Comic Book Philosophy|
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|Saturday, March 6th, 2010|
|Monday, July 30th, 2007|
The teachings of the Silver Surfer.
I just got done reading #3 of Silver Surfer Requiem by JMS. In there there was a message about cultural relativity and religious tolerance. I feel as an anthropologist that cultural relativity and religious tolerance go hand in hand. After all religion is the very foundation of all cultures. Neil Gaiman expresses a lot of this type of philosopgy in the Sandman. Back to the point though. I found a great quote in this issue. It is as such:
"If Sacred places are spared the ravages of war, then make all places sacred. And if the holy people are to be kept harmless from war, then make all people's holy."---J. Micheal Straczynski
This quote blew me away. And it only makes sence that there isn't just one holy land like Isreal or Mecca, but the every place on the world is holy because all lands are holy to someone. I think the sooner the human race realizes this people's thinking will be much more progressive. Current Mood: contemplative
|Saturday, January 20th, 2007|
My college is having a symposium on the subject of comic books this spring and I'm hoping to be one of the speakers. I'm working on a presentation about comic books through the lens of their relationship to folklore and mythology. Here is my preliminary proposal:I intend to examine the comic book through the lens of its relation to folklore. I will show how focus on universal themes and morals as well as comparing specific comics to specific folk tales. For instance, I will discuss how superheroes such as Batman and Spiderman are the descendents of the pre-medieval werewolf legends, the relationship between Superman and the golem, etc. However, these ideas have been updated for the modern era. The magic has been replaced by science and, more frequently, pseudoscience. The old stories are changed to make them acceptable to a modern mentality. Spiderman after all was not transformed by shamanism, but by a bite from a radioactive spider and Batman uses machines and gadgets rather than ritual to gain the characteristics of a bat. Then, I would like to explore how some recent comic books have become aware of their relationship to folklore and have begun to consciously include folk tale characters and themes. More recent comic books such as The Sandman juxtapose mythological characters with superheroes, while Fables takes a more direct approach and transplants faerie tale characters to modern New York City.
It would be longer, but I had to keep it to under 200 words. If anyone has ideas for my presentation, please share them with me. I'm really, really excited about this and I want to have as much info as possible.
I'll post the speech when I'm done with it and whatever interesting things I come across in my research or hear at the symposium.
Your Prodigal Moderator,
|Friday, January 19th, 2007|
Reading up on Sandman
Hello. I am new to this group. I joined some other comic book communities but they didn't have quite the intellectual conversation I was looking for. I saw this group and thought I could find that sort of conversation here. After all let's face it. In this day in age comic books tell more than just a simple cartoon story. Comic books have gained much depth the past 20 or 30 years.
At anyrate, I dug up some of my old Sandman comics. Even though I hardly noticed this story when I was a teenager Sandman # 51 struck me somehow. Sandman tends to deal a lot with spirituality which is why I like it. Now before I continue I would like to state that I do not intend to start any sort of religious debate. Just discussion on the spiritual aspects of this issue.
In this issue it tells the story of a man who lived in a city. He gets on a subway and sees Morpheus. when he gets off the train and into the city, the city looks familiar but he can't quite place where he saw it. When he would see people they were brief and vanishing. The character then encounters an old man. The old man explains to him each city has it's own personality, therefore every city must have a soul. So in essence if the city has it's own personality and soul then it must dream. So it turned out that the man was in the dream of the city while it slept.
One thing I was wondering was, is Niel Gaiman decribing the Soul and personality of a city as the colective consciousnes of the people living in it? I'd like to know what you think.
|Friday, September 15th, 2006|
Hi, I was looking for a decent community and all of the posts on this one immediately interested me. I hope you guys haven't all gone on permanent hiatus as I see the last entry was in June.
I used to only write traditional fiction (though I've always been a fan of some comics), but after reading Sandman and Understanding and Reinventing Comics I am all fired up to join the comic writers army.
Oh and I also have a philosophy major so I guess both descriptives in the title of this community are of interest to me...
|Thursday, June 22nd, 2006|
Werewolves and Superheroes
I was recently rreading an article on the history of the werewolf legend. According to this article (in one of the more recent Realms of Fantasy
magazines,) the original werewolf legend was not about an evil marauder on the outskirts of human society, as the modern werewolf legend seems to have it, but actually about people who took on the characteristics and strengths of animals to protect their tribe. It was during the Middle Ages that the legend altered to the evil-beast-within legend we know today. Now, here is where it gets interesting: the contention of the article is that the modern descendant of the original werewolf legend is not the horror movie werewolf, but, in fact, the comic book superhero. Specifically, superheroes like Spiderman, Batman, The Hulk, The Beast, etc. Superheroes that, like the original werewolf legend, take on aspects of an animal or animals, to defend their society.
So, what do you think of that?
|Monday, May 8th, 2006|
"The Sandman Papers"
My name is B. Keith Murphy, I am a new member. I am a long-time "comics scholar" and I am the author of one of the papers in the new book: "The Sandman Papers" recently published by Fantagraphics.
I think your community might like this book. I have a link on my blog "random depth" which you can see at either:http://docsophist.livejournal.com/
Through which you can get the book at a nice discount. I am also willing to answer any questions your community may have about my work via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via posts on the blogs.
B. Keith Murphy, Ph.D.
Professor of English
|Saturday, April 15th, 2006|
I just realized.
Okay, seriously, this is absurd, a comic book community that hasn't yet had the _______ vs. _______ debate? It's obligatory.
Batman vs. Spidey. Bring up any iterations or incarnations of them that you like though preferably not ones that come from 100+ years in the past or 100+ years in the future.
Winner goes on to face... um... not Superman. Somebody else. Superman now has 128 or so catalogued official superpowers or something ricockulous, so I think Superman automatically beats anyone else unless someone wants to argue how 128 superpowers is no guarantee of total ass-kicking... in fact I actually want somebody to argue that, because just in case you didn't know, Superman is a dick
I swear, this is deep. I've had a lot of huge philosophical conversations in the course of such discussions. I defy anyone who considers this spam. Current Mood: devious
|Saturday, April 8th, 2006|
V for Vendetta
I just reread V for Vendetta
and saw the movie. I'm back to being completely obsessed. Plus, reading that book always makes me want to start a revolution. So, what did you folks think of V and his adaption to the big screen? I liked the movie a lot, but I was disapointed by the diminshed emphasis on V's philosophy and the duality of anarchy. Thoughts, feelings, mumbles about how I'm a terrible moderator?
|Friday, April 7th, 2006|
Cookies go to people who know the music reference.
I've been referred to this community by the lovely moderator and I like the looks of it. I'm 18 and didn't really grow up on comics but during this first year of college I've really come to appreciate them as an art form (to the extent where now I not only would like to write novels for a living, I might like to churn out a few graphic novels too!). Memorable reading experiences so far have been Alan Moore (From Hell
, V for Vendetta
, and now I've started Watchmen
) as well as the beginnings of the Sandman
, and Y: The Last Man
series though I haven't gotten past the first few volumes in any of those three. I did read X-Men
as a kid but haven't kept up with them at all other than seeing the movies.
Anyway, I've definitely noticed in reading this community that everyone's favorite Dark Knight seems to be a recent topic of conversation... that is, Miller's Batman... and I'm wondering what to do as far as Miller goes. I'm not into mainstream superheroes that much but Batman holds a sort of random interest for me (as does Spider-Man actually but I'll save that for later), and I've been told that if I liked Batman Begins
(which I did very much), I should definitely get into Miller's Batman but pretty much ignore the other Batman out there. Would any of you agree with that sentiment or do you think there's good Batman out there besides what Miller did (and besides Moore's scintillating little contribution to it)? And, for that matter, do you think Batman is the only good thing Miller really did, or are there any hardcore Miller fans out there? I feel like I should be a Miller fanatic, but there's no huge appeal to me, at least not from everything I've heard about him as both a writer and a human being. Moore is my first love and I feel like I'm only taking baby steps to move away from just reading Moore. Current Mood: thoughtful
|Thursday, December 8th, 2005|
this place is kind of a bummer.
|Sunday, December 4th, 2005|
im writing a research paper on the duality of batman in frank milles "the dark knight returns" focusing on the two different characters of bruce wayne and batman. does anyone here have any suggestions for sources or some credible info on miller or any ideas where i could go to get such information? i wouldreally appreciate it.
oh yeah, anyone that says comic books are not fine art, and should not be treated with the same kind of respect as twain, hemmingway, or fitzgerald as american artists is a simpleton.
|Tuesday, November 15th, 2005|
More old Comics
Speaking of comics from the 30s, I've just finished reading some Detective Comics, starting at issue 27. (To be honest I really only read the parts with Batman in them and skimmed the rest.) I was so impressed with them. I thought it would be like reading Archie in that it would really talk down to me. It did in a way. Almost everything anybody says is said to drive the weak plots, and some of the stuff that happens is pretty ridiculous (like, everyone seems to have houses that connect to underground traps and unrealistic lairs that would clearly interfere with municipal sewage systems...now that I think about it, though, that hasn't really changed in comics) but there was still something making me need to read more. It was exciting. Even though the drawings were better elsewhere in the comics (the Crimson Avenger by Jim Chambers had what seems to be cutting edge art) I felt compelled to read Batman and repelled by everything else in Detective. Is there something uniquely exciting about Batman? Was Bob Kane able to infuse some kind of je ne sais quoi that all good comics have? I really don't understand what these comics held that made them good, but they were good. Can anyone help me with some ideas? What makes good comics good when it's not the art, the story, the philosophy or anything readily apparent?
Kavalier and Clay
Hello again all. It's been so long since I've posted on livejournal my girlfriend had to remind me how to do it. Seriously, I was looking all over the "comixphilosophy" page for the thing to click so that I could write stuff.
The reason I'd like to post today is that some time ago I read the book "The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" by Michael Chabon. It's a book about two cousins in mid-20th century who create a superhero called "The Escapist" (and a few other things) about the time that Superman hit the world. On top of being an excellent novel (it won the Pulitzer Prize) it deals with many comic book related issues. It doesn't deal with comic book philosophy as directly as it does with comic book history, but it's an excellent portrait of the influences on the early superhero genre. Many of these influences are still prevalent today. Judaism, the wars, nazis, homosexuality and many other influences are depicted in such a way that they form a real education on superhero roots. Of course, it also deals with the escapist element of comics. It looks at comics not only as a means of escape from tedium, stress, and life in general (and not unfavourably) but also highlights the impact that escape artists such as Houdini had on comic books. I suppose it was staring me in the face my whole comic loving life, but I never really put it together that all those times Batman escaped from nets and glass tanks and stuff were tributes to escape artistry.
Now Chabon was actually written some Escapist comics, which I'm dying to check out. Has anybody seen them?
While in the book the career of Kavalier and Clay (the 2 cousins) only goes from the late 30s to the 50s, it really tracks the entire superhero genre up to the present day (you could say that Kavalier and Clay get way ahead of their time). Creator ownership issues are also dealt with. I know, I sound like the publisher paid me to write this, but check it out if you're interested.
|Tuesday, August 9th, 2005|
hey, i'm new to this group. my name is dah-veed and i work at a comic shop. b/c of my job, i've already read tomorrow's issue of fables (thank you big two sneak peaks), anyhow, i'll probably post a thread to discuss it in the next couple of days, but i was wondering how long i should wait to give people time to buy & read it. or, having posted this, should i wait until someone else comments on it?
|Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005|
Hey all, trust the summer is treating you well.
I just finished reading the first trade of Grant Morrison's run on Animal Man, and it got me to thinking about the message of comics, or comics with a message as part of their backdrop. Morrison took the oppurtunity Animal Man provided to tackle not just his feelings on animal rights issues, but also to comment on the state of superhero comics in the aftermath of DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths and the general feeling of the late '80s 'grim 'n gritty' period; both in terms of what was gained and what was lost.
Like it or lump it, the superhero comic remains kind of the bulwark of the mainstream Western comic scene. But by and large the trend in superhero comics today--at least from where I'm sitting--is a combination of relaunches in a more 'realistic' vein, and a general darkening of the palatte in terms of morality. Now, with another major shake-up brewing in DC with their Infinite Crisis crossover, I was wondering if there's room for any more comics that aren't just about depicting superhuman beings with feet of clay.
What comics are you reading that have both entertained you as well as sent you a little spin, a little something that got you thinking? Do you think that these comics are exceptions to the rule, or a sign of things to come? Do you feel the mainstream is getting a little too dark for its own good, or are superhero comics just going through another 'Out Dark-Knight Dark Knight' period?
What do you think?
|Sunday, July 24th, 2005|
A quick hello.
Hey there gang,
Just thought I'd say hello, as I've joined this intriguing little think-tank. I'm Defender, and I've been a comic-book reader and avid fan since 1980. I'd love for the chance to rap comic book philosophy with you guys. I've just picked up a copy of Superheroes and Philosopy, and making my way through it has reminded me how incredibly cool the superhero genre is. Yes, there might me myriad variations and tales to tell within the medium, but I love my caped crusaders.
So hi there, pleased to meet you, and what's the current topic? ^.^
-Def. Current Mood: content
|Tuesday, May 24th, 2005|
I'm in England. Does anyone know where Alan Moore hangs out? Current Mood: Have to pee
|Saturday, April 23rd, 2005|
anyone wanna talk FABLES?
I've been really into fairy tales for a long time, and I JUST discovered the wonder that IS Bill Willingham's Fables. It raises a lot of really important issues that fairy tales tend to brush over, and I think fairy tales are an important component of everyone's conciousness, so they need to be explored. Besides the fact that it's exquisitely written and the art is GORGEOUS, it also raises important questions about forgiveness and revenge. The former "villians", for example, like Bigby and Bluebeard, can't be held accountable for anything they did before the Adversary destroyed their lands. And Rose Red flat out tells Snow White that the second Prince Charming came along, she didn't give her sister one look back. This whole idea of women pitted against each other, especially in competition for a guy, needs to change. It's also shown that Prince Charming, you know, the one who got up the skirts of Snow White, Cinderella, and coutless others, is a shameless womanizer.
I also just love the feeling of seeing SO many fairy tale characters in one place; I've only read the first two trades (so try not to give anything away), but I feel like eventually I'll run into all of them. Alice, Sleeping Beauty, maybe even Peter Pan.
Superficial reasons for loving this BRILLIANT and intricate series?
Rose Red and Bigby are HOT! and the sex scenes are BEAUTIFULLY done. also, if you're into m/m slash, I think Bigby and Jack of Beanstock fame have a li'l som'm som'm goin' on. Snow White is, of course, KICK-ASS in this story, being the woman who runs the show.
|Thursday, April 21st, 2005|
Machismo in Sin City
I just watched the Sin City movie. I thought it was really cool and an excellent translation to film, but it being a movie seemed to seriously underscore the piles of machismo in Sin City. I mean, sure, in the comic there's machismo, but it doesn't seem as noticeable. Or, at least it seems less out of place. The comic is like, "I'm a badass, I kill people and I love it and I can take so much punishment for my righteous cause, and by the way, women are sex objects," and the movie is like that too, so I can't understand why it struck me more in the movie than the book. Can anyone offer any ideas on this? Maybe it's just that it was so long ago that I read the books that I was too young then to notice the bloated maleness of it all. I once talked to a guy who was reading Frank Miller's "300" for a course and the reason 300 was on the course was that it illustrates the positioning of masculinity in pop culture. Does Frank Miller have a small penis? What makes him write stories that, while super-undeniably awesome, contain more over the top testosterone than Sin City did blood? Does anyone have any ideas on this? How is machismo used in comic books in general? (In answering this, nobody had better badmouth Dark Knight.)
Despite this (and I'm certain, at least in the movies case, that it's not because of it) Sin City was a neato movie. The backgrounds were (in most cases) incredible. I can't think of another comic book movie that was truer to the comic both in story and in style. Current Mood: accomplished