The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: August 24 – 30, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. 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,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 7 comics last week: Detective Comics #939, Star Wars #22, Titans #2, Flash #5, Wonder Woman #5, Action #962 and International Iron Man #6.

The best comic I read last week was Star Wars #22.

Star Wars 22

 

Star Wars has been consistently good for the last few months. Good, but not great. It’s been an enjoyable read and remained a great bridge to December and Rogue One. Jason Aaron is a dependable writer, one I would follow to almost any title, and his comfort in the Star Wars universe is so deep that Disney should consider pulling him aboard to write a standalone movie. This has just been a good title, but not one that, in recent months, has not really made an impression on me beyond being an enjoyable read.

Star Wars #22 changed all that.

The art in this issue by Jorge Molina is more cartoon-y than the line work of recent issues featuring Mike Deodato and that’s okay. The art captures the spirit of the story Aaron is telling; it’s big and adventurous and the space ships look truly great which is very important to the workings of this particular issue. While Molina’s characters look more standard comic book than photo-realistic images, that’s okay. It all works to propel the book visually forward to its unexpected conclusion.

It took me a little while to figure out where Aaron was going with this issue, but the twist end was so gratifying I thought to myself “if Rogue One has a caper this good, it’s going to be a great movie.” As I mentioned about, Aaron has the feel of the Star Wars universe down pat, and that familiarity extends to the dialogue he writes. The characters sound like the characters we love, they act like the characters we love and, since these comics are in continuity, they for all intents and purposes are the characters we love.

Star Wars #22 has the title back at the top of its game and back at the top of my virtual read pile. It’s getting me all the more excited for Rogue One, and I was pretty excited to begin with!

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Link’n’Blogs – 8.26.16 – Sometimes Yield to Pure Joy


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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 thought provoking as I have.

I have no explanation for what may happen if you click the link below this box. You can blame The Cinnamon Girl for putting this in my head… and, if you click the link, it will be in yours, too!

Cat Adopts Monkey… Really

Cat and Monkey

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Star Trek at 50 Years – Week Thirty-Four: Star Trek Movies Ranked

Star Trek Celebrates 50 Years

star_trek_50th_anniversary_logo


To commemorate 50 years of boldly going where no one has gone before, And There Came A Day presents a weekly countdown to September 8, 2016 – 50 years to the day of the premiere of Star Trek.


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Star Trek at 50 Years – Week Thirty-Three

Star Trek at 50 Years – Week Thirty-Two

Star Trek at 50 Years – Week Thirty-One

Star Trek at 50 Years – Week Thirty


 

every-star-trek-movie-poster.jpg

With the release of Star Trek Beyond and the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, it seems every media outlet has done a ranking of the 13 films from Worst to Best. Though And There Came A Day is not media outlet, I feel compelled to join in as we reach the end of our Star Trek at 50 Years countdown – we’re literally weeks away from the anniversary of the airing of the first episode of the original series!

The Star Trek Films – Worst to First

Nemesis

13.    Star Trek: Nemesis

There is so much wrong with this movie, it’s hard to know where to start. Its plot is convoluted. It introduces elements to the canon of Star Trek that make no sense. It wastes a young Tom Hardy. It features a sexual assault. It kills a beloved character. It has characters acting completely against their histories. It is the worst of Treks and the trek I’ve watched the least. I think I’ve seen this one only twice. Bad movie on every count.

12.    Star Trek: InsurrectionInsurrection

Any Star Trek movie that features a musical number has to be questioned. Any Star Trek movie that has Worf dealing, not with terrifying enemies, but with terrifying acne must be reviewed harshly. Any Star Trek movie that holds to very little internal logic must be judged. Insurrection – which was originally based on The Heart of Darkness – is such a missed opportunity. Too bad. There are some good ideas here, they are just terribly mismanaged and the movie tries way too hard to be funny. Way. Too. Hard.

StarTrek-V-101.jpg11.    Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

William Shatner co-wrote and directed The Final Frontier. In creating the story, he reached for an old Gene Roddenberry outline about the Enterprise searching for God and finding God was really just a petty alien. Nice. This movie charm is only found in the interactions among the “magnificent seven” and some of those interactions are poorly written. It introduces Spock’s half brother Sybok, an addition never to be mentioned again. Oh, and Kirk, Spock and McCoy make s’mores. Ick.

10.    Star Trek: GenerationsGenerations.jpg

This film promised to bridge Star Trek: The Next Generation to the original series and featured Admiral Kirk in what was more than an extended cameo. It gave us Picard and Kirk together – for a moment. This was the best part of the movie and fun to see. William Shatner and Patrick Stewart really seemed to enjoy their time together on screen. Then Generations killed Kirk in a less than heroic fashion. As a movie that was supposed to bring The Next Generation to to big screen in grand fashion, it played more like a bloated episode of the television series. (And it destroyed the Enterprise)

Star Trek III9.    Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

This is where the list gets tougher as I really like most of the rest of the Star Trek movies, almost without reservation. The Search for Spock is a solid Trek outing. Directed by Leonard Nimoy, it suffers a little from a Robin Curtis Saavik (never a match for Kirstie Alley) and an all too pat dispatching of David Marcus – we hardly knew ye. But it has a wonderful caper sequence in the stealing of the Enterprise, some very touching moments as the crew is reunited with Spock and the promise of grand adventures to come. It also spotlights the chemistry of the original cast – most especially Kirk and McCoy and gives us, arguably, the best Sulu scene ever – don’t call him “tiny.” This one holds up on repeat viewings and brings a smile to my face each time the revived Spock raises his eyebrow. Well done, Leonard Nimoy. The best for you is yet to come. (And it destroyed the Enterprise – the first time this was done)

8.    Star Trek Into DarknessInto Darkness Minimal.jpg

I struggled putting this one after The Motion Picture because I really, really like Into Darkness. I wasn’t troubled by the inclusion of the Kelvin Timeline Khan. In fact, I thought Benedict Cumberbatch was wonderful as Harrison/Khan and the movie actually does something The Wrath of Khan never did: it puts Khan in the same room with the Enterprise crew. Chris Pine is terrific in this movie and there are some genuine thrills in the movie. Now, one can argue that Star Trek is not about delivering thrills, and that perspective has some merit, but this movie starts quickly (the wonderful opening sequence is a lot of fun) and keeps up the pace throughout. All of the seven main characters have their moments and Zachary Quinto delivers a powerful performance as Spock. I don’t understand why many Trekkers have such a strong hate-on for this movie. I really don’t.

the Motion Picture7.    Star Trek: The Motion Picture

My grandmother fell asleep in the theater when she took me to see The Motion Picture. It’s dry. But it’s Star Trek! It’s Kirk getting the band back together. It’s Spock in long hair and robes. It’s McCoy wearing what can only be described as hipster get-up – and he has a beard! And we can complain all we want about how long the effects shots go on, but, man, they hold up and they are simply beautiful. Lost in the negativity around the movie and the concerns that it borrows a little too heavily from the original series episode “The Changeling” is the fact that this is the most Star Trek-y of the Star Trek movies. It has big ideas. It doesn’t feature a space battle. It truly comments on the human condition. The only reason I rank it higher than Into Darkness owes to my devotion to the original cast and it was lovely to have them back!

6.    Star Trek BeyondBeyond

This movie manages to do something almost no other Star Trek movie has: in Jaylah, it introduces a character audiences like and want to see more. That’s no mean feat. It also returns to and explores Star Trek territory – strange new worlds, new civilizations, et al, and does so in a modern context with excitement and adventure. Surprisingly serious and more than a little melancholy (in a good way), Star Trek Beyond feels somehow like the most grown up of the Kelvin Timeline movies. The movie also sets up great interplay among the characters and the Spock/McCoy moments are tremendous and wonderfully touching. This is the only incarnation of filmed Star Trek where Spock feels moved to call McCoy “Leonard.” Great moment. The stakes feel high, the relationships feel real and the movie is excellent because of this. I liked Idris Elba and I appreciated the twist at the film’s conclusion. I applaud the revelation of Sulu as a gay man (and how it was such a non-factor, in a good way, in the movie). I loved the tribute to the original Trek and was surprisingly moved by mentions of Nimoy and Anton Yelchin. I want more Jaylah, more of this crew, more movie Star Trek! (And it destroyed the Enterprise).

5.    Star Trek: First ContactFirst Contact Minimal

Without question, First Contact is the best of the Next Generation movies. It’s grand and witty and clever. It gives Patrick Stewart his best moments as Picard, Brent Spiner his best as Data and, in the Borg Queen, gives audiences something they’ve never had: a real and formidable adversary. The two story structure – what’s happening on the Borg-infested Enterprise and what’s happening on Earth – works beautifully and, while the idea of time traveling villains trying to disrupt a crucial moment in history isn’t the most original, it’s incredibly well handled. While First Contact is very much an action movie, it has much to say about identity – Data’s, Picard’s, Cochran’s – and it is, counterintelligence, the deepest of the Next Generation films. “The line must be drawn here,” indeed. If you only watch one Next Generation movie, make it First Contact.

StarTrek-VI-1014.    Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

The Undiscovered Country is a terrific send-off for the original crew. Could there have been a better story-line to choose for their swan song than glasnost with the Klingons? Could there be a more Star Trek choice than mirroring real-life events on film? We begin with Sulu – finally! – Captain of the Excelsior and we end with Kirk and crew saving the galaxy, again, but it all works. Every piece of the movie does (well, there is one BIG miss – Uhura needs to look up Klingon? Ah, no. I don’t think so). Christopher Plummer’s Shakespeare quoting General Chang is a cut above the typical Star Trek adversary and he chews scenery with knowing aplomb. The time lock conclusion of the movie, the arrival of the Excelsior, the affirmation of the mission of Starfleet brings me (metaphorically) to my feet. The “sign off” of the stars brings (literally) tears to my eyes.

3.    Star Trek IV: The Voyage HomeStar Trek IV

The top three are TOUGH to rank. I love these movies. I contend they are not simply good Star Trek movies, they are good movies. The Voyage Home is the best example of Star Trek put on film. There is no villain (save us, ourselves). The is little to no violence. There is no darkness. What there is is a timely story about the environment and conversation told through the eyes and actions of a crew of seven characters we’ve come to know and love. At times madcap, at times hilarious, this heart-warming story holds up so well that, if anyone is asking for the best example of Star Trek whether on television or on film, this is the one to recommend. Leonard Nimoy showed that he was a top tier director with this one and his cast responds. They are all at the tops of their collective game. I dare you to watch this movie without smiling and, yes, much of the “nuclear wessels” scene was improvised with unknowing extras.

star trek 2009.jpg2.    Star Trek (2009)

This might be the perfect Star Trek movie. It overflows with energy, optimism and excitement and opens up the world of Star Trek to potential it, in some ways, hasn’t had in decades. Considering how difficult it must have been to cast young versions of these most iconic characters,  one could forgive a miss on one or two of them. There is no miss. All the new actors (especially Karl Urban as McCoy) are spot on in their roles. The seamless inclusion of Leonard Nimoy as Spock Prime is really just icing on a perfectly baked cake. As far as reboots go, this is the standard by which all should be judged. Paying homage to the original history while charting a new one, Star Trek was a monster and surprise hit. The new Enterprise is lovely. The new cast is terrific. The new universe works. I love the unpredictability of this film. I love the chemistry of the cast. I love that this Kelvin Timeline exists. This is another movie that brings a smile to my face. At turns funny and thrilling, Star Trek delivers. It belongs in any Star Trek Top Five.

1.    Star Trek II: The Wrath of KhanKhan

Wrath of Khan is the consensus favorite for a reason. It is, hands down, the best of the Star Trek films. It has the best villain. It has the best space battle. It has the best Kirk moment of, perhaps, all time. It also features the death of Spock which, in the context of the movie and, at the time, felt permanent. The only sequel to an original series episode, Wrath of Khan brought back Ricardo Montalban at at time when he was best known as the kindly Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island and made him the bad-ass villain by which all others in this movie series (and others) are judged. He shares no screen time with Kirk and yet is the most deadly adversary the Enterprise ever faced. It’s a terrific performance. There is no way a Trek fan (or a human being) doesn’t tear up at the death of Spock or, again, at his funeral. The movie has laughs, has character moments, has pathos and has stood the test of time (and a partial revisiting in Into Darkness). It’s the best Trek. Period.

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: August 17 – 23, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. 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,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 7 comics last week: Black Widow #6, Poe Dameron #5, Star Trek #60, Batman #5, Nightwing #3, Superman #6 and Justice League #3.

The best comic I read last week was Star Trek #60.

Star Trek 60

 

 

This is the final issue of Star Trek from IDW. Though a Star Trek title relaunches later this fall and carries over the writer/artist team, recognizing this terrific series with its final issue seems appropriate.

Launched after the success of the JJ Abrams 2009 Star Trek, this book was initially advised by the writers of that film. In fact, if the title pages are to be believe, Bob Orci, one of those writers, stayed with the book in an advisory capacity until this final issue. My guess is he will not be included in the new book but, regardless, the stories told in Star Trek have hewed very closely to the universe created – the Kelvin Timeline. They’ve been so immersed in the flavor of that universe that, more than most other Star Trek comic series (and there have been many), this one has rung very true to the filmed adventures of the crew.

Much of the credit for that has to go to Mike Johnson,  the writer of the majority of the series. His ability to work in this universe is really incredible and, as a long time Trekker and Trek comic book reader, I can say that he’s one of the best writers to ever take on the property. He has consistently managed to surprise the reader which, with a licensed property like Star Trek, has to be one of the hardest feats for a writer to achieve.

In this last two-issue arc, he did something that couldn’t be done on film: he brought together the crews of 1966 and 2016 through the vagaries of space-time warps. The manner in which this happened is not that important. The joy of the story is.

That’s what Johnson consistently captured in this title: the joy of the Star Trek universe. While we sci fi fans bury ourselves in darkness (pun intended) and dystopian futures,  Star Trek has ever been positive, ever joyful and ever a celebration of the human spirit. Johnson delivered on that promise issue-after-issue.

Tony Shasteen has been the illustrator of this title of late and, as I’ve mentioned often before, his drawings of characters readers know from their filmed adventures have been tremendously good. He has never relied solely on copying photos of the casts (though there have been a few exceptions), rather he has made the characters his own, their visages familiar but comic inspired. Adept at space battles and character moments, he’s been a terrific partner to Johnson.

I eagerly look forward to the next volume of Star Trek.

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Off to College (3 in 5 Daze) Part III: Stretch


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Board

Day Five! The Cinnamon Girl and I bid farewell to all 3 kids as they head off to college (Sous Chef and HJ jr have already departed… and then there was 1) I love how small the world is and know that we’ll all be able to remain in contact far more easily and more closely than I was in contact with my family when I went off to school more than a few years back.

Still, it will be strange to have no kids in the house… strange and sad? Strange and wonderful? Strange and… we don’t know. It’s just a new chapter for us all.

Board M

Stretch and I got HJ jr all set at Colorado State University following our St. Louis trek to drop off Sous Chef. I am 1832 miles into this journey which, today, comes to an end without too much travel on our end. We put Stretch on a plane to Spokane, WA (so he has another 1093 miles to go!).

 

Stretch is heading into his junior year at Gonzaga University and he’s truly begun to fill in the outlines of the man he’s going to become. Poised and confident, he’s ready for this year and for all the challenges and joys it will bring.

The Cinnamon Girl and I are most excited to know that we will be spending a week with him in Spokane this spring and will look forward to whatever trips home he makes between now and then.

DSC00563

From this…

Matthew Christmas 2015

… to this in the blink of an eye.

… plans to give you hope and a future.

– Jeremiah 29.11

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Link’n’Blogs – 8.19.16 – Protest Votes May Not Work


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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 thought provoking as I have.

An good friend from high school posted the below article about protest votes. I am so appreciative she did so! It’s a great piece from medium.com and it blows up the notion of protest votes in a presidential election. Though I understand that many people are unhappy with both Clinton and Trump, I think this article is well worth a read if you’re planning on not voting or on casting your vote for a candidate outside the two major parties.

There’s No Such Thing As A Protest Vote

1-protest-vote

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Off to College (3 in 5 Daze) Part II: HJ jr


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Board

We are three days into the five, and The Cinnamon Girl and I bid farewell to all 3 kids as they head off to college (Sous Chef down, two to go!) I love how small the world is and know that we’ll all be able to remain in contact far more easily and more closely than I was in contact with my family when I went off to school more than a few years back.

Still, it will be strange to have no kids in the house… strange and sad? Strange and wonderful? Strange and… we don’t know. It’s just a new chapter for us all.

What we do know is that, following a trip to St. Louis to get Sous Chef situated in her new city, the next port-of-call is Fort Collins, CO. Stretch and I drive back from St. Louis and meet HJ jr at Colorado State University to move him in for his sophomore year.

Board I

 

After a summer in which he held, at various points, three separate jobs, moving from position-to-position until he found one that worked for him (Amazon of all places), he’s ready to take on this year, ready to have a new roommate and ready to roll.

It’s nice to have him close to home. I know we’ll see him for a weekend now-and-again.

Indy

From this…

2015-08-20 12.28.16

… to this in the blink of an eye.

… plans to prosper you and not to harm you…

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