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Friday, Mar 1, 2013
Artist Cully Hamner's visualization of the Shade's life as a retired gentleman in the opening panel of the very first issue of The Shade is the perfect note to begin the traumatic psychic journey that lies ahead for the lead character…

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It’s a quiet tea between friends. The Shade, the erstwhile Richard Swift, and erstwhile Starman Mikaal Thomas take the October air on the Shade’s upper-floor balcony. Below them, the Shade’s garden spreads out, behind them the city towers, threatening to swallow the idyll of gentlemanly sedateness. The measured repose, as well the physical balcony,  put the Shade above his past, but the towering spires of Opal City certainly seems to suggest the lurking doubt that he may not yet be beyond the consequences of his earlier deeds.


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Monday, Feb 18, 2013
We've never seen Legion of Super Hero powerhouse creators Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen collaborate on the title before, and we couldn't have imagined it being this good…
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Instant trauma often forces us into recognizing the prolonged trauma we’ve been heir too, all this time. There’s almost no way to read Phantom Girl’s throwaway line of “You know me…nothing hurts a phantom…”, a throwaway line that comes on the heels of ten panels of gut-wrenching panic and dread, ten panels of fear for the well-being of her compatriots in the wake of their star-cruiser crash, and not feel in some way as if we’ve already been implicated in the deeper dread of that glibness.


This isn’t the gnawing paralysis of survivor’s guilt that Phantom Girl is experiencing. Because simply put, she hasn’t survived. She’s been in trauma her entire life, a trauma uniquely entwined with the very nature of her superpowers—she’s been intangible to the world around her.


If anything, issue #17 opens with a kind of “instant trauma” not just for Phantom Girl, but for readers as well. We’ve never seen the powerhouse storytellers of Keith Giffen and Paul Levitz together on the Legion of Super Heroes. At least, we’ve never seen that before now…


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Monday, Feb 11, 2013
Perhaps only Justin Jordan could pull this one off -- taking readers into a hardcore action book like Team 7 and have them find dialogue-driven drama in the mode of the West Wing.
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You can debate the comparative strengths of Aaron Sorkin’s most recent offering, Newsroom. Has he pushed the model he began with Sport’s Night too far? Has something in that idea of dialogue-driven storytelling gotten broken by being revisited time and again, through Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and now through Newsroom? Is Newsroom itself fraught with too much ideological grandstanding to lure viewers into the inherent dramas of cable news?


You can debate the various merits and the comparative strengths of Sorkin’s miscellany of TV shows. And if you know Sorkin as a producer and as a writer, you know that he takes on a Woody Allen-like aura for his fans—each fan defending their own favorite Sorkin project.


 


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Thursday, Feb 7, 2013
We've seen the Great and the Grand from MAD contributor and gifted caricaturist Herman Mejia, now we see the "Worst"…

Thinking about it now, it’s hard not to remember the bile rising, hard not to relive it. In at #2 on MAD’s “20 Dumbest” for 2008 was Herman Mejia’s “Keeping Bad Companies”. We’d just made it out of the Financial Crisis without hitting a second Great Depression, but in February of 2009, we were beginning to ask, “But at what price?” Was the Bailout too much to afford, too high a price for us as a nation?


And there in the pages of MAD, in the starkest of terms, was Mejia’s caricature. President Obama, Geithner, Bernanke raising a parody of the Star-Spangled Banner, in a parody of the famous Iwo Jima flag-raising. But this wasn’t the real American flag—just as the ground underfoot was not the soil of Iwo Jima but piles of cash, the flag had its field of Stars deleted, only to be replaced by corporate logos.


Even now, the bile rises at the memory of that image. It’s the idea that we’ve been had, been taken in not only by the financial wizards who caused this mess, but by the political wizards who engineered the Bailout. A powerful image, with a powerful message.


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