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Assignment #8

One of the most successful comic book companies of all time, Marvel Comics broke onto the scene just before the start of World War II.   The company was started in 1939, originally referred to as Timely Comics, and bounced around New York City before finally settling down at its current home in the Empire State Building. Marvel Comics’ first editor was Joe Simon, who doubled as both a writer and artist. Working alongside the famous Jack Kirby, Simon created the smash hit known as Captain America.

As the new millennium brought us into the Twenty First Century, Marvel is widely regarded as the industry leader. But that was not always the case. When Marvel first came about in 1939, they did not instantly jump to the forefront. At that time, the company known as DC Comics dominated the market. With comic book megaliths Superman and Batman, no company could compete with DC. As mentioned in the video, that all changed following the end of the Golden Era. Comic books began to fall by the wayside after World War II. Before  long, there was a resurgence. This is when Marvel broke away to lead the pack, establishing themselves as the front runner of the comic book industry.

Personally, my favorite superhero is Superman. While not a creation of Marvel, Superman is the first thought people have when they hear the word “superhero.” It is in the name itself. He has been around for so long and has been at the forefront of the comic book industry nearly the entire time.

Other superheroes have been forced to change their image or worse, accept back up roles to other, more popular characters. Even the great Batman became the Dark Knight because fans had grown tired of his original persona. At another point, he was a secondary character to other heroes because his stories were not interesting enough themselves. Even his sidekick Robin was not able to save Batman’s image. Superman never had this problem. While he experienced slow times, he always has been and always will be the Man of Steel. It is an integral part of comic book culture and that is why he is my favorite superhero.

Quesada, Joe. “Marvel Comics History and Marvel Comics         Background.” World Collectors Net. Web. 11 Apr. 2012.


Assignment #7

After watching both Pride and Prejudice and The Piano, I feel as though the two movies tell the same story. However, the methods used to do so differ greatly. Both movies involve stories of love. Centered around female protagonists, young women in particular, the movies take us on a journey as we follow the women in their pursuit of love.

In Pride and Prejudice, the main character Elizabeth is very outgoing. She has absolutely no qualms whatsoever with speaking her mind. She does this frequently, telling off just about anyone who angers her. Following her through the story, one has no trouble at all understanding her thoughts and feelings because she expresses herself so clearly through her words.

On the other hand, Ada, the main character in The Piano, hardly speaks at all. In fact, she communicates exclusively through sign language. This provides a very interesting contrast to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice. However, Ada is also very adept at making her thoughts and feelings known and understood by those around her. Even without speaking, Ada uses the tools available to send her messages non-verbally. Through her facial expressions and body language, one can understand the emotions she is trying to convey without much difficulty.

After viewing both films, I can’t say that one is superior to the other in terms of conveying the story. While using two entirely different strategies, the writers and directors of each managed to create films in which the story line as well as the thoughts and feelings of the characters are communicated very clearly. Pride and Prejudice took a very direct approach using words instead of symbolism, which worked for the film. On the opposite side of the fence, The Piano was forced to emphasize visual communication. While it is fair to say that the visual symbolism of The Piano is superior to that of Pride and Prejudice, I do not believe that this negatively affects the latter. It can be argued that Pride and Prejudice is a better film because it might be easier for some people to understand. Either way, I feel as though these two movies should be lauded for the way they convey their messages, regardless of the methods used to do so.

Assignment #6

The dragon has been an important symbol of Chinese culture for a very long time. In fact, the first known uses of this icon date back to 3000 BC. The dragon represents all Chinese people. The people of China actually call themselves “”Long De Chuan Ren” (Descendents of the Dragon). In particular, the dragon also represents the emperor. Some believe that they were real dragons themselves. Everything associated with the emperor included the word dragon. He slept on dragon beds, sat on the dragon seat throne, and wore dragon robes. For a period of time, he was the only person allowed to wear clothing that included dragons with five claws. The dragon was also seen as a symbol of power. They were believed to scare away unwanted beings. It is not uncommon to see buildings decorated with dragons as a means of warding off these spirits.

The Chinese calendar also has a year of the dragon. Coming once every twelve years, it is believed to be a lucky year. As a matter of fact, everything associated with dragons is believed to be lucky. Children born during these times are believed to exhibit certain personality traits. These people are supposed to be strong and confident. They hold themselves to high standards and expect greatness. They can be impulsive and have a tendency to ignore the advice of others.

These beliefs contrast very much with Western views on dragons. While Europeans still respected the power of the mythical beasts, they did not view them in a positive light. In most stories, dragons were the antagonists and represented evil. It was always a noble knight who went and challenged the dragon that was revered. Overcoming the powerful being was a great way to become a hero in the eyes of Europeans. I find it interesting how the two cultures have such radically different views on the same creature. While both are in awe of the incredible power, one side sees them as the root of evil, while the other culture worships the beast and associates the dragon with good fortune and positive personality traits.

All information courtesy of

Assignment #5

The image above depicts a portion of the wreckage from the Columbia Space Shuttle explosion of 2003. This display shows a great artistic eye from the Newseum, who found a very appropriate setting in which to display the remains. The exhibit has a wonderful backdrop; the adjacent wall is lined with scores of newspaper headlines discussing the tragedy. Considering the Newseum is a celebration of the media, the newspapers are a necessary component of the exhibit. However, their value is much greater than a tribute to journalists; they also serve as a perfect backdrop for the wreckage. Their predominantly white color contrasts well with the rusted metal of the shuttle. The color pictures also do a fantastic job of occupying space so that the background is  not too boring. I feel as though a perfect balance is struck between boring and distracting.

The cultural implications of the exhibit are also very important. This was a defining moment in American history, a tragedy in which the entire country could unite and grieve as one. There were no winners on this day in 2003. Everyone involved was hurt. I feel as though the display does a fantastic job of embodying this feeling. The wreckage has a final opportunity to rear its ugly head. The imposing structure juts upward into the air on  a diagonal, its bent and maimed metal symbolizing the ugliness of the tragedy. The rust contributes to this feeling as well. The Newseum might not be as much of an attraction as the major buildings that surround it, but the Columbia Space Shuttle Exhibit is a wonderful display to which the entire country has a connection, making it a very important part of American culture.

Assignment #4

Original image courtesy of

Assignment #3

Stonehenge in 2007

This image is courtesy of

The picture above is Stonehenge, a very recognizable arrangement of stones. No one is quite sure what purpose the rocks serve, but most hypothesize that it was intended to predict the positions of stars and planets. This monument is incredibly important; it is included as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This particular image signifies the incredulous task of arranging the stones. This vantage point gives us a great view of the blocks, highlighting their gargantuan size. It also shows the rocks stacked on top of each other, giving the viewer an idea of how much work went into the arrangement. A topic less frequently discussed is the surrounding land. As you can see from this angle, the ground is not completely flat. Ridges and knolls speckle the land, obviously complicating the process of transporting the blocks. This vantage point does a fantastic job of symbolizing the hard work required to complete this project, done many years ago by ancient people.

The lighting of the image gives it an interesting effect. With very soft shades of green and blue, the outer portions of the photo give it a tranquil feeling. This is only increased by the presence of the white clouds. This soft background provides the perfect contrast for the dark, imposing structure. This mix allows for the true power of the dark gray object to be highlighted, maximizing the aura of strength that emanates from Stonehenge.

Assignment #2

The goal of this advertisement was to keep things simple. As a product that targets middle-aged people, we wanted an image that didn’t jump off the page at its viewers. To stick to our goal, we chose a soft, pastel color. Combined with plenty of white space, we feel as though we accomplished our mission to not be obnoxious.

Again with the simplicity theme, we used the Helvetica font. As discussed in class, Helvetica is a simple font that doesn’t push anyone away. To keep things legible, we divided the text between the top and bottom of the advertisement. Our message was fairly long, and to make it aesthetically pleasing, we tried to avoid bunching it up. Again this helps to keep things simple.

Relating the image to the product, the bottle is slim, especially compared to the colored rectangle below it. Subconsciously, this shows the viewer what this product will do. Drink it to help keep your body healthy and slim.

Please note that this is an edited picture originally produced by the Izze brand.