I’ve broken up the crazy end-of-the-semester season by sneaking in episodes of The Magicians, the SyFy series based on Lev Grossman’s novels. The premise of the novels and TV adaptation blends Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Paper Chase, and a host of generic 90s shows about good-looking 20-somethings to imagine a grad school… Continue reading Throwing Shade: The Metaphysics behind Objectification in The Magicians
The 21st century will be the century of the fugitive. Not because fugitives are proliferating, but because they are disappearing. And not disappearing in the way that fugitives like to disappear, but disappearing because they simply won’t exist. Technology won’t allow it. A manhunt summons forth the great machinery of the state: scores of armed… Continue reading The Century of the Fugitive and the Secret of the Detainee
One cannot help but observe the predominance of cupcakes in modern America. Why the cupcake, and why now, at this particular historical moment? What the fuck is up with all the cupcakes? Within five minutes of my home there are two bakeries specializing in cupcakes. Two bakeries two hundred yards from each other. They sell… Continue reading On the Predominance of Cupcakes as a Cultural Form
(Apologies to Jim Davis and Dave Walsh)
One midnight a short time ago I picked up 30 Days of Night, a vampire graphic novel I was looking forward to, after having read some great reviews. (In 500 Essential Graphic Novels, for example, Gene Kannenberg calls 30 Days of Night a “livid, modern-gothic triumph.”) I finished the first volume by 1am. Was I… Continue reading 30 Days of Night, Again, and Again, and Again
Ian Bogost has a theory about Every Computer Animated Film Ever that boils down every plot into a universal structure, not too dissimilar from the monomythic Hero's Journey. I don't have much to add about the narrative conventions of the genre, other than to seize upon one point Bogost makes in passing and to expand… Continue reading Where Have All the Princesses Gone?
I am glad to see that Facebook relented and reverted back to its old Terms of Service. Having had my likeness used without my permission (you know who you are, Kirk Cameron), my songs stolen from me repeatedly (yes, I'm looking at you Beyoncé), and even movie ideas ripped off (see below), I was appalled… Continue reading Facebook, Intellectual Property, and Why am I not richer than I am?
Meeting Notes Originally uploaded by samplereality I don't recall what was said at the meeting, but something about chickens sure made a big impression on me.
A friend wondered aloud why psychics always seemed to be women. It's not a question I had ever considered, but it made sense once I paused to think about all the psychics I had ever seen in pop culture. They were all women. The archetype for me is the gypsy fortuneteller in "The Wolf Man,"… Continue reading What Can Psychics Tell Us about the Present?
Which offers greater narrative possibilities: The supervillian who never seems to die (or seems to die, but reappears months or years later)? Or the supervillian who dies but whose mantle of villiany is taken up by his progeny?
Something about David Denby's review of Iron Man in The New Yorker has been bothering me ever since I saw the film for myself. I've finally figured out it has to do with Denby's misreading of the superhero genre, rooted in a disregard -- shared by many critics and moviegoers -- of the source material… Continue reading The Heart of Iron Man
Continuing on the Indiana Jones theme, I also discovered in my old comic book box the first couple issues of "The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones" (larger image). This was back when the Indy characters had the potential to be a serious franchise -- there was a Young Indiana Jones on television, you had the… Continue reading The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones
Anyone who knows is me is expecting a flurry of posts about the sad news of Charlton Heston's death. For a while, back in the late nineties, I was single-handedly trying to forge the field of Heston Studies. My work focused on Heston's informal sci-fi trilogy from the late sixties and early seventies: Planet of… Continue reading The Death of a Legend: Charlton Heston
Tradermaester-maestertrader Adam remembers young Karol Wojtyla (henceforth known as "the pope boy") running through the streets of Poland in Marvel's comic book adaptation of his life. I'm happy to bolster Adam's memory with these EXCLUSIVE!!! images of the pope boy playing soccer in his hometown of Wadowice (larger image). For my part, the image from… Continue reading Pope John Paul II in Action
Inspired by the strange coincidences between Adam's and my first forays into comic books as children, I've dug up this gem from my attic: Marvel Comic's "The Life of Pope John Paul II" (full size image). Published in 1982, this graphic biography (as opposed to a graphic novel) tells the "entire story" of Pope John… Continue reading A glut of Popes on eBay