Netflix Picks: A History of Comic Books in Three Easy Lessons

I’ve decided to implement a new weekly article.  Netflix Picks.  If you’ve ever sat there, looking at what Netflix has offer, completely flummoxed by the sheer amount of stuff they have, I may have a solution for you.  From now on, every Friday, I’ll be giving you a short review of some movie or show that I’ve found that I believe is worth watching.

Today’s entry is Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle.  Comics have become a seriously big thing in the past few years.  Marvel seems to be printing money with their comic book movies.  DC is still lagging behind on that front, but they did just celebrate 75 years of Batman kicking batarang and taking names.  So right now seems like a good time to take a look back at the history of the comic book medium.  Which is exactly what this three part documentary does.

Now, if you’re well versed in comic book lore and history, you’ve probably heard all of this before.  They don’t go into a lot of detail over the three 55 minute episodes.  It’s basically Comic Book History 101.  But if you’re new to the world of comic books, this is a pretty darn good place to start.  They’ve got interview with some of the biggest names in the industry both past and present, Stan Lee, J. Michael Straczynski, Denny O’Neill, Joe Quesada, and there’s footage of Jack Kirby, Walt Simonson, and Alan Moore.

The documentary goes over the history of the medium from the Golden Age to the Silver Age right on through the Dark Age, the collecting boom (and subsequent bust), and the Modern Age with all of the movies, video games, and how digital comics are keeping the industry alive after nearly 80 years.  It’s a pretty general look at where comics have been, and some of the bigger speed bumps in the road.  Like I said, it works really well if you’re new to comics, but longtime fans might find things a little boring.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

A Trip to Night Vale

Last night I went to the Denver Welcome to Night Vale show; it was a ton of fun.  Things started out promisingly when I got downtown and spotted a group of cosplayers.  These weren’t Night Vale cosplayers mind you, I spotted an Ariel, an Assassin’s Creed assassin, someone from Attack on Titan, and a large, blue, furry something that I couldn’t quite identify.  But it was still a good start to the evening.

When I got to the theater, the line was already pretty long.  I saw plenty of Cecils and Carloses as I made my way to the end of the line, and then the two Glow Clouds showed up.  Cries of “All Hail!” could be heard along the line.  And here I’m going to point out the creativity of the cosplayers I saw last night.  Amongst all the Cecils and Carloses there were a couple of Kevins, at least one Lauren Mallard that I saw, a really cool Night Vale Ms. Frizzle, several Strex Pets, a Night Vale girl scout, and a Man in a Tan Jacket cosplay that was handing out flyers for the Night Vale subway.  Half the fun of last night was seeing the creativity of the fans there.

The show itself started out with a very nice performance from Eliza Rickman (Night Vale fans might recognize her from Episode 45’s weather).  Rickman has a lovely voice that she accentuates with delicate sounding instruments like an autoharp and a toy piano.  If what I heard last night is any indication of the rest of her work, and I think it is, I’ll have to get her album.

Without giving away spoilers to anyone who either hasn’t gotten to see the show yet, or didn’t get the chance to see it when it was near them, the show was exactly what you would expect.  Meaning that it was pretty darn good overall.  There were some nice Cecil/Carlos moments, Tamika Flynn made a generally awesome appearance, and although I heard that the appearance of Steve Carlsberg was a Denver only thing, I’m not entirely sure that’s true.  If it isn’t, you can definitely look forward to a very funny and energetic performance.  One of the biggest things that stood out to me watching the show was Cecil’s hand movements, especially as he described the skittering, slythering way that librarians in Night Vale move.  I have no idea why that particular thing stood out to me, but I felt that really added to the show.

After the show was over and I was making my way out of the theater I could hear a few people chanting “All Hail.” as one of the Glow Clouds left, and later a spontaneous, if worrying chant of “Bring down Strex!” started in the lobby.  In short, a fun night, and a great performance.  Those of you who have yet to experience it are in for a treat.

Also?  Shout out to the Carlos cosplayer who drove from Cheyenne for the show, hope you got home safe.  And to the girl in the NASA dress who sat next to me, thanks for making an already great night even better.