Tuesday, December 19, 2006

If I ever start a hot dog review column, I shall call it "Frank Discussion"

Because certain things need to be said. Anyway, here are some


Chronicle Of Anna Magdalena Bach (D: Jean-Marie Straub (but really Straub and Danielle Huillet)):
Why is the emphasis in every camera set-up either the vocals or Bach but never the instrumental sections? Should we presume that the Straubs have made a concession to the audience by placing the more identifiably and human elements in any given foreground, given the last question? Why do the images of documents stripped from the past which punctuate every narrative/diary section remind me of the literary habits of Sebald, Marias, et al.? (Actually Sebald seems a direct aesthetic descendent of the Straubs...hrm.)

The Science Service - Story and Art by Rian Hughes w/ John Freeman on vocals:
A neat curio from 1989, awash in the retro-futuristic aesthetic that (as this and Dare seem to indicate) preoccupied Hughes during the late eighties and early nineties. The story itself is fairly engaging (GET-IT-OVER-WITH PLOT SUMMARY: "corporate irresponsibility in the world o' tomorrow"; in a bid for profit and p.r., company pushes a problematic product which alters user's appearance - hijinx ensue) but the various high points are completely divorced from narrative - the establishing shot panels, with Hughes' designs in full view and aswarm with minutia, provide the most salient pleasures to be found herein. Fun.

Miracleman Book Three: Olympus - by Alan Moore and John Totleben:
Featuring the overripe prose which seems, of all Moore's eighties work placed on pantheon pedestals, to have only escaped Watchmen - the tendency, thankfully, diminshes as the chapters wear on (but dear lord, does the "Aphrodite" section drag!). While the "superheroes in the real world who deal with mature themes and RATED - R" theme is a well-plowed field of commentary, what's typically neglected are the delightful imaginative leaps which jut out prominently on every other page - the firedrake gene, the various myths which coalesce around the climactic battle, the goofy little and/oroid, the fantastic alien tribunal scene... There's a great deal more here to be mined.


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