Material 4

material 4

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

Material 2

material 2

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

Material 1

material 1

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Material 1, originally released May 27th, 2015.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Drew: Like most Americans, I first read A Tale of Two Cities in high school, and like most Americans, that experience utterly ruined the book for me. My 9th grade teacher proudly trotted out all sorts of historical information about the French Revolution, making it all the more difficult to keep in mind that its themes of privilege and oppression are, unfortunately, timeless. Indeed, I’d long seen the famous opening paragraph’s use of past tense as an affirmation of that historical distance, but only because I’d forgotten the less-quotable final clause that reminds us that this is mostly remarkable for being “so far like the present period.” It’s that same “present period” that is reflected in Ales Kot and Will Tempest’s Material 1, which offers a tale of many cities that is just as timeless as Dickens’, but also decidedly more of-the-moment. Continue reading