Posts Tagged ‘Comics’

Strange Ethics?

Posted: May 23, 2022 by Ty in Spirituality
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A long weekend to hopefully renew, a week showing (the first in many months) of a revitalized Wally West Flash run, so the public library for what used to be called “four colour” fix it is. King, Gerards and Shaner’s Strange Adventures collection. I am a fan of Tom King’s writing style, so even though, I am not even minute fan of Adam Strange, this was on the list of curious reads. To catch you up dear reader, Adam Strange is a man of two worlds, due to zeta beams, he is taken for times from Earth to Rann, on Rann he has a wife and child (daughter). I would soliquie more on the stories of Adam Strange, but these basics are pretty much all I know, he has been a sci-fi super hero since about the Silver Age me thinks, and there has been some good stories I have read in the Hawkman-Hawkworld-Hawkgirl-Hawkwoman mythos (Rann-Thannagar War???), but really not one I think of.

This story opens up as an old war hero, sharing his thoughts on fighting of a Pykkt (alien horde, alledgedly evil) invasion of Rann, and now back on earth, having written his memoir and is in the bookstore-talk show circuit. Because really, who doesn’t like an intergalactic war hero? Allegations surface of nefarious, possible war crimes surface, a murder mystery ensues, and we dive into an investigation if the hero is what he attests to be or is simply trying to put a spin on his own devilishness.

Throw in the complexity of the Pykkt now looking to invade earth, and asking, will the super heroes do what Adam had to do to stop the invasion of Rann?

And why is Mr. Terrific focusing his investigation of Adam Strange on the inscription to Strange’s memoir for his daugther that was lost in the invasion…

But enough spoiler fodder, for sometimes reading Tom King, is like a Shalaman movie, and the twists are the fun, but what formed in my mind is a reapproach exploration of ethics in crisis…can one go biblical? Possibly, thinking of concepts of Adam, Ancient Aliens, or even simply looking into the David Story or maybe the Maccabees, but that would take a bit longer, and have a few more spoilers involved.

Yet, exploring ethical decision making would not, for it lays out a lens. A first year ethics course (within your faith background, or philosophy department) will lay out, all the different ways to approach–absolute, positive, natural, etc.

What I want to touch on, is how one makes decisions within the scope of human services and for that there can be some simple steps to see if there is an ethical dilemma at play:

  1. What does the law say? Criminal law, is contextual to where you are existing–whatever happened on Rann cannot be judged by Earth laws…or can it?
  2. Is it simply unethical– there is a code from a professional association you are a part of that stipulates what ethical conduct is, and in black and white it has been broken. Is it untehtical, if Adam Strange is an active member of the Justice League, to take a life, even in war?
  3. Then there is the dilemma. The not cearly black and white answered in the first two. Within the scope of these, sometimes time can be working against the porfessional in maing the decision, sadly, but let’s assume this is a perfect time placement scenario, what steps after realizing something is hinky can one take?

Step 1: What do the policies and procedures of where you work say? (does not mean these are fully ethical, just gathering information).

Step 2: What does any ethical guides you adhere to stipulate? (this can be professional or other belief systems).

Step 3: Objectively what are the facts of the situation.

Step 4: Engage the first steps in discussion with teammates and/or a supervisor

Stepf 5: Arrive at a decision. Establish the rationale for the choice of this as the solution (this is key, if you are working contrary to policy or procedure or in the gray area, being able to explain why aids your growth, but also worst case scenario if you lose your job, you are able to find a place that better aligns with who you are).

Step 6: Inact the decision.

Step 7: Afterwards, debrief, did it work? Is there changes in procedures? What was the objective outcome.

Sidenote: Sometimes I will here from professionals not wanting and/or refusing to follow through on their duty to report for fear of losing therapeutic rapport. This is bullocks, in these hard reporting decisions, rapport can be strengthened by working/supporting the client to be a part of the disclosure or lead in the disclosure.

As you jump into Strange Adventures gather the clues, and explore the layers of ethical dilemmas at play, the resolutions, and walk through Step 7 with them (as well as the other steps to see where you would go).

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Homogeneous and Heterogeneous are two scientific terms I remember from the early days of elementary school science class. The first being everything is alike and blends in if you will, the other being like 1000 Island Salad Dressing. The political typology is melting pot versus mosaic. In story telling to get to the former from the later it involves a device known as “Ret Conning” that is retro-fitting continuity to fit the new normal story line. Jettisoning that which does not abide. We see it through the use of terms such as Canon (which I love in Christianity as the Biblical Canon is not as set as many would like to believe, but that is a post for another time or perhaps you can track it down in the archives) of the fandom, which have become more exclusive than inclusive since geek went chic.

Image result for the milk warsY’know what is awesome: Great stories about characters that are awesome, and not sweating the small stuff on how this fits in with a,b, or c of continuity. What happens is then you don’t wind up with constant reboots (soft and hard) and the ability to have creative fun.

Now, having vented on the state of geek, let me get to the point of this post. A great collection out of DC Comics’ Young Animal brand– The Milk Wars. The Young Animal brand is where weird went to live in the DCU, titles like Shade, Mother Panic, Doom Patrol and Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye, not sure if they are still publishing, but the titles volumes under the brand are worth the pick up just for the fun. The weirdness connected with DC main though in the Milk Wars crossover which touched on this absurdity of reboot/ret-conn on a meta-narrative breaking the fourth wall kind of event (Wonder Wife, Batman as a Priest if you will)…and the heart of it is the Superman without the morals, but hard Capitalistic Ayn Rand values inputted– Milkman Man.

The crux is simple Lord Manga Khan (from the awesome Bwahahaah era of Justice League International) wants to buy reality, the seller wants to make it pretty and simple, homogenized if you will– the solution— Milk and the Rett-Conn Corporation. Destroy the beautiful creative mosaic that exists on a spectrum, to make it all 1950’s comic codes approved, do not be controversial, cutesies…

Well– no spoilers– but the outcome is more than spilled milk :).

But as I read the collection, and reflected on the Federal election in Canada, I saw a Image result for the milk warsparable that was speaking to more than simply the state of story telling and the comics industry. I saw a parable that spoke to our hyper-fixation on leader and party over local candidate. See we are like Ret-Conn, we are expected to drink the shady milk, and believe that every candidate is 100% their party platform (if anyone has bothered reading it in the era of tabloid gotcha politics) and because in Canada we have given so much power to the PMO that all that matters is the leader.

It leaves us in a cognitive dissonance where we vote for local representation but behave that person is not a piece of the whole, but only a paper vote used by one person. We have drank the milk and stripped our parliamentary system of what makes is so democratic. We have removed the mosaic, to homogenize behind the leader as the be all and end all.

As we set to vote on Oct. 21, 2019, first read Milk Wars, if for nothing else than just the weird fun, but also read it and ask are you voting as a before or after milk drinker?

Do you know the local candidate? If we did the local scandals of hate, misogyny, homophobia, incompetence would not be so shocking because the local members would not have let the person stand, but also they would not be polling on a leader’s coattails in our all or nothing farce of party over people. The local candidate, to borrow an analogy of St. Paul, is but one part of the body, as each member is, each has a function and a role, yet we want all candidates to function as the leader–that is the face– but what is a body if it is all face?

Look at the other pieces, your candidate may be a pinky toe, or an appendix or even a superfillous third nipple, but they are a person…push them to step outside of the “stock face” and show who they are and why the want to represent you. Also know, this outting will reveal warts, scars, halos and all… and in  a pre-milk reality, ya wanna know something?

That’s okay.

Everyone has a past, a present and a future. It is what we have done with our past, is there growth and change? Is it visible in actions not just words? Does this sound daunting? Not really, it is about meeting the candidate as what our parliamentary holds they should be, as neighbour. As a neighbour is this someone you trust to make our country a place of peace, order and good governance… a place where all citizens are taken care of, and given space to be the best they can be in glorious and beautiful interdependence that is the mosaic of our multi-cultural nation we call Canada? Are theyImage result for the milk wars a person that inspires you to dream and vote for something? Not vote to stop or fear?

It is time we stopped ret-conning our politics and politicians. It is time we expected honest conversation and transparency who they were, are and are trying to become. It is who we are when we wake up in the morning, so let’s accept it is the same with those that are called to serve publicly– the challenge is being engaged to weed out the farcical Lex Luthors’ and to have authentic, leadership.

So…

Which side of the milk cup are you voting from?


Okay this is a unique thing that keeps popping up in my brain. We have the tubi.tv app on our television, which shows older shows, with commercials, so it is a free streaming service. On this service, we stumbled across the show out of Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash owned by Kevin Smith– Comic Book Men. It is a fun show for one that grew up in geekdom such as myself. With the journey I have been on, it is also fun because it bringing back memories that had been literally shook out of my mind the last few years.

It has brought up great conversations around the ol’ Hard Travelling heroes, Uhura when she came in for her own mego figure, Mego’s in general, and the ones I would get from the Tops & Toys store discount bin in Sunridge Mall growing up (the era of the fuzz ball with googly eyes at Smitty’s for kids). Also chatting about Spider-Man’s wedding, Star Wars, The Avengers, Star Trek,  Munsters, Robin Hood, etc. Seeing the conversation around Golden Age comics, silver age comics, cos-play, Superman, Batman, JLA, Wonder Woman has tapped into some good memories. Even talking about the Death of Captain Marvel, where the hero died of cancer and it was the first graphic novel. I recollect the coolest graphic novel ever, Batman Digital Justice, which art work was completely done on a Mac Computer back in the day. This is back when computer’s took harder floppy disc’s so it was impressive. Seeing the Return of the Jedi Ewok tree house, and going, oh yeah those Prince of Thieves figures I have, they re-issued the tree house as a Robin Hood toy back then too.

Seeing the bat cycle, bat copter, KITT, and Batmobile reproductions were cool…and hey, Bionic Woman as well. Talking to my wife about the made for t.v. movies about Six Million Dollar Man, and Bionic Woman when I was a kid. Ah the t.v. movies of shows that had ended, but kept new adventures going (now those adventures only continue in comics).

But it does raise the question as to what is the Holy Grail of collecting for you? What is the one thing you wanted as a child, or had and no longer have. Contemplating it, as I look at my Adventures of Robin Hood (t.v. show) hat in the shadow box my parents got me, I do ponder there was 3 cool comics that literally dissolved in my ownership due to over reading:

Image result for Black Panther avengers first appearance3) The third, was picked up in a comic shop in the later 1980’s, it was one I went to with my brother and Dad. It was a treasury edition, these things were huge like read on the coffee table huge. I can’t remember the number, but it had 4 silver age adventures, how I met the Avengers (next series I would read would be the death of the Avengers). It had the first Vision, Black Panther cometh, the wedding of Wasp and Yellow Jacket, were three of them.

Image result for last star fighter movie adaptation comic2) The Last Starfighter Comic Adaptation (Marvel). My Dad had come back from a service call at a Mac’s store, and I think my brother got BMX plus, and he brought me this sci-fi comic. I read that sucker so much, that I wore the cover out that my brother and I used card stock and remade a cover for it.

Number One: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (DC Comics) movie adaptation. It is quirky, that there was a comic adaptation to the Motion Picture when Marvel had the rights, and then DC got the rights and started with this adaptation (no Wrath of Khan). We were either out with my Nan & Granddad or visiting her at work, for I remember finding it on the comic spinner at WoodWard’s Foods. It was the same place I got the Klingon figure that came with a rubber Targ from the movie as well. This was my fun, it was the show I was allowed to stay up late and watch on CBC, and nowImage result for Star Trek III Search for Spock comic they were in comics. Literally this comic dissolved on me mid-00’s for how much it traveled with me, reading it, and yeah it came camping a few times.

Yeah they would be holy grails to stumble across again in travels, but they would also have to be quite frugally priced for what they are.

But why this ramble?

I think its always good to remember sometimes the good memories are just as important as working out the sludge of the past.

What would be the things from your childhood reading you would like again?

I Love Luci

Posted: November 12, 2016 by Ty in Musings, Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , ,

Comics have always shaped my understanding of the world. Same can be said for sci-fi (ala Star Trek) and mysteries (Holmes and Mrs. Fletcher to name but a few), but comics have been the standard since I got a copy of the Star Trek III adaptation and the Last Star Fighter. Heroes/villains, and other types of stories.

During my time in Bible College and the early days of forming youth ministries a few series spoke into my meta-narrative aside from the usual reads of the time (Green Arrow, Avengers, Superman, etc). These included Starman, Sandman, Preacher, Hellblazer and a new creation of Mike Carey’s… Lucifer.

In the beginning… The angel Lucifer was cast out of Heaven and condemned to rule Hell for all eternity. Until he decided to take a vacation…

That simple phrase opened the first issue, and is still used to open the new Fox television series, that examines what it means that “the Devil made me do it” for as Luci is first to point out, we have scape goated this fallen angel in our culture to remove responsibility for the choices that free will gives us. Think about it, it is not the ancient stories that have shaped our understanding of this character, but rather writings of Dante and John Milton, and other 20th century blasphemies around tribulations and raptures.

This is the undercurrent of the series. It addresses what the character of Lucifer, Morningstar, Satan, the Devil was all about in ancient stories (most easily seen in the story of Job, but still shining they’re in the Gospels of some long-haired guy from Nazareth). That is as a simple tempter, tester, laying out all choices before you, and then seeing where your desire leads you, and what the consequence of that choice will become.

It sometimes is for good, sometimes for ill. What makes the choices different is where we let our light fully shine, or not. What do we allow ego to control because we will not look outside our own selfishness? Is that a moment when we seek the scape goat? Instead of simply seeking the higher self? The Christ within? The Love that drives us?

So truly, I was looked oddly upon reading a series called Lucifer, and even was asked while watching the show and laughing is it blasphemous to enjoy it so much?

No, it is entertainment, with undercurrents that cause pause and reflection. It is a truly excellent use of satire and mythology for enjoyment on one level, and if you want to go deeper to another level can see the character layers that exist. The layers that can be looked at and go, what truly is evil? But more importantly what truly is free will?