Comics for Cinephiles

Creators working in both comics and films draw much inspiration from each other.  Sometimes this takes the form of a direct adaptation, which usually has limited success translating what was great in one medium to another.  More interestingly, one medium often takes inspiration and builds on ideas from the other in much more subtle, unexpected ways.  Comics for Cinephiles will write up comics and films that have some connective similarity that may likely appeal to fans of one or the other.

The Comic:

BodyWorld

Written and Drawn by Dash Shaw

ISBN 978-0307378422

This comic is a drug crazed, psychotropic mind trip. Both the story and the art create a strange, tripped out, messed up world that sucks you in. BodyWorld follows the mis-adventures of a loser lowlife botanist Professor Panther as he runs tests, chain smokes and tries to get high from some mighty weird plants. Along the way he gets entangled with the locals of the strange small town, Boney Borough. The schoolteacher and two highschooler’s get sucked into Panther’s madness.  As Panther gets more involved with the locals, BodyWorld looks at the pressures to conform that adolescents face in small towns, in addition to questioning identity, perspective and reality.

Genre:

Affect: Pessimistic / Humor

     Physical Location: Earth — Fictional Geography

     Plausibility: Imagined — Fantastic

     Plot: Quest / Relationships

     Time: Future

Art: Iconoclast – – Harsh  Following the psychotropic angle of the story the art is garish and psychedelic.  Clearly the art falls within the Iconoclast camp, but it seems like it could be mistaken for being surreal.  Although it is most definitely psychedelic, it does not try to represent reality in a seemingly realistic, but heightened way – as surreal does.  Rather the art here is of harsh juxtapositions of color and line.

Tropes:  Magnificent Bastard, Hero with Bad Publicity, Love Dodecahedron, Crapsack World, Moral Dilema — Black and Grey

The Movie:

Pi

Written and Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Its actually been a little while since I have seen this one, but its definitely one that sticks with you.  The film focuses on a loner weirdo who is trying to figure out mathematical patterns in all sorts of phenomena around the world.  This character Max lives in New York City, but spends most of the time locked inside his apartment, or symbolically locked inside his mind.  The main character’s obsession pushes his mind to the edges of reality, and maybe even over it.  There is a somewhat similar effect from the obsessive behavior of Professor Panther in BodyWorld. Unlike BodyWorld, there are not a whole lot of interpersonal relationships going on in Pi.  Even though Pi is shot entirely in black and white, while BodyWorld revels is glossy, garish color they actually share a lot of qualities related to the iconoclastic and harsh approach both take to the visual art.

 

 

 

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