The Parallelogram's Revenge

Discuss Scott McCloud's current online comic project. Be sure to check out <a href="http://www.scottmccloud.com/comics/mi/mi.html">the latest improv</a>!

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Greg Stephens
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Post by Greg Stephens »

And you're a nut.

(Somebody had to say it.)
Good morning! That's a nice tnetennba.

Rip Tanion
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Post by Rip Tanion »

Am I really a nut? Or is it McCloud who is insane...insane with POWER!

OK, I'll admit, this joke is wearing a bit thin, but when Fluffy's comment mentioned psychological manipulation, I couldn't resit a goofy reply. That would have been that, but you all kept feeding me inspiration to flesh out this paranoid fantasy.

Or maybe it isn't a goofy fantasy...maybe McCloud IS trying to take over the world.

(cue spooky music)

Hmm, maybe I should go and write a story about a meglomaniacal cartoonist who has visions of world domination; controlling people's minds through his voodoo artwork. I'll call it "The Storm McClouds of DOOM!"

Don't send the men in the white coats for me just yet.
"Park the beers, and grab the smiles. It's flight time." - LtCdr. J. Robert "Bobby" Stone, USN (R.I.P.)

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Post by losttoy »

Wikkit wrote:
losttoy wrote:Scott has never and probably will never tell the "meaning" behind his stories/art. He thinks himself as a true artist who wants the veiwer/reader to find the meaning themselves and does not get in the way of the veiwer/reader finding their own meaning.
Pretty funny that you post this in the thread dedicated to the MI where Scott went back and changed the narrative in order to restrict the possible interpretations.
Yes, he did go back to add a few more panels, but he never did tell us what it meant. It was more like adding stuff he forgot.
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Post by Wikkit »

lottsoy wrote:Yes, he did go back to add a few more panels, but he never did tell us what it meant. It was more like adding stuff he forgot.
We disagreed about this on page two, and it doesn't look like ether of us have changod our minds. We'll just have to agree to disagree, as we seem to do on every topic here.

Ben

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Post by losttoy »

Woah, where did that come from? I thought I was making friendly chatter ... nothing serious. I did not realize that there was this big "disagreement" or anything. Sorry.
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Nina

some thoughts

Post by Nina »

okay, i have to get this all down before i forget. i quit reading these posts after the third page. it was getting to be a little overwhelming... i'll continue later.

someone pointed out that the colours could not mean gender because the kids turn out as "mixed" and proposed they signified races instead. however, i doubt that this is the case since all squares are blue and all circles are green. i think they are more like the expected gender roles of that society. the parallelogram is red because he is a misfit (also, possibly, a virgin?), probably as a result of his physical deformity. the kids are mixed because they haven't reached, or finished, puberty yet, and are not yet completely masculine/feminine, at least in the sense of adult roles.

also, i don't think the square killed the circle as a direct result of a single argument. obviously, they were an unhappy couple for a long time. i think the reason they had so many kids was to convince themselves that everything was okay, look at our loving family, let's not let ourselves think about the disaster we've become. but there was always tension and arguments. finally the square just lost it.

finally, i belive the "eternity" symbol means marriage. a more obvious one would have been wedding bands, but shapes don't have fingers, so that wouldn't make sense. then again, how do the houses get built? are they just drawn? the tombstones, i think, might actually be the shapes themselves, transformed into tombstone shapes. kind of like in "the sims" : dead sims aren't actually buried or incinerated, but netherleless there is a tombstone or urn where they died.

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Post by DecafSilicon »

losttoy wrote:Scott has never and probably will never tell the "meaning" behind his stories/art. He thinks himself as a true artist who wants the veiwer/reader to find the meaning themselves and does not get in the way of the veiwer/reader finding their own meaning. Afteral, that is art. Art can be a communication tool, however it can be a living changing entity.
Only according to a Reader Response theorist is this true art. As a historicist, I'd argue that Scott's experiences, his intentions, and the context in which he wrote the comic point to certain interpretations that are more valid than others. Valid, that is, by coming closer to Scott's intentions.

My historicist view is not the only defensible position, but I find it the most sensible.

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art interpretation

Post by kaos_de_moria »

especially in this case of the MI i'd say it would be intresting to see the the piece of art in the context of it's discourse, and as long as the stor improves as a real improvisation there must be an influence on the result from the discourse within this forum - while the discourse of course is influenced by the improving improvisation. :D

kaos

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Post by DecafSilicon »

A give-and-take of reader and writer during the creation. I'd love to find examples of this in web prose.

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Post by Surlyben »

On days when I am feeling all postmodern, my take on the Parallelogram's Revenge is this: The whole thing is a metaphor for the slashdot website. And how it would be cooler without the squares... :)

In noticed it the other day when Scott's blog was talking about how he had been /.'d! and he had the thumbnail for Parallelogram on the front page.

It could also be seen as being about the relationship between webcomics artists and their audience. In which case the conversation about money could be the audience demanding more comics and the artist not having the cash to cover bandwidth charges. The parallelogram is some alternate delivery method or payment scheme that the artist rejected when young and unknown, but now that it is needed, the scheme is dead and buried.

Heh. All that is probably reading too much into it.
--
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Post by Guest »

the red parallelogram disappears, to be immediately replaced by a bunch of green squares that sort of resemble a tree. If the parallelogram had remained in the picture as the vegatation overtook him, it would have been clearer.
Actually, I thought the tree thing was showing time, seasons passing to represent a year and then during square & circle's marriage, 10 years.

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Post by DecafSilicon »

Surlyben wrote:... the slashdot website. And how it would be cooler without the squares...
Am I the only one who thinks slashdot is butt ugly?

spinclad

the infinity sign

Post by spinclad »

I'd like to note that the lazy-eight sign (also called a lemniscate, or `ribbon') has traditionally been known as a (true) lovers' knot, signifying the endless quality of their love; and that marriage is called `tying the knot' (perhaps the same one?). This seems to fit its use in this improv perfectly.

Sierra

what I saw

Post by Sierra »

I'm strange, I was a whole little story. That the circl got in the very porblem it was trying to avoid. She didn't want a dull life, but then again he could of told she was going to be an angel. She saw what she beleive to be her life. After she got hit, when to him to ask for help. Or after she got hit turn to nun, like he turn in to a man of god. Ahhh to many answer.

Paige

Post by Paige »

The plot is easy. the 'gram wants to marry the circle. the circle says no. the circle marries a square. they have children; too many in fact so they end up with an inadaquit amout of money to support their large family. so the square abuses the circle, perhaps to get rid of it. so the circle is badly wounded and travels to the grave of the 'gram to weep for what might have been. just as the 'gram died of a broken heart, the circle dies the same.

thats my interpretation anyway.

macsnafu

Open to interpretation

Post by macsnafu »

Well, quite an interesting little story!
When I first read it, it seemed like a rather straightforward story of rejection and lament: the circle rejects the parallelogram's proposal and later on ends up lamenting the rejection after living with the square for several years.
I, too, had trouble initially with understanding the parallelogram's "proposal" until after I had read more of the story. The passing of time with the tree wasn't immediately obvious, either.
After reading other people's comments, I see things that I missed, but it's open to interpretation how significant those things are. I noticed that there were no other red parallelograms, for example, but didn't make much of it. I certainly didn't infer any racial qualities to it. I didn't notice the fact that the shapes seem unpaired in the first panel, but are more distinctly paired in the later panel. I also didn't catch on to the "mixed" color of the children.
I did assume that the squares (and the parallelogram) were male and that the circles were female, but it wasn't based solely on their shapes, but also on the fact that the square and parallelogram initiated contact by their proposals to the circle, and that they were depicted as being on top during sex (yes, I know it could be either way, but we're talking about symbolism to get across an idea, not a literal view of reality).
But I think the main point is that Scott is exploring what elements are necessary to a story. How simple, how abstract, can the pictures be and still tell a meaningful story? The pictures show shapes as "people", the abstract tree changing across panels to show the passage of time (but the "x10" was an awkward way of showing the passage of ten years), the infinity symbol to represent marriage.
The word balloons show us the general gist of the shapes' conversations without giving us specific details. We know that the square and the circle argued over the crowded house and a lack of money, but without knowing specifically what they were saying. We know that the circle rejected the parallelogram's proposal, but we don't really know why.
Aspects of the story are open to interpretation precisely because the story is so abstract and minimal. While Scott himself may have had a specific view or interpretation of the story, he was either trying to see how minimal he could be in tellling that story, or he is inviting the reader to interpret it for themselves with its abstractness and vagueness of the details.
All in all, quite an interesting story.

carvalhosteven@hotmail

Parallelogram's revenge

Post by carvalhosteven@hotmail »

Bravo! Parallelogram's revenge is very symbolic!l Never before has so clearly been expressed what happens when a love, once rejected will never be known, and will forever be missed with regret when the promise of chosen love turns sour.

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Post by DecafSilicon »

No, no, no. Totally a Marxist allegory.

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Post by zerofoks »

I just skimmed through the whole last part of this conversation, and am surprised as to the extent that the thoughts have drifted towards ideas already put forward in Flatland - A romance of many dimensions, published in 1884 by Edwin A. Abbott. In it, a two-dimensional society exists in which the male individuals are being ranked in a hierarchy depending on how round they are, the one that is closest to being a circle being at the top. The women, however, are pointy, sharp and dangerous beings, who are able to hurt and kill their fellow men in the matter of seconds if they get out of control.

It is a very enlightening story, very rational, philosophical and funny, and I can only advise those interested in the connection of geometry and other fields of human knowledge to read it - it is available in its entirety in the link I provided above.

A little excerpt:
If our highly pointed Triangles of the Soldier class are formidable, it may be readily inferred that far more formidable are our Women. For, if a Soldier is a wedge, a Woman is a needle; being, so to speak, all point, at least at the two extremities. Add to this the power of making herself practically invisible at will, and you will perceive that a Female, in Flatland, is a creature by no means to be trifled with.
And this is just the two-dimensional world. One-dimensional, zero-dimensional and three-dimensional worlds are also being treated.
<a href="http://www.radicalartistfoundation.de/zero.htm" target=_blank">zerofoks @ the Radical Artist Foundation</a>

Kiru Banzai

cummings and goings

Post by Kiru Banzai »

It's a dramatization of <a href="http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~richie/poet ... ml">anyone lived in a pretty how town,</a>

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Post by Guest »

DeForgeo wrote:Eep. Geometry voilence.
:evil:
sferrell wrote:Patrick Stewart is working with Amnesty International in its campaign to end violence against women. I applaud his efforts, and the strength he shows in documenting his own troubled relationship with his father who beat his mother. However, I don't necessarily agree with his argument that movies like "Kill Bill" are demonstrating a negative stereotype. He states that all "Kill Bill" does is make it acceptable for women to kill other women. I think he's oversimplified the film. How many men does The Bride face? How many women? What context is the violence in?

Voilence against women is tragic, an epidemic, and culturally destructive, but not every depiction of violence comes from the same place, nor does every depiction of violence have the same result. When The Bride stands with her sword at the ready she is not simply an abused woman, she is a former villain who is seeking revenge. It is the Clint Eastwood "Man with no name" figure with the shadowy past whom you root for in his personal quest because you start following him at a point where he is sympathetic (near death, or at the death of a loved one) but whom you might not support if you were given more information. The context of the violence, the role that the "hero" figure plays in movies like "Kill Bill" or a revenge flick like "Unforgiven" is not as simply placed as Stewart argues. I agree that violence against women in Hollywood has for too long been either for titillation or out of ignorance simply misguided, but I can think of a half dozen movies with worse depictions of violence against women than "Kill Bill."
:evil:

FriedRiceV2

Post by FriedRiceV2 »

Boy am I late in posting this thing....but it really had me thinking for several hours. Heh, browsing the internet for comics sure can get fun. But well, the only thing I wanted to add for any further viewers of this thread is that I do think the colors of the "characters" have a strong meaning. Seeing how the colors go;

circle-green
square-blue (light blue if you want to get critical about it)
parallellogram-red

Well according to the color wheel, red is the opposite of green while blue sits right next to it on the scale. Heh, I've came up with my own conclusions according to that and I wouldn't want to ruin it for others.

P.S. the square turned into a darker shade on the panel that it striked the circle.

FriedRiceV2

Post by FriedRiceV2 »

Oh, and sorry for double posting as I'm not a member to the forums and can't edit my posts and all, I just needed to say that when the parallellogram spoke to the circle, his speech bubble was white and when she replied it was in black. But later, as the square spoke to the circle his speech bubble was gray and later when they agued it was black. I think the colors had to do a lot with the mood and tone of the conversations. I'm sorry if it was an obvious thing but just wanted to get that off of my chest, heh.

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Post by gareis »

No, no, the grey is clearly an example of subjunctive / optative mood. The black speech bubbles then indicate a negative mood, and somewhat emphatic at that.

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