Being a lifelong taphophile, i've spent a lot of my free time in cemeteries. Wandering down worn cemetery paths, admiring cemetery architecture, explo
Being a lifelong taphophile, i've spent a lot of my free time in cemeteries. Wandering down worn cemetery paths, admiring cemetery architecture, exploring about graves and tombs, stopping at every headstone which had a story to tell, and so naturally, i've always had a romantic fascination with cemetery photography. I've flipped through my fair share of cemetery books, many with artful, introspective and intimate black and white photographs quite beautiful in their own right, but never have I been so enchanted by a cemetery photography book as I was with Journal of a Ghost Hunter.
Simon Marsden's photographic work is absolutely incomparable to anything else I have ever seen, and not just when it comes to photographs that truly capture beauteous melancholy of ancient gravesites and forgotten funerary grounds, but also in capturing the transcendental nature of the supernatural domain.
In most cemeteries there's a tranquil sense of being merely a guest among a city of the resting, a setting of peaceful reflection, but with Marsden's Journal of a Ghost Hunter: In Search of the Undead from Ireland to Transylvania comes undeniable corporeal impressions of being in another dimension, among the mystical spirit world, in that obscure world of dreams. It's very much that he has captured those parallel portals opened at just the right time in all of these moonlit graveyards and mysterious ruins and you feel that realisation through his haunting photographs.
The sensation in fact, is that you could just leave your reverie behind and simply step right into and become part of that eerie, romantic atmosphere if you were so inspired, and you just may be.
Marsden's unusual artistry of using infrared film enforcing his masterful style of photography helps capture beautifully escapsulated images of forgotten tombs, abandoned ruins and eidolic landscapes from his year-long traverse across Southern Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, France, Germany and Romania in their most ethereal, eternal form.
Accompanying his atmospheric images is his own keen prose along with lore and documentation relating to the sites. I was sad to hear of Sir Simon Marsden's passing earlier this year in January and though this volume is no longer produced, I wanted to do my part to introduce his work to others who would appreciate the poetic insight Journal has to offer.
Marsden once said that he wanted to inspire people to not take everything around them at face value, and with this collection you understand why - the languages of ancient landscapes and the spirits of ruins are reflected here and truly the stuff to inspire ethereal poetry and esoteric philosophy. If you have had just about enough of introspection from typical cemetery books, I implore you to take a serious look at this profound collection of historic burial sites presented in an atmosphere unequalled and not seen anywhere else, you don't just see it, you crawl into it, you're pulled into it.
Here is where you leave the earth that ebbs behind and learn about the dreams which bridge to that which has been opened, but hardly seen....more
You see, here you are shown the formerly dead second Robin, who had been brutally beaten with a crowbar by Let me just pick my heart up off the floor.
You see, here you are shown the formerly dead second Robin, who had been brutally beaten with a crowbar by The Joker and left to die, as a now resurrected Jason Todd, go from a zombie-like vagrant to taken under wing by a (imo) RUTHLESS Talia al Ghul, encouraged on a path of training that will eventually lead to his becoming of the uber-vigilant, highly skilled terrorist - the Red Hood.
But while this story fills in what happened to Jason after coming back from the dead and being discovered by Ra’s al Ghul, but before he comes back to Gotham, "The Lost Days" also explores how mentally tortured he is during this time.
This street boy turned man is just so broken, conflicted and in a lot of emotional pain after first surviving his sociopathic, manipulating mentor only to be severely let down by him when his death was not avenged, to now being manipulated and trained by Talia who's agenda is to use him to do something to Bruce.
I must admit that I developed a better appreciation for Jason Todd as Robin in hindsight, after he came back from the dead, resurrected with the identity of the new Red Hood, and I am always sympathizing with this version of Jason, getting a sense of how much Bruce really meant to this kid, despite his reprehensible behaviour of manipulating and exploiting the child. Now there's really added depth to Jason as Robin II, and you clearly see just how messed up he is over the betrayal and "loss" of his beloved mentor.
In this storyline, i really was invested in Jason's portrayal, his character was intensely interesting, and though he ultimately becomes selfish and deadly, my heart hurt for him, and that's because Winick had a perfect understanding of Jason Todd, I think the way he was meant to be.
In "The Lost Days" you plainly see how this deeply affected young man develops the qualities of an "antihero" and comes to be the character he is now; and one of my most favourites in the Bat 'verse.
When I first watched Batman: Under the Red Hood, also written by Judd Winick, I was *BLOWN* away, and it still has that effect on me! Just, amazing. I think this writer did GREAT with this story of Jason's lost years and how he struggled so much, explaining how he's become a fallen superhero, much like Morrison's take in essentially making him a Batman that was willing to fight fire with fire.
I also liked how Winick showed pieces of the complicated relationship between Ra’s and Talia and how Batman acutely affects them.
And the ARTWORK, damn, that is pretty terrific, too!
I absolutely *LOVED* "The Lost Days"! There's a lot of action, too; we see Jason train in new ways that Bruce wouldn't have offered and how he hones his new lethal skills, stands against corruption, and learns to apply his IDEALS.
There's also some angst in seeing how tragic the situation that was his life as a whole really was. He is what circumstances beyond his control have made him. With this story I can't understand how anyone could accept Jason as simply a bad guy in conflict with the Bat family.
Overall I think Lost Days had GREAT character development and compelling storytelling. It comes down to revenge, rebellion, and watching a struggling soul come into its element on the way to face the pain.
P.S. Pretty sure Gerard Way sang about this exact situation back in 2004 ;) As described in my picture paste-up:
An enjoyable Boba Fett adventure that can be appreciated by ALL ages with no prerequisite needed on any backstory other than the SW movies, really. Bu
An enjoyable Boba Fett adventure that can be appreciated by ALL ages with no prerequisite needed on any backstory other than the SW movies, really. But, I do think this story was ALSO great for loyal Boba Fett lovers; I've loved these one-shot stories in the Star Wars Adventures digests and have found them engaging, and sometimes there's connections to the expanded universe.
This Fett adventure delivers action and Boba blowing things up but also we get a sense of another facet of his character in that even to Boba, perhaps there's some things worth more than money...
Priorities, Boba has them. Has he at last found a bounty not worth the prize? Read and find out!
I also enjoyed seeing Boba finding himself having to work together with a couple bounty-hunting competitors also seeking the artifact while maintaining a game of wits as they attempt to stay one step ahead of each other.
As much as I love the title Boba Fett and the Ship of Fear, there wasn't a whole lot of fear going on, but then again, we *are* talking about Boba Fett.
There are however, vicious creatures, the hair-raising Arachedrons, who guard the valuable ancient relic inside the wrecked starship Reverie, which I don't feel we saw enough of that vast interior, but the artwork overall was REALLY good, very detailed throughout. What was shown of the ship was nicely done for sure.
I really enjoyed this fast-read, I found it engaging and I totally recommend Boba Fett and the Ship of Fear to any SW fans!...more
What can i say about this extraordinary story that hasn't been said already in the other hundreds upon hundreds of reviews it h Sympathy for The Joker.
What can i say about this extraordinary story that hasn't been said already in the other hundreds upon hundreds of reviews it has ever received...
I think it's all been covered, but maybe you've somehow found yourself here despite having never read this story, or maybe you have and you just are curious for my personal opinion of it, well, then, I freely assess... (in what will probably be my longest review, ever).
Undoubtedly, there are a few different schools of thought about *exactly* why The Killing Joke is so amazing. That it's one of the most astounding accounts of origins is a major discernment. Though for me personally, it's always been about so much more than just a story of origins, not to diminish that particular significance in anyway whatsoever, especially for Barbara Gordon.
Joker's backstory as told by Alan Moore is hands-down one of his finest works and one of the biggest impact's a one-shot has ever had on the DC Universe.
I first read this when I was 12, and talk about a psychological drama that unleashed the nihilism!
Here we have one of the most classic battles between Batman and the Joker, two iconic characters apparently at complete polar opposites.
But aren't these two determined characters actually strangely similar? One day a little rich boy had a bad day, it turned him into a sociopathic hero. One day an unnamed struggling engineer (if that's what you believe, though the truth doesn’t really matter) had a bad day, it turned him into a psychopathic villain.
But is Joker's ambition swelled from revenge? Is he really inflicting sadistic cruelties mindlessly? Does he even ever want to hurt Batman? If you think Joker even has no motivation, you should reconsider.
The focus of this, albeit popular but controversial, school of thought is that "one bad day" isn't about what defines a hero or villain but instead how you deal with it.
And in the intimacy of profound moments and paths presented in this story we meet the Joker meeting himself.
The Joker who is all about making points, and really thats it. Everything else is just unhealthy by-products of that singular insight, intrusive to the world as they may be.
"Just one bad day. You had a bad day once. Am I right?" The Joker at one time says to Batman remarking on their likeness.
"I can tell. You had a bad day and everything changed. Why else would you dress up like a flying rat?"
And yes, at the end of the day, these two people have both accepted their aberrances, as well as their psychological disfigurements.
Personalities forged by traumatic events and both living on society's fringes, each trying to cope with their own inner demons.
So here I propose that the words hero and villain are entirely subjective. It's all about perspective. That was one of Moore's primary assertions.
So, what do you do with your tragic? Once it's there, how do you make the most of the experience? If one considers the Joker’s motivations for trying to drive Commissioner Gordon insane not sadistic so much as it is to underline one simple point, then perhaps it is not so unreasonable to see that Batman and Joker can be at once completely at odds and yet parallel, because yes, they can both attest that anyone no matter how decent or unadulterated can lose one's rationality due to "one bad day". Though whether Batman will ever honestly admit that, well... that's really one of the cruxes of it all, isn't it.
Alan Moore delivered a brilliant story with elegance. I mean, there isn't a wasted line. The concepts to explore could occupy you for unknown lengths of time if you allowed for that. I've read this story many times over since that first breathtaking time and still find it impressive and intense.
Moore's Joker wants to make the world and Batman understand the personal value of experience. So then now, with this presentation is a new shed light on the psychology of the Joker. I had to ask myself with all of Joker's effort to make a point, was Batman ever making a difference or just making a point himself?
TKJ was one of my first experiences with the Batman mythos and will always be one of my most favourite Batman stories, capturing and reflecting the idea that indeed there are fine lines between reason and madness, but most importantly, whether you're making a point or making a difference, right or wrong, it doesn't matter if it's worth making, maybe it's all in the delivery.
And going further, another notion I developed at some point after being exposed and being open to ideas presented within this compelling story, an abstraction some may call it, about Joker's complexity, which may not be so complex after all, is that now I tend to think that maybe wrong is what keeps you from going over the edge when madness pulls on you hard, trying to keep you in its place. That what it comes down to is, when right takes away everything you ever had, then maybe wrong can save you. Well, I suppose that could just be my own personal manifesto inadvertently surmised. This story, man, it does offer up so many dynamics with which to run with. Don't know if that was ever suggested, but I can see that being relevant to Joker's persona and I often explore that concept a lot in my head. I think Brian Azzarello's Joker is a good example of that conjecture embraced, but I digress.
Anyway, one of the other things I especially loved about TKJ is Brian Bolland’s artwork. It’s intensely clean and alive. And if you've never seen Bolland's original inks for this story, done in fucking brush... Fucckkk. Go find them.
There is so much to appreciate in this classic "creation" story of that oil slick clown with maniacal laughter. Lots to ponder.
There are those critics who say you don’t just have one bad day and go mad, that it takes a real life-long set of unfortunate events for that to happen, but they are missing the point.
All Joker ever wanted to prove was that no one is immune to madness.
So, whether all it takes is one bad day or maybe actually, all it takes is one bad trip, figuratively or not, anyone is a candidate for madness, really.
With powerful concepts like these explored within this story, Batman fan or not, it's clear that The Killing Joke is really a lesson in reason....more