Picks of the Week

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The picks of the week from around the web.

  • The Underground Hip Hop Collection. Check out this cool blog offering lots of great hip hop, especially from the early 90s, when hip hop was experiencing the kind of optimism combined with trepidation of becoming a major pop culture phenomenon. An astonishingly creative period. Bonus for comics fans: identify the artists of two of the classic covers reproduced above.
  • Russel Keaton’s Superman. The disclosure of fascinating documents on the birth of Superman continues, this time with a concept outline and a number of sample strips that writer Jerry Siegel did with the now entirely forgotten cartoonist Russel Keaton, before the character debuted in Action Comics #1, drawn by Joe Shuster (Warning: PDF).
  • Ghostface Killah excised from Iron Man! This deleted scene from the Iron Man movie is not essential in any way, except for the inherent greatness of having none other than Wu-Tang’s Pretty Tony appear in a cameo, in an entirely appropriate role entertaining appropriately supreme clientele.
  • For syns skyld

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    Den danske tegner Rikke Lindskov Loft, alias ‘Gwennafran’, har netop postet et indlæg ovre på Seriejournalens board, hvor hun kommenterer dele af den etablerede danske tegneseriekulturs forsømmelse af den nye mainstream: mangaen. Ansporet af Simon Petersens kommentar i sin seneste klumme om, at de unge manga-inspirerede tegnere glimrede ved deres fravær på forsommerens tegneseriefestival Komiks.dk, skriver Gwennafran bl. a.:

    Picks of the Week

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    The picks of the week from around the web.

  • L’affaire Siné. This is a good article on the firing of cartoonist Siné from French bi-weekly Charlie Hebdo, apparently over insulting the son of President Sarkozy, followed by allegations of anti-semitism, and provides some context to us who are puzzled how a magazine known as a bastion of freedom of speech in satire (famously so in the Muhammed cartoon case) suddenly fires one of its mainstays over what must be termed a trifle.
  • The Siegel-Detective Comics correspondence. (Warning: PDF). Unquestionably the find of the week. These documents from the early days of Superman are fascinating for the insight they provide into editorial policy at the time, as well as the concrete issues at stake between the creators of Superman and the company that ripped them off over it. Tom Spurgeon has a succint piece of commentary up, too.
  • Writings on The Dark Knight. The new Batman movie has been the most talked-about movie of the summer, and some people have said interesting and intelligent things, amongst them are Charles Reece and John Barnes. Check them out if you liked the film. UPDATE: David Bordwell has a post up too, of course.
  • Orwell: Bookshop Memories. Great little essay on working in a bookstore by a master of the form.
  • Woodring Ephemera and Simulacra. A cool collection of little-seen work by the great Jim Woodring and an inspired application of his imagination to the real world (or is it the other way round?) Thanks, Flog!
  • Skrull Kill Crew

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    A good deal is being written about the entertaining but rather haphazardly structured and at times unintentionally puzzling summer event from Marvel, Secret Invasion, but I haven’t seen anyone mention the one thing that immediately bothered me about the series: the completely unassuming and natural way in which the superheroes kill the Skrull enemies en masse.

    Isaac Hayes 1942-2008

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    Isaac Hayes is gone. And not to Phoenix, this time. It’s a hard goodbye for this listener. Inspired by the great artists who sampled him — Public Enemy on “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos”, Big Daddy Kane on “Smooth Operator”, The Jungle Brothers’ on “Behind the Bush”, Massive Attack on “One Love”, Compton’s Most Wanted on “The Hood Took Me Under”, The Geto Boys on “Mind’s Playin’ Tricks on Me”, etc. — I started seeking him out sometime in the early 90s, and his music became formative to my appreciation of soul music.

    Hayes was the whole package. A writer of great songs, especially the early sixties when he and co-writer David Porter provided Sam and Dave with their two biggest hits, “Soul Man” and “(Hold on) I’m Coming.” A fine instrumentalist, especially on the keyboard. But first and foremost he was a composer, arranger and producer, notable for taking often relatively banal material and crafting soul masterpieces from it. And then there was his voice. Though never a singer of great nuance, he brought a form of high pathos to his love songs that imbued the emotions expressed with an epic sense, without ever losing that loving feeling.

    Picks of the Week

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    The picks of the week from around the web.

    Lots this week:

  • New York Times: “The Trolls Among Us.” Great article on professional internet trolls. Whither Stewart Brand?
  • KRS-One & DJ Revolution: “The DJ”. Legendary MC Kris Parker is sounding better than he has in a long time on this sequel to his classic track “The MC”, breaking down the characteristics of a real DJ.
  • Watchmen Roundtable. One of the great early interviews with Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons on their masterpiece Watchmen, which originally ran in Fantasy Advertiser #100 (1988). Essential reading for fans of the comic. Also, by all means, do check out this clip of Moore talking about his favourite superhero. UPDATE: Also, check out this fine interview with Moore on the craft of writing comics, originally published in 2002.
  • Love & Rockets! Live audio from the spotlight panels on master cartoonists Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez on this year’s San Diego Comicon.
  • Jeet Heer: “Solzhenitsyn as a Soviet Writer.” A concise critical assessment of the literary achievement of one of the most influential authors of the 20th Century on the occasion of his passing last week.
  • Ludacris “Politics 2008”. In case you missed it, Luda’s rather silly, but funny Obama rap that had the conservative pundits up in arms and got the presumptive nominee’s campaign scrambling to dissociate last week.
  • Vanity Fair: “Believe me, it’s torture.” Christopher Hitchens gets waterboarded.