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Saturday, January 02, 2021 

As expected, Entertainment Weekly's picks for 2020 are dreadful

Here's Entertainment Weekly's list of best comics for 2020, and no surprise, they're as biased as can be for a mainstream source, and even political, as seen in their choice of Far Sector, a Green Lantern spinoff:
Yet for all those sci-fi trappings, Far Sector is thoroughly a superhero story, and one well-suited to the year that was. As the issues have progressed, readers have learned more about fledgling Green Lantern Sojourner “Jo” Mullein (whose amazing design is brilliantly modeled after Janelle Monaé): She served in the U.S. Army in Iraq, and then returned home to become a cop until she (this must be pieced together from flashbacks) witnessed her partner brutally beat and maybe murder someone in a manner very familiar to anyone who attended a Black Lives Matter protest this year. The 2020 pandemic forced the world to look inward, and many people (in America, Nigeria, and elsewhere) found themselves asking hard questions about the nature of justice, and whether a police force whose first response is violence was really best-suited for a world of everyday catastrophe.

Far Sector gave housebound readers a beautiful escape into a wonderful sci-fi world while still interrogating these same questions, and for that it was the perfect superhero comic for 2020.
Sounds like some kind of Defund Police propaganda, I guess. In that case, don't be shocked if the view on Iraq is full of leftist anti-war propaganda. What an embarrassment, and makes even the most questionable moments in Green Lantern material before mid-1988 look tame by comparison. Why call it escapism when the political allegories weigh against it? Another example is the Magic Fish graphic novel:
Those of us comic fans who came of age in earlier generations still mostly associate the format with superheroes, horror/fantasy, or counterculture art. These days, the name of the game is bildungsroman. Every year it seems like there are more and more lovely slice-of-life graphic novels about the pleasures and pains of growing up as a young person in today’s world. It makes sense: In a zeitgeist so dominated by superheroes and spectacle, young people are finding more meaningful connections in stories about everyday life. Such is the context for The Magic Fish, the astounding debut graphic novel from writer and artist Trung “Trungles” Le Nguyen.

Centered on a young Vietnamese-American boy named Tien, The Magic Fish is a beautiful story about language and culture. Tien was born in America to Vietnamese immigrants, so while he is a fluent English speaker, his mom still relies mostly on Vietnamese. The only way they can connect is through reading fairy tales together, which means that’s the only way Tien thinks he can come out to his parents about his sexuality. Nguyen makes an incredible color tapestry here, using blue for the fairy tales and red for the present and yellow for the mother’s Vietnamese past, but the most beautiful element of all is the way Tien and his mother learn to adapt folklore to the circumstances of their own lives. The world is not one kind of thing, and neither are our oldest stories about it.
Yup, more of these cliched "coming out of the closet" tales we've already seen enough of, ditto the normalization of the lifestyle. If this is what stories centered on people from different countries is going to be about, then the medium's gatekeepers either aren't being very open minded about other possibilities, or EW's making sure not to cover those for their news. What else they do cover includes Tom King's Strange Adventures, in yet another example of the MSM fawning over such an overrated, reprehensible scribe:
Tom King has been one of the star writers of the last few years of superhero comics; he recently won the prestigious Eisner Award for Best Writer two years in a row for his work on Batman and Mister Miracle. His brilliant writing is once again on display in Strange Adventures, which divides its story of space-faring superhero Adam Strange into two interweaving parts. But as a result of that division, the real star of this book is the art team.

Mitch Gerads handled the present-day story on Earth, while Evan “Doc” Shaner drew the flashbacks to Adam’s just-completed war on the planet Rann. At first the division seemed simple enough: Gerads’ graphic art seemed as well-suited to the paranoid politics of Mr. Terrific’s investigation into the “fake news” of Adam’s war stories, while Shaner’s clean-cut drawings seemed a natural fit for classical sci-fi heroism. But as the story went on, the lines began to blur; Gerads’ story found room for sympathy and connection, while Shaner’s war stories got progressively more brutal and upsetting. Is anyone telling the truth about themselves in this book?

Partially thanks to a COVID-caused delay earlier this year, Strange Adventures is still only a little more than halfway through its 12-issue run, and so there are plenty of secrets left to reveal. But the artistic matrix has already distinguished it from any of its team members’ previous work, and has us waiting on the edge of our seat to see how it ends.
As expected, no objective view of how King builds a story around established characters, obviously because any anti-war metaphors built into this garbage make it full time legitimate, ditto the mediocre-looking art panels. Such political leanings are surely why they made chose Mark Russell's Billionaire Island next:
Politics is always a part of all our lives, but every four years the U.S. presidential election throws this into even sharper relief. So 2020 was a year in desperate need of political satire, and the best material on offer came from none other than modern comics’ premiere satirist, Mark Russell. The last time a presidential election cycle swung around, in 2016, Russell was writing a Flintstones comic that was surprisingly and smartly political. But after four years of President Donald Trump, the need for subtle storytelling is pretty much gone. Might as well make your political satire as upfront as possible.

Billionaire Island is exactly what its title claims to be. Set in the near future, it revolves around a couple journalists and radicals finding their way to the titular island getaway where the ultra-rich have decamped to escape the consequences of the world they destroyed with their rapacious greed. But even as they try to give the billionaires some due comeuppance, these travelers find that the only thing more terrifying than oppressive overlords are all the less-rich people who are very willing to live in a gilded cage. Billionaire Island isn’t an arresting read because its inventions are absurd, but because it all feels horribly plausible.
Yup, as I said, politics eclipses all. Right down to how anti-Trump Russell himself happens to be. The rich folks in the "satire" are bound to be more based on people like Trump than people like Bill Clinton, that's for sure. It doesn't occure to them that the more outwards you make your satire, the less entertaining it can be, assuming it ever was.

And with that, EW's just demonstrated again why they're not fit to cover the entertainment industry.

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