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“THIS ISN’T YOUR DAD’S TEEN TITANS! Or, um, your kids’ Teen Titans.”

§ July 20th, 2018 § Filed under dc comics, teen titans, television § 5 Comments

So that surprising f-bomb in the Titans trailer had its intended effect — it’s got everyone talking about the TV show, and the DC Universe streaming service where it will debut soon. I mean, I’m not innocent, I had a couple of laughs (NSFW) about it, so DC got themselves almost Todd-McFarlane-buying-baseballs-levels of free publicity. (It also brought out the usual fellas who object every time a person who isn’t white and/or male is cast in anything.)

Now, I mean despite all that, it looks…you know, at least CW-levels of good (which I realize for some folks isn’t saying much). It does seem awfully dark-ish and gritty-ish at a time when it sort of looks like DC is at least trying to back away from that sort of thing in their media adaptations, which is an odd choice…I mean, aside from the odd choice of having Robin do a swear, of course. I feel like Raven is the breakout character here, not that we saw a whole lot of anyone else, but I can see her being especially appealing to young viewers, which is sort of ironic considering.

My other concern, as a retailer who tries to sell comic books (remember comic books? I’ve got a store full of them), is that if this particular bit of dialogue gets traction in cultural awareness, I could see parents steering kids away from Teen Titans comics in the future…”no, you can’t read that, Robin’s a pottymouth!” I did see this phenomenon with Deadpool after that first movie was released…kids wanted Deadpool comics, parents were all “isn’t that R-rated? NO WAY.” Granted, Deadpool comics are not generally speaking for the tykes, but it appeared this reaction was being fueled by the film and not by any particularly awareness of the comics.

Of course, that’s comparing apples and oranges, one of the most successful R-rated movies in history versus a streaming TV show that may be seen by upwards of tens of viewers. Who knows what impact this show will ultimately have, in a world where there is an enormous surfeit of superhero media, beyond the novelty of being part of a network presented by a comics publisher? Sure, I’ll be watching, because SWAMP THING TV SHOW, DUH. And I am curious about the Titans show, and the forthcoming Doom Patrol show (despite my reservations that Robotman will almost certainly have a “cloaking device” or something that will make him look like a normal human and not an expensive digital effect most of the time). And there are the digital comics, which…sheesh, I’ll just have to give up sleep at this point to keep up with everything.

Some folks were wondering why DC would even do this with the Titans, and…well, like I said, to get attention. I mean, aside from Deadpool, you haven’t really seen superheroes with quite so salty tongues. Plus, maybe DC is spreading their Titans demographics…you’ve got Teen Titans Go! for the younger set, you’ve got this new show for the older audiences, and, as was pointed out to me on the Twitters, there’s Young Justice (brand new Season 3 coming exclusively to the DC Universe streaming service, coincidentally!) for the folks who fall in between. I know seeing the shows divided up like that may seem weird to a lot of us who are fully capable of watching all three (or maybe two) of these shows and enjoying them, but hey, that’s marketing!

It was something of a relief to hear concerns that were more in-story character based about that specific attitude of Robin’s, like “why would he even think that about Batman to begin with?” And friend, if the people in charge of the DC Universe digital comics service are smart, they’ll curate a collection of the “Robin Is Pissed at Batman” genre for the edification of those in need.

Anyway, I’m already signed up, as the per-month price was pretty much just what I wanted to pay, so I expect I’ll be reporting directly upon the service here in short order. Maybe I’ll keep a tally of just how many swears I hear per episode. “OOOOH GET THE BAT-SOAP, SOMEONE’S MOUTH NEEDS WASHING”

Someone remind me to make an MST3K category for my site.

§ June 8th, 2018 § Filed under publishing, television § 3 Comments

Okay, I was planning on this being a two-post week, but I find myself having to report on the only big comic news to come out in the last few days. I am, of course, talking about the reveal of the covers for the first issue of Dark Horse’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 series.

The regular cover, by Todd Nauck, which has a real Mad Magazine vibe to it:

The variant, by regular contributor to the MST3K box sets Steve Vance, featuring Tom Servo’s very disturbing man-hands:

I have no idea what ratio that variant will be available in…1 in 10? 1 in 100? 1 in 1000? Well, I hope my customers are ready for 1,000 copies of the MST3K comic, because I’m gonna need both versions. Anyway, read more about it at this article here.

As I assumed back in ye olden tymes, the comics will indeed be the Satellite of Love crew riffing over old comics (as was the original plan waaaaay back even farther when Acclaim Comics intended to do their own MST funnybooks). I’ve been waiting for a MST3K comic book for a very long time, and I’m very glad it’s almost here.

Oh, and I guess there’s some big to-do about Vertigo this week as well. I mean, in much less important news.

A Progressive Ruin Breaking News Alert!

§ May 3rd, 2018 § Filed under swamp thing, television § 4 Comments

A live-action Swamp Thing TV show is coming to the DC Universe digital steaming app-thingie-whatever:

This article gives a pretty good overview on what’s going on, though the paragraph regarding the character’s comics history in the ’70s and ’80s appears to be garbled a bit. Also, the article notes that the show going to series depends on the how good the initial script is, so it’s not 100% a for-sure thing, I guess? Anyway, from the brief description given there, it sounds like they’re conflating Abby Arcane with Alec’s wife Linda Holland to, I don’t know, simplify the set-up of the series? Get to the romantic tension right away without contending with the whole “dead wife” thing? To save costs by reducing the number of actors in that pilot episode? I say “pilot,” assuming they don’t go all Netflix on us and take an entire season to approximate the original property. (“SEASON ONE ENDING CLIFFHANGER: Will Alec survive the lab’s explosion?”)

Well, not that I need another streaming TV service or anything, but DC played dirty pool and now actually have me considering dropping the dough on this. Not that they’ve said how much dough will be required…hopefully more towards about $6 or $7 a month, and not something stupid like $25 a month, $275 for a year – that’s one free month! We’ll see.

In other Swamp Thing media news: what’s that Dave Sim character up to nowadays?

Not sure this even counts as a spoiler for the new Lost in Space.

§ April 16th, 2018 § Filed under television Comments Off on Not sure this even counts as a spoiler for the new Lost in Space.

So who did it better?

The reveal of the hovercraft from beneath a tarp (Logan’s Run TV series, Episode 1, 1977):


 
 
The reveal of the Chariot from beneath a tarp (Lost in Space, Episode 2, 2018):

Today’s Progressive Ruin brought to you by this man’s amazing head of hair…

§ April 13th, 2018 § Filed under television § 7 Comments

…as seen in the first episode of the 1977 Logan’s Run TV series, spinning off from the movie of the same name from the previous year (and, of course, based on the original novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson).

Now, I’d seen the original film plenty of times, on cable in the late ’70s/early ’80s and via a $5 copy of the DVD I pulled out a bargain bin. I even bought (or rather, my parents bought for me) a copy of this issue of the comic off the stands at the time. And I recall having watched the TV show at least once when it originally aired, but haven’t seen it since. And at this point, I’d only had vague memories of notMichael York Logan and not Jenny Agutter Jessica in their Future Car roaming the post-nuclear-war-but-lookin’-okay-now Earth.

Well I’m now adding to those memories because I just discovered that 1) that series is on DVD, and 2) it’s availble from Netflix, so now here it is, in my very own home, to watch as I please (or as I somehow make time for it). And having watched the first episode now, the thing that caught me by surprise, though in retrospect it perhaps really shouldn’t have*, is that it didn’t, as I’d always believed, simply pick up right from where the movie left off. It is essentially a reboot, retelling a somewhat different set of circumstances involving Logan turning on his fellow Sandmen, becoming a Runner, escaping to the outside world with Jessica, and so on…oh, and all pretty much within the first ten minutes. This first extra-long episode (which probably aired as a two-hour event originally, which I’m asserting without bothering to go look it up) sets up the supporting cast, gets our heroes into that Future Car I mentioned earlier, and sets up the Guest Star/Guest Setting Where Logan and Friends Have to Deal with the Locals formula for the remaining dozen or so episodes that this series managed to have.

One amusing bit from this first episode is that the final segment of the story involves Logan and Jessica being trapped in a community that (SPOILERS, I guess) is entirely comprised of robot servants, who essentially imprison our heroes just so that they’d have someone to serve. One of our mechanical persons here is this lady, who, like all the other artificial intelligences that exist here, only wants to provide service and assistance:


…is named “Siri.” Well well well, Apple has some ‘splainin’ to do.

Anyway, looking forward to enjoying this series, and wondering when I’ll hit that point where something in one of the episodes will trigger that memory of having originally watched it as an eight-year-old. Should be interesting to find out.
 
 

* I mean, M*A*S*H and Alice didn’t follow the same continuities as their originating films, right?

Remember when my Swamp Thing posts were all like “HEY, SWAMP THING’S HAND IS IN AN ISSUE OF INFINITE CRISIS.”

§ March 26th, 2018 § Filed under justice league, pal plugging, swamp thing, television § 4 Comments

An Addendumdedumdum to My Most Recent Post: it is now The Future, so I may now reveal the truth behind that No-Prize. It is, in fact, a No-No-Prize, a simulacrum, a deliberate reconstruction of what how a No-Prize may have appeared, constructed by a friend (not Rob, as previously theorized) who shall go nameless here lest Stan the Man himself call down the Merry Marvel Marching Society upon him for such perilous perfidy. Anyway, said friend assembled the pics, slapped ’em on envelopes, and sent them to me and at least one other person just for laffs. YOU GOT ME, FRIEND I AM PROTECTING FROM THE MARVEL ZOMBIE HORDE.

• • •

So the only comic news this week is the revelation that Swamp Thing is returning to the funnybook pages (like, again…he’s always up to something, somewhere, since he’s come back to the regular DC Universe). He’s going to be a member of the revived Justice League Dark title, along with Zatanna and Detective Chimp, as God intended:

…yeah, that’s a new look for him. Saw someone on Twitter (can’t remember who, now) commenting that he’s basically been made to look like Alan Moore, which, okay, that’s kind of funny. Anyway, I’m looking forward to this and the other dozen or so new Justice League titles DC is releasing in the wake of that movie’s success.

• • •

What’s that? You want more Swamp Thing news, you say? Well, you’ve come to probably the right place, as there are a couple of new toys, or at least new to me, that just came to my awareness thanks to being pointed out by pals on the Twitter (and images for which I “borrowed” from this good person’s Twitter feed. First up is one based on the Justice League Action animated series appearing on a Cartoon Network near you.


And then this second one is from the “DC Super Friends” line:


Interesting that both feature Swamp Thing with his traditional weapon of choice, the Huge-Ass Club. Anyway, I suppose I’ll have to track these down, too, even though I’m trying to buy less doodads and tchotchkes but there’s always the Swamp Thing Exception Clause in my life contract as I pass through the other end of middle age.

• • •


Here’s a thing I somehow missed back in the toy stores of yore, but now reproduced in the new popular digital format all you kids are into: the handheld Swamp Thing game from Tiger Electronics, in all its emulated glory.

Anyway, while all you nerds are playing your funnybook game, I’ll be over here playing this manly sportsman-like Electronic Quarterback from Coleco (which, all kidding aside, I actually did play back in the late ’70s, as a friend owned it — I had a basketball version, for some reason, though that specific game appears not to be amongst the emulated here).

• • •

So I did watch SyFy’s new Krypton show (as discussed previously) and…yeah, it seemed interesting enough. At first, it seemed like it was going to go the Smallville route of making the Superman story unnecessarily complicated for the sake of getting any kind of compellingly-watchable TV show out of all this nonsense. But of course this pushes everything far enough back that Superman himself, as we know him, while offstage (for now) and the target of some kind of time-traveling threat, is relatively untouched by the proceedings. In Smallville, despite knowing that yes, this was just a different interpretation of the character, it was difficult to draw a line from what we were seeing in that show to what we knew about Superman. Just…too many weird continuity shenanigans. That’s more the problem with my fanboy brain than anything the producers were doing, admittedly. In Krypton, though, actual events on Krypton are enough of an open book that I could theoretically avoid any such issues.

And I say “theoretically” only because I’m way behind on the few shows I do watch, and adding one more to the pile isn’t going to help matters any. I watched this first one more out of curiosity, but I expect I won’t end up watching any more ’til it’s on a streaming service or discs I can rent from Netflix. I will reiterate that directly connecting the events of the show to the “present” of Superman’s time was the gimmick needed to get me at least somewhat interested, more than just giving us A Game of Space-Thrones That Is Sorta Connected to Superman, Eventually.

• • •

Hey, my old pal Brandon is doing a little research for a collector’s guide project he’s working on, regarding “all your favorite giant rubber animals, dinos and monsters […] Toys by Imperial Toy, Chitech, Dor Mei & more!” If you’re on the Twitterers, you can follow that link and direct-message him there. Or if you’re not on the Tweetings, you can email me and I can pass along your contact information. If you can help him out, please do! Thanks!

49 (and change).

§ March 16th, 2018 § Filed under jack kirby, obituary, old, smallville, superman, television § 13 Comments

So one of the victims of my part-week blogging break was no birthday post. Yes, that’s right, your pal Mike just began his last year of his forties this past Tuesday…the warranty’s long expired, the creaking frame continues to bow, and the decay continues apace. I did mention the occasion on the Twitters, however, and received some very kind response there (as well as wishing birthday-and-blogging-brother Andrew a happy day).

The Bullest with the Mostest, Bully the Little Birthday Bull, worked up a bit of magic:


You can find the original image he used on this page of nightmare fuel. Oh, and by the way, now that I can make GIFs I may need to revisit that last pic.

Oh, and Tom Spurgeon over at Ye Olde Comics Reporter also noted the occasion, as he does every year. Thanks, Tom!

Another reason I kinda skipped out on the birthday post this time around is that I had my heart set on a particular panel, but could not find the thing, which has me wondering if I’m remembering the right comic, or if my age-addled brain has it confused with another comic, or if I didn’t just make up the whole thing out of thin air. Anyway, I’ll mention it here in case it rings a bell with any of you fine folks:

What I’m remembering is a panel from a Star Trek comic, maybe in the first DC series, or possibly the second run, where mention is made of Captain Kirk’s 49th birthday. However, and the reason this has stuck with me all this time (assuming I’m remembering it correctly at all) is that the “49th” in the comic had very obviously been relettered just prior to going to print, and almost certainly read “50th” originally. I mean, that was my presumption, in that they probably wouldn’t be making any kind of big deal out of a 49th birthday for story purposes. I remember guessing they were likely saving a 50th birthday story for some bigger event, or someone at the main Trek headquarters decided that they didn’t want Kirk to be that old, or some darned thing.

I hunted through my Trek comics for the scene, and couldn’t find it…I still have full runs of both series (didn’t give ’em up to my store!) plus all the specials and minis and whatnot, so if it actually exists, it’s in there somewhere. But, like I said, at this point I’m even sure it was in a Trek comic and involving Kirk. If you know, please share your knowledge!

• • •

So this week, DC released a freebie funnybook tying into the imminent Superman-prequel Krypton series appearing on the SyFy cable channel:


My immediate reaction to seeing that cover is “…Tom? Tom Welling?” but that’s likely because I watched all ten seasons of Smallville and I’m still recovering. But it didn’t help when I looked inside the comic at the “meet the characters” section and Superman’s grandfather is dressed like this:


…which all the world looks like the get-up Clark was wearing in the latter seasons of Smallville:


I mean, that has to be deliberate, right? Aside from all that…despite my initial skepticism regarding the show (“It’s about Superman’s grandpa?”) I’m actually intrigued, particularly now that I know about the time travel element and the inclusion of DC’s classic space hero Adam Strange. I may be one of those “wait to binge it on streaming” guys, since I’m way behind on everything as it is, but I’ll at least try to catch the first episode. …There better be at least one Thought-Beast on the show, that’s all I’m saying.

This tweet from Twitter pal Joe sort of got me thinking about that Smallville-esque comparison, though Joe’s point of contention/admiration was more for the “Fight Like El” tagline, which is admittedly both amazing and appalling. And if you’re wondering, yes, the entry for the Zod family character has a reference to kneeling, because that’s just a Zod thing now and you better be used to it. (“Fight Like El” reminded me of these somewhat confrontational DC bookmarks from a while back.)

Oh, that World of Krypton comic, by the way, is a reprint of the first issue of the mini-series of the same name from the mid-ish 1980s by John Byrne and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. If you’ve never read it, it’s not bad…and if you like it, the entire series has been very conveniently reprinted in a World of Krypton trade paperback released just a week or two ago (along with other Krypton-based stories).

• • •

Oh, and there’s going to be a live-action New Gods movie…you know, no big deal. That of course means…LIVE ACTION SLEEZ:


Well, okay, maybe not. But the director of A Wrinkle in Time, Ava DuVernay, is signed on to direct, and given what I’ve seen of the visuals for that film (which I haven’t had a chance to see yet, despite really, really wanting to) gives me a good feeling about her take on Kirby’s Fourth World. Also, to quote my hopes for this film from Twitter, only with the stupid typo in the original corrected:

“I want this New Gods movie to be the Kirby-est thing that’s ever Kirbied. I want to SEE the quotation marks around assorted words in actors’ dialogue.”

I mean…right? Yes, yes, I know Thor: Ragnarok was very Kirby-ish, but New Gods was straight out of Kirby’s head, no Stan Lee required. I want everyone in their original costumes (yes, even…especially…Black Racer), I want dialogue quoted from the comics, I want that opening bit preserved in its entirety (“THERE CAME A TIME WHEN THE OLD GODS DIED!”), everything. I don’t care if movie audiences are ready for it. Let the studio paraphrase Jack himself on the movie posters: “DON’T ASK, JUST WATCH IT!”

Alas, it comes too late for the Don Rickles cameo:


…though it was suggested having one of his old movies/TV appearances on a television screen might be a good reference for those in the know.

But…c’mon, a New Gods movie. I can’t wait.

• • •

Mark Evanier reports that comics writer Michael Fleisher passed away last month at the age of 75. He was probably most famous for his Spectre and his Jonah Hex (and, ’round these here parts, the amazing Hex), but this is what I’ll remember him for the most:


I wrote a bit about that book a couple of years back…man, I spent I don’t know how many hours perusing that tome. And there it still sits on my bookshelf today, nearly forty years after I first acquired it. Thanks, Michael, for all that entertaining information you provided a young me, just beginning to learn about Superman’s history.

Bringing up the possibility of a Misfits of Science: Season 2 comic didn’t really fit in the body of this post, so here it is in the title.

§ August 8th, 2016 § Filed under indies, television § 1 Comment

So when I was talking about the black and white boom books a while back (1 2 3) there’s one I totally forgot about and was reminded of when Zack Soto brought it up on his Twitter: MacKenzie Queen!

macqueentpb
Yeah, that’s the cover of the trade instead of one of the issues of the actual series, because if I’m going to “borrow” a pic from the Grand Comics Database, let it at least this time be one that I scanned for that site myself.

Anyway, I’ve written here before about MacKenzie Queen, mostly about the fact that it took me what seemed like forever to track down the last issue of the series. In fact, I found it after I bought the trade, because it figures. And you should go to that link for the ultimate punchline about the whole MacKenzie Queen #5 thing.

I definitely did want to point out this comic, even if it’s a bit after the fact of my black and white funnybook discussion, because this was the first time I was exposed to the work of Bernie Mireault, and just loved it to pieces. Beautifully detailed art delineating crazy magic and aliens and even music, with a great sense of humor…this was right up my alley. The Jam is a later series of his that’s just as great, and even just typing out that name makes me want to pull those out of the boxes and give ’em a reread. …Man, if only I had time to reread all the comics I want to reread.

So, in conclusion: MacKenzie Queen and The Jam…two more positive results from the black and white boom of the 1980s. ASK FOR THEM BY NAME.

• • •

In other news, the long-running Wild Cards anthology series that took comic book superheroes and turned ’em into prose (and then people would occasionally turn them back into comic books, for some reason) is apparently just about to get a live-action adaptation, apparently. Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long, kinda sorta, especially now when people are scrambling for superhero stuff to turn into movies and hopefully get some trickle-down from that enormous pile of Avengers movie bucks.

I’m only “kinda” surprised because, as has been brought up in the occasional discussion I’d get into friends with this, the sheer number of different writers and characters they’ve created for the series might complicate any media adaptation deals, though I have zero idea what kind of agreements were in place for this very thing. And it might have been the cost…a superhero TV show means lots of special effects, and while those are probably cheaper to do now than they ever have been, it still ain’t free, and multiply the number of different effects they’d have to work out by the number of characters that could be involved. I mean, there are ways to work around this, of course.

On the other hand, given that George R.R. Martin was one of the instigators of this particular book project, I’m not surprised someone finally pushed this project forward. Seems like I remember a long time ago, reading in Comics Scene, that this was a possible Disney project at one point, maybe?

But whatever. I do look forward to it, as a Wild Cards fan since that first paperback came out way back in 1986 (thirty years? good gravy…and I know it has a 1987 copyright, but I’m about 98% certain it came out in late ’86). I’m trying not to get my hopes too far up, given my reaction to another adaptation of something I greatly enjoyed, but if they can sell me on a live-action version of The Great and Powerful Turtle, I think I’ll be okay with it.

And speaking of comic book TV adaptations…is Dreadstar still in the works? Oh Lordy I hope so.

I forgot to mention Gotham – I’ll get around to that eventually, too.

§ May 15th, 2015 § Filed under sir-links-a-lot, television § 4 Comments

So, in short: the Supergirl TV show looks like it’ll be plenty enjoyable; the Legends of Tomorrow trailer finally gives me at its end something I’ve been waiting to see on Arrow all last season; the Avengers sequel has some entertaining bits and some awful bits and never really feels like it adds up to a whole movie, as well as giving us a climactic battle that feels like a palette swap of the previous movie’s conclusion – I liked it overall, but it’s not a patch on the first one; and Flash sure has been good, hasn’t it? No meandering about in that show’s throughline.

I still need to catch up on the Marvel side of TV things, and I still need to sit down and watch Constantine (yes, I know it’s cancelled, but it could live on, maybe!), but…it’s hard to grasp sometimes that there are almost more comic book related TV shows and movies than one can easily keep up with. All it took, I guess, were a couple of billion-dollar superhero films to get us from this to getting a telepathic supergenius gorilla on our flatscreens.

In other news:

The devil made me do it.

§ April 13th, 2015 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, television § 4 Comments

So the big hoohar over the last couple of days is the new Daredevil TV series, all thirteen episodes of which were unleashed on Friday and, apparently, everyone on the planet except yours truly somehow managed to burn through every one in the first couple of hours they were available.

Okay, perhaps I exaggerate slightly, but while I was workin’ hard for the money at my store (that would be Sterling Silver Comics, located in the shining heart of Camarillo, CA), all the rest of youse guys were relaxing in your easy chairs, a cool drink in one hand and probably another cool drink in your other hand, using your toesies on your smartphones to Twitter and Facebook at your pals to let them know what episode you’re on and to spoil the shocking cameo appearances of Odin and Squirrel Girl in the last episode.

Phooey sez I. I’m going to spoil the end of Frank Miller’s Spirit movie, and see how you like it! (And I know it’ll be a spoiler, because none of you had the good sense to experience this masterpiece.)

…Ah, okay, I’m not as bent out of shape about it as all that. Some of y’all are all excitable-like about this Daredevil show, which has turned out to be pretty good, so I can’t blame you for your enthusiasm. I’m only through episode 4, but this is shaping up to be an interesting, if surprisingly violent (for a Marvel product) program. I saw one of my Twitter pals describe it (or retweet someone describing it) as a 13-hour superhero movie, which I’m sure is certainly the effect generated by grinding through every episode one after another. I’m experiencing it with long-ish intermissions, but I suspect I’ll have a similar opinion by the end.

At the very least, it’s likely better than whatever the end product of that other Daredevil show might have been, as seen in this PROGRESSIVE RUIN FLASHBACK! Though, on second thought, that show could have been fantastic in its own right.

• • •

In other news: sorry about the Low Content Mode lately…turns out working a shop (that shop being Sterling Silver Comics, still located in the still-shining heart of Camarillo, CA) by yourself seven days a week can take a lot out of you, so I haven’t had a lot of energy to generate content here. I’m not going away…as I promised you all a while back, barring my surprising demise in a shocking deep sea diving accident, I will give you advance warning if I’m shutting down the blog. Which, by the way, I have no intention of doing. I’m just letting the batteries recharge a bit.

You can usually find me annoying anyone who made the mistake of following me on Twitter, so feel free to check in on me there if you somehow believe I’m more tolerable in smaller doses. But I promise, I’ll still be here on this site doing whatever it is I think I’m doing. Thanks to all of you for still reading.

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