Sunday, February 14, 2010

Time Travel

Back to Starman #81: James Robinson filters a general history through an elder guard's memory so that it smacks of spontaneous recall as well as passed-down wisdom. We quickly follow iconic Opal City heroes through time to find out "what the hell happened to them."

I am reminded of Lynda Barry's formulation in What It Is that a memory is "an image which travels through time." Let's look at time travel. Here's Jeff Lemire in Tales from the Farm:
The 3rd panel is the time-traveling image, the boy-is-this-ever-going-to-stay-with-you image. In the 4th panel, however, the memory-image emerges into layered, expansive space by extending the scope of the (briefly self-contained) 3rd panel: Ken's in there now. The flashback's his to occupy.

As a daffier example of a hero tossed back to the past, here's Kyle Baker in Plastic Man socking it to Bats:
These green-and-orange images travel through time because every new bloody artist who takes on Batman is forced to draw the traumatic moment. DC Comics makes sure this image travels through time. The joke on the next page ("Batman? Stay with us, buddy.") is a good one, but the memory-image of the killer lodged into Batman's forehead might be better. I've often thought of a Bruce Wayne with a misshapen head, which was warped by death in Crime Alley, and would be easy as hell for a phrenologist to read.

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