Coming soon

I’m probably going to start writing about music on Visual Reflux, but not any time soon. I haven’t even gotten around to the TV yet. I’ve just started the first focused comic responses post-L&R. I’m taking my time on VR. I’m still not sure I like that abbreviation either. But long before must I want to start writing about podcasts, if only because when someone asks if I have a favorite podcast, I’ve got two possible answers. One is if I don’t want to have an atheism talk, the other is “Rocket”. The former is “Godless Bitches”, which has sort of rebranded itself as “GB 2.0” but not really. “Godless Bitches” has, since we’ve started listening to it, become more about social justice and equity and checking privilege than atheism. It’s really good. There have been a couple phenomenal episodes, including last weekend’s. Certainly not the white male atheism you get everywhere else. Free speech absolutist nonsense and whatever.

“Rocket” had a spectacular episode too recently, one of those, holy shit look what a podcast can do type thing.

Hopefully I’ll link to the episodes, but can’t right now because iPad Air typing.

So I do want to write about podcasts, even though the site tag line is “All things seen,” which isn’t a Thin Red Line misquote but is a TRL misquote. I worry it’s a little ableist. I don’t have someone to check with about me being ableist. I have one friend who has to check me on various things, usually when I’m making a cheap joke. Cheap I’m good with, offensive not.

And usually I know when I’m being offensive. Like. I do know better. I just like the turn of phrase or something and need someone to metaphorically smack me upside the head.

Another thing I want to do on Reflux (which just sounds weird) is the multi-topic blog post, which everyone used to do back in the olden blogging days. For example, I wanted to write about the plans for the e-zines going forward. I even have a cover for the relaunched series, which is going to be out of VR as opposed to Stop Button. But I don’t know how to attach a photo in Ulysses and have it post.

Tomorrow I’ve got a big post for Stop Button. Nothing good. Something absurdly bad, but it’s still a much different kind of post than usual.

I wonder if I could get the iPad keyboard to be tolerable in bed. I’m nearly tired enough to do some stream of consciousness passing out writing exercises, which was an MFA program favorite.

Instead though, I think bed. Because old. And nice new Casper sheets.

Coming soon
Coming soon

Robocop: Last Stand #1 of 8

Robocop: Last Stand #1

Frank Miller's Robocop; Avatar Press; issues 1-9 (of 9); 2003-06; $3.50 to $3.99, 36 pgs ea.; collection (2007), $29.99.

Robocop: Last Stand is, conceptually, a tough sell. It’s a comic book adaptation of a movie no one liked (Robocop 3) when it came out twenty years before the first issue of Last Stand dropped. It’s ostensibly based on Frank Miller’s original screenplay, but when a different publisher did a “based on Frank Miller’s original screenplay” adaptation of Robocop 2 (just called Frank Miller’s Robocop), it turned out Miller’s Robocop 2 script included a lot of his Robocop 3 too. That much-hyped adaptation, Frank Miller’s Robocop, wasn’t just a bad comic, it was a notoriously late one. It’s also not like there had been any particularly good Robocop comics over the years. But the license kept bopping around as one publisher after another tried to hit Robo-gold.

So it’s interesting Last Stand is so… well… good.

The comic is a perfect storm of creative impulse—Steven Grant’s adaptation of the film (which he’d already adapted for Dark Horse back in 1993) is one event after another, with Korkut Öztekin’s punky cartooning tying them together. This first issue has plenty of action violence, but never gets particularly gory. Or, more accurately, Öztekin doesn’t focus on the gore. He emphasizes the action, focuses on the characters.

The issue opens with the issue’s only direct tie-in to the Frank Miller’s Robocop series, which Boom! (Last Stand publisher) reprinted when they picked up the Robo-license. It’s a TV ad showing the future dystopia, which the movies did a lot better. The TV segment also reveals some of the ground situation—Robocop has gone rogue. The newscasters, again played by Leeza Gibbons (who hadn’t returned for the actual Robocop 3) and Mario Machado don’t buy it. The evil company, OCP, has fired all the cops. They’ve also renamed their urban housing project for some nonsensical reason. Maybe something with the license?

Seriously, if it weren’t for Öztekin, the most interesting thing about Last Stand would definitely be the behind-the-scenes editorial mandates.

There’s an action intro to Robocop, saving a streetwalker from the OCP cops, then the action cuts to a new character, Marie. She’s trying to find Robocop. Only Grant doesn’t establish her name so her identity is unclear; she could even be Nancy Allen. Only she’s not because there’s a flashback to Nancy Allen dying and making Robocop promise to avenge her, which he’s apparently doing now as he takes on the OCP cops.

Meanwhile, OCP is trying to kick people out of their homes in Old Detroit and they’ve only got five days to do it, then OCP and their Japanese financing partners will default. There’s a big expository altercation involving a company suit, Bertha (who everyone always assumed was a Frank Miller nod to Martha Washington, but who knows), and then Robocop. Öztekin gets to do a big action scene involving an ED-209 robot, then the issue ends awkwardly with Marie—introducing herself finally—tracking down Robocop.

The awkward finish, which leaves the scene hanging mid-conversation, is just the sort of awkward Last Stand needs. Grant and Öztekin can only do so much, with a Robocop 3 adaptation, with a Robocop comic, and the truncated finish seems to acknowledge it. Grant’s not willing to make Robocop a more traditional protagonist, but he’s also shifting the spotlight. Not in this first issue, anyway.

The comic functions as a peculiar hook, distinguishing itself—in no small part thanks to Öztekin—from all those conceptual limitations and obligations.

Maybe it’s all thanks to editors Alex Galer and Eric Harburn. But whoever’s responsible… it’s a Robocop comic where you want to read the next one, which is quite a feat.