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Smorgasbord #9: The Smorgies Awards 2014

Per podcasting law, the end of each and every year requires an awards show of some sort, so here it is: The Smorgies 2014! (Yes, we’re doing an annual after only 8 episodes that ran… [more]

Quintessential Superman: Tom De Haven’s It’s Superman!

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column praising Michael Daugherty’s Metropolis Symphony.  Near the end of that column, I called the Grammy-winning piece one of “the quintessential creative works” about Superman, listing it alongside… [more]

Foxcatcher

The thing about Foxcatcher is that it isn’t really a sports movie, even though it features sports. (Whiplash, on the other hand, has all the hallmarks of that genre, even though it was about music.)… [more]

2014 in Movies Part Three

So I watch a lot more old movies than new movies in a year. Which means I see a ton of great movies in a year that I can’t throw on an end of the… [more]

Tarot, Trans-Gender Robots, and Friendly Bandage-People: The Doom Patrol Interview with Rachel Pollack

Jacurutu Ninety-Nine: The beginning of your run on Doom Patrol coincided with the beginning of the Vertigo line at DC. Grant Morrison left his run with a spectacular ending, but the series was very popular… [more]

Only Lovers Left Alive: Jim Jarmusch’s Great, Comic-Like Vampire Film

Only Lovers Left Alive, like some other of Jim Jarmusch’s films, seems to borrow a great deal from the visual language of comics. With an emphasis on posing, stillness, punctuated by sudden movement, a visual… [more]

2014 in Movies Part Two

So after scribing a list of the best movies I didn’t see there’s only one natural follow up – my favourite movies of the year! After all my quick-and-dirty defences of ranking and lists I’m… [more]

Why Upstream Color Makes Jurassic Park Amazing Again

I recently saw Shane Carruth’s second film, Upstream Color, and it was exactly what I was expecting—a quiet but tremendously heartfelt, beautiful science fiction story, innovative in its ideas on many levels.  What was unexpected… [more]

I, Claudius: Poison is Queen Review

After 5 hours into the story of I, Claudius we have a critical death in the series. Few people in history have as vast an influence as Gaius Octavianus/Caesar Augustus. Augustus transformed the unstable Roman… [more]

2014 in Movies Part One

Doing just one end of the year list is kind of lame. Doesn’t really cover the facets worth exploring. And that’s even discounting the perpetual “lists are meaningless” argument. Of course lists are meaningless, but… [more]

Sifting Through the Ashes: Analyzing Hellblazer, Part 10

Issue #13 “On the Beach” Writer: Jamie Delano; Art: Richard Piers Rayner, Mark Buckingham, Mike Hoffman; Colors: Lovern Kindzierski; Letters: Todd Klein; Cover: Dave McKean; When thinking back on our childhoods, the notion of life… [more]

Finding Comfort and Joy in Justice League this Christmas

Christmas episodes are generic now in the year of our Lord, two thousand and fourteen, but they are embedded in a larger history of seasonal programing that transcends mediums of all forms. Holiday festivals, derivative… [more]

An Adventure Time Christmas

Annie Edison: Everybody, point your magic Christmas weapons at him. Professor Ian Duncan: Oh, brother. This is ridiculous. You are enabling a delusion. Jeff Winger: The delusion you’re trying to cure is called Christmas, Duncan.… [more]

Nickelodeon’s Business Strategies are Threatening Its Future

As of late, a new trend is forming within the children’s cartoon industry. The industry is seeing more creatively liberal cartoons that contain darker undertones and flawed (yet likable or understandable) characters rarely (if ever)… [more]

A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott

Pretty much immediately after the airing of A Christmas Carol starring George C. Scott in 1984 on CBS TV, it became the go-to version of the classic in my house when I was growing up.… [more]

No One Told the U.S. Court System that the X-Men are Human

Back in 2003, the US Court of International Trade handed down its decision in the case of Toy Biz Inc. v. United States that declared the Uncanny X-Men were not human. The decision may have… [more]

Capital Thoughts: All-New Captain America #1

The “All-New” Captain America begins, curiously enough, with a nostalgic turn:  Sam Wilson flying into a fortress and kicking Hydra ass.  But, even as fisticuffs fly, Sam’s mind is elsewhere:  he replays a childhood filled… [more]

Tim Burton’s Inspiring, Gentle Ed Wood

It seems to me, and perhaps this is a gross exaggeration, that Tim Burton’s best films are the ones in which he genuinely cares about the protagonist. As a filmmaker, Burton’s eye tends to wander… [more]

Race, Racism, and Italian-American Crimefighters – Part 3: The Punisher, The Boondock Saints, and Bill O’Reilly

This article appeared originally in the anthology Pimps, Wimps, Studs, Thugs, and Gentlemen (2009), edited by Elwood Watson. I’m reprinting it here because I believe it has things to say about Italian-Americans, law enforcement, and… [more]

Oh, My Aching Cranium!: Jack Kirby’s OMAC Deconstructed And Reconstructed, Part Ten

I suppose if we were in the business of drawing parallels – which, I’m reliably informed, is something that comic book critics and scholars (whether or not I fit into either category, much less both… [more]

Black Mirror, White Christmas

(In honour of the nature of this show, this will be as spoiler-free as I can make it and still qualify as a review… This should be quite a challenge.) The great thing (or at… [more]

Sensual Female Guardian Angels: Luc Besson’s Early Films, Part 3

Not unlike the stereotypical “whore with a heart of gold,” the title character of Leon (1994) is a kind-hearted, Italian-American hit man with an ennobling ethical code. Leon Montana (Jean Reno) refuses to kill women… [more]

Subversive Season’s Greetings: Tim Burton’s Christmas Trilogy

One of my favorite Christmas songs is the opening track on Elvis Presley’s first holiday album.  The album itself was a largely traditional collection of songs—“O Little Town of Bethlehem” and such—but Elvis insisted that… [more]

Krazy Kat Vs. Little Nemo

Dichotomies are dangerous, though useful, monsters. As silly as debating the relative merits of Star Trek and Star Wars can be, these conversations inevitably probe our relative biases and also outline the vast set of… [more]

“So Which Leg Do I Eat Logan?”: Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk #3-4

The two year gap between Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk #2 and #3 would become somewhat infamous in the comics community. Ultimate X-Men referenced what Wolverine did, but cleverly alluded to the storyline’s incompletion. Ultimates 3… [more]