The Mix : What are people talking about today?

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist by Adrian Tomine

Adrian Tomine has always struck me as the closest thing to a literary short-story writer in the comics field – our Raymond Carver, perhaps – with his tight, focused stories of real people in real worlds dealing with mundane lives and just interacting with each other. It’s the kind of work that sounds dull when I try to describe it, but is thrillingly true when done right, and Tomine generally gets it right.

So it was strange first to see that his new book last year, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist , was a memoir – I wondered if that knife-edge would still be there when writing about his own life. (It wasn’t, obviously, in his wedding-favor-cum-celebration-GN Scenes from an Impending Marriage , because if a book like that was in the typical Tomine tone, it would be a horrible sign for the marriage in question.)

And it was even more surprising to meet eight-year-old Adrian on the first page, on his first day at a new school in Fresno in 1982, declaring his undying love for John Romita. OK, sure, he was mercilessly tormented for it – that’s how he remembers it, so I’ll buy it on that level, but my memory is that eight-year-olds in 1982 liked to read superhero comics a lot, though I was not in hoity-toity Fresno – but the origin story of Adrian Tomine, as he presents it here, is basically the same as every other Gen-X cartoonist: imprinted on Marvel early, spent too much time in his own room making comics, ended up socially stunted and possessed of a massive imposter complex.

I’m being reductive, here. And Tomine doesn’t linger on that childhood: it’s the one quick sequence at age eight, and then smash-cut to 1995, when he’s on his way to his first San Diego Comic-Con. The bulk of Loneliness is made up of scenes from his professional life – moments when he’s “on-stage” as a cartoonist, at a signing or convention or publicity interview or just in public where someone recognizes him. And these moments are the ones I would have expected from Tomine: they’re all ones where things go wrong, or he’s embarrassed, where he says the wrong thing or is more clearly lonely and confused and out-of-place than he wishes he was. It could be a giant wall of cringe, but it’s all particular and grounded in the kind of person we learn Tomine is: he’s a creator, who spends his days in a chair thinking up stories. People like that always have trouble interfacing with the world: other people don’t know their lines in your story, and wouldn’t follow those lines if they did.

Tomine quietly keeps the focus on himself and his insecurities. There’s a number of places where names and faces are obscured – comics insiders probably already have a secret cheat sheet to figure out who all of those people are – so that the story is not “big name pro was mean to Adrian Tomine!” but instead stays “Adrian Tomine is insecure and obsesses about these moments, which exist in everyone’s lives.”

So Loneliness is the story of a career, but only the worst, saddest moments. The moments that you remember when you wake up randomly at 3AM, the ones that you can’t stop thinking about and that you can’t do anything about. Because it’s Tomine, it’s very specific: these are his issues, his anxieties, his worst moments.

The last thirty pages are the culmination of the book, a sequence of events in 2018 that I probably shouldn’t go into too much depth about. He presents it as what drove him to make this book, and that makes sense…but I think a lot of these moments have been in his head a long time, and he had been trying to figure out a way to contextualize them and turn them into a story and not just a list of bad moments.

It may be more personal, but it’s still an Adrian Tomine book. He doesn’t tell the reader how to feel in the end, he doesn’t contextualize it all and wrap it up in a bow. He does have a long speech, at nearly the very end, that comes close to explaining it — he even says outright “my clearest memories related to comics – to being a cartoonist – are the embarrassing gaffes, the small humiliations, the perceived insults.” But is this book his way to get beyond those moments? Or does it come out of a realization that the material that hits you the hardest is the stuff you need to do next? Or both? Or neither?

We’re not all famous cartoonists. (Tomine might even say that he isn’t a famous cartoonist, except in very specific circumstances – that’s the buried message of the first two pages.) But we all obsess about things. We all have memories we don’t want to think about but keep coming back to. Loneliness is the exploration of one life through those moments, by a master cartoonist and storyteller.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1 Unleashes the Batmobile

Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1 Unleashes the Batmobile

The Batmobile takes centerstage in an all-new clip from Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the feature-length animated film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital and Blu-ray on June 22. 

Batman (voiced by Jensen Ackles) speeds the Batmobile through the streets of Gotham City in hot pursuit of mobster Mickey Chen (Gary Chun) in this all-new clip from Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One. The clip also includes Police Captain James Gordon (Billy Burke), police officer Pearce (Gary LeRoi Gray) and Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred (Alastair Duncan). Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, the all-new feature-length animated film arrives on Digital & Blu-ray on June 22.

Trese, Philippine Graphic Novel, Being Adapted by Netflix

Trese, Philippine Graphic Novel, Being Adapted by Netflix

Manila, Philippines – May 21, 2021 – Netflix today released the official trailer for Trese, the highly anticipated Netflix Original Anime series based on the Philippine graphic novel created by Budjette Tan and KaJO Baldisimo, premiering on Netflix June 11, 2021.

TRESE (L to R) GRIFFIN PUATU as THE KAMBAL and SHAY MITCHELL as ALEXANDRA TRESE in episode 101 of TRESE Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

Netflix also revealed the English language and Filipino language voice cast of Trese. Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story), Jon Jon Briones (Ratched), Nicole Scherzinger (Moana), Manny Jacinto (The Good Place), Lou Diamond Phillips (Longmire) and Dante Basco (Avatar: The Last Airbender) join Shay Mitchell (YOU, Pretty Little Liars), previously announced as the voice of Alexandra Trese in the English language version.

Filipino actress Liza Soberano (My Ex and Whys, Alone/Together) will voice Alexandra Trese in the Filipino language version of the series, and will be joined by local professional voice talents Simon dela Cruz (as Crispin and Basilio), Apollo Abraham (Captain Guerrero), Christopher Carlo Caling (Hank), Christian Velarde (Nuno), and Eugene Adalia (Anton Trese).

Well-respected Filipino Language Voice Artist Director Rudolf Baldonado will direct the local voice talents.

English language voice cast:

  • Shay Mitchell – Alexandra Trese
  • Griffin Puatu – The Kambal (Crispin and Basilio), Bantay
  • Matt Yang King – Captain Guerrero, Dominic
  • Jon Jon Briones – Hank, Xa-Mul
  • Steve Blum – Datu Talagbusao, Ibwa
  • Carlos Alazraqui – Anton Trese, Santelmo
  • Manny Jacinto – Maliksi
  • Eric Bauza – Nuno the Snitch, Bagyon Lektro
  • Darren Criss – Marco
  • Nicole Scherzinger – Miranda Trese
  • Lou Diamond Phillips – Mayor Sancho Santamaria
  • Dante Basco – Bagyon Kulimlim
  • Rodney To – Aswang market guard, Man in drag

    Filipino language voice cast:
  • Liza Soberano – Alexandra Trese
  • Simon dela Cruz – The Kambal (Crispin and Basilio)
  • Apollo Abraham – Captain Guerrero
  • Christopher Carlo Caling – Hank
  • Eugene Adalia – Anton Trese
  • Cheska Aguiluz – Miranda Trese
  • Christian Velarde – Nuno
  • Bryan Encarnacion – Datu Talagbusao
  • Nica Rojo – Ramona
  • Jo Anne Orobia-Chua – Emissary
  • Jose Amado Santiago – Marco
  • Steve dela Cruz – Maliksi
  • Rene Tandoc – Mayor Santamaria
  • Steffi Graf Bontogon-Mola – Young, Teen Alexandra
  • RJ Celdran – Santelmo, Señor Armanaz
  • Elyrey Martin – Ibwa, Dominic
  • Steven Bontogon – Jobert

Set in a Manila where the mythical creatures of Philippine folklore live in hiding amongst humans, Alexandra Trese finds herself going head to head with a criminal underworld comprised of malevolent supernatural beings.

Director and Showrunner: Jay Oliva (Justice League Dark, The Legend of Korra)

Executive Producers: Jay Oliva; Shanty Harmayn and Tanya Yuson at BASE Entertainment, a studio based in Jakarta and Singapore

Written by: Tanya Yuson, Zig Marasigan, Mihk Vergara

Series Directors: David Hartman (Transformers: Prime), Mel Zwyer (Star Wars Rebels), Tim Divar (Young Justice)

Production designer and Art Director: Jojo Aguilar (Tron Uprising)

Character Design: Will Nichols (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Editor: Christopher Lozinski (Batman: The Killing Joke)

English language casting and voice direction: Wes Gleason

Filipino language casting and voice direction: Rudolf Baldonado

Composers: Kevin Kiner, Sean Kiner, Dean Kiner (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Original song: “PAAGI” by UDD, with lyrics by Armi Millare and Paul Yap

Format: 6 episodes, releasing all at once

Filipino band UDD, formerly known as Up Dharma Down, composed the official soundtrack for Trese, titled “PAAGI,” with lyrics by Armi Millare and Paul Yap.

Trese will premiere on June 11, 2021, only on Netflix (www.netflix.com/trese).

Guy Ritchie’s Snatch Makes 4K Debut July 13

Guy Ritchie’s Snatch Makes 4K Debut July 13

SYNOPSIS

Guy Ritchie, writer/director of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, delivers another awe-inspiring directorial masterpiece, Snatch – an edgy and hilarious film about a diamond heist gone wrong, a colorful Irish gypsy-turned-prizefighter…and a very temperamental dog. In the heart of gangland, two novice unlicensed boxing promoters, Turkish (Jason Statham) and Tommy (Stephen Graham), get roped into a rigged bare-knuckle fight with local kingpin/villain and fellow boxing promoter Brick Top (Alan Ford). But all goes wrong when wild-card Irish gypsy boxer One Punch Mickey O’Neil (Brad Pitt) starts playing by his own rules, and the duo find themselves heading for a whole lot of trouble. Meanwhile, Franky Four Fingers (Benicio Del Toro) and his stolen 86-carat diamond have gone missing in London. Head honcho Avi (Dennis Farina) hires local legend Bullet Tooth Tony (Vinnie Jones) to find them, launching everyone into a spiral of double-crossing vendettas and events, most of them illegal.

DISC DETAILS & BONUS MATERIAL 
4K ULTRA HD DISC

  • Newly Remastered in 4K resolution from the original camera negative, with HDR10
  • All-new Dolby Atmos tracks, for both the US and original UK audio + original theatrical US & UK English 5.1
  • Theatrical Trailer

BLU-RAY DISC™

  • Director & Producer Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
  • “Making Snatch” Featurette
  • Storyboard Comparisons
  • Video Photo Gallery and More!

CAST AND CREW

Directed By: Guy Ritchie
Written By: Guy Ritchie
Producer: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina, Vinnie Jones, Brad Pitt, Rade Sherbedgia, Jason Statham
SPECS

Run Time: Approx. 103 minutes
Rating: R for strong violence, language and some nudity
Feature Picture: 2160p Ultra High Definition, 1.85:1
Feature Audio: English US, English UK Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible) | English US, English UK 5.1 DTS-HD MA | French, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Coming to Disney+

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Coming to Disney+

New York, NY (May 27, 2021)—Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams Children’s Books, revealed today the title and cover of the eagerly anticipated sixteenth installment in the global bestselling series by Jeff Kinney. Releasing in hardcover and eBook editions, Big Shot (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 16) will be simultaneously published in 28 countries across the world on October 26, 2021. In addition, the story that started it all comes to life in the all-new animated adventure, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, streaming this holiday season on Disney+.

In Big Shot, Greg Heffley and sports just don’t mix. After a disastrous field day competition at school, Greg decides that when it comes to his athletic career, he’s officially retired. But after his mom urges him to give sports one more chance, he reluctantly agrees to sign up for basketball. Tryouts are a mess, and Greg is sure he won’t make the cut. But he unexpectedly lands a spot on the worst team. As Greg and his new teammates start the season, their chances of winning even a single game look slim. But in sports, anything can happen. When everything is on the line and the ball is in Greg’s hands, will he rise to the occasion? Or will he blow his big shot? Charles Kochman, ABRAMS editorial director and Kinney’s longtime editor, will edit the new book.

Big Shot will be supported by a major marketing and publicity campaign, including an innovative drive-thru-style book tour that Kinney conceived and produced with ABRAMS for his three previous books published during the pandemic, most recently his global bestseller Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories, the third book in the Wimpy Kid spin-off Awesome Friendly Kid series. The Big Shot campaign will also include partnerships with social media influencers, national advertising, dynamic digital content, and promotions targeting teachers and librarians.

Jeff Kinney is one of the world’s bestselling authors; Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are published in 79 editions in 65 languages and have sold more than 250 million copies globally in just 14 years. Published in 2007, the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book was an instant bestseller and has remained on the New York Times bestseller list since its publication and through the release of the fifteenth book and three-book spin-off Awesome Friendly Kid series, for more than 775 weeks total. The series is also a fixture on the USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and IndieBound bestseller lists and is one of the top five bestselling book series—adult and kids—of all time.

Not the usual suspects in new images from Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One

Not the usual suspects in new images from Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One

Among the many suspects with motive and opportunity to be the Holiday Killer is Alberto Falcone, the calculating son of mob boss Carmine “The Roman” Falcone. Jack Quaid (The Boys, The Hunger Games, upcoming My Adventures With Superman) provides the voice of Alberto.

The suspects nearly outnumber the victims of the Holiday Killer – and it’s up to Batman, Police Captain James Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent to decipher the clues and find the true criminal mastermind in Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One

Warner Animation recently released four new images of the various potential murderers from Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the feature-length animated Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One will be distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital and Blu-ray on June 22, 2021. 

The crimefighters are forced to enlist the help of a criminal – Calendar Man – to help understand the clues and discover the identity of the Holiday Killer in Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One. David Dastmalchian (The Suicide Squad, Dune, Ant-Man, The Flash) provides the voice of Calendar Man.
A mob war roars in the background of the Holiday Killer’s murder spree, and it’s Carmine “The Roman” Falcone at the center of the crime syndicate’s activities. Falcone was an ally of Thomas Wayne in the establishment of Gotham City, but Wayne’s son Bruce isn’t as accepting of Falcone’s methods. Titus Welliver (Bosch, Deadwood) voices Falcone.
Would a Batman story be complete without an appearance by the Joker? The Clown Prince of Crime is up to his usual diabolical escapades in Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One, terrorizing the public while taunting the Dark Knight. Troy Baker (The Last of Us, Batman: Arkham Knight) voices the Dark Knight’s greatest foe in the all-new film.

Born a Doofus by Adam Huber

Gag-a-day cartoons are a wonderful and mysterious art, a triumph of style and viewpoint, precise phrasing and engaging drawing, with a clear point of view and a world that can be encapsulated in four panels but expands with four new panels every day for as long as the cartoonist is inspired.

Well, good gag-a-day cartoons are like that. We also have Blondie and Garfield.

Bug Martini , though, is a good gag-a-day cartoon. It’s been running for about a dozen years, and its creator, Adam Huber, finally put together a physical-book collection of the strip this past year, gathering the first year of strips under the title Born a Doofus.

So this book starts with the first strip (October 19, 2009 ) and runs through the strip for October 18, 2010 . It also includes, in the back, about a dozen sketchbook pages about the pre-history of his “bug” main character, but the real draw is the comics themselves, which were funny and smart right from the beginning. (Huber’s art has evolved a bit – his bugs were chunkier, with smaller eyes, at the very beginning – but his writing was basically fully-formed from strip one. He may have gotten slightly denser with jokes as he went on, but that’s about it: this was really funny from launch.) I was chuckling all the way through Born a Doofus, and only avoided trying to read out a dozen or so random strips to The Wife out of my finely-honed sense that reading the words from a comic are not the preferred experience…especially to a woman trying to make dinner for her family.

But, Andy, you say. You’re linking to those strips, which are still available online. Why would I buy a book when I can just read straight through the archives, and hit another ten years of strips after that?

Aha! There is a fatal flaw in your plan: you can’t buy this book. It’s not available to you. It was funded by a Kickstarter, and you are too late. So it’s not a case of “should I get this book,” but instead a case of “you missed out on this awesome book, so sad for you.”

So I am not recommending this book to you. I am gloating that I just read it, that it is wonderful, and that you cannot have it. Oh, maybe Huber will deign to open sales of Born a Doofus in the future – check out his webstore , and live in hope – but, for right now, I have it and you do not.

(Or maybe I’m joking, and I do hope you can buy this someday, and Bug Martini will become an empire to rival Paws, Inc. Maybe.)

So that is Born a Doofus. It is funny, and I hope the stress of making it didn’t turn Huber off making further books, since he could do at least half-a-dozen more out of his archives. And maybe, just maybe, if you’re really good and the world is better than it usually is, you will be able to get a copy yourself someday. But, for now: you missed it.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Attitude 3: The New Subversive Online Cartoonists edited by Ted Rall

Any book with “new” in the title will age really badly: it’s just inherent. If what it’s trying to do is present something fresh and immediate, that will just be less compelling fifteen years later. No one can do anything about that effect.

So it’s a pretty quixotic thing to read Attitude 3: The New Subversive Online Cartoonists  in 2021, since it’s a book from 2006 about a world that was fast-moving at that point and has only sped up since then. Attitude 3 was the last of the series — the first Attitude profiled new political cartoonists and the second one new “alternative” cartoonists” (primarily those of the weekly newspapers that flourished in the ’90s, I think), and all of them were edited by Ted Rall, at a moment in his career when he seemed to be working more as a connector than he looks to be doing now.

(Parenthetically, Rall – as the sourest, most uncompromising and most ideologically leftist cartoonist in the US – now looks like an odd person to do something this broad and inclusive, but, again, fifteen years can change people and worlds and industries. Early-Aughts Rall is not the same person he is today; none of us are.)

So Attitude 3 interviews and profiles twenty-one relatively prominent webcartoonists of the time, mostly focusing on political/personal cartoons – things closer to the editorial end of the world, or gag-a-day in some cases, rather than the kind of webcomics that are basically long serialized stories formatted as comic-book pages presented in electronic form. Some of them will be familiar, some of them will be lost to the mists of time. (Well, they were for me; you might be intimately familiar with every single one of these and know exactly what they’ve all done in the fifteen years since. If so, you are creepy and I am unobtrusively moving away from you.)

Cartoonists I recognize/follow/enjoy include Richard Stevens of Diesel Sweeties, Matt Bors (more recently of The Nib), Dorothy Gambrell of Cat and Girl, Nicholas Gurewitch of Perry Bible Fellowship, and Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics. A couple of others – Mark Fiore in particular – are names I’ve seen since then. But the majority of the book was made up of cartoons and creators I’d never seen before and hadn’t heard of: my guess is that some of them are still going, in their own corners of the Internet, and some have moved on to other art-adjacent things, and most have moved on to work that’s nothing like making pictures on the WWW.

Each cartoonist has five or six pages, including a decent selection of cartoons in black-and-white – this is an issue for some, since most were in color on the ‘net, for obvious reasons – and the interview with Rall. It’s all professional and well-done and informative, but it does feel like a moment frozen in amber this many years later.

I think we’re at the wrong time to look at a book like this again. One the one hand, it’s too long for most of these people to still be doing the same work, though a few are. On the other, they were all very young then (mostly mid-twenties) and so now are mostly in the middle of their careers – so it’s too early for this to be useful as parallax to evaluate anything like their whole oeuvre.

Still, it’s a moderately heroic book, trying to gather a vast, massively-distributed world and get it between two covers for posterity. It is a serious accomplishment, and it will be there for that re-evaluation in another thirty years or so, if any of us are there to look at it again.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

REVIEW: Minari

REVIEW: Minari

The America we know today is a country founded by generation after generation of immigrants, coming from pockets around the world. By the late 19th century, enough people had heard that this new country was a land of opportunity so countless families uprooted themselves and found their way here to start afresh.

In that way, the Yi family is no different than any other, making their story in Minari a universal one. The much-lauded film, out on disc and streaming from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, is both broad in scope and incredibly personal. The Yis came over from South Korea, first settling in California, but as we meet them, are relocating to Arkansas. Jacob Yi (Steven Yeun) sees his future in the fifty acres of farmland he has purchased, not in the manufactured home on wheels that houses his wife Monica (Han Ye-ri), Anne (Noel Kate Cho), and ailing David (Alan Kim).

They are isolated with no neighbors and live far from the handful of other Koreans in the area, all of whom seem to work for a chicken company. The adult Yis sort chicks by gender, saving the females to become McNuggets while the bored children try to stay busy. As tensions and debt mount, Jacob agrees to bring Monica’s mother Soon-ja (Youn Yuh-jung) to America to watch the children. She’s a character, playing cards, cursing, and incapable of cooking or baking, earning her the criticism from David that she’s not a “real” grandmother.

Jacob is trying to grow Korean vegetables recognizing there is a growing market as 30,000 countryman immigrate to America every year. But, like Job, the odds remain forever stacked against him. He is so desperate to succeed in America that he treats his marriage and his family as secondary matters.

The one who seems to suffer the most is Anne, on the cusp of adolescence, she is the one relied on to keep an eye on everyone else. She lacks friends and the ability to be a kid, doing her best, and only occasionally showing her frustration.

Writer/Director Lee Isaac Chung is fascinated by the experience and initially wanted to adapt Willa Cather’s My Antonia but relented when the estate protected the authpr’s desires not to have her work used in other media. He turned inward, using his personal experiences to craft this original tale. It is filled with small touches that only someone who’s been there would know, the stress, the isolation, the lack of connection.

He is commended for not painting the white folk in the story with one brush. Instead, the community seems welcoming. Jacob bonds with Will Patton’s devout Christian Paul, who helps him get the farm up and running. On the Sabbath, he is seen carrying a large wooden cross, which he says is his church, and speaks in tongues, but is not insulted for his beliefs.

This was a small film, easily overlooked any other year. Thankfully, it shone brightly with little competition. As a result, it won the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance. It went on to earn six Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor (Yeun), and Best Supporting Actress (Youn), with Youn winning for her performance. The film also won Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes and another half-dozen BAFTA nominations.

The Blu-ray release has a fine 1080p transfer in 2.39:1. The film’s soft cinematography, with hazy Arkansas summer air, is well captured. The film has English subtitles for the colloquial Korean moments and the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is perfectly adequate for home viewing.

The single disc features Audio Commentary with Chung and Youn which is worth a listen for additional insights. There is also the basic background piece Sowing Seeds: Making Minari (13:25) and some Deleted Scenes (3:18). There is also a Digital HD code included.

The Law Is A Ass #450: One Can Only Marvel At All The Ms. Takes

The Law Is A Ass #450: One Can Only Marvel At All The Ms. Takes

The Law Is A Ass #450: One Can Only Marvel At All The Ms. Takes

I don’t care what you say, 2020 could have been worse. Want proof? Marvel’s Civil War II didn’t come out in 2020, now did it?

Ah, Civil War II, the gift that kept on giving, even after we had taken it to the return window. It continued to haunt us in Ms. Marvel Vol 4 #20, after we thought we had put it out of our misery. Bear with me, to explain how, requires more back story than the Illustrated Man’s dorsal region.

Kamala Khan wasn’t always Ms. Marvel. Her latent Inhuman gene activated after she was exposed to the Terrigen Mist during Terrigenesis. That’s when she got powers and became protector of Jersey City. I realize that if you’re not up on Marvel continuity, the preceding sentences make no sense. I am up on Marvel continuity, after a fashion, and they don’t make complete sense to me. But explaining it further would make this column longer than Stephen King’s The Stand; abridged and unabridged versions. Combined. So, like a Lee fake fingernail, we press on.

Some months later, Kamala’s brother, Aamir Khan, was exposed to something. It wasn’t Terrigen, but it still gave Aamir powers. How it gave Aamir powers isn’t important, not unless we want to add Stephen King’s Under the Dome to this column’s word count. What is important is that Aamir got his powers when he was an adult.

During the events of Civil War II, Aamir openly displayed his super powers. Then, after Charles Worthy, a front man for Hydra, became Mayor of Jersey City, he started a policy of taking the city back from the “activist super heroes” who have disrupted Jersey City. To accomplish this, Worthy issued an executive order requiring all super heroes in Jersey City to register.

Aamir didn’t register. He was arrested pursuant to the executive order and held in a detention center, where a police officer reminded Aamir that he was an emigree who became a naturalized citizen when he was eight. The officer advised Aamir that “Under the new law, failing to disclose super-powers could potentially count as immigration fraud. If you obtained your citizenship under false pretenses, this could be grounds for revocation.” Meaning, Jersey City would revoke Aamir’s citizenship and deport him.

Jersey City may believe it’s like some little train engine going up a big hill, but it isn’t. Not only do I not think it can do this; I know it can’t.

Let’s deal with the ridiculous assumption, that if Aamir didn’t disclose powers he didn’t have at the time he became a naturalized citizen, he obtained his citizenship under false pretenses. Aamir didn’t have his powers when he was naturalized, he got them years later. To say he concealed something he didn’t have is like saying I – all 5 feet 7 inches of me – concealed my two-handed, behind-the-back slam dunk. Go ahead, try to conceal something you don’t have. That’s a trick that would fool Penn & Teller.

Aamir obtained nothing under false pretenses. The only false thing in the story is Mayor Worthy’s knowledge of the law. Especially if Worthy thought he could unconstitutionally apply an executive order which he issued after Aamir was naturalized to revoke Aamir’s citizenship. Don’t believe me? Look up the Ex Post Facto clause. Tell you what, I’ll save you a little research. You’ll find it in Article I §§ 9 and 10 of the United States Constitution. Next I’ll save you some time and tell you ex post facto is not a discontinued breakfast cereal but Latin for after the fact.

The Ex Post Facto clause says that neither the federal government (§ 9) nor a state (§ 10) can pass a law that punishes behavior that occurred before the law was passed. So Jersey City can’t revoke someone’s citizenship for not following an executive order that didn’t exist at the time that person became a citizen.

I know the Constitution doesn’t mention executive orders in the Ex Post Facto clause. But in ex post facto analysis there’s no real difference between an executive order and a law, so I don’t think that even the strictest textualist would deny relief on that pretext.

But let’s say that Jersey City could get past the arguments that Mayor Worthy’s executive order violated the Ex Post Facto clause– it can’t, but I have a few more words to go before I hit my word count quota, so I’ll use them up with another hypothetical – it still couldn’t use the executive order to argue that Aamir obtained his citizenship through fraud.

Remember how we proved Aamir didn’t conceal his super powers when he became a citizen, because he didn’t have any super powers when he became a citizen? (Yes, you do. Time may seem to pass more slowly during a pandemic lock down, but five paragraphs wasn’t that long ago.) That argument also negatives Jersey City’s fraud claim.

Fraud requires a specific intent to deceive to gain a benefit. That’s the culpable mental state of the crime. When Aamir was naturalized, he lacked an intent to deceive by concealing his super powers, because he lacked super powers.

Finally, does Mayor Worthy think he’s going to be able to use that fraud argument to expatriate Aamir and then deport him? If so, he’s dumber than a bag of door knobs. And not the good kind, we’re talking the kind that come out in your hand so you can’t open the door.

I refer you back to the Constitution. Specifically Article 1, § 8, clause 4 which gives the United States Congress the power to establish the rules of naturalization. Congress. You know, five hundred thirty-five men and women in Washington D.C. Not one mayor in central New Jersey. Give the mayor of Jersey City immigration authority? Hell, Congress wouldn’t even do that for Snooki.

So what does this mean? It means Jersey City wronged Mr. Khan bigly. We’re talking serious constitutional violations here, not Aamir inconvenience.