Sunday, April 25, 2010

Original Art Sundays # 38: A Private Myth, p. 10

Here's the next page of the Magnum Opus. The plot thickens (or, depending on your opinion of the final product, congeals).
I really like the fist panel. The second panel is OK. The third panel works fairly well but could use some harsher lights, I love the shadows in the last panel, but the pose of the turning figure is awkward as all get out.
Who's in the mysterious photo?
What does it have to do with Catherine?
Pieces of the puzzle will be provided next week!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Huh, I always thought it was Jughead...

Archie Comics is introducing its first openly gay character in Veronica # 202.

Okay, he's dapper in a casual way, in good trim (as is most of the Archie gang) and, as he is the only one in the series who's acknowledged to be gay, will probably be boyfriend-less for a while.
A couple thoughts:
1. Interesting that the first "community" character is a gay man and not a lesbian (can't confuse the readers with the B or T of GLBT, either, of course!). This just reinforces the man-chasing dynamic built into the Archie books.
2. Despite its limitations, I'm glad it's happening. People need to see that gays are not a threat, and if this can aid in that effort, I'm all for it.
3. I'm sure this is being done in part to help sagging sales. I think the wedding event did fairly well, though not so well as they hoped, and when sales didn't remain elevated, another "event" was in order.
4. Other gay inferences related to Archie:
The National Lampoon metafiction "Junkhead" dealt with the possible futures of the Riverdale gang. Reggie was shown as opportunistically bisexual, sleeping with whoever was available that would give him some short term advantage.
Also, I can't believe this video isn't posted anywhere, but there's the scene from Chasing Amy in which a gay relationship between Archie and Jughead is postulated in a disturbingly plausible way!

And don't those girls look just a tad dykey to you (in a good way, I mean)?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More comic book evils! Evils, I tells ya!

Once again...

The parents called the news BEFORE contacting the store. The comic in question is 23 years old. The "naked woman" has veils of smoke draping her body. The store pulled the packs immediately.
Oh, well. I suppose it gave the "action news" team something to do.
Next week: naked legs on pianos! The horror!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The people are nekkid under their clothes, too!

KSTP TV - Minneapolis and St. Paul - Parent wants graphic novels pulled from schools

BONE has won countless awards as a children's book. And here, some conservative woman is trying to get rid of it over its "objectionable content"- people who are of age gambling and having a few drinks.
But then, "concerned" parents have tried to ban material as wild as Dr. Seuss and Laura Ingalls Wilder!
This is why I renewed my membership to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. These idiots are still out there!

Original Art Sundays # 38: Sheltering the Taste

I know you were expecting a new page. And there's one on the board, the research is done, and the layout is solid.
But this is a minor occasion.
This week marks the one year anniversary of this blog.
To celebrate, I've taken one of my guitar pieces, Sheltering the Taste, and made a small video of it, using images posted here since we began.
The title comes from the two pieces that comprise this work, Gentle Giant's Acquiring the Taste and Sky's Keep Me Safe and Warm and Shelter Me From Darkness, the piece I played at my niece Jessica's wedding.

Back next week with the next page of A Private Myth.
Until then, may life be kind to you!
Actually, life should be kind to you even after next week....

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Original Art Sundays # 37: I Am A Camera (Jack)

New page next week, time permitting. This week was eaten by meetings, grading and writing.
This week's art comes to us from the world of photography. It's an image of my first photography teacher, Jack Mader.

This is not done in Photoshop.
This is traditional photography. You know, film, negatives, paper developing, the works, old school.
I took an image of Jack with half the lens masked. Then I rotated the mask and took an upscaled shot of a Nikon 35MM camera. For the second negative, I took a shot of a broken mirror, shattered from the center out.
Then, projecting the negative through the enlarger, I cut a mask of the projected area of the Jack/camera composite.
Masking first the mirrored area and then the composite negative, I exposed both areas of the paper. The mask was slightly off-register, which gave the nifty solarized edging.
I've always been rather proud of this one. When I applied for credit transfer at MCAD, this was the only photo I showed in my portfolio, and they accepted my photo credits.
It remains a favorite.
There are at least three songs titled I Am A Camera: one by the Buggles, one by Gentle Giant, and one in the musical Cabaret.
next week, more of A Private Myth.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thoughts on PCA

As promised, I'm taking a minute away from grading to offer some observations on the PCA National Conference in St. Louis, MO, this past weekend.
Meeting and chatting with Kim Munson, whose body of knowledge on comics art exhibition and legal matters is formidable. She's also great fun to hang out with. Her paper on the NY show was quite revealing! Here's Kim with Trina Robbins from last year's San Diego con!

Photo credit goes to Micheal Dooley!
A bit sad that this was the same weekend as WonderCon. I have much more fun at WonderCon than I do at San Diego, but it's better for my career to attend and present at PCA, so if it remains a scheduling and monetary choice, there's my mandate. It may be better in other ways too- see below.
I also rather enjoyed getting to know Jacque Nodell a bit better. Like Kim's, her blog is linked on this blog. I was quite embarrassed as a comics scholar to not have made the connection to her name, and that her grandfather was the creator of the original Green Lantern! Jaque's paper on the romantic aspects of 70s Supergirl, Wonder Woman and Lois Lane comics was quite engaging.
Here's Jacque at San Diego last year. Not the best vid I've ever seen, but it does give a sense of her energy.

Of course, my old and dear friend Frenchy Lunning made the whole thing possible for me, both by offering an affordable (to say the least) room share and by being a constant support for my career, my work and my ideas. I have such a blast hanging out with her, but I get it that her time is at a premium, so I'm always grateful for what I can get.
Frenchy always finds a different approach to the material, and her view of Ranma 1/2 as a horror text was certainly no exception!
I mean, really. It takes a very flexible mind to see this as a horror story. But Frenchy made a very compelling case!

Here's Frenchy in her milieu at the Picto-Plasma conference, one of dozens she routinely attends and at which she offers presentations. In addition, she is the editor and spearhead of the academic journal Mechademia.

Also a pleasure to meet fat studies scholar and performance artist Cindy Baker, whose piece I was sorry to miss.
Some great papers on aspects of Grecian legend in Watchmen, issues of identity in Persepolis, Wendy Goldberg's delightful paper on The Rabbi's Cat, contemporary noir comics, superhero musicals and their failure, the usual spate of papers on MAUS, and Randy Duncan's excellent piece on 17th century Ethiopian manuscript as comic form.
My own piece on hypermasculinity in superheroes as a catalyst for relationship failure and Concrete as a repudiation of that notion was fairly well-received, though I think I could have fleshed out my ideas quite a bit more.
However, I will have the opportunity to do so if my conversation with the rep from U Mississippi press bears fruit and I am able to do an analytical tome on Concrete!
There's much talk about how academic conferences like PCA are more about professionalism and career advancement, and fan-oriented conventions like WonderCon and SDCC are more about fun and industry schmoozing.  But not only did I feel like I advanced my career more at PCA, but I think overall I had more fun than I usually do at comic cons to which I travel (as opposed to our local one, which I quite like).
But possibly the venue is not as important as the opportunity to, in the words of the Wizard, "confer, converse and otherwise hobnob with my fellow Wizards."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Original Art Sundays # 36: A Private Myth, p. 9

After taking time at PCA to present a paper on the wonders of Concrete, I am delighted to post the next page in this story.

Mostly happy with this one. It advances the narrative, the backgrounds are adequate, and it does some interesting things with the light. Not as successful as I hoped, but better than I thought when I finished it!
At PCA, I discovered that there are more people reading this than I had thought. I'm grateful for that, and hope to post stuff that's worth your time.
I will post more on the wonders of PCA on Tuesday, after I've dispensed with my primary teaching duties for the week and am no longer trying to type with a purring cat on my breast.
Next week, page 10 or a photo with some surprising aspects.