The Saturday Supplement
David Bowie, Marvel metafiction, medical soaps and anime
Hello! I hope you're having a merry weekend. I'd planned to spend my Saturday out and about but a week of wounds and wandering caught up with me, and now I'm contenting myself with a day of cookery shows and occasional naps. Below, you'll find the fruits of our weekly entertainment regime, outside the world of games. It's been a melancholy week for lovers of pop and stardust, and Alec remembers David Bowie, while I avoid the sadness and instead begin my journey into Marvel with The Sentry, which is everything I love about comics in one continuity-dodging miniseries.
After last week's love letter to Kino's Journey, Graham digs deeper into the anime pile, picking out his favourites. And, in the first part of what will hopefully become a long-running series, Pip takes us through the latest events from Holby City and Casualty. Meet Guy Self, narcissist.
- First up, here's Alec's memorial to David Bowie.
- Graham's list of favourite anime series includes Paranoia Agent, Azumanga Diaoh, Death Note and more.
- Pip brings us up to speed with the happenings in Casualty and Holby City, two BBC medical soaps. In this instance, a medical soap is not something that you wash your hands with before entering a ward.
- And I begin my journey through modern Marvel with a close look at the fascinating miniseries The Sentry.
The fact of his transgression and his subversion, the license he gave the world to be whatever we wanted be, was never why I loved him, although I always understood why it was so powerful and so essential to what pop is now. I am a quiet and shy man, and though I have some regrets at having led a very conventional life, drawing any attention to myself in either clothes or behaviour feels almost unbearable. But the message worked on me even if I didn’t wish to be like him. For me, Bowie was simply life-force. A walking celebration, an effortless engine of intelligent joy. Musically as much as aesthetically; even in his unhappiest songs, there are notes of hope. Oh no love, you’re not alone.
Last week I wrote about Kino’s Journey, one of the few animes I’d recommend to people who don’t care about anime. The reason I think that’s a useful statement is because I want to draw a distinction between “anime” as a medium of Japanese animation, and “anime” the collection of tropes, stock characters, and, well, bullshit that is generally associated with the form.
If Kino’s Journey is number one on this, here’s numbers 2-5.
This week is a concept episode. It’s not on the same plane of existence as Casualty’s noir episode (which they called Holby Sin City). Instead it cuts a typical Holby plot with “documentary” footage. The documentary crew are actually following one of Holby’s resident narcissists, Guy Self, as he attempts to cure the symptoms which are preventing a violin virtuoso from playing his violin.
Yes. They called the narcissist Guy Self.
In its depiction of a man who no longer understands his place in the world, this is a deeply melancholy story. I'm surprised I hadn't heard of it before now because it seems natural to mention it alongside Grant Morrison's much-discussed Animal Man run in the late eighties. While not as blatantly metafictional in its approach to superheroics and the convoluted plotlines of the big publishers, Jenkins' work finds a similar desperation and sadness in the life of its titular character, whose most significant ability is the power to be forgotten and erased.
Next week, thoughts on The Hateful Eight (I didn't get round to seeing it 'til last night), more Marvel and (hopefully) more medicinal drama.