Why “memory pocket”

17 06 2006

After the initial entries, I forgot to say what the point of memory pocket is.

I have a notoriously bad memory, so this is a place for me to jot down notes and random thoughts that I want to hold onto. The search categories features certainly are useful in this regard.

So that’s it. This blog really isn’t designed for public consumption (although I won’t activate the password function, just in case something happens to me…), but as a running scratch pad. Expect infrequent entries.

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All-Star Batman & Robin

12 06 2006

Or, how I stopped worrying and learned to love my inner bastard

Frank Miller has returned to Batman after years and years, with his writing duties on All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder. (Issue #4 released about three weeks ago) It's had overwhelmingly negative reviews, this one at i-mockery being pretty representative.

Perhaps I enjoyed it more because I missed the first three issues and skipped straight to #4, where I JUST LOVE that Batman is such an arsehole. I've always had a love-hate relationship with Frank Miller's dark take on superheroes; when he's on target, he's revelatory, but he skirts so close to schlock that sometimes his dialogue falls dead flat. So, I'll stick with it for a few more issues.

(Jim Lee, however, is a major impediment to my really truly enjoying the comic. Why are all the women in his universe D-cups? And what's with the plunging necklines and obviously posed lingerie shots? This man's obsession with teen porn and providing fanservice singlehandedly killed the X-Men for me.)

Hmm, All Star Bats would seem to confirm a trend I've noticed in Miller, though, to write his heroes as increasingly violent, unsympathetic and (dare I say it) right-wing. I loved Dark Knight but grimaced through the sequel. Sin City took a million tries to produce two killer ideas (and they were the first two). And Miller served Daredevil well. But his writing has been more and more hamfisted of late. I guess I still hope he'll get back to his roots. Not that I want to return to the pre-Miller (i.e. '70s) Batman. Two words I will always dread: Jim Apparro. I could put up with Ra's Al Ghul and all that magic and Bats looking bug-eyed shocked every second panel and Bruce Wayne jetsetting everywhere and pretending he was a proper dork, and even — ugh! — falling in love twice a year. But seeing Batman smile out of the joy of his heart!? Don't get me wrong, but that Superfriends phase was just plain creepy. And then, in some other issue he's slumping to his knees and screaming at the injustice of it all? That's why I'll be forever in debt to Miller for clearing out all those New-Agey cobwebs from the character.

Now, as it turns out, I've always thought—superhero comics being a very American art form—that the indy titles that went against the grain and showed up supertypes as clumsy symbols of the myth of American exceptionalism were actually truer and more respectful to the genre. Of course, I'm thinking of Watchmen, but also V for Vendetta (Are these Morrison or Moore?). I'm afraid I never got into the recent run of Swamp Thing (the artwork is too busy, and the whole Cthulhu-lite is not pitched to me), but I read the early '90s version and that blew me away.

Morrison. Moore. Gaiman. The Brits really have left a huge stamp on comics.





The Revenge of Fu Manchu

11 06 2006

Facing certain death at the hands of MI6,
the inscrutable Fu Manchu
exhorted of his only-begotten son:
     Hold awhile.
     Beside you stands that timely chute
     chanson-sweet and escape route
     for young petals and hands
     and through it you must fly
     and I …

     hold awhile
     the chatter and jab of Empire's justice.
     For we will die like mirrors
     and gloatless pools
     and vanish
     though you in slow deliquescence.
     And so I say:
     Drink of My Bile
     Eat of My Learning
     and so affect the words of those foreign devils
     'mongst which I cast you to

     Eat / Drink / Remember.

But from the son in tow no tears were spread
of all-consuming loss or filial piety.
Perhaps his shaking hands were anticipating
the flat ductility of English sentiments
or the longed-for grain of those
glowing
pallid
pots of
British flesh.

© Tony Lee, October 2002





Collide

11 06 2006

Collide

The plain girl washes the room of mirrors, knows
too well the lies they hock. She had vowed

to gaze straight for once, attest to him the world
that wasn’t his. New Zealand nurtured her. China—

— is an economic powerhouse
And this minion of granmama’s, this
merchant tall for his race—his breath!Chou louh!

Old women talk of wedding plans, discreetly; they
employ the simple ‘twittering of sparrows.’

The man wants residency; his life is not his own.

The judge on TV finds for the husband, delivers
a short but tearful speech on morality,

swivels robot-like, targets her eyes (extreme
close-up). She knows this scene well: a shallow film.

Yet how could she have missed those incredible eyes?

(Chòu lóuh: rude; vulgar.)

© Tony Lee, October 2002