Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, August 08, 2021

UK trade publication The Architects’ Journal casts its trained eye toward the top 10 comic book cityscapes.

A good list. It’s predictably loaded with superhero and science fiction venues, but then, that’s where the most inventive urban displays are. I’m not going to play the second-guessing game that’s typical of ranked lists. Although I wouldn’t have minded seeing the New York of “Watchmen”, and the Marvel rendition of Thor’s Asgard, included here.

As for the actual list, I’m proud to say I’m quite familiar with most of them. Dean Motter’s clean, precise lines from “Mr. X” were an old favorite of mine from the Independents era; I know I have a trade paperback in storage somewhere. Moebius’ “The Long Tomorrow” is intricate Euro-styling at its finest. The Daredevil cited here is the Frank Miller-David Mazzucelli “Born Again” story arc, and indeed, it depicted New York at its 1980s grittiest. The London in “From Hell” was an indispensable element in Alan Moore’s complex Jack The Ripper fable. And Metropolis and Gotham City are archetypal, day/night urban settings.

The common thread here is the integral role of the city as context. The storylines above couldn’t have played out as they did without a distinctive urban backdrop. That’s not unique in literature, but the visual appeal on display in AJ’s list really underlines that role.

Of course, the No. 1 on the list, the massive, Eastern Seaboard-hugging Mega City One from “Judge Dredd”, wins by virtue of satirical scale, if nothing else. (There was also a Mega City Two, on the U.S. West Coast of this dystopian future.) I didn’t see enough of “Dredd” during my comic-reading days, but the little snatches I came across were impressive. The most memorable tidbit: Mega City One would routinely experience scheduled and sanctioned “block wars” — residential buildings on adjacent city blocks would lob artillery at one another to settle random disputes.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/08/2021 03:27:52 PM
Category: Creative, Pop Culture, Publishing
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It takes love to bring up a child — but a load of cash helps, too. A USDA report estimates a total of $221,000 to raise a baby born last year through to age 17 (not adjusting for inflation during the tyke’s lifetime).

That near-quarter mil is aimed right down the middle, as in middle-class. The pricetag does vary, socio-economically:

Families with more income spend more money on child-related costs, the report said. A two-parent family that earns less than $57,000 annually will spend about $160,000 on a child from birth through high school. Those with an income between $57,000 and $99,000 spend about $221,000 and those with higher incomes are expected to spend roughly $367,000 through age 17.

Most single-parent households in the U.S. make less than $57,000 and are expected to spend about 7 percent less on child-rearing costs compared to two-parent households in that same income group, according to the report.

A fairly wide range between poor kids and rich ones. It’s always been a given that poverty-level households can bear multiple children because expectations on expenditure on each individual child will be lower than the norm. That’s why middle- and upper-class parents initially scratch their heads at how their poorer counterparts can handle big broods, while they have their hands full with only one or two offspring — the realization of different resource levels being applied eventually sinks in.

All in all, the kids do provide long-term benefits, so they’re not total money holes. It just seems that way sometimes.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/08/2021 01:44:46 PM
Category: Society
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