Sunday, November 30, 2008

Superheroes @ Yale

Meanwhile, our main news item for this month is the announcement of a graduate symposium on post-9/11 superhero movies organized by Yale University's Film Studies department. The deadline for the Call for Papers is December 19th, and I certainly plan to attend, taking the opportunity to expand my most recent research into a new paper that I hope to present there.

Picking up

Following a slow start to this ambitious project, the increasingly burdensome sense that I should start picking up new entries on this blog has conspired with the busyness of this semester to keep this project update-free for far too long. But as calmer shore slowly but surely start coming into view, it is clearly time to start getting this thing moving again.

The most direct cause me be my recent foray into comic book narratives: I recently started reading Neil Gaiman's Marvel 1602, which was amongst the pile of books yielded by this year's Thanksgiving sale at my local bookshop. Given my experience with Gaiman's Sandman series, which has improved with each installment, my expectations for this graphic novel were pretty high. The idea of re-imagining key members of the Marvel superhero pantheon as figures in 17th-century English history -especially in the hands of a talent like Neil Gaiman- was promising indeed. So far, however, it's a rather simple-minded exercise in fan fiction. Whether this is simply due to the fact that I'm not all that well versed in the Marvel superhero lexicon (I recognized Peter 'Parquagh' and most of the X-Men, but had to look up who Nick Fury was and still have little idea about Stephen Strange) or a true failing of the text, I'm not yet sure. But after the first three volumes, I'm not yet convinced.