Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Christine (2016) - Movie Review

Greetings Pups,

I've said this many times, but it bears repeating today. Biopics are difficult to make. I think they are especially difficult when there are sensitive subjects in the mix. But, in turn, these stories are among the ones that need to be told the most. In many cases, people who are famous or infamous for one thing get films made about them, and the task is to not only focus on that one thing, but rather show the whole person. A whole life that consists of more than one moment. This is what was done with the movie, Christine.

Christine is a 2016 film about news reporter Christine Chubbuck. Sadly, most people only know this woman because of how her life ended, which may be understandable considering what happened, but this movie was made to show who she was as a person, not merely an event. Driven by a brilliant performance from Rebecca Hall, not to mention a great supporting cast consisting of Tracy Letts, J.Smith-Smith Cameron, John Callum and Michael C. Hall, we are exposed to the struggles that Christine dealt with, both personally and professionally, including issues with depression, health troubles and problems at her job as she tried to move ahead.

As far as a plot goes, I'm not sure there really is one, per se. However, I don't mean that in a negative way. This truly is a character heavy film, that character being a real person, and the narrative journey we take consists of us watching her live her life, which, believe it or not can be one of the most fascinating things in the world. Again, I honestly think the whole point of making this movie was so we could get to know who Christine Chubbuck really was. I'll take more about that later. In the process of that, we can see how intriguing it can be to simply observe someone's existence, especially knowing what we already know about her and being told things that we never did know.

One of the criticisms, I've heard about the movie is that they didn't focus enough on her actual mental issues very specifically. There are allusions to it, but it's never really in the forefront. But this isn't a movie like Touched With Fire, where the bipolar conditions of the main characters are the whole point and the story is based on a nonfiction book about the issue. What Christine was going through mentally was not the central theme, as far as I could tell. Now, I can see where people are coming from, as we are still trying to take the stigma away from this, but trust me, no one who deals with these issues wants to be defined by them completely. Like I said before, this was meant to humanize her. I mean, if you mention the name Christine Chubbuck, those who know who she was will immediately bring up the one thing for which she is famous, and usually the assumption that she must have had some problems. Yes, we all know about that. But I don't think that any of us knew who she was before then. The filmmakers clearly wanted to show us who she was as a complete woman, who she loved, who she affected, who she helped, her accomplishments, her hopes, her dreams, and that she was so much more than this one moment in time. It succeeds in this, I believe, because you don't watch the movie like it's a timer ticking down to the ending event, but rather you are engaged in her life, her struggles and her existence. As tragic as what happened to her was on its own, once we get to know her, it makes it all the more devastating and heartbreaking, because you almost find yourself rooting for to succeed and get the life for which she longed.

Now, I have heard that her brother responded to the film, though I'm not certain this information is accurate. But what I did hear was that he had not seen the film but he was worried that everyone would focus on the sensationalism surrounding what happens in the end. I certainly understand why he wouldn't want to see it, and I can understand his concerns, because there will always be those people who are only interested in the sensational aspect of it. But the truth is, this movie does the exact opposite of what he fears. Once again, and I really can't say this enough, we get the opportunity to see his sister as a person, not a moment. Ultimately, when we now think of her, so many more things about who she was can enter our minds.

In closing, I highly recommend Christine. One reason is, again, for the magnificent performance by Rebecca Hall, who is at her absolute best here. And also, for one more reason. History is full of infamous events, actions and fixed moments in time. Sadly, we often forget that there are real human beings behind them. But it's films like this, and the people who make them, which help us to remember exactly that.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Just Asking...For Help

Greetings Pups,

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post wherein I promoted the idea of helping out some online creators. Mostly, because a lot of them are suffering due to this whole ad mess on YouTube. And I think it was a good thing that I did that. I like showing support for people when they need it. Having said that, I did my good deed and now I get to be selfish! Okay, just kidding...sort of, but I am going to talk about myself today.

In the aforementioned post, I said that one of the ways you can help a lot of content creators is through their Patreon accounts and that I have an account of my own. And that it's sad. I also have a donate button on this blog, which is even sadder. Of course, other than a mention of those things once or twice, I've never really pushed them. I mean, to be honest, as far as content creating goes, I'm not exactly as pro as most people on the internet. I really just do this blog. So, I never felt like pushing for help was something I should do.

However, things are changing. I am wanting to expand my online presence, something I mention on my Patreon homepage. One of the things I want to do is start posting videos on something like YouTube or VidMe or both or one of the many options I have out there. I plan to make some poetry videos the way that people post lyric videos, except I write the poetry, so no copyright issues there...I hope. But I have the most rudimentary of software to make those videos. It's not bad, but it could be better. And I am hoping to expand from that type of video, so whatever can let me do that better will help.

In addition to that, I want to start a podcast or two. I've got a few ideas, and if I can do them all, I will. Of course, to do that, it will require me to purchase some recording equipment. It may also require me to hire someone to teach me how to use it. Look, I can't help it. I'm just not a computer genius, okay? But I can learn to do anything if I really want to do so. And I do.

Plus, I am still working on my books, which I self-publish and do so pretty much for free. But if I ever haves surplus in the cash department, I can use it to invest in that work and make the books the best they can be for those who are kind enough to buy one. I want the best for people who take a chance on me.

So, the point of all this...is this. I don't really want to push my Patreon (which I think you can get to from my website) until I start doing more things on a regular basis, like the podcasts and the videos. However, there is that "Donate" button on this very page, and if you can help and if you want to, I could use a few bucks so I will be able to do those ventures. At the present time, I am kind of in dire straights financially, so putting aside cash for things like this has been difficult and every little bit of help is appreciated.

Now, I am not saying that if you don't fork over the cash, I'm not doing this blog anymore. I mean, come now. I do appreciate every single person who takes the time to read this, but I'm not sure I have enough regular readers where that would be a credible threat. Besides, I won't stop doing this until I want to for my own reasons. And as far as the other stuff goes, I'll make it happen, even if I don't get a penny. I have my faith, and I believe that if I continue to work hard, things will work out. Still, I thought I'd post this on the off chance that some rich person with millions to spare will click on that big yellow button and make my life much easier. 'Cause that's a possibility, right? Seriously, though, if you wanna help, thanks. If you don't or can't, thanks. Because any time I see that someone has read something I've written, it just motivates me to keep going.

Thanks again.

I REALLY hope this doesn't make me a sell out.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Friday, May 26, 2017

Top Ten Worst Hit Songs of 1984

Greetings Pups,

I previously mentioned that I have never been a big fan of music in the 80's, generally speaking. But I managed to dig up some good ones from this particular year. Well, sadly, I have nothing left for that. So, let's move on to some of my justifications for not liking this decade all that much, with my personal opinions of the worst songs of 1984. Off we go.

#10. "Adult Education" Hall & Oates - Hey, remember yesterday, when I said that I LOVED Hall & Oates? Well, that stands. But this song does not. It's just so not their best. Not even close. For real, guys, I'm not mad. I'm only disappointed. But I like all your other stuff, so I'll just assume we're good.

#9. "Miss You Blind" Culture Club - I used to think this group was a One Hit Wonder, until I saw their Behind the Music episode. Turns out, they had quite a few hits. This is one of them. I don't like it. I'm allowed. Also..."Bet you got a good gun"? That's a weird line. Because I don't know what it means. And I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm better off not knowing.

#8. "Head Over Heels" The Go-Go's - There are a few important decisions we must make in life and one of them is...Bangles or Go-Go's. The answer is The Bangles. They are better, without a doubt in my mind. As far as The Go-Go's...go...Look, I can get down to "We Got the Beat"...a little, but that was top tier for them. This wasn't. In fact, I'm pretty sure this was about the time they started floundering a bit.

#7. "She Bop" Cyndi Lauper - Yes, yes. We all know what this song is about, and that's one of the reasons why I don't like it. Not that I'm a prude...much, but this is one of those proto- "Look, I'm edgy and grown up, because sex things!" kind of songs. And we've had an overabundance of those in the last 20 years. This probably helped push that along, so...BOO! Also, I just don't like how it sounds

#6. "Somebody's Watching Me" Rockwell - Really? This song came out in 1984? Um...topical. Look, let's be honest. There is but one reason why this became a hit. Because Michael Jackson sang back-up on it. And at this point in time, anything he was involved with was bound to become a hit of some kind. Even it is was awful. Yeah, more on that later.

#5. "Breakdance" Irene Cara - I think we can all agree that Irene Cara has a beautiful voice. So, who decided to pair it up with this song? I mean, I like a good, consistent beat, but holy crap, this thing sounds like a drill. Not cool. Not cool at all. And not a good enough partner for the lovely voice of Ms. Cara.

#4. "Union of the Snake" Duran Duran - WHAT the serious heck? Okay, I hate when the music video affects my opinion on a song too much, but this is different. This song is not good, sure, but the video is straight up horrifying. I can't even explain it. I'll just tell you to go watch it. Fair warning, though, the best time to watch it would be at a time when you don't need to be getting any sleep.

#3. "I Just Called To Say I Love You" Stevie Wonder - Okay, I just want to make it abundantly clear that my decision to put this on the list was in no way influenced by Jack Black's character in High Fidelity. Because, let's be honest, who would do anything that Jack Black tells them to do? No, I've never liked this song. Let's just say I expect more from Stevie Wonder. I mean, come on now. We all know what magic of which he is capable.

#2. "Dancing In the Dark" Bruce Springsteen - So, this may come as a surprise, but I LOATHE Bruce Springsteen. Yeah, I might have liked that song from Philadelphia...a lot, but I still keep the man at a distance. For so many reasons. And this song...this song. I just don't get it. And maybe it's his voice, but everything he says, or sings, just sounds creepy to me.

#1. "State of Shock" The Jacksons feat. Michael Jackson & Mick Jagger - Remember, when I said that, during this time, even awful things that Michael Jackson did could be popular? Yeah, well...this! I don't even know where to start. This is incredibly terrible. I mean, even though, I may not be a fan of Michael Jackson, or The Jacksons, or Mick Jagger, at the very least, I am aware that they are capable of having some musical standards. WHAT happened here? This is just the worse. Of 1984. In my opinion.

Well, there you have it. The songs of 1984 that scraped the bottom of the barrel, according to me anyway. Again, these are just my opinions. If any of these songs brought you joy, I'm happy for you. But for me? All I got from them was a feeling of "ick". It happens. Also, sorry I abused the ellipses so much in this post. That also happens.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Top Ten Best Hit Songs of 1984

Greetings Pups,

Well, I haven't done one of these in a while. Maybe it's because dealing with what came out musically in 2016 drained me a bit. But we all must move on from all that mess, so I chose a random year to examine. I promise. I know this is an iconic year, but I just looked at the Year End Billboard charts and saw that I had already heard most of the songs. Thus, I wouldn't have to spend too much time exposing myself to new music that might be crap. Also, it meant this did not take as long as these lists normally do.

Now, if I'm being honest, I am not the hugest fan of 80's music, though there are some gems of course. And I found quite a few that came out in this particular year. So, the rules of my list-making once again? Everything comes from the aforementioned Year End Charts and nothing can appear on a list twice. Okay, let's get started with the songs I liked.

#10. "When Doves Cry" Prince - Believe it or not, I am not that much of a Prince fan...at all. But credit where it's due, I like this song. And hearing it against everything else that was being made at the time, you can really appreciate how innovative Prince was as a musician. Not that anyone needs to be reminded.

#9. "Break My Stride" Matthew Wilder - Quite a few songs on this list are going to fall into the category of "It just makes me happy!" This is one of them. It's just one of those songs that fun and silly and makes me joyfully bounce back and forth to the beat. Sometimes that is all we need.

#8. "Let The Music Play" Shannon - It's strange listening to a nostalgic song that was kind of nostalgic in its own time. For real, this song kind of sounds like a throwback to the disco era. Of which I am an occasional fan. Of course, because of the disco backlash of the previous years, dance music like this wasn't as front and center as it had been. But leave it to a good song with some great singing to survive and become a hit.

#7. "They Don't Know" Tracey Ullman - No, seriously. A song by Tracey Ullman is one of my favorite songs of this year. And it's not even a comedy song. As far as I know. It is, however, just adorable. Again, it sounds a bit..."throwback-y" for its time. Throwback-y to when, I don't know, but it is such a delight.

#6. "If Ever You're In My Arms Again" Peabo Bryson - See, he did non-Disney things. Like this, for example...which was a soap opera thing. Yeah. No bull crap. It was the theme song for a couple on Santa Barbara. Hey, whatever works. And who cares what is has been associated with? This guy has a great voice and I love a good love song.

#5. "Say It Isn't So" Hall & Oates - So, I love me some Hall & Oates. Ain't no getting around that. Sadly, they only two songs on the Billboard list this year, and...sadly, this is the only good one. According to me anyway. But it's darn good. Kinda understated in my opinion, at least, for them. Still, I'll take it.

#4. "Wrapped Around Your Finger" The Police - Well, Sting, is this another song about something creepy that you've tricked people into thinking is just a nice love song and then they end up playing it at weddings and whatnot? Yes. Yes, it kind of is. Which makes it awesome! Oh, sorry. We're in the 80's right now. It's...rad! Also, I like the video. But I like candles a lot, too, so...

#3. "Against All Odds" Phil Collins - So, this is a song from a movie of the same name, which I've never seen, and it starred Rachel Ward, Jeff Bridges, James Woods and the dad from Webster. Good times. Oh, and it was nominated for an Oscar. See, Phil Collins also did non-Disney things. But we already knew it, because this is one of his best.

#2. "The Longest Time" Billy Joel - This is my 2nd favorite song on this list AND my 2nd favorite song by Billy Joel of all time. My 1st? All in good time. A Top Ten Piano Man songs list is a to-do for me. Anyway, it's yet another song that feels out of its own time, but in the best way. Well, I did say I didn't like 80's music much, so of course, I'll gravitate towards songs that sound nothing like the 80's. Fun fact: I always thought this was done a capella. Nope. Apparently, it's not. How 'bout that?

#1 "Drive" The Cars - I can't imagine a song title and an artist name going together any better than this. Unless Taylor Swift releases a song called "Overrated". Anywho...Yeah, this song is just so soothing and lovely. It's darn near perfect in my book. And lest we forget the great video that went along with it. I mean, we get to see Paulina and Ric together before they got married, and it's so sweet knowing what a long and loving relationship they would eventually have. AND it was directed by...my man, Timothy Hutton! What? WHAT!! It can't get better than that. No wonder this is my number one.

Okay, I hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite songs of this year. Nothing but crap tomorrow. Tune in!

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Neil Gaiman: Dream Dangerously - Documentary Review

Greetings Pups,

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a review of a graphic novel/comic book/whatever you call them, and I believe it was my first of its kind. So, today, in keeping with the spirit of that, I thought I would review a documentary I recently saw about a guy who writes those kinds of books. Also, regular books. And by that, I mean books with all words and no pictures. Good times. Anyway, let's discuss Neil Gaiman: Dream Dangerously.

This is a 2016 documentary that I didn't even know existed until I was browsing around and just so happened to come upon. Now, I'm not exactly a huge fan of Neil Gaiman's. At least, not in comparison to the hardcore ones, which I will discuss later. Yeah, I've never dressed up as Coraline (in public) or anything, but I have read some of his stuff, and it's impressive. Still have to read all those Sandman books. Which cost a lot for the complete series, so...click the donate button! Yeah, anywho...

As I've mentioned, I love movies about writers, so I had to stop and check this one out. Much of it was what you'd expect from your basic bio-doc stuff. We learn about Gaiman's younger days, which included his love of books and the fact that he was in a punk band. Of course, he was. We also learn about his family life, both past and present. And later, how he got into writing. I'll discuss that in a moment. But a big chunk of this was showing him with his fans. They are very interesting, and he clearly loves and appreciates them all. However, there was a nice, creative twist to how some of the stories of his life were presented.

So, about his foray into writing. He talks about when he realized a writer, and it truly came out of nowhere. That's how it happens many times. That's how it happened for me. AND it also happened to him late at night, when he couldn't sleep. Same here. We have so much in common. Truth is, sometimes your purpose in life just hits you, and I think that's good, because it usually means you didn't force it. You didn't try too hard. If it's your true purpose, that's how it usually works.

Oh, and speaking of things we have in common, apparently, he writes longhand first. He even has a favorite kind of pen. Oh, can I relate to that! Seriously, my fellow writers who still do things long hand, is there anything better than finding a perfect brand of pens? No. No, there is not. Although, due to all the long hand writing of his autograph countless times in a row, he has developed hand issues. Fear not, though. He has found a good remedy. But it is nice to see someone appreciating the written word...being actually written. If you know what I mean.

Of course, we had an array of special guests, none of whom were Tori Amos, which I found odd, but whatever. Still, we got appearances from the likes of Bill Hader, Michael Sheen, George R.R. Martin, and the late Terry Pratchett, with whom Gaiman had a wonderful relationship, both personally and professionally. The most heartfelt moments from this were when he spoke of his friend and how much he missed him.

Now, I have heard some interesting criticisms about this film. One is that it spends too much time focusing on his interactions with fans, and the other is that the documentary does not portray him as, well, a jackass. I even heard the word "niceties" thrown around as though it's a bad thing. Apparently, documentaries are supposed to show their subjects in a not-so-great light. O-kay? Ya know, it is possible that Neil Gaiman is just a nice, normal guy, and that's the only way he could be seen. And too much time with his fans? As I said before, he loves and appreciates all those people. Why wouldn't he want to spotlight their devotion? To be fair, I could have done with a little more delving into his process and how he comes up with stories, but it's not my documentary, and I thought it was done fine.

So, is this movie perfect? No. It has its flaws, and I can understand how some people may want more. But I think if you're one of those hardcore fans, you'll take what you can get when the subject is Neil Gaiman. And considering how popular he is, especially with those who are creative types themselves, I don't doubt that someone will do another movie about him in the future. In the meantime, I personally enjoyed this film, and I think it's worth a watch.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The 'Classic Albums' Series

Greetings Pups,

Normally, the only time I review a whole series is when it only lasts for one season, but I found one I'd like to talk about that has a longer history. If you're a hardcore music lover, you may have already heard of it. It is the British documentary series called Classic Albums.

Technically, the first episode of the show was a documentary entitled The Making of Sgt. Pepper, and that became a template for what the series would become. And this series is unlike most of the docs you may see about famous musicians. It's less for those who are interested in the gossip-y angle to what happened within a band and more for those who are really interested in artistic process. I know that may sound dry to some people, but honestly, the way they carry it out here is extremely fascinating.

Unless my memory is playing tricks on me, the first time I heard of this show was when they were airing episodes on VH1 and I think it was the one about Fleetwood Mac's legendary album, Rumours. I was quite entranced by what I saw. Perhaps, it was because I love that music so much, but it was also something else. As I hinted at. this series doesn't just tell the stories of a band's or artist's highs and lows, as they do on something like Behind the Music, which is also an amazing show. THIS series really delves into the actual making of the album. We hear about how specific songs came to be, both lyrically and musically speaking, but they also are in the studio, at the mixing board, showing how everything was created, showing how all those individual sounds turned into beloved songs.

While the show does tend to explore artists that would be somewhere on the spectrum of rock, they have delved into some other genres. Still, every album that has been featured is certainly unique to itself, as are the stories, the experiences and the processes. It gives quite a bit of insight on those artists and those with whom they work, producers, engineers and so on. You truly can tell a lot about someone by how they work. And considering how many artists have been featured on the show, like Paul Simon, Lou Reed, U2, Metallica, Bob Marley, Steely Dan, Jay-Z, just to name a few, you will absolutely get a wide range of tales being told.

The last episode I know of was from back on 2013, and I haven't heard of any new ones since. It's a shame, since I think it may be just what we need in this time of music. A time where singles are more appreciated than albums, when it seems that almost no one wants to tell a story through music anymore. They just want to rack up the downloads and sound like everyone else. Not everybody, of course. I know some real artists still exist out there. But, like I said, it's a real shame.

Now, as I said, the Classic Albums series is more about the process of music making rather than the tabloid side of a music career, which is why I may be more inclined to recommend it to people who are more interested in the technical aspects of it. However, anyone who loves music may be able to find something about this that they like. Certain episodes are a must watch if you are a fan of any of the featured artists, and starting off with one may lead you to another. As someone who loves the creative process, all aspects of it, I was definitely drawn to this series. So, if this sounds like something that may interest you, a lot of the episodes can be rented or bought, and I think they are even occasionally aired on TV from time to time. Any one of them is worth a watch.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer


Friday, May 12, 2017

Help If You Can

Greetings Pups,

I was planning to post something else today, but all things considered, I think it's important that I address something. Of course, it is something that has been and is being addressed already by people with far larger audiences than mine, but I like to do my part.

In case you haven't heard, there's a bit of a problem happening on YouTube...again. No, it's not the false copyright claim thing or their refusal to remove channels that actually ARE in violation of such. Unfortunately, it's far worse. I'll spare you the gory details, but thanks to certain mainstream outlets, a lot of YouTubers are suffering. How? Well, believe it or not, many people have made a career out of doing YouTube videos, and it's a good thing that they can, as a good amount of them are extremely talented and SHOULD be making a living at what they do. They put in a lot of time and effort, and they deserve to be paid for that. The way they get paid, normally, is through ad revenue. However, due to some untruths being tossed around, many companies are pulling ads from videos, thus, causing these content creators to suffer financially.

Now, I've heard this argument that they're not entitled to ad revenue or the companies have a right to not put their ads on certain videos. Yes, this is technically true, and I could get behind this statement if there wasn't so much shadiness surrounding what is happening. These amazing artists (Yes, that IS what they are!) are ultimately being punished for something they didn't do, AND it is all because of misinformation that is getting spread around by way of "legitimate" news sources. It's a shame. A real shame. And as an artist who barely makes a living on it myself, it makes me angry. And it is ironic how these same companies have no problem putting ads on movies and TV with "questionable content", but whatever.

So, a while back, I mentioned that I had started a Patreon account for myself. If you don't know, Patreon is a website where people can go to support artists on a monthly basis, letting people become modern day patrons of the arts. Yeah, well, nothing ever came of that for me, but I still do think it's a great idea. Some really great content creators have started their own pages on that site, and I bet if you check, you'll find some that you really enjoy on there that you can help out. I'm not saying you have to and neither do they. They'll still give you their work for free online, but they ask that if you can help and if you want to, that you do.

It's just so sad to see the people running some of my favorite channels go through this, like Good Bad Flicks (who I dedicated a whole post to before), Rob Dyke, Cayleigh Elise, just to name a few. They are very talented and hardworking people who do NOT deserve this. So, if you like any of their work, or if there are other creators who you enjoy, consider helping them in some way. At least until this ad mess is over with, which I hope is soon. I'll link some of those Patreon pages below, so you can see what it's all about. Again, they don't demand that you give. They appreciate ALL their fans. But when you CAN help someone in need, it's always nice that you do.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Patreon Pages
GoodBadFlicks
RobDyke
CayleighElise

Also, here's that post I talked about earlier.
TheGoodnessOfGoodBadFlicks

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore, Brian Bolland and John Higgins- Book Review

Greetings Pups,

Well, this will be an interesting post. I don't think I've ever reviewed a comic book...sorry, graphic novel before. I may have, though. I don't know. I don't usually read my stuff after the fact. But if this my first, I am certainly starting off with something quite legendary that most, if not all, comic fans have read. So, I guess this review is less for them and more for those who are mildly interested in the genre. Technically, I fall into that category, as I am not a huge, lifelong fan of comics, but I do appreciate them. I think many people feel that way as well, but have never gotten around to picking one up. So, if you are that kind of person, and you want to start reading those stories, this might be a good place to begin, with Batman: The Killing Joke.

I decided to discuss this one for a few reasons. I think mostly because, last year, we got a lot The Joker shoved in our faces, for better or worse. Usually worse, as far as the mainstream goes. We got the release of the Suicide Squad film, which may not have been the best vehicle for The Joker...at all. Like I said in my review for that one, just go watch the DCAU DVD Assault on Arkham. It's WAY better. And speaking of the DCAU, which is normally excellent, they released an animated film adaptation of this very book. I don't want to go into too much detail on that venture, because I'm not reviewing it, but let's just say, it didn't work out as well as we had hoped. Well, at least, we still have the book. Now let's get to that.

Batman: The Killing Joke is a 1988 graphic novel by Alan Moore, Brian Bolland and John Higgins. Now according to my info, Higgins was the colorist, having worked with Moore previously on Watchmen, and Bolland was the full-on illustrator. Correct me if I'm wrong please. Bolland is best known for his work on the Judge Dredd series, but he is also an extremely popular cover artist. And then there's Alan Moore. Alan Moore is very...interesting. And he has done some...interesting work. Look, I'll leave you to research him on your own. Now I do find him a bit odd, for a lot of reasons, but I will never deny anyone their talent, and he is extremely talented. That is evident by this particular work, so let's get to a brief synopsis of the story.

Whilst this is technically a Batman story, much of the plot centers around The Joker. In fact, we learn about his back story here and how he became said Joker. I assume that in his long history, and considering how comics work, he may have other back stories, but I don't know them. Still, where this one is concerned, what happens in it is kind of the point to everything he does here, as he believes that it only takes "one bad day" to push anyone over the edge and into insanity. It is, after all, what he believes happened to him. So, he attacks some of the people closest to Batman, trying to give someone that "one bad day", and turning them into the kind of person he is. He assumes that no one could make the choice to just carry on as normal after a tragedy. And not to give any spoilers for anyone's origin story, but something he does manage to accomplish, through his actions, pretty much kick starts a whole new character.

And without giving spoilers, believe it or not, I will talk about the ending. Not specifically, calm down. I've seen many movies and read many books wherein the creator wants to give us an ambiguous ending, but it ends up just being confusing. Here, we get a perfect example of an ambiguous ending, one that fans still debate to this day. And it is a very, very well-done conclusion. So, take a lesson from it.

Now, this is one of the most acclaimed stories in the Batman mythos, and with good reason. Personally, I am most impressed with the writing (of course!) and how giving The Joker some depth was handled. In case you haven't noticed, in the past several years, the idea of the sympathetic villain has hit such a fever pitch that many of them have become more sympathetic and less villain-y. Not good. Not good at all. In this, on the other hand, Moore managed to make The Joker far more complex, but he also kept him as the bad guy. That takes skill, and there's no shortage of it here.

So, I know a lot of literary types have often looked down on comics as a lesser form of art, if they referred to them as art at all. But I was never one of those people. Yes, some comic books are awful, many of which we've seen recently because some people are less concerned about good writing and more concerned about...other things, but we've also had crappy regular books, too. And yes, my work is all text, no pictures, but I always respected those who create comics and graphic novels. Though I'm not a hardcore fan, I have read some of the stories, obviously, and they are among some of the best I've ever come across. And honestly, The Killing Joke is an excellent example of how this is a valid form of both art and literature. So, if you've always wanted to check out some of these books, definitely check out this one. But maybe skip the movie. Unless they fix it. Can they fix it? Here's hoping.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer