“Some panels and pages [of some erotic comics, like the work of Molly Kiely and Colleen Coover] unfold like snapshots, gesturing at a larger hole that is unrepresented and perhaps unrepresentable.” -Lyndsay Brown, ‘Pornographic space-time and the potential of fantasy in comics and fan art’
My own question, then, isn’t whether unrepresentability is possible in the ways we communicate our narratives–especially our fictions–but how.
Ce ne sont pas Mark Gruenwald
Mark Greunwald (1953-1996) was a writer and editor of numerous Marvel titles, including Captain America, What If?, and most relevantly here, a number of editions of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.
Mark Greunwald is the [psychoanalytic figure of] The Father of the Marvel Universe.
Grueny: Keepin’ it firmly away from The Real since at least ’78.
Barthes, from ‘An Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narrative’:
‘…formalization is a generalization that differs from other generalizations.’
- The word is not the thing. (Actually, Korzybski’s version here.)
- The word ‘thing’ is not the thing.
- The word ‘thing’ is not other words.
- ‘Thing’, as a general(izing/izable) word, holds a different function in linguistic structuration than other words.
Pilcher could have made Wayward Pines into a Hegelian utopia of mutual, face-to-face recognition and valuation if only he’d had better PR and solid personnel and materials managers. A few ‘You Are Valued’ posters, a suggestions box, and 1st Amendment rights would’ve been a good start.
the human potential for abstract communication + the material potential for absence = written language
When it comes to considering the popularity of a narrative, we over-invest in the very concept of ‘relatability’. It’s a largely discursive maneuver, too. We go to Star Wars because it’s Star Wars, not Farm Wars; what attracts us is the exoticism of space, the novel unreality of a well-detailed realm in which the reliability of physics are defamiliarized by the manipulability of The Force. We don’t go to Star Wars to get the low-down on how Uncle Owen’s moisture farm is doing–I don’t care how big of a John Deere fan you are–and yet, with all that other stuff of The Force and the Death Star and droids and prophecy, and how do we persist in identifying this farmboy? But do we need any of those other fabulous elements to be, themselves, ‘relatable’ to be understood? We might call The Force ‘magic’ or even compare it to religion, but neither can we experience what ‘all’ of religion is like, so we’re still not really trying to relate it to a fundamentally human condition that we feel, for some reason, we can ‘know’ despite the fact that literally 99% of us exactly AREN’T farmboys.
I guess the deeper question might be, then: if we can so readily conceive of so much, in both physical and abstract terms, that is not human, yet we can come to understand it all so vividly nonetheless, why can’t we do the same for subjects we do identify for their humanness, if not necessarily for their humanity? Is it really such a need of the audience to be able to ‘relate’ to a protagonist somehow, or have we long been sophisticated enough in our discourse to be done with that crutch of expectation?
You know, Heartbeeps (1981) bombed–but I really can’t tell if that supports my point or refutes it.