20 April 2011

The Amazing Spider-man

In the 2002, American classic Spider-man, a young man named Peter Parker, who’s just a normal, nerdy teenage boy, lives in New York, next to his longtime neighbor, and crush, Mary Jane Watson. On a school field trip, when Peter is taking pictures of his heartthrob a genetically altered spider bites him on the hand. Later he returns home and rushes to his room as he passes out on the floor. Meanwhile Norman Osborne, the father of Peter’s best friend Harry, volunteers himself for his company’s science experiment, when it goes wrong and he kills his assistant. The next morning, Peter wakes up and he notices he is different. He no longer needs his glasses to see and he goes from skinny to a very athletic build. Later that day at school, Peter gets in a fight with Flash Thompson. During, he notices that he has a “spidey-sense”, he’s super strong, and can shoot webs from his wrists. After the fight, he runs out of the school, and in an empty alley-way, he notices that he can also climb walls. He signs up for a wrestling contest in an attempt to win money and buy a car to impress Mary Jane. He does so, except the person in charge didn’t pay him all his money. So when that same guy is being robbed, Peter lets him get away. Though the robber steals Peter’s uncle’s car, and kills his uncle, Ben Parker. Peter comes to realize that with the powers he has, he has a responsibility to help the people of New York. Norman Osborne becomes the Green Goblin, Peter Parker/Spider-man’s first major enemy. After battle, after battle between the two, the Norman Osborne/Green Goblin dies on an attempt to kill Spider-man. Peter then realizes that he cannot juggle a relationship and being Spider-man, and he chooses the responsibility of having power.
This movie is a really good one, as it portrays the origin of one of my favorite superheroes. This movie started the popularity of superheroes in Hollywood. Also the 9/11 tragedy helped this spark as people can find hope through these themes of someone saving the day.

19 April 2011

We'll Meet Again, Spider-Man!

Spider-Man is a timeless heroic tale of a normal teenage nerdy boy named Peter Parker who is passionately in love with his neighbor Mary Jane Watson. One day, while on a class trip to a science lab Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider. Overnight, he acquires super clear vision, big muscles, the ability to crawl on walls, and shoot webs from his wrists. At first, Peter wished to use his skills to impress Mary Jane. But this led up to the death of his uncle who was shot by a thief. This tragic incident deeply influenced Peter to decide that he will use his gift to help the citizens of New York. The crime saving hero Spider-Man is enjoying his experience in saving others all while receiving admiration from the public. Then, a villain is created. Norman Osborn is a millionaire scientists who is also the father of Peter's best friend. He undergoes an experiment that brings out an insane ego known as the Green Goblin. The Goblin creates dangerous mischief and Spider-Man cleans it up. They begin a battle of good and evil. The Goblin discovers the true identity of Spider-Man and begins to harm Mary Jane and his aunt May. Eventually, Spider-Man's and the Goblin's battle leads to the death of the villain. Spider-Man continues to be the superhero because, “With great power comes great responsibility”.

Re-watching Spider-Man opened my eyes to realize how awesome he is. He was not one of my favorite hero's, but the fact that Peter Parker is only a teenager makes him appear like a person who anyone can relate too. With his goofy and kind personality while masked and unmasked, we feel comfortable to like him. Spider-Man is an important superhero to society because Peter is just a normal guy in heart. He did what a typical teenager would do, use his gift to impress a girl, but he choose to use his gift as good, not evil. He is not this perfect man who acts arrogant with the strength he obtains, he is someone who makes mistakes and always tries to correct them. We admire Spider-Man for his unwillingness to give up and his undying attempt to be the hero. We are all kind of like Peter Parker, just dorks who continue to chase dreams and try our best to be the perfect persona of good.

I Hate Spiders!... But Love Spiderman!

The movie Spiderman, is about a teenage boy named Peter Parker that is nerdy and does not have very man friends. He has a crush on this girl named Mary Jane. He lives with his aunt and uncle. One day while visiting a laboratory where spiders are being experimented on, Peter gets bitten by one spider. When he returns home he begins to feel sick. The next morning Peter notices some changes in his body. He obtained some very incredible powers from the spider that bit him. Peter Park goes on and becomes a superhero that calls himself Spiderman.
One day Peter Parkers uncle is murdered, and Peter had the chance to stop the guy that murdered his uncle. Once Peter Parker found out who the guy that shot his uncle was, he proceeded to chance the guy with his new spider senses. He was able to find the guy. And he beats him up. Peter Parker becomes the town hero and is always saving the day. Peter Parker ends up fighting the Green Goblin. One day the Green Goblin proposes to Spiderman that they should get together become unstoppable. Spiderman rejects his offer and makes the Green Goblin upset. After that the Green Goblin tries to get rid of Spiderman, by harming the ones that he loves most. First the Green Goblin tries to kill Peters aunt, then he tries to kill the girl that Peter has loved for like ever, Mary Jane. In the end Spiderman ends up saving the girl he loves as well as defeating the Green Goblin
I really enjoyed this movie. I had not seen it in a while, but I did watch the second one about a couple weeks ago. These movies are kind of cheesy, and very dramatic. But anyway, I like all of the Spiderman movies, they are very enjoyable.

My spidey sences are tingling!

Peter Parker is just your average nerd who's interests involve science, studying and fantasizing about his neighbor, Mary Jane. One day while on a field trip with his school at a spider museum Peter attempts to flirt with Mary Jane but fails miserably. While taking her picture a lose spider bites Peter Parker and despite the discomfort he tells no one. Within the next few days Peter Parker begins to notice changes about himself. He now can see without his glasses, becomes stronger but most importantly he now can shoot webs out of his wrist and climb up walls. At first it is a struggle for him to control his new powers and to create a new image for himself but then he transforms himself into the super hero Spider Man. Spider Man becomes the town hero by fighting crimes and saving lives until a super villain the green goblin comes into the picture. The green goblin comes into the city attempting to the kill the innocent including Peter Parker's family and his love Mary Jane. He saves their lives multiple times winning the hearts of the city and Mary Jane. In the final battle between the hero and the villain, Green Goblin attempts to kill Spider Man but ends up killing himself instead. While at his funeral Mary Jane confesses her love for Peter Parker then realizes he is Super Man when she kisses him.

I really enjoyed watching this movie. I like how Peter Parker is young when he discovers his powers because the viewers don't know if he is going to do good or bad with them. I also like the love story between Peter Parker and Mary Jane. I just wish the actors did a better job in the movie and didn't "over act" every scene.

Peter Parker vs. Spiderman

The 2002 movie Spiderman is about the life of a teenager named Peter Parker who goes from being a less than ordinary teen, to an extraordinary superhero. Since Parker has just graduated from high school and is still young, he has a hard time contemplating what to do with his new found "superpowers." He is stuck between using them to bedazzle his dream girl, Mary Jane Watson, or to protect his city and community from crime and the treacherous villain named the "Green Goblin." As the movie plays out, Peter Parker begins to understand that "with great power, comes great responsibility", as Parker's grandfather once told him before he was shot to death by a burglar.

Peter Parker first obtained his "spider" powers in high school when he visited a laboratory where spiders were being tested on. A new species of spider was loose in the lab and bit Parker on the hand. Parker went home not feeling well, but after a long nap, he woke up to his new muscular body, and perfect vision. After experimenting with his new body, he then finds out he has a new "spider sense", can climb walls, and that he can now shoot out web from his wrist. All of this is very new and amazing to Peter Parker.

In no time, Parker is out fighting crime under the secret superhero name "Spiderman." While this is going on, an evil is stirring inside Oscorp Industries founder, Norman Osborn. Dr. Obsborn is tired of waiting for his new performance-enhancing chemical to be approved, so to prove that it is safe to use, he decides to use it on himself. The test goes extremely wrong, and Dr. Osborn turns into a super villain with extreme strength and power. With anger and hatred towards Oscorp staff and military leaders, Dr. Osborn is ready to fight under the name, "Green Goblin."

The Green Goblin then decides to kill and destroy all those who betrayed him in his business activity. The only person he sees that is standing in his way is Spiderman. The Green Goblin offers a proposal to Spiderman to join him in his activity, but when Spiderman neglects his offer, things get messy. Green Goblin makes Spiderman his main target, while putting civilian lives in danger. This goes on until the Green Goblin makes Spiderman choose, either to save a tramway full of children, or to save his beloved Mary Jane. As things turn out, Spiderman is able to save both, but does not escape the wrath of the Green Goblin.

The conclusion of the battle ends with Spiderman dodging the Green Goblin's glider, which stabs and kills the Green Goblin. After the battle, Spiderman takes Dr. Osborn's dead body back to the Osborn's house, where Dr. Osborn's son, Harry, sees Spiderman. Before Harry can reach for his gun, Spiderman flees. This leads to Dr. Osborn's funeral. Here, Harry promises to revenge his father's death. Peter Parker knows that this is not over, especially since Harry will take his fathers footsteps.

I enjoyed watching this movie. I have only seen this movie once, but the second time around I thought was better. I caught some parts I missed before, and understood more after the class discussion we had. I did not know that the Twin Towers were taken out of the setting because of 9/11. This was interesting to me. All of this new information presented made the movie more meaningful to me. Before, I just watched the movie with no background information on how this movie was made.

A Mouse's Tragic Tale

Chapter five of Maus, entitled Mouse Holes, is about a mouse named Artie. At the start of the chapter, Artie gets a phone call from his father very early in the morning. His father, Vladek, wants him to go over to the house to help him fix the roof. He declines this idea and tells him he should just get the help from the neighbor. Artie goes over to his father’s house a week later and see’s Vladek in the garage rearranging things and he notices his father seems a little upset. So Artie goes into the house and has a conversation with Vladek’s current wife, Mala. He asks her why he may be upset, and she said it wasn’t due to his inability to help his father. He was upset because he had read a comic that Artie had written many years before. The comic was about his mother’s suicide and how he dealt with it after.
            So Artie and his father take a walk down to the bank. As they’re walking, Vladek is telling his son the about his tragic past in Europe in 1943. He tells him of how he had to always be cautious as they were hiding from the Germans. Vladek and Artie’s mother, Anja, stayed together as they went from their home, to the ghetto, to small bunkers, to a camp run by the Nazis. They were eventually able to make it from the camp to another bunker, where they were able to be free once everyone had left the town.
            I enjoyed this comic as it gave a different change of pace. It wasn’t about a superhero like most comics do. I think comics like these will allow people to broaden their horizons with graphic novels.

The Sad Tale of a Mouse

In this chapter of Maus, tells the story of a mouse Artie. He is an artist. And when he was younger he made a comic about his mothers death. In this comic he took the blame for the death. The comic that he wrote was very personal, he did not ever expect for his father to read it. One day his father found this comic. And it made him began to think about the death of his wife. After talking about his discovery of the comic to his son Vladek asks for his son to join him for a walk to the bank. On the way to the bank he tells him stories of being a Jew in the 1940's. He tells him about all the time that he spent with his mother Anja. Vladek tells Artie about how his mother's family was killed. When they finally arrive to the bank Vladek shows Artie some valuable pieces that belonged to Anja. He wants for Artie to have these items when he passes. After Vladek shows Artie these he begins to cry. He wishes to be back with his beloved wife Anja.

I really enjoyed this piece. It was kind of nice to be away from the classic superhero comic. This was a change just because it wasn't a happy story or about someone saving the day. This comic was different just because the art work in it seemed very different. You could tell that it was a lot older. As well as the writing. But overall i enjoyed this reading.

18 April 2011

Mouse Story!

Chapter 5 of Maus is about a young mouse named Artie learning stories about his father being a Jew in the 1940's and the troubles he had to go through to stay alive. While Artie was visiting his father Vladek, he learns that his father read a comic he wrote about his dead mother. In his comic he shows that he blames himself for his mother's death. His now distressed father decides that they should go on a walk to the bank. On the way to the bank, Vladek begins to tell Artie stories about the times he spent hiding from the Nazi's with Artie's mother Anja and her family. He explains to Artie that they had to hide in small bunkers where they lived until the Nazi's found them. After they were discovered by the Nazi's they were taken to a camp where Anja's family was immediately killed. In response to that they hide in another bunker to stay free from the Nazi's. After everyone leaves the town they were in they got to be free. When they arrive to the bank, Vladek shows his son important belongings for Artie to have once he is dead. The comic ends with Vladek crying for his once wife Anja to be there with him.

I really enjoyed reading this comic. Believe it or not I actually think comics are beginning to grow on me. I really liked this because it was not about super hero's but it still had good moral content. I really liked how the comic was realistic and on a true event in history.

A Mouse's Tragic Struggle

Mouse Holes is about a young mouse reconnecting with his father over old stories pertaining to Nazi's and what it was like to be a Jew during the 1940s. Vladek is a remarried out of work Jewish handyman. One day while visiting, Artie discovers that his father has read one of his comics about his deceased mother. In the comic, it portrays his father completely falling apart over his wife's suicide and it portrays Artie blaming himself for her death. Vladek admits to have been extremely sadden and brought to tears after reading about Anja. Both father and son take a walk to the bank, all the while Vladek is vividly discussing his time in many German camps with Anja. It all begin in Strodula where the Jews were forced to live, Vladek, Anja, their first son, and Anja's family lived in a small cottage. One day, they sent their son Richieu and Anja's little sisters to a safer place protected under the Jewish Council. It was not until later they discovered Richieu and the other children were given poison rather than face death by the Germans. To stay safe from being recruited to a camp, they all hid in a bunker until a Jewish man informed the Germans of their location. They were all sent to a camp and there Anja also lost her parents to the gas chamber. Anja felt hopeless of the lost of her loved ones, but Vladek kept her on her feet. Vladek took his wife to live in another village for a while before Jews were rounded up again. So, they retreated to hiding in a bunker once more where they endured intense hunger. When everything seemed to clear, Vladek and Anja roamed around with no where to go or no one to turn too. Now, father and son have reached the bank. Vladek wants Artie to have a key to his saving just in case something happens and to keep his money from his present wife. In the end, Vladek shreds tears and cries out for his beloved first wife Anja, wishing she was still alive to continue this struggle with him.

Wow. I very much enjoyed this reading. It was heart breaking to read about individuals who constantly struggle to live and suffer unbearable lost. The fact that mice were used to portray people made the story more sympathetic because they appear so small and helpless. Even though Anja is gone, the memories of her still bring Vladek and Artie closer.

A Father's Story

Art Spiegleman's Maus begins by telling the story of how young Artie breaks one of his skates and his friends leave him. His father makes the comment, "If you lock them together in a room with no food for a week... then you could see what it is, friends"(6)! This comment foreshadows the story Artie's father, Vladek, tells. Artie begins to learn of his fathers past, and how he survived the Holocaust. His fathers story strengthens their relationship.



Chapter five takes off years later, with an older Artie who gets a call from his step mom, Mala, complaining about Vladek being on the roof of their house trying to fix a leak. At first, Artie refuses to help his father, but after hanging up the phone, he decides to go see his father. When Artie arrives, his father is upset about Artie not wanting to help him. While Artie and Mala discuss Vladek's behavior and how he read Artie's comic titled, "Prisoner of the Hell Planet" , Vladek wants Artie to take a walk with him to the bank. Artie agrees to go and Vladek begins to tell Artie of his Holocaust story.

Vladek begins by telling his son of how in 1943, all Jews had to go live in ghettos. Vladek worked in a woodwork shop while his wife, Anja, worked in a clothing factory. Guards would walk them to work, and walk them back everyday. Since times were dangerous in these ghettos, Vladek started talking to a man named Haskell. Vladek talked to him about moving to Zawiercic because he had some influence with the Germans there. This would be safer for the kids as well. Vladek told his son of how he survived the Holocaust by hiding in bunkers.

When Artie and his father arrived at the bank, Vladek gave him a key to his safe box. Vladek wanted to make sure Artie had a key so his second wife, Mala, would not take all his money. Mala was just after Vladek's money. After one of his heart attacks, Mala would ask Vladek about his money and how she wanted it. Vladek wanted to make sure his son got to his belongings first. In the safe were many valuables that Vladek had managed to save during the Holocaust.

Chapter five was very interesting and full of a lot of detail. It was kind of hard to remember all the names of the people Vladek talks about. Also, some of the sentences in this reading are hard to read. The German words also make it difficult to understand as well. This chapter was interesting though. Vladek's was interesting and showed me what difficulties Jew faced at this time in history.

12 April 2011

The Owl's Legacy

Watchmen is an autobiography of the costumed hero of the late 1930's and 1940's named Hollis Wordsworth Mason, but also known as the Night Owl. A writer once told Mason to open with a sad story in order for the audience to sympathize with him. Mason's sad story occurred at his father's work in an auto shop. Moe Vernon was the boss. One day crazy Moe was wearing fake, foam, and pink breasts as a joke. He received a letter from his wife claiming she was having an affair with his head mechanic and leaving with all his money to Tijuana. Crying, holding the letter, still wearing the fake breasts, and listening to The Ride of the Valkyries Moe informed his workers of his wife's adultery. They all laughed at the sight of him! That night Moe committed suicide by inhaling carbon monoxide fumes. This incident will always remind Mason of The Ride to the Valkyries song and how it makes him feel sadness.
Now, in 1939 Mason is a New York police officer who at night becomes a costumed hero. The desire for adventure began in 1938 when the Superhero's were created, like Superman. Secretly Mason was fantasizing about becoming a hero himself. Then a masked man with a noose around his neck begins saving citizens from crime, which further influenced Mason to choose his vocation. Soon he began working out non stop, creating a name, and a costume. His name was the most difficult, but it was inspired by a work buddy that once called him a night owl. Finally, Mason began fighting crime, but there were seven other individuals who fought crime as well. Over time all superhero's came together to create the Minutemen, which is a gang of costumed hero's fighting crime to make their country safer. All is well for a while, but some superhero's left, some were murdered, crime lost it's excitement for others, and most importantly there were no costumed bad guys to fight against. And in 1949 the league ended. These superhero's were all human, they suffered downfalls and endured much pain, but they removed their costumes and stopped playing the savor. In the end, Mason the Night Owl retired from his police work and went back to mending vehicles because that was the last time he truly felt real happiness.
I very much enjoyed this reading compared to the others. It seemed so believable and extremely vivid. Mason is a person one can relate to, he is a normal person who achieved superhero status by working hard and being determined. Even though he took off his mask in the end, he did not stop being a hero. He left behind a legacy that influenced younger generations of costumed hero's. Mason's story portrays that anyone can change or make something better in this world.

The First Masked Heroes!

Watchmen, is about Hollis Mason's autobiography. It talks about how Mason became a "masked adventurer". He starts the story by gaining the sympathy of his audience. He learns this technique from a woman who works at a grocery store. Her name is Denise. Mason talks about his years in the police force and how he got into this fad of superheroes. After he read Action Comics is when he became a "masked adventurer". After being on his own he joined a group of these early superheroes. They were called the "Minutemen". The Silhoutte, Silk Spectre, Comedian, Hooded Justice, Captain Metropolis, Nite Owl, and Dollar Bill were all the heroes in this group. They didn't last long as a group. They all went their separate ways and decided not to fight crime. In the later years a new breed of superheroes was born. These superheroes actually had super powers unlike the Minutemen. This elite band of heroes also fought crime for the good of the people. I really liked this reading and it talks about comics in the 1930s. Even in books it talks about how comics have had an influence in American society. I too thought this was a real life autobiography. I have never seen the movie Watchmen, but I really want to see it now!

Heroes Never Die

This reading is talks about how the Minutemen came to be, ascended up the popularity ladder, and later faded away almost all together. The reading starts off by talking about the writer's saddest memory, intended to capture the reader and introduce his story. Later, he writes about how the story of Superman was the most inspirational comic to convince him to become a superhero and how after that, it took him almost three months to decide that he was really going to do it. After he became the "Night Owl" several other people became masked heroes as well. Later, the few of these masked heroes united and became what is known as the Minutemen.
Throughout the 1940's everything seemed to be going real well for the group. Once the 1950's came around, the group slowly started falling apart starting with the leaving of The Comedian. After, The Dollar Bill was gunned down and the Silhouette was tracked down and killed with her lover by one of her enemies. Toward the end of the 1950's the "villians" that the Minutemen were fighting became regular criminals and the Minutemen themselves started to become more of a joke. Shortly after, Night Owl retired to go do what he enjoyed most, fixing cars. After that, a young man wrote Night Owl asking if he could borrow his name since he retired and thats when Night Owl realized that superheroes had become American life.
I thought this story was an actual true story. However, toward the end of the reading I got a little confused when Dr. Manhattan came into the picture. Then I wasn't sure if the writer was talking about something he actually saw, or read about or that it wasn't even real at all. Either way this seems very similar to a movie I've seen. And no its not Watchmen! Anyways, the reading showed me what it would actually be like dressing up as a hero and trying to fight crime. Somethings are not as easy as they seem but they are definitely not out of grasp. The heroes that all of us love may fade and be forgotten, but they seem to never die.

11 April 2011

I need your sympathy...

....BECAUSE THIS BLOG ISN'T GOING TO BE A WALK. Under the Hood is an autobiography by Hollis Mason. His autobiography consists of five chapters that explains the super-hero the Nite Owl. The first chapter is about how Hollis Mason knows Denise, a store clerk and novelist. Denise explains to Mason that in order to receive the audiences full attention he first must receive sympathy from them. Hollis Mason goes on to tell us the saddest story he knows about a man named Moe Vernon, his artificial boob and his cheating wife. Now that he had the audiences attention he was able to start his autobiography. Throughout the second chapter Hollis Mason tells how he became the Nite Owl and why he did it. He explains how he was worked for the New York City Police when he had the idea to become the Nite Owl. He said he liked the idea of super-hero's because "I like the idea of adventure, and I feel bad unless I'm doing good". In a sense Hollis Mason liked that super-hero's had great morals, so he wanted to be one. He also explains that it would be great to be a super-hero because they get all the girls, fantasies become real and he would be a hero to his community. In the third chapter he creates his super-hero character. He fantasized on becoming a costumed adventurer. He wanted his name to be full of drama and excitement like the "Hooded Justice". While working out and training to become a super-hero he receives the name "Nite Owl" by one of his coworkers. That is how he decided what his super-hero name will be. Soon after he became the Nite Owl many other super-hero's presented themselves. He then explains what other people thought of these new super-heroes. The forth chapter explains how the Minutemen first got together. Captain Metrropolis wrote Sally Jupiter about forming a group of masked adventurers. Then one by one the eight of them came together to form a group. In the final chapter of his autobiography he explains the problems the group had. Sally had a husband, child then divorce. The Comedian chose the political rout. Eventually the whole group had to testify before "House of UnAmerican Activities Committee" where they were forced to show their identities. This is when the Hooded Justice had chosen to retire instead of showing his real identity. Everyone chose a different life after being a super-hero. Hollis Mason chose to turn back to cars. To me this blog was difficult to write. But I actually for once enjoyed reading about super-heroes. This reading made me want to watch the movie Watchmen.

The Beginning of The Superhero Fad!

Watchman a book containing excerpts from Hollis Morison's autobiography. These excerpts tell the story of how during Mason's time in New York superhero's were the in thing. Mason is also know as the 'Nite Owl'. Mason writes about all his time in New York. Before Mason starts writing about his life he tells the story of how he got started. He asked a writer he knew about how to go about writing a book. She first tells him to start off with a sad story. This was to get the sympathy of the reader. He later goes on to tell a sad story about Moe Vernon, the guy that employed her father.
After the sad introduction Morison talks about his time as a police officer. For Morison it all began in 1938 when the first issue of Action Comics came out. He goes on to talk about how he was too old to read them. But he was really interested in them. This first issue brought back memories from his teen years when he would dream about being a superhero. They gave him the idea to actually become one. Morison goes on to talk about how he trained to become a superhero. He would train in the police gym. He first became the "Nite Owl" in 1939. After the Nite Owl many other superhero's began to appear. In the few chapters Morison talks about the success and failure of all the superhero's that were around. They went from preventing crime to not doing anything. Some turned to crime.

This has been the toughest piece to blog about. I have no idea why, but it was. I like the movie watchman and I liked this reading. I thought it was interesting. It showed how big superhero's became after the first Action Comics. It gave people the idea to actually become superhero's or "masked adventurers". This book goes into some detail while describing these superhero's. This blog is not very good. Just saying!

Welcome to the Costume Party

The beginning of Alan Moore's Watchmen begins with the young personal life of narrator Hollis Mason. Mason describes how Denise, who works on a corner grocery store, is a very good writer and explains to her his trouble of not knowing how to write a book. Her response is "start with the saddest thing you can think of and get the audience's sympathy" (1). Mason takes her advise and begins his story with Moe Vernon and "The Ride of the Valkyries." Moe Vernon was the man Mason's dad worked for, who owned a car repair shop named "Vernon's Auto Repairs." Hollis Mason at this time is age twelve living in Montana with his family. Mason would often help his dad while working and grew fond of Mr. Vernon. Mason described Mr. Vernon as a New York faced man with three chins around the age fifty. Vernon loved opera. He also loved strange toys, owned a large collection of novels, and had a weird sense of humor. One day while Mr. Vernon and his staff are at work, he decides to put on a set of artificial women's bosoms. This explains his weird sense of humor. While getting ready to make his crew laugh, Mr. Vernon opens a letter from his wife. His wife writes that she has been having a two year affair with Vernon's most trusted mechanic, Fred Motz. At this time, Motz is not at work, and Vernon's wife has taken all the money out of their shared bank account to depart to Tijuana with Fred Motz. This upsets Mr. Vernon and he bursts out of his office with his fake bosoms still on throwing the novel "The Ride of the Valkyries" while screaming words of disgust. The crew thinks this is a joke, and burst into laughter. Later that night, Vernon runs a tube from his exhaust to his car window, killing himself. This is the sad story Hollis Mason gets our attention with. The story fast forwards to 1939, where Hollis Mason is twenty three years old, and has taken a job with the New York City police force. Mason explains is decision why he became a cop by telling us the things he has seen including rapists, pimps, and rude landlords. Mason wants to help people, and fight crime. With life being unfair, Mason turns to comics. Mason likes comics because the good always triumph over evil. Mason wishes he could be a superhero, until his dreams come true when he reads of a real life superhero named "Hooded Justice." This opens the door for Hollis Mason's identity as the "Nite Owl." Mason gets the name "Nite Owl" from a mutual cop who periodically asked him to go to the bar. Mason repeatedly turned him down to go to bed early to work out in the morning. Out of sarcasm, the cop calls him the "Nite Owl." After describing how he got his name, Mason describes how he made his costume. Mason starts to fight crime and discovers others who are doing the same such as "Silhouette" and "Captain Metropolis." This is a good time for Mason. All these masked adventurers eventually agree to form an alliance known as the "Minutemen." At this time, the year is 1939, and things are still on the upside. The alliance is great, but things begin to fall apart. In 1940, one of the members named the "Comedian" is accused of attempting to sexually assault another member. Along with this incident, other things go wrong. The group finally broke up in 1949. Mason blames the fact that villains were now pursuing other crimes that did not involve the help of masked adventurers to his and other adventurers downfall. With this sad ending to his career, there is an upside.New superheros came alive in the 1950's. With Mason's retirement, a young man asked Mason if he could obtain the name "Nite Owl" at keep his legend alive. Mason explains that "The superhero has become part of American life" (14). He believes that there will always be superheros as long as there is crime to fight. I really enjoyed this reading. This was a new twist to the comics we have been reading in class. The book explained the story of a normal person, trying to be a superhero. I thought that was pretty cool and the reading was interesting. The way this book is written makes you think that something like this can really happen. I would like to read more of this.

31 March 2011

Equality in Comics?

Scott McCloud’s chapter Big World the Battle for Diversity from his book, Reinventing Comics, concentrates on three of the twelve revolutions. These revolutions in comics are gender balance, minority representation, and diversity of genre. First, McCloud discusses females in the comic world. He claims, “The history of gender imbalance in comics is one of the most striking examples of comic’s squandered potential” (100). It is difficult for females to break out into the comic industry, and they usually work way more and harder than everyone else. What many do not know is that females have been a part of comics for a long time, but they were not mainstream. For example, women created comics during the 50s when the men went to fight in World War II. McCloud believes that in order to achieve gender balance there must be more female comic creators, more comics read by females, and more female comic characters. Second, McCloud discusses ethnicity, class, religion, and sexual orientation. McCloud claims, “Clearly it’s foolish to say that no member of one “group” should ever write about another. Fiction positively requires us to venture beyond the world of our experiences” (106). Most creators and characters in comics are white males. Writing about other ethnicity's or sexual orientation’s is not common because the creator does not have appropriate credibility and experience. Minority representation is in worse shape than gender balance. Third, McCloud discusses the over popularity of superhero comics over other genres. Crime fiction comics have outstanding work, but they just do not gain market presence. Romance comics face hostile market presence and have a difficult time to reach the audience. The impact World War II made on comics is still going strong. Since then, superhero comics remain the dominate genre. Also, the sales in superhero comics are higher than any other genre, which keeps them popular to the public. McCloud claims, “A conscious examination of these tendencies can help artists break out of their box, but the greatest progress will come from the same sources it always has; the individuals efforts of artists with a vision too strong to be contained” (124). A solution for the diversity of genre in comics will be up to the creators and artists solve.

I very much enjoyed reading this chapter. Realizing how much discrimination against genders and prejudice towards other ethnicity's are involved in comics is just shocking! As a female, I consider it extremely offensive for women to not be given equal rights as men in the comic work place. World War II portrays that females are fully capable being creatively successful in the comic industry. Seeing more color in comics would be more appealing, there are just as much people of color than average white males in the world. I truthfully feel that solving diversity of genre is too far in the future, I once had this perception that comics and superhero’s go together. So, when comics can expect other one for who they are, then maybe the public will openly welcome comics a whole lot more.

29 March 2011

The Bigger the Better

There are three big topics here in this reading. These three range from Diversity of Genre to Minority Representation and Gender Balance. For starters, Minority Representation talks about all the different races that help to influence comics. When comics first came out a lot of the white writers would try to come up with interesting storylines for their characters but found it rather difficult. So, they looked into the current "problems" that diverse groups like minorities were having because it seemed to be something that more people could connect with. Gender Balance is what the different genders have brought to the world of comics. It first started as something that only the men or boys would do and very often, people didn't talk or even mention women comic artists. And now, they're bringing a whole different perspective on their work which allows for complete different audience. More women can now read comics than before due to the fact that they can have similar ways of thinking, situations, interests etc. Women help to bring the female readers out of the shadows and into the light. Diversity of Genre is pretty self explanatory. Different types of Genres sell better than other types. Some people may like one more type than another and therefore that genre will sell more than the others.
It seems like McCloud keeps bringing in new subjects to talk about when discussing comics. Nothing really seems to get past him like everyone else. I would never really even thought of women being comic book writers. This isn't because I'm sexist or I discriminate against a different type of people but because its something that really isn't what I've come to think about. And this is what McCloud wants to do. He wants to show the world that everyone can become part of the comic industry and part of a comic themselves. One thing about this, it has lead me to want to research the women behind the scenes of comics.

...And The World Just Got BIGGER! The World of Comics That Is!

Big World The Battle for Diversity one of the many chapters in Scott McClouds book Reinventing Comics The Twelve Revolutions. In this chapter three of revolutions are the main focus, and they all have the same theme; diversity. Diversity is one of the main focuses in this chapter. It talks about diversity within comics. And how it expands the boundaries of comics. The three revolutions discussed are Gender Balance, Minority Representation, and Diversity of Genre. The first one is all about women and how they have changed comics. McCloud talks about when he was younger he didn't even know about women comic artists. He also discusses the fact that the comic world was like an all boys club. But now and then woman have changed comics by adding different styles and also come out with some common traits of comics. Gender balance also goes with the consumer. The balance of men and women reading comics. If both sexes read comics, then that means that comics will expand and become more popular.
Minority representation is all about the different races that are getting involved in comics. And how all races are represented in comics. This part of the chapter is about how back in the day white writers would try and make comics that had to do with issues in the black community. In this time they also started coming out with superhero's that were of different ethnicity's. This isn't only about race...but about sexuality. Back when comics were first being established it was not really common for people to write about people of color or about someone who was gay. McCloud writes "when writing about a social or physical condition which is a minority experience, members of that minority will have an advantage to portraying it." By writing comics about problems within a minority it makes things easier for other people to understand. It also gives comics a more diverse group of readers.
Diversity of Genre is the key to the other previous revolutions discussed. In this definition McCloud uses genre to define a broad category of fiction or nonfiction. He discusses the different genres that can be established through comics. He also discusses how some genres sell better than others or how they are more popular. Genres are all different when it comes to comics. This is why the potential for comics is limitless. These three revolutions show how comics can expand and become big! They all go hand and hand. And with one another they allow expansion of the comic community. Their are so many possibilities.

I think that this chapter in Reinventing Comics was very informative. It really made me see how the involvement of everyone and anyone is important to the expansion of comics. Without getting noticed by different people then comics will stay sheltered. Diversity allows comics to expand in all directions. I also liked this chapter because, it is important to recognize woman and their contribution to comics. It isn't just an "boys club"! Woman have different ideas and able to throw out some new ideas about styles of comics. They change things up. Without diversity comics will never become popular. I think that is why McCloud makes it the main theme of this chapter.

28 March 2011

The Big Bad World of Comics

It is all about variance in Scott McCloud's Big World: The Battle for Diversity. McCloud focuses on three of the "twelve revolutions" in which he sees have the most potential to expand comics. These three revolutions are: 7) Gender Balance, 8) Minority Representation, and 9) Diversity of genre. These revolutions stem from the similar idea of trying develop comics to reach out to more readers. Broadening comics using these three revolutions would "Expand the boundaries of the medium in all directions"(McCloud 96). Diversity is hard for comics to obtain because "active readers of comics in North America is below 500,000 people"(McCloud 97). McCloud assumes that diversity will change this issue. McCloud believes that "if comics could successfully deliver a more diverse product, then its chances of earning a more diverse audience would be improved"(98). McCloud then goes on the to explain what issues are holding back his revolutions. McCloud begins by explaining the issues facing revolution number seven (Gender Balance). The comic industry has an imbalance in gender because females have had limited job opportunity. Even if females did get an opportunity to write comics, there opportunities stayed small. Also, in order for women to make a leap in comics, peoples mind set has to change. In the 70's, the idea of a female making comics was bizarre. Even comics made for girls were produced by men. Even though when have been oppressed, females have been making comics for a long time. Women made comics during World War II, but when soldiers came back home, women lost their jobs. Even by this oppression, women have been able to pass on their traditional ideas to future generations of female writers. The eighth revolution McCloud assumes will lead to diversity is minority representation. A big issue surrounding this topic is prejudice. McCloud explains that "white men" have been trying to represent minorities in comics, but McCloud feels that minority writers have an advantage in portraying their own experiences. Through the 70's, white writers have tried to give a voice to African-Americans, but have come up with mixed results. McCloud explains how minority writers broke past the "Superhero" stereotype of comics and introduced works such as Ho Che Anderson's King, Love and Rockets by The Hernandez Brothers, and Maus by Art Spiegelman. McCloud then explains the ninth revolution which he says is the "key result of our two previous revolutions" (111). The ninth revolution is the diversity of genre. McCloud explains that the only way to get diversity of genre is to have diversity of gender and minority. One of the main issues holding back diversity of genre are writers dwelling on superheros. This has changed in the early 90's when genres such as autobiographical and naturalistic fiction became popular. Even genres including erotic comics, crime fiction, and romance fly under the radar. McCloud then uses the example of Batman in 1939 to show how popular genres change because in 1939, the detective genre Batman represented was popular. McCloud does a good job of explaining how these three revolutions are key to diversity. McCloud also give a good interpretation of how selling comics works. McCloud explains that "Only buyers of comic A will see comic B, thus this is when the market for comic B begins"(116). The only warning he says that comic B should not try to mimic comic A. McCloud also gives his opinion on how comics seem destined to write about superheros. McCloud gives a good example of how superheros are already represented better in movies and video games, so comics need to move to different genres to "move forward." McCloud has good reasoning to believe that diversity is the key for comics to grow.
Can anyone open the reading?? When I try to open mine it opens Adobe but when I push "ok" it is blank and if I push refresh it goes back to the list of readings. Is anyone else having any problems?

08 March 2011

Future Readings and Library Research

Hey Class! Here's some important information about the library before you all head off on Spring Break.

Plan on spending lots of time here after break!
Our next readings will be from E-Reserves. E-Reserves is a service that our library provides by which you can download texts and print them or read them on your computer. That link should take you to the page, as well. I'll give out the password in class. Most of our future readings will come from here. Note: If you choose not to print them, I expect you to take notes as you read to help you participate in class discussions. If I find class is unusually quiet on days that E-Reserves readings are due because no one "remembers" the reading, there will be consequences!

In any event, I hope you all are considering registering for April Kent's Library Research class! As I've said since day one, this course will require you to do outside research; what better way to do it than getting credit at the same time! Of course, you don't have to register for her section (there are three others), but Ms. Kent does have the most experience with helping my students.

Questions? Quibbles? Controversies?

03 March 2011

Ubermensch

Many popular storylines in entertainment relate to the times of the 1930s and 1940s, one of which being Star Wars, and another, ubermensch, or its English translation, Superman.  Ubermensch, the Hebrew word for superman, was used by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche had believed that religion and traditional values are what make men weak. “Only by overcoming such influences and determining values of his own,” he said,” could man realize his full potential.” These ideals are usually linked to those of Hitler’s “master race.”
It turns out, Superman, was created by two friends, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the sons of Jewish immigrants in 1938, a time when the Jewish culture was distraught due to the Nazi impact. They created an alter-ego for this character, Clark Kent, an “all-American” name. The alien from the planet Krypton with the name of Kal-El, landed on Earth and take the name we recognize as Superman. This “alien” name can be linked to the Biblical names of those ending in the suffix “el”. Also, just like the world ending on his home planet, those of Jewish descent were being destroyed as well, and so have they once before. Just like the Biblical story of Moses, as he was sent down the Nile River in a basket by his mother to escape from his homeland.
I do believe this idea as many things in the comic relate to Jewish culture. So get a Superman comic, preferably one of the older publishing’s, and see for yourself. I can only plant the seed, you must grow the tree.

It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's a Nazi Fighting Superhero!!

Simcha Weinstein discusses the heroic icon Superman as actually being of Jewish decent in his book Up, Up, and Oy Vey! To introduce this assumption, Weinstein explains in the introduction how Jewish stories from the Bible influenced the creation of Superman. The discrimination against Jews during World War II further influenced Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster to create Superman because a modern day hero was needed in order to portray that good prevails over evil. Siegel and Shuster were two Jewish men who struggled with discrimination in the 1930s and made a heroic character that secretly was the solution for their social acceptance. The men may have subconsciously linked a lot of Jewish beliefs and stories into Superman’s life. For example, he was sent into outer space by his parents for his life to be saved just like the story of Moses. Superman’s name from Krypton, Kal-El, holds some biblical significance, such as “El” being some of the names of prophets. The extraordinary strength of Superman can be related to the stories of Samson, both also have a weakness. Weinstein continues to connect Jewish beliefs, stories, and morals with Superman. Weinstein discusses frequent comics that involve Superman fighting against Nazism. For example, on the 60th anniversary of Superman, an issue was published where the American icon faces Nazis and claims that he will not tolerate being considered “ubermensh”. The Jewish contribution of comics was not fully recognized until now.

Superman is actually Jewish, who would have thought? Weinstein brought up many interesting arguments throughout his little book, most made a lot of sense to me. I must say, I totally agree that Superman is Jewish and it was not just a coincidence that he was created during a rough era. I think it is amazing how Siegel and Shuster created this hero who has created a sense of hope in different ethnicities throughout the world. The reading was extremely entertaining and fun. Superman never appealed to me like other superhero’s have, but now this 73-year-old supposedly Jewish man has made quite an impact.

Superman: The Samsonized Moses...!?

The introduction to Up, Up, and It Vey! says Jewish Americans are the creators of the comic book. Accordingly it is not a coincidence that the superheros names in comic books end with the word "man", many Jewish names end with the word "man" as well; Good"man", Kurt""man", and Gold"man" are just a few examples. Superman: From Cleveland to Krypton takes readers back to 1934 when two Jewish American boys created Americas superhero. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster worked together to create a phenomenon. After creating Superman it took four years to get published. And because publishers at the time were not accepting work from Jews they created a new name for themselves, Brandon J. Kenton. After the publishing of Superman came speculation of him being Jewish. He was compared to the biblical figures Moses and Samson.
Superman is said to be like Moses because in both stories their parents had to make the choice between life and death, both children are able to live and are adopted. In both stories Superman and Moses have the power to do good, and that's what they do. Superman is compared to Samson based on his strength, he has been quoted, "A guy named Samson once had this idea!" Another biblical reference is Superman's real name Kal-El as well as his fathers name Jor-El. El is used in the bible as another name for God. El is also in names of great prophets such as, Isra"el", Samu"el", and Dani"el", also the angles Micha"el" and Gavri"el". In the bible Michael is the great combatant who fights Satan, which could easily make him Superman's flying biblical alter ego.
When I think of superheros, especially Superman I never used to think of any type of religion. I just used to think of a brave man in tights who saves the day. But after reading this I realize that there is a great possibility he is Jewish. His creators were Jewish, giving him more reason to be Jewish as well. After reading this with the biblical similarities it makes be believe he is Jewish. Superman came around the time when the Jewish people were being killed off just cause the simple fact they were Jewish. So why wouldn't two young boys create secret Jewish character for all of America to love!? Superman defeating the Nazis is another sign...yes he is Jewish!

Sent from my HTC on the Now Network from Sprint!

02 March 2011

Up up and JEWISH!? What? Really?

In the introduction of Up, Up and Oy Vey they explain some of the small connections that comics have to things like the bible. Did Jewish beliefs really influence comics? The introduction talks about the amazing stories told on Jewish holy days, "Good prevailing over evil." This is exactly what comics are about. The introduction it also point out how the comic book hero's personify a theme or themes from Jewish traditions. The book Up, Up, and Oh Vey shows all comic readers the connections that comics have with things such as the bible and Jewish traditions.
Chapter one basically gives you all the evidence to show you that comics and the bible do have some similarities. The most popular superhero today was created by two Jewish boys. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. They based him off of what they were like and how they wanted to be. They made superman very patriotic. Superman was first introduced in Action Comics #1. The first issue featuring Superman sold out. Throughout Up, Up and Oy Vey they show how every comic with superman had something to do with Jewish values. And how it took place during World War II. They also make some connections with the bible. When describing how Superman was sent here by his father who put him in a little space ship and sent him to Earth. This goes along with how they sent Moses in a reed basket to a better place. There are many connections like this throughout the Superman comics.
Comics really are connected to the bible and Jewish traditions. This piece really has me believing. There are so many small similarities that I don't think people really notice. But they are there and now that I have read this piece I can see it. Comics are all about super hero's doing good and over coming evil. This is the same thing as the bible the stories that they tell are all similar. Coincidence? I think not! Up, Up, and Oy Vey gives you all the evidence to convince you that comics have some Jewish traditions tied in.

Super Jewish!

I bet it has never occurred to you that Superman was created from Jewish beliefs and culture. Not only was it made with these intentions, but made by Jewish men as well. These two Jewish men who created the character Superman were Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Simcha Weinstein is informing us that Superman as well as other superheroes come from Jewish beliefs in his book Up, Up, and Oy Vey: How Jewish History, Culture, and Values Shaped The Comic Book Superhero. Weinstein uses the Bible and Nazi Germany to explain to the reader how the Superman comics have ties to Jewish culture.

Superman can first be identified with Jewish culture through the Bible. The Bible is a main focus in the Jewish religion, so there is no surprise that Siegel and Shuster relate Superman's personality to heroic figures in the Bible such as Moses and David. The connection between Superman and these biblical figures is that they all yield courage at one time or another, and have supernatural powers to serve their people. When European Jewish immigrants first came to the United States, they brought these biblical stories with them and passed them down to their children.

Superman's childhood is also related to the way Jews were treated in Nazi Germany during World War II. In 1939, Hitler persecuted Jews horribly in Germany. Jews could not hold government jobs or even own radios. Jewish parents would send their children to England to seek safety. Superman's childhood has the same background as these Jewish youth. Superman was sent away from Krypton to avoid the mass destruction of his native planet. Just like these Jewish parents, Superman's parents made the choice to send him away to avoid death.

When European Jews first came to America in the early 1900's, they were persecuted by many. It was hard to get a job at this time if you were a Jew. This was when Jewish children and teenagers began creating supernatural characters who came to protect the innocent and fight evil. Siegel and Shuster were just two of many Jewish teens who lived in America at this time. With them included the creators of Batman (Bob Kane and Bill Finger), and many other Jewish comic artists who migrated to America.

With all these Jewish creators of comics, comics became a multi-million dollar business. The public began to accept comics, and the comic industry grew. Comics were eventually studied within the highest levels of academia, and not just seen as cheap child's play. 2002 proved to be a good year for comics. In 2002, actor Nicholas Cage sold his comic collection for $1.68 million. This same year, the New York City Comic Museum released C.O.M.I.C.S. (Challenging Objective Minds: an Instructional Comic book Series), which was a curriculum for k-12 used in many schools. These can be considered milestones that show the progression comics have had.

I do agree with Weinstein's belief that superheroes come from Jewish culture. Weinstein gives great examples that explain the code behind the Superman comic. From showing how Superman's personality is related to biblical characters, to relating Superman's childhood to those children from Nazi German, it is hard to argue Weinstein's claim. The fact that many famous comic artists are Jewish helps his claim. I think the main reason comics such as Superman, that are written by people of Jewish ancestry have such a great appeal to Americans is that America is a Christian nation. Since many people have christian values, Superman appeals to them because the Jewish values of the authors are very closely related. This is why I think superheroes come from Jewish beliefs.

Up, Up, And Oy Vey: Is Superman Jewish

In November 1938 Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster gave birth to the first superhero comics book. This marked the birth of many's favorite: Superman. In the book Up, UP, And Oy Vey Simcha Weinstein takes the readers on a trip down memory lane. on that provides information on the origin of this phenomenal figure in society. the main idea brought forward was the belief that the character is actually Jewish. The writer began by taking her readers back in time to the biblical days where she made reference to the fact that there were super patriarchs and super matriarchs that existed in that period. These existed in the form of Moses, Davis and Sampson. it is believed that superman was created in a time when the Jews needed an intervention. this was in 1938 when the Nazi's launched a great attack on the Jews. The creators of the character were bot Jews themselves. The master minds gave the super hero an identity, a human reporter called Clark Kent. The Writer Siegel admitted that there were aspects of the character's characteristics that mirrored his own lifestyle. The most common being the level of shyness displayed especially when it relates to females.
There was an actual scene in the comic where Lois was placed before a firing squad during the Nazi attack on the Jew and predictably she was rescued by her lover Superman. The Author reveals the original name of Superman which is Kal-El. he made reference to the fact that most great biblical characters name ended with suffix El. Isra-el, Dani-el, Samu-el, Micha-el, Gabri-el. he also stated that the suffix "Kal" meant "with lightness", "swiftness", "vessel" and "voice". This the author believes directs us towards the ethnicity of the character. Finally, the author made reference to the birth of Moses which he mirrored to that of Superman. They were bot placed in vessels by their parents with the hope of them surviving and not having to face the pending destruction upon their lives. Both Moses and Superman were entrusted wit special powers and capabilities to save other from the hands of evil men forces that lurked around. In the end of the article superman defeated the Nazi and reminisces on his childhood that took place in the 1920's.
As a reader that has recently been introduced to the value of comics. I must admit that it was very intriguing reading the introduction and first chapter of the book. Based on the evidence and logic provide I am favored to agree wit the notion that Superman is indeed Jewish. Firstly, the creators of the characters are Jewish decent and this I believe will factor into the characteristics and ethnicity of the character. Most writer transports their experiences, beliefs and own characteristics in their characters. Secondly, the origin of the original name made perfect sense whether it was deliberate or coincidental. The writer supported her arguments with good and solid proofs, which I found hard to disregard and refute. Finally, the similarity that was identified in the birth and purpose of both Moses and Superman made the claim more believable and provided a convincing story. Now I might be wrong along with the author. However, based on the facts provided I am left to agree with the argument and belief: Superman is Jewish

You can't get anymore Jewish

In the beginning of the introduction of Up, Up, and Oy Vey! it is said that Jewish Americans invented the comic book. It says that it’s not coincidental that most superhero names end in the word “man”. If you look at many Jewish names, Goldman, Kurtzman, Goodman, and many more, they all end in the word “man”. Another thing said is that they related the Superheroes that they came up with, to the Bible. We can see the many traits that superheroes have which are connected with the Bible: Integrity, Justice, Values, Honor, etc.

In chapter one it talks about some of the ties that Superman comics have with the Bible. The comic says that Superman is a man who has the strength of a dozen Samsons. Samson was the Biblical man who had extraordinary strength and crushed the building of the Philistine chiefs. In episode #81 Superman goes undercover as a shtetl resident. Shtetl is the Yiddish term for a heavily populated Jewish town. In the same episode Superman meats Moishe and Baruch and accompanies them to their house. There, while Baruch is drawing in the corner on a brown piece of paper, Moishe tells superman that Baruch is drawing their angel again and that he, Moishe, makes up the stories while Baruch draws up the pictures.” This represents Siegel and Shuster when Shuster would draw on brown wrapping paper back when they were just young boys. Clearly Jewish religion has strong connections with those superheroes in comic books.

I never really thought about where the inspiration for these characters came. I was on the line of believing and disbelieving that superheroes descended from Jewish beliefs, but was shortly convinced. After I read the part about Moishe and Baruch drawing the pictures and making up the storyline for their “angel”, then I knew that it was true. Superman wasn’t just someone with extraordinary powers who could fly; he was Siegel and Shuster’s angel who they based their entire beliefs off of. Now that makes me wonder if all superheroes are really Jewish underneath.

24 February 2011

Debatable Definition Causes a Ruckus in the Comic World

A response was made by Dylan Horrocks called Inventing Comics: Scott McCloud’s Definition of Comics and it focuses on Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: the Invisible Art. Horrocks considers Understanding Comics to be an important book of comic theory and a manifesto to the comic community. Horrocks claims McCloud’s definition truly justifies what comics should or should not be and what we should value less or more about comics.

Horrocks goes on to claim that McCloud does not justify why Eisner’s definition of “Sequential Art” is definitive in comics, and he chose it based on his personal likings. McCloud takes the concept of “Sequential Art” in order to rewrite it and rename it as comics. Horrocks claims that the definition is a metaphoric system made from other related metaphors, such as, “Comics are a literary genre”. McCloud’s definition is broad and based on visual mediums that he considers and reconsiders children’s picture books to be comics. But since McCloud decided that pictures must tell a whole story, Horrocks feels that McCloud should add an amendment to his definition stating, “Comics must not only contain pictorial narrative; they must be dominated by it”. Overall, the definition provides some closure. McCloud erases the history of comics to focus our attention mainly on media. But then in his book, he returns to the history once more to reclaim cultural artifacts that have been incorporated by other art forms. With the easel of the marginal status of comics as well makes Horrocks believes that McCloud is less concerned about the past than the future of comics. Horrocks suggests that McCloud created a myth in his book that claims pictures gave birth to writing. Horrocks believes, “…with the invention of comics, pictures have finally won the war with language and replaced words altogether”. Horrocks claims that McCloud’s Understanding Comics has helped build the comic nation.

With complete honesty, this response was highly dense and long just like Mr. Ben warned. I do not know how many times I read over it, but it still manages to get me stumped. I did not enjoy the reading very much nor can I agree with Horrocks. The fact that McCloud’s book helped me become more open minded towards comics, I cannot stray far from his opinions. I suppose I will remain a sheep in McCloud’s flock.

McCloud: Still a Comic Genius!

Dylan Horrak writes in his article, Inventing Comics, about Scott McClouds definition on comic books and the world they revolve around. According to Horrak, McClouds definition is too broad and isn't very good. Horrak shows a few comic panels from McClouds book and talks about how McClouds definition is too broad. Horrack states: "Nowhere in Understanding Comics does Scott attempt to justify why ‘Sequential Art’ should be seen as the one definitive element in comics to the exclusion of all others"(Horrak 2). I don't think McCloud attempts this because he is trying to make is own definition about comics and not use Eisners'. Horrak then states:"His textual vocabulary, too, is often built on these geographical metaphors"(3). He then quotes some of these "metaphores" that McCloud uses. At the end of his article Horrak then says good things about McClouds book.'Reading Understanding Comics brought those two ways of loving comics together for me - in that sense it helped me to write my own book Hicksville. Part of me has been in a dialogue with Scott’s book for the past six years - and will be for some time yet."(6)

To me it seems like Horrak is trying to 'out do' McCloud and say that McClouds definition isn't a fit one. For someone to write a whole book about comics in comic form isn't easy. McCloud really knows what he is talking about and it all makes sense. The whole purpose of this book was to shed a positive light on comic books not to go into such depth about the definition. Sure the definition is kind of broad but after reading this book most will look at comics differently. And if so... Mission Accomplished by Scott McCloud!

Comic Superstition

In Dylan Horrock's Inventing Comics: Scott McCloud' s definition of comics, Horrock explains hows McClould's work is theory. Horrock says that the only reason people take McCloud's argument as truth is because they share McCloud's ideas. McCloud uses his definition to establish limits, but like all definitions, it is an expression of values and assumptions.

Horrock explains that the main value McCloud establishes is closure. Closure allows pictures to transcend the traditional limitaitons of the single image, becoming narrative. Even though McCloud values closure, many people see the problem of comics as crude, poorly drawn pictures while their real problem is the reason people see them this way. What holds comics back are people's attitudes.

Along with comics problems, McCloud writes that comics problems are associated with not what they could be, but what they have been. In order to advance, comics need to get rid of their history. McCloud talks of a division of form vs. content. He also explains the phrase "form as vessel." Form as vessel can hold any number of ideas and images. Even if you do not like comics, you should be able to admire the form. The form McCloud talks about focuses the readers attention on the pure shiny form. This makes comics an equal medium in the eyes of the public.

Horrock also writes of how McCloud uses Eisner's term because it is useful. The term highlights the things McCloud values most about comics. Horrock explains how McCloud basically just uses Eisner's term and makes it into a dictionary style definition and renames it comics. The new meaning just colonizes the old meaning. This is why Scott McCloud's book is arguable because he bases his book off a definition that he just renamed.

Another argument Horrock brings up is McCloud's fear of words or Logo phobia. McCloud thinks a comic should be dominated by pictures and have little dialogue, but my McCloud's definition, as long as their is two pictures somewhere in a book and they tell a narrative, then that book is a comic. McCloud also does not attempt to define the border between words and pictures. There is no rule stated to as how much text and pictures can be in a comic.

This reading was somewhat hard to read, but had a lot of valuable information to make the reader think twice about some of McCloud's ideas. The summary was to show the reader that McCloud's book should not be taken as fact, but as an arguable opinion. The reader can argue the statements McCloud makes. Horrock does a good job of making his arguments of issues he disagrees with McCloud. We now have good reason to be superstitious about the definition of comics.

23 February 2011

Does McCloud Really Do A Good Job At Defining Comics? Some Think Otherwise!

Is Scott McClouds definition really a good definition of comics? Well Inventing Comics by Dylan Horrack is all about McCloud’s definition of comics and why it isn’t that good of a definition. In McCloud’s book Understanding Comics he tries to define comics and make people think of comics in a different light. Horrack’s piece is all about how McCloud doesn’t do a good job defining comics. In Horrack’s second paragraph he states “When you’re preaching to the converted, its easy to convince them that you’re speaking the Truth- rationally rather than rhetorically. (Horrack page 1)” Harrack starts off by explaining McCloud’s book and how he goes about explaining comics. Horrack explains how McCloud came up with the definition that he came up. The term ‘Sequential Art’ actually came from Eisner who used it in his when he was defining the art of comics. Throughout Horrack’s piece he talks about how McCloud’s definition is not very good, because he just uses a term that someone else used and just said it was the definition of comics. Scott McCloud makes his definition look like a dictionary style so the he pulls the reader into believing that his definition is correct. Horrack mentions in his piece that McClouds doesn't say anything about the style or the content of comics. He merely defines comics as sequential art. Another big part about McCloud's definition is closure. Horrack just writes about all the bad aspects of McClouds definition.

I think that Horrack's piece on McClouds book is good. I like it because he really talks about why McCloud's definition is not good, or accurate. I agree with Horrack just because McCloud doesn't ever talk about what makes up comics and i think that is important. Before I read this piece i really liked McClouds definition, but now i think that it is to broad. McClouds definition can include some stuff that I do not think are comics. But everyone has their own view on comics. Comics can include a lot of things but i think that McClouds definition is too broad. And Harrock just shows all the bad things about McClouds book and definition

Is McCloud's Definition Still Great?

Dylan Horrocks wrote a response to Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art called Inventing Comics: Scott McCloud's Definition of Comics. He believes Understanding Comics is the most important book of comic theory. He states that McCloud's definition of comics is saying this is what comics should be and should not be. In his response to Scott McCloud's book he takes a look at McCloud's definition.

He goes over chapter one by summarizing and paraphrasing selected panels in the chapter. He paraphrases that in page 3, panels 7-9 Scott McCloud come up with a solution to change people's perceptions of what they think comics really are. Dylan Horrocks explains that McCloud's metaphor of himself spitting out the comic drink because he does not acquire the taste for that specific comic; McCloud is implying that if a person does not like most comics they still can admire the form (genre, style, publishing and history) of comics.

Dylan Horrocks then begins to go over Scott McCloud's definition. He says sequential art is where Scott's search for a definition begins and ends. He believes that part of McCloud's definition "sequential art" is the "hidden power" because it makes the readers think of closure. According to Dylan Horrocks, McCloud does not try to prove that his definition is right but that McCloud is showing what he admires and appreciates most about comics. He shows that McCloud expands on his idea of sequential art and turns it in to a standard dictionary definition. He states that McCloud's definition is great because it includes so many things but it also has its limitations stating that comics are not single panel cartoons.

Although Dylan Herrocks believes Scott McCloud's definition is great, he also states that Scott McCloud is unable to define it all. When McCloud was asked if his definition included children literature his answer was "not if the prose is independent of the pictures..". Herrocks find his answer reviling because you would think that from Scott McCloud's definition, children's books would be considered comics too. He believes McCloud would be willing to include picture books because he included photo booth pictures and stained glass windows as sequential art. But why not children's books?

I agree with Dylan Herrocks that McCloud struggles to qualify his definition. I think McCloud should fully include children books or fully exclude children's books. After reading his response I wondered if McCloud's definition was as great to me as it originally was. I came to the conclusion that his definition is now "OK". Even though he did not specify everything his definition is broad yet it still excludes things such as a children's book.

22 February 2011

Time to Rip McCloud a New One!

I kid. We're not going to tear him apart. But my buddy Dylan Horrocks is going to do that for us!

Dylan Horrocks' article Inventing Comics: Scott McCloud's Definition of Comics is kind of like our Rhetorical Analysis essay on steroids. It was first published in The Comics Journal, an academic periodical about comics, in 2001--ten years after Understanding Comics. It's an important piece because while our class (and McCloud's readership as a whole) takes his ideas at face value, Horrocks shows us why we shouldn't. And it's in that that we can truly see the brilliance of McCloud's rhetoric.

This is your reading for Thursday. But be warned, it's pretty long, somewhat dense, and I want you to blog about it! This is not a Wednesday-at-10pm assignment! You need to spend some time with this text before your write about it, and then give yourself some time to draft a strong. coherent post. As this essay will feature heavily in our Contextual Analysis essay, you'll want to make sure you have a good grasp on it before we discuss it in class and clear up the difficult bits.

Your blog will begin with your typical summary (which will be very helpful when it's time to start our second essay), and end with your response to Horrocks' thesis. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

Lastly, because of how important it will be to look at this piece as a class, you need to come to class with notes on the article! You can even just print up your blog post on it if you want. But you need to come to class prepared to discuss his ideas, and you can't do that from memory!

Questions? Quibbles? Controversies?

15 February 2011

All Hail the Six Steps!

Chapter seven of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics clarifies that comics are an art. But comics must undergo a path that consists of six steps, which are idea/purpose, form, idiom, structure, craft, and surface. The first step involves the emotions, purposes, and content. The second step is basically what type of form the material will be. The third step involves vocabulary, styles, and genre. The fourth step basically is deciding what to include or leave out and how to arrange the material. Step five is basically finishing the work and applying such skills as problem solving or practical knowledge. Finally, step six involves the production and exposure. These six steps are used in any medium, for any work, and by any artists.

The almighty six steps can be found in the rhetorical analysis for Mr. Ben’s class. The first step would be the purpose of the essay, which is to prove whether McCloud proves the values of comics. The second step is the fact that the analysis is written in an essay structure, with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The third step is the vocabulary we decide to use and explaining the genres of McCloud’s book. The fourth step would be the rough draft of the essay, which is where we decide what is good enough to make the final draft. The fifth step is finalizing the final draft and making sure is almost perfect. Of course, the sixth step of the rhetorical analysis is turning the final draft into Mr. Ben.

In my opinion chapter seven is beneficially. When it comes to writing, we are all the students and should be open to learn more because there is so much more to learn. The six steps helped me understand how I can improve my rhetorical analysis a little more. I also found how McCloud portrayed pre-historic humans to be extremely humorous. Again, chapter seven was enjoyable.

Step To It!

Chapter seven of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art is about McCloud's definition of art and his six steps in creating art. McCloud describes art as any human activity besides sex and the will to survive. This is a very broad definition, but McCloud seems to give well thought out evidence in supporting this claim. Under this claim, dancing, singing, drawing, and many other hobbies fall under. We also learn later in this chapter that there are also factors that affect art. One factor is money. Some art can be influenced by greed. This is why McCloud places six steps on art to avoid making art just for money.

Instead of making art for money, McCloud explains how people use art to represent their individual identity. McCloud writes of three ways art is used to help people express themselves. The first is through exercise. Many play sports or games to relieve stress. Art also helps people with emotions. Art is good if someone has emotional imbalance. The last example of how art effects humanity is through invention. Art inspires creativity and new discoveries.

After explaining these three ways art helps humans express themselves, McCloud reveals his six steps to making art. Here is a bullet of the six steps to make it as clear as possible:
  1. Idea/Purpose-before you can start your work, you need to reflect on why you are doing what your doing. The purpose of your work.
  2. Form-This is where you decide what genre your art will take. Example include a book, chalk drawing, sculpture, or comic book.
  3. Idiom-Idiom can be described as your vocabulary and subject matter. Style of the genre is included.
  4. Structure-This is where you decided how to arrange your project. Composing your work.
  5. Craft-I could describe this as constructing your work and applying your art skills on you project.
  6. Surface-This is how your work looks when finished. Representation of the work.

It is very hard for everyone to walk step to step with these six rules. Many viewers of art do not see all six steps when looking at art. Many just see the finishing product or surface. Idea, form, idiom, structure, and craft are sometimes not fully recognized.

Sex or Food?: The Debate Continues

Chapter seven in Understanding Comics: the Invisible Art Scott McCloud tells us, “Art, as I see it, is any human activity which doesn’t grow out of either of our species’ two basic instincts: survival and reproduction.” He then gives us a short tale about a prehistoric male, and how it applies. He talks about how everything in our lives as humans that we do, is due to the instincts of survival and reproduction, whether it’s with a job/career or the “dating game”.
Then he introduces to us, a path consisting of six steps. The six steps being: idea/purpose, form, idiom, structure, craft, and surface. Without all of these six steps, the comic doesn’t really live up to its full potential. If it looks nice and appealing to the eye, it may catch the reader’s attention, but they will surely lose it if the comic is lacking in any other aspect, such as the storyline. There may be many people out there that think they have what it takes to create the next big comic, but in reality only few truly do.
In chapter seven in Understanding Comics, McCloud goes deeper into what a comic truly is. This time he explains the structure part of it more. He uses six steps: idea/purpose, form, idiom, structure, craft, and surface; all to combine in what we know as a legendary comic such as Spider-man. Although, if one of these key steps is missing from the staircase we call a comic, it will fall and you’ll be stuck in the basement with just doodles.

Comics are Art!? Come Step Through the Six Layers of Any Art!

Are comics really art? Well of course comics are art. They may not be the most common type of art, but they are art. In Chapter Seven of Understanding Comics Scott McCloud explains how comics are art, and the six steps that all artists use when creating art. Art is a broad subject, as are comics. McCloud describes how mother nature has a role in the creation of art. McCloud uses the example of cave people and how they would create art without really know it. Art is the discovery of important things and it shows truth, while being explored. Art is the foundation of many things such as language, science, and philosophy. Artists do what they do because they love art. To decide what you might want out of aren't you first must discover the purpose. There must always be a path when creating any kind of art. The six steps that many artists follow are; idea/purpose-this just shows the purpose of the work or the content that is going into the art, form- basically how it is going to be created, it can be a book, painting, dance, or sculpture, idiom- this is the genre that the art form belongs to, structure- what composes the art and brings it all together as one, craft-skills that help to make the art, and last is surface- this is the final product, the surface of the work that is exposed. All of these six steps go into creating any art form. What people see and understand the most is the surface... it is easier for a person to see the surface and understand that then it is for them to see what really goes into making that surface possible. All the steps that come before the surface are what make up art. McCloud describes how it takes much practice to become good at creating comics, and how you may think you have mastered it all. But you can leave out some important part. You may get the drawing part right but you might not have any story line. The six steps are followed by all artists, whether they know it or not. There is an idea or purpose behind everything, there has to be some kind of form and structure to help get the point or purpose across, the craft is something that differs from artist to artist, and the surface is what everyone gets to enjoy!
Chapter Seven really showed me what all it takes to make some good art. McCloud makes comics that much more understandable in this chapter by describing what it really takes to create a comic. Every comic has a purpose, a structure/ form, a certain genre and a surface. The artist making the art might have a different craft. He or She may do things different than other artists. The craft is what makes every art form so much different.
The six steps are applied when doing any paper. But in regard to the rhetorical analysis they are used because the purpose is to decide what definition about comics is the best, when looking at the genre and discourse community. The form of the paper is in MLA and the structure would be an essay. The idiom of the rhetorical analysis essay would be anyone looking to gain a better understanding of the definition of comics. The craft of every paper is different, depending on the writer. The structure is everything that makes up the essay, the other steps along with grammar and sentence structure. This is all stuff that will catch the readers eye, and either attract them and make them want more, or push them away.