American Monster 6

Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing American Monster 6, originally released May 17, 2017. As always, this article containers SPOILERS. Maybe-not-as-always this article contains some NSFW images.

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Patrick: Do you remember that day in elementary school when they split the class between boys and girls and tried to teach sex ed? I want to say it was 4th or 5th grade. It was a cursory look at the subject, content to cover some of the basic vocabulary and just get the kids past the point where they would giggle at every mention of the word penis. At the time, I thought it was a worthless exercise, but I’m starting to think it may have been counter-productive. By separating the genders, the teachers were sending the message that all this sex and body talk was somehow secretive. The boys weren’t being taught how to talk to girls about what was happening in their bodies, and whatever was happening in the girls’ bodies remained a total mystery to the boys. And vice versa. Sex is complicated, and it can have huge, everlasting effects on someone’s life, but we insist on a prudish secrecy around it nonetheless. American Monster 6 pushes its characters around on a carousel of sexual ignorance, misunderstanding and shame. Continue reading

Veil 5

Alternating Currents: Veil 5, Drew and GregToday, Drew and Greg are discussing Veil 5, originally released October 15th, 2014.

“Thus it shall befall Him, who to worth in women over-trusting, Lets her will rule: restraint she will not brook; And left to herself, if evil thence ensue She first his weak indulgence will accuse.”

John Milton, Paradise Lost

Drew: How long do you suppose sexism has existed? The Bible would have us believe it’s basically as long as human sexes have existed — Adam was created first in God’s image, with Eve following up as an afterthought of sorts, made of Adam’s spare parts. Coincidentally, she’s also the one who is tricked (or at least talked into) eating the apple from the tree of knowledge first. Sin may be conceived in the mind of Satan, but it’s brought to humanity in the shape of a woman. I appreciate that this is a bit of a tunnel-vision reading of the creation myth — the Bible is full of men who sin without the aid of women — but the notion that women are lesser beings who tempt men to evil continues to pervade our culture, from  how much women are paid at work, to blaming women for “provoking” physical attacks (or threats) against them. Gallons of ink have been spilled over this very subject, but Greg Rucka and Toni Fejzula manage to find a new angle in Veil 5, providing an anti-Eve story that — no surprise — feels decidedly more empowering than the original. Continue reading

Inhuman 2

inhumanity 2Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Inhuman 2, originally released May 28th, 2014

Shelby: Serialized media has it’s pros and cons. I rather like having to wait a bit between installments; as long as the wait isn’t too long, and I know when I’m going to get my next chunk of the story, that waiting period adds delicious tension to the tale. I think it also makes things more special, having to wait for them; anticipation can definitely make things sweeter. But, like everything, there’s a downside to dragging a story out over months; when the reader wonders, “wait, is this still happening?” when we’re only on issue 2 of the book, you know there’s a problem.

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Veil 3

veil 3

Today, Greg and Shelby are discussing Veil 3, originally released May 7th, 2014.

Greg: Think about someone you adore spending time with. Someone who adds a unique spark to life, who brings out the best in you, who seems to possess complementary qualities to your flaws. Have you ever spent time with this person only to find that they’re in a funk? That their spark is gone, their energy depleted, their pizzazz evaporated? It’s a dreary social situation that can really take a lot out of you. This person is supposed to be your fuel; how are you gonna get anywhere if they don’t have the gas? Reading this issue of Veil is a little like that; because I’ve loved this comic immensely thus far, watching it narratively sputter and momentarily declaw its main figure of intrigue was an unfortunately deflating experience.

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Veil 2

veil 2Today, Greg and Patrick are discussing Veil 2, originally released April 2nd, 2014.

Greg: I see a therapist regularly, and while it may be unhealthy to view therapy in a win/lose sports binary, I feel like I scored a big “victory” at my last session. She told me I seemed to be good at “living in the present,” that all-encompassing mantra that, to me, means the healthiest choice is to let go of what you can’t control in the “then,” and instead, find peace in the “now.” It’s something I’ve struggled with my whole life, which might explain why I responded so positively to the newest issue of Veil.

Basically what I’m saying is, if Dante needs to talk to someone, I can give him a number to call.  

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Inhuman 1

inhuman 1

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Inhuman 1, originally released April 2nd, 2014

Shelby: I have always been somewhat baffled by racism. I can’t understand the reasoning behind looking at another human being and deciding that they are inferior because of the color of their skin. I understand that racism exists, I’m certainly not trying to deny it, I just don’t understand the logic (such as it is) behind it. How can any one human be inherently better than another? And what could skin color possibly have to do with it? As Charles Soule kicks off Inhuman 1, he presents us with a situation where there IS a branch of humanity which is measurably superior. The Inhumans are stronger and more powerful than the rest of us mere mortals, and some are not afraid to show it. The real question is, once these inferior humans start instantly transforming into superior beings, what are all those racist Inhumans going to do about it?

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Veil 1

Alternating Currents: Veil 1, Drew and GregToday, Drew and Greg are discussing Veil 1, originally released March 5th, 2014.

Drew: What is an identity? Is it a name you call yourself? Is it a series of values that dictate your actions? I think we often tend to think of our identity as some kind of immutable part of our being, but I personally believe that it changes with the context. Sometimes we’re outgoing, other times we’re shy. Sometimes we’re funny, other times we’re humorless. I tend to think that context-dependence means that we define ourselves — at least in part — by the way others treat us. I tend to be a pretty mature guy, but as soon as I go home to visit my parents, I’m a little bit seventeen again. I often find myself rising (or falling, as the case may be) to those expectations, but Veil 1 introduces a character who refuses to be defined by the way she’s perceived. Continue reading