Sunday, April 10, 2005

Back to Comics: Sin City

I thought I had gotten comics out of my system, but I saw "Sin City" yesterday at the Cinerama. Frank Miller (Batman: Dark Knight) and Robert Rodriguez' (Love and Rockets) came up with movie that shows a grim and grimy world of corruption, despair, and unbound violence. Roger Ebert liked it, and I'm sure Joe Bob would say check it out (though no doubt he'll be confused by the presence of the A-list actors).

A few thoughts: comics and movies are very American in orgin and nature, and both came on the American scene about the same time over one hundred years ago as urban mass entertainment. Movies weren't even considered an art form for their first two or three decades, and the debate still goes on about comics. Movies start out as comics (picture boards) that outline scenes. Stan Lee at Marvel saw himself as doing movies on papers (Stan Lee's hero was Fellini). Both comics and movies require extensive systems of production and distribution, have to fight the economy of scale cost curve, and must rely on trying to appeal to a wide audience. Both can be lucrative and have a tremendous effect on popular culture, but still take years, sometimes generations before attracting the notice of elite art and educational institutions. Eventually they become part of our culture and mythology.

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