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It’s been a while now since I engaged in a full on rant. Stop on by She Has No Head! to see what all of the fuss is about this week.

Here’s a hint:

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Apparently my angry cries of foul on Rogue’s bullshit new costume that is constantly unzipped to her navel have fallen on deaf ears.  The evidence?  The X-Men Legacy cover #232.  SIGH.  Oh comics.  I don’t know why I continue to love you when you treat me so.  I’m just glutton for punishment I suppose.

x-men legacy 232

Brian Cronin over at CBR has been doing a Top Five Most Iconic Covers for individual characters, and it’s a really great idea (read: I wish I’d thought of it first).  Like most idiots with an opinion I have often been disagreeing with some of his picks, but having learned first hand how hard it is to pick a “top” anything, I’ve been keeping my mouth shut.  But he featured my girl Rogue this week and I can no longer be silenced!

Here are Cronin’s picks.

The list isn’t even that bad, I think in my own list (see below) I have to use three of the five he uses, however the use of that Paul Smith cover as number one is just criminal.  That cover is completely a Wolvie cover, not a Rogue cover and while the actual issue marks pretty big developments for the character and her evolution, the cover does not relay that same message.  Epic fail.

So here’s MY list:

5.  Andy Kubert

096 Andy Kubert

As discussed on my Best 100 Covers post, as an adult and as an artist, I kind of hate this cover for a lot of reasons, but as a 16 year old girl, my heart literally went all ‘pitter pat’ in my chest and didn’t stop for, like, YEARS.  And independent of my personal feelings, this relationship was a major part of Rogue’s 90’s storyline, and affected her character hugely both at this point in time and (for good or ill) pretty much the rest the character’s life thus far.

4.  Walt Simonson

X-Men 171 Walt Simonson

Cronin is right that this cover is iconic because of the “hope you survive the experience” homage that at this point had become classic and iconic on its own, but perhaps it’s even more iconic because in Rogue’s case it was a more accurate statement than ever before.  Although, perhaps they should have changed up the meme to read, “Welcome To The X-Men Rogue…Hope The X-Men Survive The Experience” considering the fact that the entire team tries to quit on principle when Xavier lets her in.

3. John Romita Jr.

X-Men 185

This is a great cover, and a great issue, that was a huge development in Rogue’s growth as a character.  It foreshadowed great things for the character and managed to be a milestone issue for both Rogue and Storm.  Neither of them would ever be the same after this issue – and that is the mark of a great comic – and this cover conveys that feeling – which is the mark of a great cover.

2.  Marc Silvestri

079 Marc Silvestri

This Genosha storyline was a big turning point for Rogue, both emotionally as she battled the unexpected side effects of losing her cursed powers; and perhaps even more importantly, it spotlighted the relationship with the Carol Danvers personality living inside of her.  This was the first arc (if I recall correctly) that Rogue and Danvers agreed on an uneasy peace, if only for their combined survival.  And it kicked off a fantastic ongoing storyline about their constant battle for control of Rogue’s body.

1.  Jim Lee

02 Jim Lee

And here’s where control of that body comes to a head, more than thirty issues later.  This milestone issue featured the final and long awaited separation of Carol Danvers and Rogue with surprising results after Rogue was shot through the Siege Perilous by Dazzler (you bitch Dazzler).  This issue is important both because it truly highlights how much our heroine has changed, and because as a result of this issue, there are new rules for Rogue and Danvers.  They’ve been permanently separated, but Rogue has retained the powers.  For good or ill this changed Rogue’s direction and is a critical arc in her evolution.  It’s also gorgeous, but you guys know I’m a fan.

Ironically, I think that this cover to X-Men Classic #77…

Xmen Classic #77

…really proves my point about why Cronin’s pick of X-Men #173 is a real miss.  The cover above, a re-imagining by Adam Hughes of the original Paul Smith X-Men #173 cover is a pretty great example of a Rogue cover…with the positions reversed like this (i.e. Rogue in front instead of back) it works as a Rogue cover, but would you ever in a million years put this on a list of most iconic Wolverine covers?  No way.  Now of course Wolvie has more iconic covers out there than just about any other Marvel character, but still, I’m sure you can see my point.

Just for fun here are a few of my other favorite covers featuring Rogue.  I wouldn’t call them all iconic, but I would call them all awesome.  It’s a little bit shocking actually, how few powerful and truly moving covers Rogue has, she’s been a fan favorite for a long time, and it’s really not evident in looking up her covers…

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And me are not getting along.

Krups Kettle

Last week my electric tea kettle, which I use a couple times a week, if not daily, broke.  It is only six months old.  My previous kettle which I had for four years broke last spring.  This very pretty Krups one I replaced it with apparently sucks.  I am also too stupid and lazy to fill out my warranty for a $60 item.  So I’m out of luck.

Today, my “fit and fresh” single serving blender thing-a-ma-bob informed me it too was broken.  WHAT.  THE.  HELL.  This thing is less than three months old and I’ve probably used it only 20 times. And now I’ve got a bunch of strawberries, milk, and protein powder mixed together that can’t be blended.  Sonofabitch.

This sucks.  grumble. grumble. grumble.

I f’ing hate it when men sabotage and disrespect women, particularly when they do it because of the way women look (too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, not pretty, blah blah blah) and it’s even more annoying when the men themselves actually look like ass (which happens A LOT), but reading this interview with Carol Lay reminds me why I hate it even more when we women do it to each other. 

I don’t know where Carol Lay gets off.  I really don’t.  We don’t need more hate and bad body dynamics…there is plenty in the world already.  The reviews on Amazon for her book so far are through the roof (5 stars across the board), but I just keep reminding myself that these are the people who obviously read diet books pretty frequently…and so I don’t really trust them to start with.  I’m happy for Carol Lay that she’s thin now and that it’s solved all her problems, but I really don’t need her preaching to me (or the rest of world) which is what this interview sounds like to me.

Carol Lay, if you’re listening (reading), go to this site and read as much as you can:  Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose.  Get back to me when you’ve learned something.  Ridiculous.

That’s right – we’re baaaaack!!!!!  I know you didn’t believe me that we’d be back…but we are.  Let’s hope for no more hiccups, at least until I reach the end of “a year of rabid lamb comic” (i.e. November 5th).

And to you movie texters out there – it would be great if you could stop texting because it’s wrong and it ruins peoples’ movie experience – but if the moral fortitude to do the right thing escapes you – just know that some crazy bitch and her giant angry boyfriend may be in your theater, ready to follow you home and kill you for being an insensitive jackass.  Is texting really worth your life?  Turn off the goddamn phone – I assure you your life is not so important that it can’t be put on hold for two hours…and if it is…then what the hell are you doing in a movie theater anyway?

This is apparently my new favorite thing to rant about…see?

So, in finally getting back to my previously promised Tudor rant/review, here we are.

I guess part of my problem with this show is that, at this point, I have a surprising amount of actual knowledge about this time period and these people and all the events that led up to these kind of amazing (and horrible) things that happened to these people.  And so, knowing what I know, I just don’t understand the choices that they make for the show. They will make these seemingly valiant attempts to keep it true to the facts in certain ways and then just go wildly off the mark for no apparent reason. 

Adapting material is difficult, and it’s very difficult to do it well, so I do try to cut them some slack, but some of this stuff they have added in or changed is just ridiculous and unnecessary.  The great thing about Henry VIII and his six wives is that it was rife with drama and intrigue to begin with.  There were murders, conspiracies, marriages, affairs, sexual escapades, religious persecution, beheadings, trials, rumors, it’s all there – you actually have to invent very little to “sex it up” and make it pretty for the masses…so I just don’t understand the choices they make. 

The Good:  It’s interesting to see these characters brought to life and the scenes shot on location are rich and beautiful, unfortunately,  too large a percentage of the show is shot on sets, which despite a good effort for a television show, look pretty sad and small and cheap.  The costumes however, show no expense spared, and are fantastic. 


The Bad & The Ugly:

Mary of Tudor (Henry VIII’s younger sister) was married to King Louis XII when she was 18.  This character is played by…wait for it…38 year old actress Gabrielle Anwar.  Now I hate Anwar, and have never liked her ever, so I’m a bit aggressively biased here.  However, even for the non-biased, Anwar is not looking too good these days (and certainly not anywhere near 18 )  and she has a really bad habit of making these terrible expressions while she is “acting” that make her look even older than her 38 years.  It is a painful experience watching her play this interesting character.  

I know of course that people play characters much younger than their age all the time on TV, but it’s actually kind of important here when you understand that these women were being married off at very young ages.  It was a huge part of what was going on at that time, and it’s difficult to understand as a viewer when we see Anwar, looking 40-ish and being horrified because she’s marrying an ugly old king.  It’s far less dramatic to see Anwar marry this guy, than if they had cast an innocent looking 18 year-old.   

Additionally, in the show they had her marrying the wrong king (who cares about any kind of accuracy, right?).  They invented (or stole?) some King of Portugal for her to marry.  This seems to be not such a sin until you understand what a complex web of alliances there were at this time, and marrying off princesses to other countries was a chief way of solidifying an alliance.  In reality, she married King Louis XII of France…and Portugal had nothing to do with it. 

But the greatest sin is in how it all plays out.  In reality, Mary didn’t kill her husband as Anwar does (a crime of treason for which she could easily be killed).  In truth the King dies about three months after the marriage (an old guy putting it to an 18 year-old for three months can be exhuasting – and fatal).  After King Louis VII died, Mary very cleverly arranged to marry the man she was actually in love with, Charles Brandon, with the help of King Francis I (the new King of France) and much to the anger of her brother King Henry VIII, since it was without his permission.  In the show, Anwar kills this ‘King of Portugal’ and heads back home within a week, marrying Brandon in the process.  It’s like they want to tell the story, but they just can’t manage it.  And I have to say, again, a far less dramatic take than the actual original story, which is pretty tragic and then redeeming in its own way.  A headstrong young woman being sold off to a foreign country but then cleverly managing to marry the man she loves anyway (unheard of in that time)…fascinating.

Henry Fitzroy.  Son of King Henry VIII by his mistress Elizabeth “Bessie” Blount.  This is true, and handled pretty accurately.  And then they suddenly decide to kill the kid with the “sweating sickness”.  Why?  I have no clue.  It’s not like they milk it for high drama.  There is literally one scene in which the kid’s mother comes to see him (already dead) and there is a maybe five-second scene of King Henry looking at the tiny crown of the kid (who he never saw anyway).  In reality Henry Fitzroy lived to the age of 17 and died suddenly of consumption (tuberculousis).  

Anne Boleyn.  They’ve done Anne the biggest disservice of anyone, which is really a crime for a series focused partially (for the first two years at least) on the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn.  I’m not a huge Anne Boleyn fan, she was a manipulative clever woman and a vindictive tyrant of sorts, but she was also incredibly witty and wise in a way and she rose to a power no women had previously imagined, based solely on her own merit (and maybe beauty). 

She also had a very good reason for being as angry as she was and for becoming the tyrant she became.  Much of what Anne Boleyn did in her rise to becoming the Queen of England can be chalked up to revenge.  In reality, Anne was very much in love with Henry Percy (eventually to become the Earl of Northumberland) and he with her.  They were likely married or “pre-contracted” which was as good as marriage in those days (and the relationship was likely consumated).  This was a great match for Anne, both in that it would rise her up in the societal ranks, and also because, rare in that day, she loved the man and he her. 

This marriage was deemed unworthy by both Cardinal Wolsey and Henry Percy’s father and possibly King Henry (although it was a time before Anne would realize the king had anything to do with it – and there is speculation as to whether he actually did).  Wolsey and Percy’s father undid her marraige quite cruelly and Anne was temporarily banished from court.  It was a very hard lesson to learn.  And for a woman like Anne, it was not taken lightly.  She came back to court with a very clear idea about how to get power, and that she would need to play the game like a master.  There was no way to get that power, or revenge on Wolsey without rising as high as possible, and there was nothing above Queen for a woman.  It’s unlikely she ever really loved Henry VIII, although it’s possible that after years of courting she did fall for him.  It’s also highly unlikely she was guilty of any crimes against him. 

In The Tudors there is none of this backstory.  None.  We never know why she hated Wolsey so much. Religious reasons are given, and they were certainly present as well, but her single minded hatred of the man is far too personal for it to just be religious difference, and Wolsey was actually fairly light in punishiment for the followers of Martin Luther (i.e. heretics) compared with his successor Thomas More, who also opposed Anne’s marriage to Henry, yet she did not set out to destroy More, she had a very specific reason to go after Wolsey, and none of that is addressed.  They do give her a previous “dalliance” with the poet Thomas Wyatt, which is completely out of context and just wrong.  There is a recorded flirtation, but an affair is very unlikely.  So overall it is an incredibly unfair portrait.  All the history that built this amazing woman and character is just dropped.  It makes it impossible to understand her motivations and as such it is the broadest of sketches of a fascinating woman.  And it makes me angry.  Really angry. 

In the end, I don’t mind so much if you want to create a completely fictionalized world of The Tudors, I probably couldn’t ever love it, but I certainly can’t even like it if you can’t make it more interesting than what really happened.  If you’re going to make it fiction…it’s gotta be better than reality.  And this, isn’t. 

2 Stars.   Blech.


The last of the “search term” comics…so sad for me, these have been some good fun. I think I’ll make them a recurring feature of Rabid Lamb…but maybe one at a time and not two weeks worth…

You want to know what I do with your inserts and “cardboard-like” pages in favorite magazines of mine? 

I tear them out.  That’s right, the first thing I do when I get a new magazine is furiously tear our all these little obstructions to my reading. 

Guess what else?  Sometimes I even look at what they are and make a mental note to NEVER buy that product or subscribe to that service etc.  That’s right.  I know it hurts…but it’s true.  Also, you should know that I’m not alone in this.  I know MANY people who do exactly the same thing.  Maybe they’re not as angry and grumbly as me when they do it, but they do it.  So I don’t know what your PR/Advertising/Marketing department is telling you, but they’re idiots.  The “people” do not like you, or your methods. 

You know what else we don’t like?  The pop ups on our TV screens that interrupt the bottom third (sometimes bottom half) of the TV screen when we’re trying to watch a program.  We especially don’t like this when we happen to be watching subtitled and cannot read what is happening on our program…or when god forbid there is actually something important going on in the bottom third of the screen – I know that seems crazy – CRAZY that the whole screen would actually be important, but it is…so you should know we’re pretty pissed about this new development.  I know you’re all really frustrated because we’ve found a loophole in your ridiculous commercials scheme by buying things like Tivos and DVR’s and fast forwarding through all ad space, but you should know this, I don’t buy, watch, or support any show that advertise this way.  It’s my only silent protest (slightly less silent now that I’m talking about it). 

Okay, that’s all for today.  Thanks for listening.

…and for once in the last week, I don’t mean Civilization 4 (we’ll leave that to the comic of the day).  Why do people not know the societal rules that make everything easier on everyone else?

Does nobody remember “stay to the right and you’re always right”?  While I shudder to use that phrase these days in fear that people will think the saying applies to my politics (it doesn’t) I feel compelled to use it after being forced to go around about 895 people (small exaggeration) this morning on my walk to work.  If I had mostly been dodging immigrants or people who maybe grew up somewhere else, or whose parents grew up somewhere else then I could have a little more understanding, as perhaps in other countries there are other rules like “stay to the left and you’re always…hell I don’t know”…but the truth is I spent most of the morning dodging idiot white folk who I would bet good money were born and raised in the good ol’ US of A, just as their parents were.

How about this one…does anyone remember the rule about letting people OUT before you try to rush IN?  Do people know that this applies to all scenarios?  Elevator?  Yes, let people out before you crowd in.  Starbucks?  let people out, especially women with giant strollers before you shove your way in.  A subway car?  Yes, let the people off first, so there is room for you to get on…and in this case maybe even get out of the freaking way so it is easier for the crowds to exit.  Trust me, in the end I promise this will actually benefit YOU. 

A woman fell all over herself this morning thanking me for opening the door to Starbucks for her and letting her and her ginormous Upper East Side stroller outside before I tried to get in.  While it was nice to get a thank you, and I understand her shock, since I had to dodge my 895 people this morning, I literally would have had to push her and her child over to get in before letting her out.  Given her immense thanks I’m thinking that very thing may have happened to her before.

While I’m at it, even though I haven’t driven a car in about six months, let’s talk about the PASSING LANE.  Why do people not know that the left is a passing lane only when driving?  It’s just like with the walking on the right on the sidewalk…you drive on the right, so that people who want to go faster than you can pass you on the left.  If you pass someone though, that doesn’t mean you can assume that you are the “person who wants to drive the fastest on the entire road!”.  You should move back to the right lane when there is an opportunity…because, and this I promise you, there IS someone else out there that will want to pass you too.  Where are these people’s parents?  Were they raised by wolves?  How do people not know these rules.  It just blows my mind. 

And even if they were raised by wolves…didn’t they still have to take driver’s ed?

Okay.  Rant, officially done.  Thanks for listening.

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