Today, Scott and Shelbyare discussing Manifest Destiny 7, originally released June 11th, 2014.
Scott: As a culture, we love making predictions. The more impossible something is to predict, the more tempting it is to venture a guess. A quick search on Google yields dozens of 2015 Oscar predictions and NFL mock drafts, despite the fact that many of the films mentioned haven’t been released yet and nobody knows which college football players will declare for the draft until next January (or which players will improve markedly, get injured, etc.). Making such predictions is an exercise in futility. And yet, we do it anyway. We talk at length about what we think will happen next on our favorite TV show, knowing full well the show’s writers are working hard to subvert our expectations. Unpredictability breeds anticipation, and anticipation is fun. Predictability, on the other hand, is a near sin. It’s capital “B” boring. Even knowing full well that writer Chris Dingess is likely trying to subvert my expectations, Manifest Destiny is starting to feel predictable, which is the beginning of a very slippery slope towards boring. I predict he’ll need to spice things up fast if he wants his readers to hang around.
Today, Drew and Gregare discussing Manifest Destiny 6, originally released April 9th, 2014.
Hell is a terrible place. Maggots are your sheet, worms your blanket, there’s a lake of fire burning with sulfur. You’ll be tormented day and night for ever and ever. As a matter of fact, if you actually saw hell, you’d be so frightened, you would die.
Miss Albright, “Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment”
Drew: Do you ever get the impression that people are trying way too hard to make hell scary? Fire and brimstone is exactly as generically horrible as harps and white robes are generically pleasant — I understand the gist, but holy crap do those rewards and punishments have no relation to my everyday life. I suppose the reason the over-the-top conception of hell is so frustrating to me is that it ignores a much scarier truth about a life of sin, one that remains true even if you don’t believe in any kind of afterlife: that you may be forever tormented by your own guilt. If you believe you are deserving of some horrible fate, you will spend your days waiting for the axe to fall, while someone at peace with their actions may lead a more serene, contented existence. In that way, Heaven and Hell aren’t destinations we move to at the ends of our lives, but mindsets we create for ourselves as we move through them. These are feelings that tend to lie dormant, but can be brought to the surface by something as big as a loved one passing, or as small as having one too many drinks. Manifest Destiny 6 finds Lewis and Clark confronted by both ends of the spectrum (if you replace the drinks with a potent floral hallucinogen), and shows just how differently they respond.
Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Manifest Destiny 4, originally released February 12th, 2014.
I’m busier than you.
Drew: I don’t know if it is true everywhere, but when I was in college, scheduling a meeting or asking someone to help with something was basically made impossible by everyone’s knee-jerk insistence that they were SO busy. I absolutely understand the importance of saying “no” when you really are busy, but the implication that someone was unwilling to make time for whatever group project that everyone else was making time for always drove me nuts. It was known around campus as the “I’m busier than you” game, which found its practitioners preemptively complaining about how busy they were in hopes of avoiding being asked to do anything. The best response I ever saw to these kinds of complaints was a friend insisting that he had just run a marathon with knives embedded in both thighs — something so over-the-top to (hopefully) give everyone a little perspective on how silly it is to complain about term papers or whatever. Of course, nothing we could come up with was quite as extreme as single-handedly fighting off a band of monsters WHILE PREGNANT, which is to say, Sacagawea (or at least the version of her that appears in Manifest Destiny 4) would have easily won the “I’m busier than you” game. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Manifest Destiny 3, originally released January 8th, 2014.
Taylor: I enjoy camping and trips into the wilderness. There’s something refreshing about abandoning the trappings of modern day life and “roughing it” for awhile. Maybe I feel closer to nature and its beauty or maybe it’s just the quiet I can enjoy like nowhere in a populated area. However, this silence isn’t always peaceful and nature isn’t always a thing of beauty. Sometimes the silence — especially late at night — is terrifying as the isolation of my situation sinks in. The sense of peace I once had quickly transmutes to unease. The benign perception of nature is replaced by the more terrifying and accurate realization that, given the chance, nature would just as soon destroy as nurture. All this, and I know for the most part I am safe; I could be rescued if worse came to worse. When I realize that, I can’t help but wonder how Lewis and Clark felt being absolutely in the middle of nowhere with no one to help them should things go wrong. The sense of terror they must have felt on occasion permeates the third issue of Manifest Destiny, blurring the lines of historical fiction and reality.
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Manifest Destiny 2, originally released December 11th, 2013.
Drew: I love a good creature feature. I could actually take or leave the shock cuts, the gore, even the monster — for me, it’s all about what keeps the victims from simply dispersing at the first sign of trouble. Whether it’s a remote village, arctic research station, or a towing ship in deep space, writers have to get inventive with keeping otherwise relatable characters from simply escaping from the monsters trying to kill them. Or, at least, they should get inventive — I think we’ve all seen the fuel line cut a few too many times to give all writers a pass, and horror movies are notorious for characters whose actions are unrelatably stupid, pressing on to the cabin, haunted house, or foreboding castle in spite of the obvious warning signs. After three readings of Manifest Destiny 2, I’m still not sure if the characters are dumb, or actually stuck. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Mikyzptlk are discussing Manifest Destiny 1, originally released November 13th, 2013.
“(It is) our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us.”
John L. O’Sullivan, New York Morning News, 1845
Patrick: The term “Manifest Destiny” is strange – I’m not totally convinced that those words make sense when put up next to each other like that. I mean, I see how you can make one’s destiny manifest: essentially just realizing one’s potential. My objection — I think — is that it’s redundant: both “manifest” and “destiny” can imply that what is going to happen is meant to happen. And maybe that’s all O’Sullivan was going for, he felt that the US was “supposed” to conquer all the lands between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The genius of the term is that it feels as though the right and responsibility to do so is innate – you’ll notice that he doesn’t say that any man, government or god has granted us this opportunity, just “Providence.” Whatever was out there, it was just ours. No question, no doubt, no reason. It’s already a dangerous and intriguing concept, so what happens when you add secret missions and monsters? You get the best kind of alternate-history comic – one that makes you chuckle in recognition and gasp in shock in the same breath. Continue reading →