Who Watches the Watchmen?

There’s a good post at The Hog’s Head by Dave the Longwinded about Watchmen (both the movie and the graphic novel).  It examines how the story is a perfect postmodern deconstructionist text.

Ultimately, the book’s most famous tagline belies its most famous theme:  “Who watches the Watchmen?” In deconstructionist fashion, Moore is taking on the notion of a superhero and its role in a free, democratic society.  How can free people put so much faith into one personality and their “unfailing goodness”?  How can “independent” people find so appealing the need for one individual to cure all of society’s ills?  Aren’t these examples of free people wanting some kind of fascism?  Moore explores the idea that the superhero is, in fact, a concept deeply antithetical to free societies — a criticism that we’ve heard on this site and others about Harry.  Conversations about the believability of Harry’s character all revolve around this concept, whether or not he’s “too good” to be a legitimate site in which readers should invest their hope and ideals.

A Couple Recomendations

There are a couple of things I want to talk about without getting into a full-blown review. The first is the ESV Listener’s Bible read by Max McLean and the second is Astonishing X-Men written by Joss Whedon.

I’ve tried listening to audio versions of the Bible many times. Sometimes the reader is bad, sometimes the version isn’t suited for audio (in my opinion the Message fits into this category), and most often the production is just outright bad (almost every King James version).

The Listener’s Bible is the exact opposite. The reader is good (if somewhat overdramatic in Gen. 1-2), the ESV sounds great read aloud, and the production is excellent. I got it free from Audible because of the Twit promotion, so I don’t know how much it actually costs, but it’s worth it.

Moving on to something completely unrelated: Astonishing X-Men. I know that I am way behind the curve on this, but I just started reading the graphic novels this week and I love it. Whedon brings his unique dialogue to comics, something the industry sorely needed. Anyway, check it out if you haven’t and you are into comics.

Friday Five: Comic Book TV Shows

Comic books are increasingly rising in popularity in film and TV; Spider-man 3 broke all sorts of box office records, Heroes is one of the highest rated shows on TV, and Batman is cool again. While many see this as a trend that is bound to fail soon, I see this as a great opportunity to get more comic books on TV. So, here is my list of five comics that should be made into shows.

  1. Sandman by Neil Gaiman. This would be a bit odd and very dark, but it’s one of the best written comic books ever.
  2. The Swamp Thing by Alan Moore. Forget the cheesy 90’s TV show, Moore’s Swamp Thing was dark and scary. Plus, Superman shows up in some very surreal scenes.
  3. Rising Stars by J. Michael Straczynski. It probably wouldn’t work now because the story is similar to Heroes, but Rising Stars is a great comic series. It centers around a group of people who have been given super powers and the search for a super hero serial killer. (Again, Heroes totally ripped off this premise.) Plus, it was written by the guy who gave us Babylon 5.
  4. Preacher by Garth Ennis. This would definitely never make it to mainstream TV, but could work as an HBO show. The story centers on an ex-preacher who gets fed up with God and goes on a mission with his killer girlfriend and vampire friend to give Him a piece of his mind. It really is a good story.
  5. Stray Bullets by David Lapham. This book (volume 1) almost defies explanation, but I’ll try. There are three friends who are on the run from drug dealers after stealing a load of cocaine. They hide out in a city called Seaside that is actually 100 miles from the coast; it was developed by an odd guy who was obsessed with earthquakes. The story only get weirder from there.

Well, there’s my list (although, no doubt I’m missing many). Anyone want to add anything?

Edit: Much to my chagrin, HBO read my post, went back in time, and started production on a Preacher mini-series.

Books for the New Year

I wrote some resolutions last year, most of them too general to be any good, which you can read about here.  This year, instead of coming up with things I’ll never actually do, I thought I would make up a list of books that I am going to read in the coming year.  (And if you’re thinking I stole this idea from the Internet Monk, you’re right.)

  • The New Testament and the People of God by N.T. Wright.  I’ve read a number of Wright’s books, as well as listened to a lot of lectures, but I haven’t read his most important works.  I’m going to start digging in soon.
  • Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace by Miroslav Volf.  I actually was supposed to get this from Book Mooch, but the guy never sent it.  Volf might be considered a liberal theologian at an apostate institution, but his work is great and from what I’ve read of this book, it will be well worth it.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth by Bradley Birzer.  I heard about this book while listening to lectures by Joseph Pearce.  I will gladly read any book about Tolkien or Middle-Earth, but especially if it’s by a guy who teaches at Hillsdale.
  • The Sandman by Neil Gaiman.  Okay, this has nothing to do with Christianity, but they’re still great.  I probably won’t buy the collected trades, but I’m definitely going to read them.
  • Through New Eyes by James Jordan.  A few years old, but the ideas are something I need to learn more about.
  • Mother Kirk: Essays and Foray into Practical Ecclesiology by Douglas Wilson.
  • The Federal Vision by Steve Wilkins.  I think it might be time I try to figure this thing out, or at least get a small grasp of the issue.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling.  Assuming, of course, it will come out this year.

Say It Ain't So, Bill

I must have missed this, but apparently at the end of the year Bill Amend is going to drop Foxtrot down to Sundays only. I don’t know what I’ll do with myself now that the last good comic is gone. If you hear about someone going nuts in a public place while screaming “Freaking Family Circus,” please pray for me.