Derik Badman's Journal

2019-11-29 09:51

This review by Tegan O'Neil of Chris Ware's Rusty Brown really struck me. I've been debating whether to read the book or not. Ware is one of the greats in the field, but I accept more and more that he just isn't to my taste. O'Neil makes this statement:

The problem with Rusty Brown in 2019 is not that the book isn’t “good,” whatever the hell that means, but that it’s doing something not a lot of people in this field are going to find natural sympathy for in 2019 - this is, translating the idiom of mid-to-late century American realist fiction into the comics medium.

And that, in brief, summarizes my feeling. I'm not interested in that style of fiction. My touchstones of mid/late century American fiction are a mix of postmodern/metafiction and new wave science fiction (not to even get into non-American fiction like the oulipo and the nouveau roman), and despite his often experimental approach to his visual work, that's just not really the same genres as what Ware does. I think in another way, his super precise, flat drawing does not appeal to me. I can appreciate the skill of it, but it just doesn't excite me to look at it.

Regardless, I'll just borrow it from the library. It somehow feels like I shouldn't just ignore the book.

After almost 4 months of watching during lunch or while making dinner, I finished up my latest rewatch of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Still really enjoyed it, even when I knew all the major (and many minor) plot threads. It does get a little rushed in the final part of the last season as they try to resolve all the larger plot elements and provide various characters with some kind of final narrative resolution. At lot of the small B and C lines get jettisoned from the episodes, and some of the major results feel anticlimactic. In particular the resolution of the Captain Sisko and the Bajoran Prophets and Pah-Wraiths storyline feels like a long slow burn with an abrupt and sort of stupid ending. After spending all this time building to some kind of Pah-Wraith return and great evil, they are defeated by one guy pushing another guy and a book into a fire pit. It's like the writers ran out of time to make the climax match all that came before it, so they just made it all happen as quickly and simply as possible.

I also feel like the religious themes of the show felt rather one-sided. The Bajoran "Prophets" are from the beginning viewed as just some weird kind of alien by the non-Bajorans. They somehow exist out of time and live in a wormhole. Sisko over time basically shifts to the religious view of them. All the other non-Bajoran characters just... seem to stop caring, but act as if the aliens are still somehow magic. It feels like no one is ever just "well if they exist out of time then the fact that make prophecies is perfectly logically and maybe we should pay attention to what they communicate". There's not anyone who takes a nice middle way approach to the issue.