Tuesday, April 12, 2016
BATMAN vs. SUPERMAN
158 years ago last week, the first patent was issued for the modern pencil.
This week, HTC Vive released their latest virtual reality technology, which allows an artist to "paint in three dimensions with a bevy of whimsical substances. Flick a selection tool and you can add twinkling stars, smoke and swirls of blinking neon or frame your creation against a cosmic backdrop."
The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on.
One has to wonder what remains for old fashioned drawing in an era where robots can use face recognition software to paint entirely new Rembrandts, complete with Rembrandt's characteristic surface textures.
I received a reassuring answer recently when I went to the new blockbuster movie, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The film is based on a clash between Batman and Superman in Frank Miller's smart, imaginative comic book, The Dark Knight Returns.
Drawn in old fashioned ink, The Dark Knight Returns was a major leap forward in the evolution of comic books. Beautifully designed...
...and staged with intelligence and conviction, Miller's book was a genuine work of art.
The movie, on the other hand, was a two and a half hour, huge, honking mess. It was state-of-the-art big budget digital story telling: a frenzy of high rez destruction, collisions, nukes, plane crashes, explosions, flames, huge monsters and collapsing buildings, but not a hint of judgment or proportion or artistic restraint. The pretentious choir-of-angels soundtrack and the self-important posturing ("man vs. god") were particularly irksome in a movie so devoid of an artistic soul.
Henry Adams wasn't a movie critic but he correctly observed, "Man has mounted science and is now run away with."
Despite the film's superior size, speed, decibel level, budget, and the advantages of 30 years of technological enhancements, the hand drawn comic book remains a far more powerful work of art.
Score one for the brain and the pencil.