The past seven days have been just full in my area of the world: some pretty dingy lows and some incredible highs. My brain is so ready for my upcoming two-week holiday I spent two hours napping instead of doing anything actually productive, like, say, writing a column. Never one to completely shirk responsibility, I have put together 100-word summaries of three of my favourite pop culture offerings from the past week.
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Comics: When Grant Morrison & Cameron Stewart’s Seaguy came out, my first impression was that it was incomprehensible but beautiful. It still looks fantastic; Stewart’s art is action-packed and gorgeously illustrated, with panels that feel like subtle homages to artists like Darick Robertson and Dave Stevens. As I’ve gained a little more perspective, though, the story has become clearer, and I was surprised how much sense it made underneath the Morrison “wackiness,” especially in issue two. The book knocked me to my knees on a second read, and I now have a greater appreciation for Seaguy’s inevitable struggle. A must-read book.
Comics: Another comic that is even better with a little distance is Warren Ellis & Colleen Doran’s Orbiter, a love letter to space exploration. In a dystopian future where no one goes to space anymore, a lost space shuttle returns to earth after 10 years, covered in what looks like skin and with only one crew member on board. Yeah, it’s Warren Ellis all right, but there’s a desperate love and yearning here that makes it more than just a “cool experiment.” Doran’s amazing touch with facial expressions give the characters depth and gravity, and Dave Stewart’s colours add a huge punch.
Music: Neko Case’s The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, which is 19 words right there, is a complete powerhouse of an album. The first track “Wild Creatures,” an echoing rocker with lyrics that cut me to the quick, sets up the listener for a deep and soulful listening experience. “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu” is another standout; an a cappella track that captures both crushing defeat and powerful affirmation of life. It’s bombastic and brutal, an embarrassment of riches, and eminently re-listenable. In my eyes it’s the highlight of Case’s amazing catalogue.
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I honestly think it was harder to limit myself to exactly 100 words than to have no limits, but that was a fun exercise in brevity (for a change). I’m taking the next two weeks off for Christmas and a skiing trip so until next time, have a freaking blast, everyone. I’ll see you in 21 days.