I Love Stuff

*52 Dept: Well, the best thing I can say about issue #40 is that it finally appears to finish off that goddamned Steel/Lex Luthor/Infinity Inc. storyline, albeit in just about the least interesting way possible. I’ll cut the writing team this much slack: there really was a germ of an interesting idea in there, with Luthor striving to devalue the very concept of the ‘superhero’ in terms of public trust with his endless parade of shitty hero ideas and their subsequent horrible deaths, all to eventually implant himself as a superpowered true savoir, but Jesus Christ was this the dullest, most mediocre climax I can think of, complete with passionate affirmations of the power of humanity and John Henry trucking right through direct heat vision blasts and things being driven through his body. Finally, Lex is foiled through a particularly suspect twist that’ll make you want to read through the whole thing again, but only to check if the plotting here was really as inconsistent as you expect. Everyone learns an important lesson at the end. Um, yay?

*To cheer me up, though, there’s always anime. Yes, delightful '60s and '70s anime. Here’s selections from three adult-oriented feature films produced by Osamu Tezuka's Mushi Productions, all directed by Eiichi Yamamoto (none of this is safe for work, btw):

A Thousand and One Nights (1969): Funky Japanese trailer, equally yet differently funky US trailer

Cleopatra (aka: Cleopatra: Queen of Sex) (1970): the trailer, a random scene (this one was actually co-directed by Tezuka himself; watch out for the special guest star near the end of the second clip... wish I could have seen what 42nd street grindhouse audiences made of this during its X-rated US run...)

Belladonna of Sadness (1973): what appears to be the opening scene, the trailer plus what appears to be the final scene, trippy freakout scene #1, trippy freakout scene #2 (made after Tezuka left, a tacky, movement-limited, but oddly compelling arthouse sexploitation thing - don't you get a Guido Crepax feel off of the lead female?) (trippy footage and info comes from Anime World Order)