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Fall Through by Nate Powell

Fall Through by Nate Powell

This book is already dancing about architecture. So I worry that anything I might say would compound that – painting a picture of dancing about architecture. But here I am, and here I go.

Fall Through  is Nate Powell’s new graphic novel this year: it has what I think of as his trademark atmospheric, black-background, swirling pages and vaguely creepy, unexplained and deeply embedded fantasy elements. I found myself resisting it more than some of his earlier books: as always, I can only say how I reacted, and note that it’s as likely to have been me as the book.

This is the story of a punk band, Diamond Mine. They formed in 1994, recorded a 7″, did a bunch of touring, had a following. They lived together in a house, all seemingly in their early twenties. They were part of a wider punk scene across the Midwest and South, with clusters of more-or-less angry, more-or-less young people in every mid-sized town or larger, putting on mostly illegal shows in fields or backyards or wherever and running away when the cops came to break it up. None of that paid – if you actually made gas money, you were way ahead.

Punk, you know?

Jody was one of the four members of the band. She played bass and sang, at least some of the time. She wasn’t the leader and songwriter: that was Diana. She wasn’t the flashy guitarist: that was Napoleon. She wasn’t the quiet, solid-as-a-rock drummer: that was Steff. But she’s our viewpoint character.

Fall Through takes place mostly in 1994. But we also see Jody, seeming the same age, or just a few years younger, in 1978, back in what Gen X me thinks of as the actual age of punk. (Punk was a movement. It happened, and ended, like every other movement. Even early ’80s hardcore was something else. Everything later was revivals and different things, just like “rockabilly” now isn’t what it meant in the ’50s.)

How did Jody get from being 18ish in 1978 to being 23ish in 1994? Well, that’s the story here.

Most of the book is about a tour. It’s the summer of 1994, and the four members of Diamond Mine are in a van, going from town to town to play shows with local acts – again, mostly not legally, and the only way they get paid is if they sell some merch.  Like any tour, it seems to be endless, days stretching on and on, each one like the last. Like it never began and will never end, just a single day, over and over again.

And that may be true. Diana wrote a song – “Fall Through” – and when Diamond Mine plays it the right way, at the climax of a show, they seem to change worlds or times or something. The flap copy calls it “transported to alternate worlds in which they’ve never existed but their band’s legend has.” I don’t know about that: it all seems to still be 1994, and they have tour dates day after day, which implies their band exists and is known.

Really, it feels like a reset. Maybe different worlds, but not that different from each other. Certainly not the wild swings in time and space the description implies. All still that same tour, the same van, rambling through mid-America during the summer of 1994. More punk shows: one every night, potentially forever. Like August keeps resetting – this time St. Louis, the next time Louisville.

Diana seems to be doing this on purpose. Once there’s a frightening figure – coming out of a surrounding cornfield, like a horror movie, during their set – that she clearly triggers the song, the spell to get away from. And it’s taken a while, but the rest of the band knows something is wrong.

There are confrontations, but it’s all in vague language – “moving forward,” “sticking together,” that kind of thing. I expect punks to be louder, more demanding – to swear a lot more, for one thing. (I guess these are well-behaved, Southern, second generation punks.)

So the book never explains what’s happening or why. They talk around it a few times, but that’s all. There’s never even a “this band is going to break up” fight or possibility or option: it’s as if they’re all locked into this, no matter what they want or choose.

The situation does get resolved in the end, and we do circle back to 1978…but the ways and hows of it frustrated me. It’s all thematically appropriate, but not dramatically. The plot doesn’t go anywhere, the actions of the characters aren’t really important to the ending. It’s a book about an endless punk tour, about community and scene, rather than being a story about these things that happened to these people.

We never learn why this happened. We never learn how this song works. We never learn who that mysterious figure was, if he was actually chasing them, or anything. In the end, it all doesn’t matter, all those explanations are beside the point Powell wants to make. But I was here to find out all those things, and I don’t have any particular nostalgia for “wasn’t it awesome to be young and in a punk band?”

So I found this book incredibly frustrating: it avoided all of the things I wanted to know and focused entirely on things I found vague and trite. It’s lovely and thoughtful: Powell draws as well as ever and his people are real and precise. They just all waffle on about the least interesting things, and then go on to play another show as if none of that happened, which makes very little sense to me.

Your mileage may vary. If you’ve ever been in a band, particularly. And Powell is one of our best, so I won’t ignore the fact that I might have missed something major. But the Fall Through I read was not the book I was hoping for.

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

REVIEW: Dexter’s Laboratory: The Complete Series

REVIEW: Dexter’s Laboratory: The Complete Series

I must admit that I missed Dexter’s Laboratory when it originally aired on the Cartoon Network from 1996-2003. Friends raved about its charm and humor and the brilliance of animator Genndy Tartakovsky. So, the arrival of Dexter’s Laboratory: The Complete Series is welcome. On sale today from Warner Home Entertainment, the set includes all 78 episodes plus the special Dexter’s Laboratory: Ego Trip.

According to the press release, the show is about half-Einstein, half-third grader Dexter.  This boy genius creates the most amazing inventions in the top-secret and highly advanced laboratory attached to his room.  But his genius can’t stop his space-brained sister Dee Dee from messing up and his work and pushing his buttons.  Or his annoying rival Mandark Astronomonov from constantly trying to one-up him.  Can Dexter use his intelligence to solve his problems?  Time to fight fire with…SCIENCE!

Well, who doesn’t love science?

What’s nice here is that Dexter and his rival are both very smart third graders, and the series celebrates smart people. Mom and Dad are somehow entirely clueless to the secrets hidden in Dexter’s bedroom, an annoying trope. However, Dee Dee finds the gadgets and gizmos and is clever enough to use them.

In addition to Dexter’s exploits, the first two seasons included segments featuring Monkey, Dexter’s pet lab-monkey, and the Justice Friends, a trio of superheroes sharing an apartment.

The show wasn’t afraid to experiment, such as the second season’s finale, the 25-minute “Last But Not Beast”. And after working on The PowerPuff Girls, Tartakovsky came back for Ego Trip, intending it to be the last word on Dexter.

Tartakovsky’s quirky sense of humor is clear in these seasons, especially when compared with the work of Chris Savino, who stepped in to run the series after the show seemingly ended and Tartakovsky moved on to Samurai Jack. The look and feel were okay but lacked the spark that made Dexter so funny.

The strong voice cast of Christine Cavanaugh, Allison Moore, Kath Soucie, Jeff Bennett, Kat Cressida, Eddie Deezen, and Candi Milo helped convey that sense of whimsy. After Cavanaugh died recently, Tartakovsky said he couldn’t imagine rebooting the show without her.

Interestingly, “Dial M for Monkey: Barbequor” and “Rude Removal” were banned from broadcast and are absent from the collection, making it a little less complete.

The 1080p transfer is just fine, retaining the sharp colors and images from the series; the Dolby Digital Audiotrack is equally good, so these are fine to rewatch at home.

No Special features were included.

Nancy by Olivia Jaimes

Nancy by Olivia Jaimes

It’s not often that a syndicate gets praise for how they handle the transition on a legacy comic. This is the biggest example I can think of, and one of the biggest transitions in decades. By comparison, the new Flash Gordon artist this year is more typical: breathing new life into a beloved old feature by doing basically the same thing, just with more zip and energy.

Olivia Jaimes wasn’t doing the same thing with Nancy in 2018. What was once a finely tuned engine of precisely drawn gags by Ernie Bushmiller had devolved into a bland collection of glurge, drawn by Guy Gilchrist as the demented spawn of Precious Moments and Art Frahm. But Nancy had been through transitions before: it’s easy to forget that Bushmiller himself took over a strip then called Fritzi Ritz in 1925, added Nancy as a character, and shifted the whole strip based on what he wanted to do and what the audience wanted to see.

Jaimes – even today, her actual identity is a closely guarded secret; all that’s publicly known is that she had a webcomic before Nancy, is female, and is believed to be relatively young – looked backwards to Bushmiller in some things, like her fondness for meta gags and references to “the cartoonist.” She also dragged Nancy entirely into the modern world, something the very backward-looking Gilchrist had no interest in doing.

The syndicate seems to be pitching Nancy these days to actual kids, which is a major change from the last three or four decades. I don’t know how many actual eight-year-olds identify with Nancy – maybe, she’s prickly and demanding and self-centered and sure of her own righteousness like so many real-world kids of that age – but I guess that’s working for them.

This book – just called Nancy  – came out less than a year after Jaimes started the strip, back in 2019. I don’t know if it’s her complete first six months, but it’s something like that: this is how it started, what the big transition looked like from the other side. Compared to the work Jaimes is doing on the strip now – more than five years later – it’s simpler, starker in its drawing and more in-your-face Internet-meme-y in its gags, than the more organic, story-driven work she’s doing now.

I miss some of that anything-can-happen atmosphere of the early Jaimes years: it felt a bit more Bushmillerian then, since he was always a cartoonist who would draw absolutely anything in service of the best gag he had for that day. But this book is a good record of those days: a somewhat blockier Nancy and Sluggo, their eyes bigger and less expressive, their clothes more templated and old-fashioned, their dialogue more aggressively mentioning newer technology.

Even if you didn’t catch “Sluggo Is Lit” the first time around, check this out if you like smart gag cartoons. Nancy was always a great engine for them, and Jaimes tuned that engine back up and got it running beautifully.

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

REVIEW: Spider-Man: Cosmic Chaos!

REVIEW: Spider-Man: Cosmic Chaos!

Spider-Man: Cosmic Chaos!
By Mike Maihack
Amulet/96 pagers/#1299 (hardcover), $9.99 (digital)

I like Mike Maihack’s artwork, which I find accessible and lots of fun. I feel bad for taking him to task for his popular Cleopatra in Space, but that was years ago, and lately, he’s been producing material far more to my liking.

Here, we have the third of his Spider-Man team-up books aimed at 6-9-year-olds. His storytelling sensibilities are sharp and approachable. Maihack told School Library Journal, “For a more established character like Spidey, it was about tapping into his friendly and neighborly disposition toward everything. Those are both things I could completely connect with. After that, I find it pretty intuitive to know how each character is going to react when you confront them with other characters or toss them into a giant mess of a situation. No matter where they come from, I discover ways of making them my own.”

So, we have a Spider-Man missing the angst who is adventuring in stories scaled to the readership, which includes simplified versions of the Marvel Universe’s denizens. In this story, he finds himself in space, trying to return the Silver Surfer’s surfboard to him. Along the way, he finds himself coming into possession of a vurbfzax, a cosmic talisman. Just seven were manufactured as rare premiums in Celestrio’s cereal and Rocket warns, “Combining all seven can have universe-shattering consequences!” (I suppose this is for readers too young to know about the Infinity Stones.)

Of course, all seven will be brought together, and cosmic wackiness ensures, bringing in Ego the Living Planet, Galactus, the Watcher, and the Collector. Things are looking pretty bad until the resolution presents itself in a surprising way.

There are some fine running gags about waffles and dolphins, and the core essence of the Marvel characters is nicely distilled for easy accessibility.

The packed story actually unfolds in a well-paced way, never crowding the artwork and making sure the characters each get a chance to shine.

This one makes for solid reading if you have someone looking for summer adventures.

Time Under Tension by M.S. Harkness

Time Under Tension by M.S. Harkness

How do any of us choose the next book to read? Looking at a big list of possibilities – all things you don’t know well, all things new and different – what sparks the thought “that one”?

This time, it was hair.

On the cover of Time Under Tension , her major 2023 graphic memoir, creator M.S. Harkness draws her hair as a giant, swoopy, structural thing – almost a separate, solid object, like a shark’s fin. That said to me “this is a creator who is comfortable with caricature, who gets that cartooning is how to put complicated ideas down on the page. She’s going to be interesting to read on a craft and structure level.”

I don’t want to say “I was right.” Let’s say I accurately noticed some clear strengths in Harkness’s immediate, uncompromising work. Let’s say that she both has the drawing and page-layout chops to tell a difficult story well, and both the material in her own life and the mental strength to turn that into art to work from. Let’s say I was not disappointed.

This is autobiographical: I assume it’s true as much as any memoir is, that some characters may be somewhat fictionalized or events moved in time or dialogue reconstructed to work better on the page. It feels real. Harkness has an immediacy, in her bold lines and her in-your-face storytelling, that tells the reader she is not fucking around here.

We open just before her art-school graduation, in what turns out to be an extended prologue that jumps back and forth in time during that taut moment of almost that is the month before that big day. All of the work is done; the group show is being hung. Harkness knows she will graduate. There’s a moment where a teacher bluntly tells her “I had to keep everyone else from failing. I was never really worried about you. Your art career or whatever…you’ll be fine.”

This section sets up the tensions and issues Harkness will be working through during the bulk of the book, rolling out over most of the next year.

And, no matter what that art professor thought, she is not fine.

She’s organized, focused, driven. She has a plan and multiple goals. She’s working on her first graphic novel and studying to become a personal trainer. She has a sympathetic fellow-artist roommate as a support system, and is plugged into the larger comics world.

She’s also doing random one-off sex-work jobs to plug holes in her budget. The book description says she’s also selling weed for the same purpose, but we really don’t see that in the story. She has a messy relationship with an up-and-coming MMA fighter – she is, or was, his dealer, and a fuck-buddy for this guy who already has a “girlfriend.” She wants to be more to him than he’s willing to give, and he keeps coming back but is at least honest about what’s going on.

Behind all that is a horrible childhood: a sexually abusive father about to get out of prison and reaching out through some kind of reparations program to make an “apology” she wants nothing to do with. A mother who means well but who Harkness sees as weak and doesn’t have much in common with.

I don’t want to psychoanalyze her, especially based on her own presentation. But there’s clearly trauma there that she’s still trying to get away from, and a complex nexus of physicality: working out herself, helping other people’s bodies get strong as a trainer, the random paid sex, the toll on arms and back from hunching over a drawing board. Time Under Tension isn’t really about all of those physical demands on her body, and how they intersect with each other, but I wouldn’t be surprised if her next book was – or the book after that. 

Harkness seeks out therapists, which doesn’t go well. She knows she’s driven and goal-focused, but feels like she’s not connecting with people: they’re all just roles in this march forward, each one just a piece of one of her projects.

She has to work it out herself, the same way she does everything. More work, more pushing forward, one day at a time.

In the way of comics, it may be telling the story of a few years ago: I see that Harkness is now thirty-one. Time Under Tension was Harkness’s third book; the first two were also comics memoirs. She’s said that she intends to do five books in this “series.” But this one stands alone: it tells a full story brilliantly, with an unblinking eye on her own life and problems.

And her hair is magnificent. Harkness has a stark style with strategically deployed spots of black, and her hair is the most consistent large black element on most of these pages, drawing the eye to its complexity and unruliness. I wonder if we will see that hair settle down in future books, as Harkness moves forward in life and gets her demons more under control. I hope so. I’d love to see it.

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

Star Wars & Dartth Vader End Their Runs with 50th Issues

Star Wars & Dartth Vader End Their Runs with 50th Issues

New York, NY— June 20, 2024 — For nearly five years, Marvel Comics has delivered Star Wars comic book series set in the largely unexplored period between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Across titles like Star Wars, Star Wars: Darth Vader, Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, and Star Wars: Bounty Hunters, fans have experienced the adventures Luke, Leia, Lando, and more iconic heroes embarked on during one of the darkest times for the Rebellion and discovered the trials Darth Vader overcame through during a pivotal turning point in his journey through the dark side. Now, this exciting chapter comes to an end in September with two oversized epics: STAR WARS #50 and STAR WARS: DARTH VADER #50. Later this year, Marvel Comics will take readers to a different era of the galaxy, far, far away. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information!

Both finale issues will be fifty-page extravaganzas! In Charles Soule and Madibek Musabekov’s STAR WARS #50, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker must teach his student Ben Solo a powerful lesson about the true balance between Light and Dark! He offers up a tale from the days of the Rebel Alliance that touches on multiple eras of Star Wars history and brings this epic run to a thrilling, incredible climax!

Then, acclaimed writer Greg Pak closes out the longest-running Darth Vader comic series ever alongside artist Raffaele Ienco and more in STAR WARS: DARTH VADER #50. Pak’s run reaches its stunning conclusion as the Dark Heart of the Sith comes full circle! Darth Vader finally unleashes the unfathomable power he’s accumulated through the Schism Imperial against the only person in the galaxy he hates more than he hates himself – Emperor Palpatine! It also features the final twists in the saga for key characters like Luke, Leia, Sabé, Ochi, the droid ZED-6-7, Sly Moore, the members of the Schism Imperial, and more!

REVIEW: Welcome Back, Kotter: The Complete Series

REVIEW: Welcome Back, Kotter: The Complete Series

As an avid child of television, Friday nights were something to look forward to as ABC had the coolest shows from 8-11 p.m. Nestled between The Patridge Family and The Odd Couple was Room 222, more a dramedy than a straightforward sitcom. As school let out in January 1974, the network clearly wasn’t done with classes as just over a year later, they debuted a true sitcom: Welcome Back, Kotter.

The series ran until May 1979, and its superb casting catapulted John Travolta to superstardom. Born from standup comic Gabe Kapler’s routines about his Brooklyn high school experiences, the premise saw Gabe Kotter return to his alma mater, James Buchanan High, this time as a teacher. He was assigned the lowest performing students, dubbed the Sweathogs, of which he was once one.

Filmed before an audience on videotape, it closely resembled the other popular half-hour shows of the era. What set it apart was the cast and humor, which were less topical than Norman Lear’s CBS offerings but sharper than the lowest common denominator sitcoms. The series has lingered in memory, given the cast and humor, which are still found on cable. Warner Home Entertainment has periodically released single-season sets and the complete series. Welcome Back, Kotter: The Complete Series is now available on traditional DVD for a brand new generation.

From John Sebastian’s memorable title track to Kotter’s homelife, the sitcom didn’t confine itself to the traditional school setting. Most episodes opened and closed with Kotter and his wife Julie (Marcia Strassman), and fairly quickly, she found herself at the school or the Sweathogs in their apartment.

The regulars were distinct and multicultural, from handsome dimbulb Vinnie Barbarino (Travolta) to Black athlete Freddie “Boom Boom” Washington (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs), to Epstein (Robert Hegyes), a Puerto-Rican, whose forged notes from “Epstein’s Mother” were always good for a laugh to Arnold Horshack (Ron Palillo), who was just the odd man out in most things. Their catchphrases— “Up your nose with a rubber hose!” for example—were less than creative, but the ensemble played well with one another. Kapler’s Groucho Marx impressions were timely given the 70’s revived interest in the Marx Brothers and gave the parents something to laugh with.

The simple dilemmas of the day rarely involved academics and were filled with life lessons and laughs. The show’s first two seasons are the strongest, and now that I am a high school teacher and have my own cadre of Sweathogs to deal with, I nod a lot in appreciation for Kotter’s issues. The full scope of a teacher’s responsibilities could have been better mined, but at least the series treated the profession with respect.

You can watch and laugh at most of the episodes today, even if excusing some of the prevalent casual sexism at the time. To freshen the series, rather than give Julie something interesting to do, she was saddled with raising twins. In the final season, they finally caught up with the Women’s Lib movement and had her become a school secretary and occasional fill-in teacher. It was long before a female Sweathog, Angie (Melonie Haller), was added, and it was just her. The assistant principal, Michael Woodman (John Sylvester White), was perhaps the show’s most stereotypical character.

As the series progressed, Travolta became a bigger and bigger celebrity, so he wound up making just ten guest appearances in the final season. Kapler himself was periodically absent when he and actor-turned-producer James Komack feuded. The other issue is that the cast aged out of passing for high school students (an issue that plagued series such as Smallville and Glee).

The collection is presented in 1.33:1 4×3 transfers, possibly the best that can be done with video series. It’s fine as a time capsule. The Dolby Digital and English 2.0 mono soundtracks are upgrades from previous editions.

Whereas previous editions had some interesting extras like screen tests, this version has zero special features which is a shame.

Details on the Final Fate of the Infinity Watch Releases

Details on the Final Fate of the Infinity Watch Releases

New York, NY— June 17, 2024 — The most coveted artifacts in the known universe have resurfaced, and this time, they’re bonded to the very bodies and souls of Marvel’s up-and-coming heroes and villains. For the Mad Titan, that makes his hunt for them all the more sweet. Across nine annuals starting with June’s THANOS ANNUAL #1, witness the latest cosmos-shattering Infinity saga as celebrated icons and new fan favorites battle it out to contain—or control—the limitless power of the INFINITY STONES in the blockbuster summer event—INFINITY WATCH.

Acclaimed writer Derek Landy (Captain America/Iron Man) will spearhead the INFINITY WATCH crossover crossover. In addition to writing key chapters of the event, Landy will team up with artist Sara Pichelli on backup stories in each of the nine annuals that follow the creation and pursuit of the mysterious Death Stone-bearer who will be revealed in THANOS ANNUAL #1.

The saga will follow up on previous Infinity Stone stories with the return of recent bearers, including Star, Overtime, Prince of Power, Quantum, and Multitude, as well as introduce you to the new Mind Stone-Bearer, WORLDMIND, for the first time! As they deal with their god-like powers and mistrust from their peers, Thanos, fresh off his own dramatic transformation in Christopher Cantwell’s recent Thanos limited series, begins a bloody march to claim his dark destiny once more.

Today, fans can peek ahead at what’s to come in INFINITY WATCH parts seven through nine:



A strange sleepwalking plague has swept through the city, and it’s up to Moon Knight to solve the mystery! But when his investigation causes him to clash with one of the newest Infinity Stone Bearers in a previously-unseen adventure, it’ll be all Moon Knight can do to survive the skirmish—let alone try to keep the Mind Stone out of nefarious hands! Strap in, True Believers; things are about to get rocky!

Written by STEVE FOXE


Spider-Boy is juggling being Spider-Man’s sidekick, keeping his friends safe, and being just a regular kid. But nothing stops him from jumping in when trouble is brewing! This time, he’s joined by Multitude, who has the Soul Stone, and Prince of Power, who has the Power Stone (of course!), as they face off against a mysterious evil they vow to stop!

Written by DEREK LANDY


The Infinity Stone bearers are all brought together for the first time! If you thought the stones were dangerous in Thanos’ hands, imagine if Star gets her way!

On crafting the latest Infinity Stones saga, Landy said, “When you write for Marvel, it’s all you can hope for to add your thread to the massive tapestry of stories that has been unfolding since 1961. To be asked to spearhead this next chapter is a prospect beyond my paltry imagination. I get to work on characters I’ve never written before — Thanos! Hulk! — and drag them into the story beside the new generation of heroes like Ms. Marvel and Spider-Boy. Thankfully, there is absolutely no pressure because comic fans are a notoriously easy-going bunch who are prepared to forgive if—oh dear God.”

Proxy Mom: My Experience with Portpartum Depression by Sophie Adriansen & Mathou

Proxy Mom: My Experience with Portpartum Depression by Sophie Adriansen & Mathou

Babies are hard. I think everyone knows that intellectually, but maybe not emotionally. My own first child was a needy, demanding, unhappy baby – I don’t want to claim too much; this was a quarter-century ago, and I wasn’t the main caregiver, either – so I have some insight but nothing like expertise.

The mother in Proxy Mom: My Experience with Postpartum Depression  has a fairly typical, average baby: no more needy than most, no specific problems, nothing out of the ordinary. Just crying every hour or few hours, all day every day, needing something that’s often not clear. Just an ordinarily demanding, life-altering baby, on top of everything the pregnancy and birth already did to her body.

This graphic novel is loosely a memoir – writer Sophie Adriansen and artist Mathou both lived through versions of this story, the same year, each having a first baby with a man who already had older children. And, from the story, I guess they both had problems attaching, with feeling “motherly,” at least at first – that’s a lot more common than people realize.

A baby is a wrinkled, red-faced, crying lump, capable only of wanting things. That’s not inherently lovable. It takes a lot of hormones hitting just the right way to forge that connection, and sometimes it takes quite a while – sometimes it fizzles at first.

Sometimes, like with Marietta in this story, it’s more overwhelming and painful than wonderful and special. And the realization that life is not going to be “like before, but with a baby” but instead “completely different, in ways you didn’t expect” is frightening and unnerving: there’s now this tiny person that is utterly dependent on you for everything, needy in a way no other human being has been for you before.

This is the story of about those first six months, the toughest time, for Marietta and her husband Chuck and baby Zoe. How she was overwhelmed by the pain at first, in the hospital, after a tough labor and pain during breastfeeding. How Chuck was the experienced one – but not the one whose body was battered by the birth, and not the one there all day every day with tiny needy Zoe. How she wanted that deep connection with her baby, but it wasn’t there at first – how she found it, how she got there in the end.

There are no huge problems. This is not the kind of memoir subtitled “how I got through This Horrible Thing and it made me a better person.” Birth is natural. Babies are natural. Crying babies and post-partum pain and being overwhelmed are entirely natural. It’s huge for the woman going through it. It feels too big too handle: being responsible, every second of every day, for another person, a person who can do nothing at all for herself.

But Marietta made it through. She didn’t get back “her old life, but with a baby” – she got back a new life, with a lot of the pieces of the old one, plus a baby, transforming everything else as a baby always does. Adriansen and Mathou have lived this, and they tell that story naturalistically and realistically, always through Marietta’s viewpoint, always focused on how she feels about herself and her baby.

They tell that story in a lovely, immediate way through cartooning. Mathou’s style is warm and inviting, big eyes and rounded bodies and slightly exaggerated expressions. Adriansen keeps the captions short and focused – this is the kind of book that could have a blizzard of expert opinions footnoted on every page, but she smartly knows they’re not needed. Marietta’s situation is natural: millions of women go through it every year, and need support and love and attention to get through it.

This US edition was translated and Americanized by Montana Kane from the original French, including, I assume, some facts and figures Adriansen includes along the way. I noticed the numbers were about the USA, but nothing else about the translation, which is the best reaction to a translation: if you don’t notice it, it’s done right.

This is the kind of book that says “you’re not alone” to a huge number of women struggling with what is usually the biggest, hardest, most exhaustingly wonderful thing that they’ve ever had to deal with. It says that clearly, lovingly, from the point of view of another woman who has been through it.

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

Classic A League of Their Own Makes 4K Return Sept. 3

Classic A League of Their Own Makes 4K Return Sept. 3

It’s a home run with this hilarious and beloved comedy starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Madonna. With baseball lineups and locker rooms left empty during World War II, the newly-founded All-American Girls Baseball League brought talented women to the big leagues and fans to the stands. The indomitable Dottie Hinson (Davis) finds herself leading a rag-tag group of players who end up winning over the heart of their has-been coach, Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks). Lori Petty, Rosie O’Donnell and Jon Lovitz round out the all-star roster. Based on the true story of the pioneering women who blazed the trail for generations of athletes.

• Feature presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision, restored from the original camera negative
• English Dolby Atmos + English 5.1 + English 2-Channel Surround
• Special Features:
o Domestic Theatrical Trailer
o 5 International Teasers & Trailers

• Feature presented in high definition, sourced from the 4K master
• English 5.1 + English 2-Channel Surround
• Special Features:
o Feature Commentary with Director Penny Marshall and Actresses Lori Petty, Tracy Reiner and Megan Cavanagh
o Nine Memorable Innings Documentary
o Deleted Scenes
o The Enduring Legacy of A League of Their Own
o 3 Episodes from the 1993 TV series A League of Their Own
o “This Used to Be My Playground” Music Video by Madonna

Directed By: Penny Marshall
Produced By: Robert Greenhut and Elliot Abbott
Screenplay By: Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel
Based on a Story By: Kim Wilson & Kelly Candaele
Executive Producer: Penny Marshall
Cast: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Lori Petty, Jon Lovitz, David Strathairn, Garry Marshall and Bill Pullman

Run Time: Approx. 128 minutes
Rating: PG for language.
4K UHD Feature Picture: 2160p Ultra High Definition, 2.39:1
4K UHD Feature Audio: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible) | English 5.1 DTS-HD MA | English 2-Channel Surround DTS-HD MA