Bechdel and process

Here‘s a really interesting promotional video, from around when Fun Home was released, of Alison Bechdel talking briefly about her drawing (and posing, and photographing) process, which very much pertains to the other conversations we’ll have about Fun Home and its particular mode of memoir.

And for anyone interested, here‘s a longer interview with Bechdel from a couple years ago, when she was in the process of finishing up Are You My Mother?, her (excellent, but dense) followup to Fun Home.

Scott McCloud’s TED talk

Perhaps worth a watch:


me and the WDB, or The Closest Adam’s Ever Come to Being Cool

me and the WDB

gutters, montage, and the narrative in-between

Before Eisenstein and the more famous proponents of montage, there was Lev Kuleshov.  Quoth wikipedia on the Kuleshov effect:

Kuleshov edited together a short film in which a shot of the expressionless face of Tsarist matinee idol Ivan Mosjoukine was alternated with various other shots (a plate of soup, a girl in a coffin, a woman on a divan). The film was shown to an audience who believed that the expression on Mosjoukine’s face was different each time he appeared, depending on whether he was “looking at” the plate of soup, the girl in the coffin, or the woman on the divan, showing an expression of hunger, grief or desire, respectively. Actually the footage of Mosjoukine was the same shot repeated over and over again. Vsevolod Pudovkin (who later claimed to have been the co-creator of the experiment) described in 1929 how the audience “raved about the acting… the heavy pensiveness of his mood over the forgotten soup, were touched and moved by the deep sorrow with which he looked on the dead child, and noted the lust with which he observed the woman. But we knew that in all three cases the face was exactly the same.”


Kuleshov used the experiment to indicate the usefulness and effectiveness of film editing. The implication is that viewers brought their own emotional reactions to this sequence of images, and then moreover attributed those reactions to the actor, investing his impassive face with their own feelings. Kuleshov believed this, along with montage, had to be the basis of cinema as an independent art form.


Here’s the original Kuleshov experiment:


Here’s Hitchcock speaking in his own, uniquely creepy way about the power of montage (“pure editing”):


And here’s a sort of clumsy attempt to bring the vocabulary of montage and the Kuleshov effect into comics.

icon, index, symbol

word and image, word as image











the enigma of image


narrative in image

let’s go exploring

Because the end of Calvin and Hobbes is almost always the right beginning for anything else:

final Calvin and Hobbes


Welcome to English 136; I hope you enjoy the ride.

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