Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Gale Force Win!

So, for those who did not make it to the SFSNNJ's Face the Fiction on Saturday, you missed a real treat. Ken Gale was in rare form and proved to be as interesting and engaging a speaker as we had hoped. What is even better was that the creepy and atmospheric Bergen Museum of Arts and Sciences was even better suited as a venue than anyone had ever hoped! Kudos to Ann Marie and Josephine for yet another really great event!

The evening started with a number of small conversations among friends, as we began filtering into the museum. Slowly but surely we gathered up, and when Ken started his talk, there were a good thirty-odd people there! It was an exciting and entertaining evening, and I'm glad I was there.

One thing that Ken spent a good deal of time on was the Comics Code. Created by Senator Estes Kefauver using arguments presented by Dr. Fredrick Wertham, the Comics Code Authority ripped the guts out of the more mature comics while simultaneously destroying and halting the progressive evolution of several books. The echoes of the CCA are still felt today in the sometimes irrational and inexplicable hatred some people have towards comics.

For myself, I find it hard to read comics. I wind up staring at the beautiful pictures and losing sight of the word bubbles or reading the word bubbles and not noticing the pictures. I can manage regular comic strips as they are short, but my eye is just not well trained for comic reading. I do sort of lament my lack on that as comics always sound so interesting.

Anyway, back to the main action: One thing that Ken talked about at length was the relationship between movies and comics. Movie makers often use comics (and vice versa) to give them ideas about how and where to place the action and describe the scene. Odd angles, lighting, and placement of characters often lead to interesting composition, and writers, artists, and filmmakers should avoid using the static 'best seat in the house' shot every time to make the visuals more interesting. As simple as it sounds, it is not an obvious thing to most people, and one really does have to school oneself to think outside the standard point of view.

Well, I could go on for a while, but I will just say that this is going to be a busy week for the SFSNNJ:

Monday is Suspense Central at the Suffern Library
Tuesday is Tripping the Write Fantastic at the Suffern Library
Wednesday is Films to Come at the Borders in Ramsey
Thursday is the game at Reality's Edge in North Arlington

Whoo, I'm exhausted already!

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