Tuesday, December 27, 2016


REMEMBER, The Research Paper is due THIS FRIDAY BY 5pm. No late papers will be accepted. This is a major grade, so please don't flake out on me. You can e-mail it to me at jgrasso@ecok.edu or jgrasso91@gmail.com. 

The SIXTH TEMPLATE RESPONSE was due last week. A few of you still haven't posted it or e-mailed it to me. If I get it by Friday I'll give you half credit. If you don't turn it in at all, you'll lose 20 points (or 20% of your grade). Since you already presented on it, as well as read the book, it seems a shame not to turn in the template response. 

Let me know if you have any questions or difficulties. Otherwise, I look forward to reading the final paper! 

Iron Man: Legacy of Doom by Ally Gregory

The comic book is illustrated with a really cartoonish feel to it. Faces were note symmetrical and were crudely drawn. The colors used were really bright too. For me it created a less strict type of feel/tone; a fun one. One where silly jokes naturally flow so I think the feel of the artwork goes with the grain of the story since it compliments it.

I think this was written as a comic book because the stories the content writers were trying to get across were able to be expressed in the comic book form. I think the medium also allowed the writers to target a specific audience. If this comic was translated into a movie it would lose its ability to slow down time when needed to draw more attention to the frames they want the reader to focus on the most. I really enjoyed page 15 where Spiderman is shooting his web. To me this frame was awesome because of the image of Spiderman shooting the web out of his wrist and it allows the reader to spend as much time as they need to while they day dream about wanting to be able to do such a thing…. This would be lost in a movie. In a novel the image would not be there either.

In the short story that I got to read of Spiderman, the ethics that were covered for a superhero to have were someone who save other people from some sort of harm or danger and I also read a part that I think I could use to advocate that this comic also insisted that a superhero did not doubt themselves; they were people who believe in themselves (page 14).

I choose to point out page 14, the top row. This is where Spiderman had a freak out moment where he doubted his own abilities thinking that what he was doing was not possible – as he was doing it. I like how this scene was happening as Spiderman was swinging in the air making this the hardest part in the story that he had to overcome. Once he did he finally had the remedy to fight back against the contraption that made him doubt so harshly and was then able to defeat the enemy.

Monday, December 26, 2016

X-Men Unlimited: Sabretooth Among Us by Daniel Bonar

Q1: The illustrations in this comic are sketchy and extremely colorful. The comic was published in '93 and it's color palate shows its age. Vibrant electric yellows and cobalt blues are very common. They include things like really low pony Tails on guys and Mazda miattas that also help illustrate the difference between comics in 93 and right now.

Q2: This work could only work as a comic book because in addition to a plethora of characters and their individual histories that you are expected to know, the entire story jumps continents multiple times and is easily lost

Q3: The main focus of ethics in this issue surround addiction. They cover the standpoint of "we should just kill him" because Sabertooth is addicted to blood and killing, we see Sabertooth trying to get himself killed because he just wants to be rid of his addiction, and we see the subject of rehabilitation vs. Incarceration in terms of justice as posed by Charles Xavier.

Q4: The main frame I would focus on is at the end of the comic where Xavier and Sabertooth are walking in the hologram prison and they converse over the past and future of Sabertooth, Xavier states that their goal is to rehabilitate Sabertooth THEN turn him over to the authorities. This is the only way that justice could take place, because until Sabertooth is rehabilitated he will always be an animal and justice can never really come to be unless he sees the folly of his actions.

The Flash: Wanted by Tasha Mckaughan

The Flash: Wanted 

1. The illustrations in this comic are very detailed and realistic, I really enjoyed the artwork and the story it told. The colors are bright even when things aren’t exactly happy but the detail on the character’s faces show their emotion so the colors don’t really take away from the seriousness of the scene. 

2. There are Flash movies and series on Netflix, which I have watched, I enjoyed both the comic and the films. The comic does tell a different kind of story but I think the films do a good job in representing The Flash. You really need the artwork to tell the story because without it you would really miss the important emotions that the characters show and all the color that adds to the story that you could not get with a normal novel. 

3. The ethics of Flash area that of a hero because although he is told he will murder a man he still fights for justice and tries to find out who really kills the man and bring that person to justice. While the Renegades believe themselves to be in the right and Flash is the villain that must be stopped. Much like the heroes of X-Men and Black Panther. All three stories really depend in what prospective you read them in. So is Flash the true hero being framed for a murder he didn’t commit or are the Renegades the heroes trying to destroy a rough Flash? That’s up to you the reader to decide.

4. I chose a scene on pages 8-9 where they are watching Mirror Monarch’s body being loaded into an ambulance and Iris states “So you believe them?” “Yeah” “Do you think you’re guilty of murder?” “Crimson cowl on or off, I’m a cop. If there was no other choice, if it saved an innocent life, I wouldn’t like it, but I’d do what I’d have to do. But you know I’d never murder someone in cold blood. They’re going to sweep Mirror Monarch’s body at the lab. I’ll find some evidence. I’ll show them they have the wrong suspect, and find the right one.”
I thought this was an important section that shows his ethical dilemma and also gives us a look into what his plans are. While he admits he is capable and willing to kill someone as long as it was for the greater good, he will continue to search for the clues to who committed the crime and catch them to prove his innocence.  

Dark Horse Comic's, The Legend of Korra: "Friends for Life" by Greg Votaw

Q1: Aesthetics
This comic can best be described as cartoony, artistic, and tight. Bright coloring is used in the creation of this comic and brings about a sense of comfort and joy. I felt no impending doom foreshadowed and had a great sense of closure in this particular setting. This comic seems more geared to a younger audience and lays out some principles that are applicable to growing up. The feelings relative to the comic and others read in class fir upon a different spectrum. The legend of Korra is more cheery and friendly than others we have read.
Q2: Why a graphic novel
Though this comic has been made into a television series, I still believe its portrayal to be very important to be represented as a graphic novel. The graphic novel allows its reader to look deeper into scenes and context of the characters, rather than trying to keep the reader/viewer entertained by quick motions and a pushing rapid narrative. The reader is better able to take in scenes and dialogue while also being able to dissect the dialogue into more meaningful phrases. In addition, many things could be missed such as the internal speaking of our protagonist Korra.
Q3: Ethics
The ethics in this comic seem minor compared to the other graphic novels we have read. However, it introduces some ideas to the reader that are very much applicable to daily life. Korra is faced with a destiny to become the next avatar, one who can manipulate the four elements of fire, water, air, and earth. Korra must go through strict training in order to achieve her destiny to keep peace between the nations. Though she is very young and high-spirited and almost knocks out her master, Katara. She is given a warning to avoid the polar bear dogs by her parents, but immediately disobeys them after they have gone to sleep by sneaking out. Our heroin displays a sense of going against rules out of curiosity. This leads readers to believe that curiosity can sometimes trump the rules in order to satisfy a thirst for knowledge and self-fulfillment. Though it seems like an everyday occurrence to an older reader, it nonetheless poses a problem in trying to raise younger people to teach them correct behavior. Korra's actions do lead into a god outcome, which is discussed in my next question.
Q4: Significance
Korra's disobedience leads her to an abandoned polar bear dog pup, for which she bribes him through food due to his being hungry. After he takes the meat, she is able to build a makeshift shelter through her powers and creates a safe home for them to rest through the storm. After her parents find her through much worry they are astounded by her new companion, but it is only through the wisdom of the elder that Korra is able to keep her newfound companion for which she comes to have through the rest of the series.

Cloak and Dagger by Christopher York


Cloak and Dagger is a Marvel Superhero duo that debuted in Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #64, March, 1982. At the time, most comics were dealing with larger than life issues (world domination, intergalactic invaders, etc.).  Cloak and Dagger was decidedly different and dealt with the real world problem of drug addiction and ever increasing gang violence, often associated with it.

The debut in Peter Parker #64 set the stage for what would become the primary ethical quandaries Cloak and Dagger (and by proxy Spider-Man) dealt with: vigilantism and justice.

This is best illustrated by the dialogue which takes place when Spider-Man first meets the duo and they have just killed a drug dealer despite the fact he sought to confess his crimes and go to prison. 

Spider Man: What did you do to him!? His blood froze in his veins!
Cloak: He deserved no better.
Dagger: His punishment fit his crime.
Spider-Man: So who nominated you to the Supreme Court?! All right, the guy was a criminal, he confessed as much but EVEN CRIMINALS HAVE RIGHTS!
Cloak: Not in the eyes of Cloak and Dagger.
How does the comic compare to other comics we have reviewed?
Cloak and Dagger is interesting in that the duo had a unique backstory which had real world implications.  They were both drug addicts who had been the unwitting recipients of an experimental concoction that somehow interacted with their biochemistry and enabled them to become “Cloak and Dagger”.   It’s a bit dark for a comic book and especially for the time period in which it derived. It compares best to “Batman Year One,” in that it is a similarly dark, grim setting and that the hero(es) are motivated mainly by revenge and justice for a wrong suffered previously.  Both “Batman Year One” and “Cloak and Dagger” deal with grim worlds in which the characters could have just as easily been victims, like so many countless others, to a crime laden world where criminals regularly escape justice, whether they be drug pushers or murderers.

How is the comic illustrated?
The illustration method is similar to most comics from Marvel’s Silver Age.  Sort of dull colors, but this could be attributed to the cheap paper used for printing.  One interesting aspect of the penciling is that Cloak’s face is relatively unclear no matter which comic you read.  I reviewed Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider Man #64, #69 and #81, as well as Cloak and Dagger #1, and in each of these Cloak is always shown with a face obscured or drawn with vague suggestions for features.  It is only later comics that Cloak becomes better defined and fleshed out hero.  By contrast, from the first appearance, Dagger is shown with clear features and a well-drawn face, physique.  Part of this could be derived from the fact that Cloak IS a creature of the shadow and thus being somewhat insubstantial and unclear is part of his persona.  Dagger, on the other hand, is representative of the the light and what is easily observed and clear, and her artwork reflects this.

How does this comic deal with the “ethics of being a superhero”?
Cloak and Dagger represent the frustrations of a real world populace which had become frustrated with crime and the justice system’s inability to prosecute it.  Cloak and Dagger was only one facet of other media and entertainment products that dealt with the same issue in a similar way.  While Dirty Harry and Rambo were giving voice to vigilantism on the big screen, Cloak and Dagger (and Punisher, but that is a different paper) were giving voice to it in the guise of the comic book.  The very first incident involving Cloak and Dagger has them killing a drug dealer as he begs for mercy and explains to them that he is willing to pay for his crimes.  Sorry pal, not on their watch! This same them is expressed in every other appearance they made in Spider-Man.  Some bad guy (nameless mostly but Silvermane in one issue) is being killed by Cloak and Dagger while Spider-Man is fighting to keep this from happening.  In these issues Spider-Man is DEFENDING the criminals in many cases.  This is a very sharp contrast in ethics, to say the least, but representative of the time in which the comic derived. 

Review and discuss a sample issue of this comic book:
Cloak and Dagger #1 starts out with new territory for the duo.  They are now dealing with pornography makers and human trafficking in Times Square, New York.  The very first sequence has them killing a pimp/pornographer who is (per the usual) begging for his life as Cloak and Dagger kill him mercilessly.   The only difference is there is no Spider-Man to stop them.  The rest of the issue explores the developing ethical divide between Cloak, who is always for retributive justice of the deadly variety, and Dagger, who tends to view justice as encompassing other aspects of punishment.  The big scene in this comic book involves Cloak and Dagger’s encounter with a group of college age drug-users.  That’s right, this time Cloak kills a user and does so explaining to Dagger that the user is better off dead and is just as guilty as the hardened drug dealer who sold it to him.  This sets of an ethical debate the runs throughout the rest of the issue which is illustrated by Dagger’s view that the user is as much as the victim as the innocent non-user and Cloak’s view that the user is just as guilty as the dealer.   In the end they appear to be at odds and are considering splitting because of these differing viewpoints.  Thus, we have a unique debut issue that ends with our comic book hero duo not coming together, but actually falling apart!

Would you recommend this comic to others?
I would.  It’s an interesting window into the early 1980’s and gives the present day reader and up close glimpse of real world issues seen through the eyes of what could be considered a “young adult” viewing lens.  It involves superheroes dealing with real world issues rather than super-villains mutated by radiation or nameless monsters.   Lastly, it represents a comic book doing what they do best, introducing deeper and more substantial issues to readers in the protective guise of fictional heroes and villains. 

Wonder Woman: The Contest by Lauren Tucker

Wonder Woman- The Contest

1.       I enjoyed the artistic style in this comic. I would describe it as “realistic sketchy.” It reminded me of x-men, but more detailed. I can’t decide if that is just how the comics were drawn in that time (1994) or if it was a common artist. The faces are almost always especially detailed. However, the characters are incredibly sexualized. Huge boobs, skimpy outfits, the whole 9 yards. It almost seemed like an excuse to make ‘hot girls’ fight like some fantasy. At least there was an interesting plot.

2.       Honestly, I don’t think they could get away with having an almost all female cast in today’s society. The reason could be subtle sexism, or because of how people might treat it. Since it is so sexualized, I think there would be a lot of backlash if they tried to imitate the comic directly. I don’t think it would be a difficult movie as long as there is care while making it to watch out for the pitfalls that could occur.

 3.       The ethics are incredibly interesting in this comic. It isn’t about what a Superhero believes. It is about how one island believes they can influence the world. What does it mean to be Wonder Woman and how can it influence? However, it is not the only question asked. What happens when the people in power aren’t trustworthy? What happens when your own parent isn’t trustworthy? Diana loses how position as Wonder Woman and must enter a contest for her right back. Now that everything you knew is wrong, do you still trust the morals you were raised with? Diana must face this question.

4.       Page 155-177
a.       This scene shows Diana answering the last question from above. She makes a choice to go against what “Wonder Woman” stood for. The villains thought they could manipulate her and get away since she used to adhere to these morals. One says, “That would be revenge. She don’t believe in revenge.” Diana then rejects her morals and fights them. She just seems pissed and done. I think this scene helps to cement the ethics and the results of betrayal. Everyone handles it differently.

V for Vendetta by Celeste Johnson

V for Vendetta

Q1: The illustrations in V for Vendetta were very sketchy, but detailed in some cases. The background images are sketched very well, whereas the scene is easily perceived. The people in the frames, however, have much more detail with their facial expressions and body image. This comic actually reminds me a lot of Batman: Year One based on these illustrations. The color scheme is very dark and melancholy. It is also very slow with the time of the scenes. The colors used make a dreary tone, reflecting the story being read. Because it is a story that depicts emotions of sorrow, fear and anger the illustrations are definitely well suited for this comic.
Q2: V for Vendetta is written in a way that is neither word or picture specific, which means that it is more effective when in graphic novel/comic form than any other. The illustrations given add the expression and dark tone of the story. Without seeing these, especially in a still frame the reader would not be allowed to grasp the intensity of the story. It is the same when looking at the words, that also add to the story, by allowing the reader to correspond the images and words, making sense of them. By placing this in a film or regular novel there would be loss in the storyline and the perception the reader has.
Q3: The hero in this comic is actually seen as an antihero due to the violent actions he commits towards others. The setting of the story is placed in the 1990s, having London as a dictatorship that is prejudice against homosexuals, black people and any radicals. The “hero” V fits into one of these categories of people who are being discriminated against, and therefor develops a vendetta against those who have done him and those like him. The violent actions he commits, like blowing up some of the major buildings in London and killing a number of civilians takes away from the hero aspect, however the ultimate purpose of his actions do somewhat outweigh violence. V’s purpose is to cut off the head of London, which is the leader of the dictatorship who is a corrupt leader and has under him other corrupt leaders. The ethics in summary that are displayed in this book are that what is good is good, what is bad is bad, but sometimes one has to do bad things in order for there to be good. The villains in this book are the corrupt leaders of London who use the positions of power they are placed in to act immorally. The hero in this comic is V, who although kills for what he believes in, crossing ethical boundaries, still tries to save the people of London from those who are unjustly treating them poorly.
Q4: One of the most significant parts of this story is actually at the beginning, where V is introduced and the reader is given a clear indication of what is going to happen in the book. After he saves a young prostitute from police officers who were planning to rape and kill her, he takes her to the top of a building. Evey (the prostitute) asks V who he is and he simply says, “ Me? I’m the king of the twentieth century. I’m the Bogeyman. The villain. The black sheep of the family”(13). These lines show the purpose and past of V’s character. The words used to describe him actually oppose each other, being the king but being the Bogeyman, being the king but being the villain and being the king but being the black sheep. However all of them describe his actions throughout the book. He is the king, saying that he rules London and in some ways he does control the city but taking down the dictatorship in V for Vendetta. The Bogeyman is a mythical creature that parents use(d) to scare children into doing what’s right. This is definitely something that V does in this comic. He plays the role of the villain by killing people for what he believes in. Lastly, He is the black sheep, which is shown through his origin story. This one frame is a preview for the future events in the comic.

Harley Quinn: Our Worlds At War

Question 1
I would have to say this has a very cartoony look most of the comic. There are some detailed scenes but it wasn’t in the quick or fighting frames but in the moments they wanted to be a little slower to take it in a bit more. The more action the frame had the less detail it had and the bubblier the characters looked. The cartoon look fit well with the comic because of all the humor, it seemed more innocent like a Tom and Jerry skit unlike Batman Year One.
Question 2
I think this novel or short comic in my case, would lose a lot of the funny expressions and details in the scenes if it were turned into a normal novel or film. I realized that you don’t catch all of the small details the first time you read it unless you know what you are looking for. You could hear the dry humor in a lot of the pictures, reading it in a normal tone you couldn’t hear the sarcasm until you had the pictures to go along with it. It was a very funny story and I would definitely want this to stay a comic in order to catch all the funny thoughts and conversations.
Question 3
This question was a little bit harder for me to answer in this comic, it was focusing on Superman’s Pal and Joker’s sidekick Harley Quinn. Harley is usually always a bad guy and even in this comic Jimmy clarifies how evil she is multiple times but yet she seems to be the hero in this comic because she keeps saving him and keeping him out of danger multiple times. The “main” bad guys in this story are the aliens, but that doesn’t mean that the normal villains aren’t bad it just means they aren’t the main threat and even they are worried about the new evil. Harley shows that she is the hero because she saves Jimmy, not using any superpowers in this comic though just normal combat fighting. Even though Jimmy is supposedly a good guy he is causing a lot of extra grief for people in the beginning but it is based around humor so I think it is forgiven by the people I guess. It doesn’t seem that anything plays a specific role in this comic for the hero.
Question 4
The best passage that describes this comic would have to be on page 3 where Jimmy landed the escape pod in the middle of Gotham City. He thinks that a crowd forming around him is concerned about his wellbeing and they are actually thinking he is alien spy disguised as a human. The humors part about this is the thought process that Jimmy is having during this time. “They’re worried about my welfare—maybe even think I’m a pilot shot down while protecting our planet” while in the back ground you can see the angry mob gathering around him shouting negative comments. You would think this is sarcasm because later in the passage a couple pages further he is begging what he thinks to be a cop for help because an angry mob is chasing him. This is a great passage to sum up how the whole story plays as a whole, it’s humorous and playful. Not very violent, though there are a few fight scenes.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Deadpool: Sins of the past

1. The art style is sketchy, cartoony and artistic. As the comic progresses the art changes a little to go along with what is happening. This is a perfect way to show the art for Deadpool because he is all over the place and the art should go with him.

2. Deadpool is perfect for a graphic novel because it has so much going on. The way Deadpool acts, for example, is best expressed in comic form because he breaks the fourth wall and does other things that a regular novel cannot accomplish. that being said, for the most part, a movie can express Deadpool like the comic but the affect shown in the comic is taken away some.

3. The ethical boundaries of Deadpool are non-existent. If he were told to draw a moral line that he cannot cross he would draw the line with loops and swirls and open spots and then just to show that he is giving no fucks will hand the pencil back and run across the line. the fact is he is neither a hero nor is he a villain, he is an anti-hero.

4. In the middle of comic there is a part where the current "mission" is done and him and syrin are parting ways and syrin says are you going to help catch Black tom. Deadpool says no and then sits down. syrin then starts to fly away and says goodbye Deadpool. he responds, wade. my name is Wade. he then joins them to take out Black Tom. this shows that he is willing to do anything for a girl. and shows the point in the comic in which he is done saving himself and decides to help others.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Kingdome Come

1). I definitely enjoyed the illustrations in Kingdom Come. Although, in the frames the characters looked a little mannequin-like, however I was still able to enjoy the artistic aspect of the depictions.  The pace of the story is pretty fast, so each frame must be analyzed carefully because of the immense detail that is provided.  The illustrations reminded me of Star Wars and they created a sci-fi tone, in my opinion. The frames are attempting to depict an oncoming Armageddon, or revelation, so I feel that the illustrations do this comic/story justice.

2). This particular story has the classic comic book feel. It provides mystery and action right off the bat that entices the reader to actually finish the issue. From what I gathered, Kingdom Come is a pretty large, complex graphic novel, so even the first issue is pretty action-packed. While the comic has a very obscure narrative tone, I still think the story is in its best form - a graphic novel. Because the frames accurately and justly provide history on the origin of the story, I feel that a regular novel could not execute the illustrated details as well as this comic did. The frames provide small windows into what it was like when the real superheroes ruled and aided to the world. They also offer insight into what each superhero's life looks like now that they have all retired. They story would lost that aspect if it were translated into a regular novel.

3).While this comic definitely put Superman on a pedestal, I think a lot of the famous heroes that we all know and love still received notable recognition within the story.  The story tells what the world was like when all of the superheroes retired, except for a few. However, a preacher, Norman McCay, envisions an Armageddon which will lead to the end of the world.  All of the descendants of the original, good superheroes lack moral, genuine characteristics. They fight just to fight and not for the benefit of humanity.  So there is an ethical dilemma on whether or not the world is worth saving and if Superman should reign once again. They can either fight their descendants (who are being led by Magog, a new super-villain who resembles a ram) and save a dying world or succumb to the revelation. It is ultimately their choice.

4). The most important scene in Kingdom Come is when Wonder Woman begs Superman to come back and fight for the people he once loved and protected. She says, "Kal, please. Our generation takes its lead from you. We always have. You must face this. If you don't, neither will the rest of us...and it just goes on" (30). She is essentially wanting Superman to help fight Magog and restore peace back into the world. So in a way, the story has many religious undertones. Superman vs. Magog. God vs. Satan. Without Superman (God), Armageddon is near, which is what Wonder Woman is trying to tell Superman.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

X-23 Innocence Lost

The illustrations of this comic are sketchy, much like the Batman Year One comic. The faces of characters are usually detailed, except when the villains are standing in the shadows a lot. The artwork reflects the gloomy tone of the story. Light colors are usually used like grays and blues. The frames also overlap each other a lot, which was interesting because it played with the timeline of the story.

This story is told from a letter that Dr. Kinney has written to X-23, so there is a lot of inner dialogue. I don't think that would translate well in another form of entertainment, such as a movie or novel. Even though Dr. Kinney is telling the story from her letter we see the viewpoint of different characters. That would probably be confusing if it wasn't in a graphic novel where we can see the viewpoint switch by way of the photos while Dr. Kinney's inner voice can still be heard by the words.

I think the point that this comic is trying to make is that part of having ethics is going against your nature sometimes. A lot of the characters are very jaded and they have to fight against that aspect of themselves when making moral decisions. For instance, X-23 is raised as a weapon and crosses ethical boundaries a lot by killing people. However, she begins to develop her own morals and struggles with what she has done and whether someone like her can still be a good person. The fact that she could easily be a cruel person because of her past but a part of her fights against that shows a strong inner character that most superheroes have.

An important passage is after X-23 is sent on a secret mission to kill a certain family. She reveals the family to Dr. Kinney who becomes outraged and tells X-23 that she's going to get her out of there. X-23 responds by asking if it's a mission. This stood out to me because it portrays how X-23's life is nothing but "missions" and killing. In order to understand what Dr. Kinney is saying to her she has to relate it to a mission. I think that is significant to understand the overall story of how X-23 has to struggle to understand her humanity with her upbringing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

X-Men: Dark Phoenix Saga

1.  This novel’s artwork is extremely expressionistic. Each character follows somewhat of a uniform body, but – especially in the case of Phoenix – they may change slightly from panel to panel. The backgrounds are often splashes or mixing of colors, rather than a more realistic setting. When any of the X-Men use their power, it is usually illustrated with swift, broad strokes along the page, explosions of color, and shifting or changing spaces. Expressionistic work is especially evident in Jean’s transformation into the Dark Phoenix. Her body goes out of focus and is completely engulfed in an aura of light and color; at times, she loses her shape entirely and takes on the form of the Phoenix, which is drawn freely much like the flame it is made up of.

2. Throughout the comic, panels change sizes quite rapidly. In many cases, like that on page 111, fractions of seconds are shown as the Phoenix warps Jason Wyngarde’s mind. In this case, time seems to slow down to a pause and communicates to us the gravity of the moment. While a film can use slow motion effects or speed up the succession of shots, I think it would seem overused on the cinema screen simply because the novel uses this technique so often. Additionally, Jean Grey’s inner monologue plays an important role in the story by helping us understand her fear of her own power. Books are able to share a character’s innermost thoughts in a way movies simply cannot do, so any attempt to make this story into a film would struggle with the loss of such an integral piece of the narrative.

3. This comic mainly focuses on the ethics of Jean Grey. As the Phoenix, she possesses a limitless power. In fact, the Grand Council of the Galactic Empire refers to her power as able to consume “all that exists” (136) and as boundless as God himself. Since she became the Phoenix, Jean has controlled her powers through a series of mental walls she created to rein in her abilities. When Jason Wyngarde/Master Mind tore down those barriers, Jean released her power in full, consuming all that is around her. In fact, she destroyed an entire planet by consuming their sun, exterminating 5 billion people. She killed every crewmember of the Shi’ar warship after they tried to stop her, and she attacked and nearly destroyed her beloved friends, the X-Men. All of these acts, however, were committed by the Dark Phoenix, not Jean Grey, yet she is ultimately held responsible for them because they are on in the same. This novel seems to question if Jean is redeemable, which is further explored as each of her friends struggle with whether or not it is right to fight for her life when she has taken so much through her power. Ultimately, they all come to the decision that the friendship and love they have for Jean is stronger than her faults. Jean, however, realizes she will not be able to stop the power within from consuming her once more, so she sacrifices herself to remain human. This seems to show that infinite power is not all a hero should seek. Instead, their focus must always be on others, even if that requires their own destruction.

4.On page 149-150, the Dark Phoenix (Jean) engages in a Psi-war with Professor Xavier. It is the ultimate battle – student against teacher. The panels explode with the flames of the Dark Phoenix as all her power concentrates on Xavier’s attack. At the end of the battle, Jean Grey falls from the sky making Professor Xavier the victor. He informs the X-Men that the only reason he was able to beat the Dark Phoenix is because he could sense Jean inside herself trying to help him stop her endless search for power. It is in these panels that we see the humanity of Jean Grey long before she chooses to sacrifice herself. Only a true hero would be willing to fight against their darkest form and chance losing infinite, cosmic power. In Jean’s case, the professor put a host of psionic circuit breakers in order to completely separate Jean from her most powerful tool, the Phoenix. In doing so, Jean loses a significant amount of power and is reduced to telepath only. These panels are the key to understanding Jean Grey's story as a superhero, friend, and human. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Superman: Sacrifice

1.)  This comic had more than one illustrator so not all of the artwork was the same throughout the book, but I think that most of it resembled Superman Red Son. Lois and some of the other women at the beginning were drawn very provocatively compared to how they are portrayed later on in the story. Wonder Woman, however, is pretty much always drawn with a big chest and hardly leaving anything to the imagination.

2.) If this story was anything but a graphic novel, it would not have nearly as big of an impact as it does. I think a movie might do an okay job of following the story line, but the illustrations the comic supplies you with really show you the despair that superman is feeling. If this were to be translated into a novel it would just be too hard to follow the different time frames and it might even be boring for the readers.

3.) In my opinion, this comic is pretty much all about superhero ethics. It talks about how superman had killed once and since then he has put up psychological barriers that forbid him from doing it again, but by taking control of his mind, Max Lord has torn down all those barriers and is forcing him to kill. Wonder Woman is also faced with a decision in which she has to decide if saving the world means sacrificing someones life.

4.) A certain passage in this comic that I think is important is on the very last page when Superboy tells Superman that he does not get the privilege to lay low. He reminds him that he is Superman and he is supposed to be someone people can look up to. and that he is not just a hero, he is also a leader. He says that even though he doesn't know whats eating him, he needs to get over it. He reminds him that whether he likes it or not, people are going to fear him because of what he is capable of and there is nothing he can do to change that.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Paul Christy
Q1: How is the novel illustrated?  Be specific: would you characterize it as sketchy, realistic, cartoony, artistic, ornate, spare, expressionistic, tight, loose, etc.?  What is the overall feel of the artwork, and what kind of tone does it create for the reader?  Do you feel it is the uniquely suited to the story being told?  Or is supposed to go against the grain of the story?

            The artwork in this comic book had a sketchy feel to it. The artwork is reminiscent of newspaper comic strips at the beginning of the comic and changes to a style used in modern comic books closer toward the end of the comic book. The comic is a reminder of how the artistic style of comic books has changed over their lifetime.

Q2: Why do you think this story written as a graphic novel/comic book?  What might this story lose if translated to a novel, short story, or even a film?  What elements of the story almost require the juxtaposition of words and images? In other words, what does the comic format allow us to see and experience that a traditional novel wouldn’t?  Again, be as specific as possible. 

            This story works as a comic book and a film adaptation, but it would fail as a novel. The artwork seems to give a different vibe than what the story would suggest in the early stages of the comic. Trying to develop this story into a novel would only bring confusion into the mold as the artwork is what makes the story work and without it the reader would be left in a state of confusion most likely.
Q3: How does this comic discuss the ethics of being a superhero—someone who has powers and abilities beyond that of normal men/women, and is thus able to influence the world based on a hero’s specific notions of good and evil? According to this comic, what does it mean to be a “hero” and a “villain”? Do the heroes ever cross ethical boundaries in his/her quest to save humanity? Also, does a superhero always play by the same rules, or does one’s age, sex, race, or religion also play a role?

            In this comic, Bruce Wayne is much older and has to come out of retirement to save Gotham as the Batman. The notion that he had in Batman: Year One about not killing anyone are over and have been replaced by letting the villains die. This Batman is very different from his younger days and it shows how he evolved over time as a superhero. This Batman has learned with age that some people can’t be saved.
Q4: Examine a single passage in the novel, either a frame or a series of frames (but no more than 1-2 pages) that you feel is particularly significant to understanding the book.  Help us appreciate what this passage helps you (and others) see and why. Choose the passage more for the theme/characters than the technique (though you can mention how the technique helps underline the larger thematic concerns).  Make sure we can not only see what’s going on here, but we see how it relates to the story at large.

            The passage that I fell is significant to this comic is when Batman catches Harvey Dent when he is falling from to his death. Harvey Dent asks Batman what he sees and all Batman sees is a reflection. Bruce Wayne did all he could for Harvey, but he couldn’t help him anymore. This is moment I feel like finally understands that he can’t save Harvey Dent from his Two-Face personality.

Comic Response - The Amazing Spider-Man: The Parker Luck Vol. 5

Amber Hampton

1. The artwork in this volume of Parker Luck is fantastic. It’s tightly done with a lot of detail similarly to that of the Black Panther novel we read for class. There is a lot of dark colors, but light undertones so it doesn't have that Batman feel. I feel that since Spider-Man is almost always working to save his loved ones or keep them out of dangers reach, the serious artwork speaks through that. Love is a serious thing (or at least should always be taken so). Especially if you're a web-spinning superhero who's loved ones always become his downfall. 

2. In this comic book and many others, there are multiple scenes going on at once and it's a lot easier to read two happenstances in 2 pages or less, rather than watch a movie try to do that, I think of one movie (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) that did this, and even then it took more than five minutes of movie time to show all these things that happened to result in the main incident. Even I had to do some research on this comic, because it's a random volume I had laying around, I do not have the entire series so if you read this stand-alone comic, you'd miss even more. Like this is Volume 5, but in the 4 before that, Doctor Octopus had switched brains with Spider-Man and completely turned his life upside down. (And that is an extremely short version of it). There is just no way to fit all of that information let alone the multiple scenes in this single comic alone. In a comic you get short and sweet scenes if you want them, or long drawn out fights if that's what you need to get the point across. So I feel like for that reason this comic is a comic, a strictly text book would be hard-pressed to explain details as such and it not sound like jibberish. 

3. Well, this comic starts out with Spidey making out with a girl you don't know. So I bet it's not the first thing you think out when you think geeky Spider-Man/Peter Parker. While this heavy make-out session is taking place, Cindy Moon ( AKA, Silk - as you read you learn her name), tries to take off his mask, which he won't allow. Then it's revealed she knows who he is, she knows his real name and she knows they've been bitten by the same spider. Because of them "being bit by the same spider" they apparently have some primal connection and cannot part, and Spider-Man lacks in his Spider-Man duties which isn't normal for him. It takes someone bringing him back down to earth and makes him go to a business meeting where his work ethic of keeping a secret identity and snarky commentary coincide again.

4. As I said before, most of the time Peter Parker's downfalls are the ones he loves. This comic features one of his scorned lovers, Black Cat. The page that turns the story upside down is the fifth page of the last scene (no page numbers). Black Cat with Electro by her side (who's powers are out of control) is hellbent on embarrassing and killing Spider-Man for what happened when he didn't habituate his own body. No one believes his brain-swap story and it was the biggest villain accomplishment in the Spidey world if you ask me. It goes back to ethics, Doc Ock strips it all away and its up to Peter Parker to fix it when he finally gives in. You see him trying to do that in this scene and unfortunately the comic ends, with J. Jonah Jameson nearly unmasking Peter on live television. I definitely want to read the whole graphic novel, but I wasn't able to find it in time for this response. Peter's always strict about his identity, except once again, to the ones he loves. And the one he loved is seemingly about to ruin it all.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Allesha Jett

Response template

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

            The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Eastman Waltz Duncan has very sketchy illustrations. The illustrations aren’t realistic and they are drawn very lightly. The overall feel of the artwork is very murky and dark most of the time, this creates a very serious tone for the novel. The illustrations in the novel are also very action packed. All of this suits the novel very well because the ninja turtles do fight mostly in the night, and they always have a battle they must conquer.

            This comic is written as a graphic novel/comic book because there was a lot of inner dialogue among the illustrations. There was also a lot of actions in the illustrations. If the book were to be written differently someone wouldn’t notice that the cat’s army is actually humans. The cat’s body even looks human. There is also a lot told in the characters faces that wouldn’t be easy to explain in a traditional novel. It would also be hard to depict how ornery the turtles are if it weren’t for the illustrations.

            The ethics of the Ninja Turtles are discussed when the turtles mentor tells them not the kill anyone at the beginning of the book. The Ninja Turtles are able to win all of their fights. They are very strong and willing to do what it takes to save people. These turtles are also teenagers and that shoes when they can fight, and respect their master, but then go dig in the trash for dinner. The Ninja Turtles are truly good at the point that this comic is written, but they could easily turn bas since they are at such a young age and finding themselves. This particular comic is a single edition so it doesn’t go into deep details to whether the Ninja Turtles actually get the chance to fight a lot of crime. At the beginning of the book they are in a battle but it doesn’t say why, but you get the gist that the opposing side is up to no good. At the end of the book Raphael walks by a house and hears a boy being abused by his father, and busts in to save him, which requires good ethics.

            I feel that page 12-13are very significant to the story. This is the place that the Ninja Turtles were actually made, they were genetically modified and created. They started out as normal turtles. This is more of a turning point for the audience than for the characters, because we get to make the connection that the rat in the lab is actually the turtle’s master. This also brings into question whether the cat from the beginning of the comic may have come from the same place. This is a turning point because we start to think about what else the scientist have done, and more so what have they brought into the world that we don’t know about yet.

Iron Man: Sound Effects ft. Sapheara

This comic called Iron Man: Sound Effects features a girl Samantha (Sapheara) who has cochlear implants. All throughout this comic, the drawings are a bit heavy on the cartoonish side. There are no facial marks or movements that suggest it could be anything realistic compared to Batman Year One or Superman Red Son. It was drawn to target younger children in my opinion because the language in the comic is very short, blunt, and expressing itself. There is not really any humor, satire, or inside jokes targeting adults. The tone of the comic shows color and loudness in the pictures. Bright colors and light tend to attract children more. There is a lot of color in the pictures and a few fight scenes where light is being zapped to the bad guys. I feel like it suits the plot of the story because characters like Sapheara and Blue Ear, appearing before her, were created because a 4-year old boy named Anthony didn’t want to wear his hearing aids because superheroes don’t wear them.
This story was written as a graphic novel because, as stated above, Anthony didn’t feel that hearing aids were important because the superheroes that he admired so well didn’t wear them. How was he supposed to feel welcome or accepted? I feel that this was written as a comic book because superheroes appeared mostly in comic books so that was obvious place to start. In class, we talked about how kids were attracted to comic books and most parents thought comic books were for kids. This was probably why Sapheara was made into a comic book because it was targeted for kids. I think it would lose the lasting impression on the comic world if it was translated into something besides a comic book. Take a movie for example. If it was a movie, everything would go by at a fast pace and you’d have little control in revisiting the story without starting it over or skipping scenes. As a comic book, people can keep it on one page for a while, they can re-read frames and texts over again. They could get the whole picture of the comic and have it ready whenever they needed or wanted it.
Sapheara does well to portray the ethics of being a superhero. She steps up to help in a time of need and doesn’t get weighted down by her being hearing-impaired. To be a villain means that you would put other down. You degrade their life because they don’t fit the image that you have in your mind. You cause destruction. She doesn’t flaunt her abilities at all. She doesn’t think she has a disability. She embraces who she is and uses her confidence to help save the day. Sapheara is a pretty important character in the world of comics because it shows that not every superhero is hearing. Not every superhero looks the same or has a good life. I think it’s great that it targets more of the younger kids because they might not necessarily catch that superheroes struggle in Batman Year One or something like the mutants in X-Men being outcasts. Sapheara is a girl AND she is a young daughter, probably in her teens. I think that she doesn’t play by the same role of the rest of the known superheroes like Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel. The closest would be Kamala from Ms. Marvel but even Kamala is the same because she can hear. Sapheara is a role model for Deaf, hard of hearing or any hearing-impaired person.
I want to look at two frames in this story. The first one is where Samantha, Sapheara, goes to a fancy dinner to watch Tony Stark promote headphones that encrypt signals the are free moving in the sound waves in the air to transform the signals into a holographic music video. She is placed with a group of teenage actors her age and before she gets there she over hears them say, “Is this thing on?” “Shhh! That’s so mean!” “So? She can’t hear me.”, making fun of the device Tony speaks into to help Samantha hear. She says to herself, “If they’re so good at acting… How come they can never act nice?” I was to point out that she didn’t say “Be nice.” She says they can’t act nice. That tells me that this has happened to her before and she doesn’t even care that they are being rude. The thing she focuses on is the fact that they can’t even hide their jokes while she is still around. That shows her maturity because she knows that people don’t understand or they are rude, or sometimes both. She shows that Deaf people do have feelings.

Another passage I want to look at is later in the story where she realizes that she has activated her powers. Her power is, when she touched an alien pink crystal in a lab, she harnessed the power to manipulate light energy. Once she shows her powers she is ready to fight the bad guys who have crashed Tony’s revealing. Iron Man tries to stop her but she says in a long passage, “Are you kidding? All my life people have underestimated me, as if I wasn’t capable just because I wasn’t exactly like them. This is my chance to show I can do so much more than anyone ever imagined.” As cliché as this is, this is powerful enough because she sends a message to anyone who feels that they are different or have been treated differently. She doesn’t need to conform to the images of other people, she’s finally free and confident enough to do what she wants to do, without fear of rejection- show that she really is capable of doing something important. So, she goes out and kicks butt, appropriate for children, and is treating right in the end.

"Batman: The Killing Joke"

Priscilla Texter


The Killing Joke

  1. This Graphic Novel was very different than anything we have read in class. The graphics in this novel were very sketchy and a little bit grotesque. I mean grotesque in the sense that the images are dark and eerie making us feel uncomfortable by what we are reading. The images within the novel are hyper realistic where every terrible thing within it is portrayed as it would be at a circus. The novel is very dark and makes you feel as if you’re reading a horror story instead of superhero tale. It is unique though because it takes a different look at traditional superhero story and analyzes the villain, which compared to Batman the tones are similar, but the sketches show the difference between the villain’s point of view and the hero’s.
  2. I think that this story was written as a graphic novel because the pictures really help you realize how horrible the Joker really is. It takes everything to the extreme and you need those vivid images to really see the horrific things that are going on within the story. It wouldn’t be enough to just describe them, you need to see them. Also, this Graphic novel has several innuendos told within the gutters.  For example, the rape of Barbra is suggested, but we fill it in. It is not explicit. We do not see a rape scene, but in the gutter we see that it happened. If we were to read this in the book, it would have to either go in detail or we would lose that scene. Lastly, this has several different flashbacks within it to show us how the Joker came to be. I think that would be hard to translate into the movie because you would want to feel sorry for him. You even want to feel bad for him in the comic, but the disturbing images make you realize that it was totally his choice to be the way he his. The pictures compliment the story really well. It’s something, I believe, no other form of art could capture in this piece.
  3. This comic is about a Super Villain, but it shows that being evil is something you have to consciously do every day. Commissioner Gordon was tortured and forced to see his daughter raped. The Joker says, “You’re one bad day away from being me” which goes against everything both Batman and the Commissioner believe in. Gordon had every chance to have Batman destroy him and end the madness of The Joker however, he knew that if he stooped to his level, he would eventually become him. This is different for the Joker. He felt all he could do was live a life of crime. I think this comic is trying to tell us that you have the choice to become good or bad. You to make that conscious choice every single day, but some people can’t.  
  4. I think the most significant part of this story is when the Joker is speaking to Commissioner Gordon and it’s a close up of the Joker’s face and he says, “Remember? Ohh, I wouldn’t do that! Remembering’s dangerous. I find the past such a worrying, anxious place. The past tense I suppose you’d call it. Ha. Ha. Ha” (21), which makes us see a little bit on why the Joker is the way he is. He didn’t want to choose the life of crime, but he did because he felt that he had to for his family. When he lost his family he had every chance to end it and be someone good. He could’ve started over and remembered the wonderful things that he had with his wife, but he chose to be horrible and inflict pain on other people rather than confronting his own trauma. I think this really helped us see his mental instability a little bit more and realize he cannot face his struggles so he is forcing others to face them for him.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

For Monday: Coates, Black Panther

For our last discussion class, be sure to read Coates' Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book One. Like Ms. Marvel , this really isn't a graphic novel but a collection of the first four issues of the new Black Panther comic. Black Panther is a hero who first appeared as a kind of quasi-villain in an old Fantastic Four comic (see the back of our edition for that comic), and gradually became more and more of a mainstay in the Marvel universe. However, he was one of the few representatives of an African superhero (much less African-American), and because of that, he's been reacted to in positive and negative ways. Often, his race and identity was downplayed, while in this comic, it becomes the core of the entire story. Ta-Nehisi Coates, the writer for this comic, is a celebrated writer who has a string of best-selling works, including Between the World and Me. He also recently wrote a controversial article in The Atlantic entitled "The Case for Reparations," where he discusses the historical precedent for making reparations to a race or group of people who were enslaved, tortured, or persecuted. It will be interesting to see how you feel his politics/social agenda spill into the comic. 

Here's an interview with Coates discussing his take on Black Panther and how he deals to negative reaction from long-time fans who might be puzzled with his take on the work. You can read the entire article here: http://io9.gizmodo.com/ta-nehisi-coates-explains-how-hes-turning-black-panther-1786632598

As he says later in the article, "This is horrible to say, [but] I can’t be responsible to the fans. I can’t write for them. The old fans from years ago are listening to this going, “What the fuck, man?” But I don’t think an artist can. I don’t think even I want to consume art where people are writing for me, or to me. You have to write to the ages. I have to write in such a way that I think that five years from now somebody will pick this up and say, “Damn, that was incredible.”

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Superheroes as Literature: Research Paper

Choose ONE of the following options to write a thoughtful, persuasive essay using several of the books in class as well as other secondary research (handouts, articles, books, websites, etc.). In this paper, your goal is to educate readers who have not taken this class and/or do not regularly read comic books. With that in mind, consider what they assume about the genre, and why they might not appreciate the basic tenets of your argument.

Option 1, The Ethics of Supermen: For this option, I want you to discuss how comics explore the moral convictions and ambiguities of the superhero. It’s no longer enough to have a hero battle it out with his or her villains; modern-day readers want to explore the man or woman behind the mask, and understand what motivates someone to use their powers to save the world—and the consequences of such salvation. Are heroes always heroic? Or does becoming a superhero necessitate ‘villainous’ actions for the greater good? Consider, too, how superheroes are an evolution from the heroic ideal of ages past. How has our world/time reshaped them in our image? And what does it even mean to be a super human? Is the emphasis on the “super” or the “human”?

Option 2, Who Wears the Mask?: For this option, I want you to discuss the growing struggle of diversity and representation in superhero comics. As a traditionally male-dominated form, how have comics since the 1960’s been attempting to make superheroes reflect the social reality of 20th and 21st century America? Related to this, why might comics be the ideal medium for showcasing such diversity—even more than more traditional forms of literature and art? You might also discuss the obstacles that still face this branch of literature, and why (or when) even well-meaning attempts fall short of inclusion. Does representation always have to be literal—or can metaphors be just as (or even more) important?

Option 3, Comics in the Classroom: For this option, I want you to discuss how superhero comics could be effectively used in the classroom at any level (your choice). What, specifically, is the advantage to using (a) the medium of comics as a reading tool, and (b) exploring the abilities and conflicts of superheroes? How can superhero comics work in tandem with more traditional forms of literature? Should they merely be looked at as “bridges” to take students to more important/challenging forms of reading? Or can they be seen as engaging works in their own right, which pick up where older works left off? How could you convince a skeptical administration (and doubting parents) that comics are a (largely) untapped intellectual resource for students?

  • At least 6 pages, double spaced, but you can do more  
  • You should use at least 2-3 comics in your discussion
  • Additionally, you should have a few secondary sources to help illustrate the conversation surrounding your topic
  •  All quotations and sources should be cited properly, using MLA format, or another standard format of your choice (APA, etc.).
  • DUE NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30th by 5pm (via e-mail): you can e-mail it to jgrasso91@gmail.com if you're worried about ECU blocking your e-mail.