Thee Comic Column #128: Let’s Talk About Joss Whedon’s Avengers

Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-PosterWell, I suppose it’s a bit of a no-brainer that I would be writing about Avengers: Age of Ultron today as pretty much any card-carrying geek on the interwebs is sure to feel the call to do so. That said, I want to talk about something beside plot points or how great everybody’s performances were; the effects; and juxtapositions between this and the Brian Michael Bendis comic story by the same name which just so happens to be VERY different. No, I don’t want to talk about any of that. What I really want to talk about is how Joss Whedon essentially brought a Chris Claremont comic from the 80s to life.

The Joup Friday Album: Nikki Lane – All or Nothin’

NikkiLane-AllOrNothin-ADAMost reviews of Nikki Lane’s second album, All or Nothin’, released in 2014, say one of two things — they either concentrate on the album’s producer — Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys — or they talk a lot about how Lane is a rougher, less polished brand of country music, comparing her to Dusty Springfield, Loretta Lynn, Wanda Jackson or Tammy Wynette. While Auerbach certainly had something to do with the sound of the record, and Lane cites Jackson as an influence on her Facebook site, saying both of those things really shortchanges the star of the record, which is Lane herself. As a songwriter and singer, she puts forth an honest record, an expression of where she was at and what she was thinking at the time it was recorded.

Endless Loop: Snakedriver

jmcsdHave you ever had one of those songs that get stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“Snakedriver” by The Jesus and Mary Chain

Thee Comic Column #127: The Art of the Letters Column

ScanAh, the letters column. Sometimes I wonder if it had more of an impact on the comic book world – or maybe just comic book readers – back before the advent of the Internet and email, when fans of a book wrote their questions, comments and musings out by hand, sent them to the address specified on the last page of their favorite books and waited to see if theirs would be one of the dispatches picked for publication/response. Or perhaps sending an email is just as time consuming, personally revealing and weighted with anticipation. Either way, letters columns are a beloved industry standard, but one that I myself had gotten away from reading quite some time ago. Why? I’m not really sure. However, this has slowly been changing and yesterday, during an illness-inspired confinement to bed, I read my way through the new issues of several comics that all have very impressive letters pages and you know what? Something was reignited in me. I’ll place the responsibility for this final realization squarely in the hands of Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s Lazarus, which probably has the best letters page ever. But there are more books than that which, on a monthly basis, have been slowly eroding whatever prejudice I long ago developed for something I used to love. That’s right true believers, I don’t think I’ll be trying for a No-Prize anytime soon, but I am whole-heartedly back on the “Must Read the Letters Column” wagon from here on out.

Endless Loop: Fade Into You

mazzystarHave you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star

I am a shy teenager caught in an eternal slow dance in a school’s gymnasium, hushed, embarrassed, and awkward, my arms forever enfolding my unrequited love. I am an admirer pining away from a distance, but never standing to meet, gazing and longing forever. I am the loving and lonely soul who gives away my whole heart only to have it given back to me. I love what can never love me back.

Thee Comic Column #126: Daredevil & The MMU

Netflix-Daredevil-Costume-3Everyone else on the Internet wrote about Marvel’s new Daredevil series last week when it dropped on Netflix. I’m still only a little over halfway through the season as I write this, however I simply can’t NOT write about a comic-based show this damn good. That said, what I really want to talk about here isn’t merely how great a show Daredevil is, or how wonderful the show is cast, the fact that besides the obvious magnificence of Mr. Cox and Mr. D’onofrio as hero and foil, Elden Henson is the perfect Foggy Nelson, Vondie Curtis-Hall kills as Ben Urich* and Deborah Ann Woll has added a level of innocence back to a character that, for those of us who have read Born Again, stopped associating with Ms. Page a long time ago. No, what I really want to get into is my own absolute admiration for Marvel’s big picture, the saintly patience with which they stalk their master plan and how they’ve consistently been able to transform and translate EVERYTHING they’ve brought to the silver screen – little or big – since 2006’s Iron Man led the way.

The Joup Friday Album: The Phantom of the Paradise OST

phantomofparadiseTwo years before he tackled Carrie in 1976 to open himself up to a much wider audience, Brian De Palma made the absolutely bonkers musical/rock opera/horror schlock film The Phantom of the Paradise. The movie is a take on The Phantom of the Opera and Faust, but taking place within the music industry. William Finley plays the wide-eyed Winslow Leach, an aspiring music composer and singer whose songs catch the eyes and ears of satanic record producer and club promoter Swan, played wonderfully and devilishly (pun absolutely intended) by Paul Williams. From there, we have love, betrayal, murder, mutilation, a deal with the devil, and a string of grand, rock and roll music numbers.