women (in refrigerators), six (secret), eight (hateful), and life (on mars)

Georgina Comarty did a good post on how and when to kill your characters:

I made this comment:

“You do have to be careful with the ‘It drives an essential change in another character’ idea, though. There’s quite a tradition in comic books, for example, of female characters being killed (or raped or something else) mostly to make the male main characters feel and react in certain ways.”

Then I saw this in the review of the new X-men movie at rogerebert.com:

“How many more wives and daughters will be killed in these kinds of films in order to give a male lead some angst?”

Therefore all the more convincing me that I’m not going to rush out to see the picture.

Also on that website, there was this piece, which further clarified my thinking about The Hateful Eight:

It contains this observation:

“First, let’s analyze the individuals the filmmaker puts in the cabin that serves as the movie’s stage: there is a black man (Samuel L. Jackson’s Major Warren) and a representative of the racist Confederation (Bruce Dern’s General Smithers); there is a guy who supposedly got rich by becoming a partner in a venture (Michael Madsen’s Joe Gage) and the poor stagecoach driver who is required to work more than everyone else (James Parks’ O.B. Jackson); there’s representative of the Law (Kurt Russell’s John Ruth) and one who threatens the Order (Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Daisy); and there is, finally, the British guy who symbolizes those who colonized America (Tim Roth’s Oswaldo Mobray) and the Mexican man representing the colonialist nature of the newly formed country (Demián Bechir’s Bob). We soon discovered, also, how General Smithers massacred a battalion of black soldiers, how Major Warren massacred a contingent of Indians, how Minnie (the owner of the cabin, who was black) hated Mexicans and how everyone seems comfortable in beating or threatening Daisy, the only woman in the group.

“It does not require much imagination, therefore, to see how the space shared by all those people from different backgrounds is a representation of America itself…”

This expands on the observation that I settled on last time: “…a parlor-room epic, an entire nation in a single room.”

Well, Secret Six, one of my favorite comic books, has been cancelled. Again.

Not that surprising, really. The restarted series wasn’t as good as it was the previous time around, and even at its best I often wondered who the target audience was supposed to be.

By the way, Gail Simone, the writer of Secret Six, was one of the people to identify the “women in refrigerators” syndrome I referred about above. So, it is both pleasing and appropriate that, as the article puts it, “…Simone quietly undid one of the great travesties in DC history: the murder of Sue Dibny in Identity Crisis.”

Sue was the wife of Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man. They were one of the great comic book marriages. Ralph was never a first-string hero — he had rather goofy stretching powers, but he was basically a detective. They were pretty much the comic book Nick and Nora Charles — zipping around the world solving mysteries and having a great time doing it.

Sue was never a fighter, so it was particularly inappropriate for her to be killed.

And now she’s back, which is as it should be, and the dysfunctional super-villains of the Secret Six got a really nice send-off. Like the Fast and Furious movies, and Firefly/Serenity, it was always the story of a family — a family made up of some not-very-nice people.

And, finally, I thought recently that I was in the mood to hear some new music from Lorde, which led me to the recent Brit awards, where she sang David Bowie’s “Life on Mars.”

You can watch the first half of the clip, with the speeches by Annie Lennox and Gary Oldman (accepting the award on Bowie’s behalf), or you can skip ahead to the performance (around nine minutes in).

The most moving part is that the musicians are Bowie’s long-time band, most of whom had played with him for many years (decades, in some cases), but I do have to report that Lorde nailed it.

A very appropriate farewell.

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