On HU

Lots of bytes through the sluice on HU this week.

To start off, I sneered at the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and wondered about Fantagraphics’ marketing policy (Fantagraphic marketers showed up to explain in the comments.)

I denounced Lady Snowblood, movie and comic, on the grounds that they are evil. Suat came back with a lengthy defense

I defended blogging and even got all emo about it. In another meta moment, I defended my right to think Ganges is boring and sneer at other comics critics and spit bile more or less indiscriminately, damn it.

Kinukitty reviewed the yaoi Dining Bar Akira.

Richard kicked off a new series, Anything But Capes, in which he looks at genres other than super-heroes. He started off by looking at the state of Barbarian comics.

Suat reviewed Ooku, which he doesn’t like as much as me.

I explained what my son has and has not learned from Peanuts.

Vom Marlowe drew a comic expressing her disinterest in X-Men Forever.

And this week’s music download features lots of doomy drones and other metal. (Last week’s, if you missed it, features Thai country music (Luk Thung.)

Utilitarians Everywhere

My enthusiastic review of Dokebi Bride is up on Comixology this week.

That departure, I think, points to the core knot at the heart of Dokebi Bride. The book, like many ghost stories, is about grief and dislocation and how the two circle around each other like black, exhausted smudges. The first volume opens with Sunbi’s father carrying her mother’s ashes back from the grave; that volume ends with the death of Sunbi’s grandmother, who raised her and cared for her. The central loss of a parent, and therefore of self, returns again and again through the series, a literal haunting. Sunbi can’t function without putting the past behind her, but the past is everything she is — she can’t let it go. When a fortune teller offers to read her future, Sunbi rejects the offer angrily. “No, I don’t want to know about my stupid future!” she bites out through her tears. “Just tell me what all this means to me! Tell me why they’ve all died and left me, why they’re even trying to take away my memories!”

On Tcj.com I reviewed Strange Suspense: Steve Ditko Archives Volume 1.

Did you read that whole thing? If you did and you enjoyed it, you’re a hardier soul than I. “I got my letter and then I thought about my letter and then I thought about my letter some more and then I used a metaphor: ‘leaden feet’!” That’s just dreadful. And, yes, that’s the one romance story in the book, but the horror and adventure comics are not appreciably better; there’s still the numbing repetition, the tin ear, and the infuriating refusal to finesse said tin ear by leaving the damn pictures alone to tell their own story.

Bert Stabler and I talk about Zizek and art over at his blog Dark Shapes Refer.

I like the idea that you need a transcendent background in order to appreciate, or even allow for, multiplicity. I’m thinking about this a little bit in terms of culture and art, and the impulse that I think most everyone has to want people to consume/listen/read/whatever the right thing. It seems like that’s coming from a place where the transcendent is material; that is, your worshipping the art itself, therefore moral choices become essentially consumer choices. Alternately, you just cut culture and morality apart altogether, and argue that neither has anything to do with the other. Whereas if you have a transcendent ground of some sort, you can say, well, culture connects up to morality and or important things in various ways, and you can talk about it in those terms, but choices about art are not in themselves good or evil.

On Madeloud, I review the soundtrack to the BBC miniseries Life on Earth, which profoundly affected my life when I was, like, 8.

Over at Metropulse, I have a review of avant Japanese guitarist Shinobu Nemotu’s Improvisations #1.

At the same site there’s also a review of the slab of black doom that is
Nihil’s Grond.

At the Chicago Reader I review the fairly amusing gimmick book Twitterature.

Other Links

I enjoyed Tucker Stone’s Best of at Comixology, especially since he picked the right thing for book of the year.

Ta-Nehisi Coates explains why he wants to be able to check “Negro” on his census form.

And finally, Johanna Draper Carlson has a nice summation and round up of links relating to the devil’s bargain between MOCCA and Archie Comics.

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