Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #320 - Readings - Assorted Books and Graphic Novels

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #320 - Readings - Assorted Graphic Novels

Hi Mom,

So, I have been doing a lot of reading again.

Here's a blog entry that I have been working on for a week or two, (originally this was scheduled to be Hey Mom #304), and I tried to get it done on this date (Sunday May 22), but I am finishing Monday May 23. Liesel and I have started watching House of Cards on Netflix, so there's some time gone. Piper and Adam came over for dinner. Also, I abandoned any computer work to read comics and watch Tigers Baseball, and then fell asleep for part of the game as we had been up past 11 p.m. the night before (we are NEVER up that late) watching House of Cards.

So, once again, I have a back log of things I have read. I am reading through all the CROSSED volumes, and so here's notes on one-four. I read Wonder Woman Earth One Volume One, and have comments on that one, too. I have read East of West volume five, but I am not reviewing it here beyond what I wrote in Hey Mom # 257. The East of West series continues to be very good stuff.


Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Yanick Paquette
Colors by Nathan Fairbairn

DC has been producing this Earth One series for a few years. First, it published three volumes on Superman, two volumes for Batman, and a volume for the Teen Titans. I recently wrote about Superman volume three and Batman volume two in Hey Mom # 257. Though I was bit lukewarm on the Superman volumes, I liked the Batman volumes. The latest Wonder Woman volume is exceptional in many ways. For art alone, it's gorgeous. Yanick Paquette's work is lush and the compositions (some of which I share here) are fascinating.

I like the change that Wonder Woman is immortal. The adjustments to her origin make sense. Switching Steve Trevor to African-American was very smart. Morrison returned Wonder Woman to original themes dealing with bondage and sexuality and even an omnivorous sexual appetite that works much better in our modern era than in 1940s America.



The book caused a bit of a ruckus for the rape sequence early in the volume not so much for the fact that there is a rape scene but how it is portrayed. It's too sexy, according to some critics. But then the critics fail to mention (or show) how Hippolyta turns the tables on her rapist (Hercules) and kills him with the chain that he had used to try to bring her "to heel" as he claimed.

See art below as Hippolyta helps the Amazon cast of their chains and free themselves from the tyranny and rule of men. Those dark pages transition to this scene below.

The Amazons have transformed their island into a place worthy of the name Paradise Island.

Other criticism comes from the fact that the entire creative team for a book heralding feminism is male. This is a much more reasonable argument than the one about the rape sequence. True, maybe DC should have gathered a mixed team or an all woman team for the book. But regardless, the book is very well done.

The COMICS ALLIANCE review is very good, but here's other reviews plus a video review.

I am giving it a 10/10 despite the criticisms. It's an enjoyable read and gorgeous visually.







Amazing adaptation of one of my favorite paintings -
Christina's World - by Andrew Wyeth


I am fascinated by the idea of the Crossed. Garth Ennis had a very bright idea to take the zombie apocalypse craze and marry it to the more threatening, semi-intelligent creatures of films like 28 Days Later and twist that concept some more by making the creatures sex-crazed, rapist cannibals with vicious natures for revenge of their past lives.

The stories involve characters who become Crossed only to hunt down their former loved ones to either make into Crossed or simply rape, kill, and eat.

The Crossed series has many of the familiar fears from the zombie stories. The infection that makes someone Crossed is passed by fluids, a bit, ingesting blood. The change happens very quickly. But added here is the very meaningful visual stigma as a scabrous, bloody cross forms on the victim's face, hence the name of the comic series: CROSSED.

I had been buying the individual issues when the comic first came out in 2010. As a huge fan of survival stories, I loved the basic premise and the first story arc of characters struggling to survive in the wake of the initial spread of the Crossed epidemic. The story works on many levels to amp up terror. The idea of your own family turning against you is powerful. A favorite moment from the first volume has the child that the main character has been protecting become infected and calling his mother a "fucking cunt" right before she blows his brains out.

The fact that the Crossed talk and that even little, sweet boys doted on by their mothers become venom spewing psychopaths once infected is horrifying but also fascinating and almost hypnotic. The smear of gore, violence, sex, and nudity is mesmerizing. The first volume was tame compared to the horror shows that follow. I am working my way through the series, and so far I have volumes one through four including volume fifteen (which I previously wrote on and re-publish here below).

In the second volume, Ennis hands over the reins to David Lapham who tells a story of a horse-riding rancher family and a father with a predilection for sexually assaulting his daughters. The comic reminds us that we are not better than the Crossed. It's just that we try to hide the horrors we commit, we think terrible thoughts, terrible things to say, but we don't do them, often, we don't say them. The Crossed have no Superego. They just act. Volume two seems to escalate the sex and violence, setting new standards for the horrors of future issues.

Volume three focuses on a psychopath, a serial killer, who manipulates current survivors to fit his sick needs. The Crossed world is a paradise for the demented killers of our world as there's now a perfect scapegoat for all their murders.

Volume four shares two story arcs in one volume: first a story about the hard choices survivors must make in the post-Crossed world. Is life still sanctified? Do we protect pregnant women in this world? Is an infant a gift in this world or a liability? Second, there's another take on this same issue as a real bad ass warrior woman finds herself pregnant. How does she deal with this issue? What becomes of the baby? These are fascinating questions not fully explored in other apocalyptic survival tales.

FROM Hey Mom #257 - So Many Graphic Novels, So Little Time -

Crossed Badlands #83 (first issue of Crossed: Badlands volume 15by Mike Wolfer The bridge survivors might be beyond the grasp of the vile Crossed, but they're not out of the twisted murders' sight. Led by 'The Surgeon' and her crew, an alliance of Crossed practice their torturous ways in plain view of the survivors, and the constant barrage of horror begins to form cracks in the once solid affiliation of the uninfected. But the survivors have even more to worry them, as Morgan and Olivia reveal that their zombie survival guide proves that the practices the group have employed could spell their doom if immediate changes aren't implemented. Published 2015 by Avatar  FROM AMAZON: Comics horror veteran Mike Wolfer writes and illustrates a powerful new chapter in the Crossed saga! After admitting two women into their defensible stronghold atop a collapsed bridge, an uneasy alliance of survivors discovers just how the women successfully navigated through the horrors on the ground below. They followed the advice of their "bible," a best-selling, "zombie survival guide" novel. Fiction or not, the book could be the answer to saving all of their lives in the wasteland ruled by the maniacal Crossed. But trust in the uninfected can be more dangerous than the violent urges of the Crossed themselves. There is no help, there is no hope. There is only the Crossed. 

This volume collects issues #81 - 86 of the ongoing Crossed: Badlands series.

RATING = 10/10

Apparently the fifteenth volume of the Crossed series is so new that there's no volume posted yet to Good Reads, so I had to use the first issue. 

I liked the conceit of this story, and I like that the volume collects a self-contained story. I really like that there's a reason that these two women are dressed as exhibitionist, fan boy fantasy, dream girls, so that there's internal logic to comic. These two women are still stereotypes of the evil, manipulative, scheming sex vamp, femme fatales, but there's a new twist on what they scheme and how. It's clever and well done.

I am fascinated by the Crossed series. I read it originally, and then gave up on it because it was simply cheap, sensationalism as far as I could see. Take the zombie apocalypse a la 28 Days Later style but make the monsters cannibals AND sex-crazed rapists murderers with IQs equivalent to the Incredible Hulk of the 1970s. The premise fuels the Avatar mission for extreme blood and guts horror AND Nudity AND extreme sexual content. It's a brilliant way to merge all those goals in one comic. Also, the crossed mark is an obvious religious reference, which is satisfying as commentary. But I did not think the premise had enough to sustain the comic, so I cut it from my pull years ago. Since Alan Moore decided to take a run at what the Crossed apocalypse looks like in 100 years, I had renewed interest in the Crossed series and decided to slowly read the whole thing in trade paperbacks. 

Since the comic is not sequential and does not carry through the same characters, jumping around is not a problem. 

Of the comic's premise, Alan Moore said: "The Crossed are the dream-life of contemporary mass audiences. It's their dream-life. We are, as a culture, addictively obsessed with frenetic sex and frenetic violence. And we also link these two things, as if there is a natural connection between them...it is my contention that fear ans desire are very opposite sides of the same coin, that our desire for a thing is often equal to our fear of not achieving it, and vice versa. Our fear of  a thing is often the exact counterpoint of our desire for things to be otherwise. The two are intimately connected, and I think that in the case of the Crossed, you have the dream-life of modern society. The thing we would most dread and yet... and yet... you cannot deny that there is a visible and prominent urge to that dreadful, apocalyptic kind of erotic and fanatic experience. It's only pretty much what we are rehearsing in most of our action and sex movies. The dream-life of us."



Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 322 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1605.22 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.
Post a Comment