Friday, December 9, 2011

Instructions for Self Evaluation

These are due by Wednesday, December 14th by 5:00 p.m.

There are three components to the self-evaluation (I may have said two - but I didn't mean it!).  You will evaluate yourself on your participation in class, on your participation in the weekly short blog entries due the day before class, and on your participation in commenting on one another's work.  You will evaluate yourself on a five point scale for each category.  The criteria are as follows, for each category.  Please read the criteria, and send me an email before our next class, which includes the name of each category and your self-evaluation for that category.  You *may* include a paragraph or less commenting on your own work.  You *may* give me links to your best work for the weekly short blog and/or commenting on the work of others.  These links are required if you are giving yourself a 4 or 5 in that category; you should be able to easily point out an example of your own excellent work.

In-Class Criteria

5:  You always come to class, always participate multiple times, and your part in the discussion is productive (for instance, you might regularly move the overall discussion in a new direction).
4:  You come to class, always participate at least once in a given session (alternatively, you might have the occasional off class, but otherwise perform at the 5 level), and your participation is consistently productive.
3:  You come to class, and usually have something to say in the course of the session.  The value of your participation might be inconsistent, or you might have had several silent classes.
2:  You do not habitually participate, but you pay attention, and occasionally have things to say.
1:  You rarely or never participate in class.

Sunday Blog Entry

5:  You always do the blog entry, you always put some thought into it, and your work is invariably productive; you would feel comfortable writing a full essay on at least some of these ideas.  Your ideas might often show up in class (hopefully with your name attached to them).
4:  You have missed no more than one weekly blog entry.  While the quality of those entries might vary (and their length probably does), and while only a few of your ideas might have come up class, you feel like some of them *could* have been the basis of a discussion.
3:  You have missed no more than one weekly blog entry.  The quality of those entries may be somewhat variable.
2:  You do your blog entry more often than not, but may have missed more than one; when you do it, its quality may be inconsistent.
1:  You usually don't do the blog entry at all.

Comments on the work of others

5:  You always make your weekly comment on another person's blog entry.  You always put thought into your comment, and you always productively focus on their overall argument, without getting wrapped up in details.  You have at least a couple paragraphs of coherent thoughts.
4:  The same as 5, except you might have missed an entry, or you might sometimes wander in your focus, or you might have done one or two of them in haste.  Generally, though, you do well.
3:  You usually remember to make your weekly comment, but they are often short and/or unfocused on their argument.  You might, for instance, usually focus on grammatical or mechanical issues instead of their argument, or you might simply often praise the other person, without offering much in the way of constructive advice.
2:  You have commented on others' work, but you sometimes forget to do so, and you don't put much effort into it when you do.
1:  You don't usually comment on others' work.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jimmy Corrigan

While reading Jimmy Corrigan, the main protagonist Jimmy is portrayed as a lonely middle-aged man who does not have much going for him in his life. From the start of the novel it is prevalent that his father’s presence was absent during Jimmy’s childhood. Based on the dreams Jimmy has over the course of the novel, it can be seen the struggles he faces with coming to terms with his relationship with his father.

Jimmy expresses his anxiety in meeting and getting to know his father. It appears that either he has never known his father or time has made him forget. Because of that, his mind started to create multiple case scenarios on how he thought his father would actually be like. While he was waiting at the airport for his father to pick him up, we are shown various depictions of men with their eyes censored. The fact that each of these figures call out a different greeting to Jimmy demonstrates the ambiguity he feels towards his father. The truth is he does not know anything about his father- physical features, personality, and his feelings for his son.

Jimmy’s initial worries upon meeting with his father manifested themselves into his unconscious. One of the dreams that Jimmy has during his visit to see his father entailed a little horse named Amos. In it, his father is depicted as a rather cruel and unforgiving character. He openly curses at his son in rage and is unwilling to give him a chance to explain himself. It is evident that Jimmy is afraid of his father in this dream because he cowers, wondering to Amos, “Whut hast we done now? Whut is it we hast done NOW?” This implies that his father has gotten angry with him previously and the dread in Jimmy’s words is noticeable. Because Amos, Jimmy’s friend, was accused by his father of breaking the rules and defying him, he was ordered to be put down. Considering Jimmy’s initial anxiety upon meeting up with is father at the airport, it is understandable his concern that his father might be an unforgiving and harsh person.

Jimmy’s dream continues with him seeking guidance from a man named Avery. Avery tries to explain to Jimmy his father’s intentions are not out of cruelty, but rather his desire to teach his son a lesson in character. He implies that Jimmy’s father is a man of principle who keeps his word even if it is a hard one. From this interaction, it is a possibility that Jimmy’s subconscious mind was struggling with itself to figure out judgment on his father; on the one hand he could possibly be seen as a malicious and vile-mouthed man, but on the other he could be a harsh man who is strict in teaching moral lessons to his son. Either way, Jimmy in the end caved to his father’s demands. This action is perhaps a continuation of Jimmy’s conscious personality. In his everyday interaction with the people around him Jimmy is submissive and awkward because he does not ever want to do or say anything to offend anyone. His mother continues to nag him even when he meekly tells her that he will call her later in the day. He is unable to talk to women despite his interest in them. Because Jimmy’s tendency to be steamrolled by others, his portrayal in the dream is fairly accurate to how he is in real life. Due to that, his reaction in his dream is a realistic depiction of how he would react if his father were such a brutal tyrant.

Jimmy’s dream shows his concern with his perception of his father. His vivid imagination gets carried away in his subconscious.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thread for Sunday Posts

Thread for Sunday posts consisting of the final reading of Jimmy Corrigan.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Jimmy Corrigan is meeting his father for the first time and his dreams are depictions of his anxieties about this meeting. Dreams are our way of subconsciously dealing with whatever is bothering us especially when we don’t want to or know how to deal with it consciously.

While jimmy is on a plane to meet his father he falls asleep and has a dream about his father being a farmer. In this dream his dad, who Jimmy affectionately calls Paw, is an impolite, unsympathetic, violent old man. This is a nightmare for Jimmy. He has no idea what to expect of his father. Maybe his dad is a mean old man that won’t like him. In his dream Jimmy says “why is it that our Paw is always so sore on us and his friends? Is it that he don’t like us? Hast we done him wrong?” He clearly hasn’t done anything to make his dad dislike him, because he has yet to meet him, but it is still something he fears. He has no idea what to expect, so he starts to prepare himself for the worst. Right after this nightmare, Jimmy has a daydream where he pictures possibilities of what his father will look like. Jimmy’s feeling are a combination of just wanting to meet his father already and being terrified that his dad won’t like him.

Later Jimmy has another dream about his dad, but this time after he meets his father. Their first conversation consists of his dad first asking what happened to his foot and before jimmy could answer his dad tells him he’s not holding the crutch right. That was their first conversation. Not even a “Hello Jimmy” or any of the other various greetings that Jimmy planned for. He was not really what Jimmy was expecting. Then they go out to eat at the local fast food place where his father dominates the conversation, with Jimmy only contributing the occasional uh, oh, and ha-ha. Later that night Jimmy has another dream involving his new dad. In this dream his dad gets angry at his pet horse because the horse was trying his pants on again. Jimmy’s response in defense of Amos the horse was that he just likes to look fancy every now and then to which his dad just waves a gun him. Basically Jimmy’s dad wants him to kill his tiny horse because he caught the horse trying on his pants again because the horse likes to look fancy. While this may make since in the dream, it is completely irrational. Jimmy is still afraid that his dad will irrationally reject him. He is afraid that his dad won’t appreciate the things he likes. The dream also reflects the little bit of real life relationship that had started where Jimmy just goes along with whatever his dad wishes. Jimmy perhaps fear that in doing this his dad will make him lose something he loves. What it is that he loves is unclear seeing that his life in general is quite boring, but whatever it is he may fear that his dad will disapprove and want to take it away from him.

These two dreams are wild fantasies where Jimmy attempts so solve his fears of his first encounters with his dad. Before he is unsure of what to expects and considers the worst. After their first meeting, jimmy’s anxieties still linger. He is worried about his dad intentions and what their future relationship will play out like. Though his dreams jimmy contemplates and agonizes about how meeting his father will change his life.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Superman as Jimmy's Dad

It isn’t uncommon for young children to make fictional characters into real life role models. Their fictional nature prevents heartbreak and disappointment and insures a constant “support system”. But there is one flaw with this mentality—this view is dependent upon the stereotypical perfection of superheroes that we have become so accustomed to. The Adventures of Jimmy Corrigan takes this role of a superhero and shows the potential damage it can have.

With the use of bright, bold red amongst the muted monochromatic surroundings, Ware is begging us to take note of the meaning behind this man that we like to call Superman. Jimmy’s initial interaction with him is stereotypical—superman helps Jimmy avoid his bossy, controlling mother. Jimmy so desperately wants to bond with his imaginary father figure that he ignores the demands of his mother. While simultaneously making Jimmy feel protected and loved, he is pursuing his personal interests with Jimmy’s mother. Suddenly the bright gloves and facemask transform to a dull pink coat and tan pants. Shortly after Jimmy idolized this man, he is seeing his hero sneak out the door after he spends the night with his mother.

The next time we see Superman, he is facedown on the pavement. On the first page that we see the dead Superman, Jimmy is in the middle of a rather depressing conversation with his deprived mother. During this conversation, Superman maintains his bright colors and the only other glimpse of such colors is in the phone. However, during the phone call with his mother, the phone stays relatively hidden and Superman stays sprawled on the ground as people pass by. Then we turn the page to see Superman picked up by an ambulance while Jimmy’s father calls. In the five frames at the bottom of the page, the bright red phone becomes more prominent. This series seems to say two things—firstly, that the role of Superman takes precedent over a phone call with his mother as a reflection of his desire for a father figure even if that means neglecting the desires of his mother. This ties back to the first interaction we see with Superman where Jimmy disobeys his mom to meet Superman. Secondly, the transfer of bright colors from the hero’s costume to the phone containing his real father’s message shows the direct replacement from a created father figure to his true dad. As soon as he receives the “real support” he had been longing for, the created support can be taken away. However, as the story continues we see that this replacement is short lived.

The next time we see Superman is while Jimmy is talking to his own son Billy. What starts as excitement to share his love of Superman with his son soon turns to terror. The gigantic form of Superman turns the house upside down and crushes Billy to the point where Jimmy has to kill his own son to take him out of his misery. Following the idea that Superman is Jimmy’s father, this scene shows the detrimental effect of the relationship between Jimmy and his father. The pain and disappointment that resulted from his father was channeled through to the relationship he had with Billy and resulted in him crushing the relationship with his son.

Next, we are presented with a piece of Superman—his mask. After Jimmy is hit by the car, the first person he sees is a man wearing the red eye mask that Superman wore. In this vulnerable state, Jimmy is seeking the support and comfort of his father, which is manifested in the form of Superman. Once his actual father appears, the man wearing the bright red color of Superman asks if this is his real father and Jimmy doesn’t say anything. Perhaps he was still confused after being hit, but I think this is showing that Jimmy doesn’t see him as his actual father. He would rather fantasize that the man wearing a red hat is actually wearing a red eye mask and is there to save him from his horrific life. Now that Jimmy has seen the reality of his biological father, he transfers the fatherly role back to his imaginary Superman.

Ware’s own definition of symbols says that they’re “especially common in bad literature”. Perhaps this definition is full of sarcasm or maybe Ware is making another snide remark about the stereotypes of graphic novels. Either way, there is no denying that The Adventures of Jimmy Corrigan takes the symbol of a superhero to summarize the dysfunctional relationship that Jimmy had with his father. When there was no father figure whatsoever, Jimmy looked to Superman who proceeded to let him down—just as his real father did.

Detailed final project proposal-- Anthony Garuccio


· Lynd Ward includes the obvious references to American advertising in Vertigo as an argument—or social critique—against the commercialization though pervasive advertising in America. Lynd Ward, being raised by a radical Christian father, had strong moral convictions against the over-consumption and indulgence that were encouraged by the advertisers of the 1920 and onward. Ward uses many techniques that are common to the advertising industry to execute this important sub-argument in Vertigo.

Additional Reference Material:

[1] How Modern Is Modern Marketing? Marketing's Evolution and the Myth of the "Production Era"

Ronald A. Fullerton

The Journal of Marketing

Vol. 52, No. 1 (Jan., 1988), pp. 108-125

(article consists of 18 pages)

Published by: American Marketing Association

Stable URL:

[2] Silent Beauty -- In These Times


[3] The Library of America interviews Art Spiegelman about Lynd Ward

[4] A General Theory of Marketing Ethics

Shelby D. Hunt and Scott Vitell Journal of Macromarketing 1986 6: 5 DOI: 10.1177/027614678600600103

The online version of this article can be found at:

Outline of Argument:

1. Thesis is stated above

2. Develop Lynd Ward as philosophically opposed to the overindulgence typified by advertising

a. His father was a radical Christian

i. References [2] and [3] above

ii. This leads him to be moralistically against advertising

b. He was very left-winged

i. This means he was against firms

ii. Further he was pro-people

iii. Together these two things lead him to be politically against advertising

3. Show that advertising in the 1920’s and 1930’s was aggressive, pervasive, and organized by the owners of production

a. Advertising had to be aggressive due to high competition in the 1920’s and low demand in the 1930’s due to the great depression

i. Reference [1] : “…Age of High Capitalism-a period characterized by unrestrained ambition and aggressiveness in business conduct.”

b. Advertising was pervasive

i. Reference [1] : “Demand for innovations like the automobile, the cigarette, and the typewriter was consciously stimulated by a full range of marketing efforts including price and distribution as well as advertising and personal selling appeals.”

c. Discuss the morality of adverting

i. Reference [4]

4. Prove that Ward is making an argument within Vertigo against advertising

a. Review the woodcuts in vertigo with all the signs in them.

b. Discuss different visual techniques that Ward uses.

i. Crowding many signs into a single frame to show the overwhelming-ness of advertising

ii. Different text fonts he uses when referring to things that he is for and against

1. The life insurance sign uses the same font as the “thugs” office, which is radically different than the signs made by the unions, which ward obviously supports.

5. Conclusion

a. Bring together the historical facts about advertising in the time period of vertigo with the political and moral leanings of its author to reaffirm the plausibility of the existence of the argument Ward is making that is mentioned in my thesis

b. Recall the evidence presented from the actual text of Vertigo to give substance and definitive proof of my thesis