Splash Pages and Freeze Rays:Stasis and Speed in Superhero Media
Abstract: All sequential art creates the impression of animated spaces using only still images, but superhero comics have further developed their own hyperbolic mechanisms to show motion. I will explore what formal effects superhero narratives have on sequential art, and how the peculiar spatial and temporal aspects of the medium best represent the impossible abilities. I will explore the conceptual cues designed to illustrate super-speed on the comic book page, as well as how recent animated and live-action superhero narratives must replace motion created in the non-space of the “gutter” with new narrative conventions and special effects.
Biographical Statement: Martyn Pedler is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Melbourne, currently completing his interdisciplinary thesis on superhero narratives. Since receiving his Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne in 2003, his work on the transmedia incarnations of superheroes has been published in The Contemporary Comic Book Superhero (2008), Overland journal (2008), and the forthcoming Visual Crossover: Reading Graphic Narrative and Sequential Art. He has published widely as an arts critic, providing material for Senses of Cinema, The Australian Ballet, Madman DVD’s “Directors Suite” releases, and Lounge Critic: The Couch Theorist’s Companion (2004).