Friday, November 19, 2010

Sarah Palin: Superhero (?!)

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.


0>w/hole>1 said...

Is that a coffin she's climbing out of?

0>w/hole>1 said...

Also, Nixon's in his 5th term in the Watchmen:

Joie Vouet said...

0>w/hole>1, that does look like it could be a coffin. So, she's a Zombie ... Night of The Living Dead!


I thought I heard third term in the movie, but here is a clickable link for the one you posted. That makes sense, because thinking about his third term in 1985 confused me a bit. I'll make a correction. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Read her book?...snowzilla hasnt even read her ghostwritten book!

A station in KY did a poll re a bookstore in KY; how many will go see her and buy the book. the VAST majority, like 4-1 said 'I wouldnt go if the book was free'. LOL.

Joie Vouet said...

The flag and dark wood do suggest a coffin. Something could be done with a coffin ... We're in hell? ... Sarah Palin has just joined us ...

Tomorrow is another day, but I did change "busting through a flag" to "busting out of a coffin" ...

Thanks, 0>w/hole>1!


The somewhat abrubt transition to "Kill Bill" could be smoothed with something about an older (than "Hit-Girl") femme fatale.

rj said...

The coffin is torn like it is made of sheet metal, not wood.

rj said...

P.S. Thin, cheap sheet metal.

nswfm said...

I just came back from the movie theater, so as much as I love books, I'm not going to read her so-called book.

Funny, I thought there was going to be some reference to KY Jelly when I started to read the last couple of comments.

nswfm said...

I will say this, though, an artist friend of mine has photo shopped her book cover and included some of my art direction. But it was his words I read, not what they put out as the preview of the book cover.

Joie Vouet said...

Gawker has been sued for copyright infringement over the publication of excerpts from Palin's new book. The NY Daily News has a story stating that her publisher is seeking financial damages.

The AP's article mentions that Palin praises the movies "Juno," ''Knocked Up" and "40-Year-Old Virgin" in the book. I've seen "40-Year-Old Virgin" at the library and, possibly, "Knocked Up." I'll have to check them out, watch them with my Sarah Sense turned-up (down?), then write about them.

nswfm said...

Whoa, 21 pages is considered SUBSTANTIAL? Out of how many? 22? Or 232? Doesn't say much for that tree-massacre, does it?

Joie Vouet said...

In one of the scenes (I should really call it an episode) of Kill Bill, The Bride is buried alive, in a coffin, underground. She gets out!
That's much more difficult than how Sarah Palin breaks out of the coffin on the comic book's cover.

She breaks out because she learned a secret martial arts move. She learns it in another episode and surprises Bill with it in yet another episode.

0>w/hole>1 said...

You're welcome. :)

I paraphrase someone else on the 'tubes when I say I'd rather scoop out my eyes with a melon baller than read Mooseburger's latest penny dreadful.

I might try to see the rest of HBO's Pacific over the holidays, unless Machete's been released yet.