Monday, November 17, 2008

Last Verse

It’s done. The Ballad ends, the lights come up, the guys in burgundy vests start sweeping up the empty Sour Patch Kids bags and old maid popcorn kernels. It’s likely obvious that I never meant the comic story below to take a full year away from the blog. I lost no enthusiasm or drive for writing criticism, but felt it more important to stick to the obnoxiously long project until done was done. So: it is done.

I’m just as curious as you (okay, far more curious) about the moment Marlene Dietrich is explaining a critic’s responsibilities vis-à-vis symbolism and interpretation — is the pillar phallic, fecal, an inverted grave symbol or spiritual ascension? How does the fall from an urban tower parallel the Aurora King Kong model? But no: I’m not going to analyze or comment on my own work (which was self absorbed enough), though I’m happy to join any discussion. I’ll let it speak for itself, though it’s clearly not just an essay, and…

I learned a lot about cartooning, as well as writing. That, I’ll talk about.

Lesson One: comics storytelling is labor intensive. Labor intensive enough that it was supposed to be a dashed-off one-month project, took longer than anyone’s attention could reasonably span. Writing, well, I can write anywhere, but the physical requirement of sitting at the drafting table for days just to create a page of content makes long comics stories antithetical to blogging. Or at least unfeasible for the compulsive crosshatcher. Related verdict then, in the matter of Comics Can Do Anything: they can do anything, including film criticism, but it is a lot of work.

Lesson Two: Around the time Maila Nurmi passed away, I learned to use a crow quill pen. I switched primary inking tools for the first time in ten years, ditching a massive collection of temperamental and insensitive technical pens. That sloppy Vampira portrait is straight from the sketchbook as I learned to handle a dip pen. The learning curve was… curvy… and worth it. Real men ink with Hunt 102 nibs. Real men who can’t handle brushes, anyway. I’m working on the brushes.

In some ways, I feel ExKin’s 2008 has just started, right now. I’m aware that with “Ballad” I’ve lost the small audience I had amassed. Standard practice blogging is fueled by a steady stream of brief, informal posts and ensuing open discussion; Exploding Kinetoscope is rarely about any of those things. I doubt that will change, but it should be busy; I’ve cooked up dozens of pieces in the meanwhile.

The title itself, half lit-crit joke and half intended to sidestep premature criticism that I was being a jerk (i.e. – “hey, you can’t know where I’m going with this until I’m done”), was not intended to stave off any discussion of the piece. In private communiqués, I got the feeling it might’ve been a side effect. That’s Lesson Three.

At any rate, I officially open the comment section below for Ballad of the Hermeneutic Circle discussion.

The Ballad of the Hermeneutic Circle - Pt III. - pg. 15

Click to engulf. You have been reading The Ballad of the Hermeneutic Circle.

Pt. I: Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Pt. II: Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Pt. III: Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Page 14
Page 15

10/23/07 - 11/17/08
Chris Stangl, Los Angeles

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Kaiju

Click for giant ass-rocketing turtle-size!

See the show, laugh the laughs, drink the beers, buy some comics. It is everything fun about an L.A. Friday night, except for the bad drugs, awful club music and catching venereal disease from phony scenesters!

And yes, I know Gamera the Brave isn't the twelfth in a proper series. And that Gamera doesn't fight any of those monsters in the movie. Well, except Gyaos. Look, I just wanted to draw them. I'm sure you understand.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Ballad of the Hermeneutic Circle - Pt III. - pg. 14

Click to enlarge, read to bewilder.

Next: End. Measure by beginning anywhere.