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Reactions to It (2017) — Spoiler Free!

Reactions to It (2017) — Spoiler Free! published on No Comments on Reactions to It (2017) — Spoiler Free!

I’ve watched the new It movie twice, and am so enamored that I’ve gotten the book and have read quite a ways into it. I’m also re-reading Frankenstein and a bunch of short stories because of my responsibilities as a college instructor, and I’m enjoying being able to read without making notes and marginalia.

Naturally, I’ll be writing a comparison up as soon as I’m finished, and will be taking notes and marginalia to help with this.

This film is, I think, the best treatment that Stephen King’s horror has ever gotten on the silver screen. A bad mood tainted my first viewing, in which the sound track and certain CG moments annoyed me. Under normal circumstances, this’ll kill a movie for me. The aesthetics of the film also bothered me – camera tricks designed to make horror-movie viewers feel ungrounded stood out badly to me, the color scheme felt as if it were screaming messages in my face, and I grumped after every jump scare.

And left the theater thinking and revisiting scenes, which nagged at me until I’d gone out and bought the novel. As I read, I wondered if I had not made a critical mistake, and watched the film against its intended grain. I went again. Stephen King is close to my heart. I wanted to like It, and had been prepared to hate it from its earliest conception.

I had seen an early leak of a script that was absolutely abysmal.

I had a supposed edit of the script that didn’t seem much better.

The reveal of Pennywise’s costume didn’t impress me.

The first trailer made me worry about the film’s overall quality.

And despite having all of this and a bad mood on my shoulders, the movie had me in its grips. I was charmed by the cast, and my internal bitching was drowned out by the sort of post-film mental awe that makes watching films a worthwhile activity.

I saw It a second time and have been left entirely delighted. Horror tropes used throughout the film are not there to scare me, the viewer; they’re there to establish pathos for the Loser Club.

Bill Skarsgård nails the role. He is not the Pennywise we grew up, nor is he trying to be. He made the part his own. Tim Curry played a wonderful murder-clown. Bill Skarsgård played an eldritch horror disguised as a clown. Neither one detracts from the other’s performance in any way; they are doing different jobs for different treatments of a story.

In many ways, I see It as a modern mirror of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. We follow young protagonists into a dark forest through a world wherein we understand they can die, and they’re surrounded by horrors that the adult world only cares about in a cursory way.
This is a coming-of-age story first and a horror film second, and because of that, it has significantly more depth than I expected. If you’ve got young teenagers, let them go see this. The R rating is elemental to the material, but I suspect very strongly that they will understand this film in a way that adults cannot.

And this speaks volumes about how fantastically the makers of It have mastered the material. I don’t think I can write more on this topic while keeping my “no spoilers” promise, so I’ll cut myself short, here.

I have criticisms, but they are surface-level, laden with spoilers, and not worth skipping the film over. The release of what is certain to become a national treasure is not the time for me to yuck into the yum. Go catch this on the big screen, and let me know what you think in the comments.

I really only found a job so he’d be wrong, though.

I really only found a job so he’d be wrong, though. published on 3 Comments on I really only found a job so he’d be wrong, though.

Six or so months ago, I got into a nasty fight with some folk in the Democratic party about how Camp Hillary really, really could have worked on its rhetorical approach with college kids. My argument was that she didn’t do outreach with disaffected, younger Bernie voters who are staring down the barrel of paying their student loans off for the rest of their (our) lives, and their argument was that I was an entitled asshole who basically gave Trump the election.


At the height of this argument, it came out that I had no real job aside from the irregular creation of comics and other fiction. This was used to smear my character, mostly, but also someone asked to see my resume when I countered that looking for jobs is much, much easier than finding jobs – a concept that I still don’t think wealthier Democrats seem to understand. At least not in the Midwest.

I low-key thought the person might be hiring, so I showed this random internet stranger my resume…

…and he told me I had wasted my entire life and that my education was worthless. Internet strangers are like that; they’ve got no means of facing consequences for their words, and no investment in the people they’re talking to.

So here’s what all this wind-up was about:

I’m now an instructor at two community colleges.

The classes I’m instructing are all a bit surprising to me. I’ve got a master’s in communication, and at my alma mater, communication and English are different animals, meaning that I thought I’d end up teaching classes like public speaking or history of media if I ever got a gig as a college instructor.

I wanted to teach composition and literature, but I got accepted into a communication program before I got accepted into an English program, and I had already accepted one when the other came through.

Then, as a communication student, I ended up being a worker bee at the PSU Writing Center, helping students write better papers and familiarizing myself with Writing Center praxis.

…only the find, of course, upon graduating, that I was not a hirable person for the Center I had just finished working for as a student. I’m decent friends with the person who heads this Writing Center, so I know that it’s a matter of policy that I’m not really eligible for a big-person job there, or in the English department in general, and I had assumed this would be true of every campus. I had this feeling that the internet stranger was right, and that I’d mismanaged my education and was basically doomed to die in a gutter.

And now I’m working for two different community colleges, teaching as an adjunct. I’ve got two sections of research writing classes, one section of general literature, and one section of English composition I.

All my paranoia and neuroses about finding a job didn’t matter. All my assumptions didn’t matter. Internet stranger didn’t matter.
Two administrators at two different colleges looked at my resume, said, “he’s qualified, yep,” and then hired me.

Tides rise and fall. If you’re down and out on a job, I won’t end this post by promising you that life is destined to get better. I’m a white dude and that comes with a lot of power where finding a place in society is concerned. That absolutely worked in my favor here.

But I will say that, hey, random internet stranger who told me I was worthless? If you’re reading this?

You were wrong. =)

Kickstarter Update

Kickstarter Update published on No Comments on Kickstarter Update

Hey everyone,

We are still alive! We just got the Kickstarter funding today, and are celebrating by releasing what we’ve been working on for the final three pages of the print comic / PDF.

We wanted to put a cool map of the region into the book, and we had previously released a map — but it was lackluster feeling, so we wanted to take some time and really flesh out the region, and design it from the point of view of Sera.

This is the rough version of the new map. We’re pretty happy with it, and are moving toward a final draft of it, which will be exclusive to the comic book (at least for a while.)

“We update on Mondays,” he blogged, optimistically.

“We update on Mondays,” he blogged, optimistically. published on No Comments on “We update on Mondays,” he blogged, optimistically.

So, Zach and I decided that updating on Mondays was going to be super achievable. And then I wrote a comic and he green-lighted it and it has like, 17-point perspective and a billion little details and haaa. Long story short, the next comic is in production hell and is coming along. I hope to upload it later tonight.

New Schedule, Kickstarting Thieves Can’t Issue One, and New Patreon Rewards

New Schedule, Kickstarting Thieves Can’t Issue One, and New Patreon Rewards published on No Comments on New Schedule, Kickstarting Thieves Can’t Issue One, and New Patreon Rewards

So, first and foremost, we’re trying to Kickstart a paper copy of Thieves Can’t, Issue One. This might be the only shot to get this sucker in print, and it’s definitely going to be the only guaranteed way to get it signed.

The Kickstarter is about 1/4 of the way funded inside a day, so I’m very hopeful about meeting the $1000 goal. It’s an all-or-nothing campaign, so if we don’t meet the goal, the paper copy won’t happen. That said, we’re still going to go ahead with a PDF even if it fails, and this will be a Patreon reward that all of our supporters get once we hit $250 / month on that venue.

Speaking of Patreon, we’re changing up the rewards we offer. We had almost decided to nix the Art Commission reward, but then thought better of it. You may have received e-mails about this. Apologies for the confusion. We’re now offering a Patron-only monthly online hangout, an art raffle, a way to buy space beneath the comic to talk to our readers, and a way to inject yourself or your tabletop character directly into a Thieves Can’t comic. Check it out!

The Ramen Empire patreon is a bit lacklustre right now, and will be getting a similar brush-up later this month.

Update Schedule

We’re now updating one of our comics every Monday, come hell or high water. This means Ramen Empire is off haitus. Thieves Can’t will update on the first Monday of every month, so you’ll know when to tune in instead of crossing your fingers and visiting the site.

May Patreon Art Dump

May Patreon Art Dump published on No Comments on May Patreon Art Dump

Huge shout-out to all of our patrons on the Thieves Can’t Patreon. These are the characters we drew for May’s $35 tier. We’re gearing up for the next batch, so if you are a Patron at this level already and haven’t sent us what you want us to draw, get on it! And if you want to see your RPG character in Zach’s style, here’s where you go.