Monday, July 28, 2008

I went to Shardaes blog and she had chosen a Scott McCloud comic called "The Right Number." Shardae describes the comic in her blog (link above) fairly well, but in order to save time, I will briefly tell the tale. I am using part 1 and 2. (and I really don't want to see part 3...if it continues it's path...creeeppppyyyy!)

This will get you to the page with this comic. It's in an interesting format, a zooming from frame to frame, only using action on the last frame of part 1.

Boy and girl meet at school and begin to date. he is so unaware that he actually calls the wrong girl (mixes up her phone number with Girlfriend 1) , and goes on a date (!!) with her- not knowing until later in the date that she is not his actual Girlfriend he thought he was meeting. He figures out eventually that she is not Girlfriend 1, but another woman that shares similar facial features. They have similar names as well as phone numbers,too. Eventually he breaks up with Girlfriend 1, and begins to date Girlfriend 2. Things follow the same sort of path- leading into meeting Girlfriend 2's BFF, and and the process begins anew starting with part 2.

Part two is creepy, and where I will focus, as it uses a change of color towards the end that signifies (to me) the essence of this guy. He embarks on finding his perfect woman, using the system he believes will lead him to perfection...a convoluted system with numbers and similar "things" that he believes will lead him to his "perfection."

With each frame, things get weirder. With frame 8, it Gert's really weird. Onto frame 18, where Kate says "all men are assholes". Of course, this is after he has pondered Kate as a choice to replace Jodie /Julie. After all, similar parts of the alphabet, right?? His madness is reflected in his eyes on frame 21- but there is fear, too, which is added later in words (Frame 24).

McCloud uses darkness in his characters drawings to make the character darker, which this cartoon (that word does NOT seem right for this) takes full advantage of. Without giving away any more, towards the end, much as McCloud talks about in his book on page 190, he uses color in this piece of work... In frame 32, McCloud uses a chaotic background to show (what I believe) is the mind of this man and his journey into some sort of madness. In frame 36, the background is a saw blade- and thankfully, nothing came out of that foreshadowing. (ugh).

Just at the end, the frames go deep into his eyes, and the color changes from a blue to a sickly green tornado color. Certainly gave me the chills....

All in line with McCloud and his ideas of identifying with the character. In a sick way, we all probably can identify- the sickness and strangeness of a lust for something- in his case, a sort of perfection...with numbers. In this, I wonder if McCloud was thinking about the "being there" (pg81) that he says Japanese art/cartoons are good at. I am not sure all that he used, but this comic was one that put you there. McCloud does use "silent" panels (pg 102) a few times to have the feeling linger (again, c c creepy)

Despite my "oucky" feeling about this comic, it was very well done, by someone that knows his genre very well. Yes, he does not like this term, or rather worries about it being used to describe a part of art. Here, I would consider his work here to be a particular genre of COMIC, not writing or only visual art. It is a lot darker then the Archie comics I know about from grade school.

What is most interesting to me is Shardaes take on this comic was very different then mine. She saw it more as "normal" then I did...or did not see the darkness as much as I did. (should I be worried about me??)

Shardae said "This comic involved a relationship that anyone can relate to in one way or another. It was not a typical love story that you see all of the time. This comic involved a relationship that anyone can relate to in one way or another. It was not a typical love story that you see all of the time. " Okay, that is true- I could relate, but it scared me! The first part of the comic was a bit more normal, although not the kind of "nice boy" behavior we might want from others. I guess it's really the 2nd half where things get weird.

I do agree, I do want to delve a bit more into his work, however. And most important, my (and I hesitate to use this word) fear of comics has been somewhat abated.

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