Tag Archives: detective

The X-Files Origins #2

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As I read this installment in the series, I happened upon a quote in the Dana Scully storyline that caught my interest.

When I die, I hope to leave behind more than just a bloodstain. I want my life to mean something… to make the world a better place. And I hope I will have a friend who will care enough to find out what happened to me.

This is a thought that haunts me to this day. When I attended my father’s “memorial service,” the only people who were there were myself and a close friend. It was truly sad that a person could live an entire life and die alone, forgotten, erased. I think that is one of the reasons I write and that I try to do some good in the world. When my time comes and I flash back over my life in that instant you often hear about, I want nothing more than to know that my life somehow mattered, that I contributed in some small way to the betterment of society and that I made a difference in the lives of those I care about.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my thoughts, and I hope that you all find the strength and courage to do something meaningful.

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The X-Files Origins #1

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I’ve been reading the X-Files graphic series for a while now, and as much as I love the X-Files, it was starting to feel a little bland, like they had run out of ideas and were struggling just to keep things going. But when I heard about the Origins series, my interest was rekindled. I felt that the idea of a graphic series exploring the formative years of Mulder and Scully when they were kids had potential.

Anyway, I finally got around to reading the first installment and I was very happy with it. The issue is actually comprised of two stories—one about Mulder when he was a teenager dealing with the abduction of Samantha, and the other about Scully after her family moves to San Diego. The issue has two covers, which I like. You start on one side, read that storyline, then flip the comic over and start reading the other one. Structurally, that really worked for me.

Both stories captured my interest right from the start. There is a great balance of new material combined with characters and references to the original television series. The result is something that is fresh yet familiar. The artwork is good and the panels work well in helping drive the storyline.

On a personal level, I related to this tale because, like a lot of kids, when I was younger I was fascinated with mystery and detective stories, and my friends and I would go around the neighborhood in search of “cases” to solve. And that is the real strength of this graphic series—it taps in to the feeling we had growing up, learning to navigate a world full of mystery and danger. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

Cheers!

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The X-Files Mystery Magazine #1: “Year Zero”

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I have a cool thing set up at my local comic store. I provide the owner with a list of comics that I am reading and each time a new issue comes out, he drops one in a folder for me. Then I can just pick them up at my convenience. On my last trip, I found a copy of a new X-Files offshoot, which the purveyor of graphic literature thankfully figured I’d be interested in.

In this issue, Mulder and Scully are investigating a case regarding a large black leopard that is loose. Mulder is convinced it is a cat person, someone who can shape-shift between human and feline form. Mulder points out that there are similarities between this case and the first x-file from 1946. The comic then flashes back to 1946 and begins the tale of two outcast agents, one male and one female, investigating a case involving a mysterious Mr. Xero.

The comic is really well done and draws on the style of film noir detective stories. I really love the old detective stories. As a kid, I read detective magazines and would watch old mysteries. I imagined myself being a detective one day. I confess that I read every single Hardy Boys mystery before I reached junior high school.

I’m very excited about this new series. I love the X-Files and I love 1940’s detective stories, so a combination of the two bodes well. Anyway, the plot is set, and now I wait for the next issue to see how the mystery unfolds. I’ll be reviewing the next issue as soon as it comes out. Cheers!

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Gender Issues in “The Murder at the Vicarage” by Agatha Christie

MurderAtVicarageI recently watched a Doctor Who episode where the Doctor was working with Agatha Christie to solve a mystery. I realized while watching that I had never actually read an Agatha Christie book. I decided it was time I did so.

The Murder at the Vicarage is the first of Christie’s books to feature Miss Marple, an elderly woman with a sharp memory and a keen eye for details. The basic plot is that someone is found shot within the vicarage of a small English town. Everyone suspects someone, but the lack of solid evidence makes it a puzzle as to “who done it.” That’s all I’m going to say about the plot, because I don’t want to give away the ending. I will say that the person I thought was the murderer was not.

What I do want to talk about are the gender issues I found in the book. While the majority of the women in the book are depicted as nosy spinsters, it is Miss Marple, who is grouped in with the stereotyped women, who actually solves the case. So there is an interesting contrast between the gossipy women and the reserved and focused Marple.

I found that the two views of women are embodied in two of the male characters in the book. The vicar represents the idea of gender equality, while Inspector Slack represents the view that women are inferior to men.

Early in the book, the vicar states:

“But surely,” I said, “in these days a girl can take a post in just the same way as a man does.” (p. 15)

The vicar clearly advocates for gender equality. He makes this statement very matter-of-fact. He has no issues with women entering the workforce, choosing the type of work they want to pursue, and believes they should be provided with the same opportunities as men.

As a contrast, Inspector Slack does not seem to hold a high opinion of women. In fact, he comes right out and states that men and women are different, thereby implying that the words and actions of a man are of greater value than those of a woman:

“That’s different. She’s a woman and women act in that silly way.” (p. 69)

The more I think about this book, the more impressed I am. Not only is it a great plot-driven mystery that keeps you guessing until the end, it also touches on important issues of gender bias. Finally, there are a lot of astute observations on human behavior and society included in the book. I’ll close with one that really hit home with me.

“I’m afraid that observing human nature for as long as I have done, one gets not to expect very much from it.” (p. 18)

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