Friday, December 19, 2008
Anyways, each page always ends with a witty punchline, and an alt-text that appears if you hover your mouse over the image to add a second sometimes wittier punchline. Now, the reason I say Dr. McNinja is the closest to any graphic novel we have read in class is because it is actually made up of pages, with about 40-50 in each volume. There are 11 volumes that are currently written so far (with one or two of them being guest-written volumes). Most other webcomics that you read, like xkcd, smbc, daisyowl, or even Questionable Content don't have storylines, or have ones that are seemingly infinite and have no way to divide them. Although they are certainly a fun read, they're designed for moderated daily consumption, which doesn't always meet the satisfaction of the individual, leading to obsessive consumption from multiple comics (like me).
I have never actually read a Dr. McNinja volume from front to end in one sitting, and I realize that with punchlines occuring every page, and the somewhat slow movement of the plot, these comics would not make very great print comics like Watchmen and V for Vendetta. I think I would certainly get tired of reading a Dr. McNinja volume and probably get frustrated over it too. As I have come to mull these thoughts over, I realize also that webcomics are not too dissimilar from editorial comics, which I have seen print collection copies of. I have read through a Garfield collection or two when I was young, and although amusing, you can only get so much fun out of an orange cat. I think that the writers of these webcomics truly excel at their art, and have generated a wonderful form of comics that I have grown quite the addiction for. However, their art is limited to the slow and moderate daily consumption of web surfers, and most likely not suited to the print world of graphic novels that we have come to be familiar with throughout this course.
This has certainly been an interesting class and I'd like to thank Dr. Hancock for that. I hope everyone enjoys their Winter Break, and here's to the new year ahead as Second Semester Seniors!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
What is the meaning of the title, Jimmy Corrigan: smartest kid on Earth? This has been mentioned before, but so far there hasn’t been a definite answer.
Jimmy’s childhood is rarely mentioned, so we can’t really know if he was a smart kid. As an adult, he doesn’t seem very bright. At the beginning of the book, a man in a superhero costume tells Jimmy’s mother that Jimmy is a very smart kid. However, the man didn’t mean it and seems to be trying to find a way to talk to Jimmy’s mom. In this event, by being quiet Jimmy was rewarded, in contrast to his later life where his silence just makes the situation awkward.
So we can assume that Jimmy wasn’t the smartest kid, and that Ware was being sarcastic when he chose the title. In fact, other parts of the title are also misleading. Much of the story is about Jimmy as an adult, instead of a kid. The title could refer to Jimmy’s grandfather, James Corrigan, but James doesn’t fit the title of being the smartest kid on Earth either.
The part of the title about being on Earth could also be a falsehood. Jimmy spends an incredible amount of time daydreaming, so it doesn’t always seem that he really is on Earth.
I think that Ware chose the title sarcastically, to enforce the generally theme of Jimmy’s depressing life. It could have been that he intended to write a story about a smart kid, since at the end he mentioned that he didn’t really have a plot lined out for the story, but I think that is unlikely.
Monday, December 15, 2008
On the other hand, you could certainly make the case that it's alright, as long as the ending keeps in line with the spirit of the book (i.e., a weapon of mass destruction being used on a major city to create the impression that the world is under attack by an extraterrrestrial intelligence to prevent all-out nuclear exchange). Which do you believe?
I find it hard to believe that if the author of a comic has doubts about his comic being turn into a film why do it to begin with. In an article I found Alan Moore said “It spoon-feeds us, which has the effect of watering down our collective cultural imagination. It is as if we are freshly hatched birds looking up with our mouths open waiting for Hollywood to feed us more regurgitated worms. The 'Watchmen' film sounds like more regurgitated worms. I for one am sick of worms. Can't we get something else? Perhaps some takeout? Even Chinese worms would be a nice change.” Is this true? Other films like V for Vendetta, which he wrote, turned out to be a huge hit but as he said in the article that he has never seen those films. He also believes Watchmen is unfilmable. But V for Vendetta was a success, but then again others films like Spiderman 3 or the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen were viewed by the public disappointments. Will Watchmen be among them? Then again those movies have supernatural events, which Watchmen has but not much of it the story mostly focuses on the central idea that people don’t need super powers to be evil. Maybe this is why V for Vendetta was a good movie because there weren’t many unexplained, over the top supernatural things happening like on other comic book based movies. My thoughts are that the movie can be done but to a point, and though the plot of the story seems realistic because of the war, fighting , crimes, and heroes with out powers, a reenactment of Mr. Manhattan can be hard to pull. And because Mt. Manhattan is a huge part of the story I don’t think the film will portray him as the comic did and will make the movie unsuccessful.
What are your thoughts? Do you believe that a comic like this can be turned into a film even with its realistic plot about the war and crime?
Link to the article < http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/herocomplex/2008/09/alan-moore-on-w.html>
Sunday, December 14, 2008
True, the same can be said for other media like books or movies. However, the fact that comics can pack so much sensory information into a single page which readers can go back and consider is something which I think can't be said for any other medium. While with books you can go and reread things, there isn't much fun at looking at the same words over and over again.
That's my two cents.
What flavor are you?
Chris S. a student at MIT, class of '11, describes the college essay as a fruity snack: "I think the college essay is a lot like froyo. It comes in a variety of flavors, you get to customize it, and experimenting with new flavors either yields blissful joy, or, sometimes, yucky disappointment."
Aside from offerieng insightful advice on the admission proess, Chris' approach is unique, artistic, and perhaps, delicious. His blog includes various pieces, most notably, the story of the hard working student in the form of, you guessed it, graphic novel.
When words are not enough...
check this out.
Can Comic Book Movies Turn the Page?
"Watchmen" (March 2009): "The original 'Watchmen' comic book/graphic novel arguably did for that medium what 'The Dark Knight' did for comic-based movies: elevated them from fanboy obsession to serious art form. '300' director Zack Snyder's cinematic version (after nearly two decades of development) is not only reportedly faithful to the source material, but going where no other film about superheroes has gone before -- into the realm of the R rating. Alan Moore's tale -- a sophisticated allegory about power, heroism, totalitarianism and cultural upheaval -- was not intended for children, but will adults flock to see it on the screen? Whatever happens, we'll be watching 'Watchmen' closely to see if it makes the leap from comic book Holy Grail to genuine pop culture blockbuster."
Do you have any thoughts about the other movies the article mentions?
Friday, December 12, 2008
I found the Columbian Exposition to be a better portion of the book but it did not redeem Corrigan from his plain loneliness and misery. Yet throughout the book, I was hoping Ware would slowly develop Jimmy into "the smartest kid on earth," only to be disappointed with the inkling notion that it was only Ware's attempt at humor. After deciphering Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan, I have to say, for such a big work, it could be put to better use as a booster seat for a small person, that is, if it doesn’t fall apart ahead of time.
Oh, but I must say the inner flap is worth a few minutes – the history of comics is priceless.
Personally, my favorite is Epileptic's. I admire how David B. creates so much symbolism in his art. For example, for depicting epilepsy, he uses a snake/dragon-like monster that penetrates his brother's body. It really shows how strongly he feels about epilepsy and the state of his brother's disease, and the best thing is that he doesn't mention the correlation between the monster and epilepsy in his text. He leaves it up to us to deduce that metaphoric relationship. Furthermore, when someone is angry or frustrated, he doesn't elaborate on it in the text. He uses art: often, the lines on the character's face become more bold, sketchy and angular. The words and art compliment each other, each one contributing to the story.
In other graphic novels, like Fun Home, the text dominates and the art just doesn't seem to add much to the story. In Ghost World and Watchmen, I feel that it's the color scheme that contributes to the story by creating a mood, not the actual drawings themselves. Or maybe I'm being to critical and unobservant? What do you all think?
Although the novel read had interesting plot it was a rather short book with only 100 pages and unfortunetly did not have much depth in the plot. The athour used a very realistic drawing style with full color pages; which was themed by dark colors and created a gloomy atmosphere. The boarder sepearting each panel was in black and the majority of the panels are a very personal detailed close perspective drawing.
I think that this style of drawing was similar to watchmen yet completely different due to the color scheme. I would definetly say that the style played a major role in communicating the mood and plot of the novel.
This novel was different from what we have read in class in that it was a sci-fi feature novel yet was still of a similar serious mood as the novels we read. I would have liked to have read a sci-fi style graphic novel in class. After completing my multi genre project I would have particularly have enjoyed a work from the "cyberpunk" genre.
Is there any graphic novel genre you would have found interesting to read?
Surprisingly, there are many differences between the comic and the film. For one, the overarching theme in the movie is nothing at all what Alan Moore had intended to convey to his readers through the comic. They were so different that Alan Moore chose to remove his name from the movie credits. In an interview he said, "I've read the screenplay. It's rubbish." Alan Moore definitely wasn't afraid to tell the world what he felt.
Just like V.
When I first watched the movie, it immediately became one of my favorites. I felt that the story was brilliant and inspiring. However, now that I know how much the movie deviated from the comic, I'm not sure what to think. Through the movie, most of the details and ideas in the comic that Alan Moore spent years developing have been lost.
Was creating a film adaptation of the comic really a good idea? Do you feel that the movie did justice to the comic?
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I was wondering what people's thoughts were on which pieces of the course they particularly enjoyed studying. Now that we're nearly finished, what was the best part?
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
What do others think of this project and was it better than just a paper?
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Throughout Jimmy Corrigan, we were told that he was the smartest kid on Earth. However, we are never really introduced to an event, discussion, or even the slightest hint as to why one would consider him to be epically brilliant. I had a couple ideas as to why Ware would make this statement, but I wanted to know what you guys thought as well.
At first, since this book was written as a stream of consciousness, I assumed that Ware was planning to straight up tell us why Jimmy is the smartest, but was simply taking his sweet time to do so. Then I started thinking that Ware was referring not to the painfully awkward Jimmy that we were coming to know and love, but to his grandfather, the poor boy who just wanted that red haired girl to love him a lil'. After a couple hundred pages, I started thinking that Ware was just trying to make us think a little. You know, make us "active readers", or something. It worked, right? Because right from the beginning (at least in our class), we were all wondering what exactly made Jimmy Corrigan so smart. Now, I think that Ware himself may be a sad man who perhaps used this book as a way to come to terms with his social awkwardness. And perhaps he, too, met a slightly strange woman in his workplace who he felt could save him (that's how I interpreted the ending) and felt that the fact that he had ovecome his strange obsession/fear of woman was something that made his character eligible to be the smartest kid in the world.
One more thing, did anyone else appreciate Ware's style of illustration? It seemed like, although his characters were 20,000 leagues under the sea in depth, he had reduced them to simple icons. There was no shading or three-dimensional attempts to his characters; they all looked exactly as they needed to, with no extra details.
Let me know what you guys think.
Every book we read this semester either contained extreme violence or nudity--many both. Not to complain, but the multi-genre research project was a relief, for I was able to revisit the innocence and childhood bliss that comes with the Calvin and Hobbes series. I'm glad that even though many comics are extremely serious, I can always turn to that cute little blonde boy and his stuff tiger for a laugh.
To sum it up, Craig's Carnet De Voyage makes an excelent read for avid fans of the author or people interested in learning what it takes once you are an established author.
I am, however, willing to here other people's opinions. So, my main question is, is there any form of deeper meaning or truth we're suppose to get out of Jimmy Corrigan (besides don't be like Jimmy), or was it just meant to be an entertaining story that failed miserably? I await your answers and insights (hoping that my view is pretty close to the truth).
Of all the reading assignments, Watchmen is probably my favorite; it combines my previous notions of a graphic novels with ideas I learned from the class. For example, it uses an artistic style that is common in all superhero comics. At the same time, its complex plot and extensive use of creative elements like closure, expressionism and synaesthetics, and color introduced the extent of the artistic versatility of graphic novels. In a sense, it bridged my initial understanding of comics with my learnings.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Jimmy Corrigan has won a multitude of awards for this particular style, but two are worth commenting on. The first is the Harvey Special Award for Excellence in Presentation. Ware's meticulous layouts and format allows readers to encompass themselves within the world of Jimmy Corrigan, rather than appear as an outside observer. Each page, including the copyright statements and other production notes, is drafted in a manner that casually or seriously links back to the main plot of the story. This rich linking system is one of the premiere uses of the graphical-literary connections seen before.
The second award worth mentioning was Ware's Guardian First Book Award. This was the first major British literary award given to a graphic novel, and there are very few pieces that could rightfully claim they were more deserving of that honour. What is particularly interesting about this award was that it was given to such an unorthodox piece; Alan Moore's Watchmen was a far more rewarding literary read, in terms of depth and pace of story. That being said, the Guardian's award illustrates a fondness and respect for Ware's ability to tailor the art to the story in an inextractable manner that I have yet to find a match for. The intricacy and attention to detail is superb and worthy of such praise.
What are your thoughts?
We're about 3/4 done with this book, and now, it actually is starting to make sense. This book revolves around the relationships between a father and a son. When Jimmy's grandfather was left alone during the fair, I sympathized with him. Hopefully the rest of the book will continue to catch my interest. Can this graphic novel be categorized as an autobiography of Chris Ware, the author? Maybe or maybe not.
Enough of my babbling! Any opinions on this book?