August 2004 Archives

The boundaries of animation

I went to see Shrek 2 when it came out, but it's taken me awhile to come to grips with the experience. I liked the movie when I saw it, and found it to be just as entertaining and wonderful as all the reviewers said it was, but I couldn't shake the feeling that it didn't seem like animation to me. It seemed like some hybrid format, like a filmed stage musical enacted by digital avatars.

Animation is an unwieldy category, embracing works drawn and modeled, in 2D and 3D, made by hand and computer-generated. I think because the rise of computer animation happened slowly, and with varying results, it was easy to lump it in with other types of animation as if it were an extension of these older forms. Also, because computer animation techniques displaced the labor of classical animators, the idea that computer animation is a substitute for classical animation was reinforced there as well.

What Shrek 2 makes me wonder is whether computer-generated animation is becoming another genre altogether, distinct from what has been called "animation" in the past? I also wonder if computer-generated animation contains the seeds of a future genre--perhaps a more successful attempt at what is meant to be captured in "interactive movies" or online multiplayer games.

Porting McCloud to Games

One of the writers at Game Girl Advance is reading Understanding Comics, and wonders if it would be possible to create a game that explains gaming in the same way that Scott McCloud created a comic that explains comics. There's also substantial commentary on the idea if you read the comments section.

Several comments suggest that it would take more than one game; for example, that it would take a "miniseries" of games or a set of microgames to explain gaming. One commenter says that the breadth of content that would need to be covered would require multiple games. However, I think it is not the amount of content that requires multiple games, but rather, that there is a sequential aspect to the learning experience itself. That is, learning benefits from a sequential format. I think it would be a challenge to come up with a game that explains gaming, but I think that gaming has the flexibility as a medium to do it.

Barney Blog

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Wayne Bruce at Heroes and Villains has helpfully pointed out another gay comics blogger, Postmodern Barney, who has already had me in stitches several times with some of his posts on vintage comics covers. The Women's lib issue of Wonder Woman he recently remarked on is a stunner. Blogger "Dorian" (if your mother really named you that, I really want to meet your mother) needs an "about me" page, though. I want to meet the Barney behind the pomo.

All eyes on Veronica

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A towel covers Veronica's top.A post on Pop Culture Junk Mail alerted me to Veronica Lodge's topless adventure in Betty and Veronica Double Digest, as documented by RetroCrush. I then surfed over to the Archie Comics site and found many interesting features, including the ever-useful and entertaining e-card. The Archie site offers a variant on the e-card called the "Crush Card." I like the ambiguity of the one with Archie and Betty both gazing at Veronica with the words "I Like You" floating above. The downloads page was pretty good too. Check out the wallpaper image of Betty and Veronica in matching lavender gowns and the pin-up of Veronica rolling in money.

Introducing Beppeblog

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I am pleased to direct your attention to my friend Joe's new weblog, Beppeblog. This is the self-same Joe so often mentioned on In Sequence and noted in my Meet the Cast pages. I'm very proud of him for starting his own web log. Now maybe I'll finally get a descendant in my BlogTree.

Beppeblog is a personal blog that covers Joe's many interests, including spirituality, Quakerism, Italian culture, social work, pacifism, and gay issues. The focus is mainly on spirituality, however. Reading his blog is really mind-blowing for me, because it makes me realize that when he's not on the phone with me demanding that I watch America's Next Top Model, he's thinking deep thoughts about the Good Book. Such are the complexities of the human soul.

Collected Smiths

This is a really charming idea: fan illustrations of favorite Smiths' lyrics (found through Incoming Signals). My favorites so far are for "Still Ill," "William, It Was Really Nothing," and "I Know It's Over." You will notice that most of the drawings are very simple, which probably makes it more likely that people will participate.

I appreciate these drawings in part because I already have a wealth of images, associations and remembrances of the Smiths to draw on. They're one of those defining bands for me in the sense that they're powerfully connected to a time period that I think of as a turning point in my life. The music, the lyrics, the band's image--all those things are important, but more so the way they intersected my life at a certain stage. So the personal nature of these drawings is something I can really appreciate.

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