Saturday, September 3, 2011

MYTHIC MONDAY'S MOVING DAY

In JUST THE FIRST MYTHIC MONDAY I announced my "1001 myths" project, which I hoped to do on a weekly basis.

I've decided to cut back from weekly installments to "whenever I feel so moved."

One reason is that in addition to other projects I don't choose to mention here, I'm submitting weekly essays to the SEQUART site, and that cuts into my time for this project.  Two essays are online at the time of this posting:

"The Future of a Re-Fusion": this essay endeavors to place the current division between "mainstream" and "artcomics" in historical context.

"The Linking Myth:" this one concerns the dominant meanings of "myth" in contemporary fan-culture and chooses the best meaning as most relevant to the criticism of fiction/literature.

I still like the idea of doing 1001 myth-adventures, of course, but I must admit that if my 26 alphabetically-chosen entries don't convince a given reader of the viability of archetypal criticism, then 975 more won't move said reader any closer to conversion.

Though I'm not precisely wrapping up the project now, a quick look back seems justified.  One thing is certain: that I will never again do this in alphabetical arrangement.  Some letters, like "S," offer an embarassment of riches ranging from SUPERMAN and THE SPIRIT to STINZ and SIN CITY.  Others, like "K" and "V," are pain-in-the-ass letters; letters few people in comics-publishing liked, to judge from the dearth of such books listed in Overstreet.

I specified that I'd try to meliorate an inevitable emphasis on superhero myths by providing at least one "non-superhero" myth for each super-myth.  However, if I examine my selections according to how they fall into Northrop Frye's four literary mythoi, there's still a related but not identical emphasis:

ADVENTURE-- ACTION COMICS, DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, ELFQUEST, FANTASTIC FOUR, GREEN LANTERN, INCREDIBLE HULK, KAMANDI, LADY SNOWBLOOD, NEW MUTANTS, PLASTIC MAN, QUESTION, RED SONJA, SPIRIT, VOID INDIGO, WONDER WOMAN, XENOZOIC TALES, ZATANNA

DRAMA-- JAR OF FOOLS

IRONY-- CEREBUS, HEAVY METAL, MAD, YUMMY FUR

COMEDY-- BLONDIE, ONE POUND GOSPEL, TALES FROM THE CRYPT, URUSEI YATSURA


Some judgment calls here: ELFQUEST is a work I'd term an "adventure-drama" in that its dramatic elements are very strong even though I feel that the mythos of adventure dominates, in contrast to, say, a related work of otherworldly fantasy like C.S. Lewis' NARNIA series.  Most EC horror stories I would regard as essentially dramatic, so that had I made a different selection, there would be one more entry in the "drama" category.  As it happened, I chose "Lower Berth," in which the love story between two corpses is clearly a comic jape, but not one with the ironic tone of Kurtzman's Walt Disney satire from the same general EC milieu.

Will I ever search out more examples of plurisignative comic-book drama to keep JAR OF FOOLS from getting lonely?  Will I ever explain my arcane reference to a possible incest-motif in Lee and Ditko's AMAZING SPIDER-MAN?

Once again-- stay following. 


No comments: