Opinion

Nerd Factor: Neal Adams Was There

Dr. Mike ~ UL Communications Study Professor

https://www.republicworld.com/entertainment-news/hollywood-news/legendary-comic-artist-neal-adams-who-drew-superhero-characters-like-batman-dies-at-80-articleshow.html

Over the weekend, we lost one of the truly great figures in comics art when Neal Adams passed away at the age of 90. Adams was a titan of the industry. His bold artistic style literally broke the comics page, moving out from the common practice of rectilinear panels with wild abandon. Pulse pounding action sequences on Adam’s pages were spaced around diagonal lines and sometimes the figures of characters themselves. Adams was also a master of expression. You always knew exactly what his heroes and villains were thinking by the looks on their faces. 

There is a tendency among longtime fans to be a bit insufferable about the impact of older comics. I would never want to be one of those “the book is better” types. However, if you really love superhero movies, tv shows, and games, I want to share with you how much Neal Adams contributed to what you love. 

Good X-Men stories: Given the popularity of the X-Men today, many people don’t realize just how miserable X-Men comics were back in the old days. It was a rare miss for the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby duo. Eventually the comic would be converted to reprints. For a few glorious issues though, writer Roy Thomas and Neal Adams showed the true action and drama potential of these characters in Uncanny X-Men #56-63 (1969). While this burst wasn’t enough to stave off the reprint area, I am convinced that these glorious issues showed the power of this concept (particularly in some stories involving the Sentinels) that other creators wanted to bring them back. 

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Dear Critograph, Thank You.

Hunter Epperson ~ Copy-Desk-Chief

Photo of The Critograph team at the University of Lynchburg. Photo taken by Declan Austin. 

As I wrote this piece, my final story for the Critograph, I will admit, it was a very bittersweet moment, especially trying to say goodbye to an organization that has given me so much. 

In August 2020, my friend Kelli Carter told me to reach out to Dr. Ghislaine Lewis about joining The Critograph team to get my hands into journalism work; since I have changed my communication studies emphasis from social influence to journalism. 

As time went on, I reached out to Dr. Lewis about possibly joining The Critograph team as a volunteer staff writer, and I remember my  virtual interview with her and Grace Cavanaugh and subsequently being offered the job as a staff writer.

I remember when I wrote my first journalism article, with no prior experience, and Dr. Lewis ripped it apart.

She provided me feedback, and sat down with me to help me learn from my mistakes, which I am grateful for, and it truly did help transform me into the writer I am today.

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Hope For The Future 

Faith McCray ~ Assistant Editor

Photo Created By Faith McCray on May 2, 2022

For my final Critograph edition of the semester I have decided to do something different. As we continue to approach finals week and graduation for our seniors, I want to address this to them specifically, but of course anyone can take something away from this. 

Since I started writing for the Critograph, I have focused solely on Psalms within the bible. However, this week I have chosen to focus on a specific verse in Jeremiah 29. This verse you may ask, is Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29 explains Jeremiah’s letter to those who were exiled in 597 B.C. This letter was written sometime between 597 B.C. and the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred in 586 B.C. God informed Jeremiah that he allowed some people to be taken to Babylon: however, when he did this he told Jeremiah that he would one day bring them back. 

For Jeremiah’s audience this could hardly be seen as a good deed. This was because not everyone had been taken away from Jerusalem. Therefore, this letter was written solely for the people who had been sent into exile. These citizens were sent into exile to prove to them that God had a plan for them and that everything in the end was going to work out for the better. 

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Semester Report on the Senate

Claire King ~ Vice President of Internal Affairs and President-Elect

Photo of SGA Board at the election open forum featuring Matthew Gillet, Ariel Lineberry, and Amelia Simmons on April 18, 2022 taken by Claire King

While navigating through the challenges of leading during a pandemic, the Student Government Association Senate of 2021-2022 has succeeded in serving our community in a multitude of ways. This group represents all voices on campus, and has demonstrated their continuous commitment to making decisions that uplift the student body. 

So far, the Senate has upheld inclusivity and respect by approving Lynchburg’s first NAACP Chapter, assisting in the name change process of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, and approving the Inclusive Excellence and Anti-bullying Amendments to the Student Government Association Constitution. 

The Senate has also emphasized its care for our environment and community by approving the Lynchburg Environmental Sustainability Society and conducting an incredibly successful Hurricane Relief Drive to help those who were negatively impacted by hurricane Ida. 

Moreover, the Senate has supported and attended events by speaker Brenda Tracey to step up against sexual assault and physical violence and senators signed the Set The Expectation Community Pledge to protect our friends, organization, and greater community from sexual assault. 

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Nerd Factor: Weather or Not

Dr. Mike ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

https://www.marvel.com/comics/discover/1194/storm

An old saying goes– everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Unless you live in the Marvel Universe. There, some superheroes like Thor and Storm can and often do control atmospheric conditions. It must be strange to live in a world where weather control exists. 

Unsurprisingly, weather is usually a weapon for Thor. As the Norse God of Thunder, Thor will summon down lightning and let loose terrible storms to smite his enemies. Thor prefers clonking his foes with his mighty hammer Mjolnir. The thunder and lightning arrive when Thor faces a particularly dangerous opponent that provokes his anger or frustration. These downbursts pummel monsters and drive down armies.

While not quite as powerful as Thor, Storm has a greater range of weather control. All forms of weather are hers to manipulate. Storm will often use thunderstorms in battle too, but she can also create blizzards to freeze her foes or fog to obscure the movements of her X-Men teammates. While technically not a god in the sense that Thor is, Storm was regarded as a goddess in her younger days. Storm’s powers are directly linked to her emotions. A bad mood could unintentionally lead to a thunderstorm. A good mood could mean a beautiful day. For many years in the X-Men comics, the need for Storm to control her moods frustrated her. This was also a thematic representation of her move from Africa to the United States. Storm often longed to return to the free spirit days of her time living in Kenya (these days she is Queen of Mars, but that’s a different story altogether).

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Mystic Magic: The Seven Chakras – A Rainbow of Strength

Em Maxey ~ Assistant Editor

Photo by: Hands on Health

As you grow through your spiritual journey one term you will constantly hear is “chakra” or “chakras.” This term refers to the seven strongest spiritual points in the body. These chakras are identified by location, color, and element. Before you read more about the specifics of chakras, remember that the colors are used to bring attention to and grow the chakras. The colors of the chakras are often worn during meditation specific to certain chakras. The stones mentioned are not the only stones which represent the specific chakra. Stones that enhance the characteristics of the chakras are used as well as some stones that are within the same colors of the chakra. 

The root chakra is the first of the chakras. Also known as muladhara, the root chakra is located in the feet and is an earth elemental chakra. This is the grounding, foundational chakra that is also known for financial stability. Muladhara’s most intensive growth is between one and seven years of age. The most common mantra is “I cannot grow from an unsteady foundation.” Mantras are Buddhist and Hinduist meditation repetition sayings to guide the body to its goal. The root chakra is represented in red and often affiliated with hematite stone for its strength and mass. 

The next of the chakras is the sacral chakra, a water elemental chakra. The sacral chakra rules sexual energy and creativity. The sacral chakra is also known as swadhisthana and is located in the lower abdomen below the naval. The most of the growth of the sacral chakra is during the ages of eight to fourteen. The sacral chakra is orange and represented by the tiger’s eye. The most popular mantra for the sacral chakra is “I will always honor others but not before myself.” 

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Nerd Factor: Punching Hitler Right in the Mouth

Dr. Mike ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

The cover to Captain America #1 is one of my all-time favorite comic book covers. Released a few days before Christmas in 1940, the cover depicts the debut of our most patriotic hero. This image is a particularly fine example of the dynamic artwork of Cap’s co-creator, Jack Kirby. You can almost hear the savage blow that the good Captain delivered right to Hitler’s face, knocking the despot back and sending his red tie flying. His Nazi underlings look on, shocked and afraid, trying and failing to stop Captain America. 

The cover is important because Captain America has gone on to be one of our most prominent superheroes. Although his costume is a bit different here—the abdominal stripes are a bit narrower, the head covering is more like a helmet than a mask, and the shield is more angular—visually this is pretty much the Cap we know today, athletic, action-oriented, and wearing his patriotism. 

As I have gotten older, I have come to love this cover for other reasons. I am always impressed by how early Captain America is laying into the Nazis here. It was 1940. America would not formerly go to war until a year later. Cap was leading the way. Writer Joe Simon and artist Jack Kirby were both Jewish. They knew what was going on in the world. They knew what this country should be doing and whom we should be fighting. 

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No More Hatred

Faith McCray ~ Assistant Editor

Photo By Faith McCray

Psalm 41 is a Psalm of David. 1 Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the Lord delivers them in times of trouble. 2 The Lord protects and preserves them— they are counted among the blessed in the land— he does not give them over to the desire of their foes. 3 The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness. 4 I said, “Have mercy on me, Lord; heal me, for I have sinned against you.” 5 My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die and his name perish?” 6 When one of them comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander; then he goes out and spreads it around. 7 All my enemies whisper together against me; they imagine the worst for me, saying, 8 “A vile disease has afflicted him; he will never get up from the place where he lies.” 9 Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me. 10 But may you have mercy on me, Lord; raise me up, that I may repay them. 11 I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. 12 Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever. 13 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.

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If God Is For His People 

Faith McCray ~ Assistant Editor:

Photo By Faith McCray

Psalm 124 is a Psalm of David. 1 If the Lord had not been on our side— let Israel say— 2 if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, 3 they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us; 4 the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, 5 the raging waters would have swept us away. 6 Praise be to the Lord, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. 7 We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. 8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

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Acceptance Vs Tolerance: The Importance of Kindness 

Photo by: Dreamstime Stock Images

Em Maxey ~ Assistant Editor

Humanity shares a common experience: The dehumanization by sly, demeaning, or prejudice remarks. The world has a plague of passive injustice in the belief that tolerance is the highest compliment to an individual in which you share a disagreement. It is our highest duty as a species of humans to show compassion and affection towards others. This affection does not have to be romantic or love driven but rather given with sentiments and warmth. 

Tolerance is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary first and foremost as the capacity to endure pain and hardship. It is defined secondly as the act of allowing something. Whether it be against the LGBT+ community, religions, races, or disabilities and abilities it is no longer enough to be tolerant. It is our expectation that we open our arms out to those in need of kindness. 

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Chiromancy: The art of Palm Reading

Written by Em Maxey ~ Assistant Editor

It would take the entire news print to tell you about the history and art of practicing palmistry (known in wiccan culture as chiromancy). Every culture that practices palmistry has a different way of reading the palm and the lines that it’s marked with. 

The overall size and shape of the hands indicate the generality of a person. Large hands can usually mean solidarity, creativity, and quietness while small hands can resemble hastiness, short tempers, and impatience. 

Square fingers or palms can be a signal of hard workers and laborers and narrow, thin hands are usually those of philosophers and thinkers. The length of the fingers are representative of how a person acts. 

Short fingers are quick and fast thinkers and doers who act on logic. Long fingers are individuals of feelings rather than reasoning. A balance of emotion and logic are often within those with medium fingers, well balanced to the size of the palm. 

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Nerd Factor: We Loved Lucy

Image from https://www.tvinsider.com/show/i-love-lucy/

Dr. Mike ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

With two recent movies out about their careers, the fictionalized Being the Ricardos (2021) and the documentary Lucy and Desi (2021), Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are receiving a long overdue retrospective. Both films deal with their most famous show, I Love Lucy, and such issues as the couple’s battle with the rabid witch hunt that was House Un-American Activities Committee, the challenges they faced as an interracial couple, and the inevitable demise. 

Amidst all the necessary coverage of the drama in their lives, there is also a much-needed lauding of the powerhouse couple’s  impact on the emerging television business. As the creators behind Desilu Productions, Ball and Arnaz ran the most powerful independent television studio in the business. That studio gave us shows like Mission Impossible, Mannix, and, oh, a little thing called Star Trek. Additionally, they had production deals with comedian and producer Danny Thomas, his show and another little thing called The Andy Griffith Show filmed on the Desilu lot.  

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Why Our God Reigns 

Faith McCray ~ Assistant Editor: 

Photo By Em Maxey 

Psalm 46 is a song. 1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. 6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. 8 Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations He has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;  He burns the shields with fire. 10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 11 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. 

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SGA Corner: Transfer Highlights

Picture of the 2020 Link Leader orientation team, Received from Hannah Orndorff.

Hannah Orndorff ~ Senator for Transfers

What is a transfer student? 

They are someone who has earned credits for study at one school or institution but, for their own reasons, wants to go to a different institution and bring over the credits she or he has earned. 

In recent years, the University has welcomed increasing numbers of transfer students not just in the fall semester but also the spring. Whether they are coming from four year institutions, junior colleges, or community colleges, each transfer has a different journey to not just get here but also in their time spent at the University. 

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Nerd Factor: The Sound of One Hand Slapping

waboosh https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-03-27/photos-will-smiths-swing-at-chris-rock-sends-2022-oscars-off-the-rails

Dr. Mike ~ UL Communications Studies Professor

Comedy is dangerous. 

I tell that to my classes whenever the topic comes up. Comedy is, hands down, the most dangerous genre there is, even more than horror. Comedy is dangerous for the comedian and comedy is dangerous for the audience. 

Sunday night’s Oscar ceremony offered the perfect example of this when Will Smith struck Chris Rock on stage after Rock made a joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. 

Both men made terrible mistakes. In doing so, both men may have harmed their careers. Time will tell. 

However, they certainly harmed comedy. 

Smith failed when he resorted to violence. The temptation here is to see Smith’s actions as a defense of his wife’s honor. However, someone as immensely talented in wordcraft and comedy as Will Smith had many other options available to him. The simple fact of the matter is that Smith could have killed or seriously injured Rock. Go back and look at the side view of the picture. This was a powerful strike. Any violent blow to the head has the possibility of serious short- and long-term health repercussions, something Smith should have known since he actually starred in a movie called, of all things, Concussion

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