DC Comics: A Look Back

DC Comics, one of the most successful companies in the comic industry, was founded in 1935. However, the idea of journalism that  could captivate and enlighten audiences of all types originated in the early 1930s when New York’s Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz worked together in a more controversial and racy publication industry, known as “sex pulp” magazines. Then, amidst the Great Depression era, the duo met Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. As a result, on January 11th, 1935, the collaboration among the three men resulted with the debut of Fun: The Big Comic Magazine. From then on, more comic books began to arise. Detective comics were popular at the time since the idea of urban crime had recently become a part of culture and society at the time.      Moving further, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, two natives of Cleveland changed the world of comics forever. Jerry Siegel, a man who had lost his father at a young age, used his traumatic experience as inspiration for an idea that would change his and Joe Shuster’s lives. They came up with the idea of Superman, an anomaly of sorts at the time when comic book creators were doing science fiction and crime genres. After some time, actions comics were introduced to the comic realm. He is seen as a modern-day Hercules, a vigilante, who fights criminals with ease and non-human powers. Superman continued to increase in popularity, especially among men, throughout the early-mid 1900s (1930s-1950s).

The history of comics is a long one. The earlier comics focused a lot on fighting against urban crimes, such as ousting towns of evil bank robbers and other criminals. However, things changed after World War II: once the United States had dealt with real, evil world powers, going back to reading about bank robbers seemed trivial and irrelevant. In addition, the types of superheroes also began to change. No longer were characters simple or black-and-white characters like Superman and Batman that fought for the good against the evil. Characters evolved into characters like the Green Lantern where the character had more layers (1960s and 1970s) as a result of societal changes in political ideologies. It’s interesting to see how different DC Comics are today. As seen in the image below, the company’s first superhero, Superman has gone through a transformation. He used to be a lot more human looking. But now, he is very muscular and the colors on his costume are brighter and more vibrant than ever before. As years go by, more and more characters are being created to expand the DC Comics’ family.

My favorite DC comic book character is Batman. I admire Batman the most because I find his character to be the most relatable in that he is actually a human being. Unlike characters like Superman and Spiderman who have non-human characteristics, Batman makes the decisions to fight crimes out of true human desire. He witnessed the murder of his parents and it is that event that sparked a real human emotion out of him. I also think Batman’s overall appearance is much cooler than any other character. In addition, I thoroughly enjoy the Christopher Nolan film adaptations; they depict Batman as an awesome and interesting character that deserves more attention than the rather overhyped Superman.

Works Cited

Action Comics #8. 2011. dccomics.com. Action Comics 2011. Web. 10 Apr. 2012.

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Comparing Pride & Prejudice with The Piano

Immediately with The Piano‘s opening sequence, the viewer knows that the visual aspect will be an important part of the film. In Pride & Prejudice, its characters express themselves with their words. When they are feeling upset or happy, they vocalize their emotions explicitly and clearly for everyone to know. The two films may take place in the same time period, but the way in which they were filmed differs.

In The Piano, the way that the camera zooms in and out allows the reader to witness the scene from a wider perspective. The Piano relies on the actors and their physical movements to help tell a story. For instance, when Ada is playing the piano, all is going well, until a woman, without any words, walks into the room. Although Ada is mute, no words are necessary to comprehend what emotions she may be feeling. In the beginning of the film, when she and a group of men are on the beach as they are vomiting in the ocean, she looks down and then up, directly into the camera. Simply with her stern eyes, the viewer can infer what emotions she may be feeling. As a result of minimal dialogue, the film contains much richer visual symbolism and encourages the viewers to put more thought into watching the film.

The lead characters in Pride & Prejudice vocalize their emotions consistently throughout the film. Without the dialogue between characters such as Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, the audience would be at a loss. It is Elizabeth’s eloquence and verbal intelligence that attracts Mr. Darcy, after all. As a whole, Pride & Prejudice is not visually symbolic, rather there is more emphasis on the verbal sequences among the characters.

As one can see in the promotional photo for The Piano below, the main subjects (Ada and her daughter, Flora) of the image are viewed from a far distance. This perspective allows the viewer to focus on the image as a whole, rather than on the minor details. The contrast between Ada and her daughter’s dress colors becomes more prominent; overall, the image is more obscure and ominous than it would have been, had it been zoomed in close to their bodies. Similarly to when viewing the movie, the visual symbolism is essential and a must to decipher in order to grasp the film’s message, or purpose of the fact that dialogue is not always necessary to convey one’s point. In the image from the British BBC miniseries, Pride & Prejudice, the difference is obvious between the two films. It is apparent that the miniseries incorporates more color and exude happier emotions that are supplemented with a lot of dialogue.

In both films, perhaps as a result of the similar time periods, music is an essential aspect of the movie. The piano especially plays an important role for the leading ladies, Ada and Elizabeth. The piano is not only a part of the storyline within the films, but also helps set the mood, or the atmosphere.  With The Piano, the viewer must focus on the visual aspects of the film; the way in which The Piano was filmed forces the audience to pay attention to the visual details. On the other hand, with Pride & Prejudice, it is essential for the viewer to pay close attention to the dialogue. The spoken details are what aid the viewer in being able to understand the storyline.  The two films have their similarities and differences that allow the viewer to experience and interpret the movies in entirely different ways.

The Piano (1993)

 Pride & Prejudice (1995)

Works Cited

Pride and Prejudice. 1995. bbc.co.uk. Drama Photo Gallery. Web. 3 Apr. 2012.

The Piano. 1993. blogspot.com. Movie Screenshots. Web. 3 Apr. 2012.

The Meaning of the Dragons

To celebrate the East Asian calendar’s year of the dragon, the Textile Museum is displaying a global selection of textiles to exhibit dragons and other related creatures of legend. East and Southeast Asia regarded dragons as nagas, which were associated with water rainfall and fertility, where as western cultures portrayed dragons as terrifying and as fire-breathing beasts that were to be feared by the common people and fought by the stronger and braver warrior heroes. This goes to show the various ways in which distinct cultures viewed dragons.

 Although many people imagine dragons as serpent-like creatures, other cultures like the Chinese associated these thick creatures with distinct meanings. The importance of the dragon within the Chinese culture dates back to 3000 B.C; dragons were symbols of power and denoted high social status when they were used to decorate garments. The garments’ intricate designs are bold in color and very unique in style.  The one that stuck out to me the was the traditional apron. Usually the  dragons were depicted as fierce creatures; however, this apron (the apron was put together by the Miao people of southwest China and peninsular southeast Asia) portrayed dragons as friendly and almost goofy-looking.  The Miao people depicted them in a variety of lively forms, including fish, snakes, silkworms, and flower dragons. This particular apron, made by Miao women from the Shindong village in Chinas Guizhou province, illustrates a buffalo or mountain dragon. It is distinguished by its curved horns, serpentine body and billowing tail. For the Chinese, dragons were used to represent social class and even used in religious settings. There was also a Buddhist priest’s mantle from the mid-18th century that showed five-clawed dragon, on display. These dragons were only worn by high ranking priests during an imperially-sponsored Buddhist ceremony. On my way out, I also noticed the imperial surcoat that was on display. Once again, there were dragons with five claws, which they called long, and only worn by the emperor and people in his immediate family. However, the surcoat also illustrated four-clawed dragons, called mang, and were worn by aristocrats and high ranked government officials.

Other cultures used the dragon as a symbol as well: the Mila panels from the 1960s were visibly different. Immediately, I could tell that they were made more recently. The textile was made by the people of the San Blas islands in Panama, by the Kuna people. Their designs are much more geometric, possibly derived from basketry or weaving. Each culture has its own interpretation of what a dragon looked like and its significance. Our visit to the Textile Museum was very interesting. The museum itself is very modern, but what it has on display is so historical and authentic. Below are some pictures that I took:

The museum’s entrance

Dragon Robe

Works Cited

“Chinese Dragon.” Chinese Dragon. BeijingService.com, 02 Jan. 2011. Web. 05 Mar. 2012.

A Trip to the Newseum

The trip to the Newseum was a great experience. Although it was my second time there, I loved it as much as I did the first time. I love everything photography, so it is not surprising that the Newseum is my favorite museum in all of Washington D.C. After both visits, I have left the museum wanting to pursue some sort of career in communication or broadcast journalism. The exhibits are all so unique and great to look at. Every exhibit evokes a distinct emotion. And to me, that is one unique aspect of the Newseum that other museums cannot offer. I cannot wait to go to the Newseum again in the future. I would love to bring my friends and family from home there, too.

Since one visit is not enough time to see everything, I was very excited to be given this opportunity to go again. Without this second chance, I would have never seen the Presidents’ Photographers Gallery. This is my favorite exhibit in the museum. The photos displayed show sides of the presidents that we normally do not see. The one that stuck out to me the most was a photo of John F. Kennedy and his daughter, Caroline Kennedy. This picture teems of the love John F. Kennedy had for his children. The way he is embracing Caroline is so loving and affectionate. I believe that the image was even more touching for me because Caroline Kennedy is the only living child of Jackie Onassis and John F. Kennedy. It’s also interesting to see the details in the photo. Normally, JFK is depicted as the young, refreshing and handsome president. But in this picture, you can see the wrinkles in his face and his grayed hair. This goes to show the transformation that every president endures; the same has happened with Obama–just months after being inaugurated, he had noticeably aged. This photograph is epic and was so well captured, it’s a raw image of JFK. In my opinion, the Newseum should definitely add more photos to the Presidents’ Photographers Gallery. All of the pictures capture a sense of comfort that is often hidden from the public. When presidents are broadcasted on national television, or published in newspapers and magazines, they aren’t in their natural environment. The photos are refreshing in that they allow us, the viewers, to view the Presidents as “real people.” The images are a way to delve into the personal lives of the presidents.

Works Cited

Stoughton, Cecil. “Father and Daughter.” 1963. Photograph. Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. 23 Feb. 2012.

Help Protect Our Environment

Works Cited

Lambert, Phil. “New Pictures – and more on Wild Camping.” 1 Feb. 2008. Photograph. England. Web. 20 Feb. 2012.

Madden, Chris. “Chris Madden Environment Cartoon #1.” 31 May 2005. Illustration. Web. 19 Feb. 2012.

A Day To Remember

The marriage between Prince William and Catherine “Kate” Middleton took place on April 29, 2011. The wedding was located in Westminster Abbey in London, England.  Although this event didn’t take place here in the United States, it was an international spectacle that everyone was talking about. The union between a commoner and an heir to the royal throne took over the media for weeks and weeks. Kate Middleton, a woman raised in a normal family, was marrying into royalty. After meeting in 2001 at the University of St. Andrews, they were finally making their 10-year romance official for the entire world to see.

I think this was a very well-captured photo as it accurately  portrays the elegance and joy that was the royal wedding. Kate Middleton (now known as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) looks elated, yet poised as a newly throned Princess. Every girl wanted to be her, every girl wanted to be wearing her dress. Their hands interlocked also exemplify the union that they have just solidified and how they will be seen as a couple together forever. The House of Windsor is well represented in this photo; if you look closely, you can also see Prince Harry in the background. The image as a whole is a way to illustrate family and union. The colors stand out–the contrast between Kate’s dress and Prince William’s uniform are vibrant and immediately noticeable. The focus on the newly married couple draws the viewers in, where as the background is much darker.

This image signifies more than a newly married couple. It signifies the beginning of a new generation. Queen Elizabeth has been in reign since 1952, so it is understandable to say that the royal throne is a bit outdated. Prince William and Duchess Catherine embody a younger generation. They have introduced fresh and unique perspectives. Duchess Catherine is now seen as a fashion icon. Her dress was publicized almost as much as the wedding itself. The dress was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen and immediately became a huge hit (There are now imitations out on the market for commoners to purchase and feel like royalty). This day marked a tremendous moment in history as it was watched by the entire world. The event was broadcasted on 11 different television networks, drawing in over 26 million viewers (Thomas). This image and other visual representations of the Royal Wedding gave the millions of people who were unable to witness the wedding firsthand the opportunity to be a part of the momentous union. We live in a visual culture and experience historical events through visual images like the one below.

Works Cited

Grant, Alistair. “Prince William and Kate Middleton Royal Wedding.”  29 Apr. 2011. Photograph. London. Web. 13 Feb. 2012.

Thomas, Liz. “Kate Middleton and Prince William’s Wedding Beats X Factor and Strictly in TV Ratings War.”  Dailymail, 21 Dec. 2011. Web. 14 Feb. 2012.

The Davenport Coffee Lounge

Are you falling asleep in classes? Do you need a quick caffeine fix on the way to your 8:55? There is no better place to stop by than the Davenport Coffee Lounge, or as true Eagles call it, The Dav. This cozy shop is conveniently located in the newly renovated SIS building. It is a one-stop shop that will satisfy all of your cravings. The menu ranges from an espresso shot to hot chocolate to its famous chai. Not only are there drinks to quench your thirst, but their fresh and delicious pastries are to die for as well. The catchy tunes create a pleasant atmosphere that might make you want to stay and sit for a while. Whether you’re looking to get some studying in or to chat with some friends, The Dav is where it’s at.

Not only will you be eating and drinking the best stuff around, but your purchases will also be helping fellow students earn some extra cash. This impressive non-profit business is completely student run. The Dav prides itself in its eco-friendly products and even gives discounts for those who use reusable mugs. Don’t have a mug? No problem, The Dav has mugs for everyone to use. In addition to its eco-conscious products, The Dav is also a member of the DC Tap It movement. This means that anyone with a reusable water bottle can stop by and get water free of charge.

Did we mention the college budget-friendly prices? Compared to those other coffee places on campus like Megabytes or the Mud Box, The Dav is practically free! Speaking of free, in efforts to welcome new customers, The Dav will soon release its new Delectable Dav card. This new addition will allow customers to receive even more benefits than before, with one free drink after only 10 purchases!

With a fancy new logo and a couple new locations across campus and around Tenleytown, this coffee shop has the potential to be the next Starbucks. But in order for this to happen, we not only need the support of AU students, but also the surrounding community. So spread the word of this up and coming coffee shop to everyone you know, and stop by The Dav today!

Find The Davenport Coffee Lounge on Facebook or visit http://thedav.wordpress.com/ for more information.

Works Cited
Notsogrounded. The Davenport Coffee Lounge. 2 Oct. 2011. Photograph. American University. Web. 30 Jan 2012.
http://notsogrounded.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/the-davenport-coffee-lounge/
B., Pete. AU – The Davenport Coffee Lounge. 31 May 2011. Photograph. American University. Web. 30 Jan 2012.
https://foursquare.com/v/au–davenport-coffee-lounge/4b83f773f964a520cd1831e3

TheDav. The Davenport Coffee Lounge. Photograph. American University. Web. 30 Jan 2012.
http://thedav.wordpress.com/about/pictures/

The Davenport Coffee Lounge. The Davenport Coffee Lounge. 4 Dec 2011. Photograph. American University. Web. 30 Jan 2012.
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150417967502075&set=pu.158307062074&type=1&theater