Re-Reading Comics: Atomic Robo collected volumes 1-3

I’m continuing my big pandemic reread – using graphic novels, collections, and single issues I’ve got in my apartment right now – with another hardback. Last week I talked about the second collected book of MIND MGMT issues, subtitled “The Futurist”. This week I needed something light and fun, so I grabbed a handful of Atomic Robo off the shelf.

If you’re feeling a bit cooped up and restless, call up your local shop to order yourself Atomic Robo V1, “Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne”. Written by Brian Clevinger, art by Scott Wegener (with color by Ronda Pattison and letters by Jeff Powel) the series jumps back and forth through time, telling different pieces of Atomic Robo’s first 83 years of existence. It has everything you’d want from a retro-style modernist comic: video game jokes (Megaman, Jenkins, etc.), Nazis, mummies, steampunk, Carl Sagan being awesome, Stephen Hawking being a bastard, and a wise-cracking intelligent robot swinging his way through it all. It’s sarcastically funny, it’s got a hipster sensibility that perfectly meshes with the crisp, clean art – exactly the kind of thing you’d expect to translate well to t-shirts and messenger bags. It made me happy, and genuinely happy is a little harder to come by these days.

But these are slim volumes, these Robo books, and if I’m going to get through every comic I own in the next few years I have to group smaller issues in these reviews. Which means I also get to talk about the second and third collections!

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Mini Movie Review: The First 10 Minutes of Attack the Block (2011)

Quick review: I’ve watched Attack the Block half a dozen times now and it remains the best alien invasion film I’ve ever seen.

Why? (It’s ok. You can ask me that.) I can explain it using only the first ten minutes. If you’re not convinced after ten minutes… well, I’m not sure what to say actually because no one I’ve had this conversation with ever turned the movie off once it got started.

Attack the Block opens on a shot of the night sky, with a single star falling from the heavens, before panning down to reveal fireworks over London. The camera settles, not on the downtown, not on the homes of the wealthy, but on a tube station and a young white woman talking to her mother on her mobile while walking home past street vendors hawking flowers and vegetables. Her hat doesn’t match her coat that doesn’t match her pants and her scarf – well, let’s just assume that an elderly aunt knitted it for her and move on. Kids run down the street with sparklers, as the woman walks into a residential neighborhood with more graffiti than street lamps. A sudden burst of fireworks startles her but there’s no one behind her; she’s jumpy, though we don’t yet know why. She finishes her call with a plan to meet for Sunday dinner, and looks up to see her way blocked by a group of kids wearing dark-colored hoodies and bandanas over their faces. Crossing the street doesn’t stop them from surrounding her and mugging her. Suddenly that falling star is a meteor crashing into a car only a few feet away from them, and the invasion’s begun.

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Re-Reading Comics: MIND MGMT (Book 2)

Last week I talked about the first collected book of MIND MGMT issues, subtitled “The Manager”. Today we’re going to talk about the next book, “The Futurist”.

After a quick but clear recap, Kindt drops us right back into the action. When last we left our heroine Meru*, she’s still chasing Henry Lyme and MIND MGMT, still missing memories and still not sure why she’s doing what she’s doing. We see more of Lyme’s perspective this time, which Kindt is better at, giving the second collection a more solid footing. Like the first set of issues, this book is action-packed and a quick read; there’s toothy issues for your brain to gnaw on, but they’re delivered on the fly as Meru and Lyme run through scene after scene.

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Weeknotes 4.1 (Apr 8, 2020)

Quarantine squirrel is watching you.

If you’re not staying home as much as possible, wearing a mask or face covering when you go out, and generally trying to keep us all safe by flattening the curve, what the fuck is wrong with you?

I’m tired of the people who look at the state of the world and choose to spend their time and energy spinning conspiracy theories, selling snake oil, or snarking at those trying to be as safe as they can. I give up on y’all. I wish you well, I hope you stay healthy despite your own actions, and that’s the best I can do anymore.


Last week’s note would have posted April 1, but I wasn’t in the mood.

Despite that I am, mostly, finding my way through all this, and most of the time, happy. I’ve cleared out a space for a tiny “corner” office (as in, it’s a corner of another room), and I’m getting things done. Drawing daily, blog posts, even working on a novel once in a while. My son is fed, my cats are snuggly, and my pandemic haircut is extremely cute.

Watching:

I reviewed Stray Dog on the 1st; you can read that here. I also posted a reprint review of Were the World Mine on Monday; if you haven’t seen it before, you can read it here.

Also, Tales From the Loop dropped on Amazon Prime this week and I’m not done with it, but if you like slow, atmospheric anthology series with weird physics and robots, you’ll love this.

I got into Simon Stålenhag’s art years ago – his rustic futurism is grounded in nostalgia for a world a lot like the one I imagined as a kid, but we never actually got. He built a game called Tales from the Loop based on his art, where kids solve Mysteries in their own hometowns, and that inspired the series. I love the game, which reminds me of both Shadowrun and Stranger Things, while remaining uniquely its own thing. If you haven’t seen his art or played the game, I recommend them both.

Reading:

My comics re-read continued with DMZ. I also read the first two collected books of Matt Kindt’s MIND MGMT; I wrote about “The Manager” here, and “The Futurist” review goes up Friday.

Extra Bits:

Daily warmup sketch, April 3, 2020

I’m posting my daily warmup drawings for April over on my Instagram. They’re not great, not my best work, but they’re fun. I’m sharing them because a) it’s good for me to get over feeling like everything has to be perfect before I show anyone, and b) it’s good for me to have this daily drawing practice, and remembering that I promise to post them helps me allow myself to make time for it.

Notes and References:

Stay home, and stay safe.