Now as a storyteller is general and a fan of comics in particular, I’m perhaps predisposed to like this argument. However, I think it’s important to remind the bean-counting set that humanslikestories. Audiences flocked to Avengers: Endgame because they had invested in the story and characters, not because the visual effects content in their blood was getting low. And before you outlay $356 million dollars to make that film (itself the last film of a long series), you might want to do the equivalent of prototyping some story ideas. And where can you do it in comparably inexpensive ways? Comics.
I’m always interested in the state of works in the public domain, especially as works in the U.S. have started entering said domain this year. So I was surprised, bordering on elated, to learn that the majority of books published in the U.S. before 1964 may actually be in the public domain: we don’t need to wait another 1-40 years!
I’ve found the article bears repeat reading, because there’s so many different ideas it raises and so much that you, personally, need to reflect on.
And yes, I mean need. At its core, and related to my Wednesday post (which was mainly for creative folk looking for fans) this article raises questions about you define your boundaries with engaging online. Being a luddite is probably not the answer for most people, though ignoring whole swaths of the Internet might be.
In other words, it’s about you taking agency for how you define “getting real.”
This past weekend, I let my kids watch the original Clash of the Titans. Besides being able to pass on my love for Ray Harryhausen films as my dad passed on to me, I’ve had the chance to do some short stop-motion films with both of them with smartphone and tablet (ain’t modern technology grand?).
One of the concerns was how scary the film would be to the young’uns. The man burning alive, the giant scorpions, and, above all, the Medusa sequence were most on my mind. Thankfully, all went well. The burned suitor didn’t register, the scorpions were “wow, ginormous” because “that [Calibos] is going to do something mean again, isn’t he?” and I was safely close during the showdown with Medusa.
It’s no secret that Mad, the steadfast satirical magazine that’s been on newsstands for the past 67 years is all but ending, as per these pieces in the Washington Post, New York Times, and a personal one from The Week.
The New York Times piece especially touches on how big of a cultural impact Mad had: people thought of the Mad parody version of movies before they thought of the original film itself! I know one screenwriter who had the joy of finally seeing his film get made as a star-studded Hollywood production, but he felt he had really arrived when Mad magazine parodied said film — and he wrote Mad magazine to tell them so (Mad happily published his letter).
My one brother and I were especially fond of Mad’s Star Trek parodies which were uniformly excellent. Dick DeBartolo‘s pitch-perfect scripts combined with Mort Drucker‘s expert illustrations made for satirical synergy. And they were but one section of many equally distinctive illustrators and writers.
It could be that the wonderful continuity of talent which was such a plus was, in part, part of the minus that led to the current diminished state of Mad. Leastways, the corporate executives didn’t figure out how to transition to junior staff as had happened in the past. Longtime Mad writer Joe Raiola thinks this is both what happened with the move to the West Coast. Still, it’s not dead yet and it might get better from its newt-like state. Certainly the brand is still valuable which, in this day and age, is one of the most important things to corporations. As Evanier notes, someone –perhaps many people– are figuring out how to get the brand to make more money.
I’m not sure if this is what the Founding Fathers were thinking of when they decided to adopt the ol’ Stars and Stripes. I’m sure they hoped the Great Experiment would be successful. But did they envision a future where people would proudly wear versions of the nation’s flag as neckwear and sing about said flag in a form of digital cloning on the Inter-Tubes?
Okay, I’m pretty sure it’s not what they were thinking of… but in any case, enjoy a one-man barbershop quartet do a song appropriate for Independence Day.
I’m working on some other posts related to fandom. One is a follow-up in the Crisis of Infinite Star Treks series (where I talk about fan involvement with Star Trek throughout, but specifically go into more here and here.) I’m also working on a longer piece about getting one’s own creative work out there and developing fans oneself.
One struggle I’ve had of late has been how much the Internet thrives on hate and outrage. I don’t just mean comments at the bottoms of articles which, by and large, are probably better left unread. I don’t even mean how social media discussion threads can go horribly hateful, though that’s certainly something to always be wary. I’m thinking more along the lines of every fun Internet series like Honest Trailers, there’s a more bile-infested series along the lines “Everything wrong with [Movie]” or “Why [Movie] Really Sucks” or so on. Pair that with all the ‘clickbaity’ article headlines of the “[Thing] will complete shock you” variety and, well, guess why some of those social media threads devolve?
I realize this is neither a new nor uniquely groundbreaking observation, but it’s been on my mind given the pieces I’ve been working on, with two articles particularly making me think about the course of events.
Conor Friedersdorf wrote in The Atlantic back in January about how the Internet has eroded the ability for people to, well, essentially, curate their identity in different places. You still can, but the unification of self everywhere on every channel is problematic. The fact that this erosion is fueled by outrage does not help matters.
I guess I just don’t want anyone to feed the trolls even if they think they know how to use the trolls for their own ends. Don’t we have countless cautionary tales about how well that sort of thing turns out?