Wednesday, October 29, 2008

McCloud-ian comics, part II

for this assignment, I chose to look at Mike's blog. The comic he analyzed is called Player Vs Player. The "episode" he looked at involves a the accidental stabbing of a security guard mistaken for a vampire.
Mike commented that he liked the fact that the comic was black and white. I tend to agree: while I wasn't at all taken by the comic he chose I can almost guarantee that I would have liked it less in color. I think this is because of something Scott McCloud (the comic-theorist-god) points out in his chapter on color: "With out the emotional impact of single-color saturation, the expressive potential of American color comics was often canceled out to an emotional gray"(188). This really struck a chord with me, as a tend to dislike action comics for their over saturation of color. I think that McCloud must be on to something with this, as both Mike and I prefer the black and white, and it was briefly discussed in class that the comics with intense line and color in the paper were often skipped by many students in the class. Not quite related to what Mike had to say, but still relevant: that McCloud quote concerning color suddenly explained to me why I eventually found reading things like this

From Daniel Clowes' Ghostworld

comparatively comfortable: the single color use and thin lines are far less jarring than their over-saturated action-hero counterparts. That, and I'm a cutting-edge bitch too, so I can relate.
I realize that this is a complete aside, but I feel its an important observation if we're talking about the theory of comics and their perceived prestige in society.

Back to Mike.

In his discussion of PvsP, Mike doesn't really explore the relationship between the words and the images, which is what struck me as most compelling about this strip. All four panels are, according to McCloud, Word specific-- the words convey the meaning of the strip by themselves and the images simply illustrate without lending any tangible meaning (153). This seemed odd to me, as some pretty exciting stuff happens in these four panels but we don't get to see any of it, just read about it and look at people discussing instead.

Reading and writing about comic ala McCloud

The comic I chose to read is "The Silencer", an online comic by Mike Heronime and Tony Pacitti. The Comic is about two boys who find a briefcase containing a gun-with a silencer- while fishing. It can be found here.

Things McCloud might like to talk about here:

1.Gutters. I really like the choice of panel contents in the segment I have included above. Specifically, I like the intentional-ness of it: this easily could have been on panel, but its not. Instead, a transition is created between the active bicycle and the emotive face, creating two separate foci or actions. On a broader scope, transitions are a very interesting aspect of this comic. Because it is published online, the author can control how much of the story a reader sees at once, in way that wouldn't be as effective (emotionally or cost) on the page. In this case, the reader is often only given one frame or panel at a time, and it requires action on the part of the reader to see the next one. On the surface, I could see how McCloud would argue that this pushes "The Silencer" in to his "cartoon not comic dammit" category. However, I would argue that the internet changes the medium-- and our definition slightly. I think that because the individual panels are intended-- and indeed require-- to be read together, the fact that they are presented on different pages does not discount them from inclusion of our comic definition. Instead, I would argue that the web allows for "infinite gutters", requiring more closure and direct participation from the reader, not eliminating the need for it.

2. Real vs. ideal. "The Silencer" uses an intriguing combination of realistic and idealistic images. In the example above, the use of shading and gradation creates a fairly realistic body, and the straight lines of the bicycle add to the effect. However, the wobbly looking wheels and relatively simplified face adds a distinctly "cartoonish" quality to it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

peer review recap pt. II

I think on the whole, this peer review was far more useful for me. I got a lot of good comments on this paper, far more than the last one. However, I found it far more difficult to use the wetpaint program to edit than google docs. I really liked the highlighting and comment features in google docs found myself trying to re-create those features in wet paint and just becoming frustrated. I did like the "thread" feature, as it forced me to leave more detailed comments. On the whole, I like google docs much better for editing. The other issue that came up was ensuring a equal level of commenting on all papers. On the one hand, I think it worked out better than the small groups method, because I wasn't reliant on 3 specific people to comment, and so I personally received more feedback of a higher quality. However, some people didn't get any comments at all, which would have rendered this whole activity useless for them, and probably would have felt particularly unfair if they commented on other papers. Side note, I was really surprised how many people didn't have an essay up. I probably would have edited more, had they been there.

(Hannah, you've put too much pressure on me. I can't think of one witty thing. Not one!
so.....Here's my little sister flying.

Think about that.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

what are others saying?

While reading others class blogs, I was really surprised by how much support Williams has. Now, I realize that my blog comparing the two was somewhat grandiose, and perhaps even silly, but only one other person to comedown on the side of Strunk and White. Byron declares "If I were to compare Strunk and White's book to Williams, I would easily say that despite the grumpy and doddering old man feel the Strunk and White have, I like their book far better than Williams"... maybe I'll make us tee-shirts. A few people mentioned in their "what are people saying" entry that they agreed with my comparison of S&W V. Williams, their own comparisons clearly favored Williams. Ashley W makes a good point for Williams: "When I actually understand why something is supposed to be a done a certain way, it makes it much easier for me to do it in that manner. The book explains each example almost too much". That was something I hadn't thought about-- I really do tend to like rules more when I understand the why of them, and Williams certainly does explain. I also, as you may have guessed, agree with the "too much" statement as well.

Monday, October 6, 2008

game point: Stunk N White V Joe Williams

I'm going to be honest: I Love Strunk and White. Sure, they're not perfect. You could say they have a fair amount of incomplete passes: 'write clearly' and 'avoid a breezy manner' are arguably and ironically not clear. But, they're the home team. Yeah, you could argue that men over 80 shouldn't be playing the game at all, and if you did, I wouldn't blame you.
(I didn't think this sports analogy through very well.)
So, if Strunk and White are the aging, ailing, fiesty home team, then Williams is a pretentious army of star players that arrive in a gleaming sliver bus with their own referrees. They play dirty, rough, never get grass stains on their knees and are self referent to their own greatness.

who do you want to play ball against?

I'm not going to argue with the drawbacks of S&W that we have discussed thoroughly in class. I know, its true, 'write clearly' is not a clear rule. Williams, on the other hand, has an entire chapter devoted to how one can achieve clarity in writing. This is, clearly, more clear. But personally, Williams was just too prescriptive. He's overwhelming. There are too many too specific rules that in the end make me grind my teeth, tap my foot and grow a headache. As the icing on the cake, after an hour of trudging my way through a chapter the end would read "but these are just guides. Ultimately, you need to figure it out for yourself". At which point, steam blew out my ears and I sincerely wondered why I bothered fighting my way through his rules if it ultimately was my call anyhow.

So, I prefer S&W's short commands that are accessible and come ready for interpretation. Because, as Williams acknowledges, that's what I'm going to have to do anyway.

And yes, I know that I could learn some plays from Williams gleaming army. After dissecting them in class, I understand that it is useful to be mindful of character and verb; to specifically arrange the information in my sentences. It will probably improve my passing. But I will never paint my face, stomp my feet and roar at a Williams game. So there.