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."