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the lightning's bad but at least it's not loud

Hello there!
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d_morris
 Hello, you've stumbled onto the journal of Dan Morris.  I'm a cartoonist based in the southeastern United States also looking to getting into teaching comics or sequential art on a college level.  Feel free to add me to your friends list or follow me on your RSS feed.    I mostly write about comics, movies, and art on here and how the three relate to each other.  Sometimes I talk about life which doesn't involve comics which usually does involve comics.  If I don't add you back, don't worry.  I probably haven't seen seen that you've added me.  I recommend adding a comment to let me know you have added me!  Tell me a little about yourself and I'll add you as soon as you have.  Anyways enjoy the writing and I hope not to be boring.  Feel free to comment and get some discussion going.  That's what this journal meant to do.

Favorite comics of 2012
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d_morris

Hi, I haven't posted here in awhile. Here's where I'm active more these days

Twitter- @thedan_morris

Tumblr- thedanmorris.tumblr.com/

I'm also writing about comics at http://notebooksoncomics.wordpress.com/ which also has a tumblr, notebooksoncomics.tumblr.com/

I don't know if I'll post here again but I thought I would let people know where I'm most active.


Mini-Analysis of Bubba Ho-tep
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bubbahotep

Bubba Ho-tep, 2002, Vitagraph Films

Directed by Don Coscarelli
Starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis

One doesn't expect to see a whole lot of movies dealing with death and aging in American cinema.  One really doesn't expect to see that in a movie where an aging Elvis and a Africa-American JFK are required to fight a cowboy mummy.  Bubba Ho-tep provides that kind of film and is enjoyable because of that exploration of mortality in the context of the horror genre.  Bruce Campbell is an actor in several well known cult films, the Evil Dead series being his most famous, but here he gives a career performance.  He combines his natural comedic chops with this warped gravitas that really humanizes an Elvis that gave it all up to live a normal life.  His Elvis isn't necessarily the most accurate one but he captures his fatigue and self pity well while at the same time making his return to action believable.  Even if it's not the most accurate Elvis, I think it's the most accurate portrayal of the myth of Elvis; a man who was famous at one point but has become a punchline since his zenith.  Ossie Davis's JFK is a perfect compliment. JFK is a man who wholeheartedly believes in who he is with all the zest he can muster even if no one else believes him. I think the most ingenious tool in this movie is having them fight the mummy which is the pinnacle of decay and age.  Here we have two guys hanging on to life by a thread battling an immortal whose body gave out long ago.  Its seriously one of the finest cult films made in ages and I say that as a compliment.

Mini-Analysis of Edward Scissorhands
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d_morris
Edward Scissorhands, 1990, 20th Century Fox

Directed by Tim Burton
Starring Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Alan Arkin, Dianne Wiest

Watching Edward Scissorhands for the first time in ages and I don't like this movie very much.  Visually it's a fine movie but everything else about this movie is too simplistic.  I get it's supposed to be a "fairy tale" but the story is too grounded in any reality for that to really work.  Other than Edward, nothing else feels like its otherworldly.  This isn't like other screen fairy tales like Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast nor even more recent fairy tales by Terry Gilliam like Time Bandits and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. We're supposed to accept how magical this guy is simply because he looks like different.   Why should I care about this guy just because he can make awesome topiary?  The character is too much of a non-personality to really care when pretty much everyone turns on him.  This is the problem with whole film; we're just supposed accept things because we're told to accept them not because of the actions of the characters.  We're supposed to accept Winona Ryder's character falling for Edward even though they don't really interact at all.  We're supposed accept that everyone in town rejects Edward simply because he breaks into a home.  None of this works for me as a viewer at all.  Eventually the thesis of the story just comes down to an over simplification of weirdo outsider equals good while normal folk equals bad.  There's nothing really profound, interesting, nor truly personal except the visuals in this movie at all.

Web presence...
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d_morris

Not abandoning Livejournal but I thought I would share some of the other places I'm posting things

http://thedanmorris.tumblr.com/ (I've been posting on here a lot and doing one sentence reviews of various comics and songs I listen to on there.  Expect a lot of metal songs on there)
https://twitter.com/thedan_morris (I retweet a lot)

I'm also slowly building a wordpress blog but there's not a whole lot on there.  When there is more on there I'll link to it here.  


Battle Royale Review
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battleroyale
Battle Royale (directed by Kinji Fukasaku, 2000)

Battle Royale is a movie that is neither well constructed nor accomplishes anything it really sets out to do.  This is a film that wants to be many things; Lord of the Flies for the late millenium, a dark satire on Japan's youth not meeting expectations, an ultraviolent action/horror film.  There are moments scattered throughout the film that work for me as a viewer, the two most memorable being the instructional video at the beginning and the scene in the lighthouse where the girls turn on each other in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, it just never coalesces into a satisfying whole or even succeeding on the terms it sets out for here.  

There are two big problems with this film.  The first problem seems to be that this world where teeangers are forced to kill each other doesn't seem well constructed.  There doesn't seem to be a purpose beyond the rather flimsy one given at the beginning that Japan's youth have become unruly.  This explanation would work but we don't see anything of this outside world except for a few shots at the beginning where a student stabs a teacher in the leg.  The movie has a real disconnect with telling us about an experience but not really showing a logical or emotional connection to the actions going on in the story. The students ex-teacher Kitano shows up but is he there for revenge against students or just there so that we have an adult figure the students recognize? Why does the military care if this goes well or blows up in their faces?  Does it seem realistic that none of the students from the main class have heard of the BR Act or let alone not know about Battle Royale? If this world is so bad and so many of these students are delinquents, what are they fighting for here? None of this world seems to work on any level.  

The other issue, there's no tension in this film whatsoever.  It's supposed to be a horror movie of some sort.  The scene where Kitano kills two students right off the bat is effective because this is a teacher who has long stopped caring about his charges. After that though, the murder starts happening left and right.  There's no tension, no hesitation on will these students kill or won't they.  Every student seems to just kill each other just to survive despite a real lack of purpose.  I have nothing against ultraviolence but the violence here isn't used creatively or interesting.  It just gets boring after the 20th student gets killed for no reason.  By the end of the film, you don't really root for anyone to survive just for this story to end.

Bullet reviews of comics
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d_morris
I haven't written about comics in a long time and I need to get back into that habit.  Anyone who makes comics or art should talk about comics and think critically about of them.  I can't imagine an artist claiming to be proficient in their craft not being able to communicate about their art form.  I'm little rusty at this but I figured I would keep these short and sweet.

I should say that I've stopped reading Marvel and DC books.  There are too many issues going on right now that neither company seems too keen on addressing for me to buy their books and not feel like I'm screwing someone over.  Jack Kirby and Alan Moore are two of my artistic heroes and I can't support companies that feel it's okay to screw their legacies over.  Their works taught me better.  Thankfully there's plenty of comics out there that I don't feel too bad about leaving those companies behind.  
Lots of stuff I can buy on weekly trips to a comic shop and not feel guilty I'm getting comics from corporate overlords.Collapse )


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Robocop
d_morris
I turn thirty today.  I still feel like I haven't accomplished much in my life.  Time to be more productive this coming decade.

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d_morris

Move to Massachusetts was successful.  Christa and I with a few bumps have moved into our first home.  Still looking for work.  Also getting ready to hop back on the comics wagon.  Its been too long.  Posting about comics should resume shortly.

Anyways, awhile ago my friend Annah asked me about five things that she associates with me awhile ago so I thought that I should be kind enough to respond.

King City

I'm a huge fan of King City and in particular it's creator Brandon Graham.  I discovered Brandon's work when I worked at Heroes Aren't Hard to Find and the first issue of his series Multiple Warheadz came out.  Anyways, I fell in love with his work after reading that first issue. There's no one really making comics like he does today.  Also when I read his comics for the first time, it came across like a guy who was making comics that was reading the comics I had been reading when I was growing up.  Brandon helped me realize that it was okay to like Dragonball Z and to tell people that I thought certain "important" comics just didn't do it for me.  King City is Brandon's longest work to date and will be released by Image Comics in a huge collection sometime this month.  It's well worth the read.


Old Movies
There was a brief period where I didn't want to do comics, I wanted to make movies and that instilled a love in me for cinema.  I took a film class in high school that exposed me among other things to Akira Kurosawa, Kevin Smith's Clerks, and Chinatown.  I really loved that class.  In my teens, I had a huge appreciation for the film brats generation of the 1970s American directors like Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola.  As I've grown as an individual, my love for cinema has continued to grow too (along with my love of comics).  My favorite period right as I'm going through The Criterion Collection's films are Japanese films from the Fifties through 70s.  Directors like Akira Kurosawa, Shohei Immamura, and Kaneto Shindo really made these wonderful, unconventional films that used genre films to make bold statements about Japanese society.  Really though I love older films because there's a real sense of discovery there absent from many modern films.

Chocolate Milk
There's not real story here.  I like chocolate milk a lot.  I tend to drink it whenever I can.  Its probably one reason why I'm fat now.

Dragonforce
Dragonforce?  I don't think I've ever talked about Dragonforce!  My only experience with Dragonforce is seriously the end of Guitar Hero and man, that is one hard song to play.  I talk a lot about metal and have started listening to a lot of it in the last 5-6 months but Dragonforce is a little outside the stuff I usually listen to on my Ipod.


The Color Green
I'm sure when a lot of people think of the color green, they might look at it as a rather sickly color.  For me, it's a rather peaceful color.  Growing up, I got stuck going on a lot of camping trips and getting stuck spending most of my weekends in the woods.  I spent lot of time by myself on those trips and while at the time I did not enjoy them, looking back those were very peaceful times in a rather emotionally turbulent adolescence.  I also grew up around computers in the 80s and computer screens used to be black and green so that's a possible reason I find those colors I find rather comforting.

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d_morris
I'm moving to Boston in April folks.  Also my computer is fried so I have to save and get a new one.  Thought I should let people know I'm not dead and I still come here. Oh and Christa and I have found the place we're getting married at and set a date.  We'll be getting married at a haunted summer camp.  Sadly, I could not convince her it was a good idea that Al Green should officiate the ceremony.

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