Posts Tagged ‘Comics’
“Words and pictures are yin and yang. Married, they produce a progeny more interesting than either parent.”*…
Comic Republic, a Nigerian comics startup based in Lagos, is creating a universe of superheroes for Africans and black readers around the world. The cast of characters—”Africa’s Avengers” according to some fans—ranges from Guardian Prime, a 25-year old Nigerian fashion designer by day who uses his extraordinary strength to fight for a better Nigeria, to Hilda Avonomemi Moses, a woman from a remote village in Edo state who can see spirits, and Marcus Chigozie, a privileged but angry teenager who can move at supersonic speeds…
More about what’s up– and why– at “A Nigerian comics startup is creating African superheroes.”
* Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)
As we look! up in the sky!, we might recall that it was on this date in 1947 that DC Comics published Sensation Comics #63, featuring the classic Wonder Woman story “The Wall of Doom,” in which Professor Vibrate uses sound to render victims unconscious as he robs banks.
Just land here, then keep hitting refresh to experience a steady stream of random, but somehow still inspired, silliness.
* Calvin, in The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
As we mix it up, we might send Kryptonite-free birthday greetings to Joseph “Joe” Shuster; he was born on this date in 1914. A comic book artist, he is best remembered for creating (with his high school best friend, writer Jerry Siegel), the DC Comics character Superman, who debuted in Action Comics No. 1 (June, 1938).
Wittgenstein playing Pictionary with Freud; Russell, Hegel, and Marx as Pokemon characters; Sartre’s birthday party; Greek Hold’em– all this and much, much more merriment (in larger format) at the exquisite Existential Comics. The inevitable anguish of living a brief life in a absurd world. Also jokes.
* Ludwig Wittgenstein
As we get behind the greater good, we might spare a thought for Johann Christoph Denner; he died on this date in 1707. One of the Baroque Era’s leading musical instrument makers, he was renown throughout Europe for his well-tuned recorders, flutes, oboes, and bassoons. But he is best remembered as the inventor the clarinet, a result of Denner’s attempts to refine the chalumeau, the first true single reed instrument. The chalumeau and clarinet are the only woodwinds with a cylindrical bore; others (including the flute) have a conical bore.
Childhood distorts your memories in strange ways — everything seems bigger, more extensive, more dramatic. Take the seminal comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes, for example. Much of its 1985 – 1995 run lined up with my own childhood; I eagerly waited for the newspaper (yes, comics in the newspaper!) every day from about 1989 on. When I started reading, I was only a year or two older than Calvin himself, thus making the strip eminently relatable in a way that few other pieces of art have ever been for me. (And make no mistake, Calvin and Hobbes is art.)
Of course, it was an exaggerated version of being a kid — in particular the amount of destruction that Calvin heaped on his poor, unwitting parents. My memories tell me that nary a week went by without some incredible amount of damage caused to Calvin’s home. An article and chart published to the ridiculously-named PNIS (Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science, which claims to be a “part-serious, part-satirical journal publishing science-related articles”) backs up those assumptions, and even puts a dollar figure on it. According to these calculations, Calvin’s destructive tendencies cost his parents approximately $15,955.50 over the course of the strip’s 10 years…
Read more at Nathan Ingraham‘s “Calvin and Hobbes were even more destructive than you think.” (and read the full scientific paper here.)
* Walt Disney
As we find humor in the hyperbole, we might recall that it was on this date in 1916 that Margaret Sanger, her sister, Ethel Byrne, both nurses, and an associate, Fania Mindell opened the Brownsville Clinic in Brooklyn– the first family planning and birth control clinic in the United States. (The first such clinic in the world opened in Amsterdam in 1885.) The police quickly closed the facility; Sanger served 30 days in jail. But she and her colleagues gamely re-opened; and in 1917, Sanger helped organize the National Birth Control League, which would later become the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
“…theoretical considerations require that what is to-day the object of a phobia must at one time in the past have been the source of a high degree of pleasure”*…
In 1955, in the wake of the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency investigation into the corrupting influence of comic books (and the now largely-discredited but then damning testimony of Frederic Wertham), E.C. Comics, which had been singled out as an offender, inaugurated an “educational” series, “New Direction,” with the series Psychoanalysis. Each issue, drawn by Jack Kamen (whose earlier work had included Tales from the Crypt), narrated the clinical experiences of three patients in analysis…
The series– realistically recounting the sessions of patients, each cured by their therapists– bewildered retailers and readers alike. It was cancelled after four issues. Within 5 years EC publisher William Gaines had shifted his attention completely to what was, in 1955, a nascent side project for Harvey Kurtzman: Mad.
Read more about Psychoanalysis— see more covers, find precis of the storylines– at “Curious ‘Psychoanalysis’ comics from the 1950s.”
* Sigmund Freud, The Sexual Enlightenment of Children
As we’re gently informed that our time is up, we might recall that it was on this date in 1936 that neuropsychiatrist Walter Freeman and his friend and colleague, the neurosurgeon, James W. Watts performed the first pre-frontal lobotomy in the U.S. Freeman and Watts had learned of the technique from it’s “inventor,” Egas Moniz, a Portuguese surgeon who’d performed the very first lobotomy (or “leucotomy” as it’s also known) earlier that same year. Now out of favor and largely out of practice, Freeman and Watts developed a method that was the basis for procedures– an estimated 40,000 in the U.S.– conducted until around 1960, when the practice effectively ceased. But in headier days, lobotomies were the rage: Moniz shared the 1949 Nobel Prize for Medicine “for his discovery of the therapeutic value of leucotomy in certain psychoses.”
“I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark”*…
In 1978, DC Comics published an over-sized 72-page special edition entitled Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, in which the Man of Steel and The Greatest team to stave off an alien invasion.
The issue’s wraparound cover shows a host of late 1970s celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Tony Orlando, Johnny Carson, the cast of Welcome Back Kotter, and The Jackson 5–seated amongst Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern, and other DC superheroes, as well as Warner and DC employees. The original draft included Mick Jagger in the lower left corner; he was replaced by promoter Don King. See a list of those depicted here.
* Muhammad Ali, nee Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.
As we float like butterflies, we might recall that is was on this date in 1948 that Joe Louis, “The Brown Bomber,” successfully defended his Heavyweight Championship against Jersey Joe Walcott. The bout between two African-American athletes was a victory over the prejudices of the time. Louis held his title for three more years before retiring; in all, Louis successfully defended his Heavyweight title 25 times from 1937 to 1948, and was a world champion for 11 years and 10 months. Both are still records in the heavyweight division, the former in any division. Walcott went on to defeat Ezzard Charles for the title on 1951, at age 37, becoming the oldest person to wear the Champion’s belt (until George Foreman won it at 45).
With Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson, Louis is widely regarded as one of the first African American “national heroes” in the United States, and was a focal point of anti-Nazi sentiment leading up to and during World War II. He was instrumental in integrating the game of golf, breaking the sport’s color barrier in America by appearing under a sponsor’s exemption in a PGA event in 1952. Walcott went on to Hollywood (he starred with Humphrey Bogart in The Harder they Fall), then into politics– he was elected sheriff of Camden County, New Jersey in 1971– the first African-American to hold the post.
From Portland-based comic artist and illustrator Ben Dewey…
… The Tragedy Series. Read it and reap.
* Karl Marx
As we wander in search of wisdom, we might spare a thought for Pope-elect Stephen II; he died on this date in 752. He been elected Pope three days earlier, but died of a stroke before he could be ordained. He was quickly succeeded (also on this day in 752) by a second “Pope Stephen II” who served until his death in 757.
The Annuario Pontificio attaches to its mention of Stephen II (III) the footnote: “On the death of Zachary the Roman priest Stephen was elected; but, since he died days later and before his consecratio, which according to the canon law of the time was the true commencement of his pontificate, his name is not registered in the Liber Pontificalis nor in other lists of the popes.”