Archive | July, 2012

“Distant Rain” Collage Project

31 Jul

I’m just a poor boy

I need no sympathy

I’m from a hood full of falling stars and broken wishes

And a lot of potholes on my road to riches

Because I’m easy come, easy go

Little high, little low

Any way the wind blow doesn’t really matter to me

Just gotta get out – just gotta get outta here

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land, and on the strangest sea

Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see

Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul.

And sweetest in the gale is heard

The little bird that sings the tune, without the words –

Never say never.


Beyond Superheroes: Comics as a New Genre for Medical Storytelling

31 Jul

Watch out Superman, Penn State College of Medicine is in town.  Here, a fourth year medical student may choose to take a Humanities course about comics entitled “Graphic Storytelling and Medical Narratives.”  The class was created as research has been proven that some students learn serious topics well when learned as a graphic narrative.  Medical storytelling is a genre that is growing – as patients and doctors alike write comics relating their experiences.  Based on a pre-course assessment of attitudes and skills repeated at the completion of the course, instructors at Penn State found this course helped medical students improve their communication and observation skills, better appreciate patient’ experience of their illnesses, and become more aware of the effects of body language on patient care.  Turns out it was worth to try something new – Scott McCloud would be proud!

Understanding Comics!

31 Jul

This year we learned a great deal from classroom interaction, teaching tools, films and graphic novels themselves.  As someone who came into this classroom with no background of this genre, Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics proved to be a useful tool for me.  A common theme is his emphasis on their potential as a communication medium because the avenue between a comic and his reader in regard to the imagination has not been fully tapped.  McCloud treats his reader as one who is new to the world of comics.  He begins by generally and explicitly defining comics, followed by a history lesson on their past development.  McCloud then describes the mechanics of their language; he illustrates to his readers the uses of paneling, the value of comics’ symbols, and the detection and power of a relationship between words and illustrations.  He also vividly and fondly expresses how words and pictures work together to engage all the reader’s senses, as well as motion and time.  I see comics very differently now – I have a deep appreciation for their work.  While I have long acknowledged their profound creative minds, I have a new appreciation for the level of complexity involved and how integral the reader’s own open mind is.

Here is an interactive link to read about the book’s main premises further:

Think Critically: Comics Study Questions

31 Jul
Graphic Composition/Art
1. In regard to Max Ernst’s Une Semaine de Bonte: A Surrealist Novel in Collage, describe three of the “days” Ernst illustrates in his work in terms of the theme of the day. No specific interpretation is correct, however thoughtful analysis and creativity will be helpful.


Wordless Novels
1. Interpret the image on the cover of Giacomo Patri’s White Collar. Why do you believe he made this image the cover? Also offer one or two possible interpretations of the title, White Collar.


Storyboard/Graphic Narrative
1. In regard to Bertold Bartosch’s L’Idee, the music was not added until two years following initial debut. Do you believe the music enhanced how you perceived and interpreted the movie? Why or why not?


Literary Adaptation/Screenplay
1. In Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, discuss the importance of the marriage of the film’s explosive and riveting script with the incredible stock of famed Hollywood actors.


Graphic Genre: Film Noir
1. In Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, discuss the character of Sam Spade in terms of heroism or anti-heroism, and give specific examples to support your argument.
2. In Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, discuss how the film pulls you into a sort of “dream world” that seems impossible to escape from. For example, you may talk about the film’s photography, or the rapturous action filled with deceit and double-crossing.

Daytripper: Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba – Making it Count

31 Jul

In Chapter 2, Bras takes a chance not by intentionally endangering his life to stand up for his newly found convictions, however to take a chance at love. He becomes smitten with a woman in Salvador, as far as even, “Not wanting to leave her side.” She has an intoxicating effect on him as she explains to him it is not one’s job that defines him, but the way he lives his life. She explains that who a person truly is illustrated by the way he lives in the moment. Bras takes this newfound pearl of wisdom and applies it to his own life that night, by breaking plan and risking his job interview in order to stay into the next day to see the woman again. Bras ended up not only risking his job interview, but his life. His chance at love was what made that day count for Bras; realizing that he could truly chase his dream, however fleeting, and grasp it.

Alison Bechdel: Unique Use of Vantage Point

31 Jul

Alison Bechdel uses a variety of unusual vantage points in Are You My Mother? Different vantage points include from the ceiling, lower near the ground, and through the window. One reason I think she may have done this is to keep her readers enthralled, and to mimic some sort of physical action taking place. Most comics and graphic novels display frequent scene changes full of action, power, and a physically moving plot. The majority of Bechdel’s story, however, takes place in therapy, where we view two individuals talking. If each frame she created in this atmosphere had been from the same perspective, it would have become monotonous and less visually stimulating.

Another reason for Bechdel’s variation in vantage point could be to infer the emotion the character in the scene is feeling. For example, when the vantage point is from the ceiling, it may convey the character’s feelings of inferiority or inability to perform what she was expected to in life. This downward vantage point could also convey the reader “judging” the character, or it could cause the reader to empathize with the character. The entire memoir portrays her own rollercoaster of her striving to meet her mother’s expectations of her, or gaining the attention she so desperately craved. This rollercoaster Bechdel experienced can also be a reason for the fluid changes in vantage point. Her own life was incredibly unstable, just like the illustration work. She went from highs to lows to being forced to look herself in the mirror.

Patri’s White Collar: Image 19

31 Jul

The cool breeze coaxes the man to walk to his open window and lean out, his hands resting on the sill.  He stares longingly down at the landscape, the trees and the bushes down below, the people walking along the sidewalk.  He longs to escape the office and join them on the beautiful day.  He yearns to go walk in the park with his children and his wife, reconnecting with his family.  The darkness of the office and the contrast of the lightness shown outside the window reflect how trapped the man feels in his work life, and how badly he wishes he could escape it.