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Lecture 2

ENG235H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: New York City Police Department, Human Penis Size, Planet 51

Course Code
Andrew Lesk

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1. Doing research on comics: find interviews of the people behind the comic - CLUES TO
2. Violence: Miller quote - personal conflict over violence; North American societal paradox
over violence versus Japanese comics and their openness to violence
oRational versus irrational violence (superheroes tend to be the prior)
o"Guilty pleasure", animal, primal
3. Later Miller quote about superheroes: "modern superheroes": too many; genre is spent,
only way to escalate is more explosions, killing superheroes, etc
o"no room left for anything human"
4. Got creative control of Batman, rejuvenated entire franchise
5. Earliest batman: actually killed without remorse
6. Later on, batman could no longer kill or use a gun (removal from bleak 30s and 40s, now
portrayed as respectable person)
oMoving from the noir batman to brighter things
7. Miller's colour evolution:
oComics used to be coloured by the 4 dies (cyan, magenta, yellow, black - CMYK)
Bright colours, pastel-looking lives
oMiller began using gouache (p 125, panel 1) , many possibilities like "soft colour"
(p 25), signifying different plots (colours of colour corresponding to character)
8. TDKR: set in 1980s, Bruce Wayne quit being Batman ten years after the death of the
second Robin Jason
oDifferences between new comic and old in layout:
Looser layout in new comic with respect to panels, more chaotic, more
Freeing up of dialog boxes (moving them to outside the panels) - the
reader has to do more work to make connections instead of everything being
spoon-fed (more psychological freedom)
Increase in production values, more cinematic
oLayout, colour working in tandem to create a new comic style
9. First panel of TDKR: he looks like traditional batman, car is covering his face just like his
mask does - suggests he is never far away from being batman despite retirement
10. TV screens become panels, and make numerous appearances throughout
oServe as recourse to old comics (style of talking heads, like the old comics)
oMedia convolutes reality
oTV allows for shift in perspective of batman (readers see what he does, and how
others see him)
oPage 10, bottom row: superficiality, followed by TV host being superficial (also
foreshadows batman not actually dying)
oMedia acts as gutter
11. Bottom row of page 10 across to page 11 - aimless commentary, superficial
oPage 10 last panel and page 11 last panel: TV screen is drawn differently
TV is subjective; subjective nature of media, subjective nature of content
(also related to "I"); this is not objective news
12. Graphic matching: properties of one panel (page, etc) into another - eg characters,
things, colour schemes
13. Examples of graphic matching follow below

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14. Page 17, panel 12: tilt the panel to have grid run horizontally and vertically; this is a
graphic match with page 15: in the same panel, Two-Face is present
oThey are facing one another, gutter is dividing face in half for both of them
oPage 55: "I see a reflection" - resolution of the graphic matching
15. Page 17: very last panel juts out - drop is prefaced in last panel of p 17 and first panel of
p 18
oPage 18: one of the rare cases text is below panel
16. Page 21: zorro (parents were killed on a night out to watch zorro)
17. Page 24: pearl necklaces
o5th panel and 7th panel: Bruce is becoming unhinged, links in his life are coming
oPage 24: TV frames are integrated - this is from Bruce's point of view, this is
inside Bruce (instead of shift in perspective previously)
o13th panel: Bruce says no, then 14th panel: Bruce comes together
18. Page 25: gutters form bars (storm may be pathetic fallacy: storm outside, storm inside
oStatue crashes at the same time
oText is below all the panels - throws off the reader, reader has negotiate and
resolve the problem
19. Page 26: resolution of Bruce's problem, Bruce has to accept his nature as the Bat
oShadows, bats, bat smashes through window (bat breaking through the cage) -
meta-commentary on Miller: he's breaking through all these barriers of old batman,
reinventing the character, breaking barriers
oPanels 5, 7, 9, 11: cross (resurrection?)
oPanel 8, 11: cross is skewed - X marks the spot, X looks like mask (Batman
being released from the mask of Bruce Wayne), Bruce Wayne X Bat (merging of
oFlashing panels: lightning, light and dark motif - as the novel progresses, Bruce
Wayne fades and Batman emerges
oFlashback to original Batman creation: lattice framework in panel where Bruce
Wayne first sees a bat and decides to become Batman
Pg. 41
1. Joker's face is also split by a gutter
2. Return of Batman causes return of Joker - Batman needs Harvey Dent ("I see a
reflection") - can't have one without the other, invention of Batman means invention of the
Joker; co-dependent relationship
Pg. 54-55
3. "Darling, like lovers"
oBatman possibly narcissistic (examples: Sons of Batman, Robin) - being a hero
for Gotham or for himself?
oHomoerotic undertone
Pg. 102
4. Does Miller provide adequate balance of multiple perspectives for us to decide if we
should sympathise with Batman?
oIs there a way to resist the rhetoric he is constructing?
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