Friday, 18 August 2017

FANTASTIC FOUR T-SHIRT...



Remember those ads for FF T-Shirts in MARVEL mags of
the '60s?  Well, thought you might like to see one, effendis.

THE LUNATICS HAVE TAKEN OVER THE ASYLUM...



Remember a few weeks back I mentioned the fact that some people were seriously proposing that JAMES BOND should be played by a woman?  I got the distinct impression that some people didn't believe me and thought I was making it up.  No, as you can see from the above clip, there really are thick, vacuous, politically correct people out there, who, in their quest to demolish the natural distinctions between genders, are saying that it's a great idea and should happen.  Remember, they're not talking about a female spy named JANE Bond, but 007 changing genders in order to appease a minority of obsessive nut-jobs who are determined to reshape society according to their tastes and predilictions.  And I'm entirely serious in what I say next - anyone who seriously suggests that James Bond could and should be played by a woman is not quite right in the head and should receive therapy immediately.

James Bond is a man;  a white, British man.  So that rules out IDRIS ELBA, because, in one of these three prerequisites for the role, he fulfills only two of them.  He's a fine actor, a thoroughly decent human being as far as I know, and, if film producers wanted to give him a film series as a spy named HARRY BRAND (or whatever), I'd be very happy for him.  Shades of racism?  Not in the slightest, because if it were ever suggested that JOHN SHAFT be recast as a white guy (or woman), I'd be equally against it.  Respect the wishes of the character's creator.

IAN FLEMING created Bond as a white, British (half-Scottish actually, though that was a later development) heterosexual man, which automatically rules out any other ethnicity, gender, or sexual persuasion.  Whenever I hear some minor, mystery celebrity (like LORRAINE KELLY - the mystery being why she's a celebrity) witter on about Idris Elba being an ideal James Bond, it tells me that they just doesn't understand what Bond is about.  I also suspect they're more interested in raising their profiles by portraying themselves as 'liberal, fair-minded, tolerant, non-bigoted, impartial, warm, wonderful human beings', with the implication being that anyone who doesn't see things as they do is the exact opposite.

However, there are shades of racism and misandry in the ridiculous assertions of those people calling for such changes.  When someone says that a role established as a particular gender (man) and of a particular ethnicity (white) should be changed, they're essentially saying that there are too many white men in movies.  That strikes me as springing from a standpoint of reverse racism and misandry, and there'd be a hell of a stushie if the role of NELSON MANDELLA had been given to JASON STRATHAM.  What's that?  Not the same at all, because Nelson Mandella is a real, historical figure?  Okay then, if the roles of T'CHALLA, The BLACK PANTHER, or LUKE CAGE, POWER MAN were given to white actors.  The principle is the same in either case.

In one sense though, I can see their point.  Wouldn't it be nice if we were all colour blind and didn't define a person according to the hue of their skin?  Yeah, but not to the extent of pretending that those differences don't exist.  And remember, it cuts both ways:  if you hear someone lamenting the fact that there are too many white actors on TV and in film (or at the OSCARS), think about how offensive it would sound if someone in the audience of PORGY and BESS were to say there were too many black actors on stage.  That would be considered racist, and the exact same standard should be applied in reverse.  By all means let's have more roles for ethnic actors and women (if that's what the market requires), but not at the expense of changing established characters into a different gender or colour.

The 'diversity' principle probably started as a good idea, but it's been hijacked by zealots with a skewed perception of reality who want to impose their views on the rest of us.  Similarly, 'positive discrimination' was implemented in order to address a perceived imbalance, but missed an important point in the process, which is this:  If you're positively discriminating in favour of one gender or ethnicity, you're negatively discriminating against another (or others).  In what way is replacing one perceived wrong with another of the same type a good thing?  Or does the end justify the means?

Anyway, that's how I see things, what about you?  Feel free to express yourself in the comments section.

BABE OF THE DAY - ALEX KINGSTON...



ALEX KINGSTON just walked by, pretend-
ing not to notice me.  However, women can never
maintain the pretence for long, and she won't be able
to resist stealing a look at my manly physique.  Any
second now - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 - bingo!  See, told
you - she turned around.  Caught you, Alex.

Bullet Review: DC Comics Bombshells #33


DC Comics Bombshells #33 came out this week, the last issue of this volume of the characters and my last issue reading this. When this series started out, I was very impressed at writer Marguerite Bennett's ability to weave a very solid story about World War II and the arrival of super-women fighting the Nazis. The first year was fabulous.

But since then, since the battle of London around issue 12, it has felt like the book has lost its way. There are a lot of ideas in this book but the stories haven't read well. It's like those ideas haven't gelled into a narrative. As a result, the book has been something of a mess. On top of that, there has been a bit too much cutesy dialogue recently ... something that I might have tolerated more of the story around it was stronger.

And so this last issue wraps up the story. Bennett has brought a bunch of subplots together into a large battle in Russia. So Supergirl's grief and Raven's familial issues and Lois's optimism are all here. But it seems so scattershot. So much happens with little explanation. The moments in the story where I have said to myself 'I guess I have to roll with that' were numerous. Now I will admit that I haven't been paying significant attention here. Perhaps my laziness as a reader because I haven't been engaged has been part of the problem.

One of the things that hasn't been a problem on the book has been the art. In particular, I discovered Mirka Andolfo, Laura Braga, and Sandy Jarrell in this book. All three are here and shine. In particular, Mirka Andolfo has become a favorite in my mind.

On to the book.



There were some surprises, something always welcomed by me.

There is some plot that Hugo Strange has the ability to meld magic and science and create a super-race. Faora Hu-ul would then rule the world with her new army. Early in the issue, The Reaper kills Hugo Strange.

Realizing that without Strange the plan can't work, Killer Frost freezes the Reaper solid and kills her. Okay, that was unexpected.

But the moment is then followed by a depowered Lois Lane forcing Frost into a circus cage and then calling on a Firebird to stay over the cage and keep Frost there. So ... huh. I get how we want Lois to be a hero but I find it odd that Frost could be overpowered by her here. Remember when Faora was incapacitated by a biplane last issue? It is things like this that are hard to deal with as a reader.


 In the meantime, Raven goes kaiju because her father has died. Zatanna pleads with her to regain control. But it is Faora Hu-ul who gets the better of Raven. Using a syringe, she grabs a blood sample from Raven which somehow depowers Raven. (I suppose perhaps that moment and Zatanna does it.) I don't know if I understand it.

Faora injects Raven's blood into herself and this magical transfusion changes Faora into Doomsday.

So maybe Strange wasn't needed? Is this what Faora wanted?

Okay, I'll roll with it.


Remember, much of the last few issues have really focused on Supergirl. Her grief over her sister Kortni's sacrifice has tremendously effected her. Kara has interacted with Luthor, Lois, and Diana  each of whom has tried to impart some wisdom about Kara needing to find her way. Luthor tells her she needs to kill her enemies. Diana tells her that grief keeps Kortni alive. Lois tells Kara not to battle monsters lest she becomes one.

With Doomsday now a major threat, Kara calls upon all that to come up with her plan.


 She pulls out the Kryptonite dagger Luthor gave her. (Surprisingly she seems uneffected by it. Another thing I need to roll with.)

She says she cannot kill Doomsday. She cannot be a murderer. I like that. The Supers should always find another way. But then I'm not sure if she is simply saying someone else needs to. That would be pretty lousy. I can't sully my own hands but I'll be complicit in the murder.

Thankfully, Doomsday isn't killed. Swamp Thing shows up and swallows her. You would think that Doomsday could just break out of vegetation but she can't. (I guess I have to roll with that.) Then the Kryptonite dagger is melted by Power Girl and Superman's heat vision. The melted Kryptonite is then taken up magically by Swamp Thing's roots making the elemental a worthy prison.

 But then there is this odd subplot about how three people need to sacrifice themselves to keep the evil Doomsday imprisoned. I suppose, given all the talk, that this was supposed to be the three magic characters who had been captured by The Joker's Daughter including Raven and Zatanna.

Instead, Kortni's parents - both her Russian parents and her biological father - decide they must follow in their daughter's footsteps.

Okay, I suppose this is a nice wrinkle. But I don't know if I have known these characters well enough to think this was a big loss.


With Doomsday gone, it seems like all is well with the world. We get another song motif as we see how all the Bombshells are in a better place.

Of all the team, Kara has suffered the most. She has been completely weighed down by her grief to the point of near catatonia. With all this behind her, with a better understanding of herself, she can sit down with Lois, enjoy an apple, and contemplate a better future.

I do like how the seeds in the apple look like a star, symbolically bringing us back to Stargirl. And I am glad Kara is in a better place. In fact, this whole arc of Supergirl having to deal with the hardships of war and dealing with sadness has been a decent read.

But this whole last year of this title has felt a little too rushed and a little too precious. Perhaps the break and the new focus of the next title will allow Bennett to tighten things up a bit. I'll wait to hear from others if I should be collecting.

Overall grade: C

THESE DANCERS ARE NO CLOWNS...



The Nicholas Brothers and Gene Kelly dance
their socks off, to a song that seems a little incongruous
in a film about pirates, but the dancing is impressive.

******

(And you're right - the tune does sound the same as
'Make 'em Laugh' from Singing In The Rain.)

RAMBLING REPOST: MYSTERIES, MUSINGS, & MEANDERINGS...



In previous posts I've bored you all rigid with ponderous ponderings on the nature of time, as well as rambling reminiscences of my childhood and how I've never been quite able to comprehend how I went to bed one night as a teenager and woke up what seems like the very next day as the grumpy curmudgeon I am now.  Well, the bad news is that it's more of the same, I'm afraid.

As a child I was always looking backward.  When I moved from the first house I remember (but not the first I lived in), I made little pilgrimages to my old street to look at my former abode and derive some comfort from the familiarity of its presence.  What's odd about this over-developed sense of nostalgia is that I only lived three or four minutes away and was a mere five and a half years old.  Wow!  Not even six and already hankering after the 'good old days'.


This compulsion to revisit the past has been a prominent feature of my personality all through my life to this very day.  I recently added photographs of the views from the windows of my previous houses to my screensaver facility so that I can again gaze on familiar scenes whenever the mood takes me.  At the click of a key I can re-experience any one of several landscapes that once met me when I drew back the curtains in the morning at various stages in my life.

However, there was one particular house (the third after the aforementioned ones above) I lived in for several years that I didn't miss 'til over a dozen years after moving out (and two houses down the line) and I've often wondered as to the reasons for this 'delayed reaction'.  If you're interested (or aren't currently engaged in watching paint dry), feel free to join me as I explore the possible explanation for the curious complexity which has puzzled me for many a long year.


When I moved from the house in question (back in 1972), my life still revolved to a great degree around the neighbourhood it was situated in.  I continued to attend the school just across the road from it for another two and a half years.  I still went to Summer and Christmas fayres in the church at the top of the street, and my mother dutifully trotted along to the Sunday services every week, even though there was another congregation of the same denomination just around the corner from our new home.  (In fact, it was from this group that the one my mother went to had sprung.)  My friends all lived near or around my old domicile and I continued to frequent the area for quite a few years after.

It wasn't unusual for me to come home from school (and later, work), have my tea, and then return to my previous neighbourhood to hang about the local shopping centre (about thirty seconds away from my old front door) with my pals.  Perhaps that explains why I wasn't consumed with the same rabid pangs of nostalgia I nursed for previous houses;  I saw it so often that I simply never had a chance to miss it.  The ambiance of the house was preserved in our new home by the presence of the same furniture we'd had in every place we'd ever lived in - plus, our new house was similar in many respects to the first one I remembered, hence it conjured up a feeling of familiarity that pre-dated the dwelling we had just recently vacated.


It wasn't until we had again moved house (in 1983) and were ensconced in yet another new residence that I gradually started to miss the one we had quit way back in 1972.  What's strange about this was that I was simultaneously wallowing in nostalgic notions for the homestead we had just left (to say nothing of the ones which preceded them both), so it certainly can't be denied that I was spoilt for choice when it came to such sentimental self-indulgence.  Maybe I'm just greedy?

Perhaps another reason I only started to miss this particular house when I did had something to do with running into an old classmate from primary school in the neighbourhood shops across from my old home in 1984 or '85.   ALEX LOWE by name, and as fine and decent a bloke as you could ever hope to meet.  We exchanged greetings, enquired after one another's well-being, and then Alex asked:  "Are you still living across the road?", nodding in the direction of my previous abode.  He was surprised to learn that I'd moved away about twelve or thirteen years earlier, and it made me wonder how many other people I knew still thought I lived in a place I'd left almost half my life away at that point.


Talking of Alex (and veering wildly off topic), I hope he won't mind me recounting that he once appeared in our secondary school play as a fairy, uttering the immortal lines:  "I'm a fairy, bright and gay, helping others every day!"  I don't recall anything else about that play, but Alex's turn got such a huge laugh on the night that everyone remembered it - and constantly quoted the lines back to him in lisping, falsetto voice over the course of the next few terms.  (I know I did, little bastich that I was.)  He always took it in good humour, being the fine fellow he is.

I'd planned to expand the scope of this topic and try and explore (in an epic exercise in tedium) wider themes than I actually have.  For example, what it is that draws us to our past and connects us to where we came from, and whether or not it has any bearing on the direction we take in life.  Can a house in which we once stayed shape our perceptions of ourselves, or would we be precisely the same as we are regardless of the bricks and mortar which shield us from the elements?  However, the realisation has now dawned on me that it's simply too big a concept to concisely and competently capture within the confines of a blog post - in an interesting and entertaining way, at least.


I'll have to content myself with the hope (slim as it may be) that I may have prompted some readers to indulge in a little quiet contemplation of whatever memories reside within the repositories of their own minds.

Or, failing that, helped cure them of their insomnia.

Number 2090: Ghost Woman

According to the Grand Comics Database, “Ghost Woman” appeared in the 1945 giant one-shot comic, Star-Studded Comics (1945). The story is a one-off, not intended to be a series. Ghost Woman helps her husband get rid of some werewolves, then decides to go on to her final reward. There is a certain rough charm to the artwork, but it isn’t signed. I believe it is a shop job, probably using more than one artist.

Artist Bernard Baily, journeyman comic book man (the Spectre, Hourman, among others) worked in the field through much of the sixties, at least. He packaged one-shots during the war years and after in a comics shop business, Bernard Baily Studio, with Mac Raboy. They used different names for publishing companies. My belief is that they contracted with businesses that had paper rations, which during the war were needed for printing...even for stuff like comic books.









 
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