Comics

Missed Directions: MPGPD Awareness Week

Multiple Power Girl Personality Disorder (MPGPD) is a serious and, currently, untreatable condition that happens when the character known as Power Girl has completely different personalities in the comics in which she appears. When Power Girl is taciturn in the pages of JSA or JSA: All Stars and a goofy bit of alright in the pages of her own self-titled (and, frankly, much more entertaining and engaging) comic you know you are witnessing a case of MPGPD.

How do you know this is happening? It’s simple: She looks the same but acts differently. She flies around, punches and takes down the bad guy and then cracks a joke that’s, actually, funny.

This shocking and newly discovered disorder should not stop you from reading one title over another in which Power Girl appears. In fact, in order to keep track of, and continue to study this phenomenon it is important for as many people as possible to continue reading as many comics in which Power Girl saves the day.

Some readers have expressed fear that they may catch a case of MPGPD, that they may experience a mental bifurcation or a psychogenic fugue of some sort. I assure you that this is very unlikely. This is a condition that, by and large, only happens to comic book characters written by more than one author at the same time.

But, what about your other favorite characters? Aren’t they at risk? Have cases similar to MPGPD happened in the past? The short answer is, sadly, yes. Many cases bearing a similarity to MPGPD have taken place throughout the history of comics, but now is not the time to look back. Now is the time to make sure that a treatment is discovered to help Power Girl through this crisis.

Some may argue that readers are simply seeing different sides to Power Girl’s personality. However, radical and abrupt shifts in personality are usually due to a physiological illness or psychological trauma according to anonymous imaginary doctors who have treated cases similar to Power Girl’s.

Others may protest that they like the two different “flavors” of Power Girl. And to them I say this: are you willing to risk the life and mind of one of the world’s greatest superheroes simply because you happen to enjoy abrupt personality shifts? Shocking, I say! Shocking!

Ultimately, it may very well be up to Power Girl herself to solve this problem. And I look forward to continuing to read of her adventures in the delightful Power Girl ongoing series and, somewhat grudgingly, in the pages of JSA and JSA: All Stars. Save Power Girl!

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

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TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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9

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

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