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Archive for the ‘Comics’ Category

Whaleocalypse

Picked up this strip from Reddit. Really funny stuff. Check out Whaleocalypse here.

(No copyright infringement intended: Image copyright Matt Korostoff)

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I love these. Philosopher Slavoj Zizek argues against the ethics of charitable giving, which I don’t fully agree with, but the method of communication of these videos is fantastic. If all dry economic philosophy talks were this fun, we’d be much more savvy. I can’t find the artist’s name anywhere (who, I think, is the real unsung hero of the pieces), but they’re all pretty great, and keep getting better. Zizek’s argument about an impending world-wide cultural “zero point” is simply ‘declared’ and barely touched upon, but I think it’s salient- in many ways, we as a planet are heading towards a point where old answers don’t seem to be enough. This, to me, is a point for optimism, not fear- using the phrase “turning point” versus “apocalyptic vision” would be my choice.

But then again, I’m not a big Roland Emmerich fan. I think anyone who uses the idea of the world ending to scare up box office seems a bit ethically dubious, to me.

Imagine this as a sort of note-taking- what if students all learned “comix” as a second-language, as a device for retention. I read somewhere that the Army uses comics to illustrate a number of sensitive training points, as comics (and, I would assume, this form of dense-animation-comics hybrid) apparently engages both the right and left side of the brains, leading to faster neural connections (that last part is my own b.s. hypothesis- disregard as necessary).

Either way, these are great, keep ’em coming, RSA.

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Here’s a fun little trailer for League of Legends Season One:

I don’t play WoW. Apparently, this is a spin-off from it, and the Trailer is marketing for the game. Which is cool.

If one peruses the LoL website, you can check out the multiple characters, and it’s pretty staggering: artistically, it’s like you took comic books, Mortal Combat, pro “wrestling”, steam punk elements, Harry Potter, Frank Frazetta, Pokemon, D&D, pin-up models, cute anime characters, and Capcom into an blender, and this is what you’d get. It’s like a unified theory of role-playing, power-wish-fulfillment, and avatar-powered escapism. And it’s pretty grand.

These MMORPG games are an artistic borg- “What? Superheros? Sure. We’ll take ’em. A He-Man-type comic Orko sprite-thing? Yep. Magic chick in an improbable bustier? Yes, please. Sauron-huge guy with proportionally ridiculous armor? Uh-huh. Werewolves? Well, WHY the f*@k NOT?!?” And I’m not even capping on the sensibility; there’s something amazingly, geeksomely democratic about the whole thing.

Watching the two teams of super-hero archetypes in fantasy-sheep’s clothing Avengers Assemble! into two fighting forces for “the Final Battle” would make Jack Kirby proud. You’ve got your huge bruiser-type, your hot-chick-who-can-best-any-man, your thief/mage, your magician, your small-yet-mighty lil’ guys- it’s the Superfriends vs. the Legion of Doom, WoW-style. When I saw it, I was like, “Of course it was heading in this direction: take the proven super-hero soap-opera, skin it with fantasy elements, add some FIGHTING…” and there you go.

When I saw BioShock a couple of years ago, I was really taken by how it combined Myst-like storytelling, remarkable cinematic design (both character and sets), with Doom and Silent Hill-like scary atmospherics and action. Intense. I think at this point, it’s beyond safe to say that the true visionaries are working in games, not movies.

Taking chances in the box, not worrying whether someone’s nephew (who got the studio job because of staggering nepotism) will greenlight a project if he can get his client/good friend on board. Game production is punk rock, in the box (the computer, rather “artistic box”), with an unlimited budget for effects, costumes, and sets.

What of story? (more…)

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Fortune May 2010

Check this out: Chris Ware was commissioned to do a cover for Fortune. Can you believe they rejected this?

Everyone knows Chris is an artist of some intensity, which for the most part has been directed toward meticulous cartoon dissection of childhood trauma.

Maybe they thought – based on the scenes of Jimmy’s Grandpa – that he really had an instinctual sense for the Depression Era, and that this was a relevant visual cue. I could buy that. Maybe they even imagined he would do something unblinking, and pointed. You know: EDGY. When your mind’s eye floats back over his slavish cross-sections of emotional hurts, can you say you felt any strident political viewpoints leap off the page? After being offered this platform, Ware ripped off his Jimmy Corrigan sad-face mask and revealed: STAB YOU! Turns out that intensity has also been quietly set on Simmer over the economic crisis.

What the art director at Fortune didn’t see in Ware’s work, that maybe he should have, is his comfort with brutal honesty. Painful things don’t incidentally happen in Ware stories: he meditates on them. Maybe the guy who draws an intricate schematic of your heart being ripped into 6,000 pieces isn’t going to pull any punches with the corporate looting of the American economy.

What I love about this: Ware is a smart guy. He knows what Fortune’s niche is. (What’s their name again?) Let’s just say that if Bill Greider ever walked in the lobby they would ask him if he needed directions. Ware KNEW they would never, ever run this piece. But I picture him in his studio, setting the record straight with every futile pen stroke. For the few thousand or so people this would leak to on the internet, anyway.

God Bless you, Mr. Ware.

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Here’s a great little trailer for Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess’s new book, Instructions, made all the better by Neil’s voice over.

I’m re-reading The Sandman Companion by Hy Bender, which, for me, now ranks up there in my ‘invaluable insight into creator’s minds” library as The Onion’s Tenacity of the Cockroach, Stephen King’s On Writing, and Pressfield’s The War of Art. If you’re a Sandman or Neil Gaiman fan, I cannot suggest it enough. Bender’s summation of each story arc, his critical insights, and concise conversations with Gaiman himself give great insight into both creator and creation itself, especially if you believe (as I do) that Sandman was one of the great works of the 20th Century.

Been meaning to mention Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book for quite some time as well. Absolutely worth checking out. Between that and Coraline, bloke had quite a year. The man’s a force of literature.

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Scott Thill did a nice interview with Alan Moore over at Wired, in which he discusses a number of things, primarily his Zine, Dodgem Logic. Mr. Moore seems to be melding the “global/local” movement, into something he calls lobel– basically, producing his ‘zine, marketing it globally (via Mr. Moore’s already considerable fame and interest in his “brand”), then taking the profits and donating proceeds to local charities. Pretty cool.

The following observation was what struck me:

…I would like to see a situation where people finally got fed up with celebrity culture. Where people started this great democratic process in the arts where more and more people were just producing individually according to their own wants or needs.

It is possible in this day and age to make very low-budget films, using technology that the pioneers of cinema would have killed for that is relatively cheaply available down at your local electronics store. The means of making music or art are more in the hands of the people than they ever have been before. I think it would be great to see an end to the big entertainment companies in whatever industry, whether it be music, cinema or comic books.

I’d like to see people actually get angry about the quality of the material that they are having shoved down their throats. It can’t be good for us. And I would like to see people responding to that by basically following the old maxim that if you want a job done right you do it yourself.

This, to me, is what’s terrifying Hollywood (and rightfully so)- why watch King of Queens (I realize the pointedness of that question) when that kid with the weekly hilarious show he shoots in his garage in Iowa has another episode up? And he’s sponsored by his local bike shop? And it’s funnier (albeit not as nicely lit) than any clunky sitcom on tv?

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Finished the second section of Page 9.

“Will and imagination, tied, the keys to all success provide

Silver and gold, together bound, bring daydreams down to solid ground.”

-Mike and Mack the Snakes, Promethea, Issue 12, by Alan Moore

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