We started this week with Domingos Isabelinho’s discussion of Aristophane’s The Zabime Sisters.
Stephanie Folse reviewed the first issue of Elfquest in preparation for rereading the entire series.
Vom Marlowe discussed how manga criticism works, why it works that way, and where to find it.
And finally I revealed the best superhero movie ever.
At the Chicago Reader, I review Nicki Minaj’s new album.
The fact that Minaj channels Helen Reddy with a straight face on a hip-hop album seems like a good indication that she’s lost her way in spectacular fashion. It’s easy to see this as a desperate and misguided effort to reach a mainstream audience—and it clearly is that. But at the same time, the album’s rudderlessness seems like part and parcel of Minaj’s persona. With a flow that hops from Barbie cuteness to Rasta declamation to a faux British accent to sped-up Tourette’s, Minaj has always been about spastic incoherence, and one of her most acclaimed performances is deliberately and gloriously bipolar. In her verse on Kanye West’s “Monster,” she switches back and forth between a flirtatious little-girl coo and a fierce, ranting growl, using the alternation to create an escalating momentum so massive it makes the other rappers on the track—Jay-Z and Rick Ross—sound positively precious.
I mentioned the both of these in comments, but:
Melinda Beasi and Michelle Smith have a lovely discussion of Paradise Kiss here.
And Matt Seneca’s appreciation of Rob Liefield is great.