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Go out with you? Why not... Do I like to dance? Of course! Take a walk along the beach tonight? I'd love to. But don't try to touch me. Don't try to touch me. Because that will never happen again. "Past, Present and Future"-The Shangri-Las

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Fantasy olde and new

Okay, everybody hates the cutups, so I'll talk about the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon Dr. Brain (I'm assuming) wants to hear about.

This mid-Eighties cartoon was a highlight of my weekends once. It's a pretty good example of something one sees in community theatre all the time: people of varying degrees of talent and good will getting together and trying to create something splendid despite not having enough time, resources and in some cases ability to consistantly make it work. Which is to say, sometimes it's really good on many levels. It's never utterly bad, it's never utterly good.

I suspect this show had a subtle effect on my sense of reality. Not because it had dragons and all those fantasy tropes, but because from shot to shot the characters look different. They are identifiably the same, but they look different. From one shot to the next Sheila the thief (for example) will have a slightly different hairdo, her eyes will change shape, her costume will be more or less detailed... there's little visual consistancy. When I was a kid I went through a long, troubled Philip K. Dickish gnostic phase of questioning the reality of all my sense perceptions, and I think this cartoon slightly encouraged that. I remember being frustrated that Sheila (on whom I had a little-boy crush) didn't look as pretty from shot to shot, and it gave me a sense that reality was shifting like unstable ground beneath me. The fact that I let cartoons shape and mishape my sense of reality speaks volumes about my semi-aphasic approach to life.

Here is an article about a rather more rewarding fantasy item: The Hobbit as riffed on (rather than merely adapted) by two extremely clever contemporary cartoonists. I'm more familiar with Marc Bell than the other guy, and I have no reservations about declaring Bell to be one of the most important people in comics today. In his comics landscapes become people, people become landscapes, individuals flow into one another and into the land, and it's impossible to draw clear boundaries between them all; it's a detailed animist fantasy that does my heart good. Plus it's funny.

1 comment:

FLT3 said...

No embarassment on having the hots for a cartoon character...I'd hook up with Lois Griffin any day.