zrondinelli

zrondinelli

Zach Rondinelli is a Canadian comics scholar who specializes in comics theory, digital comics, multimodality, and the intersection of comics and education.

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    Latest Topics

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    The Greatest Showman & Historical Inaccuracy

    The Greatest Showman is a movie-musical that explores the (partially fictionalized) life of P.T. Barnum and the development of the circus. It hasn’t been widely criticized for the erroneous portrayals of certain characters and the way in which it manipulated the story.

    This topic would explore the historical accuracy and inaccuracies of the movie and work to illuminate the historical elements that the movie worked to cover up through its narrative.

    • Nice, but you could go well beyond The Greatest Showman if you wanted. If a movie is historical, you can pretty much bet it will be riddled with inaccuracies. Thirteen Days is the movie that comes to mind, but even historical fiction has this problem (Pocahontas, anyone)? I think it would be beneficial to explore historical inaccuracies in movies, in general. Which inaccuracies are we more apt to accept? Why? Which historical events are glossed over or ignored, or changed? I see a wealth of possibilities here. – Stephanie M. 2 years ago
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    • I like this topic, expecially when it is considered in broader terms like: should art strive for historical accuracy, and how accurate must i be? One could also consider whether an artist is ever obliged to represent history inaccurately. I could see this being the case for purposes of racial or gender representation in art. – alexbolano92 2 years ago
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    • I would love to read this topic. After watching the movie, I was wondering about its historical background, and how accurate it was. The movie is excellent (I'm not saying it's not), and I love the songs, and everything, but I know people wouldn't have danced to pop music back in the 1800s (was it?). – sterlinajames 2 years ago
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    • My dad actually made this comment after watching the film. He wanted to know how much of the film was actually accurate, and I believe this would be an interesting read! – snlfilm 2 years ago
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    • PT Barnum definitely came across better in the film than he did in reality. It would be interesting to look at not only what historical inaccuracies there are, but why. For example, Barnum's first "freak" was an 80 year old woman who he claimed was much older than that. When she died, he sold tickets to her autopsy. In the movie, there is a relationship between Barnum and Jenny Lind even though that never actually happened. I do love the songs in this film, but there were many historical inaccuracies that erased Barnum's racism and abilism. – banne 2 years ago
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    • I agree with alexbolano92. I think this is a good topic. And it deserves a close look at how accurate a historical movie could be and should be. – Jingyi 2 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    zrondinelli

    This is where suspension of disbelief needs to come into superhero comics. It is totally illogical to simply lock prisoners away and hope for rehabilitation. Aside from the utilitarian desires that lie hidden underneath the concept of “rehabilitation” (criminals as a means to an end), assuming they will not break free and re-commit is simple ludicrous. Indeed some of the best stories involve criminals and failed rehabilitation (Two-Face in Miller’s Dark Knight comes to mind). Also, I think that an extension and important aspect of this concept are the heroes that refuse to believe in this rehabilitative mindset. Moore’d Rorschach or The Punisher come to mind as two characters who truly embrace Retributivism. Obviously, as the article discussed, Retributivism puts some limitations into the actual writing of a long-term serialized story, but it is still an option that has been explored only minimally within traditional superhero canon and could deserve some further development.

    What Should Happen To Captured Super Villains?
    zrondinelli

    This is interesting and a really thought provoking article… two thoughts: the first is the philosophical world view that most of these characters share which seems to be very utilitarian. The world around them in a means to an end; Walter White sells drugs to pay for chemo, Lex Luthor does “good” deeds in order to best Superman & prove the superiority of the human race, Dr. Horrible wants to rule the world, etc. I agree that they all work to caution us but I might suggest that they caution us about the dangers of utilitarian thinking which seems to dominate “villainous” heroes (how very Heideggerean…). Second, I wonder if these works could be coined as alternate perspective pieces? Antagonist-centered narrative only functions in works that have established traditions of the character as an antagonist (I.e. Lex Luthor and Doc Oc as Superior Spider-Man). It doesn’t work as well with characters like Jerry Macguire or Walter Ehite. Just a thought.

    Antagonist-Centered Stories: What Can We Learn?
    zrondinelli

    Another element that played into this was the necessity for authors and writers to be creTive with their stories. Superhero comics are inherently violent and with the code in place, it become important to utilize the comics form in innovative ways. Take Frank Miller’s Wolverine run for instance. Even in the late-code era it wasn’t ok to show a bad guy getting SNIKTed in the face, yet it could be implied by combining the gutter with creative artistry forcing the reader to “imagine” the violence. That doesn’t happen as much now… shame.

    Comics Code Authority: How censorship has affected the history of American comics
    zrondinelli

    For those looking to continue their reading on the subject, Amy Nyberg’s Seal of Approval: the History of the Comics Cose Authority is great and very enlightening!

    Comics Code Authority: How censorship has affected the history of American comics
    zrondinelli

    Homestuck is a great example of a creator who has truly embraced McCloud’s call for “digital comics designed for a digital environment”. The way in which Hussie ensures the interface functions within the larger ideology of the software it’s built from is wonderful to see!

    Homestuck as a Case Study in New Media Narrative