We Built This City On What The Fuck : C.F.’s “Pierrot Alterations”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Somewhere, at some point, for some reason, some people are building a city. Only maybe they’re not people, since at least one of them shambles about on all fours. And maybe it’s not a city because all they’ve got finished so far is part of a wall — which is more than you can say for Trump. But hey, maybe they’re just waiting for Mexico to pay for the thing, too. And somehow, in some way, all of this has something to do with a post-modern retelling of the lamentable tale of Pierrot, the archetypal “sad clown” figure of literary history.

Possibly, at any rate.

You guessed it, the recently-released (via Anthology Editions, continuing their very strong publishing year) Pierrot Alterations is a C.F. comic. Or ‘zine. Or maybe even book. I prefer to think it occupies its own unique space somewhere between all three, but not necessarily beholden to…

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Conor Stechschulte’s “Monks Mound” : An Anthropological Examination Of Family Dysfunction


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Oblique connections are a recurring theme in Conor Stechschulte’s ongoing Generous Bosom graphic novel series, but the disparate threads that run parallel to each other in that multi-faceted narrative appear to be heading for some sort of convergence as the sure-to-be-big finale approaches; in his latest self-published standalone comic, though, entitled Monks Mound (or, if you prefer, “Monk’s Mound,” as the titular location is referred to in the text of the book itself), the connective tissues linking one of the stories to the other are left entirely in the hands of the reader to either discover or, as is more likely to be the case, intuit for themselves. The end result is a challenging and deliberately disjointed read, part family drama and part history lecture, the overall tone and feel of which is something akin to an ABC After School Special written and directed by David Lynch.

Is that me…

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Titans, S1 Ep6, Jason Todd, Review By Case Wright, Dir (Carol Banker)


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This episode was a true Detective Comics story.  It had a eerie feel to it and I understand why- Carol Banker (Director) and Jason Hatem (Writer) are veterans of  The X-Files and Supernatural.  These shows are often grisly whodunnits and this episode fit that mold.

The direction and character development and dialogue are so confluent that it has an unsettling realism.  You watch Dick go through a metamorphosis of grief and brutality into something new- something he doesn’t even know yet.  The dialogue is quick and sharp slowly revealing the differences between Jason and Dick, building the tension between Dick’s uncertainty and Jason’s brutality.  The last shot of the detective story pulls back with Dick alone, staring at what Jason has wrought.  There are crippled police everywhere.  The cost of Dick saving his friend is the unleashing of this hurricane of cruelty wearing the costume that he once proudly wore.

This episode picks up right after the last one.  It’s uncertain why Jason Todd was there to help Dick.  It turns out that Dick and Jason are both Lo-Jacked with tracking devices because of Batman.  Batman discovered that someone is hunting down all of the members of the circus that Dick grew up with- essentially his family other than Bruce.  This person is the son of the man who killed Dick’s parents.  We learn that five years ago Dick got the revenge upon his parents’ killer. Although Dick didn’t do the fatal blow,  he purposefully stood back so the killer would die at another’s hands.

This whodunnit also serves as a Mid-Point Crisis and realization for Dick’s story arc.  He doesn’t want to be Robin, but he carries the suit across the country.  Jason Todd is the new Robin, but Jason, unlike Dick, is pure Robin.  Batman had a code of non-killing and certainly forbade beating up people because you could.  Jason Todd does not follow that; in fact, he likes to brutalize people for sport.  Jason Todd is rage and violence distilled to its darkest conclusion.  This is in line with the comics where Jason becomes the Red Hood and straight up murders criminals.  

As they work together in the episode to track down the killer, Dick realizes that he’s not Robin anymore, but he’s not on the sidelines either.  The Melting Man essentially kills Dick Grayson’s Robin persona because by forcing Dick to work along side Jason to stop him, it causes Dick to realize that he’s no one’s sidekick and that he isn’t a pure psychopath either.

Dick sees Jason’s thrill in beating up cops and crippling them.  Dick tries to explain to Jason that this embrace of darkness costs your soul, but Dick realizes soon that you can’t lose something that you never had.  Jason Todd is like the Joker – in Christopher Nolan’s words- The Joker is an absolute.  The Joker and Jason Todd are the Id of humanity- both absolutes; there is no reasoning with them.  They want and do and they do -without feeling.

Dick is likely to evolve into Nightwing, but more importantly we see in this show very careful layering and texture added over time for every character.  It really brings out the goose-flesh to see these people struggle with being heroes.  It’s so human and painful and more clear when you see a Jason Todd who  relishes embracing darkness and violence.

The Robins do save the day, but Dick is left changed permanently.  Like the funeral scene the story opened with, Dick Grayson’s Robin is dead.  Dick is unaware as to what he will become, but we know it will be born among the Titans. Without question, this is the BEST show on television.

 

Boulevard of Broken Dreams: Quentin Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (Sony/Columbia 2019)


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If you’re as much of a movie/television/pop culture fanatic as I am (and if you weren’t, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog!), I’m here to tell you you’re gonna ABSOLUTELY FUCKING LOVE this latest Quentin Tarantino epic!

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD takes place in 1969, at the tail end of Tinseltown’s Glory Days, and the tail end of TV actor Rick Dalton’s career. Dalton (splendidly played by Leonardo DiCaprio) was the star of the late 50s/early 60s TV Western BOUNTY LAW (modeled after Steve McQueen’s WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE), whose drinking problem has led him on the road to nowheresville, grabbing quick paychecks by guest starring as bad guys on episodic TV. He’s offered the chance to make some low-budget Spaghetti Westerns by producer Marvin Schwarsz (a bloated looking Al Pacino), bottom of the barrel stuff that’ll keep Rick’s name above the title.

Rick’s best bud Cliff…

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Music Video of the Day: Visions of Paradise by Mick Jagger (2002, directed by Dave Meyers)


Yesterday was the 76th birthday of Sir Michael Phillip Jagger so it seems appropriate to give him today’s music video of the day slot.  Visions of Paradise was the first video off of Mick Jagger’s fourth solo album, Goddess in the Doorway.

This video was directed by Dave Meyers, who is one of those music video directors who seems to have worked with everyone.  If you look over the list of videos he’s directed, you’ll see everyone from Master P to Kid Rock to Pink and Taylor Swift.

Enjoy and keep rocking, Sir Mick!