Monday, May 26, 2008

Dresden Codak

My favorite web comic site. Hands down. But only because I am so lame. Which is awesome.

Continental philosophy + futurism + robot ethics + geek culture/video games + anthropology / sociology + THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COMIC LAYOUT ON THE INTERNET = Dresden Codak.

Notice how the frames seem to blend together? Aaron Diaz (Dresden is a pseudonym) plays games with the viewer's gaze by taking advantage of perspective, suggestion, and the blank space between panels. The blank space?! Yes, the reader's mind fills in the gaps between one panel and the next. Set up a good beginning and a good end, and the middle is filled by imagery perhaps more powerful than that found in novels. Not convinced? Let's see what McCloud has to say about this one, as well as more examples of how layout can affect the reader.

By plotting out graphic sequences with care, Diaz leads the reader to create their own "closure" on a epic scale. The art is soft and detailed, allowing the eye to feast as it is subtly guided through the panels. Go here for more examples of Diaz's work.

Ray Kurzweil shout-outs aside, I am also a fan of Dresden's cast, which features "tiny carl jung" as a reoccurring character : "One of the fathers of modern tiny psychology. Famous for the development of tiny dream analysis, as well as the concepts of the tiny shadow half, tiny archetype, and tiny collective unconscious." (All of the other characters are Myers-Briggs labeled of course).

Diaz knows what he's doing. He's a genius. You know that something is worth reading when it constantly inspires readers to wikipedia niche philosophers. Every comic takes 1.5-3 weeks to come out; the quality shows, and you have to respect the guy for resisting the usual format of (consumerism-driven) tri-weekly updates. I'll leave you with something beautiful:

1 comment:

Connie said...

I read Fantastic Voyage, The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity is Near, and they changed my life. I even found some of his lectures on Itunes and I find myself impatiently awaiting his next book.

Recently read another incredible book that I can't recommend highly enough, especially to all of you who also love Ray Kurzweil's work. The book is ""My Stroke of Insight"" by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. I had heard Dr Taylor's talk on the TED dot com site and I have to say, it changed my world. It's spreading virally all over the internet and the book is now a NYTimes Bestseller, so I'm not the only one, but it is the most amazing talk, and the most impactful book I've read in years. (Dr T also was named to Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People and Oprah had her on her Soul Series last month and I hear they're making a movie about her story so you may already have heard of her)
If you haven't heard Dr Taylor's TEDTalk, that's an absolute must. The book is more and deeper and better, but start with the video (it's 18 minutes). Basically, her story is that she was a 37 yr old Harvard brain scientist who had a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. Because of her knowledge of how the brain works, and thanks to her amazingly loving and kind mother, she eventually fully recovered (and that part of the book detailing how she did it is inspirational).

There's a lot of learning and magic in the book, but the reason I so highly recommend My Stroke of Insight to this discussion, is because we have powerfully intelligent left brains that are rational, logical, sequential and grounded in detail and time, and then we have our kinesthetic right brains, where we experience intuition and peace and euphoria. Now that Kurzweil has got us taking all those vitamins and living our best ""Fantastic Voyage"" , the absolute necessity is that we read My Stroke of Insight and learn from Dr Taylor how to achieve balance between our right and left brains. Enjoy!