So I had the opportunity this Monday to speak about the relationship of images and language/text in comics, as part of Bernd Scheffer‘s weekly lecture on Schrift und Bild, “Text and Image”. My thanks for the invitation and to everyone who came and participated in the discussion.
The most obvious aspect of that image-text relationship is probably the co-existence of text and image on the comic page and everything that flows from it: A rapport that might be drawn by many explanatory arrows that course, in the most simple form, from the inside of speech balloons to other panel elements and back. But it seems to me that this approach, while not inaccurate in itself, misses some larger points, including a more fundamental set of relations between image and script at the basis of comics. »»»»
One of the most useful concepts for understanding visual media is that of the gaze, le regard, der Blick, as opposed to the seeing faculties of the eye, l’oeil, das Auge. It is also a persuasively invariant effect through many, many different theoretical perspectives. And best of all, it is easily demonstrated. »»»»
Here’s a much more light-hearted example of textual control: Not censorship except by the standards of the most intense advocates for the freedom of information, but definitely a struggle for control of textual production and of communication, and a case that hits you over the head with some of the most typical paradoxes of explicit textual control. »»»»
As you probably already know, Google has just announced “a new approach to China”. Following attacks from what seem to be government hackers on gmail accounts of human rights activists, and a more general discomfort with increasing demands to censor search results over the last year, Google.cn will apparently discontinue its previous policy of compliance with governmental standards. Instead, they “will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which [they] could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all.” If this turns out to be impossible, which seems quite likely, they are prepared to shut down Google.cn as well as their Chinese offices.
Some quick thoughts on this in no particular order: »»»»
This post contains spoilers for current Marvel titles back through 2001 and up to the present.
The Daily Bugle crumbles: The fictitious newspaper has been with Spider-Man almost since the character’s inception in 1962. Now its headquarters have been destroyed in an attack by super-villain Electro. And it turns out that the Daily Bugle’s headquarters encompass two towers, twin skyscrapers, right at the heart of New York’s skyline. They can be seen to collapse in a moderately large half-page panel on page 21 of Amazing Spider-Man 614, published December 9, 2009. The image is not altogether unprecedented. »»»»
The ComFor — that’s the German “Gesellschaft für Comicforschung”, Society for Comics Studies — has issued the call for papers for its fifth annual conference. »»»»
This post contains spoilers for Avatar.
James Cameron’s Avatar advertises itself as a movie to change media expectations. It mainly showcases two technologies: fusion camera digital 3d and motion-captured CGI.
It seemed to me that the movie did not know what to do with the first of these. »»»»
Let’s try this:
Think of any one specific media experience you’ve encountered recently. This could be a movie you saw; a computer gaming session — or your whole experience with any one game; a book — or any one hour spent reading a book; or a comic, or a newspaper, or a blog; an episode of a scripted TV show — or your whole experience with that one series — or an hour spent in front of the TV, hopping channels; a phone call, or a chat session, or indeed a live conversation. It could be a lot of other things as well, and we’re not about to define limits right now. Just choose one you remember well, and so will I, though I won’t tell you which one I’m thinking of until a bit later.
Now. Are we remembering using certain media, or interpreting certain signs?
What is the difference between signs and media? »»»»