Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

Back!

August 27, 2008

Here’s a Platonic dialogue I had with myself:

Me:  Oh, look…”Silly Little Drawings” has become “Silly Little Abandoned Blog.”
Myself:   What?  No!  This blog isn’t abandoned.  It’s coming back.
Me:  When?
Myself:  Well…now.
Me:  But you haven’t posted anything since July 25th.  You gave up.
Myself:    No I didn’t.  I took a break.
Me:  Too busy to keep up your Web log?  What kind of 21st century citizen are you?
Myself:    I was reading Against the Day.
Me:  Oh.  A book?
Myself:   Yes, that’s right.
Me:  And you actually read it?
Myself:   Cover to cover.
Me:  Oh.
Myself:  When was the last time you read a book?
Me:  Well, you know.  I keep up with all the blogs, my favorite reality television programs, a web comic or two…
Myself:   Right, right.  Anyway, I’m back, brother.
Me:  So, then…let’s see a silly little drawing.
Myself:   Okay, here:

Me:  What does it…
Myself:   I don’t know.

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4th of Joo-lye

July 4, 2008

Is there no better way to celebrate this country than by doing really, really stupid things?

No, I s’pose not.

A…blog?

June 15, 2008

Warning:  It looks like this post is actually going to be a…blog.

This week I finally went to the Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy installation at the Met.  It’s surprising that it took me so long to go, in light of two facts: for one, it pushes the credibility of not just comic books as an acceptable art form for adults, but superhero comics (usually that kind of talk is reserved for indie comix, like Maus, Crumb, and the like).  Second, although I’ve never cared much for fashion, at least in the typical sense, one of the major reasons I love superheroes is, of course, the costumes.

Not because of the tights or the armor, but because of the instant recognition of a particular hero due to the outfit he or she wears.  In comic books, you really can’t tell if a hero is wearing tights, armor, or anything else.  You can’t detect the fabric or texture.   You can only see the bright color scheme and oddly shaped designs, often with some kind of headgear. 

So I was excited to see how a fashion designer might take inspiration for an outfit from, say, Dr. Fate‘s costume.  Maybe some blue slacks or jeans that are yellow at the top and a blue shirt with a yellow design in the middle (I’m sure any designer would be forgiven for forgoing the big helmet). 

But there was no such thing on display at the Met.  No red-schemed outfits for the Flash, or green-and-black for Green Lantern.  No, just huge body suits, crazy leotard, and completely impractical armor that looks like it comes from a movie.  There was nothing actually wearable, even in a flashy sense.  And therein lies my problem.

Movies.  Superheroes, though they have sometimes translated well into films, come from comic books.  In that format, an artist creates the entire world, so the superhero doesn’t have to look any more or less ridiculous than everyone else.  In film, you need a different kind of verisimilitude.  It needs to appear real.

But it shouldn’t seem real.  It’s not real.  It couldn’t be real.  You ruin the idea of superheroes once you try to make them too “real.”  They’ve got a different kind of physics than we do, and they live in a different kind of universe.  The themes, and problems they deal with, can be realistic, but their names and outfits can not.  We’ve already got “real” in our world; we need to go to the realm of the fantastic to accept that somebody can be named Mr. Fantastic (and do the things that he does). 

And the outfits they design for superhero movies usually don’t work for exactly that reason.  If the Thing from the recent Fantastic Four films walked by you on the street, you wouldn’t think “that guy’s made of rock.”  You’d think “He’s on his way to a costume party.”  And once you got to the costume party, you probably wouldn’t be any more impressed or threatened, because, likely, if you wore a Superman t-shirt with jeans, you’d be the least ridiculous-looking person there.  Whereas if Superman wore a t-shirt and jeans in the comics, it would seem like a lame gimmick to make him more “gritty.”  The translation is very, very difficult to get right.

For superheroes to influence fashion at all, I would want a designer want to look less at fabrics and material and more about color scheme.  Then you might be able to appear reminiscent of a superhero without actually having to be one (which you’d pretty much have to be to get away with wearing any of the outfits on display at the Met). 

As for the other reason I was excited about the exhibit – the idea that superhero comics have become an acceptable, mainstream art form for adults – I couldn’t finish reading the plaques describing exactly why that’s supposed to be without little kids knocking into me, screaming about Spider-Man. 

So much for that proposition.