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Monday, May 3, 2010
Wrapping up his coverage of the recent Pittsburgh Comic Convention, Andy Smith discovers something that puts the gathering into a different perspective.

It’s the third day of the Pittsburgh Comicon, and I feel like I’ve experienced it all.

I’ve scoured through back issues and held Amazing Fantasy #15 until the dealer started to appear nervous. I’ve high-fived every Star Wars character I’ve seen, including the lazy ones who simply donned a robe for Jedi Knighthood. I’ve had conversations with medium legends like Roy Thomas and Joe Sinnott. Most importantly, I capitalized on the booth giving away free energy drinks.

But as I walk by one particular booth, promoting Mark Mariano’s comicbook Happyloo and music act The Omatics, I notice a scene that puts the convention in a different perspective.

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Monday, May 3, 2010
Along with its fast-paced and noir-influenced story, this lost classic of gekiga offers insights into a transformational artist and his feverish process.

Black Blizzard presents a fascinating reading experience. A “thriller-manga” from 1956, and an early example of the gekiga style of Japanese comic, Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s Blizzard is also inexorably connected to his 2009 memoir, A Drifting Life. It’s hard to read one without rushing to consult the other.

An epic autobiographical comic, Drifting Life examines not only Tatsumi’s life and development as an artist, but also Japanese post-war society and the growth and development of the manga industry. In several sections, he describes his thinking and ambitions leading up to the creation of Blizzard, as well as the exhausting, exhilarating 20-day marathon creative session that produced the comic.

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Thursday, Apr 29, 2010

It’s the second day of the Pittsburgh Comicon, and I’m stuck behind two Mandalorians in line for a slice of pizza.

I rarely take note of costumed fans at conventions. But as I see the two intergalactic bounty hunters ahead of me and an impatient Lobo behind me, I begin to ask the obvious question.

What’s with the costumes?

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Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010
Words of the Prophets: PopMatters writer Jimmy Callaway supermans Grant Morrison's "Magneto Was Right" meme from the fictional into the factual world.

Few were as excited as I that Marvel, courtesy of writer Matt Fraction, would be bringing back into continuity that malevolent master o’ magnetism, Magneto, within the pages of The Uncanny X-Men.  A fairly typically difficult adolescence has more or less rendered me one of those troubled souls who tend to root for the bad guys. And Magneto, much more a master of misanthropy than magnetism, often gives voice to my own hyperbolic curses upon mankind.

But then he comes back as a good guy.  He wants to make nice.  And though he is still regarded by the X-Men as being highly untrustworthy, compared to the recent aggressive national anti-mutant campaign, the one that led to the mutants creating their island “Utopia,” any trouble Magneto could cook up would at least be a change of pace.  Plus, he goes and nearly kills himself bringing the outer-space-exiled Kitty Pryde back to terra firma.

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Tuesday, Apr 27, 2010
History buried in shame. David Lloyd's "V For Vendetta" reminds readers that fascism is really simple, and operates by concealing crimes.

“He starts with her back, ‘cause that’s what he sees.
When she’s breaking his heart, she still fucks like a tease.
Release to the sky, look him straight in the eye
And tell him right now that you wish he would die.
You’ll never touch him again, so get what you can,
Bleeding him empty just because he’s a man.”
Stars, “One More Night”

“A sin takes on new and real terrors when there seems a chance that it is going to be found out.”
Mark Twain (1835-1910)

“I could just pretend that you love me;
The night would lose all sense of fear.
But why do I need you to love me
When you can’t hold what I hold dear?
Oh God
Could it be the weather?
Oh God
Why am I here?
If love isn’t forever
And it’s not the weather
Hand me my leather.
I almost ran over an angel.
He had a nice big fat cigar.
‘In a sense,’ he said, ‘You’re alone here
So if you jump, you best jump far.’”
Tori Amos (1963-), “Leather”

There are many things in this world that can easily be considered unforgiveable abominations. War. Genocide. Infanticide. Leaders lying to their constituents. Selling drugs to children. Covering up murders and claiming them as suicides to save on state taxes.

All of these pale in comparison to a specific personal violation. Oftentimes in life—more often than most people care to admit or recognize—someone who may even appear to care for us on a very deep level may throw it all to the wind and hurt us deeply. Sex crimes are often joked about—as most of the world’s most dreadful aspects, from terrorism to murder frequently are—but for those who have experienced them, they are no laughing matter.

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