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ENG235 - notes for Oct

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Andrew Lesk

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ENG235H1F – The Graphic Novel Lecture 7 – Oct. 4, 2011  Ware & architecture cont’d: - Ware as a “borrower”—reuses signs and designs to create something new (trial & error) - Ware as engineer—his pages almost seem to consist of mathematical expressions  Ware borrows certain concepts and moves beyond them and their possibilities (like an engineer) to come up with something original - Jimmy Corrigan echoes the past in its form—it also echoes the architectural past of the Chicago World Fair that no longer exist  Slide 32 (pg 280-1): - James (Jimmy’s grandfather) at the Columbian Exhibition with his grandfather - Narrator seems to be James (grandfather) but also a third person - Jimmy looking between the post/columns wondering if he can see people—looking for the red-haired girl - Are the peaches a part of the exhibition/exposition? - “I thought I saw her”—tension between reality and illusion; James is wearing a nightdress (dream? Imagination? James always imagines himself wearing a nightgown when he brings up memories that he doesn’t completely remember)  Dream-like quality of this event  The pages are symmetrical, except for the extra circular panel on the right page (memory is never perfectly symmetrical to what happened)  Ware during interview: Says that a comic strip fools you into watching an event when you’re actually reading it - Design is a crucial narrative element for Ware and his attempt to create a kind of visual theatre with his comics  Tension between word and image - Pg. 117: Jimmy and his father waiting for the doctor to look at Jimmy after he got hit by the truck  Jimmy’s father asking Jimmy what his girlfriend thinks about him (but Jimmy has no girlfriend so he doesn’t really answer)  Jimmy confronted by his father to answer a question he doesn’t know how to answer so he feels like a little kid (red panel)  “Uh I guess”—both inside and outside the speech balloon  Red background—symbolizes anxiety, panic, anger, embarrassment (perhaps being caught “red-handed”)  The words outside of the red panel—why is it outside? Is Jimmy thinking or saying it?—“thinking outside the box”; Jimmy is being more assertive than usual here (but seems to be saying it under his breath; is this why it’s under the panel?), but these thoughts seem to be pushed down and dismembered from Jimmy (given a timeless, omniscient authority)  The image shows the kid that is not mentioned in Jimmy’s comment (“…that you weren’t ever around when I was…a kid”)  “Medlife”—Metlife Insurance (Snoopy as a spokesperson for Metlife Insurance); Jimmy as a poster boy for troubled kids  The “Uh I guess” in the background—large and overbearing; perhaps represents the overarching uncertainty in Jimmy’s life  Graphic punctuation: - Pg. 336:  And, but, so, plus, suddenly, etc. are not separated by using panels, but they float above the panels  The way the panels are organized makes it seem like there’s a cross in the middle of the page - Pg. 149:  “Meanwhile”  “The sound of one lung filling with water…” The speech balloon itself turns into a lung filling with water—the grandmother is dying  “Drowned out by wave after wave of a million buzzing locusts” James is climbing a locust tree—the words locate the locusts in the tree - Pg. 150:  “In the middle”—these words are near the middle of the page, but not completely - The word “M” is not in the middle of the alphabet (there is no single middle letter)  “Up here he can see all the way to The Ocean”—James is actually looking at Lake Michigan; he’s probably using his imagination - Why do the words “to The Ocean” drop? The words are situated on the horizon  “In fancy”—James lost his mother at infancy  His mother’s hair resembles an umbilical cord  “These private daydreams”—James is in the tree - Pg. 210:  “Fortunately”  Progress allows for new ways to hide things and new things to hide  Buildings and progress displaced the First Nations people (Ware shows this in the page)  What secret does the house hide?—William Corrigan (Jimmy’s great-grandfather) has a child with the maid (the child is Amy, who is related to James, Jim, and Jimmy through blood and law)  “New ways of hiding things” and “new things to hide” – do these words relate to James and the girl?  “Progress” pointing to the increasing loneliness of humankind? - Pg. 362-3:  Shows William’s affair with the maid and shows Amy’s progress growing up  Composition, textual placement/absence, and colour: - Complex and overlapping systems of referral—work as metaphors - Ware knows what he’s doing and does it on purpose - Text/image relationships on the page—Ware presents new possibilities for them  Zoetrope: - The robot is a symbol of Jimmy - The robot is placed in the Zoetrope and walks on crutches—Jimmy is an emotional cripple - Represents the moment-to-moment action in comics? - This Zoetrope is like a physical representation/metaphor for the reading of the novel (mental acrobatics)  you have to mentally construct a 3D story of Jimmy - Instructions for airplane passengers—at this point in time, Jimmy is currently on an airplane - Ware is making a comment on dimensionality—he doesn’t actually mean for us to make the zoetrope (instructions are on the other side) physically, we must construct it mentally - This page stops us from further reading—makes a comment on how we should read comic books - The little slits/windows in the zoetrope function as the gutters of a comic - The robot is going nowhere—is Jimmy going nowhere? Jimmy is going to meet a person from his past - The robot walking in circles—it’s like the vicious cycle of emotional crippling down through the generations Lecture 8 – Oct. 6, 2011  Father as the absent “superhero”  Jimmy relationship with Jim, James’ relationship with William  Relationship between the architecture of the narration and the narration itself—how the structure cues us into interpreting what’s going on in the book  Corrigenda: - Exposition—Chicago World Fair; the picture doesn’t fit the word  What is Ware using the picture of the Chicago World Fair for in terms of theme?  Perhaps what happens at the exposition is the theme of the book—abandonment, loneliness, modernity  Chicago World’s Fair as it existed in James’ time no longer exists—the notion of progress shows us that there is no permanence, that things are constantly being displaced/replaced  Zoetrope: - Moving from 2D to 3D—time, space, gutter, architecture of the book - 2D Jimmy cutout VS 3D Jimmy doll—every book has a number on it (but it’s the same number) - To see the other side of Jimmy, he has to move through space and time so that we can access all views of him - Ware is highlighting the blueprints in Jimmy Corrigan because of the fact that we always imagine 2D images in our minds and transform them into 3D objects - Ware is exploring the possibilities of how we visualize things when reading comics  Passing of generations: - Theme of loneliness passed on through time in James, Jim, and Jimmy  Sequentiality: - x  y  z (chronological) - Takes us a while to think of what we did first thing today (time passed, things are jumbled or forgotten, etc) - Temporal sequence that makes sense to us—we usually tell stories in order - Other stories have a jumbled sequence that does not go in order - Narrative line and chronology - Comics can disrupt time sequencing on the page in front of you  think of how order is presented on the page  Pg. 43: - Architectural map—weird sequencing; how do you read this page? - There are several storylines here  at least five - Window frame connects to the billboard top—connects to the window frame below— the chest leads to a specific drawer—a photograph is revealed—the photo is ripped— the father is thrown out at a dump - The family tree (dad on bottom, Jimmy in middle, Mom on top)  right to left until “Now”  Jimmy’s dad going to die in a few days (the grave), but we don’t know when  How do you measure the time displaced in the gutters? - Jim’s parents are shown in the picture at bottom right  Turn the page for the complete storyline  James and his wife go into the house  Picture of a carriage  William Corrigan the glazier (glass-maker) with a receipt for a window for the building  The house is now Jim Corrigan’s -
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