Here, we see Sarah Palin (in Superhero costume, no less) busting out of a coffin set against a hellish background where Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Levi Johnston are scared to death by her appearance. She looks determined; eyes set on some distant goal. Has she come to save us or to destroy us?
Blue Water Comics' Female Force: Sarah Palin, Take 2, "focuses on Palin's life after the 2008 presidential elections. The book examines the reasons behind Palin's increasing celebrity, and the threat that she might pose to both Democrats and mainstream Republicans should she decide to run in 2012." Blue Water Comics' promo concludes with, "Both the Female Force and Political Power biography comic book series strive to present even-handed stories of prominent individuals responsible for shaping the political and cultural landscape," so I wouldn't expect the book to portray Palin any more violently -- heroically, if you prefer -- than she is portrayed on the book's cover.
Comic books -- graphic novels, if you prefer -- are thought by some (parental units) to be violent. But the "violence" of comic books is stylized violence, which some (vermin intellectuals, a.k.a. elites) call "aestheticized violence." Stylized violence is the heart and soul of Superhero comics. Superheroes survive villians' knockout, fatal blows and use their supernatural powers to defeat their adversaries. The books' theme is classic Good vs. Evil, at times drawn in graphic black and white.
Frank Miller's Sin City appeared about twenty years ago and was adapted to film in 2005. Many, if not all, of the characters are criminals and may not be, strictly speaking, superheroes, but they are able to survive incredible violence and come back for another beating, bullet or blade. There are "good" criminals; when everyone is a criminal, aren't there bound to be "good" and "bad" criminals? It's a black and white film, with a little color used to draw attention to a character in each of its many episodes: red in The Customer Is Always Right, blonde in The Hard Goodbye, ... . Excellent!
In the mid-eighties, Watchmen was written by Alan Moore, drawn by Dave Gibbons and colored by John Higgins. A film adaptation of Watchmen appeared in 2009. The film portrays Superheroes in several lights: flawed good-guys, vigilantes and has-beens. The film is set in the mid-eighties, when Nixon -- believe it or not! -- is in his fifth term. The Blu-ray set contains some extra clips with an interview in which the comparison of Superheroes with vigilantes is made explicit. Until seeing that particular interview, I had forgotten that the mid-eighties were a time when the "Subway Shooter" and "Guardian Angels" flourished. Another extra clip attempts to discourage kids from becoming a Superhero or pretending to be one.
But one teenage boy does decide to play Superhero. Mark Millar and John Romita created Kick-Ass in 2008, and it was adapted to film this year. The film's stars are "Big Daddy" (Nicolas Cage) and "Hit-Girl" (Chloe Moretz). Hit-Girl is a young femme fatale (she's eleven), and the film was criticized for her profanity and violence, but it is stylized violence (could anyone do and survive what she did?), so I have to give her (and the film) a "You go, girl!" rating. "Kick-Ass" (Aaron Johnson) is the boy who pretends to be a Superhero.
Kill Bill, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino of Pulp Fiction fame, didn't originate in comics, but is a wonderful revenge story in which "The Bride" (Uma Thurman) avenges a wedding massacre as she searches for "Bill" (David Carradine). One rather lengthy display of The Bride's martial arts prowess and sword-fighting skill culminates in a beautiful scene (the sword fight with "O-Ren Ishi" (Lucy Liu)) that looks as though it could have been filmed in a snow globe. In another scene, The Bride's family values become apparent as she and "Vernita Green" (Vivaca Fox) engage in a knife fight. And, in yet another scene, you can witness an assassin's compassion: Sent to kill The Bride, "Karen Kim" (Helen Kim) walks away during a tense standoff after she learns "The Bride" is pregnant. During the film, "Bill" reveals a great secret about Superheroes when he tells how Superman differs from other Superheroes. You'll have to watch the whole film to learn what that secret is.
So, I've given you some movie tips for the holidays. What are you going to do? Read Sarah Palin's new book or watch some kick-ass movies? All of these movies are ones I'll watch again.
I am indebted to 0>w/hole>1 for the busting-out-of-a-coffin insight and a correction concerning the number of terms Richard Nixon had served in 1985.
Democratic Debate Open Thread. Update!
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