Friday, 23 November 2012

Alex Ross portfolio

The main reason to buy a comic with Alex Ross involved is because of the amazing art work involved.  The plot can be terrible, but the artwork never will be.  Thankfully this comic had a decent plot, but it is Ross that makes this book really work.  Ross works from still photos of his friends and family and paints them in beautiful watercolors for each panel.  he captures emotion better than any comic book artist I have seen.  The characters of Superman and Batman achieve a new level of depth under the brush of Ross.  We can truly see a disingenuous Bruce Wayne smile that betrays the words coming from his mouth.  Or a wearied and humbled Superman.  Ross brings a level of artistry and understanding to his characters that goes beyond the words given him.  He is one of the few artists I will read a comic for, the rest of the time I am reading writers.


I am on a Morrison kick right now.  Having read the majority of his graphic novels I gave his history of comics a chance.  And expecting a dry account of what comics are about, this book is an autobiography disguised as history.  In a way it kind of felt like the history teacher from Waterland giving an autobiography as history.  This is more accurately a history of Morrison's relation to the varying stages of comics.  He might start a chapter on Frank Miller and end the chapter talking about his father.  I would estimate that nearly half of the stuff in this book is about Morrison, or Morrison's comics.  I liked it, but the title is misleading if you are expecting a history with an absent author.  Morrison is all over the place here, popping up wherever his stream of conscious leads him.  I like his style of writing and his amazing understanding of the medium he works in.  he is one of the top writers in the industry for the simple reason that he knows his comics and literary theory.  And at 425 pages, there is a lot of history here.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

#86 Teaching Writing

I guess this is my first official theory book assigned in school to make my blog.  All the other ones we only read sections and I doubt I will finish any of them on my own.  This book basically goes through the process of teaching a college freshman composition class in America.  Extremely helpful, and also seems like it would have been helpful when I was in Korea.  Some good ideas here, I wish I had taught my classes in Korea as though my students were more mature.  Maybe emphasize collaborative projects at the beginning and portfolios as well.  I'll just have to keep this in mind for my next time round in Korea, which I find I miss deeply (Probably won't happen until I am finished with school here).

Monday, 5 November 2012

Allstar Shut-Up-Man and the Boy Brat (Snot)

All Star Batman and the Boy Wonder

Oh Frank Miller, how have you fallen.  It is a bad sign when your graphic novel's most famous line is ridiculed and mocked.  "Are you retarded?  I'm the goddamn Batman."  I understand what Miller was trying to accomplish by making Batman a psychopath.  This is an extreme interpretation of Bruce Wayne and his imbalances.  But what doesn't jive is that Miller still retained Wayne as an amazing detective and extremely intelligent, but he talks like a street thug.  I lost count of how many times he tells people to shut up.  His inner monologues are simplistic in diction, and veering towards the crazy most of he time.  I love re-imaginings of characters, it keeps the medium alive, but this was a misfire.  The characters do not work as psychos, street thugs, geniuses, compassionate, vigilante, and wise.  This cannot be contained in one character!  You can't have it all Miller.  It doesn't help that the story arc was left unfinished, probably because Miller realized his own misdirection here.  Maybe if it was completed the appearance of Black Canary, the Joker, and Batgirl would be better explained rather than as name dropping.  Well, in the case of Black Canary, it seems her only purpose was to look sexy all over the place.  This is one of those depressingly bad books that make you sad because of the lost potential.  having said this, a failure by Frank Miller is far more interesting than a success by a lesser writer.  All that is wrong with this book, and there is a lot wrong, leaves the reader wondering at the miscues.  This wondering forces the reader to deconstruct the idea of Batman and the character of Bruce Wayne.  Lemonade here folks.