Scott McCloud’s Comic Presentation

A self-portrait of McCloud from Understanding Comics

Deemed the “Aristotle of comics” by many, Scott McCloud delivered his popular presentation to Rowan University last Monday to a packed theatre hall.

McCloud has written for DC comics in Superman: Strength and Superman Adventures, but is more well known for his own creations Zot! and his nonfiction writings about comics.

McCloud’s presentation ,which he has delivered to Pixar, wasn’t about his work or his thoughts on comics, but instead focused on how communication is presented in the comic medium.

“We see ourselves in everything we encounter,” he said.

We depend a lot on facial expressions to express emotions in life and to depict emotions in art according to McCloud. Simple expressions can be combined to create complex ones such as angry mixed with joy equals cruelty. Whole stories can be told without words for the expressions on a character’s face is all you need.

McCloud also dicussed how time is expressed in comics. Comics act as a temperal map that shows off time and space. As you move through the panels on a page you are moving through time.

Readers usually imagine what happens between panels which creates a sense of life not found in other mediums.

“Cartooning is a way of seeing and reducing the world to a concept,” McCloud said while saying that an artist can present ideas in a strong way through simple pictures.

McCloud showed off how the world of print may be fading slightly, but the digital frontier opens a new door for comics.
Comics can now be seen through a literal window pane as each panel is presented onscreen. The comics’ stories can literally be viewed in a circle format or with a parallel running below it onscreen. Panels can take a turn while scrolling which could mean a turn in the story.

While the presentation of this new format for comics looked impressive, it also came off a bit nauseating.

McCloud enjoys the world that comics allows someone to engage in.

“No one gave us a choice which world we were born in,” said McCloud.
We should be able to choose what worlds we want to inhabit, McCloud explained.

The audience seemed pleased with McCloud’s presentation and erupted into applause when it was finished.

Mike Tran, 24, a member of the audience who attended based on being a fan of McCloud and found the event through McCloud’s twitter.

“How explained in depth with comics history, the facial expressions convey emotions,” said Tran, a graduate from the Temple Tyler  School of Art on what he liked about the presentation.


A look at Justice League: Doom [Spoilers]

The newest DC animated feature, Justice League: Doom, continues to show that DC takes its cartoons seriously. It features veteran voice actors from previous DC shows such as Kevin Conroy as Batman and Tim Daly as Superman.

Justice League: Doom is an adaptation of the Justice League of America arc “Tower of Babel.” In that story Ra’s Al Ghul steals Batman’s contingency plans to take down the Justice League.

Meanwhile at the Legion of Doom

In Justice League Doom, Vandal Savage hires Mirror Master to steal Batman’s plans and forms the Legion of Doom to enact them.

The heroes are all defeated in unique ways that destroy them either physically or psychologically. In some cases it is both. Continue reading

Students React to “Before Watchmen”

DC Comics

Controversy continues with differing student opinions about “Before Watchmen”

Michael Ramsey, a student at Rowan University said that the prequels are justified from a legal standpoint.

“If the question is should someone be allowed to make another adaptation, then I say yes solely based on the fact that he consented to giving the rights to his work to DC by virtue of working for them,” said Ramsey, a philosophy major.

Darcy Post, a student at Rutgers-Camden University, thinks that the prequels shouldn’t be made.

“What the f**k? No it’s not right and the original was perfect,” said Post, a psychology major when she first heard the news.

Both students agreed that the prequel series come off as unnecessary and that it probably won’t add anything to the story.

“They explained how that one dude (The Comedian) was f**ked up from the war and s**t didn’t they?” said Ramsey, “What else they would need to clarify?”

“They don’t really need to touch it,” said Post “The original itself had elements of a prequel.”

The original Watchmen series did include series of flashbacks for each main character showing their life story.

Both students also said that wouldn’t be reading the new series. There is a divided camp for support of the prequels. Some fans side with Alan Moore, the original writer who is against touching Watchmen. Others think that the new series is justified by DC while others still think it is an unnecessary creation.

The popular best selling comic book of all time is planned to have the prequels published this summer.

Merchandise for the prequel series is already being put into production. Plenty of statues, action figures, and posters are planned for “Before Watchmen”.

The Odd World of Animal Man

Animal Man is one of those characters that you may have heard of recently due to his success with his new ongoing series as part of the DC New 52 reboot in August.  The Animal Man that this article will be focusing on is Grant Morrison’s 26 issue run from 1988 to 1990.

Animal Man is Buddy Baker. Buddy has the ability to mimic any animal’s ability. From flying without wings, to breathing underwater without gills, Animal Man can use his animal powers in most situations to allow escape or to win a fight.

Animal Man Issue 2

Continue reading

DC Comics to release Before Watchmen

Watchmen is one of the best selling graphic novels of all time. This summer DC Comics will be coming out with seven new titles all under Before Watchmen.

Each new title will be about a certain character. The titles are Rorschach, Minutemen, Comedian, Dr. Manhattan,  Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, and Ozymandias.

This is a deviation from the original work which was simply twelve issues that is more commonly fond today as a trade book with all twelve issues collected together. The original was one story while these prequels will focus on the characters.

“You’re going to get the Rorschach that you know and want. It’s a very visceral story we’re going to be telling,” Brian Azzarello said. Azzarello will be writing Rorschach and Comedian.

Alan Moore, the writer of Watchmen, told the New York Times that he is not pleased with the creation of Before Watchmen.

Moore said that he thinks these sequels will only continue to have comics be viewed as not authentic literature.

“As far as I know,” he said, “there weren’t that many prequels or sequels to ‘Moby-Dick.’ ”

J. Michael Straczynski, the writer for Nite Owl and Dr. Manhattan, said this in an interview with Heat Vision about Moore’s reaction to the prequel series.

“Leaving aside the fact that the Watchmen characters were variations on pre-existing characters created for the Charlton Comics universe, it should be pointed out that Alan has spent most of the last decade writing very good stories about characters created by other writers, including Alice (from Alice in Wonderland), Dorothy (from Wizard of Oz), Wendy (from Peter Pan), as well as Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, Jekyll and Hyde, and Professor Moriarty (used in the successful League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). I think one loses a little of the moral high ground to say, ‘I can write characters created by Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle and Frank Baum, but it’s wrong for anyone else to write my characters.’ “

People on Twitter have been posting their reactions to the announcement of Before Watchmen. It seems that fans of the original work may be divided on the announcement of this new series.

image by DC comics