Friday, January 27, 2017

Some interesting links

Here's an essay on the old Death of Superman storyline from '92 by Stephen Sonneveld of Sequart. Sonneveld places the story in the context of the decade that produced it and the contemporary comic trends. Here's a bit worth quoting:

Superman would meet his end not by an egotistical genius or an intergalactic despot, but by an unfeeling force of nature that lived solely to rampage. For all of Superman’s compassion, he could not reason with this beast. For all of his ingenuity, he could not outsmart this gray behemoth. Winds change and tornadoes destroy. Plates shift and the earth quakes. Doomsday runs free and great heroes die.
His craggy appearance notwithstanding, there was √©lan to this idea. It is difficult to say if the public response would have been so strong had the fatal blow been delivered by a recurring villain. To most outsiders, it probably would have seemed like comic book business as usual. But the fact that this “devil ex machina” was created for the singular purpose of killing Superman again invoked the sense that this character, above all others in the medium, was on par with the myths of old – with the Greek pantheon whose threads were cut by the sisters Fate; the damned Norsemen facing Ragnarok.
In popular terms, for this brief moment, Doomsday was Superman’s greatest villain.

And an examination of one of my favorite movies over at the AV Club: Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation. It's a movie whose whole plot and character development hinge on the pronunciation of a single word. The essay's part of that publication's running feature about winners at the Cannes Film Festival. I spent a couple of nights in Cannes back in 2006, unrelated to the film festival. My wife and I were taking trains all around Europe, and that's where we decided to stay. It was during the World Cup. We'd been in Germany a week before when Germany won a big game. then we'd gone to Italy when Italy won in the semi-finals. We were sure France was going to win the final because it fit the pattern, but Italy won.

Speaking of France:  I just finished Vincent Mahe's 750 Years in Paris, which chronicles the development, destruction, redevelopment, etc. of a single building in that city, through a bunch of major historical events, beginning with the Knights Templar marching through town in 1265. If you're into Here by MacGuire, this is a nice way to follow up on it.

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