The Best Comic Books of the 1980s: Alan Moore’s Miracleman and Frank Miller’s Elektra Assassin

Okay, this is highly subjective of course but Alan Moore’s Miracleman and Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz ‘s Elektra: Assassin might be the best comic books ever made (or, at the very least,  my favorites).  The plots are intricate and evocative, the scripting and dialogue is unique, and the art in Elektra Assassin and Miracleman (specifically the issues drawn by John Totleben) is innovative and often breath-taking, moving way beyond comic book art into realms of finer art and illustration.

So of course there are runners up which others may find more important to them:  The Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Akira (not that the writing in Akira was great by any means, but for the time the novely of the Japanese elements and setting, the great art, and some of the ideas, in a pre-anime-popularity era in the US, was pretty noteworthy).  Note that most of these comics are also by Frank Miller and Alan Moore, who in the 1980s and transformed the notion of what comics could be and created truly graphic “novels” instead of just “comic books”.   Some of the writing and ideas were to standard comic book fare what Kurt Vonnegut and Don DeLillo are to more typical fiction, what David Cronenberg is to more typical movie directors, what Voivod’s Killing Technology, Dimension Hatross, and Nothingface were to typical metal in the 1980s, and what Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation was to typical punk and guitar pop when it came out in 1988.  The 80s, what a heady time for art and culture the 80s were!

BTW I think some of Bill Sienkiewicz’s best art is reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keat’s amazing childrens book illustrations!


Earth Day Links–Save the Environment!

Harvard Business Review:
Companies Must Account for the True Cost of Their Products

If companies paid the full costs of their externalities, the now de facto taxpayer-subsidized things they produce — from energy and consumer goods to food and everything else — along with the ways they manufacture them would quickly become cleaner, safer, healthier, and more efficient and sustainable. In short, all the things we desperately need our world to be. We would no longer have a world where the “good stuff” is more expensive than the “bad stuff.”

The New York Times:
The Dandelion King
I soon learned that the carpets of green in suburbia are the product of assiduously applied chemicals. “Pre-emergent” herbicides are laid down more than once in the spring (mixed in with the fertilizer) to sabotage the germination of crabgrass, dandelions and other undesirables. If this fails, post-emergents may be applied en masse. And as the summer wears on, local pockets of resistance can be wiped out with a spray canister of poison……….And next time you see a yardful of sprouting dandelions, note that they look remarkably like things we call “flowers.” And later, when the flowers turn into fluff balls, look closely at one of those fluff balls and ask yourself whether it’s really so unattractive. Meanwhile, absorb the fact that the lawn you’re looking at is doing nothing to harm pets, toddlers or people in general.

Huffington Post:
Ten Anti-Plastic Heroes
There’s something suffocating our planet. It’s light, multipurpose, endemic to our modern lifestyles, and has a half-life of a few thousand years. It’s called plastic and it’s here to stay. Literally. Plastic products will live for anywhere from 1,000 to 1 million years. Let me give you a frame of reference for those dates.

The Economist:
Extended producer responsibility spreads;Junk bond;Governments oblige manufacturers to take back used goods for disposal
FOR seasoned shoppers, “buyer’s remorse” is a familiar feeling. “Seller’s remorse” may also become common soon, as ever more governments order manufacturers to assume the cost of disposing of their products after consumers are done with them. Until recently, most laws on “extended producer responsibility” (EPR) or “product stewardship” applied only to specific types of goods, such as car tyres or electronics. But in late March Maine, following the lead of several Canadian provinces, became the first American state to enact a blanket EPR law, which could in principle cover any product.

Also see Life Cycle Thinking: Corporate Responsibility for Products and Packing Past Consumer Purchasing

Flower picture from University of Auckland
Redwoods picture from Redwood Forest blog