Comic Book Review – The Death of Superman

The Death of Superman (2016)
Reprints Action Comics #18-20, Adventures of Superman #496-498, Superman #73-75, Superman: The Man of Steel #17-19, Justice League America #69, Newstime: The Life and Death of Superman
Written by Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, and Roger Stern
Art by Jon Bogdanove, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice, Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding, Rick Burchett, Doug Hazlewood, Dennis Janke, and Denis Rodier

There was no comic book event more prominent and more hyped in 1992 than the Death of Superman. I was eleven years old and was very aware of it from nightly news reports adding to the media frenzy around the pending death. I didn’t get to read the title at the time due to not having much disposable income, but I did hang around the comic books rack at Kroger, loitering & reading while my mom shopped. The opening chapter in the larger nearly year-long storyline is not the best part of the story, but you can’t skip it without losing some critical context. The Death of Superman is arguably a much too long fight scene spread out over multiple issues, a conflict that could have been resolved in a couple of books.

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TV Review – Jeeves & Wooster Season One

Jeeves & Wooster (ITV)
Season One, Original airdates: April 22 – May 13, 1990
Written by P.G. Wodehouse and Clive Exton
Directed by Robert Young

Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie were a very well-known comedy duo in the U.K. coming out of the late 1980s. They had a top-rated skit comedy series, A Bit of Fry & Laurie, while making appearances in Rowan Atkinson’s Black Adder show. When it came time to cast the iconic English valet and his buffoonish employer Fry & Laurie were hesitant to step into such significant roles. When it became apparent the show was going to be made whether they were in it or not, they took the parts believing they could do the original text justice.

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Comic Book Review – Stargirl by Geoff Johns

Stargirl by Geoff Johns (2020)
Reprints Stars and STRIPE #0-14, JSA: All-Stars #4, excerpts from DCU Heroes Secret Files and DCU Villians Secret Files
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Lee Moder

I can remember buying the first issue of Stars and STRIPE when it came out. I was an awkward eighteen-year-old in the summer before college, I cannot believe how much I’ve changed as a person. This comic was on sale at Piggly Wiggly, one of the few stores in my rural American Southeast town that still sold comics. I was excited to get in on the ground floor of a brand new character and especially loved the connection to the Golden Age heroes. Anytime I read a comic that embraces the depth of a universe’s history, I get happy. I kept picking up the title as it came out until I moved off to college and began going down a different path for a while. Eventually, I would come back to the character through Geoff Johns’ JSA run. With the debut of Stargirl’s series on The CW, DC Comics has collected her earliest appearances and repackaged them here.

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Movie Review – Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth (2020)
Directed by Matt Wolf

In 1991 an ambitious project began in the wilderness of Arizona. This was Biosphere 2, a three-acre structure built to be an artificial, enclosed ecological system. Seven biomes were represented inside the Biosphere: a rainforest, saltwater habitat with a coral reef, mangrove wetlands, a savannah, a fog desert, and two spaces reserved for human habitation and scientific work. Eight people from various scientific backgrounds were locked inside Biosphere 2 to create a self-sustaining system, the likes of which could be replicated to enable human colonies on other planets that didn’t have the elements needed to sustain life. Over two years, this crew went through a series of challenges, both with the elements and interpersonally. By the end, there were many questions as to the scientific validity of the whole endeavor.

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My Favorite Movies of 1990

Goodfellas (directed by Martin Scorsese)
No film came out in 1990 that comes anywhere close to Scorsese’s mobster masterpiece. The scope of the movie is epic, covering every post-War decade in America up to the point the picture was released. Scorsese has a lot to say about the American Dream and the disgusting, reprehensible acts that must be committed for people to lock-in their own. There’s also pulsing energy to this film that would go on to inform the rest of the decade, the director sets us off on this roller coaster. Characters are manic and insane, always in macho posturing with each other, never willing to budge an inch lest they are perceived as weak within their community. Goodfellas is the anti-Irishman, while that film is muted and contemplative, Goodfellas is the story of a man in his prime, drunk on power and money, not yet to that point of self-reflection while reality comes slamming down on top of him.

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Movie Review – The Grifters

The Grifters (1990)
Written by Donald E. Westlake
Directed by Stephen Frears

The Grifters by Jim Thompson was published in 1963, and while the film adaptation takes place in contemporary 1990s Los Angeles, director Stephen Frears chooses to treat some aspects as anachronistic. The story features a character archetype that seems to fascinate moviegoers indefinitely, the conman or, in this case, the conman and the conwomen in his life. We love to see how duplicitous tricksters trick each other, often leading to tragic outcomes, where even the “winner” feels broken and lost because they’ve played their grift on someone important in their lives.

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Movie Review – To Sleep With Anger

To Sleep With Anger (1990)
Written & Directed by Charles Burnett

To Sleep With Anger is a mixture of things. It’s a meditation on modern urban family dynamics. It is a retelling of the Biblical stories all mashed together. The film is an extension of fears about nostalgia, especially in black communities who have lots of moments in history that they reasonably should fear. It’s ultimately hard to classify this picture into a single genre, which is a benefit and a flaw at times.

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