sporangia: (John Sheppard)
 

 

 

The following is a mini-essay is a response to Ann Tara’s comments about John Sheppard’s background. I managed to lose it on my computer for about a month.    This is the beginning of a continuing series of observations I will be posting. I will label all my essays and post them under cuts, so if you are not interested in reading ponderous character analysis you (happy reader) can skip them.

 

 

 

 


 

John Sheppard, Stargate Atlantis an On-Going Character Analysis )
sporangia: (John Sheppard)

Well I finally got the 'cut' thingie to work, sort of.  My anti-virus program was blocking the posting box.   The previous entry was part of a post to a forum about Hurt-Comfort in fan-fiction.  I thought I would re-post it here.    Since the new movie is out I was glad to get some of my ideas about TOS written down before the new AU contaminates the Prime Universe. 

This coming weekend the Diana Gabaldon event will happen on Sunday.  I'm trying to finish the Lord John series and am looking forward to meeting Ms. Gabaldon.  

I'm  going to try and post the Sheppard essay tomorrow.  It went missing, and is buried in my computer somewhere.  I made a Sheppard icon just for the essay.  


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Cold Weather, Truck Cleaning, Comic Conference, Comic Slams

 

Winter Again

 

Winter has returned.  Burrr.  I’m glad I didn’t switch out the winter clothing yet.   I didn’t need to bring in the ferns last night.   Beric, my staghorn, is huge.  He was a house warming gift from my mother many years ago, and now he weighs about fifty pounds. It’s no easy task hauling him inside when the temperature drops below freezing.  He’s made that trip four times this winter.

 

Tomorrow I’m having breakfast with Marlow, and I need to get the Phillips Center box office by noon to pick up tickets for the Jared Diamond talk at 8:00pm.  And in between I’ve got to work all day.  It’s going to be a long day.

 

After work today I washed the truck because it was coated with pine pollen, and was starting to take on a yellow tinge.  It was cold weather for a car wash, but I was in the mood to get it done, and since that almost never happens I bundled up and did the deed. 

 

Comic Conference

 

I enjoyed the Comic Conference immensely.  I spent all weekend at the Headquarter’s Library listening to the presentations.  I took some artwork with me, and managed to finish a couple of drawings.   It appears that comic books and graphic novels are posing difficulties for scholars who are trying to work out common critical vocabularies with which to discuss them.

 

Most of the presentations, this year and in past years, have been historical assessments-- trying to establish a chronological and hierarchical ranking of all the important innovators.   I expect this stage of critical focus to continue for a long time.  But it is frustrating that there appears to be a lack of scholarly interest in the actual methodology of comic construction and design elements and how they relate to other graphic trends in electronic and traditional media.   Book or textual orientation, stymies scholars when they are called upon to describe a medium that merges text and picture.  The language that can successfully describe the fusion is in the process of being invented.  And it ain’t happening fast—and there is no consensus about any of it, and lots and lots of bickering going on.

 

The late Will Eisner and artist Scott McCloud are the two creator-critics who have thought the deepest about the physicality of how comics work.  But many academics dismiss their approaches because they inherently suspect a practitioner as being too’ inside’ the process to describe it with scholarly rigor. 

 

I’m not making this up, it is weird to watch this attitude play out among academics who have never actually tried to make a comic, but are convinced, because of their honest appreciation, they are the only authorities capable of interpreting the process.   But I was good, and decided, for politeness sake, to keep my mouth shut, even when there were several presentations where the scholars had their facts wrong.  That’s the problem with knowing this stuff from direct experience; it makes the scholarly virtue of distance seem distressingly clueless.

 

Comic Slam

 

I went to Mr. Matt Madden’s workshop.  I had never done comic slams before, and really enjoyed his exercises.   Essentially you make mini-comics with a different artist/writer doing each panel.  Mr. Madden did a quick survey of the audience, gageing our backgrounds or comic IQs and then he decided which exercises made the most sense for us to experiment with. There were about twenty-five artists participating, 

 

An Aside about the New Shape of Comic Culture?????

 

What I found interesting about his survey was that of the twenty-five of us in the room, only two people had come into their interest in comics via the Marvel/ DC route.  That flabbergasted me.   Most of the young artists that showed up to participate had come to comics via newspaper strips or Manga.  The college kids mainly through the alternative art comics/comix, and the post-college crowd, like me, shared my background

of undergrounds and early-wave alternatives.  The other surprise was that half the artists in the room were female.

 

For most of my life comics fandom has been dominated by the fanboy types, that these guys were missing from our workshop really surprised me.  It made me realize that the demographics of comic buying crowd has experienced a seismic shift.  The Comic Journal’s prediction-- that if comic shops didn’t start catering to women, they would lose an historic opportunity to absorb a very lucrative rising-market in female centric Manga and art comics--has come true.  Because the market for these has gone to suburban book stores, not comic shops. 

 

Back to the Comic Slam.

 

We managed to produce about fifty single-page comics.  Some of them were hysterically funny; others were delightfully non sequitur.   I chose to start an imageless comic, (only words and/or word balloons, no pictures.)  That was hard because I’m very image dominate in how my brain works.  My innocent start became a bizarrely perverse story of ‘off panel’, cannibalism.  The Wag next to me changed my quirky ‘intro-panel’ about ‘disappearing feet’ into a podfest of limb-munching hilarity--other people then proceeded to add very creative lettering to great humorous effect.

 

Several of the slams were drawn backward.  Meaning the last panel is drawn first, and then the next to last until the first panel is last drawn.  That was a very difficult form to make work.  What surprised me was how the whole meaning of a narrative changed by just the tweak of one added word or image.  I also discovered I have an unsuspected ability to write and draw post-modern gags.   I’m not a particularly, er, funny person, so that was a surprise.

 

What amazed me when we posted our communal efforts was that about a quarter of them, once cleaned up and re drawn, could have been publishable.  That’s an amazing amount of successful efforts, especially considering a third of the panels where drawn by kids.  If you ever have a chance to draw or participate in a comic slam—do so, all of us enjoyed the end results as well as the process itself.  I learned a lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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   Tonight I'm going to a workshop that  Matt Madden is running at the headquarter's Library. It is part of the Conference.  I'm enjoying his book '99 Ways to Tell a Story:  Exercises in Style.'  Since the library has WiFi I'm thinking of taking some of my  blank comic layouts and working on them while I'm listening to all the presentations on Saturday and Sunday.  I will be able to use the internet for photo sources for Sheppard and other characters.  I've also want to do some fern images for the Journal Page.  I'm going to pony up money for a LJ one year trial, really want to get rid of that banner advertising thing.

Vala3 wants a Carson picture, and I'm wondering Ann-Tara if you want any particular character or characters.  God, I haven't done any fanart since the early eighties, this is gonna be fun again.  I'm practicing with my graphics tablet, I still can't get the inking  tools to the level of precision I like.  But that's probably because I don't know what I'm doing.  LOL.  

 
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Watchmen…….

 

Since I saw the Watchmen movie I decided to dig out my copy and re-read it, I’m starting the re-read tonight, It’s amazing  to think it’s  has been 22 years--doesn’t seem like it was that long ago. .   My original reaction to the comic as best as I can remember was that it had interesting design, but a very odd story line.

 

My introduction to comics was not reading Marvel or DC but by way of the undergrounds and art comix.   I moved on to the alternative comics in the eighties so I didn’t know what to make of the super-hero comic trying to be an alternative comic.  And I’ve never quite warmed to the whole super-hero genre.   Though I’ve read lots of Marvel and DC comics they are not the ones I chose to collect.

 

 In the Seventies Star Reach comics was trying something similar to the ‘Watchmen’ in publishing many experiments toward making super-hero comics more adult.  They were criticized, at the time, for adding gratuitous nudity and violence to what were essentially main stream (Marvel &DC) comic stories.  There was critical hostility from both sides of the readership.  The main stream fans criticized the gratuitous sex as just frustrated Marvel artists showing they could draw naked tits. While the underground side of the readership, criticized them for not being daring enough, not trying out bolder stylistic experiments (both in writing and design)

 

I tended to see ‘Watchmen’ as the end product of a ten year cycle of experimentation.  Because I not super-hero oriented I think, in the book, missed a great deal of the borrowings and insider jokes as well as all the nods to early super-hero comics that I wasn’t familiar with.  So that’s where I begin my re-read, checking out what I missed.   I’ll let you all know what I think.

 

Getting Sheppard Right

 

I’ve been reading several fun books for (desperately) needed help with my fan fiction attempts to write John Sheppard.   I’m re-reading a, guilty-pleasure, book called ‘Privilege:  Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class’  which is a jaunt through the seamy side of Ivy League pretensions and jolly fun with the spawn of the meritocracy culture. (Envy, social climbing, and moral hand wringing all under one cover-fun fun fun)

 

The second book was an accident.  I was plowing through the galley stack at work and brought home a children’s book that will be released in April.  It is called ‘King of the Screwups’  It’s targeted at late elementary, and middle-school reading levels.   It is the story of a rich kid, a very popular one, and his quest to become not-popular.   No matter how hard he tries he just can’t rid himself of his aura of charm nor dress-down enough to disguise his stunning looks.   Yeah, didn’t we all have that problem in high school?   Just Kidding!  It is a cute book—very funny.  (And I could see a great Sheppard fan-fiction story borrowing this idea)

 

 

Been Sick

Mar. 9th, 2009 04:58 pm
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Sorry for not getting the friending done sooner. I hope I got it right. Vela3 wants to start an LJ too. I was talking to her about the Chicago Convention, and she still wants to go. I'm pretty sure I can't swing it, also it is taking place what will probably be the first week of fall classes at UF. If we can get four of us together, it starts looking more possible, assuming I can get the time off.

I'm switching over to HTML for this journal as you suggested. If needed I will re-enter the first four entries that way. I still haven't figured out the HTML taqs , but I've done some of that on website design, so I should be able to do it. I just hate the learning curve. I have so many curves going right now it makes my head hurt.

I'm now officially the head computer geek at work. What a laugh, I won the title because no one else wanted it. So I'm learning all about real Stargates, and how to keep our antiquated system up and running. The students keep crashing it because they are not used to working with such primitive equipment. It's only saving grace is that unlike Windows it is very stable. It can take a lot of abuse.

I had the seven day cold that's going around and missed four days of work. I'm still having trouble breathing, but anti-histamines are helping. I'm finally feeling better. I'm enjoying the cold weather even though I had to haul in all the ferns twice last week.

I had a good week for story ideas, if I don't get them typed up I will forget them. So I outlined about four scenarios. Most of them won't work out, but at least I felt slightly productive just getting the ideas recorded.

Thanks to all of you for the story recommendations. Speranza has posted a really great McShep on her LJ. So check it out. I'm trying to get the rest of the gang on LJ, but considering our collective techie stupidity god knows how long it will take.
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I'm going to Lauren Groff's book signing tonight.  I like her work, and want to hear her talk about her writing   Her newest book is a short story collection "Delicate Edible Birds".    Her first book was the"'Monsters of Templeton"

Over the holidays I went to Joe Haldeman's signing and purchased his newest SF novel  the "Accidental Time Machine" and "War Stories" a title I've beem meaning to buy for awhile.    I am a big fan of his writing and encourage everyone to buy his books.

I received a galley for a forthcoming book about Geek knowledge.   The galley is at home so I will report the title later tonight.  It's a great Rodney geek-knowledge resource.   It is a sad commentary on me that quite a bit of it I already knew.    I don't consider myself a geek, but I guess , horrors, I am one.

The list that was the most personally interesting was the Shark Attack listing.  It turns out that New Smyrna Florida is  the
number one place in the world  for shark attacks.   This is the beach I've been swimming at since --forever.   I always thought the rip currents and the untertows were the worst that could happen--but No.  Next time I get pulled out (It's happened three times)  I will be swimming parallel to the shore thinking about the damn sharks.  This is Geek knowledge I didn't need to know.

I am working on a Rec post, and  an episode one SGA post and other goodies.


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Had breakfast with Vala3 at the Grill--had a salmon-scramble with was excellent.  We talked about fandom terms and I realized that we still, among ourselves, use the old terminology.   I was calling Whump stories by their old name “get stories”  and Vala corrected me.  

 

I don’t like the Whump term because the whole idea of coded language is to be able to use it in public without anyone knowing what you are talking about.  Like I want to say Whump in an upscale eatery.  The kids don’t know how to create nomenclature with discretion-- Amateurs.

 

Getshep sounds so much cooler.  (I’m being facetious)


Vala was telling me about Carson Beckett stories she’s reading, and of course she’s lost the links.  None of my group is on Live Journal, so I can’t get her to post them.  We aren’t even that good with cell phones which pretty much says it all about our techie incompetence.  


I purchased the parasite book yesterday. 

 

The Art of Being a Parasite.  Claude Combes. 0-226-11438-4. U. Chicago.   I’ve only read a few pages but it’s a neat book, a good companion to "Pox Americana."    I’m also reading essays in “Love and Globalization Transformations of Intimacy in the Contemporary World.”   I haven’t read anything in quite awhile on cross cultural sexuality.  I though it might be a wise detour if I going to start writing cross cultural stories in the Pegasus Galaxy.

 

Am also reading "The Gates Ajar" a Victorian spiritualist novel, I’ve been looking for this for a long time.  I am particularly interested in Pre-twentieth century precursors to modern SF.   Particularity the writers who might have influenced Tolkien and the early fantasists.    

 

 

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I am a member of a Star Trek gourmet group. We meet every Friday evening for dinner. I can't remember exactly when I started as a regular probably about 1986, but the club existed quite awhile before that. Last Friday we ate at the Cove. I keep ordering the same Caribbean shrimp shrimp dish evey time I go--I should be experimenting but I'm in a rut right now. It's a 10 week rotation of restaurants, I usually I do all the calling and rezzing. I hate waiting, so after I kept complaining they drafted me as the organizer.

Owl52, wezan, Vala3 and elemgi were their as well as the usual gang. I was asking elemgi about Stargate Atlantis recs, she's a much faster reader then I am and told me several years ago I should read the Stargate Atlantis fanfiction. She sent me Speranza's 'Written by the Victors' and I really enjoyed it. At the time I had not seen the show so I read it as a SF novel. Last October Vala3 and I went to the mountain house for leaf change, and she brought along season 1 and 2 of Stargate Atlantis. She hooked me, paying back an old debt of when I hooker her on Star Trek fan fiction in 1979.

I am very lucky in that many of my SF friends still live near by. Some of us have been discussing and bitching about fanfiction since 1974. So our perspective is long and deep. elemgi said I should post some of the early K/S essays as an insight into how the first slashers thought about the concept. I 'm still thinking about that.

I've conned wezan into doing some artwork, and Vala3 has also said yes. Wezan is going to do some chip art for my userpick, I asked her for a Rodney and John.

We had a very weird discussion about what color season John belongs in. Because she's going to do pen and inks, and eventually go into photoshop or paintshop with the line work. But she asked me about his color pallet. I really think he is an autumn, mainly because of his hazzel eyes and the golden tones in his skin. I will have to pay more attention to the shades of gray and blue the costumers are putting on him. This falls under all the weird things you need to consider when you draw characters and colorize the clothing. But if you get it right the character and drawing makes more sense.

Wezan doesn't like to draw from photographs, she prefers to create character templates and then work from those. It's interesting and a relief from all the photo manips.

Besides fan fiction I'm rereading "Changes in the Land" by William Cronon and I just started "Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82" "Changes in the Land is a book everyone should read it came out in the early eighties and totally changed my way of looking at the natural world.

I saw a neat book about parasites at the bookstore today,  I'm going to buy and read it to get a scientfic handle on the Wraith.

I'm writing some Stargate character studies and I've made a few attempts at story writing. Whether anything will be interesting enough to publish is unknown at this point.

I just ordered season 1 and 2 of Stargate Atlantis and will be watching the entire four season's(DVD's) in order making notes as I go looking for interesting jumping off places for stories.

The final episode has created quite a quandry in introducing the idea that a person who has died (Ronon) can be brought back to life and interrogated. This puts a whole different spin on Sheppard's mercy killing? of Sumner. As well as validating Sheppard's 'leave no one behind' philosophy as a military necessity.   This alone would make a cool story when Sheppard grasps the significance. Which wouldn't take him long. My guess is that this leaves holes in certain earlier episodes. This is one of the things I will be looking for when I re-watch the first two seasons. 

Sorry about the bad spelling.  I can't figure out how to work the LJ spell check. 
















 

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This will be where I post my fan fiction.  It will mostly be Stargate Atlantis, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings and  Star Wars.  As soon as I figure out the tags I will link to each. I also  plan to post my essays and thoughts about the respective  SF and Fantasy universes that fascinate me.  

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sporangia

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