The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: July 28 – August 3, 2021

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COMICS I READ LAST WEEK

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The Best Comic I Read Last Week Was

Superman: The Son of Kal-El #1

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Tom Taylor does it again.

He doesn’t do it alone. John Timms’ terrific pencils jump off the page with the energy and enthusiasm a first issue deserves. One of Timms’ many gifts is that his young people look like young people and his Jon Kent and Damian Wayne are simply wonderful to look at here. His style is crisp and clear and a great match for this Superman. He is perfectly suited for this book and I hope his run is a long one. 

Taylor’s take on Superman, both the Jon Kent and Clark Kent flavors, is wonderful, harkening back to the roots of all that makes Superman special while reaching forward to chart a new course with, yes, a new character – some in the press upset about Taylor’s updating of the “truth and justice” catch phrase have missed that fact. This Superman is grounded, full of heart and optimism and opportunity for growth. 

When Brian Michael Bendis aged Jon Kent during his Super-run, I was concerned that something would be lost in the approach. Specifically, I was worried about the “Super Sons” aspect of the character and his relationship with Damian Wayne. By putting this friendship at the center of this issue, Taylor highlights this powerful friendship, a different one than the fathers of these characters have forged, but a central one to them both.

Superman: Son of Kal-El is a great book and a promising installment in what will likely be an amazing era of Super titles. 

 


I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” which is the best, quick description of what comics are.

This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: July 20 – 27, 2021

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COMICS I READ LAST WEEK

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The Best Comic I Read Last Week Was

Nightwing #82

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For the foreseeable future – which means as long as the team of Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo are on the book – Nightwing will be my pick of the week each time it is published.

Rarely have creators’ instincts and energy been so well matched for the character they are handling. Taylor and Redondo have captured everything that is special about Dick Grayson and, in a few short issues, have begun to deliver a definitive run for the character. 

Redondo’s work is terrific and, though the Comixology credit box misses it, he’s ably assisted by Nightwing alum Rick Leonardi in penciling duties here (in a critical flashback sequence). Redondo has Dick Grayson down. His athleticism, his kindness, his heart – all of these are on display in the way in which he handles the character. His Nightwing is all smooth energy and his page composition is tremendous. This team has said they plan to stick around for awhile. DC, do not blow this and pull Redondo off the book.

Taylor simply gets Nightwing. While paying homage to all the ‘Wing eras that have come before – even those which I do not find particularly good, Taylor is charting a new course with the character that is entirely grounded in who Dick Grayson is and in why he is unique among comic book characters. Taylor is involving his terrific supporting cast (Barbara Gordon and Tim Drake have not been treated this well in ages) and is making Nightwing’s affiliation to Bludhaven have meaning and consequence. 

He even got me to swallow a plot development that typically drives me crazy – that of the long-lost relative.

Damned if everything in the book is not working for me.

This is the Nightwing I have been waiting for since Chuck Dixon was at the helm. It’s a terrific book.


I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” which is the best, quick description of what comics are.

This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, Weekly Comic Book Review

Link’n’Blog – 7.23.21 | Ted Is Back

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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as fun or thought provoking as I have.

Ted Lasso is back. The second season of the delightful Apple+ show begins today and it is absolutely the best news of the week. This heartfelt and heartwarming show succeeds on almost every level and owes no small part of its charm to Jason Sudeikis’ performance in the title role. It was just nominated for 24 Emmys and it was the perfect show for a problematic world.

In my opinion, it’s worth the price of the Apple+ subscription! You can read HERE if CNN agrees.

I cannot get enough of Ted Lasso!

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: July 7 – 13, 2021

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COMICS I READ LAST WEEK

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The Best Comic I Read Last Week Was

The Joker #5

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The Punchline backup stories in The Joker have been very good and Johns, Boo, and the rest of the team on them do a great job again this month, but the main event is so terrific that it is truly hard to compete.

James Tynion IV has established himself as the current keeper of the Batman myth. What he is doing in Batman is worth everyone’s attention, for sure. But what he is doing in The Joker is even better. 

Mining the depths of a relationship that is – perhaps – more twisted than that of the Caped Crusader and the Clown Prince of Crime, Tynion has paired The Joker with Jim Gordon and the results have been top-of-the-stack (electronic or otherwise) reading each month. The Joker has become one of my favorite books and Tynion and the team he’s been working with have delivered on a combination that remains propulsive and combustible. 

Tynion’s ability to link the past and the present in his stories is one of his great gifts and he does it again in this issue which features The Joker’s first night in Arkham Asylum. It is the story we did not know we had to have. Frankly, The Joker is the series we did not know we needed to have. But here it is.

This month’s issue features art by the brilliant Francesco Francavilla and it is a reminder of just how talented he is. His soup-to-nuts approach is terrific to see and his vision is uncompromising. Intentionally evoking but not ape-ing Batman: Year One, Francavilla takes the reader back in time and his work is paired incredibly well with Tynion’s writing. I would love to see them continue working together on this title (not the series regular Guillem March is anyone to sneeze at!).

The Joker is a twisted and terrific book. It has teeth. And it bites.


I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” which is the best, quick description of what comics are.

This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, Weekly Comic Book Review

Link’n’Blog – 7.16.21 | An Incredible WIZARD OF OZ Find

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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as fun or thought provoking as I have.

I don’t love the movie The Wizard of Oz. I never have. Perhaps it’s the flying monkeys or my reaction to being teased about the flying monkeys or the fact that monkeys cannot fly.

It could be the flying monkeys.

Regardless, when I saw THIS STORY OF ONE OF JUDY GARLAND’S ORIGINAL DOROTHY DRESSES BEING FOUND AT THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA – my alma mater! – I had to take notice!

Pretty great story! 

An archive photo of Rev. Gilbert Hartke holding the dress – posted on CNN.com

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: July 7 – 13, 2021

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COMICS I READ LAST WEEK

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The Best Comic I Read Last Week Was

Star Trek Year Five #22

Writer: Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly

Artist: Stephen Thompson

Inker: Thompson, Elisabetta D’Amico

Colorist: Charlie Kirchoff

Letterer: Neil Uyetake


Telling the story of the last year of the famous five year mission of the USS Enterprise, Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly have found a sweet spot of characterization, plot and nostalgia that is particularly effective in this issue. There are significant revelations at play as the Enterprise reaches Earth and the crew begins the process of finding their next posting. While some of the choices Lanzing and Kelly make were suggested in the Star Trek films and novels, this fact does not take away from their efficacy. This issue packs an emotional punch for Star Trek fans, specifically in the wonderfully realized conversation between Kirk and Spock on the Enterprise bridge. 

Stephen Thompson’s art captures the likenesses of all the characters incredibly well and his renderings of the Enterprise and Spacedock and other citizens of the Star Trek universe are, likewise, spot on. He brings to life the story that Lanzing and Kelly are writing and the combination is perfect. 

Star Trek Year Five is clearly a love letter to the series. Beyond that, it is a great book.


I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” which is the best, quick description of what comics are.

This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Filed under Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, Weekly Comic Book Review

Black Widow – A Movie Review


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WidowFirst, it’s great to be looking at a future of going to see movies in the theater again… it’s been too long. Welcome back to the movies!

THE CAST  Led by a more than competent Scarlett Johansson, the cast of Black Widow is one of the best reasons to see the movie. Johansson owns the role and is terrific as Black Widow but the revelation here is Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, a woman who considers herself Natasha’s sister. Pugh elevates every scene she is in, and the movie is good enough that it does not need much elevation. She is terrific and ready to move on to greater things within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We will absolutely be seeing more of her and that is a very good thing. David Harbour hilariously chews scenery and anything else in his way as Alexi, embracing the role of a slightly over-the-hill super soldier and, perhaps, step father and making the audience root for him at the same time. He is funny and, somehow, heartwarming. The brilliant Rachel Weisz completes the quartet of leads as Melina, the mother of the group. All business and icy cold, Weisz shows, again, why we would love to see more of her. She is terrific in everything she does and that is on display here. THE PLOT If this is Marvel’s take on a spy franchise (and the in-joke of James Bond’s wife in a lead role was not lost on me), they could do a lot worse. Taking place after Captain America Civil War and before Avengers Infinity War, this story of the Black Widow’s past colliding with her future is much smaller in scale that other Marvel epics, but far more personal for the reduced scope. Marvel minions will read the movie on an interconnected level that more casual fans will miss, but all can enjoy the twists and turns of this spy story featuring the history of the title character, the Black Widow program that made her and the ties that bind all to family. Taking place in the backdrop of a world silently run by Russian espionage (wait, is it Russian? Is it Hydra? Is it SHIELD? How many shadow organizations are running the Marvel Universe?), the tautly written film delivers on all the points we expect. There are massive and creative set pieces, exciting escapes and combat and more than enough humor to sustain the proceedings. Director Cate Shortland has done a great job with the movie, the plot and the cast. THE VERDICT Black Widow is a more than worthy entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is the 24th film in this series – a pretty amazing feat in-and-of-itself – and it tells a story not yet seen in prior outings. If this is to be the last time Scarlett Johansson plays the role of Natasha Romanoff, and she has said that it is, it is a very fitting send off. Exciting, engaging and emotionally fulfilling, Black Widow continues the Marvel magic. Be sure to stay all the way through the credits for a terrific set up for future Marvel offerings… BLACK WIDOW receives FOUR SIBLING RIVLARIES out of a possible FIVE

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Cinnamon Birthday | It’s In The Cards


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On her birthday, I took it upon myself to pull some cards for The Cinnamon Girl. She is the expert, I am not. I may well have done this wrong but, if I did, she will make sense of them as she makes sense of life.

Making sense of things is one of her many, many gifts.

As I understand it, this first set is the cards of her birthday. I read the books and did the math.

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The second are the cards that she deserves, especially on the day of her birth.

These, I pulled specially myself. She knows what they mean…

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Happy birthday to The Cinnamon Girl. I hope every card you ever pull promises

you happiness, fulfillment, love, joy and… enchantment.

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Father’s Day 2021 in Glass



When I was 8, my father brought home a brown paper bag with some weight to it. He said it was for me. I reached in and discovered a set of superhero tumblers that were available Arby’s fast food restaurants. We did not ever eat at Arby’s. It only occurred to me later in life that my dad must have gone from Arby’s to Arby’s to collect these or he must have made a deal with one specific Arby’s to set them aside for him.

The later is very likely what he did. That would very much be in character for Dad.

I have shared this story on this blog before, explaining that I loved these glasses, that my sisters broke these glasses, that, later in life, I reclaimed these glasses on eBay. They always meant something to me. They still do.

That my father went to this trouble says more than I could ever write about him. I love him deeply.

glasses

These are on the shelf now – 3 of the repurchased glasses. I think of Dad when I see them.

But it was today I made a connection I never had before…

There is a scene early on in Chapter Two of A Prayer for Owen Meany (which happens to be my very favorite novel), when narrator Johnny Wheelwright, for the first time, meets Dan Needham, the man who would become his step-father (minor spoiler, I promise). Dan hands Johnny a brown paper bag while some weight to it. He tells Johnny not to open it, but to watch it carefully, in case it moves.

Dan knows that 8-year-old Johnny will not be able to resist opening the bag and the boy eventually does, screaming when he finds a taxidermed armadillo within, The armadillo will become a symbol of enduring love throughout the novel and Dan loves John with the affection and devotion good fathers impart to their kids, an unabashed and unembarrassed love, the kind I hope I share with all my children.

I cannot believe I did not make the connection between this scene in my favorite book and my father until this morning. Art resonates in our lives…

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

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14 Years Together…


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I have taught many, many students over the course of the last fourteen years, adults and teenagers alike. Though I could probably total them up and make a best guess at the number, suffice it to say it is in the hundreds. Whether those students have been in a high school classroom or in a leadership seminar and whether the subject was English literature or graphic novels or the MBTI, they have all heard me say the same thing: The Cinnamon Girlmy wife, is all but perfect except for one glaring error in judgment. 

She married me.

Fourteen years ago, the Cinnamon Girl said “yes.”

The issue was not in doubt. 

The Cinnamon Girl knew my answer and I knew hers as we stood under the sunshine and in front of our children and family and friends and started our lives together.

How do you measure fourteen years? In four different homes, in dozens of parties, in hundreds of tv binges, in two parents passing, in three high school graduations, in four under-graduations, in one masters graduation, in seven Jeeps along with three other cars, in one journey to London, in multiple trips to Spokane and Fort Collins and St. Louis, in thirty days of radiation, in many, many dinner parties, in eight trips to Disneyland (and counting), in seven cats, in three dogs, in one pandemic, in so, so many movies, in millions of laughs… 

My wishes for the Cinnamon Girl today? 

Good coffee.

Inspiring journalling.

Fulfilling exercise.

Peaceful thoughts.

And more love than she knows how to comprehend.

My wish for me today? 

That she never wises up…

Happy anniversary, Cinnamon Girl.

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