Tag Archives: comics

More on SLSA — Zippy the Pinhead and Will Eisner

Saturday–another full sleight of panels though I missed the 8:30am strand thanks to the primitive business center at the Holiday Inn. Having been convinced by Paweł and the combined charm of the other SFRA-ers to join, I saved the html form to my computer, edited it, saved it to a usb drive, and figured I could print and mail it at the conference… Well, the old PC was not thrilled with my “high-speed removable storage” since it only had low-speed usb ports, and then the printer to which the computer was connected had a jam. So finally I had to email it to a woman working on the other computer which was connected to another printer… And then I had to walk 4 blocks to the post office for a stamp…

Really it was ridiculous, but by then my rare but powerful stubbornness was fully engaged and I was determined to send that damned form. Which I did, but at the cost of a whole session. Nice walk though.

So the next round I saw was themed around Cartoon Images. The first speaker, Ellen Grabiner, presented “Wild About the Box: The Disruptions of Zippy the Pinhead.” This was a really good talk. Not only did Grabiner make interesting point about the way creator Bill Griffith plays with visual conventions in order to subvert our narrative and linguistic expectations in a humorous way; raise real ontological questions; and challenge visual conventions of the comix medium, but I love Zippy and she picked great, hilarious examples. Combining solid analysis with humor is no mean trick. And I think a number of the other people in the audience hadn’t encountered Zippy before, and it was nice to see how much they enjoyed it.

Next was a paper by Chris Couch, “The Geometry of Emotion: Doorways in Will Eisner’s Comics.” I was interested to hear that Chris had been part of Kitchen Sink Press and now was teaching Comp Lit at UMass Amherst, where I did my MA and PhD. Kitchen Sink was such a cool press, not least for their support of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the once embodied Words and Pictures Museum of Northampton. (That was such a great place; I spent so much time entranced by the rotating exhibits and there that I first saw the ever-so-cool Devil Girl chocolate… anyway he quite an interesting talk, once he got going. It was a pretty straightforward analysis of window/door/portal images in Will Eisenberg’s comics, which was cool (if only because comics were treated exactly like any other subject of art historical study).

My only quibble is that I didn’t really see the science connection, or the code, or anything that connected this paper to SLSA. (Unless we are just going to say the portal metaphor is code enough.) But I suppose it doesn’t matter too much, because it was really informative lecture on Eisner–I’ll edit this later to add just a few more details on that, after I locate my notes… 😛

Finally, the last presenters were talking about I don’t know what–nuclear bombs, bio-art, fruit flies, mutations…they spent way too much time on the fruit flies and not nearly enough on the main point. They shall remain nameless.

Doktor Sleepless, cover #4

Originally uploaded by warrenellis

I love Warren Ellis. He captures contemporary attitudes in such a beautifully snarky way.

The odd thing though, is that if someone made a movie as vile and violent, even if as funny, as one of Warren’s typical stories, I’d probably hate it. (well, if it was really so funny, maybe it would be ok; I liked Tank Girl after all, both comic and film.) But my point is that I seem to have no trouble with violence, perversion, or general grossness when it’s in a comic book, but in films, I don’t like most violence. I guess added abstraction really does make a difference.