Monday, March 31, 2008


Here are some comics that are really cool.
I've tried to pick titles that would appeal to the average joe.
If I were preparing this list for actual comic book people the list would be very different.
The criteria that I'm looking at here is concept originality, storytelling style and art.

Here it is in no particular order...

Barefoot Gen by Kenji Nakazawa
The real life account of Hiroshima survivor Kenji Nakazawa.
As a small boy he was the unfortunate witness to unspeakable atomic horrors.  At one point he finds his home among the unrecognizable wreckage of his neighborhood.  His father and little brother are pinned under the rubble and Gen is too weak to free them before the approaching fire burns them both alive.  

Y: The Last Man by Brian K Vaughn
In one instant every thing on the planet with a Y chromosome is dead, except for one man and his monkey.  Interesting speculations on feminism, Islam, and republican widows.

The Nightly News by Jonathan Hickman
There is an evil that is secretly and quietly creeping into our culture and gradually seizing positions of power. Is is shape shifting aliens? No. Is is communism? No.  Is it big oil and the pharmaceuticals? Yes, but that's not what Hickman is talking about here. It's the corporate media!!!  How are they a threat and how are a handful of snipers going to save us?

Girls by the Luna Brothers
Aliens in the form of naked girls land in a small rural town cut off from the rest of the world.
The naked hotties want to have sex with human men, but they tear apart and eat human women.  What do the men do?  This is not a comedy, it is a very tough look at the value of life and the gender war.

Astro City: Tarnished Angel by Kurt Buisek
An out of shape and over the hill steel-skinned ex-con, Carl Donewicz is stuck between crime and poverty.  Can a comic henchman make an honest living in a world that hates him? 

The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
In a zombie apocalypse a handful of strangers try their best, to not just survive, but to truly live life.  Are the zombies an allegory of the modern American masses?

The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
After giving up his days as a vigilante, an aged Batman comes out of retirement to fight gangs, cops, an equally aged Joker, and Superman-pawn of the government.

Planetary by Warren Ellis
A secret society battles the Illuminati while uncovering the existence of hyper-realistic super-heroes, ghosts, aliens, and extra-dimensional monsters. 

Miracleman by Alan Moore
What if Superman was engineered by the government complete with an fabricated comic childhood?  Then imagine that he finds out.  Then imagine that there is another one that is a sociopath. 

Popgun Anthology
There is no story here, just art, pages and pages of art.  Some top names and very talented upstarts throw in two and four page stories to show off some very creative visuals.  In the words of anime director Katsuhiro Otomo, "Some things are not meant to be understood, just felt." 

Friday, March 28, 2008

4 8 15 16 23 42

I'm a big LOST fan.  Here's a cool video explaining the numbers
(which they never bothered to do in the show and are never going to).

Here's a funny one... (spoilers)


Moved by the Spirit

I was searching the net for proof that Jesus farted and couldn't find anything.
but I did find this...

okay okay, I've gotten some feedback on this one so I'll tell you now that if you do a google search then you will find quite a lot on Jesus and farts, but after questioning several professors and clergy I found many good arguments but THERE IS NO POOF!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Addicted to Mediacrudy

I tried to read the Schaeffer book 'Addicted to Mediocrity'
but I got bored and didn't finish it.  I don't even think that it is in print anymore.
I probably shouldn't have been watching TV while trying to read it.
But, Tombstone is an awesome movie.
I love that movie, it's one of those movies that I have and will continue to watch over and over again.
It's a great movie, but it's not a great movie.
I love it, but it's not very stylistic or thought provoking.
It's a good movie to watch from the couch while working on a blog.
(have I breached the fourth wall yet?)

so check it, here's the best top ten list in the world.
1. Tombstone
2. Point Break
3. 13th Warrior
4. Lost Boys
5. Men In Black
6. Galaxy Quest
7. Cars
8. Near Dark
9. Big Lebowski
10. Wild Wild West

okay, so there are movies like Grave of the Fireflies or Ordinary People or Thin Red Line which are way better than anything on this list. But, I can't watch Thin Red Line everyday or even every year.

It takes a lot of energy to digest something heavy like that.
At then end of a long day there are just some things that are easier to relax with.
I go to McDonalds from time to time. It's terrible, the worst thing in the world that I can do for myself, but hey, the human condition is programmed for entropy.
(anyway, back to my cheeseburgers) It's simple, predictable, mediocre 
and the only challenge is in my body's recovery.
Given the choice, I would rather have a Big Mac any day over Fois Gras (which I do like).
However, on a day where I do take on something well done, if I am not in the right mode, it may as well be another cheeseburger of cheesy movie.  Although a creator may put a lot into a work, it will be wasted I don't put any effort into receiving the work.  You only get out of something what you put into it.

Back to McDonalds.
I know I'm not alone here. "54 million customers can't be wrong"
Yes, McDonalds serves nearly 54 customers world wide each day.
And yes, 54 million customers can be wrong.  If you've ever worked in retail you know I speak the truth.
Popularity doesn't make a thing good or right, it just makes it average.
(and to all my fellow non-conformists, popularity doesn't make something bad or wrong either, the zebra that strays from the herd dies just a well as the lemmings)

If you've never heard of the show 'Mr. Show' then you are right at home with 54 million other viewers that have never heard of Mr. Show.
It was crass comedy that was just over the heads of mainstream America,
and therefore didn't rate well and it was cancelled.
But it's only natural, that's how the bell curves (R.I.P. Firefly & Arrested Development).
The further you stray from mass appeal,
either higher (like Shakespeare)
or lower (like Russ Meyers)
then more narrow your audience is going to be.

This is why I love living in the digital DIY age.
I love that easy to use and affordable home recording, web based promotion, and file distribution has empowered so many independent musicians, artists, writers, and film makers.
I love that geeks can make movies on par with Saving Private Ryan on a shoe string budget.
People can now be as artsy, crass, and pretentious as they like and you can put it out there for all five of your friends to see.
Well, getting back to my point.  I think that our appetite for mediocrity is why there is such a thing as popular Christianity versus true or orthodox Christianity is because of fast food religion (I'm so clever).
There are certain things that are just easier rather than authentic.  There are some things that are just more convenient because everyone else is going that way.  It is less complicated to recite a script when talking to your family instead of getting tangled in the commitments of intimacy.  

But when someone decides to follow God they stick out.  When you hit a bell it's the outer rim that resonates, that makes noise.  Since the beginning of humanity there have been millions of people that claimed to follow God and yet there are so few people that stood out.  
I know someone is thinking, 'but I follow God in quiet and humble ways, I serve people and pray and read my Bible and go to Church."  
Good for you. You stick to that cluster in the middle, let me know how it works out.

So the reason I've been thinking about all of this is because I was just reminded of a retreat that I went to where there was this goofy kid speaking about following Jesus.  The speaker threw a lot of things, but among them was the gauntlet. The theme was 'Get Out of the Boat'.  The idea was that following Jesus meant going where mortal man cannot go, walking on water (don't do it, I've tried), and that following Jesus put you on a supernatural journey.   He challenged everyone to look at their lives and see if they were on a supernatural journey.  I failed the self assessment, but I fixed it.  I have since tried to make the habit is taking up the 'God sized task', Blackaby's idea that you see God work when you take on the challenges that only God can do.  By acting in a way that makes you trust God, you get to see him work.

It makes sense for me to hear atheists say that they don't believe in God because they have never seen God.  What concerns me is when Christians say they believe in God but have never seen him.  Once again, you only get out of something what you put into it.