If your first 50 encounters with the art form were these 50 choices, you’d likely be vastly entertained and likely intrigued by comics’ ability to make great works. It leans British, so insert whatever joke is appropriate to that at the end of this sentence. What that means for the list is that the there’s a sameness to the “surprise” choices. The top selection — not Krazy Kat, pictured above, which is a mere #39 — is interesting, for a couple of reasons. One is that the visual to represent it is I believe a still from the very sharp-looking movie version: I don’t know of any other graphic novel that has received a boost from its movie version in terms of judging its own, inherent visual quality. Another is that I don’t know of any art form where basic comprehension gets used as a qualification for excellence in quite the same way.
Grantland imagines a fantasy draft for television. One move is getting Alan Cumming into the cast of The News Room.
The surprise upshot here is the idea of Cumming slicing through The Newsroom’s sanctimony like a razor blade through organic, non-GMO butter. A recurring problem in Sorkin’s work is that he essentially hates conflict. Don’t get me wrong, he loves the idea of conflict. His scripts are littered with hayseeds dropped from the pockets of countless straw men. He’s a sucker for an endless parade of tough-talking villains designed for the sole purpose of being stomped by the superior intellects and vocabularies of crusading Sorkin Heroes. Cumming doesn’t play games like that. Seeing him stroll into the ACN studios as Mac’s ex or a new corporate overlord — scratch that, this is Sorkin — as Mac’s ex AND Will’s new corporate overlord could give The Newsroom that spark of non-recycled drama it’s been lacking. At the very least, it’d get me to watch again.
Metafilter seems to have an Estonian community. Someone there really likes the folk songer Mari Kalkun.
Two interesting comparisons on summer blockbusters. AO Scott considers the problems of “strained pulp” when cheap products like comic books and pulp stories are turned into major blockbusters. Jacob Hall notes how derivative some sci-fi films are, even when it isn’t part of a franchise.