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Showing posts from April, 2006

A Common Error: As committed by Penny Arcade

ThisPenny Arcade strip has a much repeated stylistic error in comics layout. Notice the two panels at the left of the bottom row. They actually comprise a single picture of one point in time, without motion or change of perspective between panels. These should be a single panel. There is little reason for the split. The artist may realize this, but wish to keep the integrity of his unimaginative 2x3 panel layout--and that is the mistake. Bad artist. Bad.

If it was just this once that they made this amateurish layout mistake, or if it weren't a widespread problem, I wouldn't make an issue out of it. But the ideas that panels must be consistent and must be so in this very patterned manner is something I see far too often. Sequential art is a visual medium, and an important part of that is composition of art and words within panels, of panels as they relate to one another, and of each page (be it on the web or in print) as a whole. These factors are what make comics unique, and t…

The law's opposition entails what, exactly?

Law and morality are separate, though obviously related, concerns. There are books recording stupid and silly laws held by American localities at one time or another. These books suggest that said laws were not something one could take seriously in a moral or intellectual sense. There are also many administrative laws without apparent moral intent or character. And then there are the laws most people have no problem ignoring when convenient.

There is arguably nothing wrong with me taping a Mariners' game for personal use (or even for showing at large parties at my house) without checking with anybody if I can. There are variously more controversial issues when it comes to 'intellectual property', but it is obvious that many don't feel that a law proscribing something is enough to make it morally wrong or otherwise distasteful.

People jay walk all the time. This is against the law. Does anybody really think this is something one shouldn't do when there are no cars or …

Of zombies and film.

I have suggested before that someone should make a medieval zombie flick in technicolour, and set it in Spain to acheive a look similar to Sergio Leone's westerns or Eastwood's Joe Kidd. Let me now add, the zombies shouldn't go about creating more living dead. Instead, they should just devour things, right down to the bone. And they shouldn't just focus on people. Why let other animals have a free pass? What kind of hungry beast passes up a docile cow to go chasing after armed humans?

A friend has expressed some concern that the movie would be in the vernacular or accents of the time. Let me reassure you, we would not take this route. Perhaps the movie would be in a foreign language, and I suppose we'd have to have a priest shouting out Latin somewhere in there, but I don't see any reason to go too far out of the way for realism when you're dealing with the supernatural.

As to tone, I'd want something old school; something in tune with The Seventh Seal,…

Traditionalism contributes to nihilism.

Life, morality, and all that are most likely to be seen as pointless, meaningless, or absurd when one tries to look at it from a detached and 'objective' point of view where, in fact, nothing is valued. This view is abstract and not actually held by, say, the universe.

I attribute this in part to prior societal or personal beliefs in all seeing or all encompassing entities such as the God, Odin, or Brahmin. A person who finds himself raised in a culture steeped in such religious or spiritual ideas, even if they are no longer explicit or prevalent, may find himself naturally open to the idea of seeing things from an objective, universal, and perhaps detached viewpoint. He may even think this standard is more important, realistic, or rational than the abstract stance of societies or the actual stances of individuals.

This belief is buyoued by the classical, popular, and perhaps standard view that values (be they physical, moral, aesthetic, or perhaps even economic) are neither sub…

Mundane Vision

The other day, I was riding in the back seat of a friend's car as we drove out to Fry's with a couple other people. Almost as soon as we picked up the last person, everybody shut up. I found myself fixing my attention upon the ceiling and the top of the rain spattered rear window. This inevitably lead to my falling asleep, though the position did little to encourage steady rest.

During my intermittent napping, I began to dream. I imagined I was sitting in the same car, in the same position, under very similar circumstances. I happened to have a packet of gum in my pocket. I glimpsed at the sky, then at the hand of the girl next to me. It sat upon her knee, sporadically making very quick, autonomous movements to and from its resting place; darting to the space in between us, to smooth out her jacket, or to at tap her thigh. I took one stick from my pack of Wrigley's Extra, unwrapped it, and proceeded to chew it laconically, once more exploring the worn felt of the car's …

Paul Hornschemeier has a band?

Apparently, my favorite living cartoonist has a band. That's cool. But it's even cooler that they don't suck. In fact, they're pretty good. Kind of remind me of a mix between Pere Ubu and Mission of Burma, which somehow ended up being a little more accessible. The site which hipped me to them mentioned the influence of Joy Division there. You can judge for yourself by listening to some of their live post-punk here, or download MP3s at their website, linked in the title of this post.

Picked up a book last night and read it.

Well, I read a bit until I felt suitably tired. Didn't get all the way through, but the point is it's been a while since I read a book of prose. It had also been quite some time since I'd taken a crack at this particular novel, which I set down in order to take up school work instead back in 1995. I guess I was using a stub from what was a recent a bank deposit as a bookmarker, so I know I stopped reading the thing around April 28, way back.

It's too bad I didn't finish The Red Badge of Courage at the time. Seems like it's pretty well written, and a single glance at any printing will tell you it's short. I could have gone through it in a day at the time. I'm a bit slower now, being out of practice, but school work or no--and my teachers at the time liked to coordinate assignments so we would be swamped--I'm not sure why I put this thing down 11 years ago and failed to pick it up again.

Late Night Journeys

Normally, the last bus out of Ballard, the 'night owl' 44, is pretty empty, at any given point carrying five passengers at most. Three nights ago, the 44 broke down one block after I boarded as its first rider. When it was finally fixed, the driver made good time. I didn't mind, anyway. I had nowhere to be at 2:30 in the morning. If there was anyone waiting for that particular bus, they had given up before we arrived. The trip was just me, silent and absorbed with rereading an Italian comic, and the driver all the way out to the UW campus. Buses almost always feature a few characters on them, some more pleasant than others. These sorts of riders tend to be emphasized on late night rides, as their voices carry through the empty seats, and their gesticulations can be seen from almost any spot on the bus. It was therefore something of a relief and a disappointment at the same time to find myself nearly alone then.

Not so last night. The night owl felt a bit like a travelling c…