Transformation of (or by) comic culture

Prince Robotiv

Mainstream superheroes with decades of history (Superman, Batman, SpiderMan, the various Avengers) are flying off comic book pages onto the big screen, in an increasing number of blockbuster comic-films enabled by advances in CGI. Interesting to consider how the concept of the superhero has seeped more deeply into our culture as a result of this and other manifestations of comic book culture – to the extent that we probably wouldn’t be surprised to see all manner of people wearing capes, bending steel, leaping tall buildings in a single bound. The line between fantasy and reality is blurry as hell these days.

As comic culture evolves, so does the entrepreneurial culture of superhero development. The New York Times has a piece about the a creative renaissance at Image Comics, a smaller comic publisher with 5% of market share vs Marvel’s 37%. Image is getting a lot of buzz, though, and has one major success, “The Walking Dead,” basis for AMC’s zombie series (no superheroes there, only frail humans vs ravenous zombies).

Also noting how big a deal Comic-Con’s become, no longer a comic book convention but an increasingly important convergence event. A swirl of comic geek and sci-fi geek subcultures mediated by new technologies is emerging. I’m not quite sure how to reconcile this accelerating fantasy culture with the very real dysfunctions and failures of puny humans – will a commitment to a culture of comic book heroes save us by inspiring a real sense of superhumanity? Or distract us from our state of collapse until it’s too late to go home?

“…the heroic myth helps counter feelings of powerlessness within the family structure. Which is why little boys can’t get enough of superheroes. It lets them imagine themselves as instruments of their own will — instead of subjugated weaklings, in tiny bodies, who lack all agency.” ~ “Meeting Our Cultural Overlords at Comic-Con”

More on bandwidth: light and darkness

My friend Robert Steele emailed me in response to my last post, saying there’s more to consider, and I agree. He mentions Open Spectrum.

I’m feeling cynical. Here’s how I responded:

I’m aware of open spectrum… I’m in other conversations with various wonks & engineers who’re discussing bandwidth, spectrum, etc. Of course we could have a much different scene if we weren’t constrained by markets and politics. People how can see one sense of the obvious often miss another, which is that the world we’re in is not an ideal world, and the ideals we can conceive are not necessarily easy or even possible to implement. I pay less attention to the “next net” list we’re both on because so much of it is fantasy and masturbation.

I own a nice home in rural Texas but I can’t live there because I can’t even get 500kbps. I thought it was amusing that Vint is arguing for gigabit bandwidth when most of the U.S. is dark and there’s too little monetary incentive to bring light to the darkness. Of course I think we need a public initiative to make it happen, but in this era “public” is a dirty word. I halfway expect to see all roads become toll roads; a world where only the elite can travel, and only the elite will have broadband access. Though aging, I’m struggling to remain part of the elite… *8^)