Monday is Frank Miller’s birthday. Whether you’re a comic book fan or not, if you’re at all familiar with Christopher Nolan’s Batman films (Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher’s Bat-movies were influenced as well), Netflix’s Daredevil series (and the Ben Affleck film), or the Sin City movies, you know Miller’s work.
The legendary comic book creator turns 63, and he’s still producing work. As could be expected, he’s no longer the prolific illustrator he once was, but is still writing Batman and Superman stories for DC Comics, and illustrating stories in his 300 mythology for Dark Horse Comics.
The Dark Knight Returns is one of my favorite stories throughout all of the movies, TV, and books I’ve enjoyed and studied in my life. An aging Batman’s regret over allowing The Joker to continue his murderous reign of crime was one of the most powerful elements of that story.
Sad to hear that Peter Mayhew, known largely as the actor who portrayed Chewbacca in five Star Wars films, passed away this week at the age of 71. Yet Mayhew’s death occurring two days before “Star Wars Day” (May the 4th be with you) probably resulted in even more attention and appreciation for his career than it otherwise may have received.
But maybe not. Chewbacca was a beloved, iconic character in the most famous movie franchise of all time (well, until Marvel and the Avengers came along). Mayhew’s death was going to be news. But a community came together online and in person, due to social media and Star Wars Day, to express their affection, which made it just that much more special.
Growing up with Star Wars (though I often recap my love of comic books and superheroes more), Han Solo was the coolest character for me. Roguish, charming, a little bit unethical, but ultimately noble. He wore a slick vest and piloted the best starship in the galaxy. Yet as I got older (and old), I developed more affection for Chewbacca. And not just because I often express myself with roars and grunts too.
Free Comic Book Day is Saturday, May 4, and we talk to Scott Russell of Pastimes Comics and Games in Asheville, North Carolina about the business of running a comic book shop, how Free Comic Book Day affects it, and the overall health of the comics industry.
Scott is also The Podcass’s first interview! Hopefully, the first of many that eventually become a key part of the podcast. I want to talk to friends, colleagues, contemporaries, and others who I admire and make for compelling conversation. Thanks to Scott for his time, especially after an attempt to interview him for The Amusement Park Podcast fell through last November. I guess I have to keep giving him my money.
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I keep saying this isn’t a newsletter and have posted that content here instead. But the reasons I haven’t really followed through on trying to do a newsletter is a) not having anybody sign up would be kind of depressing and b) I’m not writing enough at other outlets to have anything to collect here.
Plus, I’m already asking people to subscribe to The Podcass, which friends and followers have been supporting nicely, and I’d really like that to do well. At some point, you all will just get sick of me tugging on your pant legs, right?
But here’s the thing: I miss the old days of blogging. With me writing less professionally, I need an outlet and I’m enjoying writing for fun again. The era of Blogger, LiveJournal and Tumblr has passed, but the spirit of blogging still seems to exist, if not the interactivity and sense of community. Maybe it’s just in newsletters and podcasts now.
So here we go. This is becoming a newsletter. I’ll try to get this out on Thursday or Friday, since a lot of newsletters go out on Sunday. Please subscribe to Overzealous Recycling at tinyletter.com/casselberry. And thank you in advance.
Ask me to name my favorite TV shows of all time and Deadwood would be one of the three I list. Yet with each passing year, my memories of the series fade. I could go back any time and watch the show on HBO GO, but haven’t done so. There’s too much other TV to watch now, and I can’t keep with it. Adding an old favorite to the mix would just complicate matters.
But now, Deadwood fans are finally getting the ending we were deprived of 13 years ago. Unfortunately, it won’t be the finale we really wanted. It’s not a full fourth season. It won’t even be the two movies that series creator David Milch and HBO once agreed to. This will be whatever Milch (with the help of True Detective‘s Nic Pizzolatto) could distill into one two-hour movie which takes places years after we last saw Seth Bullock, Al Swearengen, and so many other residents of Deadwood, South Dakota.
During the past couple of years, I’ve looked to the past to try and make the present happier. Getting back in touch with the things that once brought me joy could bring joy once again. Maybe that’s a form of regression. Maybe it’s a futile attempt to reminisce about simpler, more care-free times.
This has been on my mind for quite a while, but Meghan Daum’s recent essay on Medium got me thinking about it more. At 47, two years after her marriage ended, Daum is living much like she did as a 27-year-old. Is that always who she was, deep down, even when she tried to follow the path — career, marriage, etc. — to which we all aspire?
Maybe Rust Cohle was right. Time is a flat circle.
This week’s cover photo alludes to Bohemian Rhapsody‘s surprising Golden Globe Awards win for Best Picture – Drama. The voters of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association thought the Queen biopic was better than Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, A Star is Born and If Beale Street Could Talk. (I haven’t seen Beale Street yet, but hope to take care of that this weekend, now that it’s opened in Asheville.)
Obviously, this is all subjective and awards don’t matter that much, but come on. Bohemian Rhapsody was fun and a testament to the greatness of Queen’s music. But the narrative was a mess and the script played with the facts more than necessary. Yes, the re-enactment of Queen’s 1985 Live Aid performance was tremendous, even more so when you compare it to the real-life footage.
This isn’t even a concession to popular tastes. If so, wouldn’t Black Panther have won that award? Maybe the voters just got caught up in the music and Freddie Mercury’s story (regardless of how the movie portrayed it). Or we just chalk this up to being the Golden Globes and winners don’t linger in the memory as they do with the Academy Awards.
But if the award got you to listen to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “We Will Rock You” or “Radio Ga Ga” over the past week, that’s not a bad thing.