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Watchmen and the comics code.docx

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ENGL 1040

March 24th Watchmen Lecture 1 (comics and the comics code) Comics: A basic definition Comics: a narrative told through pictures (often in combination with words) Such forms have been used throughout human history Cave drawings Ancient narrative art Some religious picture-narratives Classical forms of art Political cartoons Ways of getting information to people when literacy wasn’t well known Some origins of comics: A visual history Hall of the Bulls Mimics movement quite accurately In the British Museum (video of carved stone panels - date to 645 BC) Hunting lions that are all around them Lions wounded Now lions dying The way this is layer out - tried to mimic the way they suspect it was layer out Goes around a room Starts out at a royal household goes out throughout the hunt Come back at the end of the hunt to the royal house again The Tring Tiles (Medieval English Wall Tiles, 1320-1330) Tell story of the young Jesus from his pre- pubesant age to his coming of age Stories how not to misbehave/obey your parents Telling story for a particular purpose (Educational stories) Michelangelo, Creation of Adam, Sistine Chapel (1511) Creation of Adam by God is the garden of Eden Anatomically correct structure of the brain — where God is Religion is the invention of the human mind Spirituality is inherit in humanity itself Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel ceiling (1508- 1512) History of the universe William Hogarth, The Rake’s Progress, Plate 8 (1735) Originator of comics or cartoons Political How somebody becomes a drunken loser Very happy having a social drink then ends up nearly dead Picasso, Guernica (1937) How to represent the passage of time in visual of art Representation of bombing Trying to capture the immense suffering of people, nature and the world over the course of time Fragmented image - spiritual fragmentation and literal fragmentation (things being blown up) Entire world thrown into chaos - passage of time Related forms of narrative visual story telling - not really comics Early comics Richard Felton Outcault, Hogan’s alley a.k.a. “The yellow kid” Broad sheet comic Slightly different than contemporary comic Tarzan of the Apes comic strips Retold plot of novel then branched off into own story line Comic Books: Superheroes 1938 Influenced by pulp heroes of the time (like Tarzan) Superman like Tarzan except instead of from the jungle he is from a different planet Comic Books: 1950s Horror and crime Frederic Wertham Wrote a book saying how comics were destroying society and teaching kids bad things Badman and Robin - disturbed him to know end Argued that horrific and sexual content of comics could negatively affect children’s psychological development Choice quotation: “The Batman type of story may stimulate children to homosexual fantasies, of the nature of which they may be unconscious” (191) Moral panic - creation of the comics code authority If comics were to be sold to children they had to be approved by the CCA - given stamp of approval List of rules comics had to abide by Normative value codes Event advertisements were checked This trend continued
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