Today, Ryan D. and Spencer are discussing Royal City 1, originally released March 1st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Ryan D: In my first weeks as an English major at college, I learned a lesson which, at the time, blew my mind: don’t trust the narrator. Most of what I’d read for high school or for pleasure until then featured omniscient or objective narration, so finally tackling novel’s like Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, wherein Chief Bromden casually mentions the walls oozing, or Nabokov’s Lolita, in which the main character very subjectively rationalizes his pederasty, really expanded my mind as to how an author could influence an audience and curate their reading experience. While I have come to expect writer and artist Jeff Lemire to throw down some tricks for a new title, the reveal at the end of Royal City 1 treated my brain to a lovely narrative twist which has my eye opened skeptically towards narrators all over again. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing Material 4, originally released September 2nd, 2015
Patrick: I have very vivid memories of working on a project in elementary school. It was a vocabulary project, and we just had to find a creative way to use all these vocab words. I was being an ambitious little idiot, so I had decided to put on a radio program using all the words. I don’t know why I chose audio-only — I had been making movies in the basement for years at that point — but I suspect that I just wanted to get it done quickly, and radio sounded easier than video. The trick was that we didn’t have a good working tape recorder in the house, so I went from Fisher-Price Tape Deck to Sony Boom Box to 3M Mini-Cassette Recorder trying to get something that worked. At one point, I was shouting into a plastic microphone “I hope you can hear me because my grade is counting on this!” I hit the stop button, and then, rather than try to play back the tape, I realized I’d be so fixated on one solution that I was making myself crazy. I mean, come on Kid-Patrick, you could just as easily make up flashcards with drawings that represent the words – there’s no reason to freak out on your own equipment. Material 4 calls into question the solutions its characters try to apply to their societal and psychological problems in much the same way, only it’s clear that much more than some 10 year-old’s grade is counting on this. Continue reading →
Today, Ryan and Michael are discussing Material 2, originally released June 24th, 2015.
Ryan: Have you ever sat down and read the entirety of James Joyce’s notoriously difficult Ulysses? As a pretentious, young undergraduate studying English, I snickered into my coffee when a friend asked me whether I would attempt to tackle the classically obtuse text with a reader’s companion or not. Having recently curbstomped arm-loads of 18th Century British Lit. and avant-garde contemporary poetry, I thought, “How hard could it be? It’s only words. Making them make sense is what I do.” Ulysses quickly humbled me with the wall of metaphors, symbols, ambiguities, and overtones which allow it to remain one of the most critically-scrutinized novels of all time. While nowhere near the same “run away from the book right now” level as the aforementioned modernist masterpiece, Ales Kot and Will Tempest’s Material 2 struck me in a similar way – one which a comic book has never inspired in me. With the feeling that everything I read seemed fresh, dense, and that I barely scratched the surface on the first go-through, I recommended the two issues of the series thus far to a friend whose opinion I trust greatly, who simply thought that Material “had its head up its own ass.” So, which one of us is right? Continue reading →
Today, Ethan and Shelby are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy 5, originally released July 31st, 2013.
Ethan: I’ve always been envious of people who can consistently sleep through long flights. I’m not a tall person; airplane seats are not all that constrictive for me. Leg room is not really a big concern. Nevertheless, I haven’t mastered the skill of settling in and passing out. So on the one occasion in which I did get lucky enough to fall asleep during takeoff and wake up during the landing, I was freaking out a little. One minute, I’m freezing in the Great Plains; the next, I’m squinting at the Sierra Madre through bleary eyes and a tiny window. If our species ever gets around to inventing teleportation, I think it will feel a little bit like that. In Guardians of the Galaxy #5, a new character is undergoing her own, much more radical translocation – Angela, “Hunter of the Heavens,” has been ripped out of her home universe/reality, and she is NOT happy about it. Continue reading →