Monday, November 5, 2012

Things to do in Denver when your TV is dead...

Several days ago, my TV died. It was a quite emotional experience. Me and him, we had some good times. And I'm not only talking about the Porn. Granted, there was a lot of porn, and not all of it as classy as I'd like to admit. In fact, I remember that one clip with Paris Hil-

Well. Anyways. My TV had been with me for about 6 years, and now he was dead. His absence left a gaping hole in my life, and not the enticing kind of alluring orifice seen in that clip with Par-. You get the point. You see, my TV was also my Computer Monitor. He hung on a wall, which I admit might not sound like the most comfortable of positions, but it was by far my favorite position and he loved to indulge me, and thus could I entertain myself from and on the couch.

So, there I was, alone and disconnected from the world. As one of the two people in my personal realm without a smartphone - as I still cling to that quaint misconception that a cell phone must indeed not be more than a phone to validate its existence - the internet was henceforth out of reach. My Computer transformed into a mysterious mystery of enigmatic secrecy, whose workings I could not discern. And my beloved Xbox 360 transformed into a quite useless - not to mention clunky - paperweight. With the desperate need of input our generation professes to thrive on - but is secretly addicted to - I was forced to turn to other, less familiar means of entertainment. I read. As in "books".

I know how it sounds, but it's not that bad. It's actually quite good, once you remember how to turn pages without the help of a mouse button or keyboard. It's satisfying on a level some of us might have chosen long ago to lock up in a dark dungeon of their minds, hoping to starve it into oblivion.

So, in a moment of magnificent altruism, I decided to begin a small series of Things to do in Denver when you're TV is Dead, journeying for the first time beyond the familiar boundaries of constructive video game criticism, and recommend a surprisingly numerous items of literary brilliance that might very well enrich your lives. And don't worry. At least half of those books have pictures.


an ongoing Graphic Novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming.

If you know comics, you know Brian Michael Bendis. One of the most polarizing writers of the last decade, and hailed for his reboot of the Marvel Universe via the Ultimate Marvel Line, he is undeniably one of the most influential creators of recent years.
"Powers" is Bendis's first off-mainstream book that garnered a lot of well-deserved attention. It's a witty and gritty take on the superhero comic, hard-boiled crime noir tales in a world of superhuman beings with all too human fallacies.

Superheroes and super-villains - "Powers" as they are called not always with affection - are still, for the most part, quite human, and accordingly prone to the same human flaws as the rest of us. They love and hate, laugh and cry. They f*ck. They kill. And every once in a while they get killed. It is at this point that Det. Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim usually get involved. As members of the NYPD homicide squad responsible for powers-related crimes, the young, wise-cracking Pilgrim and her veteran partner Walker often find themselves in the unenviable position of investigating the deaths of beings many thought not capable of being killed at all. It's not half as easy as it sounds...

What can be said about Powers? It's an amazing ride. It's funny, touching, violent, sexy, smart, rude, gruesome, cruel and sad beyond what most people would think superhero comics to be capable of. Bendis' trademark wit and driven storytelling is complemented exceptionally well by Oeming's somewhat cartoonish drawing style. There are laughs and smiles, even a bit of wisdom, but people will die - some quite horribly so - and lives will be ruined. And once you start reading, you will find yourself quite surprisingly caring about that.

If you've never touched a comic before, Powers is a good way to start a bad habit. These are not the comic books of your youth, fraught with expository dialog and the inevitable triumph of Truth, Justice and the American Way. Powers reads like Quentin Tarantino's take on Superhero Comics, back in the days of Reservoir Dogs. It's not for the squeamish, and not for the dull or ADDed, but it will reward you with a quite unique experience.

A word of warning though: Trade-Paperbacks. Powers loves the double spread, and TPs don't do the double spread well. Strangely enough, nobody ever figured out that TPs basically swallow half a centimeter of page where in a regular comic the fold woud be, no matter if those millimeters might contain art or even text. As such, the early Powers TPs often lead to the frustrating guessing of cut-off dialog that was supposed to flow through the fold. It's a minor annoyance, but still present enough to be annoying. That said, it's another great reason to buy the Definitive Hardcover Collections, all of which contain between 10 and 12 of single issues, plus lots of extras. Volume 1 goes for around 25€, and is well worth the price.

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