Pop Diary: 1971; Everything's Gonna Be Okay; Alter Ego

What I'm watching, hearing, reading, etc.

1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything. The assemblage of period clips here and the absence of talking head interviews interrupting them all is the plus of this look-back at when, according to the series' thesis, the Sixties became the Seventies. The minus is the jumbled, unfocused narrative and detours—such as an inordinate amount of time spent recounting PBS' early reality TV series, "An American Family'—that take us away from the musicians and their works. Still, it's worth a look if just for the performance footage alone, featuring the Stones (both Sly and Rolling), the Laurel Canyon crew, Marvin, Aretha and much more. Also, while there's no denying David Bowie's impact in the U.K. during this period, I think the series overstates his overall influence; it took the U.S. several more years to catch on to him. He only cracked the upper reaches of the American charts in 1975. 

Everything's Gonna Be Okay. You'd think it'd be impossible for Australian comic to top "Please Like Me," but here he is back again with another tremendously profound, hilarious and human series, which places him as an older step-brother care for two teen step-sisters, one of whom is autistic, after his father dies. There's nothing cheesy for feel-good about the situations or interactions in this comedy. It's very real: People being snide, petty, funny and loving—generally all a once.

Alter Ego #170. The newest issue of Roy Thomas' fanzine takes a deep dive into the career and influence of Jack Kirby—territory generally left to TwoMorrows' sister mag, The Jack Kirby Collector. There's a look at Kirby's role in the creation and look of Iron Man, Kirby's contributions to 1960s fanzines, the artist's horror comics work and an examination of Stan Lee's comments about collaborating with Kirby. Thomas, who had a sometimes uneasy relationship with the King (he was parodied as Stan's sycophant in Kirby's Mister Miracle series, where Lee way portrayed as the self-aggrandizing con-man, Funky Flashman) discusses his mixed feelings candidly while coming to the same conclusion as most of us: Kirby was the best of the best and the Marvel Universe as we know it wouldn't have been here without him.