Comics to understand life

After yesterday’s post about comics, I was thrilled to find this short comic via Imgur. It’s a perfect example of the way that comics can get at ideas that words alone wouldn’t be able to express.
Unfortunately it’s also hard to show here without ripping the whole thing off, so I’d suggest you enjoy it on the artist’s website at The Bouletcorp.

In other news, apologies to anyone reading via RSS who got a couple of links earlier today without any context. Think of it as a sneak preview.


Comics: where to start?

I’ve been reading books since forever. I love nothing more than a morning with a coffee, a big book and nothing else to do. I’m now realising that while there are many, many reasons that this is a great thing, it makes it hard for me to get into other media, like comic books.

I’ve tried reading comics a few times. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series was a fantastic start, and I’ll happily vanish the tiny stories picked up on Free Comic Book Day each May. But the comics I’ve borrowed from friends haven’t been much help – the Fantastic 4 was particularly brainless – and buying something that will suit my taste is tricky. Comixology store doesn’t make sense to me the way Google Books does, and I can wander the local comic book shop cluelessly for hours.

Today I’m regrouping to try reading comics again. The AV Club website has an article on the great strides in comic book diversity that have been taken over the last few decades, and they drop a lot of names. The recent Ms Marvel books, while teen-focused, look appealing, and Watson and Holmes seems like it’s right down my alley (in a punnish way, from what I’ve read).

So here’s hoping this attempt to read comic books turns up some gold. I don’t expect anything could supplant my reading habit, but I’d be glad to have comic books there to add some more colour. And of course, let me know if you have any suggestions.

Beauty isn’t universal

What does a beautiful woman look like? It depends on your cultural conditioning.

Esther Honig, Journalist, blogger and an extraordinarily brave person, sent her photo (the unlabelled photo below) to nearly 40 freelancers from 25 countries with a simple brief: “make me beautiful”.

The images she got back say a lot more about the designers than the do about Esther – it’s fascinating to see how many of the artists chose to change her skin colour, put makeup on her, fade out the contours to her face , put jewellery on her while continuing to show her without clothes and, in the case of the US designer, change the entire shape of her face. Which is a perfect example of the way that the collection as a whole also tell an extraordinary story about cultural norms of beauty.

Esther’s write-up and full collection of the photos are at!before–after-/cvkn

The League of Extraordinary Dancers

For the next installment in my (unexpected!) tour of modern dance, I can’t go past this TED talk on the evolution of dance in the internet age. The dancing is fascinating, but it’s also great to hear about how some dancers are using technology to share techniques, learn new moves and remix what they’ve shared into unique styles.

The presentation is done by the League of Extraordinary Dancers, who I seem to have discovered far too late – the latest episode on their site is from August 2010. It’s interesting to see that they were making episodic content even then – it ties in nicely with the theory that “fantastic and exciting new forms” of media are emerging over the internet, and have been emerging for years now.



The First Follower

With thanks to @JB_AU (known to some as Jonathan Brown), I present a very practical treatise on leadership and the importance of the first follower:

JB is a community media first follower (and sometimes a leader, if the situation calls for it), as well as an advocate for youth and positive mental health. We also had the good luck to share our media degree at uni, so clearly that degree has done the world some good. If you’ve got any interest in the media, young people or making positive change in the world, head on over to his blog.

Significant words in a gravelly voice

In a twist of terrible, beautiful irony, the stock video company Dissolve has illustrated Kendra Eash’s poem ‘This is a generic brand video’ with their company’s product. I still can’t decide whether the end product is an indictment of Dissolve’s very work or an extremely clever moment of self-effacement that stops just short of that indictment. Like all media, I suppose it will depend entirely on the audience.

Take a look for yourself.


Grasping at the visual significance of Pacific Rim

I’ve just finished watching Pacific Rim with my partner. It was fascinating and fantastic, particularly because of the expectations that I brought to it.

A week after Pacific Rim came out, I discovered an article on the visual intelligence in Pacific Rim that makes it more than just a mecha love-fest* (Transformers, I’m looking at you). The author dives into the great significance behind the colours, gestures and memory montages in a way that my linguistically focused mind could barely register, even though I went in looking for the visual connotations.

While the article does dive into spoilers eventually, I recommend reading the first few paragraphs regardless of your interest in Pacific Rim. The author makes a notable effort to convey another person’s highly visual communication style in the media that best suits his own strongly language-based communication style, which is no mean feat.


*To be clear, I’m a big fan of mecha love fests. With a partner like mine, it’s impossible not to appreciate the design and imagination** that goes into these great lumbering hunks of gunmetal.

**Well, sometimes imagination. Another mech called the Jaeger? Really, Pacific Rim?