early near futures

Many of the films discussed so far [films made from 1895 to 1910 and featuring science-fictional elements or qualities] could be said to be cinematic predictions of the future: from future warfare and advanced automatons to trips to the moon and visitors from another planet. Yet most of these narratives (or the film’s mise en scène more generally) suggested that events were taking place in an undefined present, the result of a recent technological breakthrough. This initial absence of futurity can also be found in much of the literature from which these early film narratives were drawing inspiration: Frankenstein, Twenty … Continue reading

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o’bannon and lovecraft

Over at ↑Strange Shapes they have a fine article on ‘↑The Engineer Mythos.’ Here’s the opening paragraph: When ↑Dan O’Bannon was twelve years old he stumbled across an old anthology of stories in a book store. He paid the nickel and took it home. Inside was a story titled The Colour Out of Space, by ↑HP Lovecraft. “I stayed up all night reading the thing, and it just knocked my socks off,” O’Bannon said. In Lovecraft’s fiction the universe is a source of both awe and terror. Humanity’s dominion over the world is illusory. Revelation is destructive and victory is … Continue reading

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hand fixing hand

Like countless others I am a ↵huge fan of the work of ↑M. C. Escher since my boyhood. ↵Like his ‘Reptiles’ Escher’s ‘↑Drawing Hands‘ are apt to serve as a metaphor for countless things, like e.g. the process of ethnography. The ‘↑Hand fixing Hand‘ version by photographer ↑Shane Willis transposes this to yet another level. via ↑entry at ↑io9 … Continue reading

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behind the metropolis

Just refound these two behind-the-scenes stills of the set of ‘↑Metropolis‘ (Lang 1927), showing how one of the most famous vistas in the history of the moving images was built. From looking at them alone it becomes understandable why the movie was ↵so costly.  LANG, FRITZ. 1927. Metropolis [motion picture]. Berlin: Ufa. … Continue reading

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between which worlds?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #47 Between which worlds is the man the depicted hand belongs to travelling?     Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the ‘Leave a comment’ at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it’s the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I’ve approved a comment, your next ones won’t be held, but published immediately by the system.] UPDATE and solution (31 October 2012): This … Continue reading

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mountains of madness

Panel from page 89 of ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ (Lovecraft & Culbard 2010). Back in late 2010 we had scottish illustrator and graphic designer ↑Murray Groat‘s wonderful ↑Tintin-↑Lovecraft ↵crossover covers [check out Murray’s ↑blog, ↑portfolio and ↑deviant art page—there’s more Lovecraftia to discover]. Matchingly enough in the same year a wonderful graphic novel version (Lovecraft & Culbard 2010) of H. P. Lovecraft’s ‘↓At the Mountains of Madness‘ (1936) by ↑I. N. J. Culbard was published—drawn in the best ↑ligne claire tradition. For the full experience you first might want to read Poe’s ‘The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of … Continue reading

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Favorite what is this?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #46 What is the tiny shiny artefact displayed by the hands? From which movie does the screencap stem, and what role in the plot of that movie does the artefact play?     Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the ‘Leave a comment’ at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it’s the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I’ve approved a comment, your … Continue reading

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the flash inspirations

This is the King Features ‘↑Flash Gordon‘ Sunday strip by ↑Alex Raymond as it was published on 23 June 1940. We see Gordon [whose adventures began on 07 January 1934] disguised as a ‘Power-Man’ [‘the experts on whom Mongo’s electrified civilization depends’] infiltrating the palace of ↑Ming the Merciless—and being detected. Please note the design and colour-scheme of the Power-Man uniform Gordon is wearing. The full uniform first was depicted two weeks earlier, in one panel of the strip of 09 June 1940.  Earlier the same year the DC-superhero ‘↑The Flash‘ first appeared in Flash Comics #1, published in January … Continue reading

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what is that?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #45 What is the large mechanical contraption in the picture everybody is staring at? In which movie does it appear and what does it do within the plot of that movie?     Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the ‘Leave a comment’ at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it’s the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I’ve approved a comment, your … Continue reading

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