On HU

Busy week this time out.

Erica Friedman started the week out with a post on fashion, fighting, literature and Hana No Asuka-gumi.

Alex Buchet began a massive series on comics contribution to language, looking at Tad, Rube Goldberg, and other early strip artists.

Richard Cook evaluated some hobbit questing tunes.

I explained why I don’t like Pauline Kael.

I reviewed Arie Kaplan’s From Krakow to Krypton about Jews in the comic book industry.

Jason Overby guest posted about the relationship between comics history and comics.

Caroline Small had a follow up comment to Jason’s post.

Sean Michael Robinson discussed the difficulties of marketing Mitsuru Adachi’s sports comics in America.

Alex Buchet continued his series on the effects of comics on language with examples from Popeye, Milt Gross, and more.

Next week we’ve got posts on comics, modernism, and time; Art Young, faith, and humor; Vorticist art, and more.

Utilitarians Everywhere

At Comixology I talk about the weirdness of the superhero Katana.

Female super-heroes can be many things: Amazon warrior, out-of-control telepath, deadly ninja assassin. But whether in swimsuit, bodysuit, fishnets or boob window, they’re almost always cheesecake.

There’s no particular mystery as to why this is. Super-hero comics are male genre literature. Guys like to look at cheesecake. QED. There are some exceptions to the rule — but they’re usually built around genre exceptions as well. For example, the Claremont/Byrne X-Men made some effort to appeal to YA girl readers through the character of Kitty Pryde. Thus, Kitty got to mostly wear civies, rather than the skintight and/or improbably cut-out costumes that were the lot of her distaff teammates. (Not that the internets are above a certain amount of Kitty Pryde cheesecake of course.)

At Splice Today I review a new video anthology of Sid and Marty Kroft’s children’s television shows.

For the Kroffts, childhood is often a suffocating sweetness, a threatening plenitude. In both H.R. Pufnstuf and Lidsville, a boy is trapped in a magical realm from which he spends almost all his time trying (and failing) to escape. The child’s plight is especially unsettling in Lidsville, where the boy in question isn’t really a child. Butch Patrick, who played the protagonist Mark, was 18 when he picked up the role and close to 20 by the time he finished. When he wanders through the magic world of sentient hats, tyrannical patriarchal magicians, and evil doppelgangers, therefore, it doesn’t come across as a child’s adorable game of make-believe. Instead, it looks disturbingly like a young man’s schizophrenic fugue.Jazmine Sullivan neo-soul album.

At Madeloud I review a mediocre techno comp.

Other Links

Karen Green has an interesting discussion of Frank Miller’s 300.

Michelle Smith and Melinda Beasi have a good discussion of the formal qualities of some wordless manga.

R. Fiore on why the Green Hornet movie will suck.

And sometimes commenter Jason Michelitch has his first Splice Today article up about the glory and the limitations of experimental film online.

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