Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Ira Schnapp



Sounds like Gerhard Shnobble or one of those made-up names from Eisner's The Spirit.

He was the designer of the Superman comic books masthead/nameplate (admit I had to google for the right term: according to which side of the pond you live the masthead/nameplate is the "title logo" that magazines or other periodical publications sport on the front cover).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ira_Schnapp

I was actually looking for the person who designed the definitive "S" shield logo.



One of the many thropes of the super hero genre started by Superman, was the idea that a hero's costume would implement some sort of symbol, emblem or crest, often boldly displayed on the chest.

I can only speculate where this idea could have originated.
Frank Miller proposed his theory in a conversation with Will Eisner (conversation transcribed for the posterioty in the must-read book "Miller/Eisner" - a book that still injects me with some residual respect for Mr. Miller, or at least for his past output, but I digress..) that the printing quality was so shitty that characters had to wear their name spelled out in order to be recognized.

The Superman symbol went through a number of permutation in its eighty-years history, and gets regular redesigns to this day with every new reboot, be it on paper or on the silver screen.







However, one version of the symbol got to be the "official" (or rather trademarked) variant and I wanted to know who did the job.

Unfortunately I was not able to find out. But in my internet scouting for an answer I stumbled upon Ira Schnapp.



Comic-books historian and man with a taste for flamboyant outfits Arlen Schumer has a full lecture on this lesser known artist, who helped shape so much of the DC graphic identity over the years.





Likewise, calligraph extraordinaire Todd Klein dedicated quite a few posts to him on his blog. It' all worth reading.

Comics are a visual medium. On the top of my head I can only think to advertisement as the only other discipline that worked that extensively on the cusp where words become VISUAL OBJECTS, with meaning emanating not only from the IDEA sealed in the word, but from its visual presentation.

But advertisement is not an art (a pretty big statement I do not want to unpack here, even though I anticipate some antagonism to it), while comics is (note the singular).




Monday, 19 June 2017

Kansarm


("kans"= chance, opportunity + "arm"= poor, low, lacking)
 A Dutch word literally meaning "lacking opportunities" or "disadvantaged"
It is the preferred word in the public discourse for low-income/lower class people, often immigrants (or children thereof).
For some reason this word sits uncomfortable with me.

It's like we do not want to say "poor".
Like, "they wouldn't be poor, if they only had the opportunity".
Like, we cannot call these people poor, because they have SOME money.
Or like we don't want to offend them.
"Poor" sounds more like a condition you cannot change.

Why don't call them "wealth-challenged"?
(I must say the term "underprivileged" is as much as lame. It's like "we are all privileged. Just, some are more privileged than others")

Well it does not take living under a bridge to be poor. It all depends on how your neighbors are doing.

I promise you, if you TODAY, with your current wage, your current house, car and family would move to Beverly Hills, between Brad Pitt and, I don't know, Miley Cyrus or whatnot, you would feel f***ing poor. You would look with CONTEMPT to your shabby l'il house, your cheap furniture and your crummy-ass garden half covered in weeds, half covered in burnt-brown grass.

I thinks it's denial.
Saying "She's from a poor family", is too definitive and confrontational.
It means poor people exist.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Big Decisions

Often what we call "big decisions" ain't nothing but small velleities.
Take me. I was chatting with my friend Fabio, in the typical internet hyperbolic fashion, and wrote "Sometimes I just want to get it over with everything and become a stand-up comedian!".
So this idea keeps hanging around in the back of my head for a couple of days and I think "hey, I should really get serious about it"
But you understand pretty quickly you ain't going to have much of a career in comedy when the first thing you do after making that decision is to google "how to come up with jokes".