Recommended June 9 2013

There is audio of reclusive Spider-Man artist Steve Ditko talking about the nature of heroes. It was for a Masters of Comic Art VHS in the late 1980s, when he was still doing occasional work for Marvel. Considering only four known photos of Ditko exist, it’s great to be able to hear his voice in any form.

Glen Weldon, the author of Superman the Unauthorized Biography (a book I’ll read soon enough) gave his thoughts on the new trailer in an interview with Robot Six.

wrote a piece for Monkey See when that (second?) trailer came out, showing Pa Kent expressing fear. My reaction then stands — I kind of like it. It makes sense to me. Ma and Pa Kent have always been treated as secondary characters whose role, in the hero’s journey, is to instill Midwestern values in him, outfit him with a few homespun homilies, and send him on his way. Which is fine — you need to surround your protagonist with characters that help define and delineate him.

But what if they weren’t secondary, flat characters? What if they had internal conflicts of their own, conflicts that served to complicate the wisdom they impart as parents? Smallville touched on this, a little, in its way. It may not work, but it certainly serves to make Pa Kent a character in his own right.

In the ’78 film, Jor-El and Pa Kent represented head and heart, respectively. Jor-El supplied him with knowledge, and a respect for the rules. Pa Kent taught him that he has the power to help people – to save them – and that’s what matters. So his final decision, in the last act, to hit the temporal reset button is effectively a rejection of his cold, Kryptonian heritage and an embrace of his status as a child of Earth.

Years later, in the Man of Steel miniseries, Bryne would turn that subtext into the explicit text. And years after that, Waid’s Birthright would invert it again. It will continue to see-saw back and forth, as new writers put their spin on the guy.

SuperScholar.Org has a decent Superman infographic.

The webcomic series Refugees of Make Believe made be laugh. It’s one of those series with storybook characters in the real world. I may be biased because I’ve had a beer with the guy at an aspiring comics creators meetup.

21_google_reveals_the_modern_world_to_classic_literary_characters_part_3

A town in Spain had an interesting solution against owners who don’t clean up after their dogs.

Johanna of Comics Worth Reading considers whether comic books that have been helped by kickstarter can ever be successful. This concerns me as the two comic stories I’ve had published have been through projects funded by kickstarter.

Personally, I’d rather buy through a shop or bookstore, because it provides more protection for me — I’m able to see the work, I can purchase using a method of my choice, I know the book will appear — but the Kickstarters I’ve purchased are titles that I’m not sure will ever appear there. Maybe it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe the dedicated customers have already bought the comic. Or maybe the creators using Kickstarter aren’t thinking about the long-term, about making a series instead of getting their book printed. And some of those that are looking to serialize seem to think that they can just Kickstart issue after issue, which doesn’t seem like a viable strategy, since there’s likely to be a significant dropoff. You can’t keep going back to that well the same way.

But I digress. Doing marketing to achieve a successful Kickstarter is a lot of work, and doing it all again to sell a project into the direct market may seem like too much effort for too little reward.

Tommy Christopher of mediaite suggests that the gay activist who heckled Michelle Obama exercised white privilege. My guess is that the activist would have done the same to Jill Biden.

Andrew Sullivan considers why he categorizes himself as a conservative.

I totally take his point about the quixotic nature of using that word in America today for anything other than what conservatives call themselves – and his matter-of-factness about that is refreshing. But the tradition I have long studied and thought about is not a conservatism finding solutions to problems. It is about finding solutions to problems you suspect may not be solutions at all, and may be moot once you’ve done your best; it’s about the elusive nature of prudential judgment; the creation of character through culture; the love of what is and what is one’s own; and a non-rational grasp of the times any statesman lives through. It is about a view of the whole that keeps politics in its place. It is, in the end, a way of being contingently in the world.

Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire has become the fifth Republican Senator to support the immigration bill.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker may be a likely Senator, but he does have enemies in New Jersey.

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About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. Currently, I’m writing a few comic books about my grandparents’ experiences in Soviet Estonia for Grayhaven comics. You can email me at mistermets@gmail.com
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