Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Back Issues to Look For

History, Life, Metaphysics and Murder

Kings in Disguise was by James Vance and Dan Burr, and released by Kitchen Sink Press.   The setting is America during the Great Depression.  When 13-year-old Freddie Bloch runs away from home when his family is torn apart, leaving him to fend for himself.  He travels America, on the railroad, and it takes him to see things that Americans sadly forget.  Labor strikes and revolts, soup kitchens, hunger that is a constant companion, and more.  It isn't superheroes, it isn't what you'd call action, but it is deep, runs through the emotions, and is beautiful, for what it is.  I am a historian, and this moved me.

I am a fan of the books Virgin Comics put out.  Most of them had different art, really interesting stories and subject matter.  And, I felt these comics were really new, depicting the cultural gems from a world I have never experienced.  But just as Virgin Comics passed away due to a lack of American consumer interest, I wondered if Buddha would make sense to the audience of comics.  I was very interested in it but I didn't know who would support it or enjoy it other than me.  That is, except perhaps for people from India, practising Hindus and Buddhists.  It tells the story of the man who became "the Buddha".  A young man, rich, trapped in luxury and excess, begins to hold his existence in contempt.  His search for meaning is captured well.  It is a biography of a religious figure, who I am not a follower of, but any moral work, I believe is a work that you can learn from. 

The main character Michael Alexander has written a book about a realm that we can visit, when our minds and alternate ego encounter fear.  The villain Chasm was a force who gains power from the fear of others.   At first I found Dark Dominion on the shelf it confused me.  I'd read that Steve Ditko had been involved, and I thought upon casual inspection that the art was indeed by him. That generally means thumbs up for me.  The confusion lifted when I learned that the character was created by Steve Ditko and Jim Shooter but the artist doing the art wasn't Ditko.  And yet he seemed to draw in Ditkoesque style. And did do a fine job of capturing Ditko's mojo.  While it was a dark place Shooter captured in his writing, there is a mix of different tones, by pieces.  The art was light, the stories were dark and dangerous.  It was an enjoyable read, and I'd love a collected version of it. 

A child murderer who has a distinctive whistle hunts the children of Berlin in early twentieth century Germany.

This movie was a classic, and had a variety of great roles, acting, and direction.  In Germany, the time had recently seen murderers who had hunted the weak and the young.   Peter Kurten, Carl Grossman, Karl Denke and Fritz Haarmann had murdered, harvested the flesh and sold it as meat, and used the sorrow of others to please their sadistic needs.

Everyone reading the prestige series M can appreciate the art.  It is magnificent, unbelievably true to the work it adapts, and I love the film to begin with.  Some people might say, but I can just watch the film... yeah, I guess you can.  Why have anything but movies then.  Why bother?  I enjoyed reading this as much as I do the movie.   I love Fritz Lang's work, I love Jon J. Muth's work.  M is a smashing victory.  If you don't get why I think it is great, I understand, not everyone likes the same thing.  But this is a pleasure, and not a guilty one.

No comments: