Saturday, January 29, 2011

Relearning to Express

I'm taking an art class again after a year and a friend new to art classes is joining me.  I imagined her fresh perspective to art lessons and either realized or remembered this: We learn to see again through art. For example, we need to notice and understand colors, shapes, light, shadow, and depth again in order to capture these aspects.

So with any kind of writing we learn to talk again.

began reading The Unwritten

In my post "Meta," I mentioned an interest in the comic book/graphic novel series called The Unwritten by Mike Carey. I've read vol 1 and am still interested.  There was a lot to like.

The introduction is by Bill Willingham, who wrote the comic series Fables. He talks about comics since the golden age of superheroes.  Then he describes a new type of comic, literary comics. I like comics like Hush and Superman/Batman with my favorite superhero, Batman, but I felt like Willingham addressed craving for literary. So I'm happy to hear about this new wave of comics. The introduction was a good note to start with.

The comic itself parodies Harry Potter and even states the similarity in a comic con scene. haha. There are depictions of fans from causal fan to online debater to the obsessed and delusional. Along with the commentary on fans, the main character stumbles upon a horror writers workshop where each contemporary type critiques the other. I laughed at and admired this setup.  There are also allusions to existing writers and a side story depicting Rudyard Kipling's career as a writer. This comic is packed with literary and commentary.

The main element is the boundary between fantasy and reality. The comic is certainly meta (metanarrative and metafiction I think).  There is a note stating that the author, Carey, had wanted to use prose format somehow with a book actually inside of another book to understand the boundary being crossed.

All these aspects I enjoyed in vol 1.  Before I reached the Kipling side story at the end, I had satisfied my crave for literary.  My taste buds for had a taste of many flavors. So by the time I finished the book, I felt I had just been through a workshop or had enrolled in a genre/author class.  I had gained more than I had craved. And this satisfaction was just from vol 1.

I recommend The Unwritten and hope you get a kick out it too.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How to Train Your Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon was a great movie for many reasons like the character interaction.  However, I'm just going to look at the narrator's voice because the story is told through him, Hiccup.
Hiccup is both the main character and the narrator. He is the one who introduces us to the movie's setting and society. Also from his introduction, we sense his tone of indifference and the movie's humor. In the following clip, we get more of both:
My favorite line in that clip is the last one about keeping in all that Viking. Gesturing at Hiccup's body as the problem highlights his lack of strength. However, Hiccup's body is not the only reason he cannot convince others--and us the audience--of his Viking fury. His tone does not sound confident of or even excited in what he states. He is indifferent to this lifestyle and not even his own words can convince himself to follow it. We are shown this factor right off the bat to understand the story's direction.

Something else to notice about Hiccup's voice is that it's matured. Hiccup is a goofy adolescent who has a crush on a girl. However, his voice is not a boy's or changing from puberty. The voice actor is an adult not a boy. Thus, Hiccup carries seriousness along with the humor of being an adolescent. His voice has matured and he is trying to be mature himself. One of the story's themes is coming of age then; He is finding himself and his place in society.  

Hiccup's voice is heard before we see the society and dragons so I thought it was worth looking at.