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   Now in our tenth calendar year!
   PCR #475  (Vol. 10, No. 18) This edition is for the week of April 27 -- May 3, 2009.

"X-Men Origins: Wolverine"  by Mike Smith
FX 2009, Another View  by ED Tucker
State of the Nation  by Brandon Jones
Priced Out Of The Business .... What The Hell Happened In One Year? .... Gruden Hasn’t Left .... Sprung! .... Can’t Get It Straight .... NFL Draft Goes Primetime? .... It’s Not A National Championship  by Chris Munger
I Didn't Catch The Name .... Passing On .... So Proud .... Boldly Going .... My Favorite Films, Part 2  by Mike Smith
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State of the Nation

State of the Nation

I Told You So….
Putting “Splash Page” behind me is nearly as difficult ending comic collecting all together. While the latter isn’t going to happen, moving on is inevitable.

Back in PCR #171, I mention Fantastic Four #500 which was the inclusion of a Director’s cut, variable issue and while this isn’t necessarily the cause of the current state of comics – FF #500 foreshadowed what was headed our way.

Check any comic hot list and you’ll find eight variants for every two regular comics. Multiple printings are common, alternate covers are the norm and continuity is out the window.

Does that sound like the dark days of the late '80’s-early '90’s? Well it should.

From DC’s Crisis to Identity Crisis to Infinity Crisis and Marvel’s Secret Wars to Civil War to Secret Invasion, you can see the recycled template in modern comic book industry.

The last five years or so have seen the comic business reinvent the concept of art and storytelling through trade paperback sales and reprinting successful single issues. We have 3rd and 4th printings with new covers and retail incentives leading fans down the sinful temptation of collecting for investment.

Single issues are insignificant unless they can fuel a six issue collection that can grace a shelf at Barnes & Noble.

So, I’ll fill in my Batman runs, chase down an Alex Ross Indiana Jones comic and read tons of Independent titles, but long gone is my desire to keep up with the latest Ed McGuiness pencil variant cover gracing the “most wanted comics” lists.

I can not honestly recommend this latest trend in comic books anymore than I could recommend the most recent onslaught of Hollywood fodder filling the local multiplex on weekends.

Rest in peace, Splash Page. You’re still inside of me, but in a small room without windows. The world outside is changing so it’s to take a look around.

So I’m sure….
The debate will rage on to the future of Conventions like MegaCon and F/X Con, where pseudo-celebrities will charge $40 or more to scribble their name on a piece of paper, picture or poster.

Will aspiring comic artists and writers drift into further obscurity abandoning the overpriced table real estate to peddle their various projects? With the “Greatest Depression” inching closer and closer, will the gathering of Fanboys become rarer and rarer?

With gas, it’s $40 or so to walk in the door. An autograph session from the headliners would cost you over $100 and I’d like to have lunch. So for the price of my utilities I can go to a comic book convention in Orlando.

Doesn’t sound like a great business plan.

Hostages Abroad
While the “Mexican” Flu sweeps through the headlines, Euna Lee and Laura Ling will be safe and sound in North Korean custody. They allegedly are spies, not journalists, entering the country illegally and will face charges accordingly. Our State Department has done little other than confirming a Swiss Ambassador visited them on March 30.

Both are journalists working for The Current, Al Gore’s online network. San Francisco columnist Arthur Bruzzone, criticizes former Vice President Al Gore, and his online Current TV network, for “abandoning its own reporters.” 1

Similarly Roxanna Saberi has been jailed in Iran. David Kirk of the Asia Times writes: “Iran may seem like a forbidding place, to judge from reports of what's happening to Saberi, but it's a free and open society compared to North Korea.”

Maybe this will come to light to put the focus on the failures of the State department and off those of Homeland Security.


Ranting the Rant
Kudos to Mike Smith, who blasted the raging torture debate for what it has become: a joke. Political posturing to left-wing extremists has provided great distraction for the next 100 days taking main stage over CIA memos and treatment of terrorists.

These are terrorists, not uniformed soldiers fighting with a flag on their shoulder. In fact, the three main conspirators were water-boarded hundreds of times over the course of four years. Remember that a torture session one a week is equal to 200 times – sound a little different?

We water-boarded Lex Luthor (Khalid Sheikh Mohammed) once a week for four years (on the average) and he told us what? Well, that tidbit hasn’t been released yet.

Is water-boarding even torture if it’s a tactic used to train our own operatives?

Lest us compare water-boarding to the Nick Berg decapitation? Do you think they had barking dogs and caterpillars in the Fallujah torture houses where Kenneth Bigley was tortured before he was butchered? Should we ask the North Koreans to follow the CIA memos to ensure they won’t violate the new code for detainees?

I’ll echo Mike’s comments and point out how this is politics as usual, not hope and change. I’d hope that the successive administration doesn’t disagree with the current one and indict advisors for economic treason.

‘Til Next Time
Educate self, unplug from the “Matrix”, wake up and see the real world: our country is being highjacked by two greedy powerful political parties. Are you more aligned with right or left instead of right and wrong?

Are you being intellectually honest accepting the new debt, deficit and spending even though you were outraged over the $400 billion debt in the fall of last year?

There are enemies of the state all around us, especially in Congress. Look it up for yourself and see the real state of the nation.

Lastly a quote to chew on:
The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos
  -- HL Mencken

Next time: Did the $700 billion TARP bailout bill actually cost us trillions? What’s the latest on the “Mexican flu” and the summer movie mania is officially underway.

"State of the Nation" is ©2009 by Brandon Jones.   All graphics this page, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.