40. Comicologists Return

Comicologists, page 1

Back on post no. 33, “Comics & Art?” I introduced the “Comicologists.” I had a couple of Comicologists introduce what they explained was a rare comic book fragment of a “Mighty Mutt” comic book story. When I actually got around to doing an introductory 2-page introduction to the Comicologists, I realized revisions were in order.

Comicologists, page 2

The Comicologists were 2-dimensional beings, but I was drawing them like any other cartoon character, as if they were 3-dimensional. If they were really 2-D, they shouldn’t suggest 3 dimensions. I also remembered there was a classic work about a 2-dimensional being encountering 3 dimensions.

The English schoolmaster, mathematician, and theologian Edwin Abbott Abbott wrote a short novel called Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, published in 1884. I’d never read it so I borrowed the book from the library and also watched a short animation narrated by Dudley Moore. It’s a unique book, illustrated by the author, which satirizes English society and also references the notion of a fourth spatial dimension, which had captured the public imagination.

My 2-D Comicologists are considerably different from Abbott’s. They are much more flexible and much less fragile than the beings inhabiting Flatland. Abbott’s imaginary people are represented by geometric shapes. The protagonist is a square. Soldiers are isosceles triangles. Women are straight lines. The clergy are circles. A sharp angle or a point can destroy a Flatland inhabitant.

My guys are true aliens, slowly learning (if not mastering) the English language and the implications of 3 dimensions over many generations. By happy accident the Comicologists have discovered our world’s comic books and through patient, laborious study, they have realized that comics consist of words and pictures and represent in 2 dimensions a 3-dimensional world, and that the words and pictures sometimes reference one another as well as describe space in (to them) a revolutionary way. Insights they have gathered from glimpses into the third dimension have lead to technological innovations in energy sources and computing as well as mathematical, scientific, and cosmological understanding.
This is rather like all the tech we’ve gained from quantum mechanics even though we still don’t fundamentally understand it.

Likewise, I feel I am slowly understanding the universe of the 2-D Comicologists. Ideas about their universe and their culture have started to bubble up in my 3-D brain and could result in 2-D comic book applications if I chose to undertake them.

The problem is they have little to do with my current project, Pause & Reflect Comics. They might even been a red herring, leading me astray. They would have fit much more comfortably in Multiverse Comics and Stories, which I hadn’t planned to continue. So I’m not sure what to do with them.

I did have to redo, for my own satisfaction, the “Might Mutt Fragment” I disclosed in posting no. 33, just to update and rectify my visualization of the Comicologists.

Revised “Mighty Mutt” comic book fragment

I’m the boss. I could include the Comicologists in the new Pause & Reflect Comics series. But it might just be a distraction. If anyone out there has any useful suggestions, I’d be grateful. In the meantime, I will continue to post more of “Multiverse Comics and Stories” in future postings.

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“Multiverse Comics and Stories” is available in print and Kindle versions from Amazon.com. (If you do get the Kindle version, do have a Kindle app or device that can display color or you will be missing out on a whole other…dimension!

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