Drew: One of the biggest challenges in analyzing any work of art is understanding the parameters on which it should be judged. There aren’t “right” and “wrong” ways to appreciate a work of art, but it is possible to select aesthetics that are more appropriate than others. That Picasso and Da Vinci or Hemingway and Melville were working in the same medium doesn’t mean that they should (or even could) be assessed using the same metrics. We’re used to those metrics being dictated by social tastes, but there are certain works of art that seem to be defined only by internal parameters — crystalized nuggets of simplicity that belies the true complexity of the piece. My list of examples is short — I honestly can’t think of one beyond Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony — but that makes the company Moon Knight 6 occupies all the more rarified, as the issue refracts and clarifies its respective series. Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire distill their hero down to his absolute essence, only to stretch that essence out to the size of a whole issue. It’s absolutely beautiful. Continue reading
Mike D’Angelo on Children of Men
Drew: It’s funny to think about now, but I can remember a point in high school when I thought literary analysis was such a huge waste of time. Allusion, foreshadowing, symbolism, and any other literary devices were distractions that cluttered the actual enjoyment of the piece. It was years before I understood how ignorant that attitude was. In fact, it took hearing that same attitude from a peer that shook me into appreciating how much more depth of meaning we have access to thanks to analysis. Can being more aware of analysis pervert how we experience it? Maybe, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. That is, unless you allow your knowledge of analysis turn you into a total snob.
Drew: The etymology of the verb “to haunt” isn’t entirely clear, but it likely stems from the Old Norse heimta “bring home”, which is itself derived from the Proto-Germanic khaim- or “home”. That is to say, while we commonly refer to people being haunted by thoughts and ideas, “haunting” originally referred rather specifically to spirits being brought to or trapped in ones home. But are those actually different things? I tend to think of the idea of ghosts as vengeance-seeking beings as a manifestation of guilt, whether that guilt be the killer’s, or just of those lucky enough to still be alive. That is to say, I don’t think the spirit of Banquo actually visits MacBeth — he’s more powerful to me as a representation of MacBeth’s guilty conscience than of any supernatural power. Ghosts are our tell-tale heart, figments of our imagination that drive us mad. Unless, of course, you don’t have a conscience. Then Moon Knight might need to be driven mad on your behalf. Continue reading