Here is a roundup of my contributions to PopMatters so far this year:
Here are my recent publications on PopMatters since my last update:
In Worlds in Panels:
- From October, a critical examination of Warren Ellis’ and Jason Howard’s Trees (Image).
- From November, a reflection on GeekGirlCon 2014.
- And from this month, a look at how digital comics has affected my relationship to print.
In October, I also had a feature on narrative themes in Buffy, Angel and Grimm.
In my most recent column for PopMatters, I look at what downloads of comics from your comiXology library means for the future of DRM:
When I buy a print copy of a comic, there are a number of things I can do with that copy beyond simply reading it myself. I can, as noted, loan it to someone else. I can give it away or even sell it. I may not have to buy the comic in the first place; in many cases I could check the book out from the library to do my reading. With print there’s a clear distinction between owning a copy of a work and owning the work itself. I can do what I want with an individual copy that I come to possess by legal means, but what I can’t do is start making copies of my own for sale or to give away; that right adheres to the owner of the underlying work.
At the end of last month, my newest column posted at PopMatters. I take a critical look at what comics mean for building fictional worlds. I focus on three series, Shutter, Saga and The Private Eye:
As in Shutter the narrative context in these books is being built out and filled in through the art more than through dialogue and exposition. The masks in The Private Eye aren’t just cool and fun to look at; they are material to the story, signifying Vaughan and Martin’s speculation on the value of privacy for the future. Difference is at the core of the story in Saga. Every new way of visually distinguishing characters devised by Vaughan and Staples is a reminder of this theme.
My latest “Worlds in Panels” posted earlier this month. I reflect on what reads like a radical narrative break between Marvel comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU):
At this point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the MCU), which includes TV and film, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been formally disbanded and many of its agents have been forced underground (sometimes literally) and Maria Hill has taken a a job with Tony Stark. Until opening up Uncanny X-Men, it had not occurred to me that these events also represented the first major disjuncture between the comics and the company’s growing film and television franchise.
My latest “Worlds in Panels” considers what it means to think of comics as “disposable” on digital platforms:
While digital media are not indestructible, and publisher practices may change at some point, for the moment, the electronic “printing” and distribution of comics means that scarcity is essentially non-existent. For readers who have been only by default also collectors, this is liberating, and re-enables a relationship to the medium that is primarily about reading and pleasure and less about preservation. I have held onto any number of titles in print simply because I had hopes for a book, hopes that may not have been immediately validated, but the only sure way to see the promise fulfilled was to keep having the book pulled, or risk having it be unavailable when and if it became what I wanted it to be.
My latest “Worlds in Panels” at PopMatters is a review of Geneviève Castrée’s Susceptible (Drawn & Quarterly, 2013). I draw on Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust (Penguin, 2001) to frame my discussion of the comic.
Solnit notes that seeing remembering as a form of walking through space is related to how we often see our lives: “If life itself, the passage of time allotted to us, is described as a journey, it’s most often imagined as a journey on foot, a pilgrim’s progress across the landscape of personal history” (page 73). Susceptible opens with a visualization of this metaphor.