If you are interested in the golden age of marvel comics then "Marvels" by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross was made for you. This at its most basic a trip down memory lane and while there is plenty to like for those who don't know all that much about marvel history either.
Marvels is the story of Phil Sheldon, a young reporter who is in New York when the first superheroes, or Marvels as he calls them, appeared. Each of the four stories that make up the Marvels surround Phil Sheldon's thoughts on some bit of marvel history.
The first book focuses on the appearance of the Marvels, most notably the original Human Torch and Namor fighting in the skies over New York City. He gives voice to the average man who feels the fear of knowing these people exist, the understanding that humanity in not as powerful as it was and the understanding that this is going to change everything.
The Second story shows even more heart than the first as it shows the appearance of the first mutants in the Marvel Universe and tries to explain the fear that people feel of the mutants while still loving the other heroes. This is examined as Phil Sheldon gets pulled into a crowd that is yelling at the mutants.
He continues to go through these attitudes until he finds that his daughters have been sneaking food to a young mutant girl. She is a perfect image of something that is both cute and fearful at the same time. Faced with one of the mutants he is able to see their humanity and it changes his opinion. This story continues through the appearance of the first Sentinels.
Continuing the trip through time the third of these stories begins with the first appearance of Galactus and the near worship of the heroes who had just saved humanity and the turn away from them this gratitude as the media turns on the heroes.
The forth story, "The day she died" is the first story in which Phil takes a truly active role. Now an elderly man and an advocate for the marvels he has decided that he should prove the innocence of Spiderman for the murder of George Stacy and starts and investigation that leads to Gwen Stacy. Through her Phil is able to see the true motivation of the Marvels and the bittersweet ending is nearly perfect.
Of special note in this book is the fantastic artwork. This is a fantastic story, but one of the chief strengths is the humanity and realism of the stories that is created through the artwork. These are stories that were told in an art style that feels almost cartoonish today so seeing them in a more modern and impressive style.
This is a book that looks at heroes from a more realistic perspective without feeling the need to look down at the stories as unrealistic. This book is a great reminder of what those heroes are.
Until I saw it on Netflix I had never heard of the movie, "A boy and his Dog," and so I rented it not knowing exactly what to expect. The movie was certainly interesting and I have to say I enjoyed it more than I expected.
"A boy and his dog" is a story of a post apocalyptic world after world war IV. People are fighting over cans of food and women across the surface. The boy is one of these survivors. What makes him different is the telepathic link he has with his Dog. That makes this dog his friend and father figure in the story.
One of the primary jobs of the dog is to sniff out women for the boy and shortly after the story begins, he does. This is where you begin to recognize that the boy in this film is not a good person. He follows the girl and is only stopped from raping her when other people who also saw the girl attack them.
After the fight, the two are stuck together for some time and he begins to feel something for her, but she escapes back into the underground city where she had come from. The boy follows but is unable to take the dog.
Once there you learn that the girl was manipulating him from the start. Any description of the story from that point on leads to general spoilers, so if you want to know what happens watch the movie. Instead, I want to focus on some very interesting parts of the movie.
The first is the similarities to "Fallout 3". I have only played small amounts of the other fallouts so I can't comment them but I have played "Fallout 3". You don't have a dog in "Fallout 3", but much of the rest is the same.
One of the most interesting parallels is when later in fallout you enter a virtual reality and play for some time as a dog. This to me can only be a nod to a boy and his Dog and it makes me want to play "Fallout 3" again. In addition, the underground city in this had loudspeakers that someone talked over nearly constantly. This is also used in "Fallout 3".
The second point is that Harlan Ellison wrote this story and he says it is his favorite. I have not yet read the short story the movie is based on but judging from the movie I can understand why Harlan would like it. He is one of the more interesting people in Hollywood and Science Fiction, two places filled with interesting people.
Third is the dog. Typically, you have to overlook the problems with animals in film. You can't expect dogs to give as good a performance as people do. This movie was different in that respect as well. The dog felt smart just as he is supposed to and you never see him looking off camera at a trainer. There was even, according to the director, some discussion of nominating the dog for an academy award that year.
Not everyone will like this story; in fact, I suspect that many people would hate it with a fiery passion, but if you like dark humor and older style science fiction then this is a well-written and interesting story that becomes exceedingly dark at the end.
(There is a side of me who really wants to show this movie to some of my friends with no warning what it is about just to see their reactions. I love movies with titles that tell you less than nothing.)