- The Washington Times - Monday, April 28, 2008

Comic relief

“Want some screenwriting advice? Add drawings to your script. And then put your dialogue in bubbles. If recent studio acquisitions are any evidence, the fastest way to get a movie deal these days may just be to turn your next Big Idea into a graphic novel. In a faddish frenzy, no fewer than 22 film projects born of graphic novels or comics have been announced in the past six weeks.

“ ’It’s accelerating because right now it’s fashion,’ says Frank Miller, who created the graphic novels behind ‘Sin City’ and ‘300,’ and whose early-‘80s series ‘Ronin,’ about a reincarnated samurai battling evil in a futuristic New York, is being adapted by Joby Harold (‘Awake’) for Warner Bros.

“Universal recently partnered with Dark Horse Entertainment to produce and distribute movies derived from its independent stable of comics. Meanwhile, Paramount has its partnership with Marvel, Warner Bros. owns DC Comics and every other studio is looking for new material.”

Jay A. Fernandez writing in “Comic Art Sells a Thousand Scripts,” on April 25 in the Los Angeles Times.

Making a splash

“Parched U.S. states could start ‘water wars’ in the years ahead and fight for access to Great Lakes resources as they become more desperate to meet growing needs, Canadian and American experts [say] …

“Southwestern U.S. states are already concerned about dwindling water resources, and the impacts of climate change are exacerbating their problems, said Environment Canada’s Linda Mortsch, who worked on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.

“Water issues that are currently emerging will develop into bitter conflicts in the not too distant future when those dry states become increasingly desperate, said Milton Clark, a senior health and science adviser for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“ ’We will, in fact, get into major water wars,’ Clark said. … In the U.S., there are some leading politicians who have said the Great Lakes do, in fact, belong to everyone and all water should be nationalized — and this certainly is a concern.’ ”

Michael Oliveira, writing on “Water Wars with the U.S.,” on April 25 for the Canadian Press

Incurably so

“For some atheist foot soldiers, this current groundswell is just a consciousness-raising stop on the evolutionary train, the atheist equivalent of the Stonewall riots. …

“So some atheists are taking seriously the idea that atheism needs to stand for things, like evolution and ethics, not just against things, like God. … Churches fill needs, goes the argument — they inculcate ethics, give meaning, build communities. ‘Science and reason are important,’ says Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain of Harvard University. ‘But science and reason won’t visit you in the hospital.’

“Many atheist sects are experimenting with building new, human-centered quasi-religious organizations, much like Ethical Culture. They aim to remove God from the church, while leaving the church, at least large parts of it, standing. But this impulse is fueling a growing schism among atheists. Many of them see churches as part of the problem. They want to throw out the baby and the bathwater — or at least they don’t see the need for the bathwater once the baby is gone.”

Sean McManus, writing on “If God is Dead, Who Gets His House,” on April 21, in New York magazine

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