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The Nightly News

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The Nightly News

by Jonathan Hickman

Jonathan Hickman is so new to the industry that his biography in The Nightly News cites issues of The Nightly News. But Jonathan Hickman is not a new babe, mewing and he scratching at little projects before he develops voice or style. With the Nightly News, he fires at full speed with energetic storytelling and a graphic art style that challenges and rewards on each viewing, making Hickman one of the most interesting new voices in Comics.

The Nightly News follows John Guyton, a man falsely accused and ruined by the Media, who joins an underground cult following the unseen Voice. Their mission: to attack the media head-on with the style and grace of guerilla anarchists armed with bombs, sniper-rifles and a plan. To punish the six most powerful news media conglomerates in America for destroying their lives.

The Cult of the Voice is a crazy, dangerous cult that you can’t identify with, but you’re not supposed to. They aren’t anti-heroes prone to posing with cool gadgets and absolutist philosophical beliefs about freedom and justice. They’re pissed off crazy people with guns and a plan that comes to them via cassette tape. The narrative doesn’t pass judgment on them, the same as it doesn’t pass judgment on the journalists or leaders of industry, like you don’t when you watch a high octane action thriller – when the hero is taking the law into his own hands and warps justice for the entertainment value.

It is perfect that The Nightly News vaults into the story with a first chapter titled: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,” which should drag back the memories of Howard Beale of Network, screaming of the power and corruptive force of all media and the powerlessness of the individual. The Nightly News is more than a spiritual successor, using infographics (which he acknowledges you can either ignore and continue with the story or absorb some facts) to show us that we are in Howard Beale’s nightmare. Our media mainstream media is owned by six conglomerates and it is growing uniquely independent from fact checking and accountability. Lives are ruined by the news, more than a few don’t deserve it.

The Nightly News is a voice telling you how to live your life. It’s not a manual to change the world and it certainly doesn’t advocate violence or bloody coups in industry. It’s not a call to arms. It’s a story that touches on how easy it is to fall into camps with the media. Operating with the News and you sell your voice to unchecked corporations that will lie and cheat and destroy without recourse. Operate outside of the news and be careful who you follow, as one of more groups may steal your voice and replace it with their own. So the Nightly News exists, as Howard Beale once did, warning you, sincerely, to look at who you’re listening to, or have your Voice stolen.

– Timothy Legion

– Timothy Legion is not presently read, looked to or admired. He created a newspaper (pamphlet) at his University that is fondly remembered by six people. He has not won any awards or been considered for nominations. He is wrist-deep in the Third Year of his self-imposed GLORIOUS FIVE YEAR PLAN.

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Written by thesilentmajoritysays

March 19, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Posted in crime, political, thriller

Tagged with , ,

Hawaiian Dick vol 1 – Byrd of Paradise

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Hawaiian Dick vol 1 – Byrd of Paradise
Writer – B. Clay Moore
Art – Stephen Griffin

Hawaiian Dick is a detective story following the titular Byrd, a disgraced former police forced from the mainland due to a violent incident, who takes up residence in Hawaii to – one assumes – drink himself to death. Instead Byrd ends up working as a private investigator for police detective and war-buddy Mo. Alongside them is compatriot and cocktail Waitress Kahami, a dame with a heart of steel and an eye for Byrd, looking for her runaway sister and a cast of characters to make the island both dangerous and colourful. And so we’re put alongside our Hawaiian Dick, who alongside Mo, has the odds stacked against him with time running out.

As the outsider, Byrd is witness to the unexplainable phenomenon of the Hawaiian culture gone supernatural, as witch-doctors and resurrected bodies roam the countryside, looking for revenge. But it’s not that kind of “magic” book. It’s not a supernatural mystery, it’s a ghost story. It’s not horror, it’s mysticism. Hawaiian Dick is chock full of the undead, floating monsters that hang in trees outside your window but it’s not mutants, or magic, or elves and orcs. It’s the supernatural kind of supernatural that Byrd can’t understand or explain with smoke and mirrors. It’s the local myths of the colonized scratching at the feet of the detective story playing overtop.

Far from a formulaic detective story, the characters are placed in a setting so unique that it changes the entire aesthetic and reading of the book. It’s a 50’s Noir tinted with a Hawaiian mythos. A campfire story with bullets, broads and the revenge of the undead body they found in a trunk.

The effect is an island surrounded by mystery, mob bosses and lackeys, bent cops interfering with the investigations of straight cops and relatively no place to go. When it comes down to it, how far can you run on an island as small as Hawaii? Especially from what you don’t understand?

– Timothy Legion

— Timothy Legion is not presently read, looked to or admired. He created a newspaper (pamphlet) at his University that is fondly remembered by six people. He has not won any awards or been considered for nominations. He is wrist-deep in the Third Year of his self-imposed GLORIOUS FIVE YEAR PLAN.

Written by thesilentmajoritysays

March 13, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Posted in crime, mystery, Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

Jackie Brown

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Jackie Brown

Quentin Tarantino’s third film opens on Pam Grier, playing Jackie Brown. Her demeanor generates the “I don’t give a fuck” vibe. Behind her is a hideous, multi-colored tile wall which screams 1970. On the soundtrack is Bobby Womack’s soulful “Across a 110th Street”. The title, “Jackie Brown” splashes on the screen in Blaxploitation style.

We then find out, despite the stylish, soulful, and nostalgically badass introduction, Jackie is just trying to get to work. She is a flight attendant for a small, low-paying airline. On the side, she smuggles money for Ordell Robbie, a low-level gun merchant, played by Samuel L. Jackson. That is, until she gets caught with more than Ordell’s cash by the ATF.

Jackie Brown is Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece. The film appears to be a superficial foray into Blaxploitation cinema, but consider the genre: Exploitive, gratuitous, and glamorizing. Blaxploitation featured street-level amoral characters killing, stealing, and copulating. In Coffy, Pam Grier used sex to get close to her enemies, and murder them in cold blood to avenge sister. Still, we rooted for her, despite a skewed sense of morality.

Jackie Brown also features killing, stealing, and copulating, but the criminals are aged and desperate to get off the streets once and for all. The glamour is removed from the equation and what the audience is left with are a group of rag-tags trying to make up for their mistakes. The cast is both colorful and plentiful. Tarantino, working from the novel Rum Punch, by Elmore Leonard, paints a beautifully sardonic world of petty criminals all making a last ditch effort to come out on top.

Beautifully realized, Jackie Brown is a sober, mature, and unforgiving crime film. It is endlessly inventive in how it defies genre conventions. It is both paying tribute to Blaxploitation and criticizing it. The film never sees a dull moment between its fascinating characters, stunning dialogue, soulful soundtrack and impeccable storytelling.

The original tagline for the film read: “Six players on the trail of a half a million in Cash. There’s only one question… Who’s playing who?”

Much like that Blaxploitation vibe, the tagline merely describes what is on the surface. The important question isn’t “Who’s playing who?” but rather “Why are they playing?”

– Alex Lyons

— Alex Lyons studied English and History at the University of Guelph, where he acquired keen insights into late Victorian history, and its literature. This education, of course, serves no purpose here. Alex still lives in Guelph, and thinks of Jack the Ripper often.

Written by thesilentmajoritysays

March 11, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Posted in crime

Aetheric Mechanics

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Aetheric Mechanics

Sax Raker, the main character of Aetheric Mechanics, may seem familiar to you: He is London’s greatest detective, has a Doctor friend (Dr. Robert Watcham), and is a consummate asshole. No, it’s not Sherlock Holmes. At least not just Sherlock Holmes. Sax Raker is equal parts Holmes, Sexton Blake, Solar Pons, and every other fictional London detective that are cheap rip-offs of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic creation.

You’re asking, why do I want read a graphic novella about an amalgamation of Holmes and lesser creations? Because it’s written by Warren Ellis, and it’s bloody brilliant. Moreover, said amalgamation is partly what the story is about, but you would never predict how.

Warren Ellis is known for his approach to big concepts and mind-melting science fiction, and Aetheric Mechanics is no different. It is set in an alternate London, when steam technology gave Britons airships powered by reactionless drives and the fear of invasion from Ruritania grew stronger by the day; Dr. Robert Watcham returns home to London from the war, amidst social hysteria, and visits his good friend Sax Raker, who has just been commissioned for some detective work.

The MacGuffin: A dead body. What does it mean? Oh so many things.

A genre-bending tale of detective fiction, Aetheric Mechanics builds to a stunning, and wholly original conclusion. Ellis’ London is a city on the edge of science, where the relationship between faith and reason is greatly segregated. The art by Gianluca Pagliarani delivers the story cleanly, and with great elegance.

Aetheric Mechanics is 50 pages of wonderful comics. Also, it retails for $6.99. The fact that the book is dirt cheap is not the selling point, however, the content is.

I would have gladly payed quadruple for the Aetheric Mechanics. It’s just that wonderful.

– Alex Lyons

— Alex Lyons studied English and History at the University of Guelph, where he acquired keen insights into late Victorian history, and its literature. This education, of course, serves no purpose here. Alex still lives in Guelph, and thinks of Jack the Ripper often.

Written by thesilentmajoritysays

March 9, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Desolation Jones

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DESOLATION JONES

Philip K. Dick infamously wrote letters to the spy agencies that he assumed were keeping tabs on him detailing the illegal activities of his friends, which he taped to the underside of his trash can left on the road because that was the most obvious place that they would look. For years, Dick had these one-way conversations with fictitious investigative agencies, including the intelligence community in his life everyday, fictitiously surrounding himself with spies and spooks from all over the world.

Enter Warren Ellis, realizing Dick’s nightmare of an intelligence community in Los Angeles, creating a sub-community of exiled spies forced to live in L.A. or be executed on their own native soil. So DESOLATION JONES’ world sits in a Los Angeles chock full of former FBI, Mi-6, CIA, KGB and uglier things, all forced to live and maintain day jobs, scattered across LA’s grotesque underbelly.

Michael Jones, neither accomplished agent nor good detective, is former MI6 who got drunk and shamed the organization. In retribution, they donated his body to science, giving him the Desolation treatment – a psychological experiment that kept Jones awake for a year and left him branded a biological hazard – and then sent him to die in L.A.. In exile, Jones is a social and emotional cripple, working as a Private Investigator who only takes spook community jobs, making sure he’s only even in contact with the community. The reason? He hates the community for what was done to him and they’re the only ones he can take it out on. His instincts are so harsh and warped that he has to convince himself to NOT kill.

So when he comes into jobs to search for the personal pornographic film shot by and starring Adolf Hitler, Jones a warped and demented forced of nature unleashed into the job, a poisonous outsider to L.A. and a tired killer to the community that supports him.

To bring the Desolation world to life is the inimitable J.H. Williams III, whose stunning colours, composition, angles and page layouts make DESOLATION JONES aesthetically vibrant. The story flows from reality to drug-induced hallucination to ultra-violence with masterful dexterity. His page layouts shift dramatically to keep the reader interested and guessing with widescreen presentation and monochrome, fluid fight sequences that’ll take out your eye.

For Philip K. Dick the “Empire Never Ended,” which reflects DESOLATION JONES’ reality. The Empire of Spies and Spooks doesn’t end, they just had to get day jobs. And for Jones, there’s no redemption. They broke, burned and scratched their markings into his arms. Unable to even drink himself to death, Jones has nothing but to work until he can’t even keep that together anymore. To die or to live and die in L.A.

– Timothy Legion

— Timothy Legion is not presently read, looked to or admired. He created a newspaper (pamphlet) at his University that is fondly remembered by six people. He has not won any awards or been considered for nominations. He is wrist-deep in the Third Year of his self-imposed GLORIOUS FIVE YEAR PLAN.

Written by thesilentmajoritysays

March 5, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Night of the Hunter

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Night of the Hunter

“What religion do you profess, preacher?”

“The religion the Almighty and me worked out betwixt us.”

And so we learn the nature of one peculiar man of God and his relationship with the almighty that should strike fear into all those whom have sinned before his eyes.

Night of the Hunter presents preacher Harry Powel (Robert Mitchum), a refined southern gentleman of the cloth who has been leaving a long trail of dead ‘sinners’ in his wake. Rather than remain inconspicuous and stealthy as a common killer would, Powel has assumed the persona of a traveling evangelical preacher. A charming and compelling man, he is always eager preach the good word and to tell all those around him the story of ‘Right Hand, Left Hand. Good and Evil’. Tattooed on Powel’s hands are the words ‘love’ and ‘hate’, and the battle between the two is always a real crowd pleaser. It was with the left hand that Cain struck the blow that laid his brother low. H-A-T-E. However, the right hand has veins that go straight to the soul of man. L-O-V-E.

On the search for ten thousand dollars a former cell mate hid from the police, Powel finds his newest prey in widow Willa Harper (Shelley Winters), the widow of his aforementioned cell mate. Doing away with the husband was easy business, seeing as how the state took care of the killing for him but finding the money and outwitting Willa’s two cunning children prove to be more of a challenge than he predicted.

The idea of a movie monster is classically personified by your standard boogie men like Jason Voorhees, the Wolfman, and Freddy Kruger. Beasts and ghouls who violently kill without remorse or compassion. Then there are your more cerebral movie monsters. Characters who still kill without mercy, but fill every scene there are in with a state of discomfort and unrest, and not just at the sight of seeing them kill. Jaws. Anton Chigurh. Heath Ledger’s Joker. These villains only have to show up on screen and the audience is on the edge of their seats. Harry Powel could probably count the number of people he has killed on both of his tattooed hands. His only weapon is a tiny switchblade. Yet still, every time he is alone with another character, be it man, woman, or child, you always feel like he is moments away from doing something horrible. It is the subtle implication of murders yet to happen that makes the film so chilling. All that is needed is the idea and the audience fills in the rest.

Most unsettling about the film and this character is the fact that this is not your ordinary killer. This is a man of God. A good man, and an upright citizen. Certainly in Powel’s mind, a monster he is not, though he is a killer all the same. In fact, Powel may be the most morally incorruptible murderer in film history. Even after convincing Willa to marry him, he refuses to consummate their marriage. “The female body was made for begettin’ children and not for the lust of men,” he says. Perhaps it is his inflated sense of divinity, but Powel has deemed himself an eradicator of sin, never a perpetrator. He is the twisted and broken manifestation of all those stories of the Bible that we all assumed could never be used to justify something as horrible as murder, but to Powel, it is only natural to deduce such things from scripture. God, you see, does not mind the killings. His book is full of them.

One man and God worked out a religion between them. One where the rules apply only to those who had a hand in crafting it. The rest of us need only be told where we stand, and woe is he who challenges the preacher of such evangel. You know you’re in trouble if God is on the other side of that blade and on his hand are the letters that spell your fate. H-A-T-E.

– J.D. Renaud

J.D. Renaud has no formal education in film, but that is more than evident upon meeting and/or seeing him. A purveyor of all things eccentric, he prides himself on being a guinea pig test subject for any new form of media he is given. He currently lives in Winnipeg Manitoba with his go-go dancer roommate.

Written by thesilentmajoritysays

February 27, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Posted in crime, thriller

Danger: Diabolik

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Danger: Diabolik

The term anti-hero gets tossed around quite a bit without much attention paid. The definition has become so muddled over time that there is no clear cut example, except for someone whose goals and methods do not make them a hero, but the story in which they are the protagonist makes them out to be one, anyway. Of course there are many interpretations, but every time I try to think of a character who personifies the anti-hero, one name always comes up: Diabolik.

Diabolik (John Phillip Law) is a rich playboy with a batcave-esque hideout full of black and white Jaguars, who steals things for seemingly no reason at all. Clearly he is exceedingly wealthy, (as evidenced by the fact that he has a giant rotating bed covered in money), has a hot woman by his side (Marisa Mell), and really could not have a care in the world. So, to kill the boredom, he takes it upon himself to make every other rich person’s life miserable by stealing vast sums of money from the police, the mob, and anyone else who may have “vast sums” of anything that Diabolik might want.

He steals from the rich to give to himself. That’s my kind of anti-hero.

Based on the Italian comic character of the 1960s, Danger: Diabolik was revered in its time as one of the most faithful comic adaptations ever made. Not too hard to see why, though. Comics and films in post-WW2 America were very pro-country, pro-patriotism with good role models, Truth, justice, the American way, and all that. In Italy, the good people having had their asses handed to them and wiping the taste of Mussolini’s fascism out of their mouths, the idea of an anti-hero, someone who would steal from the government just for the hell of it, seemed gleefully rebellious and all too welcome to the counter-cultural movement at the time.

It could be argued that Diabolik does indeed commit his crimes as some form of social satire (ie. blowing up the treasury and banks to eliminate the country’s personal debts). Since he feels the police and the government are too incompetent to stop him, he has the right to do what he does and get away with it. Perhaps there really is a method and some morals behind his actions. Or, maybe he just likes to blow things up. It could go either way, really.

It is difficult to justify a character like Diabolik. He steals things because stealing things its fun. He gets into danger because danger is more exciting than doing things the safe way. He steals things that are seemingly impossible to steal just because everyone tells him they are impossible to steal. In any other movie, Diabolik would be the bad guy. He is still the bad guy in this movie, too. Only this time, he has the coolest car, the sweetest costume, and hottest girlfriend.

And in the end, no matter what their actions or intentions, the person who has those things is always somebody’s hero.

J.D. Renaud

J.D. Renaud has no formal education in film, but that is more than evident upon meeting and/or seeing him. A purveyor of all things eccentric, he prides himself on being a guinea pig test subject for any new form of media he is given. He currently lives in Winnipeg Manitoba with his go-go dancer roommate.

Written by thesilentmajoritysays

February 23, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Posted in crime, superhero