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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Random: Reading, Painting, Scavenging 
23rd-Aug-2007 02:51 pm
Alex Ross/Clark-Superman
Treating myself to a re-read of Brideshead Revisited before the term begins. Just back from Venice. Et in Arcadia ego. I wonder if, looking back, I'll find that I'm still in that movement, myself?

Alex Ross did a tremendous two-part cover painting of the new group for this last issue of Justice League of America. Along with research requests, Professor Barnes has me trailing all sorts of issues, and now the Sinestro Corps, for him in emails from the farm. As always, kudos to friede for really turning me onto Ross' art.


The following caught my eye about the medieval treasure found the other day in Austria. I recognize the Czartoryski name from when we played host to the Prince in Milwaukee back when I first arrived in 2002.

Polish Count Claims Medieval Cross
Aug 22, 7:48 PM (ET)

By RAPHAEL G. SATTER

LONDON (AP) - A Polish count laid claim Wednesday to a medieval cross fished out of a trash container in Austria, saying it had been stolen from his family by the Nazis.

Count Adam Zamoyski, the chairman of a Warsaw museum, said photographic and archival evidence left no doubt that the cross was the one held by his ancestors at the Goluchow Castle in Poland before World War II.

The item was found by a woman rooting through the discarded belongings of a deceased hotel owner in western Austria in 2004, but it was not until last month that it was taken to an Austrian museum for valuation and safekeeping.

Experts estimated that the medieval French cross could be worth S$500,000. But Zamoyski told The Associated Press neither he nor the other heirs to the treasure would sell it, saying his ancestors wanted the cross on public display.

"Ultimately we intend to take it back to Poland and place it on show, because that was the aim of the collection," he said.

He said the cross was acquired by his relatives, the Czartoryski family, in the 19th century, but was among the thousands of pieces of art plundered by the Nazis during World War II. Zamoyski, who now serves as chairman of the Czartoryski Museum in Krakow, where the family's collection is kept, has spent years tracking the missing artwork across Europe and the United States.

Zamoyski said he didn't know how long it would take to retrieve the cross. The Commission for Looted Art in Europe, which the count said was handling the effort to have the cross returned, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

---

Associated Press Writers Ryan Lucas and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland contributed to this report.
Comments 
23rd-Aug-2007 08:53 pm (UTC) - canary?
Is that black canary fourth from right?
her costume seems to be approximating her
original sort of cocktail waitress outfit
isnt it? wasnt it sort of something else for
a while?
the words cannery and canary lately mix in my mind
since a failed attempt to correct a student's
pronounciation of steinbeck's cannery row
as canary row which she insisted was correct.
anywhoo...there obviously have been some other changes
while I wasnt paying attention
is that green arrow in the red outfit? why?
or is it red arrow?
who is the black guy?
who is the somewhat sleazy looking lady in gold
on the left
and back to black cannery
what is that she is holding ...a gun?
24th-Aug-2007 01:35 am (UTC) - Re: canary?
From L-R:

Hawkgirl, Geo-Force, Vixen, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Black Lightning, Black Canary, Batman, Red Arrow (Roy Harper, originally the Green Arrow's sidekick Speedy, at one time also called Arsenal), and Red Tornado.

Black Canary only lost the fishnets briefly, if memory serves (there's a history of her costumes here) -- she's not holding anything except her fists in what seems to be a fighting stance.
24th-Aug-2007 02:46 am (UTC) - gosh
Thanks
gosh things have changed
of course they do change
I liked the justice league comics
years ago, in the 70s I suppose,
is that is what is called silver age?
on this matter of the justice league
I feel a little like c s lewis on
science fiction that he had been a
fan but then coming back after a lapse
felt as when might if some hideous
tasteless mall had replaced the old
neighborhood.
but thanks for the link and I also
googled up the character and see she has
had quite a career since I last looked in...
apart from the JLA my favorite comic
was Captain Carrot and I also liked
Blue Demon but both of these were not
very viable...
24th-Aug-2007 06:42 am (UTC) - Re: gosh
Here I am, coming into the conversation late.

First off, "what she said." Em sums up the current roster of the League very exactly. Yes, the 1970s would be called the Silver Age in writing. But I do think that the writing has been so good over the last several years that I would argue against the "hideous tasteless mall" comparison. :-)

Black Canary has in fact become an impressively well-developed character in the all-female series Birds of Prey, so that she is now significant enough to be a reasonable character to Chair the League. Both Birds of Prey and the 125-issue JLA are well-represented in trade paperbacks if you wanted to catch up.

And I've been meaning to tell you that a new special is forthcoming of your much-loved Captain Carrot silliness. You can check DC's website about the dates of those releases. Blue Devil has also been a signficant character in the last year + in the Infinite Crisis-related miniseries Day of Vengeance and now in the last 20-or-so issues of the ongoing supernatural-themed series Shadowpact.
24th-Aug-2007 12:58 pm (UTC) - the lewis quote problem etc. theory of comics
thanks for the heads up on the captain!
the lewis quote or paraphrase has the
additional problem that given the year it
was said it would seem he was looking back
on space opera like doc smith and the skylark
of space etc, although his own work is influenced
by the undeniably sophisticated writer in some
ways, david lindsay's voyage to arcturus.

well...so much is when and who one is when etc
but having said that I think I resist the idea
of the characters as being rounded human persons
tend to think that is, uh, crap...or rather
that it is losing what comics had in reaching for
what the medium is not appropriate to...
read kristen kavransdatter for a well rounded woman
or proust(I am thinking of proust) for a poorly
rounded man...
I would not say they are "justa lotta animals" the
JLA in Captain Carrot's world...but more like
they are ,and not archetypes themselves though
I suppose emanantions of those worthies, sort of
like holograms... you cant go through them to another
side they are just there.

whether this is a coherent thought or whether it is
a matter of the period when one most recently
enjoyed a thing(in my case in Japan) I am not sure
and of course even if coherent it certainly need
not be compelling.
24th-Aug-2007 05:04 pm (UTC) - Re: the lewis quote problem etc. theory of comics
Yes, I certainly might not be able to support Dinah Lance/Black Canary as being as well-developed or rounded as Kristin Lavransdatter, which I had the great pleasure of reading this past Christmas holiday. The typical conflict/combat of the superhero genre might preclude such comparisons ever being made, but for within the genre, the way the character has been handled is rather impressive. and it worth a read: Birds of Prey – whose entire nine year run, until this month, had been split between two very talented authors, Chuck Dixon and Gail Simone – took her on as an explicitly flawed and underdeveloped character, a rather battered soul in the capable body of a martial arts master, but lacking in strength of identity, and took the time over the years to slowly build and give a real narrative of such a person's strengthening. For the genre, it has been quite an achievement: enough to make the character an "A-list" one for the first time.

Stretching the medium of comics in its capacity for character development has been one of the greater achievements in my reading lifetime. When I originally stopped reading comics (shortly after the 1985-86 Crisis on Infinite Earths, so that I could afford to go to college) I was incredibly impressed by the great step forward in the character "reboots" of 1987: Byrne's "tuning down" of Superman brought out the human struggle of the character; Miller's Batman: Year One put the emphasis on the pathos of Bruce Wayne rather than the "gadgets" and heightened the "just-barely-plausible" nature of the character that seemed core to the original Kane/Finger idea; and Pérez's absolute grounding of Wonder Woman gave the character a narrative grounding that really made the idea "work" for what seemed the first time.

So I might agree with you on to a certain extent, that maybe the genre never tends to give us fully-rounded characters in the way a novel has the power to do (how rare is a "non-combat" issue, like the beautiful Wolfman/Pérez one of The New Teen Titans #8's "Day In The Life" of 1981?) where we might see, for instance, a realistic and generous portrayal of spiritual diversities in anything approaching the reality which you and I deal with every day. But I would argue that the medium has immensely profited by trying to stretch in that direction, rather than having failed to remain true to itself in some way. Those first few issues of Byrne's new Superman – where it was finally understood that Clark Kent was the real character and interest, and that "Superman" was just his costume – were so much more powerful than everything prior that I had read of the character from 1980-86: the four months of the new take on the character is what stayed with me for the next 18 years, until I conceived the hospital bed desire to "take and read" this material again. (After a viewing of a fabulous Justice League Unlimited episode on Cartoon Network based on an Alan Moore-penned Annual I'd read as a kid.)

I certainly meant no criticism of the Carrot genre! Mostly I just have always grinned at the unexpected image of you having been a fan! I bought perhaps that whole original run, myself, but I do think that (to paraphrase another Lewis line from somewhere) I was at that "in-between" age where I was both too old for and too young for fairy tales, and that my ability to enjoy something like The Zoo Crew would have been equally impaired. And, to be sure, there's something about the straight superhero genre that imprinted itself upon me at a very young age, and is connected to my love of heroic myth in the broadest terms. But I could still very much enjoy a (respectful and well-written?) jab at the genre like the film Mystery Men, too.
24th-Aug-2007 05:14 pm (UTC) - forks
I liked the guy throwing forks :)
thanks for the shared good and interesting
thoguht here it is what makes livejournal worthwhile
somehow for me.
24th-Aug-2007 06:46 am (UTC) - Re: canary?
Heh. I didn't know you'd be all up-to-date on those characters. Are you reading this?

And sorry that I've not gotten back to you on your letter from this morning, which was really interesting: I've been either otherwise-committed for my time today, or just being selfish and self-indulgent....
24th-Aug-2007 01:41 pm (UTC) - Re: canary?
Heh. I didn't know you'd be all up-to-date on those characters. Are you reading this?

Me? Reading anything not related to comps the month before I take them?

And sorry that I've not gotten back to you on your letter from this morning, which was really interesting: I've been either otherwise-committed for my time today, or just being selfish and self-indulgent....

No worries -- I honestly forgot all about it, with the whole whirl of the week.
24th-Aug-2007 05:07 pm (UTC) - Re: canary?
Me? Reading anything not related to comps the month before I take them?

I think that that, my dear, is a dodge in the most subtle of forms. Do literature scholars really have a power to resist? Or are they spared by the fact that they are reading literature for their studying? Myself, I know the power of something being assigned, no matter how cool, can lessen its attractiveness compared to the unassigned. I re-read the then six-volume entirety of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time in the two months leading up to my Master's comps....
24th-Aug-2007 07:32 pm (UTC) - Re: canary?
But I thought we had established that I am vastly more diligent than you.
24th-Aug-2007 07:56 pm (UTC) - Re: canary?
Oof! Well, we certainly have now!

:-P

But, other than your long-established fondness for the flirty Hal Jordan, I really don't know anything about what you do read. Anything regularly? Or are you a moocher? Have you read Simone's Birds of Prey? Or what about her amazing – and oh-so-fun for anyone in the university world – new Atom?
24th-Aug-2007 08:03 pm (UTC) - Re: canary?
Oh Mike, I haven't read anything not-18C for about a million years, though that may change now that we have a comics nerd/reviewer in-house.

This does not actually correlate to superior diligence, really, as much as it does to the fact that I end up spending my off-duty time *ahem* bakingcookingandwatchingterriblerealitytv.
24th-Aug-2007 08:07 pm (UTC) - Re: canary?
Also, sorry for punchy -- shouldn't drink at lunch :)
24th-Aug-2007 08:30 pm (UTC) - Re: canary?
Oh, poo: I never even noticed. So how is that you knew your way around the current JLA lineup, then – even with lesser-knowns like Vixen or the name-litany of Roy Harper/Red Arrow?
24th-Aug-2007 08:34 pm (UTC) - Re: canary?
Well, it's just starting to hit me.

I knew the Red Arrow thing, Vixen I looked up.
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