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Posts tagged “superheroes

Lower Bite

Lower Bite - Planet of the Humans


A  creature  with a lower bite problem resides  on the mysterious planet of the humans.


Lower Bite




Planet of the Humans  graphics source – splash page Infinity Man and the Forever People #1.  I used it to create a textured abstract. A version of that was used in the first image.


Planet of the Humans - Splash Page

Bringing back  Jack Kirby’s Forever People,  artist Keith Griffen  captures the Kirby style


Planet of the Humans 1




Surreal Thursday: Impressive Nitrogen & Boom Bomb

Impressive Nitrogen Mt

Impressive Nitrogen

For this Surreal Thursday (Post 975) , here are a couple of items I spotted on the web this week. I added some mat frames to emphasize the Mass Media context.  Firs up, which I have called ‘Impressive Nitrogen’, reminds me of some exam  & test answers I would on occasion come across in my past life as a teacher. The difference is the social media context/reference in the student’s response to the question. Things haven’t changed that much.

Meanwhile, the first sooper-hero, Popeye the Sailor, continues to live on in the funnies and the comic books. Popeye the Sailor Man first appeared in the daily King Features comic strip Thimble Theatre on January 17, 1929. Created by Elzie Crisler Segar, Popeye’s popularity grew to the point of becoming the lead character and then then eventually becoming the title of the strip. 

For more enlightenment see: Know Thy History: Thimble Theater 

Newspapers are trying to adapt to the online world of digital print and the instantaneous reality of social media. In that difficult transition resides the syndicated comic strips and their beloved characters. Those of us of a certain age remember when daily strips were in B&W and the Weekend Funnies were all in colour.  Mass Media technology and Media consumption has changed, but the basic principles of Mass media have not. All mass media have business interests and the creators & publishers of comic strips need  to make money from their media content. One would hope that in this world of tablets, smart phones and e-books that there still is a place for Popeye and the other stars of The Funnies. To learn more about the impact of new Mass media technology on comic creators check out  this informative blog post by El Santo:

Webcomics and the perils of social media

Roger Langridge, writer pens the ongoing “Popeye” comic book series (IDW), with Bruce Ozella on art.

Roger Langridge (writer) scripts the ongoing “Popeye” comic book series (IDW), with Bruce Ozella on art.

What if Wednesday: Word Balloons

word balloon Mtt

When I created and titled a couple of recent pieces word balloon & word balloon 2, I realized that not everyone might be aware of the term. This opened the door to some creative Media Literacy about Comic Book & Graphic Novel Codes and Conventions.

Word Balloons Book

Speech balloons (also speech bubbles, dialogue balloons or word balloons) are a graphic convention used most commonly in comic books, comic strips and cartoons to allow words (and much less often, pictures) to be understood as representing the speech or thoughts of a given character in the comic. There is often a formal distinction between the balloon that indicates thoughts and the one that indicates words spoken aloud: the bubble that conveys subjective thoughts is often referred to as a thought balloon. “

Thought Bubble

The thought Bubble is being used less often in many superhero comics, as they now attempt to emulate the wide-screen action style ( codes & conventions) of movies. Whereas the comic strips came of age alongside of the ‘silent”early cinema, the convention of titles & caption boxes would be familiar to the audience of both media. Also, the comic “book” and serial comic strip owed inspiration & source material to novels & short narratives that included the codes & convention of internal narration of characters’ thoughts and this aspect of story telling would be familiar to the audience. They would have also be familiar with this convention of internal voice & first person narration in radio drama, a medium that could incorporate this aspect of story telling easily into its structure.

word balloon2 Mtt

Today’s audience is more accustomed to the external third person point of view that makes up movies & television narratives.To them, the thought balloon and the characteristic of the superhero describing their actions seem unnatural. Superman’s old catch phrase , ” Up, up and away!” was a radio convention to cue the young listeners that he was about to leap into the air.  The phrase became so familiar that it worked its way into the comics, cartoons, and the movies. As today’s comic book industry evolves into the digital format and the graphic novel becomes more mature, the writers & illustrators are exploring other narrative traditions and finding methods of story telling that are unique to their medium.

Fantasy Perspective

All the images in this post play with either camera angle, perspective , line patterns, or/and colour. They have a fantasy quality in content/style.  For example the next image is of a wall mural that my wife painted in our daughter’s room. It features characters from the Gene Wilder Willy Wonka movie.  When I originally photographed it the sun was shining through the window creating an interesting pattern over the mural. As you can see it enhanced the distorted perspective of the whole piece.  Texturing further emphasized this sense on unreality.

My daughter enjoys fantasy characters . Another favourite is Spider-man.  She had her face painted  Spider-man  style.  The following is an interpretation of that fantasy.

During some  gift giving and unwrapping one of our cats took up residence in one of the empty gift bags – a cat fantasy of instant cave-den.

The final image is an abstract in a vase.  It was one of those ornamental exotic plant arrangements in a hotel. The kind that would not be out-of-place on a set in the original Star trek show where Captain Kirk meets another beautiful tragic almost human female.

Surreal Thursday: Beware The Spider !

Well this Surreal Thursday brings together a number of topics and cross-inspirations. There is no cross dressing, but there are disguises. Now one of my fellow bloggers, George – She Kept A Parrot, mentioned that I haven’t done any weird stuff lately. Recently George commented on the cobwebs in a Lemony Shots post  that was titled Oil Can Collection (beautiful compositions, check them out).  Well synchronicity weaved a web of happenstance and what should show up on our window screen, but a rather huge spider.  It was on the outside of the screen but was casting a wonderful shadow on the inside.   Now that created the perfect opportunity to capture some interesting shots for some surrealizing ( I know, bad pun) images.

The large spider  reminded me of the swollen foot I had in late June. While doing some yard work I seemed to antagonized a creature that bite/stung me. My foot did swell a bit and several people suggested that it was a spider bite.  I acquired no powers from this encounter, but I did not end up climbing the walls from discomfort either. Spiders are getting larger as the milder winters have allowed them to survive and continue growing. Perhaps this larger size has increased the potency of their bites.

Ah, The Spider’s Shadow, now there is a title for Pulp Magazine tale.  Plus it mentions  two significant Pulp Magazine heroes, The Shadow and The Spider. For more on The Shadow see my post, Existential Friday: MEMENTO MORI & The Fruit of KnowledgeThe Spider was a Pulp Magazine hero, Richard Wentworth that was specifically created (1933) to compete for the same target audience as The Shadow.  Creepier and more violent, The Spider wore an elaborate disguise that included fangs, a fright wig of long witchy-hair , and a hunch back. The Spider also carried a thin silken line (his “web”) which had a breaking strain of several hundred pounds.  One distinguishing feature of The Spider was his “calling card.” Wentworth often left a red-ink “spider” image like a drop of blood on the foreheads of the criminals that he slew so others would not be blamed for his crimes.   His portrayal  on the magazine cover was more in keeping with the romantic masked hero.

Dynamite Comics, which has recently began publishing The Shadow in comic-book form has also followed with a version of the Spider. The designs have been created by Alex Ross. It was inspired by the movie serial.

The tradition of the masked  figure who takes on evil and fear by becoming the image of  fear is very powerful, at times horrific, while at other times dashing and romantic.  The Scarlet Pimpernel is a literary template of this  figure. It is obvious that these figures hold a powerful influence on us. After all Both The Shadow and The Spider influenced the creation of  The Bat-man and all comic-book superheroes . The connection to The Amazing Spider-man who climbs walls and uses webbing  can be traced to these early pulp figures. The following images are intended to suggest some of the mystery of the mask and the spider that holds our fascination, even in this era. The colours imitate the lurid bloody pulps.