Heads up: all of the images in this post are interactive! Click ‘em and see!
Comic-Con International in San Diego (which, of course, has been discussed with familial snark and affection by Coilhouse countless times before) wasn’t always the star-studded, geek-chic event that it is today. (By any chance, does anybody out there remember when Nerd Prom truly was purely a comics con? Back in the day, there were a few hundred participants, and they held it in the basement of the US Grant Hotel down in the Gaslamp District. That was over forty years ago.) And yet, some thing never change. To this very day, beyond the shiny veneer of celebrity panels and million-dollar television studio booths, the true hallmarks of Comic-Con —celebration and revelry in comic book and sci-fi culture— can be found by those of us who know where to look.
From gore FX makeup, to minute veins painted onto a character model, to carefully-curated contact lenses and fangs as part of the perfect cosplay costume, the heart and soul of our beloved Nerd Prom is found in the details, thanks to the legions of creative and energetic (if somewhat unsettlingly aromatic) people who come together every year to bring our favorite elements of geek culture to brilliant life.
Many folks who are unable to attend SDCC, as well as those of us who do attend and want to revisit, often (re)experience the Con through pictures and video. Traditionally, during and directly after the four-day event, the internet is flooded with sweeping panoramic shots of crowds surging through the main exhibit halls, macros of various booth displays, perfunctory celebrity panel shots, and camera phone candids of inspiring (or perplexing! or horrifying!) costumed revelers. However, this year, something entirely different is beginning to crop up, imagery-wise.
The pictures you’re looking at are examples of Con-craziness captured by a new photographic system from a Silicon Valley start-up called Lytro. These are single-exposure photographs that can be refocused and manipulated after the fact; think of Lytro as technology’s first attempt at bringing us Harry Potter’s moving newspaper pictures! Unlike a conventional camera that captures a single plane of light, the Lytro camera captures the entire light field.
From the Lytro site: “The way we communicate visually is evolving rapidly, and people’s expectations are changing in lockstep. Light field cameras offer astonishing capabilities. They allow both the picture taker and the viewer to focus pictures after they’re snapped, shift their perspective of the scene, and even switch seamlessly between 2D and 3D views. With these amazing capabilities, pictures become immersive, interactive visual stories that were never before possible – they become living pictures.” And, as you can see, here are some slices of the Comic-Con experience, presented in a series of living pictures.
Last weekend, I caught up to Eric Cheng, Lytro’s Director of Photography, in the chaotic main convention hall. Hunkered down behind a trio of enormous trolls at the Weta Booth while thousands of people milled around us, Cheng kindly took the time to explain a bit about the tech, showed off a slew of incredible shots he and his cohorts has been taking at the Con, and we discussed why the Lytro is especially perfect for capturing visually dense, action-packed memories at events like SDCC.
Our longtime contributor and multi-talented friend Tanya Virodova has been keeping even more busy than usual, thanks to her relatively new role as the Managing Editor of Geekquality, a lively collaborative blog venture she co-founded in late 2011 with several other bad-ass, beautiful people.
Tanya tells us that the idea for Geekquality emerged last year when several of the founding editors met for the first time at the first annual Geek Girl Con in Seattle, Washington. Since that time, they’ve been steadily building/ramping up their online presence. Nowadays, the Geekquality venture is a thriving example of diverse collaborative writing and online community-building.
With staff members hailing from both the West and East coasts of the United States –all geeks and vocal participants in online communities and united by a “love/hate relationship with geeky media”– Geekquality, in addition to celebrating examples of inclusivity and diversity in geek culture, addresses its writers’ mutual, ever-growing dissatisfaction with a frequent lack of intersectionality and diversity both in current geek media and in many fandom communities. This from a group statement emailed to Coilhouse by their editorial team:
“Being a nerd isn’t really so much a choice as it is a facet of your person. How you live, consume, and interpret your experience, however, most certainly is a matter of informed choice. All of us have been disappointed to find that often, analysis that challenges beloved content and creators is dismissed as unproductive and overly negative, when it’s actually critically important. The geek is indeed inheriting the earth, and it’s up to geeks to make sure our influence is not a negative and exclusive one.”
“Talking about video games, comic books, TV shows, movies, etc and pointing out flaws in writing or casting, accuracy in representation of unique perspectives, and general discussion of what could be done better sometimes are met with an arms crossed, head-shaking refusal to admit that some pop culture thing we love can also be flawed. While we are all united by our geekdom, there can still be more inclusion from lenses of feminism, sex and gender, race, ability, and various cultural perspectives.”
Jodie Landon LOLZ!
Here’s one way to find out:
(Via Jesse Kaminsky.)
If, upon surveyance of the above clip, compulsive butt wiggling occurs, you are probably Bat-deficient.
Here’s another test to help determine whether or not you are Batmanemic:
Did you lick the screen? If yes, consult your general practitioner immediately.
This has been a public cervix announcement.
“We artists can only go so far as the people can follow us. We are not alone, we are part of the system. We can take risks, but if you want to go to the peak of your consciousness, you may very well find yourself alone. Even if you know how to translate what you see, maybe only ten people will be able to understand what you tell. But, if you have faith in your vision, and retell it again and again, you will start noticing that, after a time, more people will begin to catch up with you.”
~Jean Giraud / Moebius / Gir
Wow. Yeah. So… this exists:
Via Jess Nevins.
Well, words seem to be failing at the moment.
Really, what can one say when confronted with something like this, except:
The best, silliest thing: Aardman Animations — the studio responsible for Wallace and Grommit and the series Creature Comforts, among others — teams up with DC Comics to produce a series of shorts for Cartoon Network. This one uses a setup similar to the aforementioned Creature Comforts, here taking some familiar DC villains and heroes having children voice them. So silly, but so, so good.
Of all the brilliant and amazing people I have encountered here, none are as dear to me as Mr. Ron Turner of Last Gasp. He’s equal parts underground comic book publishing icon, art collector extraordinaire, genuine gentleman, and dirty old man.
[...] Ron, with his long white beard and rosy cheeks, is a man who has rubbed shoulders with Timothy Leary, received fan letters from Charles Manson, and discovered important artists like R. Crumb. Yet he still has the dignified character to make every person in the room feel just as interesting as the legends he shares his delightfully interesting past with.”
Truer and more accurate words were never spoken! Nadya and I had the pleasure of taking Mr. Turner out to a business lunch in SF early last year. Our valiant-but-inevitably-hopeless attempts at verbally “one-upping” this unflappable pervert, this wondrous wizard, this mischievous genius, over quivering bowls of Cafe Gratitude porridge, resulted in one of the most memorable, not to mention visceral, professional lunches Coilhouse will ever host.*
After our meal, Ron graciously invited us back to Last Gasp headquarters, which feels simultaneously like a publisher’s warehouse and a cozily vibrant museum, thanks to his astonishing personal collection of books, prints, original artwork, vintage magician posters, carny ephemera, taxidermy, etc. Another treasured memory. Be sure to check out Darling’s photographs of Ron’s office, as well as his and his wife Carol Sue’s wondrous home. So great. We adore this man. Art crush, for sure.
Photo of Ron Turner by Pilar Vree for artbusiness.com.
*I’m honestly not sure how it happened, but we ended up spending approximately 91% of our summit with this legendary gentleman gabbing about about strap-ons and breathatarians and fecal impaction and ejaculate –the Landmark hippie vegans were nonplussed, lemme tell ya– and perhaps 9% of it discussing business strategy. (Though, to be fair, it was very powerful and insightful 9%.) BEST BUSINESS LUNCH EVAR.
Megan Rose Gedris’ comic Yu + Me is billed as a surreal lesbian romance- and it’s hard to say more than that with out spoiling it. In fact, this is one of those situations where, for some people, even mentioning the spoilers may spoil it. If you prefer stories in which things are what they seem, Yu + Me may not be your cuppa. But if you enjoy adventure, love, and a decadent proliferation of visual styles, then dive in. It’s a complete story, just short of 850 pages. Take a weekend and indulge.