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Are you a life long learner? Do you like comic books? Do you think it would be interesting to discuss social issues using comic books as a lens? Are you an educator looking for different methods to present your material? If so, this course is for you! From the creator of Gender Through Comic Books(aka the SuperMOOC), this six month course will examine current social issues through comic books while understanding how popular culture is shaped by it’s surroundings.
We will read a variety of comic books including Scalped, Daredevil, Swamp Thing, and many more. While reading these books we will examine topics such as social inequality, the environment, government intervention, addiction, and information privacy. Using lectures, live interviews with academics and comic book professionals, discussion boards, and readings, we will learn about social issues and how they are presented in comic books and the impact that those books have had on the issues whether large or small scale. This will be more than a class - it’s a formation of a community.
I can think of no better example to demonstrate the lost language than Leonard Starr’s intelligent and graceful strip, On Stage (1957 - 1979). Every day for the next few days I am going to focus on a different aspect of Mr. Starr’s visual storytelling. Today I would like to show how he uses the language of hands.
Starr writes like a dream, but note what his hands adds to his text:
Bad Ass #1
The Book of 5 Chambers
a TenTONstudios Joint
A smoking gun held firmly straight out from the left side. It’s a worn revolver but in great shape. We get a hint of the hand holding it, but the focus is the gun and the smoke.
N: The revolver discharges the metal leaving behind a lingering smoky trail.
The hand pops open the cylinder, there is one empty chamber.
N: All that is left behind is empty shells, spent and useless hunks of metal.
The hand turns the gun upside down and 5 empty casings fall out, tumbling through the air.
N: Disgarded without a thought.
Close up of the shells hitting the dirt stirring up a small dust cloud. They land next to a beaten and worn pair of cowboy boots.
N: They fall to the earth to be trampled upon.
Side shot, the hand holds the gun still propped open as the other free hand slides a bullet out of the belt.
N: You think of nothing as you reload.
Close up of the cylinder as a bullet slips in.
From ground POV. A fresh grave, a mound of dirt with a rock on top. The backlit shadowy outline of our gunfighter stands tall above it. Vultures loom in barren trees in the background.
N: You may dig a grave if you can afford the time afterwards.
Long wide shot as the gunfighter walks off into the barren landscape. The skeletal remains of a horse in the foreground.
N: You save the prayer for your own soul as you hope that God hasn’t abandoned you.
Half length, establishing shot of gunfighter. In a dusty brown samurai like robe with an overcoat. His gun just poking out, facing backwards so the handle pops out like a sword hilt might.
N: Having met no god, you rely on what your pa gave you.
Close up of his hand (not the hand as seen on page 1, older, more weathered and calloused) as it brushes past the grip of his pistol.
N: A steady hand and a gun.
A second bullet drops into the second chamber. Same shot as Page 2/Panel 1. This center shot repeats at the top of every page. A short of clock running through the 5 rings.
He’s wearing a soldier’s uniform from the Civil War. A confederate uniform. Torn up and patched and bloodied. We can see him a bit clearer, more definition in the eyes. A look of determination. It’s raining like sleet.
N: The one thing you gave yourself was a purpose.
A swarm, a tidal wave of Union soldiers rise up over the hill towards us. The Gunfighter stands with his back to us, letting the other soldiers all just surge forward to be killed in droves.
N: You were born for killing. So you needed a reason.
The Gunfighter draws his gun from his hip. He steps forward from the same side he draws from. The water floods and splashes around his knees.
N: A war seemed like good enough of an excuse for years.
From below we see a close up of his hands covered in blood as he holds a woman’s head in his grip. His hand is keeping her brains in as they seep out between his fingers. His eyes are wild with madness.
N: But there are no warriors in war. Just mad dog killers…
N: and victims.
Bullet three slides in the chamber.
The Gunfighter is stripped down to his shirt, he’s bleeding from three gunshots, one shoulder, one leg, and a gut shot. But his shooting arm is still strong. As he aims right at us.
N: You tell yourself that you’ll kill these bastards…
Close up of a slick, smug face as he lights up a cigar with a match. His head is blown out the side of his head.
N: These sick evil lunatics.
From within the flames of a fireplace, a dead face, shot in the head, stares at us as it begins to burst into flames.
N: You were ridding the world of scum, purging mankind.
An old man stands in shadows as a bullet carves its way through the flame of a candle and blows a hole through his chest.
N: Doing god’s work for him.
Bullet four drops into the chamber.
The gunfighter is ducking behind a shot up cross with his gun raised. There are bullet holes all around him. He’s looking upward. There are bullets firing towards us.
N: You start finding the competition.
The gunfighter is diving sideways and firing, bullets rip up the scene around him.
N: You gotta throw the dice.
Jumping through a stained glass window with Jesus on the Cross on it. Bullets punch through him and the window.
N: Have faith that what you’re doing is righteous.
Close up as the gunfighter tries to hold onto his gun with a huge hole blown through his hand. His knuckles are scraped through flesh, shards of bone protruding from his hand, blood clotting after draining most of the life from his arm, streams dripping from his grip. The gun is slipping.
N: If your hand falters, then so be it. It is God’s will.
The fifth bullet drops into the chamber.
We pan back and see there is a smaller child’s hand holding the gun that has been loaded over the last four pages. The last chamber is empty.
N: You find yourself at the end. You’ve run out of bullets.
The gun clacks closed as we see an altar boy in torn and bloodied robes crying and holding it close to his chest as if it were precious to him. A dead priest body is spread over the altar in the background. He looks scared.
N: Don’t matter much. Everyone that needed killing is dead.
The gunfighter is shot up to hell, his hand is all but destroyed, bones protruding, but index finger holding strong. His trigger finger. He struggles to raise his arm up. He’s leaning bad.
N: ‘Cept you of course. So you tell him how to load it. How to aim.
The gunfighter in silhouette pointing his finger and shattered hand at the altar boy like a gun, the altar boy points the gun down at the gunfighter, hammer dropping.
N: You teach him to shoot.
N: (In black in red letters) To Kill.
It’s a dime store novel book with a round illustration showing the Gunfighter in the outline of a revolver chamber. The title is: Five Bullets in the Chamber.
The altar boy a few years later. He’s wearing glasses and riding on a train watching the green landscape rush past. He wears a nice suit and the more ruffian looking passenger is reading the book intently, eyes wide with a slight sinister smile. The altar boy glances over discreetly.
N: Your education pays off, the story sells books.
The altar boy in the city. He stands there looking innocent, watching as the other passenger walks off hurriedly, reaching into his coat, the novel jutting from his pocket.
N: The books sometimes inspire wicked men.
The Passenger is pulling out a gun from inside his jacket, the altar boy watches in the background down the alley.
N: They don’t see the point, don’t learn the lesson.
The altar boy whips out the gun pointing it at us from beneath his cape. He has the same look of a killer as the gunfighter.
N: So you teach them that the last chamber is always empty.
Colourist Appreciation Day started last year, essentially, from the mind of Jordie Bellaire – who subsequently spent the rest of the year becoming one of the most famous and well-known colourists in comics. In celebration of the anniversary, I’ve compiled a short list of prominent and brilliant comic colorists – who they are, where you can find them, and where you can find out MORE about them.
Bettie Breitweiser Ladies & Gentlemen
(via The Killer #1 (of 10))
Long Fire: Part 1 - This man is solitary, cold, methodical, and unencumbered by scruples or regrets. The killer waits in the shadows, watching for his next target. However the longer he waits, the more he thinks he’s losing his mind, if not his cool. A brutal, bloody, and stylish noir story of a professional assassin lost in a world without a moral compass.
AMAZING FOREST HAS AMAZING COVERS!
Paul Chadwick, Kiel West, Sean Pryor, Edwin Vazquez, Ulises Farinas, Jack Forbes, and more to come!
I hope you’ve been checking out the best comic anthology to come along in the history of mankind, AMAZING FOREST!
Just look at those covers! Review of issues 1 & 2 coming soon!!
The Skull Killer written by Brendan Faukner (the only comic credit to his name), drawn by Gary Terry (like a Michael T. Gilbert comic inked with a brush), colored by Si & Seth Deitch (Kim’s siblings), 1975. The characters therein are preexisting pulp personas, at least the main ones are.
It’s a black and white comic, the color pages being a couple of rare treats saved for the title pages and the money shot… except the odd example of arbitrary spot coloring (last image).
The creators could probably only afford a few colors while using a press that could only sustain that amount of coloring (that’s how that works, I bet), yet they just had to make this happen. The world needed to see this comic at any cost. It’s a situation made up of the same things that made zine trading possible… y’know, the comic trading circuit from the 60s and 70s. Whether that was the case here or not, it reminds me of a bunch of kids doing it just because they can.