Soap Strip Folk III

Episode One Hundred Seventy Eight: Soap Strip Folk III which the Stray States.

1 comment:

  1. The third Soap Strip installment, frames inspired by (i.e. stolen) from Kurosawa's Stray Dog (1949). As a cineaste, as with everything else in my life, I am a fraud, and know little Kurosawa. I began watching this a few weeks ago, made it about forty minutes in, loved what I was seeing, but was too absorbed in the imagery to follow the plot. I was also fascinated by the idea of living in Tokyo only three years after the end of World War II, what must have been a brutally difficult time for so many people, and the audacity of some folk to forge ahead despite this and just make films for entertainment. Well, it's art, so it's more than entertainment, but you get the idea.

    Execution on this was a little shoddy. Mifune's face in the first frame ended up problematic, and the half-tone shading too slight. I keep wanting to replicate the subtlety and nuance of 'Steam Dreams' (#13), but I have a hard time finding it. Don't have as much time to piss around as I did in 2016.

    I do think the bus and street scene turned out ok. And I was happy with the faux-paste-up look of the title, and the discolored spaces that might hint at an inventory sticker that has long since dried and fallen off. Maybe it's pretentious. I don't know. The title in the previous strip had that slight dark line at the bottom (from the source's top panel boxes) that looked like a shadow, and that's what started all this. Anyway, I like the 'aging,' pretentious or not.

    The story, here, is pulled from any context (as these all are), and so we are left wondering what's going on. This is very much like my own life.

    'What actually happened' is a phrase repeated in Brian Eno's 1992 Nerve Net (in the eponymous song). The tone is menacing in the song, and the story inside the song is itself menacing. Here we see an agitated and perhaps frightened person who, when asked that question, looks like he is being questioned by police. But, if that's the case, who is the young woman beside him? This is confusing to me.

    So, he answers the question. And the story he tells is wholly benign. At first, there is maybe some intrigue. But then it leads to 'the street was quiet.'

    In serial strips, this is common and we'd be looking to tomorrow for the continuation. But the idea here is that we've stumbled across this artifact and have to piece it together out of context. In that way, the scared man looks so unsettled by the prospect of having found a peaceful, quiet street. That was the funny - unexpected - takeaway for me from this week.

    'Got off at the Aquiline' came from a biographic description of - somebody ... who was it? a poet? an architect? a mathematician? ... I've forgotten. The person was described as 'aquilinian,' a word with which I was unfamiliar. It turns out to be 'eagle-like' - like, one might have an aquilinian nose, so, both like an eagle's beak and also kind of 'soaring' in the way we associate with eagles. But it also refers to 'angelic' ... and so, I think that was the supposed association here. That person had an otherworldly, angelic appearance.

    In any event, for whatever reason, it got plopped down in the comic as a destination that was not a 'fifth and main' kind of specificity, but could be a plausible area or place, however alien sounding. After I finished the comic, I realized there is a bridge called the 'Aqua-Line' outside of Tokyo that provides automobile access across a bay. So, Tokyo impressed it's presence in the strip without my knowledge. Well played, Japan, well played.



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