Moonshine 3

Alternating Currents: Moonshine 3, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Moonshine 3, originally released December 14th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: I remember my third grade teacher expressing regret at having sat too close to the stage at a magic show. “I could see how every trick was done,” she said, oblivious that her complaints were describing what I always wanted. To me, the “magic” of a magic wasn’t in suspending my disbelief, but knowing that they were doing something that isn’t magic right before my eyes, and I still couldn’t see it. Suffice it to say, my love of seeing the strings in art — of appreciating the thought and care that goes into those strings — runs deep. The best artists, like the best magicians, hide those strings in plain sight, such that people like my third grade teacher regret noticing them, but finding and celebrating effective uses of even the simplest techniques offers an entirely different set of pleasures. As Moonshine continues to develop its relationships in issue 3, I’d like to turn to the storytelling mechanics that make this series so remarkable. Continue reading

Moonshine 2

moonshine-2

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Moonshine 2, originally released November 16th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: My father grew up in Theresa, Wisconsin. It’s a small, rural town a good 50 miles northwest of Milwaukee. Most of his side of the family is still there, cheering on the Packers and living lives I’m going to charitably call “old fashioned.” My father must have envisioned a better — or at least different — life for himself, and he got out, went to college and become an engineer. He worked in northern Illinois, the greater Chicagoland area, so the physical distance he traversed wasn’t enormous, but the philosophical distance he traveled was. He values education and art and compassion — a departure from what he was raised on. In turn, my siblings and I have all also moved away from our Wisconsin homestead and embraced cultural, societal and philosophical ideas even further from where we were raised. And not even in the same direction — my older sister is in the army, and my little brother is a crusader for homosexual homeless teens in Colorado. And I’m an artsy-fartsy comedian in Los Angeles. We’re allowed this room to grow with relatively little violence or conflict precisely because of the distance we’ve given ourselves from our stomping grounds. Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s Moonshine 2 shows just how traumatic that transition from one generation to the next can be when everyone stays in one place.  Continue reading

Daredevil 33

Alternating Currents: Daredevil 33, Drew and PatrickToday, Drew and Patrick are discussing Daredevil 33, originally released November 22nd, 2013. 

Drew: “The man without fear” is kind of a strange title for a superhero — between absurd power levels and unmatchable competence, most superheroes have nothing to fear in the first place. Heck, the Avengers just repelled an unstoppable force of universal destruction and one of them just shoots arrows. This prompts supervillain inflation, where each bad guy needs to be bigger than the last in order to draw any drama from the situation — at least, that’s usually the solution for most writers. Mark Waid, on the other hand, has taken Matt Murdock’s title to heart, and has set out to explore the kinds of horrors that have nothing to do with the size of the guy Daredevil has to punch. The result is incredibly relatable and human, but also extremely rare in modern comics. Continue reading

Daredevil 32

daredevil 32

Today, Ethan and Drew are discussing Daredevil 32, originally released October 23rd, 2013. 

Ethan: There have been a couple of times now that I’ve wondered aloud about whether this or that character in Daredevil is about to die. Sometimes with tongue in cheek, like when we saw the crooked judge take a pot shot at Matt in the courthouse, or with a little more concern like at the end of the last issue, where we saw something that looked like Foggy hanging from the neck in a darkened room. I don’t know if it’s just coincidence or a concerted effort by Mark Waid to always seem like he’s killing off one of his characters, but guess what: in Daredevil 32, I think he’s really done it. He’s gone and punched Matt Murdock’s ticket.

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All-Star Western 19

Alternating Currents: All-Star Western 19, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing All-Star Western 19, originally released April 24th, 2013.

Drew: Time travel does weird things to stories. Leaving aside whatever chronology wankery that usually goes along with it, time travel stories actually require pretty specific things of their characters. If they are going to the past, for example, they must not know history that well (or events have to play out in a way different from what they learned). Sure, having a character aware of the hands of fate sounds good, but knowing everything before it happens sure sounds boring. Making the time traveler relatively unaware allows for all kinds of neat dramatic irony — we know how things play out even if the characters don’t. This is especially true of historical events we might recognize, but it’s also true of smaller period details. We laugh when Bill and Ted high-five Napoleon, or when Marty McFly plays Johnny B. Goode because we understand that that’s not how someone from that time period would behave. It’s this smaller-scale dramatic irony that permeates All-Star Western 19, as Jonah Hex runs into a time-displaced Booster Gold. Continue reading