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EMPIRE

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  • Jeff Doten
    Yes I re-read it recently, and it really doesn t work. If I didn t know Delany so well I woudn t think he d done it at all. I found it jarring in it s
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 23, 2000
      Yes I re-read it recently, and it really doesn't work. If I didn't know
      Delany so well I woudn't think he'd done it at all. I found it jarring in
      it's transitions and lacking of flow. It didn't work as a comic or as an
      illustrated novel. As an artist, who does have an appreciation for Howard
      Chayken, if not a following of his work, I liked his concepts, but found the
      pages messy, and (perhaps this comes from living in a digital age now ) the
      text and layout just look unprofessional. I'll go back and read one of
      Chip's novels to get the tast out of my mouth. I give them credit for trying
      anyways...

      - Jeff Doten


      >A quick comment on some Delany-ana: Has anyone read 'Empire', Delany &
      >Chaykin's graphic novel? I finally found a cheap copy (on ebay) and read
      >it... I think it's truly terrible, and not just because of all the
      >mucking that Byron Preiss did with it (see the interview with Gary Groth
      >in 'Silent Interviews').
      >
      >One big problem with it stems from Delany's comments (in the same Silent
      >Interviews interview, the theoretical underpinnings of Empire) about the
      >ability of comics to transition from panel to panel to very different
      >places and make some sort of logical sense. This just seem totally off the
      >wall -- he seems to think that's something that comics does well, whereas
      >it seems to me that it's something comics does particularly poorly, as you
      >need to make the mental transition yourself in the 'gutter' of the comic
      >(see McCloud's Understanding Comics), and I found it quite wrenching. His
      >use of that trope in Empire (we're on this planet -- now we're on this
      >planet -- now we're on this planet) doesn't work for me at all.
      >
      >I reviewed Bread and Wine rather negatively as well. I wonder if comics
      >just isn't something that Delany does particularly well. His ecstatic and
      >careful prose doesn't seem to translate to the page view, imho.
      >
      >Anyone read the Wonder Woman run that he did? Contrary opinions?
      >
      >--Zvi
      >zvi@...
      ________________________________
      Jeff Doten's Illustration Studio
      http://www.cadvision.com/dotenj/studio.htm
      ________________________________
      OKAR - the Canadian Edgar Rice Burroughs Network
      http://www.cadvision.com/dotenj/OKAR.htm
    • Peter Fogarty
      ... I have read it recently - got it on library interloan from Monash in Melbourne. I enjoyed it, while I did not LOVE it, I agree that it did seem disjointed
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 23, 2000
        At 0144 08/24/2000, you wrote:
        >Yes I re-read it recently, and it really doesn't work.



        I have read it recently - got it on library interloan from Monash in
        Melbourne. I enjoyed it, while I did not LOVE it, I agree that it did seem
        disjointed because of the scene transitions which also broke up the
        character development, but it was a light, whimsical fable. And as such, it
        worked perfectly! It is neither a comic nor a story, or even an illustrated
        novel, but something in between, I think of it as a spaceship passing,
        completely silent, but the image from Beta-2 "her hair was wild" is a good
        one to describe Empire.

        I think the artist did really well to communicate the multiplex textuality
        of the story - and this is why the art seems messy - but what is mess for
        you is texture, sensuality and unique perception

        On the Sign Language tip: I am working on it - I had to go and read William
        Stokoe because my experience of sign is primarily NZ English, which differs
        significantly from Ameslan, but the concept that gesture hints at the larger
        'idea gestalt' and cannot be taken as literal representatives of the words,
        merely the concepts behind the words . . . more when it's done

        best, Peter
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