What I'm Watching: Happy Valley, Message from the King, Rick & Morty

  • Happy Valley: 2 seasons (and a 3rd is planned) of a middle-aged English policewoman chasing murderers in a small town. I find Flock of Seagulls, the first season junior antagonist, utterly unthreatening, but he has his moments. The 2nd season arc was a little obvious, Moaning Myrtle was sinister as hell but with minimal payoff. Still, it's as good a police procedural/mystery as I've seen in ages. ★★★★☆

  • Message from the King: South African badass Jacob King comes to L.A. looking for his missing sister. The plot's a little opaque at times, Jacob is a mute statue except for some side-eye, and there are far fewer guns and security systems than I'd expect in L.A. underworld, but the fistfights and stealth missions are good. It's very reminiscent of The Limey, but much grubbier and less fun. ★★★☆☆

  • Rick & Morty S3: Holy shit. Pickle Rick with Danny Trejo. How many times can I spam the star button? ★★★★★★★★★★ I do want at least one of the dumbass improv cable show eps this season, we can't take a constant dose of this like that Statham flick Crank.

  • Almost no anime. Last year's Crunchyroll simulcasts had Gabriel Dropout (seriously Gabe is my spirit animal: A dropout who wants to destroy humanity), Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid (this might be a tech blog? She's a Python programmer! She's writing Django all day in a soul-crushing open-plan office without even a cubicle!), Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor (awesome title, sometimes great characters & plots, endless filler crap in between), some Sakura Quest (cute start, and hooray, more shows about adults with jobs! But this was too mellow and sappy). Everything else this season seems to be a ripoff of Sword Art Online without the cranky MMO-soloing protagonist in black (ahem), or rom-com. Get your shit together, Japan, you're being out-weirded by a Marty McFly & Doc Pickle cartoon. ★☆☆☆☆

Divided States of Hysteria (Howard Chaykin)

And now for something a little darker than cute cartoons about vampires.

Howard Chaykin's comic Divided States of Hysteria is out. Terrorism, death and destruction, political hacks looking to take advantage. Written in what now seems like a more innocent time, 2016.

First issue's collecting a bunch of psychopaths. Not sure what they'll be doing, but I trust Chaykin's road trips to go somewhere interesting.

"So now that liberal-center-left narcissism, with a healthy dose of identity politics, has lost the game to right-wing ignorance and hypocrisy-driven rage, and I find myself anticipating a future spent in a live-action dystopia, the book seems almost naively cheerful and filled with hope. Go figure."
—Howard Chaykin, Divided States of Hysteria #1 editorial

There's been some controversy about a cover, apparently people think showing cruelty in art is the same as endorsing it? I don't know. Anyone not familiar with Chaykin's American Flagg! or Black Kiss will probably be appalled at the mix of explicit sex, explicit violence, and explicit politics; this book is for people who aren't appalled.

Synchronicity: Just found this Howard Chaykin art for Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination