Tag: Brian K. Vaughan

Brainiac On Banjo: Let’s Ban Us Some Comic Books!

Brainiac On Banjo: Let’s Ban Us Some Comic Books!

Give me back the Berlin wall. Give me Stalin and St. Paul. Give me Christ, or give me Hiroshima — “The Future” written by Leonard Cohen

Happy, happy Banned Books Week! It started this very week, and in case you haven’t been paying attention in certain rather large parts of the United States of America, areas I have taken to refer to as the Confederate States, they do not want it to last just a week. They want it to last forever. By the way, there’s more of these Confederate States today than there were in 1861, and you can recognize them by the number of torch-wielding, bible-thumping goons telling you what you and your family cannot be allowed to read.

It’s really a big deal. If these goose-steppers have their way, when it comes to comics and graphic novels all you’ll be permitted to read are Jack Chick’s stuff.

Here is a partial list — and I truly mean partial; it’s as thorough as a fart in a blizzard — of comics and graphic novels that have been removed from some of our libraries and even bookstores. Take a deep breath and hide your Bic lighters.

Anne Frank, banned in more ways than one.

Maus by Art Spiegelman, Bone by Jeff Smith, Neonomicon by Alan Moore, Saga by Brian K. Vaughan, The Walking Dead (all of them) by Robert Kirkman, Blankets: An Illustrated Novel by Craig Thompson, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, The Handmaid’s Tale by by Margaret Atwood – Art & Adaptation by Renee Nault, and Sandman by Neil Gaiman.

And: A Girl on the Shore by Inio Asano, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel, Flamer by Mike Curato, New Kid and Class Act by Jerry Craft, Moonstruck by Grace Ellie, Shae Beagle and Kate Leth, A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities by Mady G and Jules Zuckerberg, Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green, No Girls Allowed: Tales of Daring Women Dressed As Men for Love Freedom and Adventure by Susan Hughes and Willow Dawson, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” by Miles Hyman.

And, still more: When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, The Breakaways by Cathy G. Johnson, Drawn Together by Minh Lê and Dan Santat, Identity: A Story of Transitioning by Corey Maison, Losing the Girl by MariNaomi, I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, and John Jennings, V For Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen, The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag, Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince, Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey, and, because we do not want to shame the American Nazis, Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation by David Polonsky. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Let’s Ban Us Some Comic Books!”

Brainiac On Banjo #104: The Great Buck Rogers War!

Brainiac On Banjo #104: The Great Buck Rogers War!

For more than three decades now, “people” have been trying to figure out what to do with Buck Rogers, America’s first major science-fiction hero. Buck, then named Anthony, first appeared in Philip Francis Nowlan’s novella “Armageddon 2419 A.D., as published in the August 1928 issue of Amazing Stories magazine. The story was noticed by National Newspaper Service syndicate president John F. Dille, who hired Nowlan to turn it into the first major science-fiction newspaper comic strip. The strip debuted on January 7th of the following year, some six months after the initial pulp magazine appearance.

Buck Rogers was a hit. An enormous number of merchandising and licensing deals ensued and Buck was seen in toy stores, a movie serial (starring Buster Crabbe), a radio serial, several television shows, and comic books. The other newspaper syndicates jumped on the Buckwagon, offering us Brick Bradford, Don Dixon, Drift Marlo, Space Cadet, and the spaceman whose fortunes eclipsed them all, Flash Gordon. Buster Crabbe starred in the three Flash Gordon serials as well.

As the realities of the real space program captured the world’s attention, spaceman stories began to look naïve; their sense of wonder was co-opted by reality. Buck’s adventures were drawn by some truly top-notch artists, including Frank Frazetta, Howard Chaykin, George Tuska, Gray Morrow, and Murphy Anderson, following in the footsteps of the originating artists, Dick Calkins, Russell Keaton and Rick Yager, but by the time we tossed beer cans on the moon Buck was but a cultural memory. A vaguely successful television series started up in 1979 and lasted two years.

This has not kept people from trying to bring Buck back. Not at all. But such efforts were hampered by recent lawsuits claiming Buck Rogers had lapsed into the public domain. The Dille Family Trust had gone blooie, and a judge ruled they were not eligible for bankruptcy relief.

After three years of listening to the crickets chirp, Legendary Entertainment said they were doing a movie, and Flint Dille, an accomplished television writer and grandson of John Dille, got on board. Brian K. Vaughan is writing the script. And, lo and behold, George Clooney is an executive producer — prompting rumors that George would play the lead. As much as I like Clooney, this is nearly laughable. Dr. Huer, the not-mad scientist of the series, would be more acceptable but I doubt George is likely to shave his head for the part. Bill Murray might, but he rarely returns phone calls. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #104: The Great Buck Rogers War!”