials. My comic collection is made up largely of one-off’s, mini-series and trade paperbacks.  As for the viewing library, even though I was a massive fan of Law & Order, it’s taken quite a conscious effort to get myself to buy up to the sixth season of the show, as opposed to the complete runs I have of The ShieldThe West Wing, and The Wire.

I think real life is exciting and ongoing enough, thank you.

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Gild

Okay, (I suppose) I’m excited about the upcoming third season of The Walking Dead when one of the publicity stills caught my eye:

Compare that to our introduction to her in the comic:

Am I being nitpicky in thinking, What’s with the Masai She-Warrior shit?

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Oh Alright Maybe

A flurry of Facebook comments from Stevo and Motorbike Steve about the return of The Walking Dead behooves me to confess that The Goddess and I started watching the second season a while back and got two eps -, no wait, three -, hang on.

… Whoa. Okay. Disappointment in the second season was so deep that it wasn’t even entered into my viewing diary.

I’m as shocked as you are, believe me.

But back to the story. We got however many eps into the season and She turned to me and said what I’d been thinking for all the eps subsequent to the season opener: This is boring. So we stopped.

Michonne and travelling companions (“The Walking Dead” #19).

But Season 3 beckons with the promise of Michonne and the penitentiary arc and… godsdammit, that arc was just mindblowingly awful (but in a good way) that I just have to relive it, and it’s been too, too long since we’ve had a bad-ass no-nonsense African American heroine like Strange Days‘ Mace.

Angela Bassett as Mace in “Strange Days” (1995).

Yeh okay, I’m in.

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CMB

It’s Comic Book Month at the local library, which coincided with two recent blind purchases.

The latest Parker volume from Richard Stark and Darwyn Cooke. I think I bought the previous volume, The Outfit, sight unseen, too.

And the final chapter of Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill‘s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume III: Century.

– Oh, and whilst browsing at the local library, how could pass up a blurb like this: Six new stories of love, crime, alcohol, and severed heads. Yep, Jason is back with Athos in America.

If I’m not writing, I should be reading, right?

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