Jeff MacLeod

Jeff MacLeod

I'm an academic and an artist. My research is informed by my art practice. I've published scholarly articles on art and politics and on the artistry of JRR Tolkien.

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Latest Articles

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Comic book art and the Pre-Raphaelites?

Would anyone be interested in reading an article about the connection I see between Pre-Raphaelite art – and the group which immediately followed which I call the "British Romantics" – and their influence on contemporary illustration in comic books and graphic novels? My main argument will likely be: even if "Victorian" art fell out of favour for a time with the general public it still played a major role in art education for many of the successful fantasy illustrators/ comic book artist of the 1970/80s. This trend hasn’t diminished with current comic book artist, if anything with the revival in the general interest in this genre of art (PRB and British Romantics) their influence has grown with artists and readers. I’ll attempt to show this by comparing the artwork of both groups of artists and pointing out where the influences seem most apparent (to me anyway). What do you think?

  • I think that is an awesome idea. I work in the gothic period which touches and overlaps with the romantic tradition so I am always looking for interesting takes on that time. I am not sure how many other history of art geeks are on here but I bet you will be able to put a sufficiently interesting argument together that you will peak the curiosity of all art lovers. I definitely think you should do something along these lines, I am looking forward to it! – DClarke 2 years ago
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  • Thanks. It may be interesting to add some gothic references to my analysis, too. – Jeff MacLeod 2 years ago
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  • I'm finally on sabbatical so I can complete this essay, I hope to post something in the next month (or so). – Jeff MacLeod 2 years ago
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Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit in Literature and Film

Have the films helped or hindered the reception of Tolkien’s work?

  • This article should use many comparisons between novels and films. Also look at the growth of the fan base before and after. – Joseph Manduke IV 2 years ago
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  • not only will most of this article rely on fans and how they felt about the movies, but also every day people: how well does the public understand Tolkien's work? do they realize the depth of each culture in the literature and even the religious symbolism Tolkien attempted to convey in it? and ultimately, did the films portray the Lord of the Rings well? – ANGarcia 2 years ago
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  • There will be a difference to how fans of the books reacted to the movies and how the general public reacted to the movies. Also, this article might want to include something about how books are adapted into movies. There may have been some features of Tolkien's work that were easy to adapt and others that had to be left out (ex. there are lots of characters who were left out like Tom Bombadil). – S.A. Takacs 2 years ago
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  • These comments are really helpful. I go back and forth in my own mind around the value of Jackson's films in representing Tolkien's world. In the end, I'm glad they were made but I just wonder if the imagery of the films trumps all other attempts to protray Middle-earth in visual art? – Jeff MacLeod 2 years ago
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Latest Comments

Jeff MacLeod

I enjoyed this article. The trope is much older than comic books and you aptly show its weaknesses. I tend to agree it is a cheap shot and often a result of lazy story construction. Bravo!

Women in Refrigerators: Killing Females in Comics
Jeff MacLeod

There is one minor point I would like to make: it was not the Tolkien estate who sued TSR (Gygax etc.) it was Tolkien Enterprises, an entity that owned the film rights to the LortRings, etc., a corporation which was not linked to the Tolkien family. The Tolkien family did not initiate this legal action. However, that had every right to because Gygax’s 1970/80s D&D was a blatant rip-off of Tolkien’s work. I think there is little doubt that the early verison of D&D owes its success almost entirely to the Western cultural impact of Tolkien’s work at that time. And the trope of a party of adventurers made of elves, dwarves, hobbits (halflings), wizards etc. going on quest is Tolkienian not Gygaxian.

The Influence of J.R.R. Tolkien on Modern Video Gaming
Jeff MacLeod

Well-done! I want to look out at how Tolkien shaped table-top RPG in the 70s and 80s and this is very helpful!

The Influence of J.R.R. Tolkien on Modern Video Gaming
How time and readers' expectations have affected opening sentences
Jeff MacLeod

Very interesting read. I will be more careful to note the artistic craft of the first line in the next fiction I read. As a visual artist, I see the value in making a picture grab the viewer’s attention immediately, otherwise, no matter how strong the craft, you’ve lost your audience. I see a creative writer has the same challenge, too. Well-done!

How time and readers' expectations have affected opening sentences
Jeff MacLeod

Interesting read, thank you for composing this. I get from this that a woman can be nude, and powerful in art.

Painters Who Challenged the Conventional Female Nude
Jeff MacLeod

The distinction whether something is high art, art or not is entirely political. In our culture, it is determined by money: how much did someone pay for it determines its cultural value (sadly). Video game art is better than 95% of the work you’ll see in contemporary galleries. There is no doubt in my mind that the modern day “masters” work in video games and comics/graphic novels.

Graphics, Pixels, and the Art of Video Games
Jeff MacLeod

Of course, I meant: hear, hear! or something like that 🙂

The Origins of Middle-Earth: Gods, Poems, and Dragons