Point of Exquisite Suspension

Thoughts & life experiences of a Chicago area graphic artist

27 April 2016

The Main Question

A photo posted by O. Douglas Jennings (@odouglasj) on


Don't you love a good story? I'd go as far as to say we all attach stories to important events and people in our lives. Stories help us to make sense of the world and often help to motivate us to support a course of action or to get behind a cause.

And I'd say we like to join in to the stories of others; whether as an audience member or collaborator. Your story becomes a part of mine as I hear it and as I'm touched by it. It instructs me. Inspires me. Resonates with me and my story.

Tell me your story so I might know you and also know my self a little better.

26 March 2016

More on Batman v Superman: Short Comparison of Reviews

I used some toys and a clay figure to re-enact a scene from Batman v Superman. © O. Douglas Jennings.
I read/viewed two reviews on the BvS movie today. The Youtube vlogger Emergency Awesome is much closer in expressing my estimation of the movie:



The other review is from Vince Ostrowski an excellent comic critic for Multiversitycomics.com (click article graphic to link to his review):
Note: I don't agree with Vince on his final assessment of the BvS movie's shortcomings, but he's well-reasoned and has some good points.


Sooo...
The reason I refer to both these reviews is that they both do a good job of representing the lovers and haters of the film among people who love comics. And I agree with both of them on many things but my enjoyment of the movie resonates with the experience of Emergency Awesome most closely. Like the views from that video review, I think Ben Affleck did a perfect job as Batman. And the story/plot of the movie did more to stoke the fires of my anticipation for the Justice League movie rather than vex or confuse me.

I also agree with Vince on the excellence of the portrayal of supporting characters in the film (Lois Lane, Alfred, Perry White). His rating of how the script writer and director handled the philosophical aspects of the story has merit but I didn't feel it was an utter failure. I think there might have been some missteps but my overall enjoyment of the movie was not diminished.

There are actually a lot of decent reviews. If you haven't watched the movie yet, you should see it so you can form your own opinion.

25 March 2016

Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman: Latest Movie Makes Me Happy

Toys standing in for our heroes for this blog post. © O. Douglas Jennings
To be honest, at times I thought, during my viewing experience, that it was a bit over the top, over-wrought, grim or taking too long for the plot move forward. But what I loved about it was that the Batman v Superman movie took it's premise and characters seriously and explored connections I hadn't thought of before. I loved the philosophical ruminations of the film and the attention to detail. The movie's eponymous conflict was almost a macguffin.

I had always thought, as I heard people debating who would win in a fight between the two heroes, that the question misses the point. Batman & Superman are on the same side. It's their teamwork and complimentary skills in action that make their relationship the most interesting.

I had read some negative reviews prior to seeing it. I wish I hadn't. But, to me, the movie was stunning, contemplative and engrossing. Knowing much of the comic book story material upon which the story is based, I was very satisfied and intrigued by the direction of the script by the end of the movie as it set up the premise for the Justice League sequel.

It's likely my extensive familiarity with the comics made me more receptive and patient with the film. Professional movie critics see so many movies of all different genres that they can be jaded. Most movie goers go to movies that they think they'd like to see according to their tastes. So maybe this film not for everyone.

There were quasi-religious elements in Batman v Superman. It's not a coincidence, I'm sure, that it was released on Good Friday. And, as I've always thought, the wish fulfillment of the Superman story is that there is such a thing as a man with vast power that will not be corrupted but it. I find that Batman v Superman gave me many ideas to ponder after I left the theater. I like movies like that.

I plan write more about Batman v Superman later (with spoilers).

Post-It Note sketch © by O. Douglas Jennings



24 March 2016

Blast from my Past in Today's News

Recently 600,000 Chicago residents received an unsolicited book in their mail boxes. The Chicago Tribune reports that the book mass mailing was funded by a group who wanted to provide hope and spiritual answers in these troubled times of neighborhood shootings in Chicago and terror attacks around the world.

When I saw the title of the book, "The Great Controversy", I recognized it from my own shelves. But my copy was printed over 100 years ago. But as you can see from the photo of my copy below, the graphics are a lot different than the current volume pictured in the Chicago Tribune.

A copy of the 1907 edition of "The Great Controversy". 600 Thousand copies of a modern edition has been mailed to Chicagoans. Photo © O. Douglas Jennings

It is an old Seventh Day Adventist (written by founder E. G. White) religious book that I found in my great grandfather's library. It’s mainly a recounting of Church History up to the "modern day".  This copy, published in 1907, seems to me to have an anti-Catholic bias.

It’s something of a classic in religious literature circles, as I first noticed nearly a decade ago when I read the text of a tract posted by one of my flickr.com friends.

To be honest, I haven't read the book cover to cover. The style is very cumbersome and full of purple prose (typical of 19th Century literature). But I have looked it over reasonably well and read selected passages...especially concerning future judgements and the predictions of calamity are very generalized. So, no, it doesn't predict modern events such as 911 as far as I can tell.

But the weird thing for me personally is that it doesn't reflect what I remember as being my great grandfather's beliefs (I spent a lot of time with him during my childhood). He was a retired baptist preacher but he was not, when I knew him, a fire-and-brimstone guy.

Maybe he mellowed out in his old age. But a main point in this book an attack on "the false Sabbath". It teaches that worshipping on Sunday was a false Catholic convention and that we should worship on Saturdays (like the Jews). That day, according to the author, is the true Sabbath. Recent U.S. Presidential Candidate Ben Carson is a Seventh Day Adventist.

I'm guessing the book was a gift to my grandfather from a Seventh Day Adventist friend. He was fairly open minded and loved to read new ideas. His library had books from Jehovah's Witness publishers and Catholic books as well.

But one thing I admire about this 1907 edition of it is an impressively produced volume. At the time it must have been state-of-the-art in publishing tech. It's title and engravings have a certain classic quality that, now, is vintage-chic.

A sample of some of the 19th Century illustrations featured in the 1907 edition of "The Great Controversy"

21 March 2016

TRANSCENDENT; TRANSIENT


The eternal and the ephemeral.
Two facets of the same reality.
So opposite yet both so necessary
To the scheme of existence.
One is caught in time and space;
A flat dimension compared
To the spiritual realm, that
Has no beginning or end.

Traveling further into
Reality, always moving,
Forever vibrant, the sights
And sounds of timelessness
Sometimes beckon us. The
Yearning for eternity will
Come upon us during bitter
Sweet moments of joy and
Awe when we are given a
Fleeting glimpse of its
Beauty through the veil
Of nature.

Is this where
The natural and the Super
Natural meet? The point
Where and when infinity
Overlaps the finite?

Truly the closest point to
Eternity is the present.
This moment.
Not past.
Not future.
Now.


— A poem that I wrote when I was at Southern Illinois University in 1980 as part of a visual communication project. It went with the diamond-shaped collage that I designed above (now an animated gif). I feel I understand the concept behind the poem much better since those days.

04 March 2016

Happy Tigrikorn Day!

© O. Douglas Jennings. All rights reserved.
A couple of years ago, I created a holiday named after Tigrikorn, one of my comic characters. Check out this comic on Tumblr about it.

I developed a special meal for the occasion consisting of baked sweet potatoes, spinach, almonds, tomato slices and radishes:

© O. Douglas Jennings. All rights reserved.
And I even developed a mid-morning snack shaped like Tigrikorn using orange slices, almonds and raisins:

© O. Douglas Jennings. All rights reserved.
Also, as I mentioned in my most recent previous blog post, I had some special Activity sheets available from my Worksheet Vault (now since closed) just for the occasion:


So to one and all -- Happy Tigrikorn Day!