Yesterday I hit 7,000 views. Yay! I feel like it’s a great accomplishment.
At the same time I acknowledge I haven’t been as productive lately in a meaningful way. These new views are mostly coasting off prior postings and not recent ones. So, while I said I was going to make an effort to post regularly-that didn’t happen. It’s hard to juggle this being a grad student and the various other little parts of my life. Basically, I need to rethink how I go about this.
First off, I’m interested in working with others who want to produce written or in other media formats. Also, linking this more with the work I do in grad school so that way it feels less as a distraction. But, I’m open to suggestions and I’d love to hear from you.
Otherwise, I am planning (and hoping) to have a video out over the break.
When I originally started to do work on the predecessor to this current blog, I started with comics. Reviewing them and talking about them. The medium is one I love for what it can do. While I got more and more involved with comics themselves, I realized I was developing a strained relationship with a major component of the medium. Specifically, I have multiple issues with the major two companies (as well as, to a lesser extent, smaller companies), Marvel and DC. In the world of comics readers, there is a visible tension of preference between the two, and while certain points of the arguments are valid, most are moot as the companies are virtually the same. I’ve touched on this before, so if you want to see what I’ve to say about that, you can check it out here.
Since then, my apathy and general lack of care for these companies has grown. So much so, that I didn’t just quit reading titles from these companies, but I just didn’t think about them. Recently, I’ve tried to be reflexive on why I made this decision, and so I decided to share it. These are the reasons I ‘quit’ reading mainstream comics:
1) The Staleness of the IPs:
Out of all the reasons for me to stop reading comics, this one comes most from being a fan of the medium. In recent years, both Marvel and DC have tried to ‘reinvent’ themselves in new images. The biggest reason is that they needed to create new audiences. The recent successes of comic book film adaptations have also put pressure on the print publications of the titles. In this pseudo-progression of the images, both companies have attempted to try new things. However, what mostly comes out is a regurgitation of existing narratives and tropes. The existing IPs are running out of stories to tell and they need to totally overhauled in a way the industry may not be ready for.
2) Drowning in Cross-Over Events
I’ll be honest, I hate cross-over events. They’re pointless and only attempt to give a temporary change to the status quo, to only revert back to it in a later event. Marvel is especially guilty of this. The point being, regardless of the company, these events deter from the main narratives of existing characters and primarily exist to sell more comics. I believe, comic titles used to be stronger when they were at an individual level and other characters would have cameo appearances. While I appreciate the world-building components of the film franchises, where I think this type of story type has been working, in print it’s just awful, and at best, boring.
3) Creator’s Rights
Seriously, authors should own what they make. I’m not sure how to expand on this one really, because I think it’s clear. Characters and stories belong to individuals, not companies.
4) Depictions of Marginalized Groups
If I had to give one reason for giving up mainstream comics, this would be it. I’m completely aware that this is my own opinion, but, I feel like the mainstream comics of today are just as racist, sexist, homophobic, and discriminatory as they’ve been in the past. I’ve written before on the trend of capitalizing on LBGT movements in comics. That post contained a specific case study on my reasoning, but the general tone of it can be applied to most marginalized groups depicted in comics. For every Women in Refrigerators critique being made, there’s a case of it being done. Printed oppression in mainstream comics is cyclical. At the very best, we see progression, not because the publishers are seeking to be agents of change, but because they can capitalize upon social change movements being visible in the larger society.
Those are my core reasons for quitting mainstream comics. I understand there are deviations from these companies based on what I listed. For example, I think the death of Ultimate universe Peter Parker was for the better, as we can see a well-written biracial character in Miles Morales in Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. While I say I gave up on these publishers, I do still think there’s a place for their older works (as long as there’s acknowledgement of their own issues). There’s also some interesting work in the imprints (such as Vertigo), where creator rights have some presence.
But really, all of these issues are less present (but not absent) in the ‘more independent’ publishers. The characters and stories there are just as good, if not better, than what’s going on with Marvel and DC. I’m glad I moved on.
This is Part 2 of my quick reviews of Billboard’s Top 100 Pop songs of 2012. If you want to see what I thought of the first quarter of the hits, then click the link below and check it out. Now for the rest…
#75: Pound the Alarm by Nicki Minaj – The chorus has a nice hook. But I’m not a fan of what’s going on in the rest of the song. Borderline Rihanna knock-off track.
#74: Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love) by Ne-Yo – I know this song is really popular right now (or at least was), but I don’t see the appeal. It’s kind of boring and doesn’t really offer anything.
#73: Work Hard, Play Hard by Wiz Khalifa – Not as bad as other Wiz Khalifa songs I’ve heard, but it doesn’t do much for me. Also, the chorus chant is kind of silly.
#72: Climax by Usher – Another track that doesn’t immediately grab me. However, Usher’s singing here is top notch and definitely worth a mention.
#71: Rolling in the Deep by Adele – It was good last year, still good, especially with the luxury of not being overplayed.
#70: Blown Away by Carrie Underwood – I like what Carrie Underwood does with her music, though, while I don’t think this song is great, it has features of it that make it stand out.
#69: Paradise by Coldplay - I have the feeling this song will play quietly in some random dentist’s office in a few years. It’s that kind of song.
#68: Ho Hey by The Lumineers - I like this song, but only complaint is the ho’s and heys that are prolific.
#67: Pontoon by Little Big Town – Nothing too exciting here.
#66: Good Girl by Carrie Underwood – I did enjoy this one.
#65: Let’s Go by Calvin Harris ft. Ne-Yo – The flow of this good. It starts off nicely, but by the end is a tad repetitive.
#64: Rumor Has It by Adele - I didn’t know the Eurythmics were making a comeback…Wait…Seriously, the song is good, though I prefer the verses to the chorus.
#63: Work Out by J. Cole – Good flow in the chorus, but the verses just lose me.
#62: Back in Time by Pitbull – I hate the lyrics, or rather find them hilarious. I do like the sample and feel it could’ve been more effective elsewhere.
#61: Stereo Hearts by Gym Class Heroes ft. Adam Levine – This song is bland.
#60: Not Over You by Gavin DeGraw – Somewhere in-between boring and decent.
#59: Brokenhearted by Karmin – A mixture of the blandest elements of Ke$ha and Katy Perry.
#58: Springsteen by Eric Church – As a Springsteen fan, I found this song to be very…bland. Big surprise, huh?
#57: Dance (A$$) by Big Sean ft. Nicki Minaj – How did this even chart this high? This must be a joke.
#56: Don’t Wake Me Up by Chris Brown – Alright. If you say so, Chris.
#55: Want U Back by Cher Lloyd – Annoying. Definitely not my thing.
#54: No Lie by 2 Chainz ft. Drake – Bleh.
#53: Drunk on You by Luke Bryan – It doesn’t do it for me. More mediocre country music.
#52: Wanted by Hunter Hayes – More mediocrity.
#51: Ass Back Home by Gym Class Heroes ft. Neon Hitch – Even more mediocrity.
Well, that was Part 2 of my look at Billboard’s Top 100 pop hits from 2012. Check back soon for Part 3!
Once again, I take a look at the Top 100 year-end pop songs from Billboard magazine. This is my third year-in-a-row of doing this. I started doing this as a way of rethinking my relationship with music that is popular and personally digesting what’s changing or out there in a space I don’t normally inhabit. So, again, here is my take on this year’s Top 100. I focus on the songs themselves versus their music videos or other connections they’ve established. Each song gets a short blurb on my opinion. And, that’s about it. Here it goes:
#100: Burn it Down by Linkin Park – I really don’t understand the appeal of Linkin Park today. I feel like I’ve heard this song several times before. Admittedly, it’s not awful, just not original or all that good.
#99: Even if it Breaks Your Heart by Eli Young Band – I’m not too big on popular country music, however, this one is tolerable. Just not special.
#98: Fly Over States by Jason Aldean – And this is the type of country music that I gloss over. It’s really forgettable.
#97: Adorn by Miguel – Not awful. Just boring.
#96: Somethin’ ’bout A Truck by Kip Moore – More boring country music. This time around the lyrics of the song are somewhat hilarious. There are so many stereotypes about country music in this song.
#95: Hard to Love by Lee Brice – This year’s country music is bland. Another boring song.
#94: Diamonds by Rihanna – I have mixed feelings about this song. For every good part of this song, there’s mediocre things. As such, I’ll say it’s alright. Probably the best of the songs so far.
#93: I Don’t Want this Night to End by Luke Bryan – This seems like a variation of Fly Over States. Just as mediocre and boring.
#92: Cashin’ Out by Ca$h Out – Clever. This song is two letters from being just your name. This song is outdated and pretty bad. #91: It’s Time by Imagine Dragons -The lyrics are kind of dull, but there’s something appealing to this song. The chorus has a nice hook.
#90: We Run the Night by Havana Brown ft. Pitbull – This song proves repetition and echo is the key to success. Instead of bland country music there is bland club music.
#89: You Da One by Rihanna – There is little personality to this song and loses any of the impact that made Diamonds have any sort of appeal.
#88: Take A Little Ride by Jason Aldean – Another bland country song. This guy is sure good at them.
#87: A Thousand Years by Christina Perri – Dear God, this song is sappy. This is the music of Twilight generation.
#86: 5 O’Clock by T-Pain ft. Wiz Khalifa and Lily Allen – I can appreciate the camp of T-Pain and I genuinely like T-Pain, but this song does not work. It has bad pacing and takes itself too serious. The Wiz Khalifa verse doesn’t work either.
#85: Die Young by Ke$ha – I’m no fan of Ke$ha, but I must admit this isn’t her worst. In fact, I’d say it’s a decent club song. There are few lines that reek of standard Ke$ha, but the rest is different for her. Not special, but certainly not horrible.
#84: Turn Up the Music by Chris Brown – This song sounds like a mess. Whatever happened in production went horribly wrong.
#83: Love You Like a Love Song by Selena Gomez and The Scene – Not awful. Just forgettable.
#82: Red Solo Cup by Toby Keith – This country song actually sounds different. However, it feels more like a novelty song than an actual pop song.
#81: 50 Ways to Say Goodbye by Train – Train is another one of those artists I don’t get. The verses all sound like they borrowed a medley from The Phantom of the Opera. As for the chorus, it sounds like a rehash of their earlier single Drive By. Bleh.
#80: So Good by B.o.B – Not my favorite B.o.B track. The verses are fun, but the chorus is just alright. It’s a decent track altogether though.
#79: Birthday Cake by Rihanna ft. Chris Brown – This song is awful. Not only for the match-up of artists, but musically and lyrically horrid.
#78: Drank in My Cup by Kirko Bangz – Not horrid, but definitely not good. The lyrics are pretty awful. A Drake imitator of mediocre quality.
#77: Heart Attack by Trey Songz – Meh. Not as bad as Drank in My Cup. It’s just boring.
#76: Come Over by Kenny Chesney – Not a horrible mellow-ish country song. Just doesn’t do it for me.
And that’s the first part of my look at this year’s Top 100 pop songs. The next one will be up here soon.
If you want to check out my previous year-end Top 100 reviews you can find them below:
For those who more routinely follow this blog you would’ve noticed that there haven’t been any posts for a good while. And you would be right. I’m still adjusting to working graduate school in my schedule and thus haven’t paid as much attention to my blog as I should have been. Because of my new lifestyle the postings of this will change with the new year. In the meantime here’s some updates:
*I have now reached over 5k page views! And well on the way to 6k.
*No new posts until next year. In the future there will also be no more comic reviews, instead posts will be more general themed.
*However, I’m continuing my third annual quick review of all year-end Billboard Hot 100 pop songs. This will be posted this year.
*There will hopefully be more videos next year.
*A facebook page for ‘Nalvic Reviews’ is being considered for the future.
If you have any comments, suggestions, or feedback of the direction this site should take please let me know. I’d love to hear them.
I was at a point where I was trying to find new things to read that were interesting in comics. I looked specifically by publisher and stumbled upon Jason (the link has nothing to do with the creator and is only meant for fun). Jason’s The Last Musketeer stood out quickly with its quirky cover. It details said musketeer’s journey into space as he encounters robots and aliens.
As you can probably tell just by that short description, The Last Musketeer is full of weird things. It’s less about the meaning and depth of the adventure, but about how exciting and fun that adventure is. And Jason certainly captures that feeling. This book is just fun to read.
Jason’s art is definitely the big draw for the work (this seems to be a trend I have in what I read). The figures and backgrounds are simplistic. Everything is given a nice sense of lightness to it that helps create the fun read. The addition of colors by Hubert is excellent. They’re vibrant and really add to that feeling of lightness and fun.
If I had to find one fault with the work it’d be its length. One could finish this book in about one bus commute. I do recommend this though if you’re into quirky adventure comics that are just about being fun. The art is really fun to look at too. Because of its length I suggest checking it out from your local library, especially since it runs over $10. Regardless of how you read it, it’s a fun story with fun art to match.
The Last Musketeer is owned by Jason, who serves as writer and artist. Hubert is the colorist. It’s published by Fantagraphics.
Kingdom Come is an anomaly of sorts. It’s the one ‘Elseworlds’ DC title that gains significant attention. Most of this comes from the art from Alex Ross, but also from the writing of Mark Waid, who was at a turning point of sorts in his comic writing career. Kingdom Come essentially tells the story of a brewing superhero war between veteran heroes, such as Superman, and the younger vigilante heroes, and others, like Batman, trying to contain the whole conflict. After several repeated suggestions to read it, I got around to reading it and now (finally) reviewing it.
The writing comes from a collaboration between Waid and Ross. As someone who doesn’t read the titles associated with most of the heroes depicted, I found myself enjoying their stories. Most of this comes from that fact that Kingdom Come is an ‘Elseworlds’ title and doesn’t fit in the main DC canon. While some understanding of the characters is useful, it’s not necessary. It’s easy to jump into for the casual reader. It’s an engrossing story and one of the best of the ‘crossover’ variety. Kingdom Come is one of the best reads I’ve had with a DC book.
The main hook for Kingdom Come is Alex Ross’ painting. Ross uses strong details for all the characters. It definitely gives the feel that Ross is creating a realistic vision of superheroes. I personally can only take so much Ross-painting (as I don’t necessarily pursue ‘realism’ in comics), but it works really well in Kingdom Come. It works better than his earlier artwork in Marvels. Ross’ colors are at their necessary levels throughout the book. Everything is conveyed with a sense of real-ness to it. Ross poured a ton of energy into the book and it really shows.
Kingdom Come is a book I’d recommend to every fan of, or someone interested in, superhero comics (regardless if they’re a DC fan). It’s definitely something that deserves to be to read for the demographic. The narrative is compelling and interesting. The art is strong, with a heavy emphasis on realism. Without a doubt, Kingdom Come is the best of what ‘Elseworlds’ has to offer.
Kingdom Come is owned by DC Comics. Both Mark Waid and Alex Ross contributed to writing, Ross serves as artist.