Tales from the Island of Serendip
9 9

6,094 posts in this topic

4,990 posts

All the holiday bestiest & a fab 2016, Michael, but I think you’ve underestimated comics. I still get choked up when I think of Supe in front of Ma & Pa Kents’ graves - vowing to do the right thing.

 

Pat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19,542 posts
All the holiday bestiest & a fab 2016, Michael, but I think you’ve underestimated comics. I still get choked up when I think of Supe in front of Ma & Pa Kents’ graves - vowing to do the right thing.

 

Pat

 

Merry Christmas Pat.

 

I am with you there. And some of the most moving comics were the Superman family's imaginary tales, which set the writers free from the restrictions of continuity, didnt they? The death of Superman in #149 and many others.

 

(As Alan Moore pointed out, in his classic duology in Superman #423 and Action Comics #583, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow ...regarding imaginary tales, aren't they all?)

 

I was moved by the death of Supergirl in Crisis and only then realized I actually loved the character. And the death of Jean Grey in the Phoenix Saga was also movingly handled I thought.

 

At their best, comics do have great power to move us. I just wish more of them set out to do so more often.

 

Moore himself wrote some genuinely moving stories, and as a writer I think he transcends the medium. I think particularly of V for Vendetta, and of Evey when she finds Valerie Page's letter in her cell.

 

Valerie's Letter

"I know there’s no way I can convince you this is not one of their tricks. But I don’t care. I am me.

 

My name is Valerie. I don’t think i’ll live much longer, and I wanted to tell someone about my life. This is the only autobiography that i’ll ever write, and – God – i’m writing it on toilet paper.

 

I was born in Nottingham in 1985. I don’t remember much of those early years. But I do remember the rain. My grandmother owned a farm in Tottlebrook, and she used to tell me that God was in the rain.

 

I passed my eleven plus, and went to a girl’s grammar. It was at school that I met my first girlfriend. Her name was Sarah. It was her wrists – they were beautiful. I thought we would love each other forever. I remember our teacher telling us that it was an adolescent phase that people outgrew.

 

Sarah did.

 

I didn’t.

 

In 2002 I fell in love with a girl named Christina. That year I came out to my parents. I couldn’t have done it without Chris holding my hand.

 

My father wouldn’t look at me. He told me to go and never come back. My mother said nothing.

 

I’d only told them the truth. Was that so selfish? Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have.

 

It is the very last inch of us.

 

And within that inch, we are free.

 

I’d always known what i’d wanted to do with my life, and in 2015 I started my first film: The Salt Flats.

 

It was the most important role of my life. Not because of my career, but because that was how I met Ruth. The first time we kissed, I knew I never wanted to kiss any other lips but hers again.

 

We moved to a small flat in London together. She grew scarlet carsons for me in our window box. And our place always smelt of roses.

 

Those were the best years of my life.

 

But America’s war grew worse and worse, and eventually came to London.

 

After that there were no roses anymore. Not for anyone.

 

I remember how the meaning of words began to change. How unfamiliar words like “collateral” and “rendition” became frightening. When things like norsefire and the articles of allegiance became powerful. I remember how different became dangerous.

 

I still don’t understand it: why they hate us so much.

 

They took Ruth while she was out buying food. I’ve never cried so hard in my life. It wasn’t long until they came for me.

 

It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place.

 

But for three years I had roses – and apologised to no-one.

 

I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch.

 

But one.

 

An inch.

 

It is small and it is fragile, and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

 

I hope that - whoever you are - you escape this place. I hope that the world turns, and that things get better.

 

But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may not meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you: I love you.

 

With all my heart.

 

I love you.

 

-Valerie."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28,904 posts
Over the past few years, I have enjoyed your thread immensely. It may not always have a lot to do with comics, Michael, but it has a lot to do with life. Best wishes for a wonderful 2016!

 

Many thanks Richard. Many happy returns of the season to you and yours!

 

You make an interesting point - and yet, so much of this thread originates in a contemplation of comic book tropes and themes and I deliberately left that out! That would have been too confining.

 

The reason I decided to do it at all is because the layout of a board page sort of equates to the panels of a comic book.

 

And wherever possible I have used pictures more than words to carry the story.

 

I suppose the thing I have tried to do is the one thing comics very rarely do - and that is deal with real and complex emotions. With some honorable exceptions, comics rarely move us.

 

I think they could. I wish they did.

 

What the thread has little to do with though is collecting!

 

Sneaky, huh?

 

If collecting is the point of the boards, Serendip is intended as counterpoint. Not really sure how well I succeeded - for all I know, not at all!

 

Michael

 

 

.... I still have the first comic I ever bought from you, brother..... and, ironically, I still have it not so much because of the comic...... but because of who I got it from and threads like this one. For posterity's sake..... it's a Mystery In Space 90, with Adam Strange transversing the gulf between Earth and Rann..... and that always reminds me of you :foryou: Merry Christmas....... GOD BLESS....

 

-jimbo(a friend of jesus) (thumbs u

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19,542 posts
Over the past few years, I have enjoyed your thread immensely. It may not always have a lot to do with comics, Michael, but it has a lot to do with life. Best wishes for a wonderful 2016!

 

Many thanks Richard. Many happy returns of the season to you and yours!

 

You make an interesting point - and yet, so much of this thread originates in a contemplation of comic book tropes and themes and I deliberately left that out! That would have been too confining.

 

The reason I decided to do it at all is because the layout of a board page sort of equates to the panels of a comic book.

 

And wherever possible I have used pictures more than words to carry the story.

 

I suppose the thing I have tried to do is the one thing comics very rarely do - and that is deal with real and complex emotions. With some honorable exceptions, comics rarely move us.

 

I think they could. I wish they did.

 

What the thread has little to do with though is collecting!

 

Sneaky, huh?

 

If collecting is the point of the boards, Serendip is intended as counterpoint. Not really sure how well I succeeded - for all I know, not at all!

 

Michael

 

 

.... I still have the first comic I ever bought from you, brother..... and, ironically, I still have it not so much because of the comic...... but because of who I got it from and threads like this one. For posterity's sake..... it's a Mystery In Space 90, with Adam Strange transversing the gulf between Earth and Rann..... and that always reminds me of you :foryou: Merry Christmas....... GOD BLESS....

 

-jimbo(a friend of jesus) (thumbs u

 

I haven''t forgotten jimbo! GOD BLESS you too! Hope you and family are having a great Christmas!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19,542 posts

hic sunt dracones

(here be dragons)

 

I was thinking overnight about the respective strengths and weaknesses of comic books as a medium. It is I think entirely unreasonable of me to demand emotional profundity in a medium designed for children. But perhaps comics' greatest strength is their capacity to evoke the child in all of us, however worn down we may be from life's vicissitudes.

 

Perhaps what comics do best is inspire a sense of wonder. The kinetic blend of words and pictures evokes in us a visceral and cinematic experience.

 

 

Among the things I liked best as a kid about comic books was dinosaurs - especially Wally Wood's dinosaurs! Comic books seem perfectly designed for dinosaurs.

 

Wallace%20Wood%20My%20World%20Weir%20Science%2022%20b_zpsdrlu6d9l.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19,542 posts

Much, much later, I was thrilled by Mark Schultz's creation, Xenozoic Tales.

 

efd7b928343f681c748e8b9a03801474_zpsc8porsyk.jpg

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19,542 posts

In the fifth century BC, the Chinese began to unearth gigantic bones from the earth, which inspired the conception of the dragon.

 

chen%20rong%20728347-thumb_zpsmoewrvex.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19,542 posts

Perhaps the most wondrous depiction of dragons in Chinese art was the Nine Dragons scroll painted by Chen Rong during the Song Dynasty (circa 1244 a.d.). Each has a distinctive personality.

 

chen%20rong_zpsnnemuwuz.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19,542 posts

Depicting the apparitions of dragons soaring amidst clouds, mists, whirlpools, rocky mountains and fire, the painting refers to the dynamic forces of nature in Daoism. The depicted dragons are associated with nine sons of the Dragon King, while the number nine itself is considered auspicious in Chinese astrology and folk beliefs. The scroll is in the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. It is only18 inches high - but nearly 50 feet in length...

 

Chen_Rong_-_Nine_Dragons-01_zpsrgpcqq7e.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19,542 posts

There is a widely held belief that medieval maps commonly used the phrase 'here be dragons' (hic sunt dracones) to mean dangerous or unexplored territories, in imitation of a supposed medieval practice of putting dragons, sea serpents and other mythological creatures in uncharted areas of maps.

 

In fact the phrase only appears twice, here on the Hunt-Lenox Globe (1503), and on a globe engraved on two conjoined halves of ostrich eggs, from which the Hunt-Lenox Globe is thought to be a copy.

 

Lennox_Globe_by_B.F._Da_Costa_zpsxmera92p.png

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19,542 posts

The phrase is written in the bottom right hand quadrant, near the east cost of Asia. Nearby are the Indonesian islands, home of the Komodo Dragon, which is the largest surviving lizard in the world.

 

Male%20June%201955_zpsuxmlezzx.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19,542 posts

Ironically, the classical phrase used by ancient Roman and Medieval cartographers was HIC SVNT LEONES (literally, Here are lions) when denoting unknown territories on maps.

 

225286-130497_zpsaumjtnb6.jpg

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19,542 posts

When dinosaurs were (re) discovered by proto-palaeontologists in the West, they were wrongly conceived to have an appearance similar to the Komodo Dragon, though nothing could have been further from the reality.

 

IMG_9355_zpswqu5a2ur.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19,542 posts

Commissioned in 1852 to accompany the Crystal Palace after its move from the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park and unveiled in 1854, the models designed and sculpted by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins were the first dinosaur sculptures in the world, pre-dating the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by six years.

 

They remain in the park to this day. Though later derided as primitive misconceptions as the science of paleontology advanced, they are now preserved as a listed monument of historical significance. Perhaps they teach us humility.

 

dino3_zpsvtxiplhr.jpg

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19,542 posts

As more dinosaurs were unearthed, the field of paleo art came into being. Perhaps the doyen of dinosaur artists is the Czech Zdenek Burian.

 

zdenek_burian_chasmosaurus_by_1976_zpsxysfk6h2.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19,542 posts

But even as late as the 1970's, when Burian painted, the understanding of dinosaur bone and muscle structure

was limited by preconceptions - for example, that saurians were slow moving predators that dragged their tails behind them.

 

zdenek_buriantarbosaurus_by__1970_zpsiz20901q.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
9 9