The Celestials

Celestials_(Earth-9997)

The Celestials

Celestial Gardener

Celestial Gardener

So, I mentioned in my post a few days ago that I was heading out soon to see Groot & Co. in their movie debut, Guardians of the Galaxy. Such a great movie, and I keep thinking about it…

I guess I should say that this here post may contain spoilers. Its hard for me to tell for sure what others might consider spoilers, because I kinda like it when people spoil movies. Ha! Weird, I’m sure, but true.

Anyway, what I have been thinking about the most is The Celestials. Although their appearance in the film was short but sweet, it was so damn good to see them there, and something I never expected. I never thought I’d see one of Marvel’s Celestials in a movie.

Knowhere

Knowhere

I was probably first introduced to The Celestials way back in Thor 300. I think I’ve written about it before, but I love that comic so much I’ve had it since I was 9 or 10, and the Celestials are a big reason why. I may have lost pretty much every other comic I’ve ever owned, but I still have Thor 300. It was probably that comic that introduced me to all of Marvel Cosmic, and I’ve loved it all ever since.

Although I think they are being used a bit more in modern Marvel titles, when I was growing up seeing a Celestial was kind of like seeing Bigfoot or something. It was very rare and pretty special.

2213199-combine003Probably my very favorite Celestial related comic series though would be Earth X. Again, spoilers (on a 15+ year old book) but the idea put forward there was fantastic. Galactus comes to devour and destroy the earth because it is a Celestial egg and Galactus wants to destroy the threat before it is hatched. Although it wasn’t part of the Earth X story, I also loved how the Celestials basically were what started life on earth, according to their mythology. And they would come back every few hundred thousand years to check on earth’s progress and evolution. Cool stuff to blow my pre-teenage mind, ha!

Anyway, I just wanted to write about how happy I was to see the Celestial movie stars

 

Marvel Cosmic

Marvel Cosmic

The Destroyer VS. The Celestials

The Destroyer VS. The Celestials

Galactus VS Celestial

Galactus VS Celestial

Thor VS Celestial

Thor VS Celestial

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I am Groot!

"Oak Tree" - David Inshaw

“Oak Tree” – by David Inshaw

Off to see Groot and Company later today. Trees are such good buddies!

"Landscape with Two Figures" - by Pablo Picasso

“Landscape with Two Figures” – by Pablo Picasso

Egyptianizing figures on either side of a tree with a winged disk - 8th–7th century b.c. Neo–Assyrian Mesopotamia, Nimrud

Egyptianizing figures on either side of a tree with a winged disk – 8th–7th century b.c. Neo–Assyrian Mesopotamia, Nimrud

"The Druid's Grove- Norbury Park Ancient Yew Trees" by Thomas Allom

“The Druid’s Grove- Norbury Park Ancient Yew Trees” by Thomas Allom

Tree of Life

Tree of Life

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by Piero Ciafferi

by Piero Ciafferi

"Three Figures Under a Tree" by Pablo Picasso

“Three Figures Under a Tree” by Pablo Picasso

"Alchemy Tree"

“Alchemy Tree”

"Adam and Eve standing on either side of the tree of knowledge with the serpent" by Albrecht Dürer

“Adam and Eve standing on either side of the tree of knowledge with the serpent” by Albrecht Dürer

"Grey Tree" by Piet Mondrian

“Grey Tree” by Piet Mondrian

"I am Groot?"

“I am Groot?”

Mindscapes, Talking with Gods, and Captured Ghosts

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I still love ‘em, but I have fallen far behind on my comic book reading this last year or so. I still try to keep up with B.P.R.D, Jonathan Hickman’s Avenger stuff, and a few others… but yeah, not sure I am doing the best job keeping up with it all.

One thing I like to do while I draw though is have a documentary playing. I’ve seen some really good comic related documentaries these last few weeks and, because the San Diego Comic Con always makes me follow comic books a little more closely and news coming out ‘o there keeps them on my mind, I thought I’d blog about those documentaries.

The first film, and my favorite, is called The Mindscape of Alan Moore. This is an auto-biography where Moore’s talks about growing up in Northampton, breaking into comics, his characters and stories, and his philosophies. I bought this program years ago, but it is a favorite and I go back and watch it again from time to time. Alan Moore is probably best know for his comic Watchmen, but is it his comics creations like Swamp Thing, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Birth Caul & Snakes and Ladders, Promethea, V for Vendetta, From Hell, and many others (along with his novel Voice of the Fire) that have made him one of my very favorite writers in comics.

talkingwithgodsThe next documentary would be Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods, which covers Morrison’s pretty strange but interesting life, his interest in sigil and chaos magic, and the inspiration behind his work. I love Morrison’s comic, The Invisibles, so that was another good reason for me to watch. He also wrote other favorites like All-Star Superman, Animal Man, Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery, and The New X-Men.

2full500And finally, there was Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts. I am a fan of Ellis’, and enjoyed this interview style film. His creation Planetary ranks up there among my favorite comics ever.  But Ellis also created fantastic books like Transmetropolitan, Global Frequency, and worked on another favorite, Hellblazer.

Anyway, I love to hear what inspires creative people, listen to their insights and world-views, and see how strange they can be. All of these documentaries are well worth your time.

www.facebook.com | OfficialAlanMoore

www.grant-morrison.com

www.warrenellis.com

Jodorowsky’s Dune

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Frank Herbert‘s Dune is definitively up there among my favorite books of all time. I mean, I know there are a whole lot of people love these books, but I do too!

Over the years we’ve all been teased with film adaptations of Dune, but they’ve never turn out all that well. To be fair, I guess there have only been a couple film adaptations as far as I know, but both kind of suck.

Well, I watched a documentary this week called Jodorowsky’s Dune. It was a pretty good film about what director Alejandro Jodorowsky had planned in the ’70s for his adaptation of Dune… about the the Dune movie that was never made.

Like I say, the film was pretty damn good. What interested me the most was seeing how much goes into getting a film made (or not made, in this case). Writing the script, drawing the storyboards, creating set designs, putting music together, interfacing with the studio. Crazy crazy time consuming.

Who knows, Jodorowsky may have been the one who made a Dune movie worth seeing. I’m really not too sure about the changes he had planned for the story, but I do know he had some very talented people working on the project with him. With the late great Mœbius working on the film’s storyboards (which, my goodness, I’d love to own the hardbound storyboard drawings shown in the documentary!), H.R. Giger (of Alien fame) working on the sets, Salvador Dali hired on as an actor, and Pink Floyd planning on scoring the music (this right after finishing their masterpiece, The Dark Side Of The Moon)… well, it is had to see how any project could go wrong with talent like that working with ya.

But it did go wrong I guess, because the film was never made. But this documentary about the unmade film was made, and I liked it.

Artwork at the Mustang Temple

Wisdom and Compassion The Sacred Art of Tibet2
Last fall I saw a documentary on the restoration of a Tibetan Buddhist temple in Mustang, Nepal. It was very interesting to see the effects of time on this all-but abandoned temple, and how the art and architecture were brought back to life.
I like to look at all different kinds of artwork. But typically what my eyes like the most are flat color fields. Throw in some history, gods and artistic talent and you’ve got my attention.
Although I saw this documentary a few months ago, my mind kept wandering back to it and the images. So beautiful.
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Let’s Rap With Cap About Conspiracy!

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First off, I should say this post has spoilers for the new Captain America movie, so quit reading if ya don’t like that sort of thing. Second, this post contains a number of “real life” conspiracy theories that were addressed in the new Captain America movie, so quit reading if ya don’t like that sort of thing.

The new Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an entertaining movie, which is the most important thing in the end. Its just a movie. A superhero movie. But I’m kinda partial to superhero flicks. Turns out, this has easily become a favorite.

In addition to it being a great film though, I saw a whole lot of what many people believe to be real-life conspiracies being played out on the screen. I don’t necessarily buy into all of the good old conspiracy theory stuff, but I don’t dismiss out of hand either. At the very least, I think it is important to stay informed and be able to see the issues from multiple angles. And its plain to see that there is a whole lot of bullshit going on in the world now.

Anyway, seeing these conspiracies play out on the screen was kind of like a slap in the face the first time I saw the movie. When I saw it again, I decided I’d write about it.

The main plot has Hydra infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. and that is a good place to start. In Marvel Comics, Hydra begins as an arm (or hydra-head) of the Nazi party during WWII. Hydra begins to take on a life of its own over time, but it has its roots with the Nazi. In the movie, Hydra infiltrates S.H.I.E.L.D. through coercion and deception in order to take over the US government. Okay, so that is Marvel’s history. In our real world, it could be said that something similar has been going down.

Its well established that during his rise to power, Hitler got a huge bulk of his funding from many American corporations and banks. It is a historical fact that some of these corporations were involved with eugenics research, gave money, support, provided raw materials and weaponry to the Nazi party and Hitler. A side note, but it also well established that George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush (former President George W. Bush Sr.’s grandpappy and father, dis-respectively) helped Hitler rise to power. Another side note, it is also known that Prescott Bush helped plan a government coup in 1933 meant to topple President Franklin D. Rossevelt, because Bush believed that fascist policy would get America through the Great Depression.

Fast forward a little bit. In the movie, after the end of WWII, a number of Nazi scientists were brought over to America where they were allowed to continue their research. Well, in the really-real world this also happened. Hundreds of Nazi scientists were brought over to work with the American military under Operation Paperclip. Many of those (former? current?) Nazis rose to positions of power in our own government, probably most the famous being Wernher von Braun, who went on to become a director of NASA. I’ll leave it to you to imagine how deep their influence went.

Alrighty, back to the movie where S.H.I.E.L.D. is run by a world council which decides the fate of nations. Well, that looked a lot to me like the much anticipated New World Order back here in our world. Or maybe the Bilderberg Group? Actually, the whole Captain America movie seemed to be a story about how the New World Order might rise to power.

I’m kind of skipping around, but back to the movie and how it begins. Cap and a bunch of agents are sent to free hostages and recover stolen data from a hijacked warship. As the film progresses they discover that the kidnappings were part of a government sanctioned operation. Back in our world these are known as False Flag operations, and there are many people who believe our government uses these False Flag operations to manipulate the People into giving away their freedom. This is, to my mind, where you have to tread very lightly and keep a healthy dose of skepticism.

I personally am not one of those people who buy into “9/11 was an inside job” hook line and sinker, but there are many people who do, and it is easy to understand why. There are so many unanswered questions and things that were covered up. Whatever you think about the tragedy, its plain to see that our world is completely different since that infamous date. Unending wars against an undefined enemy, post-traumatic national fear (there is a terrorist under your bed!), the self-proclaimed “Patriot” Act, economic collapse (in spite of what we’ve been told, we can’t afford all of this war. Can’t afford it financially or morally), Citizens United, government surveillance… and on… and on.

That paragraph above reminds me of Arnim Zola‘s point about how we have traded in our freedom for security, comfort and convenience. Sounds about right to me.

Speaking of Zola and government surveillance, didn’t Arnim Zola’s monitoring of American citizens in the film sound very similar to what Edward Snowden revealed about our own government?

And didn’t those new S.H.I.E.L.D / Hydra helicarriers sound an awful lot like government drones? Granted, they were fancy drones, but their function was the same. That is, anonymous death. Killing people from the sky.

I thought this might be a long post, but this has gotten L.O.N.G.

Another observation about the Winter Soldier himself. Didn’t his conditioning sound a lot like CIA sponsored MKUltra? Oh yeah, George Bush Sr. was a CIA Director. Haha, go figure.

One last thing… We should all remember what Italian fascist Mussolini said: “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” Sound familiar, ehh? I guess Mussolini would know. With government bailouts, the Fed, Corporate Personhood, Citizens United, and many of our new policies written down by lawyers on little scraps of paper stink of fascism. Its plain to see that corporate interest and big finance trump the People pretty much every time. Can you say “Hail HYDRA”?

Anyway, it is great to be a skeptic. And I am skeptical about conspiracy :) Very much so. But its also good to remember, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you!”

Geek Out!

Under African Skies

Under-African-Skies-423x630

It’s hard to believe that Paul Simon released his album “Graceland” over 25 years ago. Crazy, but true… That album has and will always be one of my favorites, just like Paul Simon will always be one of my favorite musicians.

I saw that there was a documentary called ‘Under African Skies” coming out about the making of the album a while back, and have looked for it off and on since. I’ve wanted to buy it on Amazon, iTunes and tried to find it on NetFlix. Not available (Well, I guess Amazon had this on BluRay, but I don’t have a BluRay player. If I can’t stream, I guess I don’t watch). Then this last week I saw it was on Hulu Plus. Well, I’ve never had a Hulu account, but I wanted to see the documentary and signed up.

I enjoyed the documentary and thought I’d post about it here. People who were around when that album came out probably remember the controversy that surrounded it. Back then, South Africa was in Apartheid hell, and there were all sorts of boycotts against that nation. One of those boycotts included Artists Against Apartheid, which strongly discouraged musicians from visiting, recording, or touring with South African musicians. Paul Simon seemed to think that it would be more productive to go to South Africa and record his new album “Graceland” in a South African Studio with South African musicians. Then he went on tour with those musicians in support of that album. I can see both sides of the controversy, Apartheid was an incredibly ugly thing, but I personally am glad Paul Simon chose to do what he thought was right. “Graceland” is a gem! And if you like the album, I’d definitely recommend you watch this documentary too.

www.pbs.org | preview

www.hulu.com | watch

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