Magalee Cirpili's Blog

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The Spirit

March 10th, 2011 by Magalee Cirpili · Uncategorized

The Spirit is somewhat whimsical in its character make-up. Because it’s a series, the character development is rushed and shallow with dramatic result. For example, after two kisses with the Spirit the villain Silk Satin fell in love, killed her partners and forsook the world of crime to be the Spirit’s fly-by-night paramour. Denny Colt’s “death” and resurrection is blithley stated, showing Eisner’s need for quick drama and attention in the constraints of a weekly newspaper installment. It is obvious that Eisner is brief in his character summation but some of the animation, as typical of this era and many before/following, is completely racist.
White characters in this comic are generally well detailed, with no great caricature (excepting the spindly and mincing French thief in the issue “Silk Satin”). This is not so true for black characters, who are penned in with grotesquely thick lips, bug-eyes, and generally more cartoonish features than their white counterparts. This said, characters of questionable morals were also drawn with caricatured faces, but the comic lends itself to compartmentalizing blacks as comic relief, which to a great extent is still practiced in the entertainment world. In this era of Step n’ Fetchits I cannot say I am surprised by Eisner’s portrayal of black characters, but it does make a statement about his readership and editors who allow this static and shallow treatment of the non-white character as a stereotypical side-joke.

Minstrel with Banjo

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Krazy Indeed

March 6th, 2011 by Magalee Cirpili · Uncategorized

Krazy and Ignatz struck me with a serious disturbance, much like the shock of revisiting Ren and Stimpy episodes. Given the cat’s and mouse’s respectful comparison to the established elite and the revolutionary, it forced me to reflect on Art Spiegelman’s decision to represent his protagonists as mice and his antagonists as cats in Maus. When adding the jealous dog to the equation I question how the dog came to abuse the cat as well in cartoons such as Tom & Jerry. Admittedly, it was this abusive relationship between the cat and mouse that struck me as most odd in this comic. It was somewhat strange having seen domestic abuse to sense the humor behind each strip. Sure, it was funny that in every episode, no matter what the circumstance, the cat is hit by a ballistic missile. But why does the cat enjoy the abuse so much? Especially when considering the potential relationship between power and dissent, how can Krazy treasure the cranial damage he suffers at the hands of his beloved?
I suppose as comics made their way to a television audience and matured into Warner Brothers’ Tom & Jerry and Sylvester & Tweety cartoons it becomes more humorous for the predator and prey to interact in hunter vs. hunted terms. Still, the nature of these pursuits lends its nature to the seemingly craved abuse the cat receives in chasing the mouse or bird.
Matt Groening in the Simpsons mocks this cartoon in his sketch “Itchy & Scratchy” within the acclaimed TV show. Itchy the Mouse still manages to destroy Scratchy the Cat even to the edge of his corporal existence, and Groening draws out in detail the pain Scratchy feels, in my opinion to illustrate the violence perpetuated in these cartoons.
I enjoy the mastery with which Herriman conveys dialogue in his strips, but I am sadly overreactive to his disturbing portrayal of character relationships in Krazy and Ignatz.

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Marvels: Beginnings

February 28th, 2011 by Magalee Cirpili · Uncategorized

The opening artwork for this novel caught me off guard a little. Having already read the book, I pored over the page showing Spiderman and the Green Goblin. Thanks to the new films, Spiderman is our most morally ambiguous Marvel character. The artist is skilled in setting the tone for the story, a narrative of the conflicting views surrounding the superheroes.
I was also struck by the use of popular art in this book. The first page of the prologue, the Human Torch’s narrative, shows a flaming hand which reminds me of Adam’s hand in Michelangelo’s Creation. It becomes a kind of visceral beginning, the fleshed creation giving birth to the story and the first Marvel. Later on in the book, having shifted to Phil’s story and away from the Torch’s origins, the artist inserts Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, probably a cheerful reference to the era rather than simply tribute to a famous painter.

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Cirpili has no stiiiicks

February 21st, 2011 by Magalee Cirpili · Uncategorized

Cirpili is a signifier of my Turkishness, but it actually comes from a Bulgarian name meaning “bush.” My mom told me that my name meant “Bundle of Sticks.”

I have no sticks.

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