Elayne Riggs is the creator of the popular blog Pen-Elayne on the Web. She was a founding member of Friends of Lulu, an organization dedicated to increasing the involvement of girls and women in comics, as readers and creators. She is married to inker Robin Riggs, with whom she shares two cats, and has odd love/hate relationship with Hillary Clinton.
Well, it’s been fun, people! Although we weekly columnists never got our own little tab in the ‘mix, we’ve always tried to entertain you, make you think, and just plain give you some good reading. Here are the final columns (mixed in with our other regular features) that have appeared this past week:
This past weekend I was in California to attend my brother’s wedding. It was a lovely afternoon; they held the ceremony in the upstairs loft apartment attached to the back of their house, and the reception in their back yard. I still can’t figure out how they fit 120+ people in that space, but they did. And my brother looked so ecstatic, and my new sister-in-law so beautiful, and I remember thinking, “He’s finally paired off the way Robin and I are! Another happy ending!”
On the plane ride back to New York, JetBlue’s satellite TV reception wasn’t working properly on many of their channels (aside from that our flights were terrific, and I highly recommend JetBlue — there’s no first class to fight through and get sneered at, the seats were comfy with plenty of leg room, it’s the first time I haven’t had to ask for a seat belt extender, and the new T5 terminal at JFK is spiffy indeed) so the crew arranged for us to see the normally-charged second-run films for free. Comics geek that I seem to be less and less, I opted not to watch The Incredible Hulk, in favor of back-to-back viewings of Get Smart and Baby Mama.
I enjoyed both movies more than I thought I would. I like how Get Smart was updated for the 21st century just enough to have Maxwell Smart be internally believable as mostly competent but just a little accident-prone. Lots of identification there, you betcha! And although the age discrepancy between Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway saddened me, at least there was a decent in-story explanation for it. Besides, they’re both fun actors to watch, and easy to root for as they follow the formulaic plot to its climax and wind up (as did the characters in the original series) together, set to have further open-ended adventures.
Baby Mama was a terrific vehicle for all the main actors involved, wasn’t anywhere near as cringeworthy as the ads made it seem, and had a Happy Ending. Multiple Happy Endings, in fact, all featuring the apparently ultimate goal of all women — to give birth. The premise had Tina Fey’s character unable to conceive, but (and I don’t think I’m spoiling something which was pretty heavily telegraphed throughout the film) she winds up pregnant towards the end after, of course, having established a Real Relationship with a guy (is it my imagination or is Greg Kinnear always cast as the thinking woman’s love interest?) who doesn’t hesitate to call her a dick when she acts like one (probably my favorite bit of dialogue). Anyway, amid the smiles and occasional chuckles there’s even a running gag about how fertile a decidedly middle-aged Sigourney Weaver is. It seems in Hollywood every woman gets pregnant right away, preferably after she’s fallen in love with the right guy — a pretty tortuous theme for someone like me who’s wanted a kid as much as Fey’s character did but lives in the real world.
But there’s something inherently appealing about pairing off, whether with your True Love or a Mini-You, signifying completion. Hey, I’m a sucker for happy endings too. I often lament that more comics don’t have happy endings or, for that matter, endings of any kind. Most Big Two stories prefer to go the serial route, like soap operas and, well, life.
So maybe comics have the right idea after all, concentrating on happy voyages rather than happy destinations.
Prepping this roundup a bit early this weekend, as I may be in transit from Los Angeles back to New York as it posts. Seasonal decorations just don’t look the same in L.A. Give me actual russets in nature, not just in store windows! On the other hand, I’ve had a nice few days’ break from the chillier temps. Meanwhile, here’s what our regular columnists have provided you this past week:
“Palling around with terrorists!” the Republican VP candidate chirped of her running-mate’s opponent to a hungry mob armed with the modern-day equivalent of torches and pitchforks, which would be ignorant shouts of “Kill him!” and signs reading “Obama bin Lyin’”. (Oh, they excel at the disgusting comparative pun, do members of this base. Who could forget the knee-slapping “Hitlery”? Epithets like “McSame” and “Caribou Barbie” pale next to such jocularity.)
On the tried and true adage that Republicans scream loudest about stuff that they themselves are doing, I was tempted to inquire as to whether secessionists could be considered terrorists, but that’s a column for a different day. This week I want to further explore the themes I first articulated in my “birds of a feather” column.
Guilt by association is nothing new. It goes back to the Salem witch hunts, probably even earlier. And it’s soooo not the issue here, at least in terms of accusing one’s opponent of hanging out with people you deem unsavory. No, the real danger is to the American citizenry (as usual), and it comes from all these people palling around with each other.
Tampa Bay or Boston? Who will make the World Series this year? Clearly by the law of "they deserve it" it ought to be the Rays’ year, but even Yankees fans have to admire the way the Red Sox came back from that 7-0 deficit in Game 5. Unless they, like most of the rest of the sports-loving citizenry, are busy watching football. In any case, for those of you who also like written entertainment, here’s what our regular columnists have provided you this past week (including a brand-new ComicMix Six!):
As you can see, this past week brought a double-dose of Chuck webcomics review column; wish I could have seen all of these show up on my Bloglines feed, but apparently their version of Joe the Plumber only fixed the feeds from the last three days…
I was but a wee babe in the ‘60s, and I don’t really remember JFK’s assassination, or his brother’s, or King’s. I don’t think we had separate drinking fountains for black and white kids in New Jersey. But I remember racism. Anti-Semitism affected me directly (we were the only Jewish family in a heavily Catholic neighborhood) but, as our suburb became integrated and I was best buddies with a black boy, the jeers of racists were never far behind. Prejudice is kinda hard to forget, too, since it never went away.
Granted, everyone may be a little bit racist or sexist or homophobic. But there’s a difference, to my mind, between folks who need to work a bit more on their white or male or hetero privilege and people who wallow in it, who wear their ignorance proudly like a badge of honor. It’s like the difference between what superhero comics fans used to understand as the good guys and the bad guys. We read how the bad guys could fool some of the sheeple some of the time, but at heart they were just plain rotten because they had no moral core. And it was understood that they were not to be emulated nor aspired to and that there was a clear delineation between them and the “do-gooders.” This was in the days before do-gooders apparently became boring and passé.
I think the McCain campaign is counting on the American public to forget that he and his boring, passé do-gooder opponent are vying for a position that will affect millions of real lives very deeply, and pretend instead that they’re voting for the American Idol who will best kick ass and take names (especially yours, which reminds the government that they’d like to thank our fine troops so much for all their wonderful phone sex conversations!). Perhaps they reason that, since the whole Wild West schtick worked so well for the caricature currently occupying the White House, the same script can be retooled for the “James Garner He’s Not” Maverick and Sancho Bimbo — no wait, that’s Bible Spice — no sorry, I meant to say Caribou Barbie. Frontierswoman with a gun! And a helicopter! And golly gee, she knows how ta use ‘em, winkety wink!
It’s been a frustrating week for those of us with Bloglines, as new ComicMix items haven’t shown up since last Tuesday. Our news and comic alert feeds are two of the 50+ subscriptions not being updated on my reader at present. While this may make getting through unread blogs easier, it also necessitates lots of click-throughs, so our thanks to the folks who’ve been doing that and others who’ve caught us via other RSS feeds! In case you missed anything, here’s what our regular columnists have provided you this past week:
Back in the spring during my job hunt, I took care of my annual checkup. I’d gotten fed up with my New Rochelle physician who’d kept up a steady drumbeat of “you need to lose weight” as the answer for everything from my heart scare to high blood pressure to allergies (the allergy advice seemed to always be supplemented by free samples of Flonase, from which she was doubtless getting a kickback), and heck if I wanted to schlep into New Rochelle again anyway. So I went to a local doctor who was listed as a fat-friendly health professional. But while this local doc was certainly friendly, she turned out not to be terribly fat-accepting, especially considering the results of my first workup.
Her office called me when the test numbers arrived, asking me to return, which I did, shortly before I was offered my current position. Nobody said why I had to come in again, but I was misled to believe it was because they needed to retake the blood test since I hadn’t fasted prior to the first test (not that they’d reminded me I should have). Well, as it turns out, I was greeted with the kind of news that pretty much rocked my life in a dramatically deeper way than did my atrial fibrillation scare of Aught-5. That was the overnight hospital stay which gave me a wake-up call at age 48 that I could no longer eat anything I wanted and not suffer the consequences. So I commenced with a salt-restricted lifestyle, missed potato chips and pickles for awhile, but could more or less deal with it just fine.
This one was different. The diagnosis was diabetes.
Congratulations to ComicMIx’s own Matt Raub for making it through 24 consecutive hours of movie-watching! He’s probably still sleeping as we write this. I’d hate to think of what he’s dreaming about. It could be worse, he could have watched 24 hours of presidential and VP candidate debates. Meanwhile, here’s what our columnists have brought you this past week:
White rabbits, and L’shana tova! My favorite season has finally arrived, and October is probably the best month in that season. There’s a delicious chill in the air, the leaves are already starting to turn, the Yanks have faded and the Mets have blown it (albeit on the last day this year, instead of crashing in the spectacular fashion of ’07), and I don’t much care because the new TV season is in full swing.
Not that I’m watching it much, mind you. I’ve become a not-ready-for-prime-time viewer. I spend about an hour to 90 minutes each weekday evening watching MSNBC (specifically Keith Olbermann then Rachel Maddow) on DVR delay, and the rest of the time trying in vain to catch up on my other DVR’ed programs. Between the food-themed reality shows, a few sci-fi trinkets, a smattering of sitcoms and the obligatory Stewart/Colbert one-two punch, when I finally do get up to date it’s already the weekend. I don’t even seem to have that much time any more for comics reading, considering I’ve been using my public transit commute more for light dozing than for funnybook perusal.
None of this is a complaint, it’s just an observation that, if there are any specific trends afoot, I may be slow to recognize them. But Robin thinks he’s spotted one that has me wondering if it’s not a part of a bigger shift in thinking about our entertainment.