My favorite rap and hip-hop inspired tunes.

I am not a fan of hip-hop music but every now and then there are some tunes which come to my attention which really strike a chord. I wanted to put a few of them together in one thread in the hope of getting some similar suggestions from other users.

There are some others which are hip-hop influenced but these are a good sample of what I am talking about.

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A Trend in Male Beauty

I inexplicably seem to notice patterns. I did score very high on the autism spectrum after all so maybe it has something to do with that. But I couldn't help to notice recently how extremely similar each of the above gentlemen appear. The pattern may well be only in my head or it may just be a result of frequency ( I am a faithful viewer of Spartacus, Arrow, Alphas and anything with Fassbender in it) but I would really like to know if anyone else has made this observation.

Since each of these men has relatively recently entered the public spotlight (Fassbender not really gaining cultural saturation until X-Men First Class) I am wondering if there is something of a trend in casting.

Thoughts?

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Steven King as Richard Bachman gets blasted by Randall Flagg

Recently I was doing a little editing on The Stand: The Night Has Come issue 4 and discovered a little hidden treat on page 20. In the climactic scene, Randall Flagg aka The Walkin' Dude is about to publicy execute the "spies" sent into Las Vegas from the survivor colony in Colorado. From the crowd Richard Bachman speaks out against Flagg:

Now this is amusing for a couple of reasons. First, Richard Bachman is a well known pen-name that Stephen King uses for some of his stories and novellas. Second, because long before Stan Lee was doing it, Ole Mr. King has been making cameos in the film adaptations of his stories. And here in a comic adaptation of perhaps his greatest tale he once again makes an appearance:

It doesn't end well for him. But it was kinda fun. =)

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Eric Trautmann's more realistic costume for Red Sonja

Inspired recently by a fellow Viner's blogs I decided to take a quick look back through some of the more recent issues of Dynamite's Red Sonja title that I have laying around. See I have collected Red Sonja (and Conan) since my childhood days back in the seventies and Sonja is one of my all time favorite characters. Unfortunately the stories surrounding this awesome character are usually poorly written and if I am being honest, Red Sonja is more of a visually interesting character to me and has been since I was a kid. This means that I am woefully behind in my reading of the title. But something recently jumped out at me, and that was a change in Sonja's costume.

Now anyone relatively familiar with comics knows the iconic Frank Thorne metal bikini. Entire anthologies have been written with titles like "Chicks in Chain-mail" etc. And there are many discussions concerning the impracticality of this chain-mail bikini and how it is just a manifestation of fanboy fantasy. I can attest that just a cursory reading of the articles in the early pages of Savage Sword of Conan by Roy Thomas and Frank Thorne do nothing to counter the debate. They are quite unapologetically enthusiastic over the Sonja character and the early costume related fun at 1970's comic conventions. Indeed it is early "cosplay" complete with photographs and actually quite a bit of varitey. In fact Elfquest creator Wendy Pini features quite prominently in this early Red Sonja cosplay.

In a recent article here on Comic Vine with current Red Sonja writer Eric Trautmann he discusses some of his thoughts on Sonja's iconic costume and lets us know that there will be some changes. True to his word by issue 51 we can see Sonja's costume move from the iconic to the more historical and in my opinion the more practical. Here are a few examples:

Red Sonja Issue 54
Red Sonja Issue 62

Now these variations only seem to last until issue 63 just as Trautmann states in his article and again the costume changes to one quite reminiscent of Xena's by issue 67.

Red Sonja Issue 67

Now I personally really like the first two images. In fact I was very excited about the possibilites that opened up upon seeing them. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing and sexy as all get out, they are also practical and look bad-ass. Might something like this free Red Sonja as a character to become something more than a sexual icon? Might we get to really look beyond the exterior and get to really see the formidable character who is the equal of the iconic Conan the Cimmerian? Might it enable new generations of readers to become interested because Sonja is no longer a fanboy's dream and a disrespected laughingstock in some circles?

However, the third image troubles me. On the whole it does look pretty cool and is also fairly historical and practical. But you probably notice what I am talking about. The "panty-peak". In fact the entire issue is loaded with them. They make me uncomfortable and seem quite gratuitous and grade school. It is probably just an artist thing, but it is one I wish the artists would avoid. It seems like a set back in my opinion.

I have yet to sit down and read the full story arc but I plan to move it up on my list of priorities now. I know the iconic chain-mail bikini will never completely go away, but I am gladdened to see someone experiment and make some in roads by ironically increasing the overall appeal of a great character by reducing the juvenile appeal of a 1970's throwback.

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Avatar's Caligula: Heart of Rome #1 December (warning)

The first Caligula series was so fascinating to me as an exploration of what comics could be capable of. When I heard about a sequel in the works I was very excited.

I will be the first to say that this isn't for everyone. In fact I would venture to say that it probably isn't for very many at all. But for me it is something of a dream mash-up. First I am a fan of Ancient Roman history. Second I am a fan of supernatural tales of horror. It is not often that these two subjects collide in any medium, let alone the comics medium. Add to this the absolutely amazing painted art of German Nobile and Avatar's flare for multiple covers and I am completely sold!

It has taken several re-readings of Lapham's first Caligula along with comparisons and analysis of his other work in Crossed and Ferals to really begin to appreciate what is happening here. There is a deep and ancient evil at work which a can't wait to explore.

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