There are some people who will buy this book because they love Star Wars. And that's fine. I grew up in house with a Dad and a brother who loved Star...moreThere are some people who will buy this book because they love Star Wars. And that's fine. I grew up in house with a Dad and a brother who loved Star Wars (I will be buying this book for my dad for The Father's Day). So, I ended up watching Star Wars movies, too, and playing "Star Wars"-related games with the boys in my neighborhood (hint: light sabers = red vs green freezepops) - probably more often than I would've liked. I didn't really "like" Star Wars until Harry Potter turned me into a nerd, and that was after high school.
I bought this book because I think it is really, really funny to look at Darth Vader doing normal, every day things. And in this book, Darth Vader is very much a normal, every day dad.
Once, I was taking an illustration course, and one of our earliest assignments was taking an action figure off of a table and drawing that action figure in different settings and backgrounds. Well, wouldn't you know it but I got stuck with a Darth Vader action figure. So, I drew this Darth Vader action figure (colored pencils!) having an Easter Egg Hunt, laying in a dentist chair, eating by himself in a diner. And every one of these drawings was fucking hilarious to me. I bet everyone in the class thought I was either a lunatic for chuckling to myself all class long, or narcissitic for thinking I was so goddamn funny.
But, I wasn't funny. Darth Vader was funny. Darth Vader doing normal, every day things was funny.
And this book was hilarious. And did I mention Jeffrey Brown? (Colored pencils!). The other reason I bought this book is because Jeffrey Brown wrote it, and I love his other work.
I had a feeling that as much as Jeffrey Brown was a Star Wars fan, and as much as the George Lucas Mega Corporation could've been breathing down his neck while he was making this thing, Jeffrey Brown would "get it," he was still going to use this medium to get the very heart of the issue: Darth Vader is hilarious when he is doing normal, every day things. The End.(less)
Look! Superman playing super-fetch with his super-dog! Aw!
Hey, guys. Guess what I read yesterday? Superman. Isn't that weird?
Well, it was "Buy 1 Grap...moreLook! Superman playing super-fetch with his super-dog! Aw!
Hey, guys. Guess what I read yesterday? Superman. Isn't that weird?
Well, it was "Buy 1 Graphic Novel, Get 1 For $1" Day @ my work. And I had stocked up on the latest volumes of the three series that I am currently in the middle of (Fables, The Walking Dead, Chew). I just needed one more! And the stock was looking slim (yay! sales; boo! none for me). When this guy that I work with, Tyler, hands me Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman. Since he knows what he's talking about when it comes to superhero comics - and I certainly don't - I bit.
Now, I have a "working knowledge" of Grant Morrison, since I compose the company's weekly Comic Book newsletter. He's like a big deal guy that everyone lurves. And I have the same ingrained "because- you're-an-American" pop culture knowledge of Superman that you probably have... you know: Krypton, Clark Kent, Phonebooths, Lois Lane, Smallville, Lex Luthor... that kind of thing. But, I had never wanted to read a Superman comic before. And I'd never seen a Superman movie or television show. I just figured I knew all I wanted to know about Superman.
But, this was really, really good!
Frank Quitely does the artwork, and man! His Clark Kent is fucking adorable. He's goofy and clumsy and chubby (!) and sweet. Look at this guy:
Aw! Pigeon-toed? Cute.
The storyline goes like this: Superman goes to save some dummies who are flying into the sun, and gets Superman-Cancer. Ordinarily, the Sun gives Superman all kinds of awesome powers, but THIS TIME, he overdid it, and now his cells are so bursting with power that they are going to overload. Of course, Lex Luthor sent those dummies into the sun in the first place, knowing Superman would save them (and the world), and hence - Lex Luthor is responsible for Superman's impending death. Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha.
For the most part, the rest of the comic revolves around Superman coming to terms with his death, preparing the world for a Superman-less future, and trying to convince Lois Lane that he's been Clark Kent all along (she doesn't believe him...).
It's actually really touching!
One of the things that I enjoyed about Morrison's story is that I didn't necessarily have to know too much about Superman besides the mythos, you know? There are references to events that have taken place throughout the evolving Superman stories, but nothing Morrison couldn't explain to me in a non-condescending way. And, I do not know for sure (this is just a guess), but I think Morrison really added some arcane bits of Superman's past for the real fans, too.
Anyways, the reason I docked this book a star is that while this was a really great read, a couple of things were kind of dumb.
1. Superman gives Lois Lane Superman-powers for a day as a gift. This would've been a really fun little episode to read, except some asshole characters (Samson, Atlas) stepped out of the space-time-continuum, or whatever, and started harping on Lois Lane and ruined it. The two dudes and Superman get into a dick-measuring contest over who can "win" Lois, and she just poses for the entire length of the chapter instead of doing anything interesting. Srsly? So lame. What year is it? 1940? This part was a sexist PoS...
2. Superman gets exposed to "black kryptonite" and turns "bad" for a few pages. But, something also impairs his mental functions during this time, so he's also a bit retarded or something. I don't know. The dialogue took a turn for the INANE, and I was left laughing at what could've been a dramatic moment. It was so silly. In a bad way.
3. That Superman chin? It was out of fucking control. ￼
But, other than that chin and stuff - this first volume of All-Star Superman was actually very enjoyable, and I will definitely be reading the second volume in the series soon.(less)
This book had an amazing concept. It was full of amazing ideas (the creation of a secret language for an oppressed second class - women). But, it lack...moreThis book had an amazing concept. It was full of amazing ideas (the creation of a secret language for an oppressed second class - women). But, it lacked several things, in my opinion, that prevented it from living up to the proclamation: "feminist science fiction classic."
One of those things was characterization. The first one hundred or so pages in the book had no distinct character for the reader to engage with. There are several plot points expounded in male points of view that readers are supposed to be disgusted by (and are disgusted by!); there is one storyline involving a woman, lacking any real depth, killing out of revenge; and then, there is the mention of some other characters who may be important later. That's it.
In my opinion, having no characters with any emotional depth for the reader to latch onto at the beginning of the story was a serious flaw. It made the pace slow, and frustrated my sense of who or what to believe in in this story.
Another problem I had with this book was the "good guys/bad guys" dichotomy applied by the author. It's simple: All women are good (even the one lady who systematically kills people), all men are bad (even the one guy who appeared to treat a female character like she was equal in intellect and status). I, personally, don't like my contemporary fiction to be so black/white. It is boring, and it is not believable. It narrows the reader's frame of mind and ability to objectively engage with the work. And, if done kind of poorly (as it was here - (view spoiler)[killing babies! C'mon! (hide spoiler)]), it comes off as petty and trite: an authorial position, a fable, a one-dimensional opinion piece - and not a work of fiction.
The final problem that I had with the book was this - the notion that women should have their own language in the first place. Don't get me wrong! I love imagining the subversive power that a secret language has for the oppressed secondary citizen! It was wonderfully done, and very inspiring! But...
Elgin, and by extension, her characters, believe that one's native language creates one's reality - how one perceives the world (Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis), and allowing the women in this story to create and use their OWN language will change their reality. I am all for that notion, ladyface!
The problem with all this is that Elgin really believes - IN REAL LIFE - that women should have a language separate from men. And - in doing so - that we would be essentially better off as separate from them altogether? (What's up, Charlotte-Perkins-Gilman-Radical-Crazypants?)
She believes there are things one can experience as a woman that men could not possibly conceive of. We-ellllllll....
1. There are things that an other experiences that a member of an elite, ruling, or "mainstream" class could not possibly conceive of, true... But, women are not the only other in any conceivable reality, and sometimes, even if they are the other in one reality, they may be the elite, ruling, mainstream in another (in Elgin's case, see: female linguists v. female non-linguists - who dictates what language is/means/can be in that scenario? A-hem, linguists. So, already female non-linguists are the double-other, yes?)
2. The notion of putting "Experience Before Language" and writing "outside of the patriarchy" is a nifty one (Cixous, Irigaray, Kristeva, Showalter)...But, does it call for an entirely new language, or simply a new way of USING language? See, the manipulation of a language already existing is, in my opinion, the more subversive and empowering act...
3. The terms that Elgin includes in her Laadan Dictionary seem to be: I. several ways of experiencing empathy II. descriptions of situations that make one feel overworked and unappreciated III. different ways that a body is touched, wants to be touched, doesn't want to be touched
I find these to be somewhat generalized as "female" concepts. They border a tad on the side of the insulting. This is because these are HUMAN concepts, and can occur with MEN as much as they can with WOMEN. They have simply been ASSOCIATED with WOMEN, as a "norm," and not ALLOWED to be ASSOCIATED with men - because of the SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF GENDER.
Right? Guys? You experience empathy, right? You feel unappreciated? You sometimes want to be touched, or are uncomfortable when someone is trying to touch you, right? But, you're not allowed to talk about it, because doing so would be UNMANLY, right? Michael Kimmel? Are you there? Can you hear me? Let's all talk about this. In English. Our language. Together.
Overall, I would recommend this book for its interesting obsession with language and reality. For its "Oh no, they didn't!" factor. But, Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale) did it better: she gave us better reasons for these fucked behaviors, gave us a couple of good men to save our faith in the HUMAN race, made me love Offred (sorry, Nazareth, not gonna happen), and made me cry. She wins. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)