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NUM-INOUS COMICS PT. 2

This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Monday, July 18, 2016

NUM-INOUS COMICS PT. 2

This essay is a very belated response to a "part 1" published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a correspondent who wondered whether I might devote some time to showing how the NUM theory applied to comic books. I responded, in part:

it's a lot easier for any medium dealing with "drawn" characters-- and that includes comic strips and animated cartoons-- to invoke the marvelous, that level of phenomenality that allows for absolute freedom. Media that communicate via living actors will of necessity always be more limited, though the process of CGI-- which could be said to "draw" images real enough to mingle with live actors-- has leveled that playing field somewhat.

All that said, though, it occurred to me recently that it could be interesting to assign my categories to the "mythcomics" I've thus far surveyed, just as I've been doing regularly with all the movies reviewed at NATURALISTIC! UNCANNY! MARVELOUS! So, one afternoon, I devoted a few hours to making such entries.

It should surprise no one that of the ninety mythcomics thus far surveyed, the vast majority were indeed "marvelous," while there were only seven "naturalistic" comics and nine "uncanny" comics.
Even this determination requires a little explanation, though.

For instance, when speaking of the DICK TRACY comic strip as a whole, I would tend to assign it to the "uncanny" phenomenality, even though the series had its share of naturalistic adventures (like [JUNIOR TRACY FINDS A DAD] and marvelous exploits (the 1960s period when Tracy went to the moon, encountered Moon Maid, etc.) Still, following the logic of the "active share" theory, Dick Tracy falls into the uncanny domain because the detective's encounters with weird, non-marvelous villains-- Prunfeface, FlatTop, B.B. Eyes-- is the centric aspect of his mythos.



Similarly, as a whole the adventures of Batman fall into the domain of the marvelous, partly because of all the high-tech crooks like Mister Freeze and the SF-freaks like Killer Croc, partly because of the Bat's own penchant for technological wonders. But in two of the Bat-adventures surveyed here, no such marvels are extant, and so both "Laugh, Town, Laugh" and "Beware of Poison Ivy" fall into into the uncanny domain when considered apart from the series as a whole.

Whether this categorization proves useful in future, only time will tell.

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