Friday, May 29, 2009

Fellini on Comics and Cross-Medium Translation

Frederico Fellini once commented, "Comics and the ghostly fascination of those paper people, paralyzed in time, marionettes without strings, unmoving, cannot be transposed to film, whose allure is motion, rhythm, dynamic. It is a radically different means of addressing the eye, a different mode of expression. The world of comics may, in its generosity, lend scripts, characters and stories to the movies, but not its inexpressible secret power of suggestion that resides in that fixity, that immobility of a butterfly on a pin."

Which, has me wondering about my desire to write fiction that reads like good rock sounds and whether the sentence-equivalent of Jimi Hedrix's guitar and kazoo is really a functional goal. Luckily, entertainment does not have to be functional in its goals, and the only real concern is that the end product is entertaining

I definitely wish prose writers, comics creators, and other artists would stop trying to ape highly middle class cinema, though. In that same way that, once you can stick a fork in the Silver Fork novel and its descendants, and it doesn't bleed, if the light and motion of film is not resonating in your comic or novel, maybe that avenue is no longer the one to walk and you should try using the forms for the things they can do that other mediums cannot. The spontaneity, immediacy, and worlds that a word can hold, that an item of punctuation can demand, are not equal to, nor comparable by, the sound and vision of a staged scene, nor the frozen imagery of a painting. And thank God, polymaths, and diversity for that!

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