Archive for April, 2009

Chris Claremont for breakfast

Friday, April 17th, 2009

I will always be amazed by the incredible personalities that come across my way at MIT. This morning I attended a Master Class by Chris Claremont of X-Men fame organized by CMS.

The following lines are directly quoted from the “about” section in Claremont’s own website. I think they say a lot about his contribution to the superhero genre, and the reasons why he was able to give life to some of the most memorable female characters in superhero history.

The central theme of Chris’s X-Men stories is prejudice. The X-Men are both blessed and cursed with genetic mutations that set them apart from the rest of humanity. Some of those mutations are very visible. Some can remain hidden. How each superhero responds to their physical self, and how humanity reacts in turn, is a purposeful stand-in for racial, religious and ethnic tensions in the real world. This core theme has been widely recognized as giving Chris’s X-Men lasting relevance to the larger social context.

Chris is well known for his progressive treatment of women in a genre that oftentimes relies on stereotype. Active, intelligent, courageous women characters such as Jean Grey, Kitty Pryde, and Storm have made Chris’s X-Men as popular with women readers as men.

The class was scheduled early [I should say early for me], and I woke up late, so I had to skip breakfast in order to get there in time. Surprisingly, only two MIT students showed up, leaving Claremont with a comfortable audience of three people to work with: me, a girl named Jennifer that can draw Manga like a pro, and another dude called Chris.

Claremont wasn’t planning to talk about his work or theorize about world building or visual storytelling. Instead, he wanted us to spend the following couple of hours with him and his partner Beth Fleisher brainstorming a superhero plot from scratch. We were lucky to have been such a small group. It made it very easy for us to interact and exchange impressions and ideas.

Beth played the roles of editor and moderator, filling the blackboards with notes from our discussion that eventually became an outline for a 5 issue miniseries.

Right before the end of the class, Beth wrote our names in the blackboard next to the title of the story, added a copyright sign, and took a picture of the whole thing. Over the course of the class, Claremont and Beth made a few interesting remarks about copyright and creator-owned work, and I remember having a really good question I wanted to ask him about all that, but I never found the right time to speak it out, and overtime it diluted in my head under a pile of considerations about super celebrities, indian deities, natural disasters and post apocalyptic global politics.

Nostalgic for today

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Does it make sense to feel nostalgic about something even if you still have it?

Icon update

Monday, April 13th, 2009

My latest favorites from the tiny icon factory:

215606 [t-rex]

215649 [car]

215660 [phone]

Collectors and Consumers

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Graffiti Pizarronero Number 1, Instance 2 by yours truly.

Blackboards and chalks are everywhere around me. From now on I will use them to post short messages about random things as a low-tech alternative to the web. Please don’t erase.

Processing Time May 2nd

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

In May 2nd, Nick Montfort is organizing a coding event called Processing Time as part of the Boston Cyberarts Festival 2009. The idea is for people to gather in the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies and join a competition to write programs that display clocks onscreen using Processing. The event is open for participants and spectators alike. Nick commissioned me to make a poster for the event, which I mysteriously envisioned in a nifty Watchmenesque style.

No code was written to design this poster.