Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Zero 14, originally released January 28th, 2015.
Two fundamental discrete cognate loops are shown, which are isolated from each other by the artwork. There is no form of interaction between the two which could generate mutual understanding as would be the case in a successful conversation. In the absence of such a procedure both the audience and the artists become locked in their own perceptual biases.
Stephen Willats, Art and Social Function
Drew: Where does meaning happen? I was brought up on the postmodern ideals outlined in the epigraph, but it seems that a great deal of modern society still clings to romantic notions of artistic intention. We celebrate and scorn artists based on their intentions, forgetting that the value of their art may not have anything to do with the artist. Indeed, we’re so obsessed with intention that we conflate it with meaning, minimizing the audience’s role — a role I might argue is the whole point of art in the first place. It’s because of this climate that I enjoy art that obscures its artist’s intentions. It’s easy to assume the moral is the “point” of one of Aesop’s fables, but it’s decidedly harder to draw such a clean line in something like Zero 14, where ambiguity and sheer density of ideas makes any meaning we can parse decidedly our own. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Zero 13, originally released December 17th, 2014.
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
Drew: It’s easy for the neophile to be frustrated with art. As much as our society claims to value innovation, our art tends to rely heavily on the comforts of the known. That’s not to say the majority of art is devoid of surprise, just that the forms that those surprises take are so prescribed as to be relatively predictable. Whether it’s the hero returning home or the melody returning to the home key, our most tried-and-true structures leave only the smaller details to truly distinguish themselves. Zero 13 contains a masterful example of this kind of small surprise, but this issue’s biggest surprise might lie in what it reveals about the larger form of the series. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Zero 12, originally released November 19th, 2014.
Taylor: As a comic, Zero has bucked many of the conventions that have come to define our understanding of a comic book series. Whereas most comics enjoy a prolonged run of writer and artist, Zero has one writer with a rotating cast of artists each issue. Instead of following a straightforward plot progression, Zero tells its story with no truly describable pattern, instead exploring mood and ideas before plot. The hero, usually given the most amount of ink in words and artwork, here shares his pages with other characters in an act that shifts the focus of the story away from him and onto the world he calls home. All that being said, it’s easy to see why Zero might be overlooked by some. But for those seeking a unique reading experience, there’s nothing quite like it. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Zero 8, originally released May 21st, 2014.
Taylor: I, an unmarried 29-year-old male, just bought two picture books and I couldn’t be more pleased with my purchase. The books, entitled Mr. Wuffles and Journey were brought to my attention by an NPR article and — due in large part to being able to preview the books in this piece — I snatched them up as soon as they came to my attention. Now, I’m not normally one for picture books. Or rather, I should say, I haven’t been one in the past. “They’re made for kids right?” — went my line of thinking. When I bought the books, though, I realized that picture books and comics have a lot in common. The most obvious commonality between the two mediums is that they both tell stories in large part through pictures. With this in mind, I have a new fascination not only in picture books, but in stories that can be told without words. Zero 8 is one of these stories, showing us just how powerful pictures can be and how, sometimes, the most powerful words are those which go unsaid.
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Zero 7, originally released April 23rd, 2014.
Taylor: Beaches are memorable places. Most obviously, they are pleasant and warm — a veritable buffet of sensory delights. But beaches are also places of mystery and harbors of the strange. They’re the border between two worlds. On the one side you have dry land, man’s habitat and therefore a place of life. On the other side you have the wet desert of the ocean, a place that while beautiful, can’t sustain human life. However, long ago, man came from the ocean, making the watery depths paradoxically a place of life as well as death for mankind. For these reasons (and others) many gravitate to beaches around the world to enjoy scenery and delights as well as muse on the meaning of all things philosophical. Given these themes, it’s no wonder that Zero now finds itself musing on the sandy boundary. It’s the perfect setting for issue 7, which sees the tides of the narrative shifting in an unexpected and thought provoking direction.
Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Zero 5, originally released January 22, 2014.
Mikyzptlk: Zero began as a super spy, sci-fi thriller featuring said super spy, Edward Zero, seemingly going rogue after many years of faithful service. For four issues, we’ve seen Zero go on various missions, as we’ve learned more about where he’s come from and where he’ll ultimately end up. Along the way, we’ve been presented with important subjects related to war profiteering, corruption, brainwashing, free will, and more. Just as I begin to feel more confident about what this book is all about, Ales Kot drops one hell of a “WTF” ending effectively, and entertainingly, shattering my confidence in one fell swoop. Continue reading →