A Canadian Anijam

Spotted this recently – the first Canadian Anijam. An Anijam is a collaboration of animators to create a cohesive piece. In this case 15 Canadian animators produced Yellow Sticky Notes~Canadian Anijam.  These animators are spread out over the whole country.  Each worked on their own component, independent of the others , without knowing what the others were creating for their sequences. The prompt for  these sequences was to self reflect on one day of their lives using only 4×6 inch yellow sticky notes, a black pen and animation meditation. Starting with a ‘to do’ list written on the day of a memorable event, the animators transitioned from text to imagery by utilizing ‘animation meditation’ to create a visually animated poem.

For more information – how-to video & related products visit the official site – Yellow Sticky Notes- Canadian Anijam.

Pulp Covers & Movie Posters – The Age of Necro-media

Necro-media is a concept that I have been exploring on my Dark Pines Photo blog. Necro-media refers to both the codes & conventions (forms) of mass media and media content that were dominant in the past. Necro-media is often rediscovered by a new generation.

Click image to read Doc WordPress adventures

Click image to read Doc WordPress adventures

This generation may embrace it in its original form, (lovers of Old Time Radio, silent films, or original pulp/fictional detectives) or they re-purpose the medium, such as those who take up Alternative Photographic processes or attempt to emulate them using digital darkroom methods.



Necro-media grows out of the seventh Mass Media Principle (full list of principles here):


A new mass media technology will initially borrow the content and imitate the conventions of the mass medium that is currently dominant in a society.



Shakespeare borrowed ideas for plot & characters from earlier folk tales, historical accounts, and early prose narratives. Early photography of the 19th century used the codes and conventions of portraiture & landscape painting. In the 20th century, early cinema & radio broadcasts borrowed from the theatre, popular novels and the then growing popular ( North American Pulps ) magazines.


Around the 1970s a change occurred. Mass Media hit a period of steady state. Movies, television, radio and print achieved an uneasy balance of power. Each had carved out a segment of the target audience’s attention. Each medium, based on their particular codes & conventions, played to their strengths to hold on to the audience, create sufficient demand, and generate revenue. Contemporary content, both escapist & serious, became more dominant.

The Deer Hunter Poster

If movies or television borrowed from print, it was more likely to be based on the current best-selling work of fiction or none fiction.

On Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

As the cost of producing movies & television shows with historical settings became more and more prohibitive, the past retreated further into print & memory.

Romance & Westerns cvs

Ironically, there was a subtle shift towards the creation of future realities and fantasy realms that seemed to be as much a re-interpretation of the past as visions of the future.

Fantasy SciFi movie posters

The saturation of cinema & television content that was grounded in contemporary & futuristic settings combined with the gradual drift away from print. It catered to a youthful audience and their shared mass media experience built up a set of values, belief and ideologies. This target audience was centred on present day concerns & anticipation of a potentially bright future. As a consequence, the passage of time & social change was disconnecting them from the past. The past, when it was presented, became either a romantic fantasy escape or a commentary on the present. Even the Detective of the 1930s became a means of exploring contemporary issues.

Chinatown & Dark Shadows

With the arrival of information age and the pervasiveness of social media in the 21st century, cinema, television and print media are now on the verge of being fully integrated into the internet . This is more than a change of delivery system. Just as photography is both a medium and media content, so now have cinema, television and print been consumed/incorporated into new media.

The old approach of borrowing the content & codes and conventions of previous media no longer applies when the previous media becomes the content of the new. What we now see is media consuming media. Scrambling for revenue through new content, the snake is swallowing its tail. In an effort to produce more content, creativity becomes a process of cannibalizing the past. No longer just a snake, mass media becomes the hydra , chomping at its many heads to grow more of the same.



Fantasy SciFi 2 movie posters

Movies, like novels and series televisions, must have sequels. When the sequels run out of steam, reboot the whole series and start again. Not satisfied with print media as its source, cinema will repeat past cinema success or even more telling, turn old television shows into movies in the hopes of catching a ready-made audience and insuring profitable sequels. With television also revisiting its past, the once “humble” comic book & graphic novel has become a potential ready-made source for huge profits, as the two media compete for content.


 Hero wall


The comic book now looks to extending the life of old television series and capture the attention of the related target audience.

 BG cv

The theatrical stage, which is another form of mass media, is not immune. Broadway versions of movies are becoming more common, while cinema & television are dipping their toes into the musical form.

It is difficult to tell where the trend of Necro-media will go. When it is used effectively and creatively it can produce a theatrical production such as Avenue Q, which played with the tropes of Sesame Street or innovative pieces of digital art or online video. Unfortunately, the business demands of the mass media industry have had a difficult time adapting to new forms of media and mass  media technology. The old models are not working and creative new content is limited. In all likelihood, new content and forms will not originate within the traditional industries, but will appear in the hinterland of self-production. A tweet drama or a hyper-texted musical ? A multimedia online narrative or a serialized flash mob mystery novel ? The possibilities are there. It may be happening now.

Nelson Mandela – “The master of classic horror” ?

So I was checking the comic & media news-site, Comic Book Resources (CBR), and noticed something odd on the right side of the screen where they feature previews of the latest comics & graphic novels. The list is set up as small icon pictures of the covers & titles of the most recent updates. There was one title and cover that just looked a bit off – Tribute: Nelson Mandela #1.

nelson mandella- Vincent Price1

The cover featured what appeared to be Vincent Price choking Peter Lorre. Curious to see just how far the web-page error went I clicked the link. 

nelson mandella- Vincent Price2

As you can see the error continues with the incorrect title accompanying the preview and correct content description. I have seen this problem occur from time to time on this site, but not with such an absurd & ironic result. Here is the cover:

Vincent Price tribute Cv

 To be fair, if the reader clicked the link, Browse for similar previews they would find the actual preview for the Nelson Mandela Tribute comic

Nelson Mandela tribute Cv

The Bluewater Comics provides an interesting range of material. The target audience  includes the family friendly, educational, entertainment, and literacy/reluctant-reader grouping. Topics range from current celebrities to iconic political & entertainment figures.

Baby Princeling George

Meredith Vierra

Note: Bat-man costume altered to prevent copyright issues.

Note: Bat-man costume altered to prevent copyright issues.

There are attempts at broad entertainment, intended to appeal to both the tween and teen demographics of both genders. There are some strange blends of audience appeal, trying to hold to family values and not upset conservative American educational systems/boards, while courting the young audience of the 21st century. While it appears that sexual orientation is avoided initially and  there were no  celebrities or political figures strongly associated with equality issues related to this issue – see Anderson Cooper bio comic and Raven HIV hero. Religious & political issues appear to emphasize Christian and conservative values for the most part. The previews suggest a moral lesson in life stories. Katy Perry started out as a Christian singer before becoming a pop-singer – ‘she’s been married, divorced, and she’s performed in front of millions”. Sam Kinison starts with “humble roots as a preacher” before becoming a Rock and Roll Comedian and ending life in tragic death.

Katy Perry

Did she kiss the girl ?

Trying to appeal to the rebellious teen without offending the parent ?

Sam Kinison

Many of the illustrations, based on the previews do not have the same style or sophisticated quality of many of the larger superhero oriented companies, such as Marvel, DC, and Image or Dark Horse. Some seem to be a bit more edgy, if the celebrity/story-line, such as Kinison, attracts a different target audience. This brings up some other confusion/conflicts in target audience. Compare covers for style & content – it seems to be all over the place, trying to serve two masters.

Katy perry cv

For girls the Katy Perry paper doll – body image ?


A classic role model from Canadian literature ?

Ane Grn-Gables Cv

For boys Vertigo / EC comics inspire art & stories………. ?


Fantasy horror & adventure


The Real adventure of America’s Armed Forces.

Navy cvTruth, Justice and the American Way ?

Al Frankin cv

Separation of Church and State.

Jesus FaithPick your hero.

Claw & Fang cv

Banished from Earth over three thousand years ago by a powerful young Celtic King, the demon Noro has had time to plot his revenge.

Mix Fantasy worlds of action, adventure & supernatural horror.

Jesus E. Lee cv

Is he Jesus? Is he Robert E. Lee? Is he both? Jesus E. Lee fights to defend Richmond, VA from the evil onslaught of Angel Eyes.

Discover classic heroes of the past from literature & cinema.

Classic Victorian hero, but what is She wearing ?

Classic Victorian hero, but what is She wearing ?

Where for art thou Juliet ?  Apparently the 21st century

Where for art thou Juliet ? Apparently the 21st century

Flyinf cv

!950′s Sci-Fi classics come back to invade young minds. Or is it invasion of nostalgia Oldies ?

Bluewater  should be commended on its effort at diversity. This is a problem faced by the comic book & graphic novel publishers. The potential target audience is very diverse, but public perception combined with marketing practices have created barriers to connecting the product with the appropriate audience. Gender and age have been the greatest problem in identify and reaching a specific demographic group. Bluewater appears to be trying to negotiate this complex market; sales through iTunes and other eBook formats may help overcome this hurdle, as may reaching out to educators and targeting reluctant readers & the tween market. Unfortunately, at times,  it feels like it is immersed in a late 1950′s world; it can not make up its mind whether it is following the EC comics tradition or trying to be Dell comics, or Illustrated Classics . Perhaps Nelson Mandela – “The master of classic horror” does accurately sum up their present situation. Their future success will tell the tale.

Is Your Disney Vacation Too Deadly ?

Disney vacation1

This post is not about Disney vacations , nor is it about how “The genetic lineage of Europe mysteriously transformed about 4,500 years ago“. It is about Media Principles and Advertising on web-sites. I happened upon a news article about research into the genetic history of Europe and recent discoveries related to that research. What caught my eye was the image I have posted above.

Disney vacation2

Now the image and the ad placement was intended to catch the eye of the viewer. Unfortunately, the content of the ad and the content & context of the image did not go together. What this produced, besides a funny & ironic digital moment, was a classic example of a poorly placed advertisement in a constructed reality to which it did not belong.


One of the Principles of Media is that a message is shaped by the type of mass media used and that the unintended messages can be conveyed based on the codes and conventions of a particular medium. Visual images and short eye-catching slogans & headers can be powerful advertising and marketing tools. However, if you are not in total control of the image that will be placed with your marketing message, then be prepared for your message to be unintentionally modified.


This can be a serious problem for advertisements & marketing messages that are part of online sites, be they blogs, news or entertainment websites. You must know your target audience and the target audience of the website where the advertisement is placed. You must be aware of what images your message is placed near, or, as in this case, attached .

New marketing Idea

The results may be minor amusement for the viewer or perhaps create an offensive connotation with the advertised product or service. Something to think about, along with whether those missing Europeans all went to Disney World and never came back.


Note: Links to the original news item are provided in the post. Clicking images will take you to image sources or related topic links.  For another interesting and amusing example of a message going wrong see “Aren’t You Sorry You Don’t Live in South Carolina? ” , a post by blogger  Andra Watkins.

Perfect Context With These Ideas

I was going through the WordPress Blog Reader, checking out recent posts, when I happened upon this listing, Your Wedding Can Be Perfect With These Ideas . The Reader features a linked title, opening paragraph and a featured image. This what I saw:

Wedding Suggestions

They say a picture is worth “lots of words” – it also depends on context. If you click the link above to read the full post, you will see that the featured image makes perfect sense within the context of the actual post, layout and related text. However, the automatically generated Reader posting alters the text & image layout, creating a very different context.

The basic Principles of Mass Media apply to the Reader. The context of the text & image constructs a reality, conveying intended and unintended messages. While the situation that arose with the wedding planning post is rare & humorous, bloggers should keep in mind that their featured images might change context when they show up in the Reader. I will be curious to see how this post appears in the Reader.

Now any suggested wedding planning tips ? ……..

“Don’t place the bassinet before the proposal”, as grandmother would say.

Update: By the time I made this post  the blog that I referenced had disappeared. Now that is strange.