“What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three in the evening?”

Is everyone sitting comfortably?  Good.  Let’s begin.

I think the showrunners of Westworld binge watched a lot of Game of Thrones during their time off, as Season Two, Episode Two seems like a GoT episode: lots of exposition, four or five running plotlines, nothing resolved, and pawns being moved into place for some crazy stuff three to four episodes from now.  But precious little actually happens.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…..

Star Wars is kind of my thing.  I have been a fan for forty-one years now.  It was my thing since I first saw the film on a rainy afternoon on Cape Cod in June, 1977.  Our family was camping (for the first time ever), and it rained for three days straight.  By the third day, with three wet, crazy kids under ten, my folks decided we were going to a movie to get out of the rain, whatever was playing.  What was playing was a thing called Star Wars, and 121 minutes later, I had found my new religion.   I saw it seven more times that year.  It was the first film I saw more than once. (VCRs weren’t a thing yet.)  I saw all of the prequels multiple times in the cinema, even Phantom Menace.  My siblings saw the movies, but it was never their thing.  They’d seen the film when it came out and said, “It was all right,” and moved on with their lives.  I obsessed.

While applauded by critics, the bold and subversive nature of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, directed Looper’s Rian Johnson, has left the Star Wars fanbase fractured between those who absolutely loved the film, those who absolutely hated it, and a few left in between. Easily the most divisive Star Wars film so far, The Last Jedi, perhaps, was destined to be controversial given the monumental task set forth, such as the return of the iconic character of Luke Skywalker to the franchise (Mark Hamill appeared in a mere cameo at the end of 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but audiences truly spend time with their original trilogy hero in this film.) and the final on-screen appearance of the late Carrie Fisher (a.k.a. Princess Leia), for example. Perhaps nothing could truly be as purely satisfying as what our own imaginations have whispered to us regarding what we might witness in that darkened theater. And, while I disagree with many of his choices, director Rian Johnson is someone who took the story in a distinct direction and changed the characters and the mythology in lasting ways going forward. Fans cannot be expected to love every choice made and story told, but we must acknowledge that for Star Wars to survive and grow with new generations, it must evolve, be given room to change, and provided the opportunity to take chances and even fail at times.

In the year and a half since Donald Trump assumed the presidency of the United States (and even prior, during his presidential campaign), fascism and racism under a variety of monikers (alt-right, neo-Nazism, neo-fascism, white supremacy, and so on) have become emboldened in America. While politicians and news agencies have either been slow or negligent in their response to this crisis, pop culture has taken up the mantle to criticize the Trump administration and the ensuing rise of the extreme right wing, from Saturday Night Live skits to promotional materials for a Purge prequel to comedians at correspondence dinners.

The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, often referred to simply as “the Eisners,” are generally accepted as the most prestigious recognition one can receive in the comic book field. The awards are named in honor of comic book pioneer Will Eisner, the creator of The Spirit and the man who helped to popularize the term "graphic novel," and span over two dozen categories. (Those wishing to learn more about the meaning and importance of the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards should check out our previous article on the awards.)

Hi gang!  It’s been two years.  Two whole years since HBO’s Westworld showed up to delight, confuse, and intrigue.  So, the sophomore year started this past Sunday evening with a lengthy “Previously on…” recap of the first season, which is good, because there is a lot you need to remember from freshman year in order to make sophomore year work.

What are my chances?

Does not compute.

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