Tag Archives: how to understand israel in 60 days or less

Around the Tubes

It’s Wednesday which means new comic books.  What’s everyone getting?  While you think about that, here’s the news you might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

CBLDF – ARTISTS TO THE RESCUE, WAVE II — ORIGINAL ART AUCTIONS BENEFIT CBLDF! – A great cause and a great organization.

Con Coverage:

Spandexless – SPX Talks: John Allison

Spandexless – SPX Pulls: Mini Comic Roundup, The Finale

MTV Geek – Catwoman Animated Short To Debut At New York Comic Con

Spandexless – SPX Talks: Box Brown

The Beat – EXCLUSIVE: NYCC 11 — Complete programming list

Spandexless – SPX Pulls: How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, Sarah Glidden

Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – Batman #1

IGN – Ultimate Comics X-Men #1

CBR – Ultimate Comics X-Men #1

Publishers Weekly – ‘PW Comics World’ Reviews DC Comics’ The New 52: Week 2

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The Right Blindly Attacks Sarah Glidden’s The Waiting Room


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Sarah Glidden who has used graphic narrative to explore her own thoughts on being Jewish and traveling to Israel for Birthright has focused on Iraqi refugees displaced since the recent war in Iraq and now reside in Syria in The Waiting Room.  The 20 page web comic is fairly balanced focusing on the hurdles of the refugees.  In Syria, they are not allowed to hold jobs, but many are educated and have skills they can bring to the workforce.  At the same time their status as refugees remains in limbo, forcing them to rely on the slow processes of international efforts to gain basic necessities such as food and education.

What a shock in the usual culprit over at The Astute Blogger Avi Green saw this as an opportunity to attack Glidden for her reporting and also not bother to fact check any of his incorrect opinions.  Right off the bat Green labels Glidden as a “would-be” graphic novelist, demeaning her first piece of work, How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less.  I thought her first piece of major work was excellent, giving it an overall 10 in the review.  She’s not a “would-be,” she is a graphic novelist.  That remark coming from a “would-be” journalist like Green is downright unnecessary and petty like much of his attacks.

I’m also not quite sure Green has read her work, as he calls it a “a negative stance on Zionism.”  The graphic novel is anything but.  Instead Glidden admits going into the story she expects a hard core stance by her Birthright guides and that she comes from a more left perspective.  Her views by the end are different than going in, as she comes out with a greater understanding of the situation in Israel.  It’s actually quite a positive depiction of Israel.

Green begins to dissect and attack the work at hand, and as usual throws out factually incorrect statements that simple Google searches debunk.  His first issue is Glidden’s commentary on the Iraqi educational system is this panel.

Green has this to say:

Really, was it that solid in education? Saddam lived and died a Muslim, holding a Koran at his trial, and his government run universities would most likely have incorporated the Religion of Peace and anti-Israelist education into their curriculum (one of the other panels at the political cartoon site says the colleges were free, which sounds vaguely similar to the notions some communists/marxists/socialists have of how to do things). I’m not sure you can call that solid stuff. Nor can a religion/education/political system that calls for jihad, oppression of women, and considers Jews “sons of apes and pigs” be something to learn from. And why do I get the vibe these refugees wouldn’t give a crap about how Saddam fired scud missiles at Israel back in 1991, causing plenty of people, myself included, to have to hide in airtight rooms?

A simple search online actually reveals the facts.  According to UNESCO prior to the 1991 Gulf War ” Iraq had one of the best educational performances in the region. Primary school Gross Enrollment Rate was 100% and literacy levels were high.”  Since the war with Iran and especially after the 1991 Gulf War, education has slid and declined.  However, they are still considered an educated populace.

Green also shows his blind hatred of any sort of left philosophy calling the Iraq free college education “vaguely similar to the notions some communists/marxists/socialists have of how to do things.”  I guess Green also is against the free primary education here in the United States.  I do wonder if hey actually thinks through his hypocrisy or just slings out the bullshit without even thinking.  Free education exists in many countries throughout the world and in non-communist/marxist/socialist nations like Australia and Brazil.  In Australia and Brazil that does include college education.  But again, a simple Google search would have allowed Green to do real journalism.  Not the “would-be” type he practices.

But really Green’s blind hatred for Iraq and Iraqi’s is present in this telling line:

And why do I get the vibe these refugees wouldn’t give a crap about how Saddam fired scud missiles at Israel back in 1991, causing plenty of people, myself included, to have to hide in airtight rooms?

His criticism as shown in that quote has nothing to do with facts or the story as presented, it’s his absolute hatred for Iraqis.  Green seems to forget back in 1991 there was a war that raged in the Gulf that forced allies to band together a remove Saddam from the invaded Kuwait.  Those attacks were part of that war.  That’s just a fact.  I’m sorry he needed to hide in an airtight room as the allies bombed Iraq as well.

But lets continue to dissect and disarm Green’s fantasy land attack.  He then goes on in his rant of a blog post calling the web comic “propaganda” citing this panel.

Green has this to say:

So the woman drawn in the panel blames America for her misfortunes, not Saddam for the oppression, nor the terrorists who went on a rampage after the US raid. Perhaps she might want to consider that nearly a decade ago, when the raid took place, there were terrorists going through Syria to get to Iraq, and Syria helped and encouraged many to do so. But she probably won’t. The 7th panel at the political cartoon site has the interviewee saying, “America set fire to my country and we lost everything”. Not exactly. There is a legitimate case that could be made that the US military didn’t do a good enough job at defeating the invading terrorists properly at the beginning, and this is what led to their misfortunes. But it appears she’s only blaming America for invading in the first place, and not the jihadists who crossed through Syria into Iraq. What, they don’t have any responsibility?

What Green leaves out is this panel:

Clearly there are Iraqis who have no problem with America, especially if they’re moving here or receiving their education from American universities as this web comic tells.  The above is an absolute misrepresentation of what’s presented by leaving out further panels.

But again Green shows off his hypocrisy.  He rages against, and clearly hates Iraqis for their attack against Israel as part of the 1991 Gulf War.  But when an Iraqi shows distrust and dislikes the United States for bombing their country, that’s not ok.  Pretty sure there’s something up with that logic there.

But he seems to be mixing up what people are talking about.  In his “logical” response about someone’s dislike of the United States due to the second Gulf War, Green takes a divergent discussion bringing up terrorists and jihadists invading from Syria.  One has nothing to do with the other.  This next part is brilliance by Green:

“America set fire to my country and we lost everything”. Not exactly.

So were you there Avi?  Did you see the bombs fall?  It’s kind of hard to say that this didn’t occur.  We bombed that country, infrastructure was destroyed, people lost lives, it happened.  How did it “not exactly” happen?  Because we didn’t do a good enough job of beating the shit out of the nation.  Green goes on “There is a legitimate case that could be made that the US military didn’t do a good enough job at defeating the invading terrorists properly at the beginning, and this is what led to their misfortunes.”  Green actually advocates for blowing more things up.  So I guess his “not exactly” was more in reference to the refugee’s statement of “lost everything” and the United States military could have actually destroyed more.

Green then takes issue with an article by Comic Beat on this work by Glidden:

Glidden is definitely following in the footsteps of the incomparable Joe Sacco in becoming a graphic reporter on the trouble spots of the world. While there’s only one Sacco, Glidden is finding her own place in the field with her work.

Avi spends the rest of the post beating up on Sacco who at times does take a side in his “graphic reporting.”  While the Comic Beat is just stating the fact that like Sacco, Glidden is using graphic novels as a way to report and depict real world events, Green takes it more personal (he really hates Sacco) as if Glidden has the same stances or beliefs as Sacco:

When they start comparisons with a foul fiend like Sacco, something is wrong.

and

And back to Glidden now, it’s tragic that the artform of comics is being abused by such loathsome people to attack Israel and America. I wonder if her next destination will be to attack the Israeli army (which I served in when I was 19-21, even if it was only in supplies duties)? She is just as bad news as Sacco.

Say what you will about Sacco’s work, the only comparison that two have is they both cover the Middle East and both use graphic journalism to tell their tales.  Their view points are divergent.  But again, Green’s attacks on Sacco are telling.  Green clearly has issues with free speech and viewpoints that aren’t his own.

Green is a Zionist, he doesn’t believe that people called “Palestinian” exist.  When that’s the viewpoint you take, it’s hard to hear the opinion, take or viewpoint of anyone else.  And as long as Green presents misleading statements, lies stated as facts and uncalled for attacks, I’ll be here to call his bullshit.

Sarah Glidden’s The Waiting Room


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Sarah Glidden, who tackled the subject of Israel in the excellent graphic novel How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less has published a twenty page web comic called The Waiting Room.  The web comic looks at Iraqi refugees who now call Syria home.

Syria is home to the world’s largest urban refugee population; hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have poured in since the 2003 invasion. Barred from joining the Syrian workforce, they attempt to navigate bureaucratic hurdles and find a new place to call home. Sarah Glidden, with contributing reporting from the Common Language Project, give us a window into their lives.

You can check out the web comic at Cartoon Movement.

Best Comic Books of 2010

 

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It’s the first day of a new year and so that means we’re doing our “best of” listing of the top comic books for 2010.  Generally these are comic books that came out in 2010, though some are from earlier times and we got around to reading them.  Keep in mind, this is what I read.  We’ve added some new categories this year, but without further delay, here are the winners!

Best Super Hero Comic – The Invincible Iron Man

Invincible Iron Man #500.1Yes, this series won last year too, but writer Matt Fraction has kept up the excellence with an amazing plot mixing superhero heroics, politics, corporate rivalry and with the latest issue, we learn this is all the tip of the iceberg.

In single issues there’s usually some bigger worldly issue we’re presented with, great banter, often fantastic action and beautiful art.

This is a superhero comic for adults and one series I look forward to each month.

The upcoming Invincible Iron Man #500.1 is the perfect jumping on point to see what you’re missing.

Runner Ups – Secret Warriors, Uncanny X-Force

Best Non-Super Hero Comic –DMZ

DMZ 50Is there a more politically relevant comic book series out there?  Every month we’re given something to think about as we follow Matty Roth through Manhattan which is now a DMZ in the middle of the second American Civil War.

Writer Brian Wood is able to pivot and comment on what’s currently happening in politics and the world challenging our perceptions and not seem preachy at the same time.

With some single issues that stand as some of the best of the year and numerous holy shit moments, this isn’t just one of the most relevant comics out there, but some of the best political commentary of any entertainment medium.

Runner Ups – American Vampire, Chew, The Walking Dead

Best Limited Series or One Shot – Daytripper

DaytripperI’ve handed this comic off to so many people and not only sucked them into this series, but also got them to ask what else is out there?  This showed that comics aren’t about just spandex anymore.

There’s no other series out there that created such an emotional reaction each month.  I’m not embarrassed to admit there were numerous moments I broke down crying or teared up.  No other series has done that before to me.

It’s a shame it ended and hopefully we see more soon from the phenoms Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá.

Runner Ups – Killer: Modus Vivendi, Taskmaster, Velocity

Best Single Issue – Unknown Soldier #21 (New Category)

This series saw it’s conclusion this year but it also brought the best issue of any comic book during it’s end run.

This issue focused on the history of one Avtomat Kalashnikova rifle as it’s passed from one owner to another.  It’s a powerful issue looking at the mass distribution of a weapon that’s been a driver and common tool in today’s conflicts .

Powerful, heart wrenching, and an amazing political and historical statement, this issue is a must read for comic book fans and non-comic book readers.

Worst Single Issue of the Year – Fantastic Four Annual #32 (New Category)

Three words as to why – Time. Travel. Abortion.

Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Return of the Dapper Men

Return of the Dapper Men HCThere’s no other graphic novel that was more magical this year than Jim McCann‘s and Janet Lee‘s Return of the Dapper Men.

This is a magical world of wonder where time has stopped and adults have disappeared.  Neverland in a modern setting.

A modern classic is the only way I can describe this graphic novel that seems to evoke the best of those magical tales we read, watched and were told as kids.  This is a graphic novel parents will be sharing with their children for years to come.

Runner UpsHow to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, Cuba: My Revolution, Revolver

Best Event of the Year – Artifacts

Artifacts #1 CoverThe first issue had me gasp “holy shit” out loud and the subsequent ones have just been setting up what will be a hell of a ride.

The public seems to have reacted well with issues going back for numerous printings.

All hell is about the break loose in the Top Cow universe and with Ron Marz‘s talented writing to drive it and some fantastic artists to back him up, there’s a chance this might be next year’s top event as well.

Best Genre of the Year – Zombie

The Walking Dead Zombie Teaser 2One thing makes zombies get the win here, The Walking Dead.  The comic book series continues it’s excellence and the television show had us wanting more after it’s first season’s six episode run.  There’s a reason it was one of the top rated cable series ever, it’s that damn good.  Evidence of it’s spread beyond the normal comic book reading public are the numerous people reading it on my daily commute and my non-comic book reading friends asking me about the series and comic.  I don’t see this type of legs with the big movie blockbusters.  Congrats to Robert Kirkman and AMC.

Runner Up – Noir

Best Comic Tie-In of the Year –Heroclix

Heroclix Web of Spider-manI’m a sucker for Heroclix and picked up the Blackest Night set at Gen Con this year.  I don’t play, but love looking at the detailed figures.  There’s something so much fun about it and I wish I had some local gamer friends that I can break out my figures once in a while and give me an excuse to get more.

With sets based off of Watchmen, Blackest Night, Brightest Day, Jonah Hex, Iron Man, Spider-Man and the DC 75th Anniversary it’s impressive this was a game and company on the brink of collapse not too long ago.

Runner Up – Marvel Universe toys.

Best Comic Book Related Movie – Scott Pigrim vs. the World (New Category)

Scott Pilgrim vs. the WorldIt’s been an up and down year for movies based off of comic books.  Next years crop of movies looks strong, but this year had one stand out and that was the kinetic Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

This was a movie for the Nintendo generation with so much in there even our ADD generation missed some of the winks and nods littered throughout the film.

It holds up after multiple viewings and I know I left with a smile on my face.  Overall it was a year of weak competition but even in a strong year this would be a contender.

On an aside my favorite movies of 2010 were The Social Network, Black Swan, The Town and The Fighter.

Runner Up – The Losers

Best Series Finale of the Year – Ex Machina (New Category)

Ex MachinaI can’t think of a series which ended so perfectly.  To say more would give it all away, but I was beyond satisfied when I finished reading it and hoped for a second volume.

The finale of this superhero as Mayor series answered our questions, gave us some jaw dropping moments at the end and presented a Presidential ticket I might even vote for.

A lot of series left unanswered questions or gave us disappointing ones, but this one never seemed like a cop out and never treated us like children.

The ending was damn near perfect and the series one of the best of modern times.

Runner Up – Daytripper

Best Surprise of the Year – Killer: Modus Vivendi (New Category)

The Killer Modus Vivendi 006 CoverThis is a new category that I thought was appropriate to throw out there.  I look at this as comics you probably skipped in 2010, but you really should go back and check out. 

Killer: Modus Vivendi is the third volume for this character and saw him being manipulated by the CIA and Cubans in a tale about oil and spheres of influence.  Bond and Bourne, eat your heart out.

Not only do we have great action, some intense moments, but there’s also politics and a worldly view you don’t find out in too many other comics.  It’s the complete package in comics for adults.

Runner Up – Velocity, Kill Shakespeare

Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Brightest Day and Heroic Age

Enter the Heroic AgeI “Entered the Heroic Age” and looked forward to tomorrow’s “Brightest Day” and can say “no thanks.”  Does no longer being dark and gritty also mean convoluted and boring?

Marvel and DC comics took a dip this year as they moved away from dark stories and attempted to hark back to the golden age of black and white heroes and villains.  We also got the return of the 90’s with the return of characters we thought and hoped were dead and stayed that way.

This all clearly isn’t lasting long as the Marvel event Fear Itself looms over 2011.  As a hole things just aren’t quite as exciting as they’ve been in years past.

Runner Up – Iron Man 2

Best Character – Killer

I’m so happy Archaia put Killer: Modus Vivendi in my hands.  With it I got one of the best politically charged noir comics on the market and a badass anti-hero in the man we only know as Killer.

He beds the hot chicks, assassinates people with a shot, causes revolutions and destabilizes regions. Bond and Bourne are wimps compared to writer Matz‘s creation.

We get to see politics and the world from outside of an “American” perspective and a cold unrepentant killer and assassin who it’s all a job to.

This was the third volume with more to come.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Publisher of the Year – Archaia

ArchaiaSo where’d this company come from?  I don’t think there was one comic I read I was disappointed in or didn’t enjoy in some way.  The hardcovers are just high quality products and stories in between the covers reflect that.  The Killer, Mouse Guard, Cyclops, Critical Millennium and so many more are series you should be reading and if you’re not then you need to check them out.

Many of these series continue into 2011 and there’s many new ones to come.  When I think Archaia, I think high quality and expect the best.  So far they haven’t let me down.

Runner Ups – Top Cow, Marvel

Review – How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less


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How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or LessVertigo has been on a kick lately of graphic novels taking on real world topics and stories.  The latest is Sarah Glidden‘s How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less.  The story cover’s Glidden’s Birthright Israel trip and her struggle to understand the Israeli/Palestinian conflict along with her own Judaism.

Glidden, a progressive American Jew who is sharply critical of Israeli policies vis-à-vis the Occupied Territories, went on an all-expense-paid “birthright” trip to Israel in an attempt to discover some grand truths at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This graphic memoir tells the touching and often funny story of her utter failure to do so. As the tour group moves from the Golan Heights to Tel Aviv, Glidden’s struggles with propaganda and perspective lead only to a morass of deepening questions and self-doubt. Her neurotic need for objective truths and struggle to reconcile historical perspectives is hugely gratifying for the reader. This is especially true when the group visits Masada, the site of an epic confrontation between a sect of Jewish rebels and a Roman siege army that culminated in mass suicide. Gruesome fanaticism or a stirring clarion call for the burgeoning Zionism movement? You be the judge. As befits a travelogue, Glidden’s drawings have the look of something jotted down on the fly; if it weren’t for a haircut here or a pair of glasses there, many of the characters would be indistinguishable. Yet the simplicity of the drawing is offset by bright, delicate watercolors that belie our heroine’s unresolved struggle with history and heritage.

The story is interesting in that it’s not only an introspective look, but lays out the conflict, key events and locations for those not familiar, and in a way takes a shot at the liberal left.

Glidden has to come to terms with her faith, her fellow people and how that jives with her own political views.  She even shows her own fault and prejudice she herself holds.  Throughout the story she also shows different views of those living on the front lives through her interactions with various Israeli’s she meets.

She also subtly shows the hypocrisy of so many involved not just in the conflict, but also those who sit on political side lines and throw out views without living in this world or growing up in either of the faith’s involved.

The book had me asking my own beliefs having been raised Jewish and no longer practicing and I came out thinking through the prejudices I hold and my own views on the conflict and it’s resolution.  I felt like in the end I myself had a better understanding of my own faith, the history and political landscape.  This graphic novel is an education as well as a tale.

I can’t praise it enough and just think it’s flawless in it’s story telling, narrative and art.  It’s honest in it’s views and finds fault within it’s characters on all sides bringing an even handed view to the conflict.  This is an absolute purchase and read.

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