Seven Critics of Victory: Alex Lu on Manhattan Guardian #1

Shelfdust

When I think about the Guardian’s story in Seven Soldiers of Victory, I think about the subway pirates. They’re more than just metafictional representations of Alan Moore and this book’s writer, Grant Morrison, waging war against one another. The story told here, about a ragtag group of people society has discarded, roving about a secret system of tunnels in search of something greater is a distinctively captivating concept — just ask Jordan Peele. The idea of subway pirates also feel distinctively of New York, a city so dense and full of stories that you can easily imagine that, despite there being so little open space, there’s always something fantastic happening outside your field of vision.

Yet, in rereading the Guardian’s miniseries in preparation for this essay series, what struck me about this story were not the fantastic elements, but rather the heightened-but-based-in-truth elements of classism baked into it.

Manhattan…

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A Year in the Big City: Astro City #3

Shelfdust

We live in the age of the pop culture revival, and the arrival of the eternal film and movie franchises, all born or borrowing from the model of superhero comics storytelling. Astro City, one of the most storied and beloved superhero comics of all time, went through a revival of its own in 2013, and that it came back as strong as ever was a miracle in and of itself. Over the course of a year, Charlotte Finn will be examining this miracle – all 52 issues – as she spends A Year in the Big City. This feature was originally published on her site, and Charlotte has kindly allowed it to be republished on Shelfdust. 

How do you deal with failure, when everything was on the line?

This has been a surprisingly vibrant concern of late in pop culture; the latest blockbuster entry is Avengers: Infinity War, where…

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Ruby Rose and Her Unattainable Ghost.

By Samuel Mauricio Junior

Summer Rose is one of the most frustrating character in RWBY, she’s an integral part of so many characters narratives, but at the same time is one that we know so little about. But you know who else knows very little about her, who her sister has to constantly remind us has no form of connection or memory of Summer Rose? Our dear Red herself, Ruby. Yeah, if what Yang said a number of times in the show is true, Ruby has no recollection of her mother, all she ever had were stories told about her, which probably shaped Summer to be this amazing, bigger than life, heroine in Ruby’s mind. The way I see it, almost every aspect of Ruby’s narrative is about her trying to connect in some way to her mother.

Image source: Rooster Teeth

As a character Ruby is almost a superhero, an inspiring and unreluctant adventurer who’s always ready to help people just because is the right thing to do. When you put that in context of this ideia Ruby’s view of who her mother would very much plays into that. Having only know Summer in stories her family told her, (and knowing Tai’s, Qrow’s and Yang’s personalities and how they would tell a story to a child), Ruby must view her mother as this amazing gentle hero who only did good in her life, and blessed every heart she touched. To me that construct of Summer informs Ruby actions, how she tries to uphold that ideal and live up to that example, her desire to be a huntress so she can help as many people as she can, it’s all a way she found to create a connection to her mother. To learn from her and be someone she would be proud of.

Image source: Rooster Teeth

Also, living her life as a way to pay respect the ones she lost is not something out of character for Ruby. Her motivation from volume 4 and forward have been very much about keeping the memories of people she loved and lost alive through her actions.

Another moment that plays into that in a more direct way is when we see Ruby talking to her mother’s grave. Though I can’t tell from personal experience, in stories, talking to the graves of lost loved one usually is a way for characters to keep their memory and bonds to those loved ones alive. But Ruby doesn’t have memories and a bond to Summer, she never had any form of relationship with her mother. All she has is stories, pictures and a piece of rock with her name on it, and she tries her best to create a connection to Summer through those objects.

Image source: Rooster Teeth

I even see that in her clothing. If I’m not mistake, Miles did say Ruby models herself after Qrow, but I think few will disagree with me that her clothes are far more reminiscent of Summer’s than they are of Qrow’s. And what would that mean? Well that it’s a way to try to create that connection to her mother by to looking like her and, through that, trying to understand who she was. Why she wore the clothes she wore? Why she chose the weapons she used? Why she chose to live the way she lived?

Image source: Rooster Teeth
Image source: Rooster Teeth

But unfortunately, Ruby will probably never have that connection, unless she finds some recording Summer left forher, or something happens that allows her to talk directly to Summer. Ruby will forever have this ghost in the form of her mother that she will never fully understand and connect to. But thankfully, thanks to her friends, both the ones going with her in her journey and the ones she moves forward for, she’ll have more than enough bonds to live a great life.

Image source: Rooster Teeth

Summer lost the chance of seeing her daughter growing up, but she left an incredible legacy that shaped Ruby into the hero Remnant needs her to be. And now, we get the chance to see Ruby build her own legacy.

Image source: Rooster Teeth

Seven Critics of Victory: Emma Houxbois on Shining Knight #1

Shelfdust

At first glance, Shining Knight could fall prey to the pithy quip that there’s been a tendency at DC post-Sandman to lean into a pantomime of Neil Gaiman on fantasy oriented titles. It’s a pattern clearly visible in analyses of The Invisibles, Fables, and Lucifer’s debuts, but if anything Shining Knight highlights how Gaiman and Morrison diverge in their approaches to integrating the English imagination and history into their work.

Shining Knight, as the debut miniseries and the event more broadly, is deeply rooted in Edmund Spenser’s 1590 epic poem The Faerie Queen. It’s the kind of allusion that draws snap comparisons to Gaiman’s playbook, but Morrison’s implementation of it is entirely his own. Shining Knight opens with Camelot in a desperate, last ditch battle against a much more advanced invader in the form of laser gun toting fae called the Sheeda lead by their queen…

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A Year in the Big City: Astro City #2

Shelfdust

We live in the age of the pop culture revival, and the arrival of the eternal film and movie franchises, all born or borrowing from the model of superhero comics storytelling. Astro City, one of the most storied and beloved superhero comics of all time, went through a revival of its own in 2013, and that it came back as strong as ever was a miracle in and of itself. Over the course of a year, Charlotte Finn will be examining this miracle – all 52 issues – as she spends A Year in the Big City. This feature was originally published on her site, and Charlotte has kindly allowed it to be republished on Shelfdust. 

One of the most annoying thing as a writer is seeing someone else come up with a perfect idea and you feel like an imposter by virtue of not having thought of it…

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Seven Critics of Victory: Chloe Maveal on Seven Soldiers #0

Shelfdust

When I first had the chance to read issue #0 of Seven Soldiers, I was 15 years old, obsessed with Grant Morrison (after talking with many other long-time comic fans, I’m convinced this is an inevitable phase), and thought this was the most amazing set up for a story.  But when I got the chance to read it again after almost fifteen years I spent the better part of its fifty pages going “…what the fuck is this?”

In fact, I read it about four times again before it even began to sink in that this was, at one point, the most phenomenal intro to a series that I had read. In short, I shot my angst-ridden teen self a glance in hindsight because honestly… I genuinely don’t believe that the famous Seven Soldiers issue #0 should have existed at all. Well, at least not in the capacity that…

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A Year in the Big City: Astro City #1

Shelfdust

We live in the age of the pop culture revival, and the arrival of the eternal film and movie franchises, all born or borrowing from the model of superhero comics storytelling. Astro City, one of the most storied and beloved superhero comics of all time, went through a revival of its own in 2013, and that it came back as strong as ever was a miracle in and of itself. Over the course of a year, Charlotte Finn will be examining this miracle – all 52 issues – as she spends A Year in the Big City. This feature was originally published on her site, and Charlotte has kindly allowed it to be republished on Shelfdust. 

The age of the pop culture revival has its fears as well as its hopes; the chance that something that transcends is minimal next to the chance it merely entertains (and makes money)…

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