You could call Mitchell a global writer, I suppose, but that does not quite capture what he is doing. It is closer to say that he is a pangaeic writer, a supercontinental writer. What is for geologists a physical fact—that the world is everywhere interconnected, bound together in a cycle of faulting and folding, rifting and drifting, erosion and uplift—is, for Mitchell, a metaphysical conviction. Immensity alone, he knows, is psychologically and morally risky; it makes our own lives so comparatively insignificant that it can produce fatalism, or depression, or unimpeded self-interest. To counter that, his fiction tries again and again to square the scale of the world with the human scale, down to its smallest and inmost components. The human conscience matters because it leads to action—a captain holds his fire, a free man saves a slave—and human action matters because, if everything is interconnected, everything we do tugs on the web of space and time.
I’m fascinated by this guy. On another note, I wonder why I’m fascinated by writers with the name David. My first (and only) answer is wishful thinking, to somehow be like them, and that’s no good.
"The role of the writer is not simply to arrange Being according to his own lights; he must also serve as a medium to Being and remain open to its often unfathomable dictates. This is the only way the work can transcend its creator and radiate its meaning further than the author himself can see or perceive."
— Vaclav Havel, 'Disturbing the Peace'
I’m excited for this book, especially since it seems like this one might give me some guidance on homeownership:
I bought a three-story, wood-frame, two-family dwelling in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, and am preparing it for tenants. Bedford-Stuyvesant, until recently, was, in the words of one of my neighbors, “the ghetto of America” (slogan “Bed-Stuy, do or die”), but is now branded as Clinton Hill, which is branded as Fort Greene, which is branded as “Brownstone Brooklyn.” On two-block Claver Place the smell of ganja wafts most evenings. To the frustration of recent gentrifiers a Guyanese reggae club (Slogan: “Jah is living”) had been operating illegally, packing eight hundred people at twenty dollars a head into a backyard, with a cut, according to another neighbor, going to blind-eye-turning cops. It was here that I found my house and its large detached garage, on a 25-foot-by-127.5-foot lot. As the owner of a pickup truck and a small motorcycle I’ve always lusted after a garage in New York.
I bought the parcel for $710,000 with the help of a 2.25 percent line of credit with Wells Fargo, and began renovations with the intention of cash-out refinancing in six months, after upgrading the interiors and facade. The mortgage and rental numbers suggested I could have my garage for free. I would need to do some serious upgrading to make this happen. The initial appraiser’s report described a bathroom vanity “at the end of its economic life” and was kind in calling the kitchens’ appointments “economy grade.” I visited an appliance store a friend described as having “great prices” but left feeling lied to and gouged. Still, I needed to do something. I wanted the post-renovation apartments to be low maintenance, high quality, and beautiful, because, Jah knows, when things are beautiful they are loved and taken care of. But the more I shopped for the beautiful the more outraged I became.
We celebrate Halloween with scary movies, Christmas with sentimental ones. How can we properly celebrate the pomp and bombast of the 97th birthday of the King of the Comics, Jack Kirby?
Good news! If you are a Netflix subscriber, there are plenty of things you can watch that feature the creations of Jack Kirby.
Here is a select list (NB: episode number are based on how they are listed on Netflix, not actual production codes):
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
BBatB is basically the perfect show because it is equal parts Kirby, Shelly Moldoff, and Adam West. A number of episodes prominently feature Kirby creations:
S01E04: “Day of the Dark Knight” Batman and Green Arrow meet Etrigan, Merlin, and Morgaine le Fey
S01E07: “Dawn of the Dead Man” Full episode is a Deadman story, but the cold open features Batman meeting Kamandi and Dr Canus
S01E15: “Trials of the Demon” In one of the best episodes of the series, Batman teams up with Jason Blood and Sherlock Holmes
S01E21: “Duel of the Double Crossers” This story is primarily about Jonah Hex and Mongul, but features appearances by the Female Furies Lashina and Stompa
S01E22: “Last Bat on Earth” This one is a two-fer: the cold open features Mister Miracle and Big Barda, and then the main episode is a full-length Kamandi adventure
S01E23: “When OMAC Attacks!” Perhaps needless to say, this episode is about OMAC
S02E01: “Death Race to Oblivion” Batman and a host of heroes and villains must win a race against Steppenwolf for Earth’s survival
S02E21: “Cry Freedom Fighters” The main story is about Plastic Man joining the other Quality Comics characters, but the cold open features Blue Beetle and Stargirl fighting Mantis
S02E22: “The Knights of Tomorrow” In the cold open, Batman and the Question fight Kalibak and some parademons (the main story is a fun homage to Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin run)
S02E23: “Darkseid Descending” Everyone teams up to fight Darkseid
S02E25: “The Malicious Mr Mind” The main story is a Marvel Family joint, but the cold open features the return of Kamandi and Dr Canus
S03E03: “Shadow of the Bat” Batman becomes a vampire and Etrigan appears again
Justice League executive producer Bruce Timm is another creator heavily influenced by Jack Kirby, so it’s only natural some references to the King would pop up here and there.
Justice League Unlimited
The follow-up to Justice League also featured some appearances by Kirby creations. The running plot in season one focuses on the Cadmus Project, a loose adaptation of a Kirby concept introduced in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen.
S01E03: “Kids’ Stuff” The Justice League are changed into children in this episode that features Morgaine Le Fey, Mordred, and Etrigan
S01E15: “The Ties That Bind” This episode heavily features Mr Miracle and Big Barda, as well as a number of denizens of Apokolips. Notably, this episode was written by Jim Steranko, the IRL human on whom Mr Miracle was based
S01E22: “Question Authority” There’s a lot of series mythology going on in this one, but it features an appearance by Mantis
S02E05: “Flash and Substance” Orion teams up with Batman and Flash to save the Flash Museum
S02E10: “Patriot Act” The cameo appearance by the Newsboy Legion in this episode goes unnamed, but you should watch this episode anyway to see the Seven Soldiers fight the Shaggy Man
S02E13: “Destroyer” You-know-who shows up
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
The best possible Avengers cartoon to watch on Netflix.
Every episode Every episode features at least one character or concept created by Jack Kirby.
As I said, this is only a partial list. There are some movies you might have heard of that are also available to watch via Netflix. You’ve probably already seen those, though.
Here’s the thing, though:
I have no idea how much, if anything, Kirby’s estate was compensated for the use of his creations in these episodes, so if you watch or have watched these shows and enjoyed them, please consider making a donation in Jack Kirby’s honor to The Hero Initiative, a non-profit organization that benefits struggling creators of the characters we all love so much.
Thanks for reading, and happy Kirby Day! The day that gets you ready for the WORLD THAT’S COMING!!!
This bit also gets me:
I only thought I knew what “DFW” meant before. It was fanboy shorthand for the literary icon and hero that is David Foster Wallace, but to Wallace, “DFW” stood for the literary entity known as David Foster Wallace, his writerly persona that existed only on the page, apart from the living-and-breathing Dave Wallace. Wallace satirizes his literary moniker-cum-identity in The Pale King, where he writes “once you’re fixed with a certainnom de plume, you’re more or less stuck with it, no matter how alien or pretentious it sounds to you in your everyday life” (297), but this discomfort with his full name existed long before The Pale King.
Wallace’s initials appear twenty-one times in seventeen books, books ranging from novels to memoirs to literary anthologies to writing guides to philosophy and self-help books, and nearly every “DFW” or “DW” in Wallace’s archive appears next to a passage about creating, or, more precisely, the failure to create. And the “DFW”s that don’t appear alongside gut-wrenching descriptions of arrested creativity accompany withering descriptions of imbalanced, acutely self-conscious mental states, which only adds to the overall impression one gets of Wallace’s mental image of himself as a solipsistic failure, a gifted person who has lost control of his gift and now lives as a prisoner to “DFW” and all of its demands, demands he fears he will never be able to fulfill.
This is a great essay if you ever find yourself trying to cure yourself of thinking too much, or being too obsessive about an idol and reading too much into their life and yours.
Jog in full beast mode, taking a look at Multiversity #1. In the comments, the book is revealed as what we expected all along: a desperate attempt at David Brothers fanfic.