Harvey Kurtzman is a hero of satire, the guy who convinced Bill Gaines's mother to bankroll a comic book called MAD, then doubled down by turning MAD into a magazine -- only to jump ship five issues later after a bizarre fight with the Gaineses, finding refuge with Playboy founder Hugh Hefner who gave him an unlimited budget to start an all-star, high-quality satire magazine called TRUMP, which lasted for two legendary, prized issues, now collected in a gorgeous hardcover from Dark Horse. Read the rest
In this great piece for Vulture, pop culture critic and Wonder Woman aficionado Angelica Jade Bastién digs into Diana’s Prince comic book origin story. Unlike Batman and Superman, whose backstories are both iconic and straightforward, Wonder Woman’s origin is a little weirder and a little less familiar to mass audiences. Traditionally, she’s molded from clay by her mother, Queen Hippolyta, who leads the Amazons on the all-female island of Themyscira; Diana leaves Themyscira when Captain Steve Trevor crash lands on the island and needs an escort to take him back to the world of man. Like many comic book characters, however, Wonder Woman has seen her origin—not to mention her personality, ethos, and biographic details—shift over the years. And Bastién argues that in this case, those shifts aren’t just part of the normal ebb and flow of comic book storytelling; they also specifically relate to Wonder Woman’s relationship to feminism. Bastién writes:
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Due to the fact that she’s so intrinsically tied to the feminist movement, Wonder Woman is also often burdened with having to represent all facets of womanhood in ways other female superheroes, like Black Widow, Storm, and Captain Marvel, have not, which has created a more muddled sense of who she is. Charting the tangled lineage of Wonder Woman’s origin is to chart the history of American feminism itself and how female power is negotiated in a world that abhors it. At the beginning of her history, Wonder Woman carried the echo of the suffragette movement and first-wave feminism.
Nick Sousanis is the comics creator who broke ground in 2015 by being the first doctoral candidate to submit a dissertation in comics form and ever since, he's been doing wonderful nonfiction work in the form, on subjects ranging from entropy to climate change to elections. Read the rest
Etsy seller Kooj of Northfield, NJ (everything is legal in New Jersey!) makes beautiful, well-reviewed handmade bathing suits, including a timely range of Wonder Woman suits: with skirts, bikinis, one-piece (closed back or peek-a-boo) and kids' sizes, handwash cold water, XS to XXL, made to your measurements. (See also: Captain America) Read the rest
Lynda Barry blogs about the amazing feels she got when she discovered that she'd been given a guest-appearance in The Family Circus by Jeff Keane, Bill Keane's son and successor. Read the rest
Spare a thought for poor Matt Furie, a wonderful indie comics creator whose Boys' Club comics featured a lovable frog called Pepe that was adopted by the neofascist movement (the so-called "alt-right") as a symbol for racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and misogyny. Read the rest
On the heels of the Daily Grail's new essay anthology Spirits of Place -- featuring Alan Moore, Maria J. Warren Ellis, Gazelle Amber Valentine, and many more writers and thinkers -- the Grail's Greg Taylor conducted a deep interview with Moore about populism, time, language, science, and other heady topics. From the Daily Grail:
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What are your thoughts on the importance, or non-importance, of including consciousness, imagination and subjective experience in any theory of what 'reality' is?
AM: Is it helpful to observe that subjectivity is the only thing that we know is objectively real, or does that just muddy the waters even further, as with so many of the well-intentioned things I say? I mean, we do not experience the universe directly: we experience it only through our limited senses, with our sensory impressions arranged moment by moment into this immersive psychic movie that we agree to call reality. From this point of view, our entire universe can only ever be a subjective neurological phenomenon, at least to us, and a quick glance around will confirm that it’s only us who seem to be much bothered either way about this ontology business. I think Nagel is correct in his criticism of the materialist worldview, and I would further state that even should science ever accomplish its goal of unifying classical and quantum physics, of achieving a grand ‘Theory of Everything’, then if it only describes the physical universe and does not take account of the marvellous, supernatural phenomenon – consciousness – that has arrived at this theory, it is nowhere near a theory of everything, is it?