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ENG235 - notes for Sept

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University of Toronto St. George
Andrew Lesk

ENG235H1F The Graphic Novel Lecture 1 September 13, 2011 Introduction to course Conventions of comicstime is condensed (words and actions happen at the same time; comic illogic) you read space and time - On the other hand, some comics are more static (though it takes you time to put it together) - You put written information with drawn information together to understand whats going on Comics and the way we think about them: - Intrinsically commercial (not high art) mass-produced, no originality, etc - More recently though, comics have become aesthetically interesting texts (hybrid genre of words and picturesthough not always words) comics go against the notion of purity (it is not one or the other; it is both) - Emphasis on interpreting the images (with the help of words) Ex. Picassos Don Quixote image its value comes mostly from the authorship (the original is highly valued when a copy of it is cheap) - Compare it to Schultzs picture of Linus from Peanutsits a lot cheaper than Picasso, because its been mass produced - When does art become high or low? Iconography (icons in art): - McClouds argumentonce you move past images, you have to move on to text (and vice versa?) - Icons in art are the bearers of symbolsthey are more free to be associated generally; universal therefore, icons are more subjective The gutter in comics and what it doessometimes a white space, sometimes its not really there, etc it represents a jump in time; a conventional way to combine the images and come up with a meaning - Reading into the gutter this is where we use our imagination and interpret the comic panels - How much time does the gutter contain? - Sometimes there are no gutters, but several events in one panelwe dont really need the drawn gutters, because we separated the events as we read Soundor written soundsare good ways to tell whether separate panels are happening at the same time or not (if the separate panels are continuous, the sounds should flow, too) another convention Lecture 2 Sept. 15, 2011 Loves Savage Fury - Foreground functionality of comics meta-textuality - Nancy and Bazooka Joe used in this comic because theyre both very recognizable (otherwise they are unrelated in comics) - Iconographic things are usually repeated (and thus recognized immediately) - First slide, left page: bottom panels with pages of text referenced from Desperately Seeking Susan (ads in newspaperthe guy in the movie places his ad to find Madonna/Susan) - First slide, right page; second slide, first page: Bazooka Joe trying to remember Nancy (but remembers her face wrong) the parts of Nancy substitutes for the whole - Last page: When he finally sees Nancy again, he wonders why he bothered; he didnt see her for a long time and theres no more attraction (the fires gone out) - I saw you on the subwaythe first three panels look like a subway car; the subway poles function as gutters - Thought balloonsan extension of Bazooka Joes bubblegum character - Four bottom panels of first page separatedresembles how subway trains sometimes lose electricity/light - Third page: he scrambles up Nancys face so much that he loses the memory of her features - The four pages of the full comic: First page has one black square, second page has two black squares, third page has three black squares, fourth page has four black squares It signifies how its a story about iconography (draws attention to itself as art) Pushes the story along and also comments on the art Could also reference the four paneling of Bazooka Joe bubblegum comics Here: - Shows you the exact same space at different periods of time - Time/Space/Place Youre reading all three at the same time - Six grids with even guttersclassic and straightforward - Time becomes scrambled as the comic moves along - Central story?: Pretty much the life of Billy, the life of the house Billy is something to hold onto while the comic gives a large expanse of time - First panel: Everything is white; you see nothing out the window; no year; its out of time/space/placeit only exists in the artists imagination - Time is the main thememoving forward and backward - The cat in the first two pages: what is the point of the cat moving across the page in the different panels? Billys life in miniature? Cat is moving backward; east to westnothing behind the cat shown The bottom of the panel serves as the floor itself Black cat that crosses in front of usomen for future events? - Time is boxed off (ex. the dates; the panels)moments; glimpses - Panel with 2032/1968: You see Billy being scolded to put the cookies back Put that back: it could refer for the tree to be put back Indexical terms: that, it, here, there, etc The mother and Billy both seem to be looking at the treeyou wonder if shes talking about the cookies or if theres a hidden meaning about the tree - Panel with 2030/1965; panel with 1999/2028: Speak! and the squeak! in the next panel Rrr! versus grrr! in the next one Plays on time and location; gives us a sense of dislocation (where is here?) - Here in this comic is an indexical term that doesnt depend on only one context - Panel with 1901: This is where Ill put the living room shows us where and what the place is - Panel with 1963/1985/1997: We dont know what that and here refers to The whole comic itself has a remember that? aesthetic to it The comic is not meant to lead us anywhere except back to itself - Last panel: We get another ridiculous date from billions of years ago Skip itit is neutral and vague Nothing really signifies the end of the story - McGuire plays with the sense of coherence throughout the whole comic Lecture 3 Sept. 20, 2011 Frank Miller - Started with The Twilight Zone - Weird War Tales (DC) - Daredevil: The Man Without Fear (Marvel) Crime comic + eastern traditional fighting (ex. ninja) Violence is the theme of the bookDaredevil loses at least one fight out of every three Cover page promises: One wins, one dies - Lone Wolf and Cub influenced from manga - F. Miller, Comics Journal 70 (Winter 81-82) He seems to take for granted that everyone wants violence - Wolverine mini series (1982) He loses desire for superheroes and monthly-serialized works - F. Miller, Comics Journal 101 (August 1985) Superheroes have lost their human context Miller is interested in de-escalating the powers of
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