Kevin Wetmore, Fanbase Press Guest Contributor

Kevin Wetmore, Fanbase Press Guest Contributor

Kevin Wetmore is an author and professor at Loyola Marymount University.  His books include The Theology of Battlestar Galactica, Post-9/11 Horror in American Cinema, and The Empire Triumphant: Race, Religion, and Rebellion in the Star Wars Films.  For more information about Kevin, check out his website, Something Wetmore This Way Comes, and to purchase his non-fiction and fiction books, see Amazon.

We are about to watch the first episode of the final season of Game of Thrones. (“We” being my wife Lacy and I.)  I have been with this narrative a long time.  I read the books starting back in the early 2000s when my friend and former student made a gift of the first one. (Thanks, Hugh Long, I think…)  When the first season was in post-production, I was Mark Addy’s photo double for the ad campaign. (Hundreds of buses, bus stops, and billboards in the greater Los Angeles area featured Mark Addy’s face on my body with the tagline, “Killing Things Clears My Head,” written across the bottom.)  Really cool.  Been watching it ever since and have written about the last few seasons for Fanbase Press, analyzing theme, character, and plot, connecting the narrative to theology, history, culture, and science.  But I am giddy for the last season. So, today, for the first episode of the last season, if you will indulge me, I simply kept a handwritten live blog (Yeah, I know…) of the episode and my in-the-moment reactions.  If you will forgive a moment of auto-ethnography, here we go.  [SPOILER ALERT – the overarching theme of the episode is “Oh, Game of Thrones, you’re so…you.  Many reunions – not just of people but of things the show had kind of stopped doing for awhile.  You’ll see.]

“Fundamental Comics,” a monthly editorial series that introduces readers to comics, graphic novels, and manga that have been impactful to the sequential art medium and the comic book industry on a foundational level.  Each month, a new essay will examine a familiar or less-known title through an in-depth analysis, exploring the history of the title, significant themes, and context for the title’s popularity since it was first released.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, we often find ourselves becoming more introspective, reflecting on the people and things for which we are thankful. As we at Fanbase Press celebrate fandoms, this year, the Fanbase Press staff and contributors have chosen to honor their favorite fandoms, characters, or other elements of geekdom for which they are thankful, and how those areas of geekiness have shaped their lives and values.

A little film premiered on October 1, 1968, which told the story of seven people who barricaded themselves in a rural farmhouse in western Pennsylvania one night. Night of the Living Dead was George A. Romero’s first feature-length film after having shot short films, TV commercials, and even a segment for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Romero directed, photographed, edited, and co-wrote the film on a budget of $114,000. It became a cult classic, spawning a number of sequels and remakes; however, it also revolutionized the horror genre, as well as redefined the concept of the zombie. Now fifty years strong, Fanbase Press commemorates the 50th anniversary of Night of the Living Dead with this special editorial essay from horror writer/scholar Dr. Kevin Wetmore. – Ed.

O golden-tongued action film with serene lute!
   Fair plumed T’challa! King of far away! (Wakanda Forever!)
   Leave melodizing on this summer day,
Shut up thine director’s commentary, and be mute:
Adieu! for once again the fierce dispute,
   Betwixt damnation and impassion'd clay
   Must I burn through; once more humbly assay
The bitter-sweet of this Whedonesque fruit.
Thanos! and ye Guardians of the Galaxy,
   Begetters of our deep eternal theme,
When through the Marvel Cinematic Universe I am gone,
   Let me not wander in a barren dream,
But when I am consumed in the fire,
Give me new some infinity stones and an Iron Man suit
    to fly at my desire.

These violent delights have confusing, excessively glutted, unnecessarily complicated ends.  

Welcome, True Believers, to the penultimate episode of season two. The phrase “Vanishing Point” means two things.  The first is the art term (shades of “Les Écorchés,” two episodes ago), in which in a perspective drawing (an invention during the Renaissance) it is the point at which receding parallel lines appear to converge.  In other words, it is an art concept that allows three dimensions to be viewed in two.  The second is the more general conceptual definition: the point at which something that has been growing smaller disappears altogether.  Both definitions apply to this week’s episode.

Not gonna lie, compadres – this might be the best Westworld episode of all time.  One day after airing, and it has a 9.4 on IMDb.  Avengers: Infinity War (the highest rated film in the franchise) has an 8.8.  The Shape of Water, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture last year, has a 7.4.  The Handmaid’s Tale, which won the Emmy for Best Prime-time Drama series, averages 8.6.  Not that scores mean anything much, I just bring this up to show how much this episode is already becoming a fan and industry favorite.  And count me in on that.  My reaction when the end credits ran was a combination of shock and joy and for the first time in my life (or so I think), I stood up off the couch and just stood there looking at the television, knowing I wanted to do something and not knowing what.  Yeah – I want to marry this episode and have a million of its babies.  It’s that good.  But I don’t want to oversell it.

Howdy, pardners.  Before we git to this week’s hootenanny, some corrections and apologies must be shared.  Last week, the person I called James Delos is actually Karl Strand, which kills me a little, because that name is so rich in meaning.  “Strand” is German for “beach,” as in the place where they found all the dead hosts, and “strand” is English for either “land bordering water,” “to leave behind or abandon,” or “a fiber or filament twisted together to form a unit,” OR “one of the elements interwoven in a complex whole.”  You could not have done more if you named this character “Karl Metaphor.”  He is, after all, the one who said, “How did all these disparate threads come to create this nightmare?”  Karl Strand wants to know the manner in which the strands came together!?!  Damn, people.  

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