"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."
S02E01 and S02E02: “Twilight” Another two-part story all about New Genesis and Apokolips and subsequently featuring a huge cast of Kirby characters
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
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!!!
“Another time, Jack took a call. A voice on the other end said, ‘There are three of us down here in the lobby. We want to see the guy who does this disgusting comic book and show him what real Nazis would do to his Captain America’. To the horror of others in the office, Kirby rolled up his sleeves and headed downstairs. The callers, however, were gone by the time he arrived.”—
Mark Evanier, Kirby: King of Comics (via nerdhapley)
It’s Jack Kirby’s birthday, so here’s that story of him being bad ass all of the time.
“No one ever talks about how identifying with something you read might not always be a good thing. Saying “that’s like me” is not always an affirmation — it can be terrifying and make you feel “more fucked-up and Unknown.” Critics and fans alike rhapsodize about identifying with David Foster Wallace’s writing as though it can only be consoling and empowering, and I used to think so too, until I got too close and discovered what may be the most important truth about literature, the true “aesthetic benefit of close reading,” though I doubt the Mellon Foundation would be all that interested in hearing about my discovery, as it is beneficial only in the most cautionary of senses: there is such a thing as reading too closely.”—
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.
“There has always been a silent agreement between Grant Morrison comics and Grant Morrison readers that one thing will not be considered in evaluating these grand struggles for the evolution of the superhero concept: that we won’t just elect to go do something else. That we won’t decide that the best way to deal with the problems of superheroes is to stop reading superhero comics. And this I’ve come to see as a narrative fault, because Morrison keeps going on and on and on about evolution, and yet the superhero decades have proven circular in their advancements, so that Nu 52 DC reads quite a bit like Wildstorm circa 1995, and as a result I find myself standing outside, wondering “hey, if nothing really changes, this guy can just position himself, profitably, as a shaman in perpetuity, right?””—
“I started writing this essay five years ago, and then I stopped. That I was not able to finish the piece did not strike me at the time as ironic but as further proof that whatever I once had in me — juice, talent, will — was gone. In any case, completing it would have made moot the very point I was attempting to make: Not writing can be good for one’s writing; indeed, it can make one a better writer.”—On Not Writing, by Bill Hayes—something I’m not doing by blogging this. Retrieved from Matt Thomas’s Sunday New York Times Digest.
Four years earlier, in 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed.
Five years before that, in 1963, Medgar Evers was shot and killed.
Eight years before that, in 1955, a young Black man named Emmett Till was tortured, then shot and killed.
These events, and numerous others with frightening similarity, happened in a line, and in the early years of the first decade to reap the social benefits of the Civil Rights Movement, Marvel Comics gives the fans (and the world) a Black male superhero whose primary superhuman aspect… is that he’s bulletproof.
Not flight, or super speed, or a power ring.
The superhuman ability of being impervious to bullets.
Superheroes. Action heroes. Fantasy heroes.
Is there any doubt the power fantasy of the Black man in the years following multiple assassinations of his leaders and children by way of the gun would be superhuman resistance to bullets?
In American society, the Black man has come a long way from the terrors of the past handful of centuries, only to crash right into the terrors of the 21st century. Some of those terrors being the same exact ones their grandparents had to face and survive — or not.
There are Black men who are wealthy, powerful, formidable and/or dangerous. They can affect change undreamt of by their parents, and their parents’ parents. Their children will be able to change the world in ways we can intuit and others we can barely begin to try and predict.
But a bullet can rip through their flesh and their future with no effort whatsoever.
And so we look at Luke Cage, a man who gets shot on a regular basis, whose body language is such that he is expecting to be shot at, prepared for the impact — because he knows he can take it.
And maybe, in the subconscious of the uni-mind of Marvel Comics, is the understanding that Luke Cage may unfortunately always be a relevant fantasy idea for the Black man.
2012 – Trayvon Martin is shot and killed.
2013 – Jonathan Ferrell is shot and killed.
2014 – Michael Brown is shot and killed.
2015/2016 – Luke Cage premieres on Netflix.
I look forward to seeing if the Luke Cage of that show will have a true understanding of his power and what he symbolizes.
“Sir James Jeans, British astronomer and physicist, suggested that the universe was beginning to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Humanists seized on the expression, but it was hardly news. We knew, looking around, that a thought branches and leafs, a tree comes to a conclusion. But the question of who is thinking the thought is more fruitful than the question of who made teh machine, for a machinist can of course wipe his hands and leave, and his simple machine still hums; but if the thinker’s attention strays for a minute, his simplest thought ceases altogether. And, as a I have stressed, the place where we so incontrovertibly find ourselves, whether thought or machine, is at least not in any way simple.”—Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
“It’s OK not to be a genius, whatever that is, if there even is such a thing…the creative life may or may not be the apex of human civilization, but either way it’s not what I thought it was. It doesn’t make you special and sparkly. You don’t have to walk alone. You can work in an office — I’ve worked in offices for the past 15 years and written five novels while doing it. The creative life is forgiving: You can betray it all you want, again and again, and no matter how many times you do, it will always take you back.”—
Way back when we were selling copies of THE DEAL we put together a newsletter for that release, and…we haven’t been back. To be honest, we have been missing in action to a certain degree. Between personal, professional, and creative developments life’s been pretty crazy this year. For example, Tim’s success with his first novel, the release of its sequel is reason to celebrate and reinvigorate, and the EKG that monitors my creative life (It’s alive! No, it’s dead! It’s alive and it’s better than…No, it’s dead on the slab) have made things very hectic for us as individuals.
But we’re back, and like Marvel Comics we’re rebooting with a new first issue within a year.
That’s why we’re bringing the newsletter back. We’ll talk about the things we’re currently working on like the 2014-2015 Lake Placid Film Forum series at the LPCA, The Shared Experience, book-related things, and the occasional personal aside on us and our individual creative lives.
So, subscribe. We promise we won’t spam you every day. In fact, it’ll come out probably once a month, because—like you—we hate clutter in our inboxes. Amazon does enough of that for all of us.
Thanks and see you in the emails!
Hey, we’re going to do a monthly newsletter with updates on all the things we’re working on. Like shout outs for work in area productions! Book trailers! Documentaries! Events, and some talk about being creative in the Adirondacks. Check it out if you like. Thanks!
“During the packed panel at San Diego Comic-Con, the Saga writer noted that while today, Joss Whedon and George R.R. Martin are considered cultural monsters for killing off beloved characters, death used to be a more common feature of popular fiction. One problem, he believes, is that too many characters live in the hands of corporations and are therefore considered too precious to kill. Vaughn feels that takes away one of the things that makes fiction so valuable.”—Brian K. Vaugh[a]n And Fiona Staples Reveal What’s Ahead For Saga (via wilwheaton). Great point, but it’d be great if people actually took a second to make sure they spell his name correctly. It takes five seconds max.
“So: a voice. I am not so sure it is a voice as much as it is a cross-section between the story being channeled from the “outside” and a voice that is “inside,” both of which are ostensibly the same thing manifesting through different channels.”—
Now this is an interesting way to show your work and how the issue came together. I’m excited to check it out. It’s too bad Hawkeye is coming to an end, but at least we managed to get this kind of awesome stuff.
“This isn’t technology being empowering. This is the literal *least* that technology could do. This is the opposite of consumer choice - because at the end of the day, when you’ve been working and you sit down, we’ve learned that the ability to choose and to discern and to exercise willpower and restraint and, bluntly, to concentrate, are fixed and deteriorate through the day. So no, this isn’t helping. This is externalisation of cost. This is shirking of responsibility. This is not using technology the way it *should* be used, or the way it *could* be used, but the way that it can be used to inflict maximum possible harm - to provide the illusion of choice without actually enabling *better choices*. And it fucking disgusts me.”—Dan Hon in his newsletter, which I found through warrenellis's Morning Computer daily log.
By creating quality comics of powerful female superheroes, the comic book world is opening up to a new audience of women and girls as well as giving already hooked fans more of the powerful women they’ve come to know and love.
DC Comics, another major player in comics, has also joined the trend of bringing female characters to the forefront. It has “Wonder Woman” flying solo in a self-titled series, as well as “Supergirl” and even Batman characters like “Batgirl,” “Catwoman” and “Harley Quinn.”
The above (from the Huffington Post) is a sign of why good PR is important, and why DC really, really needs to step up on the issue of diversity in superhero comics.
The HuffPo piece (and this Daily Beast piece from the weekend) point out not just how well the Marvel Hype Machine works these days in framing the narrative but almost more importantly just how badly DC does the same thing (It also points out how eagerly journalists for major news outlets eat up talking points instead of going out and researching things sometimes, but that’s neither here nor there).
In all of the news about the replacement Captain America, it’s surprising that no-one — myself included — brought up that DC has had a black Superman for the last few months in Earth-2 (or longer, if you want to look at Grant Morrison’s continued use of the Superman from Earth-23). With all the push about diversity in Marvel, no-one pointed out that the publisher doesn’t have a solo gay lead, whereas DC’s been putting Batwoman out there for the last three years (Not to mention Green Lantern in Earth-2 or Constantine, who’s bi, I think? He was in Hellblazer, but who can tell in the New 52?).
These are all alternate talking points that DC could (should?) be pushing out there in order to point out that, really, it’s not got a “crisis” or playing catch-up; it’s been there for some time, but not making the same kind of look at us look at us we have friends who aren’t white straight males noises as Marvel whenever it makes these decisions. But, instead, they just sit back and… I don’t know. Hope that someone notices?
(All of which shouldn’t be taken as a “Marvel, you are terrible,” or whatever — it’s not, and its PR machine is very good at what it does — but as a “DC, at this point, you’re practically causing your own bad press.”)
I sold my book for $25,000. I also sold some foreign rights, which ended up about tripling that, minus taxes and agent fees. I am proud of this and see it as a huge personal success, though during the years that I worked on the book it would be a lie to say I hadn’t maintained a vague idea that if I could just finish the thing and sell it that it would relieve my money worries and set me on a path to financial stability. I think this is something I had to tell myself, that there was a promised land just over the horizon, so I should keep going. And while it feels overly cynical to say that for a writer financial concerns will never go away, here’s what I’ve come to realize: For a writer financial concerns will never go away. There are many exceptions to the rule, of course, but most of what we do is trade the time that we could be making money for the time to write. Sometimes those two equal out, but for most people they don’t. So you have to figure out how you define success. Is it readership? Is it recognition? Is it in how much you produce? Or in how you feel about your own work? I’m still negotiating this with myself and probably will be forever, but one thing I have noticed is that having the book out in public has already changed my relationship to writing, and not in the ways that I thought it would. I worried that I would become fixated on how the next thing would be received, bringing everyone in publishing and the wider reading world into the room with me, but it has actually made the process more private, more internal. It’s no longer about clearing some imaginary bar of professionalism, no longer about gaining entry into some club. I’ve talked about this with a friend of mine who’s a musician, but putting something out in the world and listening to the cacophony of reactions can actually have the effect of releasing you from what you had imagined others wanted, and in a way giving you back your space. This, for me, has been the healthiest outcome of publishing a book, and something I don’t think I would have gotten without it. Permission, I guess, to no longer ask for permission.
Another great piece of advice from thompsonted on something that every one struggles with and one decision I’m trying to figure out for myself. This existence is a tough one, and, perhaps this is too simplistic, but the only thing to do is see the problem, and find a way to fix it. For me, I’m sick of my current professional pattern so it must change. Creatively speaking though? I like where I am, but that too needs to move forward and up a level.
Kingsley Amis described a certain kind of academic article in Lucky Jim:
…niggling mindlessness, its funereal parade of yawn-enforcing facts, the pseudo-light it threw upon non-problems. Dixon had read, or begun to read, dozens like it, but his own seemed worse than most in its air of being convinced of its own usefulness and significance.
Suppose you are an intellectual impostor with nothing to say, but with strong ambitions to succeed in academic life, collect a coterie of reverent disciples and have students around the world anoint your pages with respectful yellow highlighter. What kind of literary style would you cultivate? Not a lucid one, surely, for clarity would expose your lack of content.
When we academics were in graduate school, we were trained to write badly (no one put it this way of course) because every time we wrote X, our teacher always commented, “But have you considered Y? Don’t you see that Y completely contradicts what you write here.” “Have you considered” is the favorite knee-jerk response of academics to any idea. As a result, we learn as students to clog up our writing with added clauses and phrases to keep them from being attacked. In a sense (a scary sense), our syntactic goal is create sentences that take a form something like this:
X, and yet on the other hand Y, yet nevertheless X in certain respects, while at the same time Y in other respects.
And we make the prose lumpier still by inserting references to all the published scholars — those who said X, those who argued for Y, those who said X is valid in this sense, those who said Y is valid in this other sense.
As a result of all this training we come to internalize these written voices so that they speak to us continually from inside our own heads. So even when we talk and start to say “X,” we interrupt ourselves to say “Y,” but then turn around and say “Nevertheless X in certain respects, yet nevertheless Y in other respects.” We end up with our minds tied in knots.
“Now many are thought not only unexplained but inexplicable as language, sleep, madness, dreams, beasts, sex. Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul. Strictly speaking, therefore that is separate from us all which Philosophy distinguishes as the NOT ME, that is, both nature and art, all other men and my own body, must be ranked under this name, NATURE.”—
Ralph Waldo Emerson in Nature, a Penguin books Great Ideas series. Finished last Thursday.
I’m reading this for my current project, and it gave me so many ideas, it’s deeply felt and I don’t think I would have been able to really tackle it if I wasn’t surrounded by woods and mountains, and, well, nature.
This was an excellent interview. I especially like the last bit, about thirty three minutes in where Wallace talks about our interaction with screens and images and how we would rather interact with those than people.
Cave now lives in Brighton, England, with his wife and twin 14-year-old sons, in a residence that would have seemed, for a number of reasons, inconceivable to the scarecrow-haired punk he was back in Berlin. When I met him this winter, he was renting a…