This Week in Geek (5-11/09/11)

Buys

Got the three Elric Saga books I was missing - The Vanishing Tower, The Bane of the Black Sword, and Stormbringer - from a second-hand book shop. Same silvery Berkley editions as the first three too.

"Accomplishments"

DVDs: Flipped Angel Season 3, a series that to date (and I'm actually partway through Season 4), has proven immune to Buffy's own tidal quality. Where the parent program has had weaker seasons (the college year, the depression year), Angel keeps it on an even keel thanks to a larger evolving story arc. The Darla arc becomes the Son of Angel arc, speeding us towards the Apocalypse of Season 4. By this point, the program's theme is become more apparent and rewarding. If Buffy is about female empowerment, Angel is about redemption. After all, the show has made a habit of picking up damaged or limited characters from Buffy and allowing them to grow, fall, rise. Wesley was nothing but a clown in Buffy, and Cordelia a stereotypical "rich bitch". Even Faith's role in these episodes mirrors Angel's own sought-after redemption. That's not to slight the original characters, as this season adds Fred to the line-up, and she's totally charming. The DVD package includes commentaries on 3 episodes, a few deleted scenes, outtakes,and featurettes on Darla, the season itself and production "from page to screen". The best bits are the screen tests for both Fred and Connor, using scenes written just for them and not part of the actual episodes.

Books: I also finished reading Grant Morrison's Supergods, his history of the super-hero genre, part mythocritical analysis, part biography/liner notes. I'll start with a caveat. Morrison's handle on historical facts and timelines is imperfect, and he makes some unfortunate comparisons at times, like comparing the Superman fan club to Hitler Youth or Stan Lee's hucksterism to Mussolini's balcony speeches. But that's part and parcel of Morrison's own brand of shock-hucksterism, and all of that reads better if you imagine the writer pounding a podium and spinning out words in a convention hall. It's not so much a history of superhero comics (and movies) as it is a chronicle of how one of the most influential comics writers of recent years PERCEIVES that history. Morrison's thoughts and theories about what the superhero MEANS, how and why it evolved the way it did, and what writers and artists made the greatest contributions makes for fascinating reading. I could read his analyses of Golden Age covers all day. The back half of the book is on more solid ground, since he becomes a character in the story, letting us in on some behind the scenes action at DC and Marvel. Again, these should be read as one man's POV and memories. Reality may diverge from them slightly or entirely. I came away from it wanting to read more, and with a different understanding of a genre that's been with me for almost 30 years. But don't take everything at face value. Take it as an invitation to a debate.

Hyperion to a Satyr posts this week:
III.i. To Be or Not to Be - Branagh '96

4 comments:

Roger said...

While I love the Stormbringer RPG seting and all (every magic system without fireballs is a favourite of mine!), I didn't like Elric novels. I read the two firsts, and I thought the ideas were great, but the narrative is bad.

If you like Elric, read the Elric Balance Lost comic book. Is pretty damn good! And Corum is there!

ANOTHER NOTE: In your Rom Spaceknight review there are some holes. I read in Marvunapp that the Dire Wraiths appeared in New Warriors, too!

Siskoid said...

I'm reading Balance Lost, it's what gave me the motivation to read the Elric books. I have no real problem with the narrative myself (well, none that are game breakers).

As for Rom, it was all about Rom, NOT about the Dire Wraiths. If you want a completist though, check out the Rom Blog somewhere in the blog roll to the right. He'll hook you up.

Austin Gorton said...

Angel season 3 is great. The first time I saw the episode where Holtz jumps into Quar'toth with baby Connor and Angel is left devastated while Wesley bleeds out in the park, blew my mind. It was like "season finale" big, and it was the middle of the freakin' season.

Sidenote: the guy who plays Connor briefly went to my high school and played in the neighborhood with my wife when they were little kids, which makes it very hard for her to take Connor seriously.

Siskoid said...

That's ok, I don't take him all that seriously either. Which is why he's so angry all the time.

 

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