Reasons to Be Thankful
As you read this, I am (not literally) wrestling with a great big turkey, a barrel of brine, and my first attempt ever to make mashed potatoes after recently discovering that not only are they NOT, as I have previously suggested, “The Devil,” but are in fact pretty damn tasty if they aren’t made from a box freeze-dried flakes.
Or, I am asleep, if you are reading this before noon.
Yes, it is the great holiday known as Let’s Eat Starches and Pass Out After a Heroic Intake of Shiraz Thanksgiving, the time of year when you say things you’re thankful for. Only YOU lie at the dinner table and say stuff like “family” and “health” when the TRUTH is, you’re thankful for stuff like the latest “Doctor Who” special. But somehow your family wouldn’t really appreciate that admission.
Well, you’re here with us at Threat Quality Press, where you can say what you’re really thankful for. Here, I’ll get the ball rolling:
I’ve long been a proponent of making Dr. Strange closer to Dr. Who, and now one of my favorite comics scribes, Mark Waid, has made my dreams come true, with “Strange,” the first mini-series depicting the hero after he’s lost the title of Sorcerer Supreme: as a Guy Who Knows Things and investigates, with the help of useful people he meets.
That is Dr. Stephen Strange, master of the mystic arts, violently yelling at an umpire.
Waid excels at perfect first issues – everyone go track down his first Fantastic Four issue as proof. He knows how to explain a character simply, utilizing all the best aspects of the lead and writing a simple-yet-elegant story to illustrate them. In 22 pages, Waid shows the current status quo of Former Magical Hero Dr. Strange, now reduced to a shadow of his former power, using little other than wit, guile, and some basic magic to save lives in the face of enemies who view him as a washed-up has-been.
It sells Dr. Strange as a viable hero. I loved it. And if you like Dr. Who and/or basic “modern magician” stories, you will enjoy this book. And I am just optimistic enough to think if enough people buy a comic featuring this version of the character, Marvel may just be crazy enough to keep publishing it.
What a great year for albums. I don’t like writing about music – it’s such a subjective thing and hard to make a case for something based on it just hitting your ears right, but man. Here’s three reasons 2009 has been very good to me sonically:
Ida Maria – “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” from Fortress ‘Round My Heart
Enthusiastic, boppy, and periodically vulnerable pop-rock, as when Maria’s spunky braggard’s voice starts to crack under the strain of it all. If repetitious lyrics are not your thing, the album might not hold, but I defy you to not be chanting the title along with her by the end.
Avett Brothers – “I and Love and You” from I and Love and You
What this beautiful, soaring song doesn’t tell you is how much FUN the rest of the album is, taking the group’s generally folky, folksy approach and embracing some rockier elements as well.
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – “Home,” from Up From Below
This one’s getting a lot more play lately, just having been featured on NBC’s “Community” for one, but it’s just one example of an excellent folk-pop record that – mostly because of the sheer volume of band members – can be described as Polyphonic Spree but without the choir robe ridiculousness.
Dr. Who – “The Waters of Mars”
It starts as something approaching a “typical” Who episode – in fact, quite resembling season 2’s “Impossible Planet,” but by the halfway point turns into something bold, heartwrenching and above all troubling, as the larger theme behind this season of specials becomes apparent – the loneliness of the 10th Doctor is starting to get the best of him.
You can grab it through whatever back-channel means you usually go with, or wait until Dec. 19, when BBC America runs it.
The AV Club
Everyone likes lists, but coming up with ONE “Best of the Decade” list is too daunting for the likes of me. Fortunately, the AV Club has compiled their greatest hits of books, music, TV, TV EPISODES, even, and more. Though their “Best Comics of the Decade” cannot be taken seriously, on account of its lack of both Warren Ellis AND “Scott Pilgrim.”
Things That Are Funny!
“The Many Emotions of Batman,” from Chris Sims’ Invincible Superblog
Granted, there’s not a lot on the ISB that isn’t pretty funny, but his series of one-panel examinations into the gamut of Batman’s heartfelt beliefs has become a Sunday morning favorite. A couple examples:
There! Now: What are you really thankful for?