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69. Faith: Hollywood and Vine by Jody Houser and Francis Portela - This is a comic book that I admire more than I like. I actually wonder if that's an issue for me. There are various movies that I admire and I wonder if I would like them as much if I didn't admire the way that they serve as a corrective for a problem that is plaguing Hollywood movies. Movies like In a World, Dear White People and Spare Parts are all enjoyable movies that I suspect I would not recommend so much if they weren't outright working against a lot of baggage. In a World has a funny female character breaking the glass ceiling and refusing to be slut shamed (and a love story that is basically two characters who just like each other and want to give it a chance.) Dear White People has interesting black characters who are not stereotypes and Spare Parts gets away from the saintly white teacher guiding the stupid Hispanic students trope that is ironically the worst when Edward James Olmos was the teacher in Stand & Deliver. But then there's The Obvious Child which is a movie that I also admire but I don't like. So do the comics and movies with women become the ones I admire without liking?

Anyhow Faith is a superhero comic without fat shaming. The heroine is a superheroine who is full figured and she is comfortable in her non-Playboy model model. Also she is adverse to killing people and likes conflict resolution. The rest of it with the cult and the ex-boyfriend who is doing a superhero reality show doesn't work for me. And the main character isn't that engaging. She feels like a refutation to other books but not terribly well drawn.

70. American Vampire vol 1 by Scott Snyder & Rafael Albuquerque - This is a really well put together story. Skinner Sweet is a scary and intriguing character and the picture of him emerging from his coffin and swimming to eat the divers is one of the most memorable ones in recent memory. This book is about his origins as an outlaw and how he got some vampire blood on him when the bank owner turned out to be a vampire and how he evolved into his own type of vampire is contrasted with the hero of the comic which is the woman that he turns into a vampire in the 1920s after she is attacked by vampires. Pearl Jones allows Snyder to tell the old Hollywood scandal stories where young starlets are eaten alive (and famous actors lure disposable women into horrible places). Sweet is a western tale where the good guys are working for evil plutocrats and the bad guys are folk heroes. And murderers. So this is a great beginning.

71. American Vampire vol 3 by Scott Snyder & Rafael Albuquerque - So what do we do now that Sweet Skinner and Pearl Jones are equal characters in the same era. This one skips to the 1940s but not before giving us a prologue of sorts that connects the two stories from the first volume. Skinner Sweet watches an old timey wild west show in 1913 and then kills all the actors, except for the woman who turned him in. She explains that he would have died anyhow but this way they both could have gone out together. He accepts her explanation but the important part is that she looks like Pearl which kind of explains why he made Pearl into another American Vampire (sun is great, but gold is bad).

Once that's dispensed with, we move into WWII where Pearl's husband is drafted by the vampire squad and ends up on a South Pacific island with new Japanese vampires that don't have eyes. Just big mouths. Also Pearl comes in to try to rescue him and Sweet is bullying him. When the whole thing is over Sweet is dead (officially) and Pearl is telling the vampire squad to fuck off.

And then there are the boring characters. When Sweet was the outlaw, he made his main enemy into a vampire like him and that enemy killed himself because vampire, but not before getting a woman pregnant and now the daughter of the bounty hunter is with the vampire squad (I may remember the name) and is trying to get into a Nazi hold in order to find out what the vampires are up to. Apparently there are old giant vampires that most of the vampires are trying to destroy. Also there's a vampire toddler who can be cured. I don't know. I find her whole story with the vampire squad to be boring. More on this later.

72. Spiderwoman: New Duds by Dennis Hopeless and Javier Rodriguez - I seem to be on a permanent crusade to get pissed off by alt-right assholes claiming that diversity is bad and that comic books that have diverse titles are just not very good. I get mad at them when I see them spouting off their bullshit and then I read really great titles like this one and I get extremely pissed by how stupid and ignorant they are in talking about titles that they don't read. Jessica Drew is a great character as Hopeless writes her. She is funny and she is always questioning herself and better yet, she isn't afraid to admit that she's wrong like in the story about the super villain girlfriends disappearing. Eventually she finds out that her crusade has been counterproductive and after getting some promises, she leaves everything alone. And her give-and-take with the weird villain of Porcupine, a villain so inept that he's got no problem becoming a sidekick instead, is energetic. I feel like reading some of these comics is just an exercise in going COME ON READ IT! You'll love it. Also Spiderwoman now has a costume that looks comfortable and there is one reference to her googling SPiderwoman's butt which is a nice way to promise that they won't ever give us a cover with her ass in the air again.

73.The Manhattan Projects 2 by Jonathan Hickman & Nick Pitarra - I don't know what the fuck is going on in this one. There are aliens. I think that Einstein is a hero. There are presidents who are crazy. I think that Harry Truman is dressed like the villain in Temple of Doom. The art is good but the story is a fucking mess and I'm not going to blame myself for not being able to follow any of the threads.


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Tim Lieder

September 2017

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