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by shathley Q

25 Jun 2009

It is not the kind of scene readers have come to expect, over the short course of 8 issues, from Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch’s The Authority. The narrow focus on two lead characters, the slight worms-eye view, the slight Dutch tilt of the image, all make for a very personal moment. This is not at all the kind of comics that has become hailed as ‘widescreen’ format, the kind of comics of sleek, near-Tarantino-esque ultra-violence that depicts ever-widening vistas of blasted landscapes. But with this subtle inversion, Ellis and Hitch seem to offer a proof of principle for ‘widescreen’ comics.

In this panel The Doctor, a global-level shaman operating with super-team The Authority, prepares to flood the Italy of a parallel reality. Always struggling with the scope of his planetary-wide powers, The Doctor has faced the unique challenge of never fully unleashing his power. When the expeditionary forces of this parallel reality invade Earth, the expeditionary forces of a ‘military rape culture’ in Ellis’ own words, The Doctor must harness his full power to destroy their powerbase. Hitch depicts a literary staple of the superhero genre. The moment where the superhero embraces rather than withdraws from his power. The psychological curtain is lifted, and the hero stands on the threshold of destiny.

Such a moment seems at odds with the cultural project of ‘widescreen’ comics. At first glance, the ‘widescreen’ format appears to depict violence and mayhem on both sides of the superhero battle. The heroes of the ‘widescreen’ format do not simply fall out of skyscrapers only to save themselves at the last minute with the help of a propitious flagpole. These heroes hurl skyscrapers at alien armada to prevent the invasion of cities. But the use of a typical ‘widescreen’ panel, one that occupies the full width of the page with a bidirectional left-right bleed, to tell the story of the actuation of personal superpowers creates a very different set of expectations for the format. Just as the format is about the panorama of ultra-violence, so too can its tools be focused on the personal moments of the superhero genre. This use of ‘widescreen’ paneling makes the format much more a meditation on the superhero genre than a simplistic relishing in the postmodern exaggeration of its themes.

by Matt Mazur

25 Jun 2009

It is very nice to see Vardalos get a chance to go behind the camera—the writer and star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding does triple duty here. Major bonus points of course are given to anything featuring the amazing Rachel Dratch!

by Mike Edison

25 Jun 2009

The unsinkable Mike Edison — former High Times Publisher, Screw editor, Hustler correspondent, and professional wrestler of no small repute — is hitting the road to promote the new paperback of his outrageous memoir, I Have Fun Everywhere I Go: Savage Tales of Pot, Porn, Punk Rock, Pro Wrestling, Talking Apes, Evil Bosses, Dirty Blues, American Heroes, and the Most Notorious Magazines in the World.

He recently began his “I Have Fun in Brooklyn Tour”, a five-neighborhood odyssey that he promises will be “more fun than the circus”. He’ll be blogging his adventures here. (See below for dates.)

BROKEN BONES IN BROOKLYN… BUT STILL HAVING FUN!!
EDISON TO RECOVER—HULK HOGAN’S FUTURE REMAINS UNCERTAIN!!!

The broken toe referred to in my last blog post (Hulk Hogan RIP) was no joke. Since the last missive, I have been examined by more doctors than Piltdown Man and have looked at more X rays than the Department of Homeland Security. The verdict is now official — I am an idiot.

But what’s a fella to do? The show must go on.

by Matt Mazur

25 Jun 2009

This new Italian romantic comedy from IFC definitely looks noteworthy. It seems to be a major change of pace from the dramas American audiences are used to seeing out of that country, and a welcome, refreshing change of pace.

by Bill Gibron

25 Jun 2009

In one of the great songs in all of Broadway, lyricist supreme Oscar Hammerstein III argued that racial insensitivity was not an inherent human trait. In his mind - and he was 100% correct - such horrific concepts as bigotry and prejudice “had to be carefully taught”. While no one is accusing South Pacific (from whence the tune originates) is the perfect example of understanding and diversity (“Bali Hai”, indeed…) it’s clear that Hammerstein wanted audiences to recognize the power of persuasive - and even more importantly, the greater influence of suggestion. Show a child a man belittling another with slurs and epithets, and they probably won’t comprehend the confrontation. But give them cutesy, cloying characters that clearly fit into hoary old ideas of class and culture, and you are guaranteed to influence them in frighteningly unnatural ways.

Ten years ago, George Lucas was raked over the coals for introducing that “Rastafarian Stepin Fetchit”, Jar-Jar Binks to the newly infantilized Star Wars universe. Added for “comic relief” and executed via a cartoonish CG process, the Gungan gave critics conniptions, mostly for his basic broken English bumbling. In response, Lucas argued that Binks was a conceit to “kids”, a chance for them to have a character that they could relate to and root for while an entire universe of vague political intrigue was playing out onscreen. Granted, it’s a weak excuse, but it goes to a much bigger issue. A decade later, Michael Bay used his mandatory sequel to Transformers to up the robot factor significantly. Among the new Autobots are a duo known as Mudflap and Skids, two smaller sized machines that begin their time together as a broken down ice cream truck but eventually wind up as two smaller, slicker vehicles.

//Mixed media
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'Steep' Loves Its Mountains

// Moving Pixels

"SSX wanted you to fight its mountains, Steep wants you to love its mountains.

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