I started this week off with a post on how superdickery has changed through the ages.

Richard wrote about mediocre French mainstream title Spin Angels.

Suat wrote about living with Walt Kelly original art.

Kinukitty wrote about the somewhat squicky yaoi title Two of Hearts.

Vom Marlowe discussed the mediocrity which is X-Men.

And this week’s music download features lots of gospel and thai music.

Last week’s droney mix can still be found at the link.

Utilitarians Elsewhere

Bill and Tom have moved off HU, of course, but I thought I’d mention that they both have great articles in the most recent, and last, Comics Journal, #300, available in a store near you hopefully.

Tom argues that Alan Moore has fallen prey to his own rampant geekery.

Alan Moore is a product of that time, maybe its best. If you want some recycled pop fantasy, I think you’re better off with “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” than you are with Star Wars. In fact I’d say his big titles of the 1980s, Watchmen most of all, are the only examples I’ve come across of really fine, substantial works devoted to recycling other-reality entertainment staples. But something went wrong. His Watchmen became Watchmen the movie, which is bad enough. What’s worse is that Moore wrote Lost Girls and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and — well, just about every comic he’s turned out since 1989 or so. If I had to think of reasons to say why Alan Moore was great, I’d have a hard time finding anything from his comics work of the past 20 years. There’s issue 12 of Promethea, but then there’s the rest of Promethea. There’s From Hell, but no, not really. He hasn’t stopped being a genius; only a genius could fail in the way he does, with such energy and ambition, such amazing fireworks. But when I put one of his comics down, I have to remind myself to pick it back up. I think his post-’89 comics are stunted. No matter how big he tries to be, he winds up being small.

Bill, meanwhile, argues for the uniqueness — and probable transience — of the anime/manga invasion of the U.S.

In 2000, you could name the people and companies working to bring manga to the West on one hand, maybe two. Now keeping up with just the English-language commentators has become a full-time job. A few of the writers, like Jason Thompson, Xavier Guilbert and the chaps at Same Hat! Same Hat!, deserve careful reading. Most of the rest barely need a skim. Which is not necessarily a criticism if you have 3,000 people writing about the same book, what are the odds most of them will say the same things?

What happens instead is that they say the same thing in different places. There is no one essential place to read about manga in English. Instead, the trickle of information from 30-plus years ago became a healthy flow. Then, as with everything in the current age, the forces behind it pool into isolated spots. Each one hosts a dialogue or a tribal area or even an intellectual prison; each speaks to a particular subjectivity. One could tip the pen to Postmodernism, were that movement not first passé and second ironic. Manga and its fans have favored bald emotions, putting them closer to New Sincerity, or the Reconstructivists, or whatever the movement after pomo ends up being called. It seems less like forward progress through the history of ideas than an atomization.

Meanwhile, on the Internets, I have an essay about the new Twilight movies over at Reason.

If Edward represents agelessness as a perfect fantasy, Jacob Black represents aging as a horror-film disaster. As you almost certainly know from advance publicity (and if you don’t, here comes the spoiler,) Jacob discovers partway through the film that he’s a werewolf. Lycanthropy, as it turns out, is adolescence on steroids. Jacob loses control of his emotions, grows hair where he shouldn’t, starts hanging out with the wrong crowd, and begins thinking so loudly that all his friends can hear him.

In choosing between Jacob and Edward, Bella is choosing between growing up, with all its dangers and messy unpredictability, and staying a faery child, forever young and lifeless. In the end (here’s another spoiler), without much of a fight, she opts for immortality. Thus, the Twilight series isn’t so much a coming-of-age story as a refusing-to-come-of-age story.

And finally I have a brief review of the new Leona Lewis album over at Metropulse.

Other Links

Matthew Brady pointed me to this unpublished black and white Wonder Woman story with art by Harry Peter and script possibly by William Marston. It’s a treat.

And your Thai luk thung/morlum video of the week, sung by Siriporn Umpaipong.

And what the hey, here’s another one by Ajareeya Bussaba. Adorable caterpillars.