Thursday, April 23, 2009

Putting the thousand words to pictures

So every time my blog reincarnates I have a diffrent vision of what it is going to be like. Then it becomes the thing it actually is contrary to my vision. Oh well. So here is the deal. I spend a lot of time mounting this thing as a sounding board for things everyone should be seeing and watching but I don't really give away spoilers or analysis of anything so I don't ruin anything. Unfortunatly I am bored with that format. Bored to tears. I hate it in fact. So spoilers away. Yeah definantly. There was a part of me that wanted desperatly for people to read this. This is odd, it is something I've never felt before. For the most part I feel a vast indiffrerence to what I write here. I dunno what it is. It was also butting up against my desire to write something that matters. I don't know why I didn't equate the two. Oh well. Whatever went broke in my head is fixed now.

I've been coming up with lots of writting projects recently though which is snazzy. I want to start actually writting things about comic books though. I mean I've been talking a lot about how I want to write about comic books but I suppose I should make sure I can do it.

Sure sure I can do anaysis of comic books that's easy. Heart of Darkness and the Comedian, deconstruction of the super hero and watchmen, guest starring the dc/marvel universes, the humanity of rorcharc and how he takes off his mask at the end, mirror images in watchmen, and blah blah blah. Okay yeah so I can comfortably take watchmen and write about it for the rest of my life. There is also the invisables, there are all sorts of topics in there such as the nature/role of violence in revolution, the conflict between the rich and revolution, viewing the outer church as metaphore for whatever, redefining budda for the punk rock generation, rebelling against the rebellion and the true nature of rebellion, see it is easy.

The thing is though is while all these things are smart and fancy they don't really take advantage of the graphical format provided by the graphic novel. See I'd be treating them just like they were novels and interpreting them thusly. While that is perfectly acceptable and something I will do eventually, it doesn't really do anything exciting with the genra as a whole. I mean this is aa whole new format here, with a new language and sets of symbols and messages and everything. Not recognizing that is doing a grave diservice to the poor genra that is already in need of help. A lot of graphic novels that are acedmicly studied are really obviouse, kinda lame books. Sandman for example sorta has that "mud at the wall" system to it, where everything is so loosly tied together that you can get away with anything. And Maus. God damnit I wish people would stop humping Maus. Seriously, mice as peoples ZOMG we are scholars!!!!! Writting putting himself in the text and restling with representation ZOMG SCHOLARS!!! Then you just slather post modern theory all over it and wonder why the rest of the acedemic world looks down on post modernism *facepalm*. No really looking back now I realize that people have a hard time talking about graphic novles.

There is a reason for this however.

Mostly it has to do with the essay format and the way we quote things. Normally when I need to direct your atension to something in a book I say in this book on this page there is this line then I put the line right in front of you. Then it is up to you to go grab the context yourself should you need it. When writting about both comics, and film this whole system starts to break down. Paraphrasing just doesn't capture the same crisp clear essence that a well selected quote can. It also takes up space and burdens the reader with useless reading. It is handy for going over large topics or whatnot but definatly not for essay meats. THis is also especially true if you want to address the art itself. You need to see the art, which means putting the art directly into the essay. What this boils down to is me either downloading all the stuff I want to write about so I can post the specific pages I want to adress in the blog up here, or getting a scanner. This isn't just for here it is for school too. The whole MLA format is highly inadiquet when it comes to Art and motion picture. Hell it was prolly written when VHS still ruled and cd burners were luxeries. Things are diffrent.

Eh who knows its been ages since I looked at the hand book hopefully this is one of those things that changes as I want it to. Showing the art is important though. Critical I would say. I mean if I am writting a paper that uses the freakish body and the grotesque in Garth Ennis's Preacher it is one thing to describe the meat woman. It is another thing entirely to show it. Oh god. The meat woman what the fuck Garth there is something wrong with you. Something glorius

So what about the art.

Well I have a couple of leads I'd like to persue. The first baby lead is 100 bullets. It really is the perfect source for a project like this. 100 issues long (clever) 13 books long and it maintains the same writer/artist duo the entire way though. WIN! That minor detail aside what actually makes it perfect is that there are many occations where the main charecters will be talking about something, or someone will be waxing poetic about something off screen and on screen a compleatly unrealated thing will be going on. WHat is going on, on screen always themeaticlly adresses what is being discussed off screen but it is never directly related to the plot. In fact the off screen stuff doesn't relate to the main charecters at all. The writter is also a master of the side story which again thematicly ties into the larger tapestry. To call the work brilliant is a massive fucking understatement. I want to wait until it is finnished then I want to give it a fresh read through before I go at it. It is an impressive work and highly worthy of study.

The other thing I want to do is a lil bit more ambitiouse. It involves Animal Man Vol 2/3, Testemant, Air, and Kabuki Circle of Blood. I want to explore what the idea of the comic frame means. All the images take place in these neat little boxes, everything from love, to violence, to loss. However, what happens out side of the boxes, in those little white spaces between the lands of colour. All the books I listed explore these ideas in diffrent ways by having charecters or events happen outside of the little boxes that the action takes place in. Animal Man turns the reader into an acomplice to the horrors these charecters has to suffer and animal man saves all of our lives by thwarting an assault on our world by a legion of pissed off heros and villians. Yeah it is that cool. Air needs to get rolling a little bit more before I can get going with it but one of the major themes of the book is steping outside reality so having conversations between pannels with a metaphorical Aztec snake god is perfectly logical. Testement has all sort of things going on outside of the pannels, and in fact it is the easyest fit. The gods themselves are chilling outside of the panles chattering away about what is going on. The obviouse thing to do would be to link testemant and air but the similarities are superficial. I also like to leave obviouse arguments open so when people try to make them I can curbstomp them into oblivion.

Kabuiki is a wierd choise and wasn't included in the original project. It might also become a tangental project. The thing about Kabuki is that for a large portion of the comic it does away with frames altogether and lets the story progress in a very diffrent fluid sort of way. Since a major theme of Kabuki is dreams it works really well and I beleive it has a place in the over all project. Oh shit I should take another look at nightly news which is also frameless. It also has three unstable narators. Yeah I know right how is that ever possible? I don't fucking know but it is AWESOME. I'll see though. Nightly New's style might be to revolutionary for this project. It isn't really an examination of what the frames mean but more of ignoring what frames are in the first place and doing your own thing. It is kinda like what would happen if you grew someone in a jar told them all about graphic novels and made them create one.

Oh well. So yeah I wanna do that too. Step one would be to talk about what it is frames are doing in the first place. So I guess time to figgure that out.

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