Friday, July 31, 2009

Mad Science

The "abstract" comic in my previous post was actually the British town of Thursdyke getting wiped off the map. Yikes. And for fear of devastation by big bombs we can thank J. Robert Oppenheimer's Manhattan Project. In the latest and all-comics issue of Taddle Creek Michael Cho tells Oppenheimer's tale.
When content precedes and dictates form . . . well, I'll just return to "yikes." The writing is anti-complex and nothing you haven't heard before: "In that cloud was contained all of our aspirations and achievements, both good and bad." It conveys information and adds pictures. The trickiest compositions are of the "one panel broken up" kind (I do like the above sequence's hanging time).

A lot of biographical comics are cropping up these days. They're labors of love or homages or corporate commissions. They're useful: we can educate with these comics. They lend respectability to a lowly medium. They reveal to us real and weighty subjects: Nelson Mandela, the Beats, and even the Space Race. No bloody thanks.

Back to the cheap moral ambiguity of the Oppenheimer comic: if the moral is this, then let it be this and be done with it.
(Thank you, Warren Ellis and this week's Ignition City #4. Art by Gianluca Pagliarani.)

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