Saturday, October 23, 2010

Second verse, same as the first.

I am prone to phases.

In truth, it was one of the things that caused me the most issue when I was a student in art school. Where most of my classmates became deeply embroiled in a passionate affair with one medium or theme or idea, I bounced around trying to make the images in my head a reality on paper. On fabric. In metal. In plastic.

Nothing ever really seemed to stick and it did not pass without notice. In a refrain that reality show competition judges had not yet made famous, I was consistently told by faculty members that they weren't able to see "me" in my work.

It wasn't until I was just a few months until my thesis exhibition that I finally hit on something, a series of tiny cast-plastic sculptures that each came with a little story.

Later, when people would hear I went to art school, they would ask why I "gave up" being an artist. My answer has always been that the pieces I was making got smaller and smaller and the titles I was giving things got longer and longer.

Which is all true.

Writing the collection of short stories that became my MFA thesis was - while not easy - a much less vexing process. I wrote about artists and process and materials. All the jumping around I had done finally had a purpose. I knew about encaustic and oil painting and weaving and installation art.

But when those stories were finally done, and those pieces went out into the word either alone or nicely packaged together as they were intended to be, the light dimmed a little. It's not that I stopped writing - I've done nothing but since finishing my degree. But, with the exception of a few fits and starts, it's not been fiction.

I've written about media and politics and the arts. I've drafted heft research papers and quirky little columns. I started this blog.

Lately I'm finding that an old familiar is back. My affection and occasional obsession with comic books and graphic novels and superheroes back with a full-throated vengeance. It's a hornets' nest buzz in the back of my head that has inspired me to track down some terrific online comics and comic writers. I've thumbed (but have not purchased) the new Best American Comics. I'm getting really excited about the new Green Lantern movie.

So what to do with it all?

That might be too much to figure out on a Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

All the world is waiting for you, and the magic that you do.

Can I tell you what has me ridiculously excited?

News that a new Wonder Woman television show is in the works.

Or, it's on the table.

Or, there are rumors about it.

Or, there are Internet rumors about it (1).

I have loved Wonder Woman for as long as I can remember. Playing superheroes with my first grade best friend - gender issues be damned - I always wanted to be Wonder Woman (2). I loved the original series starring Lynda Carter, the Superfriends cartoon series that included the character and the comic books.

Granted, I've always been a fan of the supergrrl.

The Batgirl episodes of the Batman television series were my favorites, a little thrill would go through me whenever that purple motorcycle would flash across the opening credits, signaling a guest appearance by Yvonne Craig.

I loved Buffy and Isis and, now, there's the chance that Diana Prince is on her way back.

Little things people. Little things.

1. Yes. There is a difference.
2. At the time I was unaware of the character Wonder Man...and eventually  I would move on to always wanting to be Aquaman.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

But will they ever get their own bar night?

Comics Alliance - the site that has brought you great things like a Spiderman/Calvin & Hobbes mash-up - did a recent post about the rise of the writer-artist at DC Comics.

The one-man band has always been more of a rarity in those streets where supermen and women are leaping tall buildings in a single bound. But maybe that's why it sometimes feels like true innovations in the creation of superhero books are so few and far between.

When Superman first took to the sky (1) no one had really seen anything like him before. Likewise Batman, the millionaire vigilante who patrolled the streets of Gotham City as the kind of ultimate expression of the self-made man.

Ditto for Wonder Woman, titillating S&M overtones and all.

All characters created around tiny tables at a time when the only boundaries were the panels filling the pulp pages of the comic books they would later occupy.

It's not to say that there is nothing new under the sun. I've always detested that expression as, while not without more than a little truth, it also provides far too much shade for the lazy and unimaginative.

But, when I think of the people who have sent a jolt through the art form, it has been the inspired soloist. The timing seems right for something of a renaissance for the artist-writer given the DIY tone of the times.

Can I get an up, up and away?

1. Literally leaping over tall buildings in a single bound...the original Man of Steel didn't actually have the power of flight in those early days.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Durn fer'ners...comin' in here and takin' our jobs...

I have a song stuck in my head.

This is not out of the ordinary for me, I'm often walking around with my internal iPod running on an endless loop.

But today the song in my head has the wrong lyrics and this is starting to drive me crazy.

While Sting is still an "alien" a "legal alien" he is no longer an Englishman in New York.

He's a bus driver.

As in, "I'm an alien, I'm a legal alien, I'm a bus driver in New York."

Annoying, right?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

iAm busy.

"Every now and then," Leopold says as he pulls out his iPhone, barely placing it down on the table before he begins pecking at the screen, jumping between his e-mail, his calendar and a Scrabble game he has been playing with a friend for some time now, "I feel like I need to be seen pressing the keys on this thing."

Without looking up he quickly concludes, "I guess that means we've lived here a really long time."