Monday, April 03, 2006

more faves

i'm resisting the urge to read up on v for vendetta (the movie) online, because i just saw it last night and am still formulating my opinions on it. ok, here they are so far:

i liked it. i know it's full of gestures that don't have a lot of solid meaning, but i went with that, because there was an evident attempt to make that part of the point. all that stuff about symbols and stuff. also, it's a movie, a big old movie, and it was fun to watch, and its themes were highly ambiguous, ethically speaking. which is far preferable to bluntness and message in big productions. i was bugged by the lite metaphysics and philosomophizing in the first matrix movie (which is part of why i didn't see the others--fishburn's annoying mopheus schtick was another reason, and the dumb retro-sexual politics was another; keanu had nothing to do with it, because we know exactly what to expect from him, and we've come to like it--we know he knows we know he knows karate), but v seemed less smug. maybe it's because it's sci-fi, and i've read enough sci-fi that i've seen the reality question handled much more deftly, even in a pop environment (eg, pk dick novels). v, on the other hand, is a still and still newly rare commodity--a popular film dealing with the "post-9/11" world, even if it does it at a slant. its flirtations with big ideas, political (the suggestion that a government might attack its own people in a perverse power grab--yes, i happen to believe that the bush administration is complicit in the events and aftermath of 9/11; even if it wasn't involved in any way in the attack--and i'm not convinced it wasn't--the way it used the attack for political gain and warmongering is now part of what happened that day) and conceptual (a character that delivers his lines, and delivers speeches, from a static mask), is admirable and provocative.

i read part one of alan moore's v for vendetta before seeing the movie, my concession to good advice from a friend, who said i should see the movie, then read the comic, in which case i would enjoy the movie more. i couldn't help wanting to have some "authentic" context for the story, though. anyway, the comic book is rad. i've read a bit of moore's stuff (watchmen and some of the league of extroardinary gentlemen), and i think his period-piece affectations tend to get the better of his writing, or anyway, they ward me off, from what i've seen (i keep browsing from hell, but i can't yet get with the idea of reading historical fiction about jack the ripper). i'm having no problem with v, tho. great storytelling, great illustraions (by david lloyd), and just marvelous overall craft. it looks to be the alan moore gateway i've been looking for. (i don't know how much the aforesaid applies to watchmen, but i should say it took me two tries to get through it, and i was generally underwhelmed--i thought it was kind of plodding and overblown in a way that moore wasn't taking advantage of, but i'm sure if i was a superhero comic enthusiast as a kid, i could have grown up with this one. i'm more of a fiction geek who was won over to comics by warren ellis' transmetropolitan, still my favorite graphic novel, though grant morrisson's the invisibles and the filth are right up there.)

i just remembered that the other day, i picked up the latest issue of ellis' stupendous budget comic, fell. it's issue 4, and i recommend that you hunt down this series. each issue is $1.99, and documents the life of a detective in a very burned-out town. ellis has another great series going, post-transmet, called desolation jones, which i won't bother to describe. paraphrasing ellis makes you look stupid. i'll leave it at this: if you like smart comics, and appreciate writers who focus on writing and choose an illustrator that can show them what their imagination looks like, ellis is your man.

ok, so: v for vendetta, movie: good. v for vendetta, comic book: awesome.

and, on the ed faves tip, appleseed cast, low-flying owl vols I&II (2002) finally on vinyl: epic.



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