Welcome again to We Have Always Lived in the Kraken, a pop culture blog transmitted directly to you from the belly of the beast. Here in the Notes we’ll show you this week’s posting schedule, but first, a little Seafood for Thought.
I am a really big fan of what Marvel is doing right now. Not necessarily with the movies or television, which have been a hit or miss endeavor (the TV more hit than miss, comparatively), but with their comics. Like DC, Marvel has been a victim of its own creative success. There is only so much innovation one can do with the super hero formula when you are telling stories about the same characters for decades. But recently Marvel has been on an uptick, because it has finally been willing to allow its comics to admit that time is moving forward, and that means it is time to tell new stories about new and more diverse characters. Marvel has finally realized that, while there is the need for stories about Captain America, there is no longer a need stories about the same Captain America, so Sam Wilson has taken up Steve Rogers’s mantle. This is not an isolated incident, as Jane Foster has taken Thor’s place as, well, Thor (yeah, that one is a little confusing, but old Thor is now just Odinson); Keskel’s favorite comic book heroine, X-23, has become the new Wolverine, and Amadeus Cho has become the new Hulk. More importantly, there has been little indication that a lot of this won’t stick long term, which means you can invest in these new versions of characters without worry that they will just be reverted back to normal in a year or so.
Marvel’s commitment to really opening up the stories they are willing to tell has made it an exciting time to read mainstream comics again. Couple this with the diversity really starting to take root in their comics, and suddenly the Marvel universe is starting to have heroes who actually reflect the world we all live in, as opposed to a bunch of white dudes saving the day. Plus, Marvel has finally highlighted the best super hero ever, Squirrel Girl, so it really is a great time to start reading comics again!
From the depths of the Kraken, here is what we are bringing you this week.
- The Kraken demanded a Christmas tree this week. Today instead of posting we’ll be figuring out how to teleport the right in the right tree without creating an horrific man/tree hybrid, or Brundletree.
- This week instead of The Screening Room, we have a special treat: the First Annual Black List Awards, a humorous take on the best, worst, and punniest of the 2015 edition of this list of popular unproduced screenplays.
- We finally found a tree, but the Kraken’s demands continues. Now he wants decorations. Nothing new today, for we toil in the tinsel mines and popcorn fields. We are weary–so weary, and so sparkly. And oh God, the butter.
- TV Roulette is in a bit of a doldrums right now, with most shows on hiatus, but that doesn’t mean the writing stops, so this week David takes a look at The Goldbergs. It will be a rerun, but that doesn’t mean the analysis can’t be fun.
- The Kraken figured out how to make the tree grow three sizes bigger, just like the Grinch’s heart. Unfortunately, that leaves us with three times the work. Feel free to peruse our archives while we climb ladders and hang ornaments, each larger and more precarious than the last. Someday soon this festive horror will end, but that day is not today.
- Baturdays continues with Detective Comics #36, which introduces Dr. Hugo Strange, who it turns out is a sinister villain. As Dinosaur Comics put it, the name was kind of a giveaway.
- Nothing But Trash once again follows up Heat Guy J with more Heat Guy J. We desperately tried to convince Sam to stop for his own sanity, but he insists that now that he has started, this must be finished. We admire his courage, but worry for his soul.
Spotlight on Blogs Past:
Not content with one deep dive into a Hayao Miyazaki film, David also took a look at Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Miyazaki’s second movie (but first original film) goes even further into establishing Miyazaki’s style and template going forward than did The Castle of Cagliostro, while also introducing the great animator’s interest in the fantastic and environmental concerns that would define his career.
Catch of the Week:
Each and every week the residents here in the Kraken will offer one recommendation for the week that we think you all would enjoy. It might be a movie. It might be a book. Who knows? This is your… Catch of the Week.
David: As I mentioned above, Squirrel Girl is amazing. So this week I recommend you read The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 1 and 2, the first two volumes of an ongoing comic series written by the brilliant Ryan North and drawn by Erica Henderson. This comic is funny, extremely pop culture aware, and meta in all the best ways. It is a real treat for comic and non-comic fans alike.
Kyu: As December continues, so too my podcast recommendations. This week I’m pitching the Dungeons and Dragons real-play podcast Drunks and Dragons. The foundation of a little homegrown podcasting empire, Geekly Inc., this ‘cast is as popular as it is irreverent. Dungeon master Michael “Thrifty Nerd” DiMauro guides a recurring cast through a long-running, hilarious adventure in the fantasy world of “Drunkeros.” I never played DnD in high school, but listening to the nearly 150 episodes (and counting) of this ridiculously funny group’s campaign makes me wish I had.
Keskel: This week, I recommend Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, genuinely compelling television based on a dystopian sci-fi novel about an alternate 1960s where the Axis won WWII. It’s well directed and well written, and manages to have just as much political complexity as the novel it’s based on, with almost as much of Philip K. Dick’s metaphysical weirdness.
That’s it for this week. We hope you continue to find the Kraken to your liking. Be advised, it is best not to get too close to his tree. It has taken a life of is own, and its favorite food is passers-by, so let’s try to keep the casualties to a minimum.