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The Ten Percent: Come and See (1985)

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“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon

Welcome back to “The Ten Percent,” a regular column where every other week K. Dale Koontz and I take a look at the inverse of Sturgeon’s Law; in other words, the small portion of everything which is not crud. So many films premiere each year, but only a very few are remembered and revered years later. That’s not a matter of genre – the Ten Percent is a big tent, with plenty of room for comedy, drama, horror, animation, musical, science fiction and many more. But admission into the tent is not easy to come by. Films in this category last because they are high quality productions which demand more of their viewer than simple passive reception.

Elim Klimov’s Come and See (1985) takes its place in an unusual corner of the Ten Percent. A place for works of art that are so powerful, so honest, and so terrible that they absolutely must be seen, but which are also so psychologically and emotionally intense that they are revisited only rarely. The late Roger Ebert wrote that Come and See “is one of the most devastating films ever about anything, and in it, the survivors must envy the dead,” while Mark Cousins called Come and See “the greatest war film ever made.” Both are correct.

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The Ten Percent: The Great Escape (1963)

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Original poster for The Great Escape, 1963.

“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon

Welcome back to “The Ten Percent,” a regular column where every other week K. Dale Koontz and I take a look at the inverse of Sturgeon’s Law; in other words, the small portion of everything which is not crud. So many films premiere each year, but only a very few are remembered and revered years later. That’s not a matter of genre – the Ten Percent is a big tent, with plenty of room for comedy, drama, horror, animation, musical, science fiction and many more. But admission into the tent is not easy to come by. Films in this category last because they are high quality productions which demand more of their viewer than simple passive reception.

Before I talk about why 1963’s The Great Escape belongs in the Ten Percent, it’s worth taking the time to point out the film’s flaws. First, neither bicycles nor motorcycles were used in the 1943 escape from Stalag Luft III. Second, the “Great Escape” of 76 Allied POWs took place in unseasonably cold weather during one of the worst winters seen in Eastern Poland in 30 years. Third, there were no Americans among the escapees who were mostly British and Canadian. Finally, there was never any regulation which stated that Allied prisoners were duty-bound to attempt to escape. In fact, many, perhaps most, American and British POWs were generally leery of escape attempts.

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Creations of Chaos: Grave of the Fireflies

On this edition of Creations of Chaos, it’s the most depressingly haunting  film ever animated. It’s Studio Ghibli’s, Grave of the Fireflies. 

grave-of-the-fireflies-poster

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Avengers: Ultron Revolution S03 E19: “The House of Zemo”

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We’ve dealt with daddy issues before with the animated Avengers. Thor, for one, has had a rough relationship with Dad. While Captain America tries to remember his, Baron Zemo does something about his similar dilemma, and brings the original Zemo through time to the present. Can the Avengers contend with two Zemos? Meet me after the time jump for my thoughts on “The House of Zemo.”

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Online Goes Hardcopy BOOM With “World of Tanks” #1 On The Wednesday Run

World of TanksI’ve played my share of video games, both in the mature privacy of my home console (Skyrim) and in the shared online world against a bunch of kids who relentlessly kick my ass and call me names (Call of Duty).

It’s no great secret that video games, like comic books before them, have become fertile grounds to cross-pollinate into other mediums: chiefly film and television and even books. In fact, video games themselves have become bigger business than even Hollywood could ever dream – and Hollywood dreams big!

Once in a while, a video game makes the jump to the printed medium – and comic books are a particularly fertile ground to continue stories, expand on created artwork, and indoctrinate new or lapsed players into video-gaming.

Today is one of those days.

Today we get the MMOG online war game-turned-comic book mini-series: World of Tanks #1!

    
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The Avengers Assemble “Into the Future” against Kang the Conqueror

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As we saw in the last episode of Avengers: Ultron Revolution, while tracking down future technology, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes came face-to-face with Kang the Conqueror. After threatening New York, Kang retreats to the future, dragging the entire team, except for Thor, with him. Meet me after the time jump for my thoughts on “Into the Future.”

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Biff Bam Pop’s It’s All Connected – Just a Kid from Brooklyn: Captain America, American Memories of World War II, and the MCU, Part II

 

Splash page from The Ultimates #1, 2002. Script by Mark Millar, art by Bryan Hitch.

Splash page from The Ultimates #1, 2002. Script by Mark Millar, art by Bryan Hitch.

In the first part of this essay, I briefly sketched the construction of American memories of World War II that began slightly before the war and continue into the 21st century. In many ways the war has become a defining part of American identity, and the dominant, triumphal memory narrative we have created about it serves to elevate American participation in the war almost to the level of the sacred, and certainly to the realm of the simple black and white, good v. evil duality that is much more comforting than any messy and contradictory reality might be. The character of Steve Rogers/Captain America is one of the more perfect cultural artifacts to illustrate this process of memory construction, and the ways in which counter-memories, which challenge the dominant narrative, inevitably influence the national mythology.

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Get Some Fresh AIRBOY DELUXE H/C On The Wednesday Run

AirBoy Deluxe HC coverAirboy.

A comic book character created during the Golden Age of comic books, circa 1942.

You know, during wartime.

And, of course, war heroes were big in comics during WWII. What young American boy wouldn’t want to see an army, naval or air force officer put the hot-lead screws to the Axis powers? And so, Airboy was created by writers Charles Biro, Dick Wood and artist Al Camy in the pages of Air Fighter Comics #2, published by Hillman Periodicals, and he did just that.

But like many characters created during the Golden Age of comics, Airboy himself needed saving from obscurity. He needed dramatic reinvention. In 1986, Eclipse Comics produced new Airboy tales, starring the son of the original character.

But what do you do with Airboy for a twenty-first century audience?

Well, that’s exactly what the Airboy Deluxe Hardcover ponders. And it’s like nothing you – or even AIrboy – could ever imagine!

Follow me after the jump for a taste of the wild blue yonder!

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Marvel’s Agent Carter S02 E04: Smoke & Mirrors

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Forces are closing in on our “Agent Carter” this week. As the dark shadow of the Cold War Red Scare looms heavy in the background, we get peeks into the pasts of both Peggy Carter and Whitney Frost. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “Smoke & Mirrors.”

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The Ten Percent – Sir Christopher Lee

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“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon

Hello, and welcome to another installment of “The Ten Percent,” a regular column where every other week Ensley F. Guffey and I look at the corollary of Sturgeon’s Law: the ten percent of everything is not crud. We often look at television and film here in “The Ten Percent” and we’ll continue to do so, but today we’re going to pay tribute to a person who, for reasons that will be explained, is part of the Ten Percent by virtue of breadth, depth, and length of his career – and probably for massively exceeding other dimensions of awesomeness as well.

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