Friday, November 27, 2015

Conversation Starters

If you're my FB friend, you may have seen these links already, so apologies for the dearth of original blog content. I'd like to blame it on the past week -- there's something uninspiring about the lead-up to American Thanksgiving, especially this one. Who wants to talk politics, but how can you not? What do you say to skirt the subject?

Well, here are some alternative conversation starters (or enders, depending):

"I remember pulling up as fast as I can screaming, 'Get in, get in!' and I know that I am a clown and I had a car full of clowns, but these ladies ran and jumped into the back." Doo Doo the Clown, on the art of heroism.

"These are the ten most mentioned songs by the Vietnam vets we interviewed." Some surprises, among the familiar.

A stunningly bold caper took place, not too far from where I live. I was at home at the time, as witnesses will attest.

Trekkies: impervious fashion-sense aside, are we really as scary as all that?

"And to think, while Alan Moore was pitting Han, Leia and Chewie against devout disciples of unthinkable anguish, Star Wars' cinematic creative team was busy developing Return Of The Jedi and its decidedly less barbarous drove of Ewoks..." Ben McCool, on Alan Moore's brilliantly bonkers 1980s Star Wars comics.

Finally, which one of you guys turned me on to Warren Ellis? Joel? Y-man? It's somebody who's tapped into comics and SF. Anyway, I've subscribed to his Orbital Operations newsletter for a couple of years now, and I'm continually amazed by the man's seemingly ceaseless capacity to write interesting stuff -- even as he wrestles with the fella in the brite nightgown. Yeesh, what's my excuse?

If it applies, happy Thanksgiving. And here's a little bonus for you: the first issue of Frankenstein Underground -- just another round of insouciant genius from the sable brush of Mike Mignola.


Joel Swagman said...

I regret to say the Warren Ellis wasn't me. It looks interesting though.

...and speaking of interesting, that Alan Moore Star Wars comic book series looks very interesting.

I'm reminded of this recent observation from the avclub

The thing about Star Wars is that it basically takes the most fun parts of Republic serials, World War II movies, samurai flicks, and ’40s swashbucklers and distills them into one monomyth, which is how you end up with white dudes with faux-Asian names fighting space Nazis to music that sounds an awful lot like Erich Korngold. The problem with just about everything spun off of Star Wars, and the reason why it all can’t help but underwhelm, is that its primary influence is Star Wars.

It's an observation that's struck me more and more as i've been watching the Star Wars Rebels TV show, where everything seems to be designed to evoke the feelings of the original star Wars. And although nostalgia will get you a fair way with me, the Star Wars universe is really limiting itself to which type of stories it can tell. There's only so many light saber battles and x-wing dog fights I can watch before it all starts to feel repetitive.

Imagine if the canonical Star Wars had been injected with a little bit of Alan Moore, and truly made use of all the bizarre possibilities it's limitless universe afforded it.

Darrell Reimer said...

The stretch of years between SW and TESB was pretty funky. I remember reading Splinter of the Mind's Eye and thinking it was pretty messed up -- kinda mopey and unfocused. In hindsight, it was probably our first glimpse of George Lucas's storytelling impulses, unfettered by editing and continuity concerns (rendered, once again, by the always game Alan Dean Foster). Alan Moore's hallucinogenic/shamanistic reveries were quite distinctive, in comparison -- and entirely welcome.

It's a little like reading the Gold Key Star Trek comics, or the newspaper strips of same. Calling them "non-canonical" is an understatement. And yet they seem integral to the actual magic of it all. There was a Star Trek and Star Wars of the public imagination that had remarkable plasticity, yet could still remain recognizably that. Buttoning it all down brought continuity and an orthodoxy of sorts, but also dissipated the spritz and fascination.