Monday, May 10, 2010

Communication of Goals

There are a lot of academics entering into work with comic books but the goals associated with this endeavor seem divergent at best, and without a coalesced vision we are doomed to failure.
It has been the failure of the academic and intellectual community in many areas to bridge the gap between the "ivory tower" and the masses. Now I use the term "ivory tower" in a sarcastic fashion.
The anti-intellectual armies of the news media talking heads and the general media centers that pull down the intellectual elite as separatists, of there own society are only armed in part by the actions of the academic community.
It is my fear that the efforts to introduce the academic to the comic community may go down the same road. In trying to bring comic books and graphic novels into the academic world we cannot leave the comic community behind, or the alienation that it will cause will be create the same gap that exists between the general populace of the world and those who work in the realms of the hard and social sciences.
So what is the goal of the academic community that has taken up comic books. Is it to lift a few graphic novels from the larger body of work (almost all written by Alan Moore) and storm the gates of the tower lodge itself in the pantheon, and create an internal paradigm shift that allows for a study of a select number of texts. Or do we throw open the doors and ask the comic community to come in with the larger body of work.
Both goals are acceptable; but all great paradigm shifts, begin with a vision and one that rallies the troops. As argued in the, "The Structure of Scientific Revolution" by Thomas Kuhn paradigm shifts are like changing religions. We must determine what is the direction academics working with comic books studies wish to take.
Is it the paradigm of acceptable literature that we wish to change or is it the paradigm of how academic studies approach the general community.
In this case this vision may be of particular importance, comic books have a unique community and the attempt to seize it's studies for our own without the inclusion of the community may have unintended side effects.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I'd ask all my followers to keep their eyes open, my book presentation at C2E2 went wonderful and by monday the video recording will be up online.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Psychotic Monsters

I now come to my last and lowest class of villain the, "psychotic killer". now if ever there was an analogous character for Aristotle's beastial man this is it. These characters tend to be driven by the most base desires: even revenge is a more complex motive then these characters seem to be capable of. More often then not it is nothing more then blood lust, the pleasure they derive from causing pain that drives their actions.
But to lump all the villains that exhibit this kind of behavior into the same category seems to miss nuance. And therefore I will divide category. Hence there are two types of this "psychotic killer" and thus the larger will be abandoned for the smaller titles of: "Monster" and "Maniac Genius".

To begin with the Monster this class of Villain is what they sound like. They are the things nightmares are made of. Powerful, seemingly unstoppable, killing without reason or motivation; blood lust personified.  Sometimes this killing rage is associated given muted sexual undertones that are very rarely ever dealt with directly.  Some examples of these characters are Salomon Grundy and Killer Croc.

The Maniac Genius while in some ways furthest from the Super Villain in an understanding of right and wrong, is in behavior of scheme the most similar.  The Maniac Genius is by far the most fear inspiring of all the villains next to the Super Villain.  They are brutal killers who maime and torture for  sadistic pleasure like the Monster but the bring Super Villain intelligence to the table.  The Super Villain pursues world change for a higher end, the Maniac Genius pursues chaos for the sake of Chaos.  The archtype of this villainous class is quite obviously "The Joker".  And one of the best lines that describe this class of villains world view is, "I just want everyone to see the world the way I do.  Alone in a dark corner, giggiling to myself, covered in blood."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ok i will admit it the last post was much more self introspection then it was any real progress into a better understanding of super villains. And i'm even going to go as far as to say any conclusions that i drew were highly suspect at best. Thats what happens to you for the first couple of weeks after stopping anti-depressants.
Now many of my readers the few of you that there are know that i gravitate more toward the marvel universe story lines then i do the dc universe. But i will be offering a correction to a conclusion reached in my book. I eliminated lex luthor from the running as a super villain because of certain ontological claims the dc writers have made about the limited scope of their supposed multiverse. I'm going to ignore that assumption on a number of grounds and conclude that the necessary conditions of freewill are present in the dc world. Lex still loses in the ethics chapter because, well his morality is flexible to an extent that makes the sv designation unsuitable to his character.
I am aware that i have not finished my underclss listing of villains and plan to be finishing it up in the next week or two. Stay tuned kids.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Time for my latest update and this may be both an observation of super villains and a little self introspection. I would also like to say that i've been off the cetalopran for about three weeks now so this may come off as a little melancholy. As an aspiring real world super villain, and a student of comic book super villains, i find myself asking questions about where the hatred for others comes from. Now to be clear i delved a great deal in understanding super villain anger and motivation, but hatred escaped me. Super villains hate those around them. But why, and i link this to there histories and behavior super villains dont start out hard men they begin a sensative and caring people naturally empathic to those around them, the problem is that empathy can be a negative and over the course of a lifetime damage the mind. Highly empathic people notice, feel, and inturnalize the pain and sadness of those around them. And this constant feeling of others pain can make finding happiness in ones own life more difficult. This inability to find happiness through the percieved fault of those around you can breed a disdain for others because their missery becomes your's. No two characters experience this pain more clearly then doom and ozmandius. As i am writing this on my phone i think i've said enough for now and will finish in a later post please keep in mind this may be more self introspection and projection then analysis. Please post back my loyal readers and let me hear your opinions.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

On to the Dark Organization, now this is a really broad class of villainy because it includes both groups and individuals. Now you have the typical villainy organizations like Nazis, and the other facist organizations that are common comic book appearances like Hydra and A.I.M. Now there are plot devise services these characters fill typically when a writer needs someone for a hero to beat up on with little conflict developement these are the default villains. As based for my typical villain discussion the plot mechnism of these characters is not of my interest. Instead the first question is where these characters fit into the villain model. Let's dump the group and go with the individual villain component in this case we can use th DC villain captain nazi or the marvel villain the "red skull". These characters lack the super villain recognition of universal good, and are typically powerr motivated. Unlike characters like dr doom which seek out power for the purpose of improving the world for these groups and individuals seek out power as an end result. There is also a lack of bio-polar condition. For the most part this class of villain is rational even near the limits of sucess, when the super villain is typically consumed by their by polar disorder.