Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Infinite Loop 6, originally released September 30th, 2015.
“They’ll put a gun into your hand and call you weak until you’re violent
Don’t believe it
They’re hateful because they’re empty
We’ve got a chance to break the cycle
We could be the heroes that we always said we’d be.”
Spencer: The first time I listened to that song I cried, and while it still gets me more than a bit emotional, it also lights a fire within me. Yeah I wanna break the cycle — of course I wanna be a hero! Sign me up! It’s a call to action, and an incredibly effective one; so is The Infinite Loop. While Pierrick Colinet and Elsa Charretier’s mini-series is ostensibly a sci-fi action/romance story — and a rather fine one at that — at its core it exists to preach a message, spark a movement, incite readers to action. If there exists a more thorough call to action than The Infinite Loop 6, I don’t think I want to see it. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Ryan M. are discussing Jem and the Holograms 7, originally released September 16th, 2015.
Patrick: One of the things I find most invigorating and fascinating about serialized fiction is the series’ need to evolve beyond its initial premise. And I’m using “premise” in the broadest possible sense of the word, to include things like patterns of storytelling, linguistic ticks, artistic vocabulary. If had stopped reading Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman after a dozen issues, I never would have known that the series and its creative team was capable of telling beautifully colored stories, or if I had given up on LOST after two years, I never would have known that there’s a time-travel component to the story. These developments to both the narrative and how the narrative is expressed arise organically and only over time. As Jem and the Holograms begins a new story arc with artist Emma Vieceli stepping in for Sophie Campbell, the new DNA of the series reveals itself, promising a richer experience to come. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Ryan Mogge are discussing Jem and the Holograms 6, originally released September 2nd, 2015.
Drew: I think we all know the feeling of showing a movie (or even a youtube video) we love to somebody for the first time: it’s mostly excitement, but also a little fear that maybe they won’t find it as funny or smart or touching or whatever as you do. That feeling actually has an even more tense relative that may not be quite as universal: showing a tv show you love to somebody. This was particularly tense in the pre-DVR, pre-Netflix age, when your only resource was whatever episode was on next — in the case of a current series, an episode that you had never seen before. That was particularly anxiety-provoking because a show is greater than the sum of its parts — any one episode can’t hope to be as engaging as the series as a whole. Unless, of course, the that episode was a perfect microcosm of what makes the series great, like Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell’s Jem and the Holograms 6, which serves as a perfect introduction to the series, distilling everything special about it into one tight little issue. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 49, originally released August 19th, 2015.
“Let’s get ready to rumble!”
-Michael Buffer, Ring Announcer
Patrick: Michael Buffer started using his signature phrase in 1984. It’s short, it’s sweet, and belted out in Buffer’s distinct tenor, it can bring a crowd to their feet. The dude trademarked the phrase in 1992, and since then, he’s gotten paid for every single time it’s used. It’s estimated that the phrase is worth $400 million – that’s $80,000,000 per word. Why should a single sentence — no matter how powerful — ever be worth that kind of money? Because the pageantry involved in the pre-fight ritual ends up being more important that the fight itself. Hype is an art form. No one calls out “let’s get ready to rumble!” in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 49, but the issue is so singularly obsessed with hyping one specific rumble that it’d be easy to forgive the creative team for invoking Buffer’s cash cow. And even though they haven’t: I’m ready.
Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 48, originally released July 29th, 2015.
Taylor: Time is hard concept to understand. On the one hand, it’s totally an invention of humankind and wouldn’t exist without us. On the other hand, it does seem like things more or less move temporally in some fashion independent of human thought. That’s basically the second law of thermodynamics. The point is, time is a complicated concept. It should be no surprise then that time can be difficult to illustrate in comics. It’s such an abstract concept that it’s not always easy to show readers. However, one of the things comic book artists are experts at is showing the movement of time in and between panels. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 48, artist Cory Smith puts on a clinic on how to show the passage of time. Subsequently, this issue is beautiful to read.
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Casey & April 2, originally released July 22nd, 2015.
Taylor: Last summer’s Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie met with lukewarm reviews. There were a lot of reasons cited by critics for the movie not being great, but the one thing that was almost universally harped upon was the confusing nature of the action sequences. Bay aficionados, however, were not surprised by this: chaos is one of his trademarks. What this goes to show is that clarity is incredibly important when crafting a story. It makes sense – if the audience can’t understand what’s going on, how are they supposed to take anything from it? Casey and April 2 is an interesting study in clarity: how it succeeds, how it fails, and how it succeeds despite its failings.
Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing The Infinite Loop 3, originally released June 17th, 2015.
Patrick: I like to think that these Alternating Currents are fearless. We make whatever observations we want and to hell with the consequences! Sometimes that means getting pushback from creators that used to retweet our pieces, sometimes it means getting into an argument in the comments section or on twitter. But the audience for one of these pieces is highly self-selected – anyone reading this specific piece (for example) is going to have read all the way through Infinite Loop 3 and wants to read more about it. That’s a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of people, likely lumped together by a shared set of values, enthusiasms and ways of thinking about and consuming culture. So when I make some dumb statement about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles perfecting action on the static page, I am, almost by definition, preaching to the choir. There’s no grander cultural risk involved – the writer and the reader are trapped in the same loop of perspective. Infinite Loop 3 makes a bold attempt to break itself out of its cultural loops by ratcheting both its science fiction elements and its lesbian erotica elements to insanely high levels, and the result is decidedly fearless. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Casey & April 1, originally released June 17th, 2015.
Taylor: When you’re in a relationship with someone for a long time, it’s inevitable that you and your partner will eventually get into a tiff. Sometimes this might be precipitated by a single event and sometimes it’s the culmination of a lot of little things that have added up over time. In either case: you’re heading into an awkward situation. You’re upset with your significant other, but given the nature of your relationship you may end up spending time together anyway. Moments like this have a habit of happening in the car — where you have no choice but to stay together and fume. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Casey & April 1 throws us into just such a situation and we’re forced to consider just how good of a couple April and Casey really are. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 46, originally released May 28th, 2015.
Taylor: Long form storytelling is all the rage right now. Aside from the occasional sitcom, it’s rare to find a medium where long, syndicated story telling isn’t the norm. While TV shows are a prime example of this trend, podcasts, novels, and even movies are now using multiple installments to tell a grand story. The neat thing about this is that it allows writers and artists to craft a complex story with complex characters that would go unexplored in a shorter format. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, now in its 46th issue, certainly qualifies as a long story and while that may no longer be unique in today’s world, what does stand out about it is just how expertly crafted this grand narrative has been put together. Continue reading →
Today, Ryan Mogge and Patrick are discussing Jem and the Holograms 2, originally released April 29th, 2015.
“There isn’t a person you wouldn’t love if you could read their story”
Ryan M: The quote above is one of those pat and reductive Pinterest quotes that is difficult to attribute and employing a double negative, but totally I believe it. Empathy is the primary benefit of story. As a consequence of our consciousness, we live in our own heads, seeing through our experiences. How — without narrative — are we to relate to something as foreign as someone else’s pain? I apologize for being so heady, but these are the things you think about when considering Stormer, keytar player in Jem and the Hologram’s rival band, the Misfits. Continue reading →