04 March 2009

A return to blogging

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Today is my third wedding anniversary. "Happy Anniversary Megan! I got you me sick in bed today as a gift! I hope you like it." Yeah, fun. Two days in a row I've gone to work and ended up back home after a few hours. Not tomorrow though, I'm determined. BTW, I really like being married to Megan. She truly is wonderful.

If I don't chicken out, over the next few months I will be posting two alternating blog series: Things I Believe In: ___________ and Things I Don't Believe In: ____________ . I suspect that I sometimes will write at length while at others I will be as brief as possible. Don't expect deep subjects every time but I am sure occasionally I will surprise even myself. Hopefully there will be some conversation to fill in the gaps.


On to other things. Lately I have returned to comic book reading. After searching through my mid 90's issues of THE FLASH to find a particular artist's (Oscar Jimenez) run to compare to one of the classic Spanish artists we had seen at the Guggenheim, I rediscovered the fun, mystery, and moral struggles found in Mark Waid's writing and comics in general.


Presently I find myself immersed in very polar titles: WATCHMEN and JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA. The later is Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's famous 80's dark maxi-series that deconstructed the superhero concept and sparked more attention for more adult themed comic books and graphic novels. You will be able to see a film version starting this Friday in theaters but you undoubtably already knew that. Without ruining the story, in WATCHMEN the public lose faith and trust in the heroes and the heroes do in-kind. The results aren't pleasant. No kidding.

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA deals with a rather large cast of heros made up both of founding members from as early as the 1940s to teenagers newly discovering their powers, what their roles are in the world, and sometimes what it means to take on the moniker of a hero past with all the baggage and former glories attached. The JSA originally disbanded post WWII as "most of the Society chose to disband and retire rather than appear in front of the fictional Joint Un-American Activities Committee, which demanded that they unmask themselves...". Sound familiar? [In actuality readers became more interested in western (cowboys etc) comics than masked superpowered heroes.]


A great difference between JSA and WATCHMEN is that the individual heroes didn't all remain out of commission and more importantly they didn't let the fear manipulated public opinion change the kind of justice they defended and enforced. In the most recent series the teams theme can be, and is often, summarized as "the world needs better heroes." Sappy? Sure, but it does. In the DC comics world it is the JSA led by a cast of experienced but not quite jaded do-gooders. I wonder who will finally take the lead in our real one.



A bonus for, at least, the first 26 issues has been the majestic painted cover art (and occasional interior art and story ideas) by Alex Ross. See his and Mark Waid's masterpiece KINGDOM COME for a wonderful take on the hero mythos intertwined with Biblical text and themes.

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