The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

November 8, 2017
by Dan
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Memoir, Chapter 1

Oh, Batman. (Zachary Kanin for The New Yorker). 

September 15, 2017
by Dan
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Jeet Heer on Jack Kirby

At the New Republic, Jeet Heer looks back at the work of Jack Kirby, the cartoonist who shaped the Marvel Universe and remade popular culture:  The superhero stories Kirby created or inspired have dominated American comic books for nearly 75 … Continue reading

May 3, 2017
by Dan
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Put Your Faith in Comics

At The New Yorker, Jia Tolentino profiles G. Willow Wilson, the writer behind Ms. Marvel, a superhero who is (in her current incarnation) a teenage Muslim from Jersey City: The première of “Ms. Marvel” sold more copies digitally than it did in print—a company first. Marvel doesn’t … Continue reading

April 28, 2015
by Dan
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Superhero Comics and The Tyranny of Pew-Pew

Ta-Nehisi Coates, who writes so compellingly about culture and politics for The Atlantic, talks to Vulture about superheroes and his love of (Marvel) comics: Comic books aren’t perfect, but listen: In the 1980s, Marvel had a black woman — not … Continue reading

January 10, 2014
by Dan
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Child’s Play: Blockbuster Movies, Comics and Superheroes

At RogerEbert.com, Alexander Hul has an interesting piece on self-indulgent movie directors and the degeneration of blockbusters: Artists certainly are allowed to make films that only satisfy their own creative pursuits. But blockbusters—more than any other kind of film—are conceived … Continue reading

November 4, 2013
by Dan
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Jeet Heer: In Love With Art and The Superhero Reader

At the Comics Reporter, Jeet Heer discusses his two recent books on comics, The Superhero Reader edited with Charles Hatfield and Kent Worcester, and In Love With Art: Françoise Mouly’s Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman, with Tom Spurgeon:  Strange to … Continue reading

August 15, 2011
by Dan
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Grant Morrison | All Things Considered

Author and comics writer Grant Morrison talks about superheroes and his new book Supergods with NPR’s All Things Considered: NPR ALL THINGS CONSIDERED: Grant Morrison Supergods

July 29, 2011
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

A Period of Digestion — Music journalist and author Simon Reyolds talks about his new book Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction To Its Own Past with the A.V. Club: [S]o much happened in the 20th century and things moved so fast, and … Continue reading

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