Blow Up

Blow Up

Postby Mako on Thu Oct 31, 2002 2:23 pm

While surfing over to the Speed Channel to catch some racing over lunch, I ended up watching a portion of a (sorry for this part) truly bad BritFlick from ~1970 called Blow Up.

In the snippet of the movie I caught, a photographer snapped pics of a couple in a small park apparently meeting for a rendezvous. The photographer blows his images up to huuuuge newspaper size, hangs them up on the wall of his studio and there, in the bushes, behind a fence is a shadowy figure with a pistol.

He then rings up a friend and states he thought he might have prevented a murder.

After that bit of plot, the movie launches into 10 minutes of truly bad mostly naked co-eds gamboling about in the flat fluff for no real reason other than the movie apparently hadn
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Postby Big Bad Al on Fri Nov 01, 2002 6:51 am

I think I've seen that but lost intrest half why through. Possibly less.
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Postby LAGtheNoggin on Fri Nov 01, 2002 7:56 am

I... Hummm, sounds familiar, but then again most mid day repeats look the same to me, it's either bad Spaghettie Westerns or some really badly executed movie... Or 70's sit coms... Or if I'm really unlucky and managed to stray into Prime Time at that certain unfortunate moment you get the worst of the worst, East Enders, erghhhhh... ummm, no offence...


Now I'm off to watch 28 Days! The trailer is sehr impressive, make me want to watch full movie (tis the one on the CD's you get at cinemas). They shut down London Bridge for half an hour just to get a couple of shots!... Mu~~st... wa~~tch...
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Postby Gloria on Fri Nov 01, 2002 10:20 am

Hm, except in this case, instead of naked Co-eds, we have gamboling mimes... With real, invisible tennis balls! Wah!

Today's comic was just so... bizarrely off the wall that I just HAD to laugh. ;D
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Postby Hortmage on Fri Nov 01, 2002 4:58 pm

Gloria wrote:Hm, except in this case, instead of naked Co-eds, we have gamboling mimes... With real, invisible tennis balls! Wah!

Today's comic was just so... bizarrely off the wall that I just HAD to laugh. ;D


You know, I warned James that he might have the same problem that former US President Bill Clinton had when HE went to Cambridge. Neither of them should have inhaled!
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Re: Blow Up

Postby ZOMBIE USER 6611 on Fri Nov 01, 2002 6:16 pm

Mako wrote:... I ended up watching a portion of a (sorry for this part) truly bad BritFlick from ~1970 called Blow Up.

...I found the plot line to be remarkably close to the current AF arc and just had to post something here to see if anyone else has forced themselve to watch that entire movie
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Re: Blow Up

Postby Mako on Fri Nov 01, 2002 11:43 pm

LevelHead wrote:And of course, the similarity between that movie title, "BLOW UP", and the current story arc, "GROW UP" is absolutely coincidental I am sure. ;)

Now, I need to see this movie to help myself understand a bit more of what's going on here, I think.

I believe that this is the most involved web comic story arc that I have ever been lost on.


The movie is highly dis-jointed and more that a little weird, given what small bit of it I've seen. I suspect a glass or two of electric coolaid was a source of significant inspiration for the film. I certainly did get a strong sense of de'ja vu' all over again, that's for sure.

If it's on again, I'll try to force myself through it. It may well take more than one adult carbonated beverage however ;-)

CYa!
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Re: Blow Up

Postby Nslashk on Mon Nov 04, 2002 12:23 am

LevelHead wrote:And of course, the similarity between that movie title, "BLOW UP", and the current story arc, "GROW UP" is absolutely coincidental I am sure. ;)


I've been kicking this around in my head the last few weeks or so. Do these people know about the movie 'Blow Up' and are just playing it casual or am I the one of the few, it seems?

It was a bit of an obscure movie to be fair (heck, even Get Carter's obscure nowadays. Or would be, if Sylvester Stallone didn't appear in a remake) and IMHO, not a particularly great one anyway. For instance, the photographer goes from being torn over the issue of reporting the 'murder' and who to trust to having uproarious sex with two photography models in his studio, the motions being speeded up a la Benny Hill. Classy.

No, what I wonder about is what'd inspire JimRob to make a storyline aping the whole concept of this in the first place. Is it a better flick than I thought? Maybe forgotten films are the New Big Thing in webcomics :P

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Re: Blow Up

Postby Mako on Mon Nov 04, 2002 12:47 am

nslashk wrote:
LevelHead wrote:And of course, the similarity between that movie title, "BLOW UP", and the current story arc, "GROW UP" is absolutely coincidental I am sure. ;)


I've been kicking this around in my head the last few weeks or so. Do these people know about the movie 'Blow Up' and are just playing it casual or am I the one of the few, it seems?
[/b]


I'd never heard of the flick until the gods of NASCAR decreed that I should fire up Speedvision the other day. Are you from Europe by any chance? The flick may be better know there than here, mainly due to the sexual content. It definitely remains a cable movie channel only movie in the US for that reason.


No, what I wonder about is what'd inspire JimRob to make a storyline aping the whole concept of this in the first place. Is it a better flick than I thought? Maybe forgotten films are the New Big Thing in webcomics :P


I dunno, hopefully in between cramming for tests in class and cramming at the pub, JR will find a moment to chime in and let us know...

CYa!
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Postby JimRob on Mon Nov 04, 2002 5:04 am

Okay. Grand revelations time. In effect, it's a gigantic spoiler, so if you like not knowing what in hell's name is going on, look away now.

I'm not entirely sure now what inspired me to base a storyline on the film Blow Up, but I'll try to piece it together. I thought at the time that it, and Antonioni, was rather more well-known than it apparently is: what references I'd found about it claimed it to be a fairly infamous example of sixties cinema. I chose it as I thought it elided quite nicely with existing AF characters; Tristan is, like the protagonist of Blow Up, a photographer by trade, and seemed to share his voyeurism and jaundiced outlook. The plot of the film, too, would provide a chance to push onwards the (fairly important, and otherwise increasingly neglected) Maxion plot. The philosophical content of the film (and it does have some; the gratuitous co-ed romping is an unfortunate side-effect of a) Antonioni's misogyny and b) the swingin' culture of the time) hangs on the nature of reality: in effect, once the photographs and all other pieces of evidence have gone, the event never happened. The shadowy agencies which hang over this are, of course, interested in manipulating reality, as anyone who's read 1984 (another steal) will be aware. The appearance of the mimes, and the invisible tennis match, is another reflection of this.

That's the defence. Now, the prosecution. It really isn't a well-known film - only three people out of four hundred or so readers have recognised it. Worse, large amounts of the storyline, and several punchlines, are based on specific details of said film. The business with the jet engine, for example, is a manipulation of Blow Up's photographer buying an aeroplane prop. So if you haven't seen the film, it doesn't make a lot of sense, much as reading Dubliners doesn't make a lot of sense if you don't know anything about Dublin. It doesn't help that I completely fudged most of these jokes: I didn't get the visual pun of an aeroplane prop being a prop in the other sense until the strip was half-drawn, which severely damages the joke, while the business of photographing the inanimate blender (instead of the living models of the film) didn't make sense, and didn't fit his personality at all. The visual depiction of plot was fairly poor, as the varied interpretations of what actually happened attest, and the narrative pace was horrible.

The result of all this is - as anyone who's chanced to look at my logs lately will know - that AF's been shedding readers quite alarmingly over the last month, with about ninety fewer people tuning in on November 1 than on October 18. Which is a clear sign not all is well.

The essence of it is: I've screwed up.

Next week's episode is going to finish off the story arc. After that - and possibly a week's intermission to rethink things - I will attempt to draw some strips which are clear and interesting and funny, and which have nothing whatever to do a storyline. With luck, that might begin to win back those viewers who've reasonably decided that their time would be better spent elsewhere. Later, perhaps, I will try again to be profound and complex, but only once I'm satisfied I can do it without falling flat.
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Postby ZOMBIE USER 6611 on Mon Nov 04, 2002 7:24 am

JimRob wrote:...I will attempt to draw some strips which are clear and interesting and funny, and which have nothing whatever to do a storyline.
To be fair to yourself, of all of the story arcs that you have done since the beginning of the strip, this is the only one that I have not been able to follow. And the reference to the movie might work for more people than you think -- I don't see evidence of four hundred folks posting here.

I am somewhat of an anomaly as readers go; I don't watch television so a number of pop-culture references I do not catch. I'm a good observer, but that doesn't help if you've never observed something. A few months ago someone had to explain to me what "Pinky and the Brain" was. ;)

You have had a successful strip so far. This storyline seems to be one of those where "an ounce of explanation's worth a pound obscure." But that's OK -- scratching one's head rarely produces a fatal wound.

Your instincts have been good; you've had many successful stories and much amusing and thought-provoking entertainment. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.
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Postby Mako on Mon Nov 04, 2002 3:17 pm

JimRob wrote:Okay. Grand revelations time. In effect, it's a gigantic spoiler, so if you like not knowing what in hell's name is going on, look away now.

I'm not entirely sure now what inspired me to base a storyline on the film Blow Up, but I'll try to piece it together.


Well whaddya know, my channel surfing for speed yielded an unexpected nugget, cool :)


I thought at the time that it, and Antonioni, was rather more well-known than it apparently is: what references I'd found about it claimed it to be a fairly infamous example of sixties cinema.


Good lord, an Italian directed British film from 1968? Now that explains a LOT of the bits I saw
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Postby ZOMBIE USER 6611 on Mon Nov 04, 2002 3:37 pm

Mako wrote:So that rather confirms LH's Maxion moniker has weaved it's way into AF cannon, cool :)
Maxion and Affana. That's two accidental christenings; I should hope I do not have accidental offspring. ;)

James Roberts wrote:The essence of it is: I've screwed up.
I would agree with friend Mako here. You have not. We're not here for simple slapstick humor; there are other sorts of places where this is done, ah, freelance. ;)

As Mako said -- experiment! Your goal, first and foremost, is to enjoy the process. For many people, and this obviopusly includes you, enjoyment is derived from entertaining and inspiring others.

We don't know that this arc, brought to its completion, wouldn't have gotten us there. But in any event, have fun!

Mako wrote:There is just enough cultural mis-match between the US and the UK to make the strip interesting in a way only an almost foreign, but still mostly familiar, work can be. I have no idea if that makes sense or not, but I'll leave it for other's more literate than I to elucidate upon. ;P
What he said, yeah. ;)
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Postby JimRob on Mon Nov 04, 2002 3:41 pm

I'm not suggesting I change everything or go low-brow; it is, though, about that crucial distinction between searching the soul and searching the bellybutton. Of which I think the last storyline was the latter. And anyway, there's nothing wrong with being clear and funny in itself; it needn't imply any loss of AF's essential qualities. (Unless those essential qualities are obscurity and unfunniness.)

I may put up my previous post - perhaps slightly annotated - on the front page as well once the storyline's finished.
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Postby Tek Roo on Tue Nov 05, 2002 11:44 am

Remember -- There are plenty of comic strippers (those that write and draw comic strips, silly) that wish they had half as much analysis and thought going on relating to their comic as you have here. Quantity does not equal quality!

I'm sure all those "former" readers you had previously are just letting the comics stack up until the end of the month to read them all at one go -- that's at least the schedule I would have developed when the weekly format appeared if I had not developed the habit of checking in on your Forum right after checking the Untitled Forum.

Relax! Just think how much more we'll all appreciate Blow Up the next time we stumble across it -- and it's all because of you! :wink:
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Postby Dylar on Tue Nov 05, 2002 11:55 am

Agree with TekRoo. Wise words. :)
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Postby Gloria on Tue Nov 05, 2002 2:41 pm

*poiks Jim and folds her arms*

James, you did NOT screw up. And even if you did... well, I'm rather inclined to agree with Tek Roo that it's just the schedule change, rather than frustration with the plot. I mean, seriously, when a comic is only updated once a week, it's a LOT easier to forget to check it as regularly, because... well, there's not any reason to! And if they did leave because of the confusion, They'll be back. I'd like to point out that visits on Untitled! (looking at my logs here) took a drop this past January when I did some rather controversial things, but since then I've gained many more viewers and I now have, like, 3 times as many as I did back then.

And you've got 400 viewers???? You're doing as well as Untitled!, if that's the case, because we only just hit the 400 mark this past month!

And as far as doing embarrassing things with plot, etc.... Well, just remember the date May 26, 2002, because I don't think I'm EVER going to live that one down... *slaps forehead*

Anywhoo... What I'm TRYING to say is, Whatever you do, don't do it because you think the fans will or won't like it. Personally, I've enjoyed this storyline a lot! I hope you won't quit doing storylines, because, from my experience, that's one thing that DOES keep 'em coming back for more! Of course, I will continue to rabidly consume AF however often it's updated, even if it DOES become totally gag-a-day. Personally, I think a mixture of both is best. Go in-depth, but keep it lighthearted! Make VERY obscure cultural references, if you want! (I would love to see if anybody other than Devon has gotten most of my musical and literary references over the years...)

We love you, JimRob! :D *big hug*
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Postby Pengolodh_sc on Tue Nov 05, 2002 3:04 pm

Being new in this forum, I must say I agree strongly with everythign said so far by Mako, LevelHead, Tek Roo, and Gloria on this matter - you have not done wrong in this storyline at all, in my eyes. I started reading this series while you were in the midst of this present storyline, and fully intend to stay with it. I may not have been familiar with the movie, thus missing some references, but I love this "Grow Up" storyline nevertheless, and I have no doubt that the end of the storyline will be worthwhile. I do not think you should try to write your comic to the least common denominator - being challenged by a story can be a very good thing.

Gloria wrote:And as far as doing embarrassing things with plot, etc.... Well, just remember the date May 26, 2002, because I don't think I'm EVER going to live that one down... *slaps forehead*


Well, I thought it followed quite naturally from the storylines of the previous months - but then I am by nature biased in the matter of pairings I would not mind seeing. At any rate, I do not think you would be the first author to have a problem with disobedient characters.
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Postby ZOMBIE USER 6611 on Tue Nov 05, 2002 3:53 pm

Well, hello Pengolodh_sc. I suspect that I know you under another name.

If Mr. Roberts is intending to write a story that only will be "figured out" by one percent of the potential audience, he is limited to a mere 60,000,000 humans. Reduce that to the subset who use the Internet, and it will still be in the millions.

I will endeavor, even though I am an American, to be in the one percent who can figure it out should James Roberts excercise his wit and art in that direction.

I have been entertained, charmed, amused, and educated here. I was unaware of McGonagall, for example, but now see references to him very frequently that I could not previously recognize. My Lady is seeking the movie "Blow Up" -- that will be interesting ;) -- and I will learn a bit more culture.

My exposure to classic poets and philosophers has substantially broadened here, and what exposure I had previously is getting a bit of needed exercise. It even gave me an excuse to attempt a bit of poetry myself -- and unlike little girls, my poetry needs a good excuse. ;)

In short, I've been having quite a good time. I recognize the pressures on our author's time, and am pleased that the strip is able to continue.

I only hope that Albion Fuzz brings him the continued pleasure and enjoyment it does us -- after all, he's doing the important bit. On both sides of the screen, we sometimes have to work at it a little while, and be patient -- but it has always paid off.
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Postby Pengolodh_sc on Tue Nov 05, 2002 4:07 pm

LevelHead wrote:Well, hello Pengolodh_sc. I suspect that I know you under another name.


You do? Wherefrom? I can't recall having ever encountered your username outside of this forum and the forum for Untitled!. You will find me under this ID on LJ (I have you listed as a friend, having found your LJ intriguing), and as pengolodh on ezBoards, and as Pengolodh_sc on Yahoo!Groups and other boards these days. Other Yahoo!groups-IDs I have used include pengolodh (rather than pengolodh_sc), rhodhry, and prince_galrion (I used to need to make a lot of IDs - I didn't have POP3 mail-access earlier, since I didn't have a computer until about a year ago, so when one mailbox got full with mails that were needed for some reason or other, I needed to move on to a new one).
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