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I wonder sometimes if the critical acclaim some comics receive does more harm to the medium than good. If a comic gets lots of attention and it turns out that it’s inaccessible or badly written or just plain pedestrian yet illustrated, can that be good for a medium seeking acceptance? I sometimes wish we would stop holding up genre potboiler page-turners like Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns as the highest mark of artistic merit we can achieve. Fans are so quick to show off anything that even tries to be “smart” which validates the invalid feeling among the literati that comics naturally aren’t intelligent and therefore must try to transcend themselves. And how long before the literati catch on that what we’re showing off is sub-par anyway?

Halfway through The Golden Age I thought it was “fine enough.” An interesting plot, unpredictable characters, good solid Saturday-afternoon-in-the-park reading much like The Dark Knight Returns. A few more pages in and I realized it wasn’t even that. It’s just a bad comic — amateurish writing from James Robinson that any first-year fiction workshop would whip into shape and art from a normally brilliant penciler (Paul Smith) who tries so hard to change his style that he comes up with a mix of ugly and anatomically incorrect. So why bother writing about it at all here? Because this is one of the most critically acclaimed “graphic novels” of all time, a post-modern superhero genre critique that supposedly takes apart all of the things that make it work and exposes its dark underbelly, and it’s not at all. It’s a comic that forces its characters like so many chess pieces into a strategy that resembles something like an intelligent genre critique, leaving all relatable human feeling at the door.

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Cover ImageI finished Mr. B. Gone (I’ll get to that later) and needed a new book for today’s commute, so I picked up this one.  I like nothing more than a good feud.  Historical, epic feuds are best.  And with Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots on the cover, how could I resist?  Two of my favorites in the world of political cat fights.

Alas, I only made it only to page 7. 

That’s right page 7 –  wherein Mr. Colin Evans, the author of this book, said that Mary Queen of Scots was the daughter of James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII.

I had to read it three times, each time more desperately trying to find the loophole.  Some word or another that I’d missed that was changing the meaning of the sentence.  Because, you see she was actually their granddaughter.  Her parents were James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise (who was French).  But no, the sentence was unfortunately very very wrong.

How does such a blatant, glaring, easily discovered, easily fixed error get into such book?  Let alone STAY in such a book.  Where are all the ever eager intern researchers?  How did this slip through the cracks?

Unfortunately this is way beyond my tolerance level.  Though I understand that not everyone is the Anglo-phile that I am.  I know that most people in this country know all the American presidents instead of all the British monarchs from the Saxons to Elizabeth II.  I know that I have a bit of an obsession.  But that is beside the point because due to this blinding beacon of an error I now have no trust that the rest of his information is correct, which of course makes reading the book a useless endeavor. 

Into the book swap at work it goes.  Too bad, because it might have been interesting.

 

Jessica’s Reading

Jesse’s Reading

Jesse and Jessica are Both Reading

Devin’s Reading

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