Archive for October 21st, 2011

October 21, 2011

Michael Manning

in a metal web

Michael Manning is a fetish artist based in Los Angeles. NBM has published several collections of his work, including ‘Cathexis’ and ‘Lumenagerie,’ and a series of graphic novels, ‘The Spider Garden’ series. Born in Queens, New York, and raised on Massachusetts’ North Shore, Manning began self-publishing his black & white erotic comix in 1987 while working as an animator and director of short films, commercials, and music videos. Early exposure to Japanese animation, fairy-tale book illustration, American and European comix, and mythology of many cultures has contributed to the formation of Manning’s style. Manning’s work draws heavily on Japanese influences, being somewhat stylized and almost exclusively black-and-white. His themes are notable, even amongst fetish artists, for depicting potentially taboo subjects such as zoophilia. Many of his images include beings that are mythological (such as centaurs) or at least biologically uncommon, such as hermaphrodites.

This strand of his work is best developed in the Spider Garden series, which is set in a futuristic, matriarchal world of warring clans, ruled by the ‘Scarlet Empress.’ The action centers on the eponymous Spider Garden, a palace-fortress ruled by the ‘Sacred Androgyne’ Shaalis, who has male and female genitals. Shaalis is referred to by the pronouns ‘hir’ and ‘s/he’ (pronounced as ‘her’ and ‘she’ respectively) to denote hir polysexual status. The story follows the political intrigues between Shaalis and the two ‘Sisters Serpentine,’ Squamata and Lichurna, amphibian humans who command a rival clan based in the Manse Hydrophidian. Also appearing in the story are the Tengu, a race of semi-human creatures roughly resembling bipedal horses. These creatures appear to be inspired by, but not identical to, the Tengu of Japanese legend.

Tags: ,
October 21, 2011

Action Comics 1

action comics

Action Comics #1 (June 1938) features the first appearance of Jerry Siegel/Joe Shuster creation Superman. Published on April 18, 1938 by National Allied Publications, a corporate predecessor of DC Comics, it is considered the first true superhero comic; and though today ‘Action Comics’ is a monthly title devoted to Superman, it began, like many early comics, as an anthology. Copies have sold at auction for $1.5 million.

The first issue had a print run of 200,000 copies. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were paid $10 per page, for a total of $130 for their work on this issue. They effectively signed away millions in future rights and royalties payments. Starting in 1978, Siegel and Shuster were provided with a $20,000 a month annuity which was later raised to $30,000. Liebowitz would later say that selecting Superman to run in Action Comics #1 was ‘pure accident’ based on deadline pressure and that he selected a ‘thrilling’ cover, depicting Superman lifting a car over his head. It has been compared ‘Hercules Clubs the Hydra’ by Antonio del Pollaiolo.

read more »

Tags:
October 21, 2011

Save the Cat!

save the cat

Blake Snyder (1957 – 2009) was an American screenwriter based in Los Angeles, who became one of the most popular writing mentors in the film industry. The author of three books on screenwriting and story structure, Snyder led international seminars and workshops for writers in various disciplines, as well as consultation sessions for some of Hollywood’s largest studios. His nonfiction book ‘Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need’ was written in a no-nonsense and conversational tone, which has resonated with both seasoned and novice screenwriters. The title is a term coined by Snyder and describes the scene where the audience meets the hero of a movie for the first time. The hero does something nice — e.g. saving a cat—that makes the audience like the hero and root for him. According to Snyder, it is a simple scene that helps the audience invest themselves in the character and the story, but is often lacking in many movies.

In his book, Snyder gave greatest emphasis on the importance of structure through his Blake Snyder Beat Sheet or the ‘BS2’ which includes the 15 essential ‘beats’ or plot points that all stories should contain. 1. Opening Image, 2. Theme Stated, 3. Set-up, 4. Catalyst, 5. Debate, 6. Break into Two, 7. B Story, 8. Fun and Games, 9. Midpoint, 10. Bad Guys Close In, 11. All Is Lost, 12. Dark Night of the Soul, 13. Break into Three, 14. Finale, 15. Final Image. Snyder’s method expanded the 15 beats further into 40 beats, which are laid out on ‘The Board.’ The Board is divided into 4 rows, with each row representing a quarter of the story, namely the 1st Act, the 1st half of the 2nd Act, the 2nd half of the 2nd Act, and the 3rd Act. Snyder also introduced 10 genres in his book that distinguished how stories are structured. According to Snyder, standard genre types such as Romantic Comedy, Epic or Biography did not say much about the story, only the type of movie it is. Snyder’s system explored genre more fully, with categories such as ‘Monster in the House,’ ‘Golden Fleece,’ ‘Buddy Love’ and others.

Tags: ,
October 21, 2011

Monomyth

journey

In a monomyth, (the theory that all myths are the same story) the hero begins in the ordinary world, and receives a call to enter an unknown world of strange powers and events. The hero who accepts the call to enter this strange world must face tasks and trials, either alone or with assistance. In the most intense versions of the narrative, the hero must survive a severe challenge, often with help. If the hero survives, he may achieve a great gift or ‘boon.’ The hero must then decide whether to return to the ordinary world with this boon. If the hero does decide to return, he or she often faces challenges on the return journey. If the hero returns successfully, the boon or gift may be used to improve the world. The stories of Osiris, Prometheus, Moses, and Buddha, for example, follow this structure closely.

Campbell describes 17 stages or steps along this journey. Very few myths contain all 17 stages—some myths contain many of the stages, while others contain only a few; some myths may focus on only one of the stages, while other myths may deal with the stages in a somewhat different order. These 17 stages may be organized in a number of ways, including division into three sections: ‘Departure’ (sometimes called ‘Separation’), the hero’s adventure prior to the quest; ‘Initiation,’ the hero’s many adventures along the way; and ‘Return,’ the hero’s return home with knowledge and powers acquired on the journey.

read more »

October 21, 2011

The Hero with a Thousand Faces

monomyth by Ffion Lindsay

The Hero with a Thousand Faces (first published in 1949) is a non-fiction book, and seminal work of comparative mythology by Joseph Campbell. In this publication, Campbell discusses his theory of the journey of the archetypal hero found in world mythologies. Since publication, Campbell’s theory has been consciously applied by a wide variety of modern writers and artists. The best known is perhaps George Lucas, who has acknowledged a debt to Campbell regarding the stories of the ‘Star Wars’ films.

Campbell explores the theory that important myths from around the world which have survived for thousands of years all share a fundamental structure, which Campbell called the monomyth and ‘the hero’s journey. ‘In a well-known quote from the introduction to ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces,’ Campbell summarized the monomyth: ‘A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.’

read more »

Tags:
October 21, 2011

Watership Down

elahrairah by chibimaryn

Watership Down is a classic heroic fantasy novel, written by English author Richard Adams, about a small group of rabbits. Although the animals in the story live in their natural environment, they are anthropomorphized, possessing their own culture, language (Lapine), proverbs, poetry, and mythology. Evoking epic themes, the novel recounts the rabbits’ odyssey as they escape the destruction of their warren to seek a place in which to establish a new home, encountering perils and temptations along the way.

The novel takes its name from the rabbits’ destination, Watership Down, a hill in the north of Hampshire, England, near the area where Adams grew up. The story is based on a collection of tales that Adams told to his young children to pass the time on trips to the countryside.

read more »

Tags: ,