Point of Exquisite Suspension

Thoughts & life experiences of a Chicago area graphic artist

07 January 2019

Spider-man vs Aquaman battle royale ...

I loved 'Spiderverse' and made my own 'Spidey-Tigrikorn' 'Spidersona'!

I am happy that I had the time over my Holiday Break to catch both Aquaman and Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse movies. Both were terrific and hugely entertaining for different reasons.

AND ...  I have been imagining a 'friendly' rivalry in Mainstream and Social Media between the two iconic heroes.

Aquaman has definitely been making bank as it approaches a billion in world-wide ticket sales.

Meanwhile, the delightful Miles Morales-centered 'Spiderverse' has won the prestigious Golden Globe award for best animated feature.

Will 'Aqua-Jesus' save the DCU?

I jokingly refer to the latest movie Aquaman as "Aqua-Jesus" that is especially resonant when you see the face of Mattel's Action Figure, movie tie-in Aquaman.

And I think it's funny at how often Spider-man has been recast and rebooted before they seem to have hit the most salient 'chord' with 'Spiderverse'.

"With great power comes... many franchise reboots...!"

But it's been a great feel-good experience for me to see the success of the two franchises as they enjoy well-deserved acclaim. Sony's Animation Team proved to be a match for the best Disney features. And Jason Mamoa's 'bro-dude' version of the King of the Seven Seas has breathed new life into the DCU which continues to suffer from comparison of its previous movies to the much more cohesive/endearing MCU fare.

The Late Great Stan Lee, in his characteristic spirit of generosity, would be proud of both. "Excelsior!"

13 December 2018

1911 Christmas Post Card is Delightful

I am so charmed by this Christmas Postcard featuring a cute kitten from 1911 that my wonderful Aunt Lucille showed me that she found as she was going through my late grandmother's keepsakes.

The postcard is from my Great Aunt Maud to her brother, my Great Uncle Mayo.

Maud's home, that she shared with Uncle Will, was a little over 14 miles from Mayo's home in Marion Illinois. It would have been approximately an hour or so by train. Much more by buggy. Will worked for the railroad (a porter, I think). So I'm fairly sure they made the trip by rail.

My grandmother mentioned to me once about a nice visit she made from Marion to Aunt Maud's home in West Frankfort, Illinois by train.

Below is my transcription of the note on the back. I've corrected some 'typos':

"Dear Bro  - We will be home for X-mas but can't say when. We will come as Will is coming too. We are well. With Love to all. --Maud." 

I never met my Aunt Maud, Uncle Will, nor my Uncle Mayo. But I would spend many weekends and Summers with my Great Grandpa, Oran Copher, their brother. He would mention Maud sometimes, his only sister.

It's sweet to get a tiny glimpse into their lives at that time.

11 December 2018

Dr. Sarah Kendzior sums up the betrayal of of the public by conservative media...

Very powerful comment. The video is not close-captioned but I did my best to transcribe her remarkable condemnation of hate rhetoric:

I do think it matters what your editorial make up is. And I think if our media wasn’t dominated by white men that you might see different coverage; different concerns being emphasized. But I think the most important thing is what is the result of this coverage? It doesn’t matter who is working there if you put out anti-semitic content, anti-muslim content, anti-black content, conspiracy theories — things that lead to actual hate crimes; things that lead to physical assault; things that lead to kids getting bullied in school right now as a result of this rhetoric. Whether you say you are just kidding; whether you say someone of this ethnicity works there —-that doesn’t matter. What matters is who gets hurt. The obligation of the journalist is to serve the public. The obligation of the politician is to serve the public. And the public is not getting served. The public is being served conspiracy theories and hate rhetoric. And this leads to actual repercussions that are terrible for our democracy and hurt people badly. I don’t think journalists are doing their job or standing up for the most vulnerable citizens which is absolutely what their priorities should be. 
—Dr. Sarah Kendzior  

When in Doubt, Sing Loud.

When I opened my mouth to sing,... I knew it had to be loud and off-key.

I had been given my third 'bad-behavior mark" (this time for talking during the lecture) in my 2nd period high school sophomore Biology class. That meant I now had to draw out a punishment (detailed on a slip of paper) from of the "Bad Box". My friend Zack had to pick a slip of paper out of the box last week. His sentence was to clean out the dissection refuse tank in the lab. "The stench was insane" he told me later. Another classmate, Chrissy, was 'lucky' enough to have been assigned the punishment of having to do an Elvis impersonation in front of class. I wish I would have seen it. I was absent that day.

I left my seat to approach the front of the class room as our teacher, Mr. Potts, held the dark gray index box open for my random pick of the unfathomably folded and mixed wad of 'assignment slips' within. The box outside of the box itself had been festooned with picture of a frog skeleton on the side with the words, "BAAAAD BOX!" hand-lettered above it.

I opened the slip of paper from the box.  "Little Bunny Foo Foo", I read it and showed it to Mr. Kirby. The class howled. Mr. Kirby laughed, "Congratulations, Doug. You're the first one to have to sing that song this year!"

But I was actually hyped by the energy of the class and their attention. I decided I would enjoy the moment. Fortunately, I had worn my hand-drawn, bright yellow Howard the Duck sweat-shirt that day and felt all the more empowered. Renee Christiansen, a shy girl in my class whom I think is so cute, looks at me as if I have been given a death sentence. She is mortified. I love the fact that she cares ... or at least that she has empathy for me. She would hate to have to do this thing that the class is now clamoring for me to perform.

I belt it out, obnoxiously strident and as if I'm tone deaf, "Little Bunny Foo Foo, hopin through the forest, Picking up the field mice and boppin' them on the head...." I do all the motions. And I REALLY ham it up to hoots and howls when I get to the part of the fairy.

Renee hides her face in her hands as she can’t bear to watch. I’m both exhilarated by the moment of performance and touched at what I interpret as compassion for me on the part of my secret crush.

© O. Douglas Jennings

20 November 2018

The Sigil for the Internet/Information Age

Hashtag and you shall find,
Google and the door shall be opened,
@-sk and it shall be given....

Replacing the pentagram and other sigils or symbols of the bygone eras is the hashtag and the '@' sign.

As Computer Scientist Jacques Vallée has described, it is increasingly apparent that we live in an "associative reality" in which Information Science is coming into its own beside it's sibling Physics.

Spacetime is being revealed to have the additional vital component of Information or even Mind, if you will. Computers have advanced our connection and facility with information. Where this will lead is open to speculation.

© O. Douglas Jennings. All rights reserved.

13 November 2018

Cartooning Class Chat During Minecraft Comic Demo

Minecraft Joker and Batman face-off for 6 and 7 year-old Cartooning Class

My 6 and 7 year-old students love to do mashup comics combining super heroes and Minecraft. The classroom comic demo concept above was driven entirely by the students who told me who to feature in each panel and what they would say.  All the while each student would make their own version of the comic from pencils to inks to color. As we were busy drawing the class comic, I loved listening to my youngest students discuss the motivations of the characters.

One student (who admittedly was more 'Team Superman') pondered, "I think Batman is kind of evil like the Joker. He’s not concerned with other people who might get hurt when they fight”. Such musing by a first-grader is somewhat remarkable.

Another said, “Batman likes to have all these crazy bad guys to fight so he can be the hero.” In spite of these comments that question Batman’s status as a hero, he maintains a favored spot in my students’ esteem.

I let them talk as they draw without interjecting my own views.

In a previous class of older attendees, one of my Middle-School-age students said he liked the comics from the 60s and 70s because they are not so violent.

My small classes are hardly the basis for a bell-weather of opinions or trends. But who knows… this younger generation might have an impact on the tone of comics of the future.

My demo is made on an easel in front of the class as we all draw together. I snapped a photo of my demo and later colored it in Photoshop.

Minecraft-themed comics thumbnail

11 November 2018

'Likes' Beats 'Retweets'! -- Or Not?

What do you think? Does giving a tweet a ‘like’ beat giving it a ‘retweet’?

Of course, each has it’s advantages and disadvantages. But Twitter tells me when people I follow like something. That notification on my timeline is like a de facto retweet, in my opinion.

I’ve liked tweets that I agree with AND, sometimes just to let the sender to know I noticed and appreciate the fact they made a comment.

Usually, I retweet something I want my followers to see AND that I might agree with.

More often than is probably wise, I will often both like and retweet. I’m beginning to realize that might be overkill.

So If I had to choose only one of these two responding options on a given tweet, I have become convinced that ‘like’ is the most efficient for my followers who will be notified that I liked the tweet.

All that being said, I notice (yes, I check twitter analytics for my tweets) that if I comment on a tweet, it will get more notice that if I retweet with an added remark. I’m still trying to figure out that whole thing.

Here’s an article (oldy but goody) that discusses the ‘Reply, Favorite, or Retweet’ options with more detail.

© O. Douglas Jennings. All rights reserved.

02 November 2018

Vintage Aquaman CD-ROM Comic Book Movie Clip

A CD-ROM Comic Book (from 1996) that I rediscovered from storage is something of an artifact due to not being able to be played as originally intended on my current Mac desktop. Fortunately, its video resources are individually usable. The CD-ROM utilizes footage from the Aquaman Saturday Morning Cartoon Series that ran from 1967 to 1970 on CBS. I watched that often as a kid. Below is an embedded video of the intro.

Below is one more clip. It's a sequence of images that take an unexpected turn: Aqualad - Aquaman - tentacles - mushrooms. LOL!

Below is an embedded video of the entire episode of "War of the Water Worlds". It's a bit cheesy but fun! The video might require you to watch a commercial before it starts.