The Snyder Cut of Justice League…

Way, waaaay back in 1927 acclaimed German director Fritz Lang released his latest film, Metropolis. The film’s opening day release… didn’t go well.

At all.

In fact, critics and audiences did not like the film. Noted science fiction author H. G. Wells, the man who wrote the seminal The Time Machine, War of the Worlds, and The Invisible Man, wrote a scathing review for The New York Times panning the film. The review began with the line: I have just seen the silliest film (If you’re curious, you can read the full review here).

Immediately after the film’s debut, UFA, the German studio which financed the film, feared they had a major flop on their hands. The film cost them a lot of money to make and if their investment failed to bring back residuals, they would be bankrupt. Almost immediately after the film’s debut, studio hands began trimming Metropolis down from its initial 2 hours and 22 minute run time.

The film didn’t do terribly over its initial release but over the ensuing years, a most curious thing happened: The film developed a strong following. This prompted many to try to find the cut scenes from Metropolis. Unfortunately, back in 1927 when those cuts were made, there was no sense of film permanence. The scenes that were cut back then were discarded without much thought.

Famed musician Giorgio Moroder spent considerable time and effort looking through various versions of Metropolis available and put together a what was for that time the most complete version of the film. He then enlisted several famous musicians including Freddy Mercury and Pat Benatar, to create a soundtrack to this version of the film. In 1984 Giordio Moroder’s version of Metropolis, complete with this new soundtrack, was released to theaters. It had a very big influence on me, not least of which was inspiring the creation of my first major work, The Dark Fringe

Though Moroder’s reconstruction of Metropolis was incomplete, the opening frames of the film, wherein it is noted that Metropolis remains incomplete and scenes were still missing, inspired a new generation to pursue those pieces. But it wasn’t until much later, 2008 in fact, that a gentleman by the name of Francisco Peña discovered a full-length copy of Metropolis in the archives of the Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires. He brought it to the attention of others and this almost complete (it still lacks at least one short sequence which was too degraded) version of the film was finally released to the public (you can read about that in this article by Larry Rohter and presented in The New York Times).

Today, you can purchase a wonderful copy of the film that restores, as best as possible given today’s technology, Metropolis to its original version.

Many decades after that initial release of Metropolis, director Richard Donner was hired to undertake an ambitious project: Make a film version of the beloved comic book hero Superman. But the movie’s producers, Ilya and Alexander Salkind, were interested in making not one but two films at once: Superman and Superman II. The strain of doing two films at the same time became a little too much given the deadline to release the first film. Director Richard Donner abandoned work on Superman II after completing approximately 60% of it to focus on completing Superman. However, once that film was completed Mr. Donner was fired by the Salkinds and he was unable to finish his work on Superman II. Richard Lester finished the film and was listed as its director, though it was clear much of Richard Donner’s work remained within it.

Given the quality of Superman, fans for years were curious to see what Donner’s version of Superman II would be. Some twenty six years later, Warner Brothers allowed work to be done to finish -as best was possible given only 60% or so of the film was completed- the “Donner Cut” of Superman II. It was released in 2006 and now people are able to see the theatrical cut of Superman II along with Donner’s version… though the later features an ending which likely would not have been used had Mr. Donner been allowed to finish the film.

Fast forward to a few years ago. After much controversy upon the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Brothers found themselves extremely nervous about director Zack Snyder’s take on the DC Hero pantheon. While BvS made a ton of money, a vocal contingent of fans and most critics hated the film. In fact, so vociferous were the critics that Warners desperately tried to “fix” the subsequent DC Comics movie release, Suicide Squad, to avoid the critical savaging BvS received.

While there were many who hated BvS, there were also many, like me, who liked the film. Indeed, I feel Warners did Mr. Snyder no favors releasing a cut down version of the film to theaters. When the Ultimate Edition, or rather the “Director’s Cut” of BvS was eventually released, it was clear this was the superior product and what should have been released in the first place.

Mr. Snyder continued working on Justice League. While nearing the end of his work, tragedy would strike his family. Mr. Snyder’s adopted daughter committed suicide and the director stepped away from the film. Joss Whedon, known for Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, and the first two Avenger films, already at work doing script fixes on JL, was given control over the film.

He began re-shoots and when Justice League was eventually released in 2017, it was met with shrugs. It was an “ok” film, to me, and it did decent box office but nothing like what the studios felt it should have. Many have stated the film was a flop and lost considerable money but with a cumulative worldwide gross of $614,729,668 (this is according to IMDB.com), I wonder if it did indeed lose money.

Who knows.

Regardless, the Joss Whedon “take” on Zack Snyder’s film was the version of the film that was released and, to date, that’s the only one available to be seen.

Which brings us to the point of this entry: Zack Snyder’s version of Justice League.

At first and shortly after the theatrical release of the film, there were many who clamored for the release of Zack Snyder’s version of the film. There were many who scoffed at that. There was no Zack Snyder version of JL, they said, and those asking for it were either misinformed or foolish to think such a thing existed.

But over time, statements from those actually involved in the making of the film filtered out and it soon became clear there did indeed exist some kind of at the very least rough cut of the film. One suspects this rough cut is likely missing some special effects work -a not insignificant thing- yet certainly one can today feel comfortable assuming there is more Zack Snyder Justice League in Warner’s film vaults than there was Richard Donner Superman II.

The critics of Zack Snyder -and there remain many out there- continue to throw cold water on the whole affair. While many now acknowledge there is at least a rough cut of Snyder’s JL, they wonder why people still bother.

Let it go, they say. Or Warner Brothers will never spend money to complete a version of this flop. The studio wants to move on and so should you.

Move on.

I’ve read this sentiment more than once and it seems to be one of bigger arguments made by people who don’t care for Zack Snyder’s work nor the idea there may be more of it out there.

Give it up already.

But… why?

Understand, I don’t know if the Zack Snyder version of Justice League is good or crap. And while I pointed out the tortured history of both Metropolis and Superman II above, in no way do I mean to suggest Snyder’s version of Justice League will turn out to be remotely as classic as these films are considered today.

Yet… why deny others who are clearly interested in seeing this film their opinion and hope that Warners can eventually be convinced to release this version of the film? Why brush them off with a “get over it” type statement?

If there weren’t those who gave a damn, we would never have seen the full or director versions of Metropolis or Superman II.

Further, the interest in the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League is somewhat unique. There is nowhere near the same level -if at all- of interest or fan attention to David Ayer’s original cut of Suicide Squad. Or Gareth Edwards’ original version (with the original ending) of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Or the Josh Trank’s cut of Fantastic Four.

There most certainly exist versions of these three films in the vaults of the studios that financed them yet public attention is not there for them as it is with Justice League.

I suspect this is due to the fact that, unlike the others listed above, Mr. Snyder had two films in the DC universe under his belt and people therefore had a history to judge his third film on. They found what was released lacking and want to see what he would have released, had he been able to.

But you know what? I’d be curious to see those director’s cuts of the other films as well! As a film fan, I’m fascinated with the process of making movies and I’m incredibly interested in seeing something that never was… yet could have been.

Here’s the bottom line for those who say “get over it”: If (a BIG if) the Zack Snyder version of Justice League is eventually released… how will it affect those who hate Zack Snyder’s DC work?

Not at all.

For those who have no interest at all in seeing Zack Snyder’s Justice League can go right on ignoring it. I can pretty much guarantee you absolutely NO ONE will force you to see the film. So if you think Zack Snyder’s work is crap and the film Gods conspire to release a Snyder Cut of Justice League, feel free to completely ignore the thing!

But why take away others’ interest and curiosity because you don’t give a shit about it?

If this is true…

…its absolutely crazy that it was leaked to the media.

Written by Caroline Graham and posted to dailymail.com.uk:

Black Woman who will be the next 007: Lashana Lynch takes over the famous code name

Lashana Lynch previously appeared in Captain Marvel. My understanding (I didn’t see the film) is that she was quite good in it.

According to the above article (sorry to spoil everything), Daniel Craig’s James Bond, at the start of the new Bond film, is officially retired. He is brought back in to see M because of whatever problems need his attention and it is there that he finds Ms. Lynch’s character has taken over the 007 codename.

Directly from the article:

A movie insider said: ‘There is a pivotal scene at the start of the film where M says ‘Come in 007’, and in walks Lashana who is black, beautiful and a woman. ‘It’s a popcorn-dropping moment. Bond is still Bond but he’s been replaced as 007 by this stunning woman.

First off: I’m OK with this concept. It sounds like fun!

On the other hand… how the hell did the studios let this rather large whopper of a plot point escape?!

Can nothing be kept secret anymore? If indeed Ms. Lynch is revealed as a “new” 007, that is indeed a “popcorn-dropping” moment designed to shock and delight viewers…

…only now the cat’s out of the proverbial bag and absolutely no one is going to be shocked anymore.

I know the internet makes it hard to keep secrets. One tiny slip and the entire world knows what’s going on.

If this is indeed true, its a shame this secret has been revealed while the damn film is still being made.

Why such hate…?

Perhaps that’s too strong a word. Perhaps instead of “hate” one could use “dismissal” or perhaps “antipathy”.

Yes folks, this is another Tesla entry.

Yesterday we went to the car dealership which is taking care of my younger daughter’s car so we could get a loaner vehicle. She drives a small sedan and the fuel injection problem it has requires parts which won’t come in until Tuesday. Since we need a car for Monday and Tuesday, they offered us the loaner.

My daughter hoped to get this particular company’s SUVs as a loaner. She likes the look of the car and, one day, might consider it when she decides to trade in her car. As good fortune would have it, we were offered the SUV model as a loaner. It was a brand new 2019 edition, to boot.

Because it was a loaner we didn’t expect to get a top of the line all-bells-and-whistles version and, indeed, what we got was a very bare-bones SUV. I drove my car home and my wife and youngest daughter drove the SUV so it wasn’t until later on, when we decided to go grocery shopping, that I had a chance to try the car out.

I… didn’t like the vehicle much. Not much at all.

Again, we were given a bare bones loaner. The car’s interior looked quite cheap, with cheap cloth seats that were only manually movable to a not very impressive dashboard and monitor. But I could look past those things, knowing that if in some future date we entertained trading her car for one of the SUVs we’d get one with a better interior.

What I couldn’t look past was the driving.

The engine felt puny. The sound of it running was loud. It barely had any pickup. In all ways, and in my opinion, driving it was not much fun.

Which brings us to Tesla and my Model 3.

I’m spoiled.

There’s no two ways around it.

I’ve been driving since 1982 and from that point until early this year I’ve driven a large number of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. There’s some I loved. There’s some I hated. There are some I barely remember.

It wasn’t until early this year, when I traded in my Mustang convertible (a lovely retro looking vehicle) that I had my first -and thus far only- prolonged experience with a Tesla/electric vehicle.

Since getting my Model 3, I’ve driven five ICE cars: My wife’s, my eldest daughter’s car followed by the one we traded it in for (the later being a hybrid), my youngest daughter’s car, and now this loaner.

I’ve come to realize that my Tesla drives better than any of those ICE cars, no question about it.

As good as the Tesla 3 is, I nonetheless cannot say the same for all electric vehicles. I haven’t driven the Volt or Bolt. I haven’t driven the Leaf or Kona. I cannot say how or even if those vehicles also drive better than, or at least comparably with, my Model 3.

What’s so great about my Model 3?

The drive is so smooth. The silence is incredible. The sudden acceleration, when you need it, is amazing. Even though I don’t have a performance model, the acceleration in my Model 3 is beyond anything I’ve experienced in any ICE car I’ve previously driven.

Then there’s these factors: You don’t have to go to gas stations anymore. You don’t have to worry about fuel injector problems (which is what my youngest daughter’s car seems to have a problem with). You’re done with oil changes.

I noted to my wife my disappointment with the loaner car and that a large part of the disappointment is related to my being spoiled with the Model 3. I told her getting the Model 3 was not unlike moving from a Nokia flip phone to an Apple iPhone.

The differences are that stark.

The other day, Motor Trend awarded the Tesla Model S (the sedan) the “Ultimate Car of the Year”, an award given out of consideration of 70 years of vehicles (you can read the full article here). Meanwhile in the UK, Autoexpress.com.uk gave Tesla’s Model 3 the “Car of the Year 2019” award (you can read the article here).

The point is this: It seems people are becoming more and more aware of Tesla vehicles and those who experience them are converting. This has certainly happened to me.

I can’t see myself going back to a ICE vehicle. The Tesla is that much better.

But I’m not everyone.

The Tesla’s are expensive cars versus many other vehicles out there. Though the most basic Model 3 goes for around $37,000 and as such is not super expensive, getting other options will bring the price up and maybe out of many people’s budgets.

So all is good, right?

Not quite and it does, in a very roundabout way, bring me to the point I was alluding to way up at the start of this post.

Why the hate?

I frequent many boards, some of which focus on Automobiles. I love the umbrella of websites tied in with Gizmodo.com. I’m a sci-fi fan/writer so naturally I like hanging around websites that focus on all things sci-fi, from TV to movies to books and games.

If you go to the site and look at the upper bar, you’ll find the other websites associated with Gizmodo. One of them, Jalopnick, is devoted to cars.

Clearly the writers on this site love vehicles of all kinds and its a blast to read information on vehicles old and new. That love, however, doesn’t seem to flow quite as well toward Tesla.

To date, I haven’t seen any articles from them noting the awards Tesla cars received. To be fair, maybe such an article is about to show up, but it seems odd they wouldn’t note a publication like Motor Trend giving the Tesla S a best of 70 years award. Seems to me its a fairly significant piece of automotive news, no?

Worse, at times, are some of the comments left by readers.

I’ve long felt that in many matters, opinions are just that: Options. What to you is great may to someone else be terrible and vice versa. In that respect I can understand people who have tried driving Tesla vehicles and coming away not as impressed with the cars as I am.

To each their own!

But I’ve seen people write as if they have an axe to grind. Understand: This is not unique to Tesla vehicles nor am I naive enough to believe that’s the case.

There are those who seem to go out of their way to expound on what they see as Tesla’s failures. A couple of years ago there were articles about how Tesla cars had misaligned parts. They were relatively minor, but they were worrisome. There were also articles about bad paint jobs. In the time between originally seeing these articles and now, I haven’t “new” stories that state this is a continuing problem with Tesla vehicles. I suspect Tesla addressed the problem and, perhaps, it is now not so much a problem.

Certainly I haven’t noticed any such problem in my vehicle!

And yet I see comments which state this remains a problem even though, again, I haven’t seen any new 3rd party articles saying this was the case. Quite the contrary, I’ve seen articles which note that these issues no longer seem to be the case.

Yet the slams against the company continue. Perhaps some are trolls and nothing more, getting a thrill out of stirring things up. Perhaps they simply cannot stomach the idea of gas powered vehicles being worse than (I’ve heard this one before) a “fancy golf cart”.

In the near future, say, 10 years from now, I’m certain not everyone will convert to electric, though I strongly suspect there will be a significant amount of such vehicles on the road versus today. If, and its a BIG if, demand for Teslas continue unabated while sales of ICE vehicles falter (as they have been doing of late), the other car companies will have no choice but to follow Tesla’s lead.

Before I finish this, let me be clear about one thing: I’m not committed to Tesla and Tesla vehicles alone. I’d love to see other electric vehicles make it to the market. There’s nothing better for a consumer than seeing competition in product. Usually that results in lower prices and better overall product.

So far, it feels like Tesla is blowing away the competition for electric vehicles yet I hope other companies join the fray.

I would love to see more options. I would love to see us move away from the old tech of ICE vehicles and their pollution and move into the cleaner energy afforded by electric vehicles.

Maybe soon.

This ‘n’ That, 7/12/19

I’ve been lagging behind ’round these parts as the summer grinds on…

Summer.

This has become the Summer of Repairs™ for me.

I mentioned before (oh, the pain!) of having to first redo all the water exit lines on the east side of my house, following which my central AC crapped out on me and I had to get a whole new unit, then we had to redo the guest bathroom where the original water exit line problem began because floor was drilled.

Welp, I forgot to mention another thing: Earlier in the summer my eldest daughter’s car was crapping out and we wound up trading that car in for another. Today, my younger daughter’s car is giving her trouble (though I think not nearly as bad as the elder’s much older vehicle) and we took it to the shop today to get it looked at. I suspect the problem it has is in the fuel line. We’ll see.

We also discovered, now that the rainy season has begun, a leak in a part of our roof which will have to be resolved… though I may be forced to wait for the rainy season to die out. Around these parts, roofers are in high demand during the rainy season and a repair job is looked upon as not worth pursuing when many people ask for their entire roof to be repaired.

Ugh.

The money flying out is… impressive. Acutally, depressive.

The only saving grace is that at this point we’re running out of things that can crap out and subsequently need repair! (I really hope I haven’t jinxed myself!)

****

Found this video the other day of the Tesla semi on the road…

People noted that a driver could not be seen behind the wheel of the vehicle and, thus, the reason the clip is pointing out that it’s a “self-driving” Tesla on the street.

I have to say, I was skeptical this was the case. Even if Tesla was testing their self-driving feature, they’d be crazy to let a vehicle like this one out on the road without anyone behind the wheel.

Nonetheless, I cannot make out anyone in the cabin. When reading the comments on the YouTube site this is presented on, people state there is someone in the cabin and they have dark sunglasses on.

I still don’t see it, but I tend to believe this must be the case.

Again: Why risk your Semi (I believe Tesla only has two of them built to this point) on something without having at least one person behind the wheel just in case something goes wrong?

*****

Jeffrey Epstein.

Holy shit.

I mean, if all the allegations are proven true (and he was convicted and given what amounted to a slap on the wrist) what a freaking sleaze of a guy.

I despair at the political situation these days in the US. We have a “news” network that is nothing more than a brainwashing service intent on getting people to love conservatives/Republicans and hate them-there libral scum and, sadly, the service is effective.

If day after day after day, year after year after year you’re presenting a slanted persistent message, eventually people start to buy into it.

With Mr. Epstein, (you can read about him and how his alleged dirty deeds have now cost Jim Acosta his job in the Trump administration), Fox “news” was only too happy to point out the fact that Bill Clinton knew the man and had flown a few times on his private jet in the past.

Less inclined are they, though, to mention Trump’s relationships with him.

Google around. The stuff that’s written -and assuming there is truth to it- is absolutely disgusting.

If Bill Clinton is proven to have been involved in some of this level of sleaze, he deserves to be reviled.

I suppose that’s the difference between libral scum and the Fox “news” people: If illegal activities occurred, I’m more than happy to see those engaged in them get sent to jail.

Whoever they may be.

Tesla: Endgame Part Deux

A while back and in April I wrote about my thoughts on where Elon Musk wants to ultimately take Tesla and their electric vehicles (click here for the original post, Tesla: Endgame).

My feeling was that Mr. Musk is thinking farther ahead than most car makers in the sense that he feels we will eventually have self-driving vehicles and, because of that, we will have a version of the Uber/Lyft system where a company will have a fleet of self-driving vehicles roaming around a city (at first) and the company will make a lot more money on those vehicles while consumers will not need to actually buy cars. It will become more economical to order a self-driving vehicle, have it take you wherever you need to go, then when you’re done order another to take you back.

No more buying cars, no more insurance, no more monthly lease payments, and no more worrying about changing tires/servicing your vehicle.

A recent tweet over the weekend caused some consternation among folks when Mr. Musk was asked by “Disruption Research”:

Do consumers have limited time left to buy a Tesla car, since prices would have to go up severalfold to balance supply & demand once you solve FSD?

To which Mr. Musk replied curtly:

Yes

The consternation was due to the fact one could interpret Mr. Musk’s response to indicate Tesla might not sell cars at all once the self-driving thing was resolved. Mr. Musk, perhaps sensing a rising panic, offered the following elaboration:

To be clear, consumers will still be able to buy a Tesla, but the clearing price will rise significantly, as a fully autonomous car that can function as a robotaxi is several times more valuable than a non-autonomous car

In other words, once/if Tesla resolves self-driving and if you have a self-driving vehicle, you have a potential money maker, one that you could send out when not using it as a “robo-taxi” and make money off of it.

So Mr. Musk notes rather bluntly: Why sell a Model 3 for, say, $50,000 (or thereabouts) when you could make that much money on the vehicle -or more!- in a year by sending it out as a robo-taxi? If/when Tesla gets the self-driving realized, they aren’t going to be selling their vehicles at the current prices because they are now potential money makers.

And that dovetails nicely into what I wrote in my original Tesla: Endgame post.

Here’s the thing: Until full self-driving is realized, Tesla still has to sell vehicles and continue doing so to make money it needs to continue its research.

When I purchased my Tesla earlier this year, I invested in the “self-driving” feature. It was, I believe, something like $5000 or so and didn’t think about using the car as a “robo-taxi.” Frankly, I did so because I thought it would be fascinating to have a car that can drive itself.

Having said that, if there’s good money into making my car a “robo-taxi”, I might be tempted to let it be used as such!

Once again, this is something that depends entirely on when -and if– a fully functional self-driving feature becomes a reality.

Mr. Musk is optimistic it will happen, perhaps as soon as later this very year.

I don’t think it’ll happen that quickly, but in the next two or three years?

It’s certainly possible.

Too damn funny… July 4th, 2019 Edition

Last year there was this very funny (IMHO!) bit of news, now sadly forgotten, where right-wing “pundit” and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones stated liberals were going to use the 2018 Independence Day to launch a takeover/Civil War against the good ol’ conservatives. Much hilarity ensued as people wrote hilarious twitter comments about the so-called “second Civil War” (you can read about this here).

In what seems to be becoming an annual tradition …well, if twice in two years portends such things… there was something new which appeared this year which provoked some pretty funny comments.

I refer to Donald Trump’s Independence Day speech wherein he said the following…

Yep, you heard it right. When talking about the Revolutionary War, Donald Trump said:

Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over airports, it did everything it had to do.

Oh boy.

I’ve made my feeling known before regarding Donald Trump: I have absolutely no love at all for him. Whether he stole the election with the help of Putin or not, in his time in office he has proved to be uniquely unqualified to be president. Further, he seems borderline illiterate and certainly uneducated. And that’s ignoring his obvious racism, sexism, and any other number of vindictive you want to give him.

Seeing this clip, he seems almost out of it. As if he’s under some kind of medication and having difficulties seeing/reading the teleprompter. Perhaps its because his reading skills aren’t great or perhaps the rain made it difficult for him to read the damn thing.

Regardless, I suspect he was adding in words here and there and the airport line, one would think, had to be an ad lib, right?

I mean, no one could have been stupid enough to write out that speech and actually put that line in there?!

Because if that line was in the actual written speech, then one can’t help but assume whoever put it there did so in the hopes he would read the line without thinking and make an ass out of himself as he’s done here.

And, continuing on that thought and continuing in the assumption that line was in the written speech, one has to wonder how much his own staff hates Mr. Trump and is willing to make him look absolutely ridiculous in a high profile speech!

Well, it didn’t take long for several smart asses to react to Mr. Trump’s latest verbal faux pas. Over on Huffington Post, Mary Papenfuss offers an article which examines how…

Trump Dive-Bombed in Tweets After Claiming Army Seized Revolutionary War Airports

There are some very funny tweets mentioned in the article above and I urge you to check them out. One of my favorites was this one by Jack W. Bower:

My Dearest Rose,

I’m afraid I must be the bearer of bad news. My flight has already been delayed a fortnight, and I fear it will be longer. The army has shut down the airport and the airplane will not be invented for 6 score and 7 years from now.#RevolutionaryWarAirportStories

Sad… and yet expected

Yesterday came news that the venerable Mad Magazine, the satirical/smart-assed magazine published since 1952, was for all intents and purposes being cancelled.

Sure, there are a few “ifs” and “buts” to this news, but essentially the Magazine will be producing more and more “best of” editions and stopping the original stuff.

You can read more about this in this article by James Whitbrook and presented over on i09.com:

Mad Magazine is basically dead

To me, and as I wrote on the header above, this is sad but expected news. It’s been many, many years since I’ve read Mad Magazine, and likely well over twenty plus years since I’ve held an original newstand issue release.

But there was a time, back in the 1970’s and into the 1980’s, when Mad Magazine was one of my favorite publications. I loved it so much that I even had a subscription to them and got issues over the mail. Not before and not since had I ever done that, and I still recall the first issue I received in the mail…

Image result for mad magazine king kong

From 1977 and not one of their “best” issues, nonetheless I loved the parody of King Kong (the first remake film, which featured a very young Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange).

I was fascinated with Mad and eager to pick up their earlier issues. Luckily, they would release “Best of” editions which often allowed me to get peeks at the long history of Mad Magazine parodies.

Many years later and at the dawn of the “digital” age, a beautiful CD Rom compilation was released which featured all the issues of the magazine up to that point. Even better, it included odds and ends found in the various “Best of” compilations, including songs and other silliness…

Image result for mad magazine cd rom

Loved it!

A few years after this release they released another up to the moment CD Rom set, but this one didn’t feature all those wonderful bonuses.

When I got the CD Rom edition, I tried to read some of the more recent magazines included in the set but found the humor… just wasn’t as good as before.

Worse, many of my favorite artists and writers were no longer there. Don Martin left the book amid a squabble over royalties with publisher William Gaines and eventually went to work for Cracked, did his own series, and passed away. Sadly, in reading the incidentals regarding Mr. Martin’s situation, I couldn’t help but feel that Mr. Gaines had taken advantage of not only him but many of the other artists he hired from the early EC days through Mad Magazine. Mr. Gaines made plenty of money reprinting older strips and, at least according to Mr. Martin, didn’t offer royalties to the talent who made the works.

Similarly, other artists and writers, such as Antonio Prohias, who created and wrote/drew Spy vs Spy, had also either left the book and/or passed away. What I saw with those later issues were works by people I neither knew nor found all that interesting.

Ah well.

Still, it’s incredibly sad to read that Mad may finally be shutting down. It had a good, long run, but today it competes with memes and comedians who are on TV nightly. The humor it brought forward is readily available in so many media and a magazine coming out bi-monthly simply didn’t have as much of a chance.

Good things, as they say, eventually come to their end, and so too it appears to have happened to Mad.

The dangers of buying digital things…

First, I have to be honest: I LOVE buying things “digitally”.

I LOVE not having the clutter of so many books and movies and the ease by which I can enjoy both through either my cellphone, tablet, or through my “smart” TV.

I LOVE IT!

…however…

Stories like these make me mighty uncomfortable. From Matt Novak and presented on gizmodo.com:

Ebooks purchased from Microsoft will be deleted this month because you don’t really own anything anymore

The title is self-explanatory: Microsoft sold eBooks starting in/around 2017. The service appears to have not done very well and the company decided they were going to stop selling books and, further, delete those that people bought.

Money will be returned by Microsoft to the people who bought these eBooks, just to be clear, and the service seems to have been a flop pretty much from the beginning so not that many people were affected.

However, this does present a sobering thought: What if this should happen with Apple or Amazon? How about VUDU? All my books/graphic novels -and I have a BUNCH of them- are on Amazon. Pretty much all my film purchases are currently being done through VUDU.

What if these services have a problem? What if suddenly all these many thousands of dollars I’ve spent will *poof!* be gone?

Again, I love the digital services. I love the fact that my home isn’t getting filled up with more books and movie boxes.

I love this!

But, seriously, there needs to be some kind of permanence created for these bought items yet I wonder if such a thing could be accomplished, other than downloading your stuff and saving it to increasingly full Hard Drives.

The firing of Michael de Adder…

Not familiar with the above name?

Mr. De Adder is a political cartoonist whose work appears in Canadian newspapers and who, last week, was let go (ie fired) from four newspapers that presented his work.

He suspects this may have been the result of the following piece:

As Mr. de Adder puts it:

…in the past 2 weeks I drew 3 Trump cartoons. 2 went viral and the third went supernova and a day later I was let go. And not only let go, the cartoons they already had in the can were not used. Overnight it was like I never worked for the paper. Make your own conclusions.

I must admit, when I saw this piece, it was like receiving a gut punch. This piece, if you’re not aware of it, shows the two South American refugees, a father and his months’ old daughter, who drowned trying to cross into the United States.

The actual photograph of these two is heartbreaking and, frankly, I feel uncomfortable presenting it here, just as I find the above cartoon also very uncomfortable.

Here’s the thing: Mr. De Adder did his job.

Tremendously well.

He presented a scathing indictment of Donald Trump and his priorities as well as his lack of empathy for migrants -and active attempts to make their already difficult situation even more difficult- as well as the end results of many that do try to make this trek.

Granted, migrant deaths have occurred throughout many administrations, not just this one, but the animus shown by Trump and company to these people is on a league of its own.

And the fact that Mr. de Adder was fired so soon after presentation of this piece shows the intersection between businesses and politics. It would seem the owners of the four Canadian papers have other business interests, and it doesn’t pay to have an employee piss off a potential partner, or impediment, to their business world.

You can take hits at politicians, but sometimes the hits may land a little too hard.