Archive for the “Pop Culture” Category

Open sewers run through the streets. Disease is rampant, up to and including recurring outbreaks of the plague. Criminals are routinely castrated, disemboweled, and hacked to pieces in public executions. The rotting heads of political enemies are mounted on public gates. The bloody torture of animals is a popular form of entertainment. Wretched poverty is commonplace. Literacy Continue reading →

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In one sense, everyone knows Superman’s origin. At least the sound bite version: “strange visitor from another planet, who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men,” “rocketed to Earth as an infant from the dying planet Krypton,” and so forth. The thing is, it’s really hard to build actual Continue reading →

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Side note for my countless loyal fans (well, I haven’t counted ’em, anyway):  today marks the one-year anniversary of my launch of this blog, and this is the 173rd post I’ve published in that time. Total cumulative visits to date are nearing 16,000. Not earth-shaking, but not a bad track record, I hope!… — Anyway. Continue reading →

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The main Blackest Night series got off to a good start, as I’ve written, and I continue to enjoy it. The story slowed its pace a bit in the second issue, but it’s still compelling and suspenseful, shocking and poignant. The best “event” comic in years, frankly. (It’s clearly leading up to the return of Continue reading →

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The Chicago Reader is a local institution. It dates back to 1971, one of the oldest free weekly papers in the country (preceded by the Village Voice and perhaps one or two others). And it’s been near and dear to my heart since I first moved to Chicago in the mid ’80s. It always provided a Continue reading →

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Yes, I know that it was broadcast months ago… but I’ve been following BSG on DVD, and the second half of season four was just recently released. I watched it over the last week or so, culminating in the extended, nearly three-hour version of the finale just a couple of nights ago. I discovered my Continue reading →

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Yesterday saw the release of the first issue of this summer’s big “event” from DC Comics, Blackest Night, after approximately 93 years of heavy advance promotion. For ages now writer Geoff Johns has carefully dropped clues and bits of foreshadowing in his other titles, most prominently Green Lantern, while DC grand poobah Dan Didio dropped Continue reading →

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J. Michael Straczynski, the award-winning writer/creator of Babylon 5 (and a whole lot of other television and movie work as well, e.g., Clint Eastwood’s recent film Changeling), author of a critically hailed seven-year run on Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man (and a whole lot of other comics as well, including more recently a revival of Thor that brought the character a Continue reading →

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Grayson, that is. (What, you thought something else…? Dirty mind. Shame on you.) Dick Grayson, formerly Nightwing, formerly Robin, has had a strong fan following for years, especially since he grew up and stepped out of the red-and-green costume (and his mentor’s shadow) a quarter-century ago. Now the character has done what in one sense Continue reading →

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My reaction to the new Star Trek movie led me to ask myself this unavoidable question. Yes, it’s certainly received a warm response—96% on the Tomatometer (which is phenomenal, even allowing that they inevitably mis-count some reviews like, e.g., the negative J.R. Jones piece I linked the other day) and a $76 million weekend box office—but Continue reading →

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