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foogledricks

Bill Maher: Comicbooks are for Children

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11 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

 

It's a condescending statement. Like them or not, what is a comic book other than modern mythology? We should hold biblical, Greek and Norse parables in higher esteem for what? Their age? Honestly, the fact I can only now recognise the value of what two jews creating Black Panther in response to what was going on with the civil rights movement, how x-men was regularly a reaction to threats of nuclear war and politics of the 60s (married with underlying narratives about what it is to feel or be different), actually leaves me more interested in exploring comic books as an adult than they ever did as a kid, and more inclined to recognise them as sophisticated contributions to popular culture. Then there's level of visual artistry which is unquestionably iconic and, certainly this day in age, exquisitely rendered in some comics. I still need help in knowing what characters, issues/stories throughout the decades that I should be exploring, but again I've never been more interested and feel no shame in that at all.

 

 

Just send me a DM what your interested in and I will let you know. There is also much more to comic books then super heroes. Horror, sci-fi, comedy, romance,etc just like in movies,  TV, and prose.

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I will also add that I think/hope the majority who lose their shit when people question their investment in popular culture are in the minority. Again they seem to be the most aggressive and too dense to understand the basic messages of being good to one another that typically serve as the foundation of most contemporary sci-fi and fantasy narratives. It's like when you see some angry adult Star Wars fans who were mad about Last Jedi having something to say and who never grasped the series' political undertones about fascism. 🤷‍♂️ Their lack of awareness of history sure isn't the fault of liking Star Wars.

 

I never used to get the whole Comic Con thing, and to be honest I still kind of don't, and I certainly am wary of the way those things have become an excuse for huge corporations to bleed diehard fans dry, but beneath all that I see all the amusing cosplay stuff and have to think that surely, those are the real fans, the ones who surely know how silly and playful it all is but give ZERO fucks about what anyone else thinks because to hell with it it, if some guy wants to dress up in drag as Storm from X-men he's going to do it, damn it! 

 

We're really the first generation of an era where popular culture doesn't fade away because VHS, cassettes, CDs, DVDs, downloads, streaming have kept so much media in constant circulation. Maybe there is a certain resentment from a minority of older people about the abundance of great stuff people have continued access too today. Whatever the case it's certainly changed the way people engage and feel connected to all this stuff far deeper into life beyond childhood.

 

Best comic related thing I've enjoyed this week, incidentally, was a ten year old boy's review of Marvel's Secret Wars, a story I know nothing about but because of him will gladly look into at some point: http://www.paradoxcomicsgroup.com/2019/01/the-minor-opinion-marvel-super-heroes.html Perhaps it's having missed out on so much of this stuff as a child that made me find reading a review from one so young particularly engaging, but I think the fact he's the son of one of the site's regular contributors also says a lot about about how this stuff transcends age. 

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58 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

 

Let's get one thing out of the way first. Please at least see Into the Spider-verse. :)

 

 

Let me make one thing clear: I watch some of these movies. I like how they look and sound and they entertain me. Venom was fun. Deathpool was creative. And I'll watch Spider-verse just for you.

 

58 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

Seriously though, I've lamented this very fact, but do my best to force myself to step back a little from having that kind of knee jerk reaction. On one level we can liken the popularity of Super Hero movies to that of the Western in their heyday. They too struck a distinct chord with audiences and were churned out ten a penny. It was the most popular genre for almost three decades. On another level these are positive stories, and it's not difficult to understand why audiences might want a piece of that right now. They are fun adventurous escapism, filled with eclectic characters of various ethnicities and genders, where you know good will always triumph over evil in the end. It doesn't hurt of course that the Marvel films are well thought out and generally well told in the grand scheme of things. At their best, for me, I've realised they get very close to capturing a spark that I've not really felt with superhero movies outside of Donner's Superman, which is to say a playful sense of earnestness that I genuinely find quite charming. 

 

I've no interest in criticizing comic-based movies as a media, why they are popular, or why they are reflective of a low-IQ public as Mr. Maher sadly did. That was myopic and just mean spirited of him and I can see why fans would take offense. Sometimes people just want to be entertained, and sometimes people find depth in things that others do not. That's what any creative form — art, call it what you want — is all about. Any engaging movie, music, literature should be exactly what you describe: an escape.

 

And yes - film (or at least commercial film trends, Saturday matinee movies, etc.) is indeed often a reflection of what's happening around us. UFO and alien movies during the cold war, Westerns in their heyday as you say. But they all do run their course, and perhaps the first signs of that are general fatigue and critics who — albeit condescendingly as you point out — yell, "Enough!"

 

58 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

 

I'll also say this. While I don't go and see all of the Marvel films in the cinema, some of the big ones, Infinity War most notably, have captured the increasingly rare sense of community in cinema going. I have no real history growing up with these characters, no deep investment, but nevertheless there's an engaging atmosphere at a lot of these screenings that even I can feel part of. Infinity War's end credits tease made a girl in the audience squeak with delight at my screening, which triggered a lot of laughs and suddenly a bunch of people who sat as strangers for two and a half hours where suddenly talking and joking with one another, with a lot of long term fans excitedly explaining who Captain Marvel is to those who only know the MCU. I just can't be cynical about that. It was a lovely moment and I walked out happier because of it.

 

That's great, and Marvel and DC films are probably keeping the cinema industry propped up. Lord knows I haven't been to the movies in over a year as nothing has made me want to go (other than Burning which frustratingly only had daytime screenings for what seemed like 10 minutes).

 

But let's be fair: what you're describing is just people interacting with one another. I had a funny moments like that last night on a street corner when I and several other New Yorkers were waiting for a light to change as we were freezing our asses off. I don't mean to devalue or disparage that moment, but those things happen to people who are part of communities. Note: that's what life is all about, and that sounds like a warm, fun moment.

 

That said, I recognize that the comic and related community is vibrant, amazing, and fascinating. I've covered Comic-Con, I've interviewed Cosplayers, I've been to E3 more times than I'd like to count and I've always been envious of the community, the depth of knowledge that people share, the excitement people have when something new comes out or a new series is announced. It just doesn't click for me. I pick up a comic and I see the story structure and I nope out. I start watching a Marvel or DC movie and I feel like I'm seeing the gridlines in the Matrix and I'm bored. Truth be told, I wish I could hop on board the suspension-of-disbelief train with this stuff, but it doesn't happen for me.

 

It's curious... I do love supernatural movies, and one could say the exact same thing about the corny tropes and story arcs that are so tired within that genre.

 

58 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

I do definitely worry how much people get attached to pop culture , particularly how possessive it makes them. Typically it worries me most when they direct abuse at the creators. Did it start with the prequels I wonder? I was frustrated with those movies, but never felt hate for anyone involved in making them, and could then, and still today, find positive things to enjoy about them. Today there's a level of toxicity which is genuinely quite worrying however. It's interesting because ultimately all these things revolve around good triumphing over evil, and send out a lot of messages about the value of tolerance, but these values seem to fly completely over the head of an increasing number of people who claim to love all this stuff. 

 

You're frustrated because you're simply asking too much of humanity. That sounds incredibly pessimistic, I know, but look at how huge the comic (and related) industry has become and you're just looking at a cross-section of society. There will be twats. And there will be defenders. And there will be the majority who, like you and Romier and Joey and others, will simply grin and go about your business.

 

58 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

It's a condescending statement. Like them or not, what is a comic book other than modern mythology? We should hold biblical, Greek and Norse parables in higher esteem for what? Their age? Honestly, the fact I can only now recognise the value of what two jews creating Black Panther in response to what was going on with the civil rights movement, how x-men was regularly a reaction to threats of nuclear war and politics of the 60s (married with underlying narratives about what it is to feel or be different), actually leaves me more interested in exploring comic books as an adult than they ever did as a kid, and more inclined to recognise them as sophisticated contributions to popular culture. Then there's level of visual artistry which is unquestionably iconic and, certainly this day in age, exquisitely rendered in some comics. I still need help in knowing what characters, issues/stories throughout the decades that I should be exploring, but again I've never been more interested and feel no shame in that at all.

 

I hear that, and I think it's certainly possible, but this is where I get off. First off, it is absolutely fact that characters like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, et al are part of modern mythology. Anyone arguing against that has his head up his ass.

 

BUT... I do think that avid comic fans are at risk sometimes of over inflating the value of what they're into. The storylines and characters become increasingly complex over time as multiple authors and artists re-interpret them and serve up new arcs and throw back some fan service. That's an incredibly rich ecosystem and, again, I'm jealous of those who are deeply engaged by it. But like any other art form that runs deep when it comes to passion and fandom, it's easy to overstate its immediate cultural import. If you listen to me wax bullshit about how incredibly crucial late-70s and early-80s punk rock was and is to modern society and aesthetic development you'd think I was a madman (unless you agree with me, of course). 

 

My point, I suppose, is that, yes, it was shitty for Maher (or anyone else) to point at a comic and say "haha manchild!" But it's also a wee bit tiresome for some humans to hear about or read treatises on why Superman is philosophical allegory, especially if that person or author clearly has not done his or her literary homework. Not saying they haven't, but it's a relatively common thread that's sometimes a bit embarrassing for all involved.

 

In short: you be you because I have no problem with it. I just don't see what all the fuss is about. :)

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1 hour ago, Josh said:

 

Let me make one thing clear: I watch some of these movies. I like how they look and sound and they entertain me. Venom was fun. Deathpool was creative. And I'll watch Spider-verse just for you.

 

giphy.gif

 

 

 

Quote

 

Film is indeed often a reflection of what's happening around us. UFO and alien movies during the cold war, Westerns in their heyday as you say. But they all do run their course, and perhaps the first signs of that are general fatigue and critics who — albeit condescendingly as you point out — yell, "Enough!"

 

It'll happen, and already has to an extent for most non-Marvel attempts, which is why I almost feel like Marvel Studios has created a genre unto itself. It's not that they're untouchable, but they're pleasing critics and audiences alike on a pretty consistent basis which is quite an achievement. A decade of 20+ movies and Thor 2 is really the only one that makes me go "urghhh" (it's remarkable that it was followed by Thor Ragnarok which I genuinely found to be one of the funniest films I've seen in ages. It's wonderful). I've next to no memory of Incredible Hulk either come of think of it. I can take or leave a few of the others.

 

Captain America was the shocker for me and when I realised I might be on board with where all this was heading. Naturally most outside of the US are going to roll their eyes just hearing the character's name :) , but Evans is wonderful and any cynicism I had was washed away pretty quickly. Admittedly I was particularly engaged by the fact the first one is a period movie, but all three are terrific films and significantly Winter Soldier is when the Russo brothers came into this whole thing and they are exceptionally skilled filmmakers. It was fascinating, going back to the Soderberg interview I mentioned before, as he talked about their early career and he vouched for them to help land them the Winter Soldier gig, but only after asking them why they wanted to make that kind of a movie. They revealed they had a $60,000 comic collection between them and it was their dream job. Their passion for the characters and stories shows, and I think that's where a lot of competitors chasing what Marvel are doing fall flat because the filmmakers are not invested enough. These silly movies are always elevated when the people making them genuinely give a shit about the characters (it's as true of something like Raiders of the Lost Ark as it is Infinity War). 

 

I've often said that I remain interested to see what happens after the great explosion that is this Infinity War two-parter that we're in the midst of. I know there are more stories and characters to plunder, but whether audiences will welcome radical shifts away from the charismatic cast they've become attached to over the last ten years remains to be seen. If the standard of the films remains consistent then I think they could have another strong decade ahead of them. What Kevin Feige has done is really remarkable, and I think so much of the success is down to his genuine affection for the properties he's in charge of. 

 

 

Quote

 

But let's be fair: what you're describing is just people interacting with one another. I had a funny moments like that last night on a street corner when I and several other New Yorkers were waiting for a light to change as we were freezing our asses off. I don't mean to devalue or disparage that moment, but those things happen.

 

Of course. I'm not singling it out as being a unique social interaction by any means, but there is nevertheless something to be said for the collective cinema going experience that these so called event movies can conjure up. I think also, about that specific moment, it was the fact it was a female fan getting excited about a major female character coming into this universe from such a tiny little tease at the end of Infinity War. You could sense what it meant to her, just as you could sense what Black Panther meant to so many people. That's a very unique energy. 

 

 

Quote

 

You're frustrated because you're simply asking too much of humanity. That sounds incredibly pessimistic, I know, but look at how huge the comic (and related) industry has become and you're just looking at a cross-section of society. There will be twats. And there will be defenders. And there will be the majority who, like you and Romier and Joey and others, will simply grin and go about your business.

 

True, true. Also social media has amplified the twattage (technical term).  

 

 

Quote

 

 

I hear that, and I think it's certainly possible, but this is where I get off. First off, it is absolutely fact that characters like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, et al are part of modern mythology. Anyone arguing against that has his head up his ass.

 

BUT... I do think that avid comic fans are at risk sometimes of over inflating the value of what they're into. The storylines and characters become increasingly complex over time as multiple authors and artists re-interpret them and serve up new arcs and throw back some fan service. That's an incredibly rich ecosystem and, again, I'm jealous of those who are deeply engaged by it. But like any other art form that runs deep when it comes to passion and fandom, it's easy to overstate its immediate cultural import. If you listen to me wax bullshit about how incredibly crucial late-70s and early-80s punk rock was and is to modern society and aesthetic development you'd think I was a madman (unless you agree with me, of course). 

 

My point, I suppose, is that, yes, it was shitty for Maher (or anyone else) to point at a comic and say "haha manchild!" But it's also a wee bit tiresome for some humans to hear about or read treatises on why Superman is philosophical allegory, especially if that person or author clearly has not done his or her literary homework. Not saying they haven't, but it's a relatively common thread that's sometimes a bit embarrassing for all involved.

 

 

I actually don't disagree with any of that. Though older than video games of course, comics still strike me as a very young medium. As public perception of them changes, and the form evolves, history will be the only judge of their true value. I too share that wish that I could somehow feel as connected to a lot of this stuff as others, again they just weren't really there for me as a kid, but there again is why I do have an admiration for the Marvel films because they haven't made me feel left out.

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My general point of this thread was to say that we take ourselves too seriously sometimes.  We need to be comfortable making fun of our selves and having other people make fun of us and what we love.  I'd like to generalize this to the best Super Bowl Ad last night:

 

I KNEW that including a "Vegan Dinner Party" in the list of unpleasant things was going to cause a stir.  I've learned that I have to be careful not to assume that just because "someone" on the internet takes offense to something, doesn't mean that everyone in that "demographic" also took offense.  I bet plenty of animal loving vegans thought the ad was funny and did not take offense.  But some offense-taking stories are making the rounds.

 

When they showed the alleged murderer they needed to be very ... careful ...  Being a bruiting tattooed white blond bearded jean-jacket-wearing thug is still fair game.  But I'm sure there will be some protective social group for them in the future. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, foogledricks said:

My general point of this thread was to say that we take ourselves too seriously sometimes.

 

That's fine. I agree. And I agree that some perspective or self-reflection might be a good thing when it comes to our entertainment choices.

 

I just don't think that that discussion is served by someone who only intends to be seem contrarian and seems like a bit of a dummy to boot.

 

For the sake of discussion, let's stipulate that Roger Ebert made the best argument against video games as art. Honestly? That's fantastic. I don't agree with the premise, which means I want to set myself the best argument for that position, not some weak sauce contrarian mutterings from a "provocative" numskull. Shoot, maybe Ebert will change my position. That's cool. That's what I want to be exposed to. Bill Maher? I'll take a pass.

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14 hours ago, Robot Monkey said:

I just don't think that that discussion is served by someone who only intends to be seem contrarian and seems like a bit of a dummy to boot.

 

Bill M. is incredibly quick-witted and well-read enough to cover tons of topics and go toe-to-toe with politicians, artists, political zealots, etc.  I therefore give him a lot of credit.  And maybe even too much credit because he is funny.  If you're funny or British I give you extra credit.  Not for Scottish people certainly.  Definitely not them.

 

I guess I have a pet peeve for people calling other people stupid or crazy if they don't like or agree with them.  Especially since none of us will agree on everything.  And we even dislike one another temporarily.  You might retort that sometimes people are actually dumb.  That's true.  I just see people dismissing other people as morons all the time and it bothers me.  Because it is always in the context of them disagreeing.

 

Everyone worshiped at the alter of John Stewart including my brother-in-law.  And then Stewart made a joke that was critical of Israel and Stewart was dead to him.  Similarly lots of liberals love Bill M. as long as he is only beating up on conservatives and not being critical of Islam or in this case videogames.  He is such a naturalist that he says stupid shit about vaccinations quite a bit.  I'd love to personally talk to him about some of these things.  But that will never happen. 

 

So whatever.  I sometimes agree and sometimes disagree.  I just enjoy him saying unexpected things because that is my favorite.

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1 hour ago, foogledricks said:

 

Bill M. is incredibly quick-witted and well-read enough to cover tons of topics and go toe-to-toe with politicians, artists, political zealots, etc.  I therefore give him a lot of credit.  And maybe even too much credit because he is funny.  If you're funny or British I give you extra credit.  Not for Scottish people certainly.  Definitely not them.

 

 

If someone's Scottish, they're also British. So they get the extra credit still.

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Keith, when you go to the bathroom, sir, and see the sign that says "Gentlemen," pay it no heed. Walk right in. There is no bathroom for scoundrels.

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On 2/5/2019 at 8:17 AM, dogbert said:

 

If someone's Scottish, they're also British. So they get the extra credit still.

 

Yes, but no true Scotsman would say he is British, so you don’t get extra credit after all. 

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18 hours ago, Robot Monkey said:

Keith, when you go to the bathroom, sir, and see the sign that says "Gentlemen," pay it no heed. Walk right in. There is no bathroom for scoundrels.

I appreciate your support for my people's use of bathrooms that we feel comfortable with.

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