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Saturday, Feb 20, 2010

It’s a flashback to an Ennis moment from Way Back When. With Hellblazer #63, titled “Forty”, Ennis was approaching the 18-month mark on his scripting duties for the series that arguably established him in the popular imagination. By this time, his acclaimed collaboration with artist Steve Dillon was already well underway.


“Forty” was a just-kicking-back kind of standalone issue; hugely important to character development, but one that appeared between the major politics of two storyarcs. As to be expected from the title, this issue marks the fortieth birthday of John Constantine, the titular Hellblazer. And the issue tells the story of the rumpled, disheveled, curmudgeonly way in which Constantine accepts the surprise party hosted by his magickal compatriots (if not quite friends).


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Thursday, Feb 18, 2010
Liquid City Volume One, edited by Sonny Liew

There is no place called Liquid City. None of the 28 stories in this anthology states that it’s set there. However, the preoccupation throughout the collection with the myriad ways we are products of our environment suggests that the titular setting does exist. As Geoffrey Rush says in Shakespeare in Love, ‘It’s a mystery’.


Liquid City could represent the idea of home as a mental construct (it’s a state of mind, man), rather than a specific place. The liquidity in its name suggests something formless and fluid, constantly changing. Think of other water-related terms and tropes: still waters run deep; water erodes; it displaces; you can’t step in the same river twice. All seem applicable to life in Liquid City.


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Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010

Like most of the comics I have been discussing, Prime #1 is no different, in that I was too young to remember the impact it had on the comic industry. I only remember the characters and stories themselves. Strangely, I do not remember how I came across Prime #1.


 


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Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010

As part of the ramp-up to writer Warren Ellis’ taking over writing duties of Astonishing X-Men from Joss Whedon in the summer of 2008, Marvel released a Sketchbook to promote the visualizations of new regular artist, Simone Bianchi.


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Sunday, Feb 14, 2010

‘We cannot build our own future without helping others to build theirs’.
—Bill Clinton (1946-present), former US President


‘We don’t all crumble at the sight of some clown in a flag’.
—Thor, God of Thunder, Earth-1610


It’s exceedingly obvious that every single person who has ever lived—even
people with the most rudimentary knowledge of history or politics—has their own distinct definition of what a leader is or should (at least attempt) to be. To the recently-paroled Lynette ‘Squeaky’ Fromme, that leader was a mass-murdering cultist and self-proclaimed returned ‘Messiah’ named Charles Manson. To the advocates of recognition of universal Civil Rights in the United States through non-violent methods (which birthed, of course, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s X-Men), Martin Luther King, Jr. was the man to follow. To Britain’s frighteningly Orwellian incarnation of the Conservative Party in the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher was the be-all, end-all (Warren Ellis is famous for having noted ‘I grew up in the 80s in England: we’d wake up each morning and look out the window to see if the government had finally put Daleks on the streets’).
 
However, since the United States declared its independence in the late 18th Century, one sort of Western leader has captivated popular media, including comicbooks, in a way not even fairytale princes and Arthurian legends have been able to manage: the American President, a position that, in itself, is almost mythical in stature, if not in actual relevance.


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