Reading

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Report on this year’s Regent Theatre Book Sale: Small pickings this year.  No new language books.  An Italian grammar that I picked up proved to be a text I already had.  I have put it into the stack to go to the Opoho Church fair next week-end.  Down-stairs among the priced books proved a couple of finds: Bacon’s Up to Date Atlas and Guide to London, undated, the spine is split along the third folio however it is still holding together.  Also the New Zealand Historical Atlas (1997): the copy I picked up for $8 had a dust jacket in better condition than the one I saw for $10, a good buy.

My comics came for the week-end.  They have made my week-end’s reading.

Dial H: End of this series, the Dialers arrive at the nexus of the shared universes on the Network.  After the end of the Dial Wars it is a shattered world.  They can rebuild and go out again.

The Dresden Files: Ghoul Goblin: The end of a six-part story-line.  I don’t plan to continue with this series.

Doctor Who: The final stories of IDW’s run with this title ends with the stories Sky Jacks and Dead Man’s Hand.  The 2013 Special that concludes IDW’s run is a delightful one-off story penned by Paul Cornell, The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who.  The TARDIS lands in a parallel universe where the Doctor is a fictitious character on TV.  In a universe without monsters  (the Land of Un-Fiction) the Doctor goes to a convention, meets Matt Smith, and still saves the day.  (‘And how can parts of my life have titles?! And if I’d known some of these were called things like “The Android Invasion” it would have saved a lot of bother!)  This one is a must-read for fans.  Recommended.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9: End of the Ninth Season.  I need to give the whole season a consecutive reading.  I have already seen flyers for Angel and Faith Season 10.  It has piqued my appetite for more.  Both titles seem to be up and running for another season.  I still want to see a ‘Li’l Ripper’ series.

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Comics update

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Having not collected any comics for several months they arrived in a parcel a couple of weeks ago.  This is a quick summary of what I’ve been reading.

Dial H Four comics arrived in this series written by China Miéville.  It’s a continuous story.  Each issue is its own title.  Having defeated the Nullomancer and her ally the Abyss in the first arc Nelson and Roxie are venturing to the Exchange, the heart of Dial Technology.  I see that DC Comics have cancelled this series and it will finish with the next issue.

Doctor Who Two stories.  The first includes Amy and Rory with the Doctor and Lady Christina De Souza aboard a luxury starship orbiting a would-be nova star.  We may have been here before.  The second story has the Doctor aboard a cosmonaut capsule in 1965.  The Vashta Nerada are outside and the capsule is about to go into the dark side of the Earth.

Willow A miniseries as part of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 arc.  As a consequence of Season 8 magic has left the world.  Willow is on a quest to restore it.  Her adventure takes her to the witch goddesses’ version of the Garden of Earthly Delights, and she duels with an old enemy.

Angel and Faith  One of the two titles for the BTVS Season 9 arc.  Another of the consequences of Season 8 was Giles was killed in the final battle with the Big Bad, a brilliant, shoking and savage action.  Angel’s quest has been to find the parts of Giles’ soul and resurrect Giles.  He and Faith have been based in London, in Giles’ flat, with Giles’ immortal and narcissic aunts Lavinia and Sophronia.

At the end of the arc it is revealed Giles’ soul was sold to a major demon and they have to get it back.  They are successful, and one of the results of the resurrection spell is Giles is restored as a 12 year old boy.  There’s some hilariously funny dialogue involved.  It’s like Anthony Head has been replaced by a child actor.  I like it!

The final story is a face-off with the season’s villains in London.  The team breaks up.  It looks like Angel will remain in London for Season 10, which is now full of fantastic creatures.  If he remains in London then maybe the story can cross over the Irish Sea and find out more of Angel’s former life in Ireland before he was turned into a vampire.  I also want to see more of Baby Giles.  Lil Ripper has already been suggested as a comic book title for this character.

The final issue of Buffy Season 9 wasn’t in the parcel.  I’ll save it for a later summary.  The story is picked up nicely and I wait to see its conclusion.

Marvel’s The Avengers

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I’ve been watching The Avengers.  A friend loaned it to me.  Somebody leaves the swing door open and someone breaks in the house.  Oh, it’s Tom Hiddleston.  My, he is pretty!

I want to see the property damage report for this movie.  There must have been millions of tax payers’ dollars wasted when that underground base was destroyed.  I hope there will be an enquiry.  Planet America is under attack, especially on the New York front.  Although the number of deaths is kept offscreen, except for the alien Jitari soldiers.  They’re evil goons so heroes are allowed to kill them.  Despite the number of civilians in the middle of an alien invasion no New Yorkers seem to die in the cross-fire.  There is a human death in the movie.  It is a crucial plot development.

Heroes always team up to fight super-villains, except when their egos get in the way.  Super-villains are stuck with minions to do their dirty work.  They don’t have loyal friends who say things like “Sure I’ll help you conquer the Earth, then we can catch that game on t.v. after we’re done”.  Actually I thought Hawkeye was more interesting as Loki’s minion than an Avenger.  Loki needs to learn that following someone else’s orders is no excuse.

Most interesting character: Dr Banner and the Other Guy. (Puny god!)

Marvel's The Avengers

Drawing God in the public square

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This was a lecture presented by Stephen Garner from Auckland University for the Centre for Theology and Public Issues.  The subject was god and religion in comics and graphic novels, which can be an overlooked part of popular culture.  As always I came away with some thoughts.  These come to mind:

Like Garner I encountered those comic book tracts that circulated in earlier decades.  I believe he refered to them as Chicks Comics.  Peter Rollins also refered to them in his book Insurection.  Rollins noted that after the moment of decision-making for or against accepting Jesus Christ as your personal saviour death is almost instantaneous, meaning the soul went directly to judgement before Christ on the great white throne without having lived out a life in the physical world where everything happens.  Those who rejected Jesus were condemned to eternal damnation.  I found that creepy and disturbing.  I think it’s made me a universalist.

Mention was made of Neil Gaiman and his Sandman series.  It was noted that Gaiman doesn’t do Christianity.  I think he makes comment on religion and theodicy in an important story in that series where Lucifer in a deliciously evil scene abdicates from Hell and gives the lord of dreams the keys to Hell.  Morpheus must then decide what to do with the responsibility for that domain, and its consequences.

The DC universe has a cosmogony where god is the Source, the Voice and the Word.  It is part of this cosmogony that people keep on coming back.  Death’s kingdom has a revolving door.  Creative artists want to bring characters back.  Our understanding of the characters evolves as new generations of artists and readers consume comics.  The characters are always in the first generation, the discovery of the new thing.  They are on the path of the hero, but unlike the heroes of legend and history, they can never reach the closure of their quests.  The commercial requirements of the comic industry colluding  with the reading public demands that they are always ‘marrying and giving in marriage until the days of the flood’.  We demand it of them.

Epiphany 4

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I changed Sheryl Crow CDs to The Globe Sessions.  The track Mississippi has taken the lead as a front runner for selection from this artist on my top ten at the Dayglo Disco.

Also my comics stash has arrived from Wellington, including the opening issues of Buffy Season Nine.  Season Eight took 40 issues so this should be another long run.  With the defeat of Season Eight’s big bad Ms Summers has gone from generaling an army of slayers to being a waitress in San Francisco.  She is back to being perky again and I think the desperation’s showing.  The game has changed and by the end of last season’s arc the Scoobies got knocked about.  Still the slayer must stand between this generation and the monsters, and some of the monsters aren’t human.  There are new characters to watch out for as the first storyline of the season opens up.  This could be fun.

Both the Buffy and Angel characters are under the Dark Horse Comics franchise, so they are together again for the first time in years.  At the same time in the Buffyverse they are not back together again.  Drama is the art of throwing stones at your characters while they should be happy up a tree.

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I’ve been reading the first four issues of Dresden Files: Storm Front. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s wordy enough to be annoying. The narrative from the books in the first person is intrusive. If the art is not good enough to describe what is happening then the editor should have a strong word with the artist, and the art on the page is not something I’m complaining about.

Presumably since the author is involved with this adaption the characters are drawn accurately. I imagine Karrin Murphey differently but I expect that that is personal preference; and sadly Terrance Mann is not available for Bob in this version (one of the best things in the television adaption IMHO). Instead we get a glowing blob in the skull.

I would have prefered Bianca in her vampire form to be kept more to the imagination than drawn graphically. That is my personal taste.

Storm Front has finished its quartet of issues without concluding the story. I wait to see it finished. Which since discretionary funds are beginning to come an option may take me another couple of months to collect them from the comic shop in Wellington. I have to admit I had to read through three of the books before I started enjoying the direction they were going. I haven’t read any further since as I do not own the series, and I haven’t checked the Dunedin library for them.

Any way I’ve got The City and The City by China Mieville to read. Yay me! Cue one happy hobbit!

Nemi Cartoon

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I was showing this cartoon to a friend today. I suspect that it may not historically acurate.
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