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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Wikkit
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The Parallelogram's Revenge

Post by Wikkit »

Where does the revenge come in?

I think it's more like "The Circle's Disdain", or "Dismissal All Around"...
"The Pointy is Horny"...
"Feasible Configurations of Barycentric Coordinates Get Shot Down by Pagans"...

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Post by Wikkit »

Ok, so I'm a bit slow. Never mind me.

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Post by losttoy »

I love Morning Improv. Even the Robots love to dance ... sure it was stupid, but it was fun. (Meadow of the Damned was my favorite.)

But "The Parallelogram's Revenge" ...

I don't get it either ... it's been 12 years since I took geometry, but I still remember enough to get along. Anybody want to clue us in?

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Post by Greg Stephens »

I don't think that geometry comes into it.
Good morning! That's a nice tnetennba.

Guest

Post by Guest »

For one thing, I don't believe it's done yet...

But I'm a bit lost too. My daughter and I were trying to decipher the "conversation" between the parallelogram and the circle... No luck though.

Hopefully Scott McC. will check in and enlighten us a bit!

Scott, are ye there???

;-}

John

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Post by Scott McCloud »

But I'm a bit lost too. My daughter and I were trying to decipher the "conversation" between the parallelogram and the circle... No luck though.

Hopefully Scott McC. will check in and enlighten us a bit!
Hmm... Sorry that wasn't clearer. Anyone else want to take a guess, though? I would hate to dictate the meaning at this stage, though I obviously had specific meanings in mind.

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Post by Greg Stephens »

I found it to be perfectly clear. Without going into the gory details, it's a proposal.
Good morning! That's a nice tnetennba.

Guest

Post by Guest »

I gotcha now! It's the 'gram telling the circle what "beautiful music" they could make together. Then the circle tells the 'gram to get lost.

Duh... Sorry to be so clueless!

John

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The Parallelogram's Revenge

Post by losttoy »

Oh ... I think I am getting it now. In the fifth panel the parallelogram says he/she/it wants to send infinity together (nice), and he/she/it wants to "bump" a bit, then the next one I'm a bit confused. Are the brown circles kids? Then the parallelogram says he/she/it wants to die together. Right?
Okay .. the story has gone from confusing to interesting. I am now intrigued to see the next installment.
Thanks Greg! :)

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Re: The Parallelogram's Revenge

Post by Wikkit »

losttoy wrote:Oh ... I think I am getting it now. In the fifth panel the parallelogram says he/she/it wants to send infinity together (nice), and he/she/it wants to "bump" a bit, then the next one I'm a bit confused. Are the brown circles kids? Then the parallelogram says he/she/it wants to die together. Right?
Sounds like you got it.
Okay .. the story has gone from confusing to interesting. I am now intrigued to see the next installment.
As am I.

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Parallelogram's dialogue

Post by nihon »

I was confused too, reading for the first time. Then, this morning, I looked at the dialogue again and I understood it instantly! It's a mistery of human thinking.
By the way, in UC Scott talked about comics artist to suppose what his reader can understand. I think MI can be quite a laboratory to it.

It is very rewarding to understand something at least, thanks Scott!

GG

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Post by Randy »

Okay, now I feel all dirty for watching shapes have sex! :oops:

later,
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Revenge is a dish best served cold

Post by MSUSpar10 »

I found the dialogue pretty straight forward.

I'm wondering about the genetics in our "shape world". Obviously the circles are dominate traights as both Parallelogram and Square ended up with circular kids.

I'm just waiting for Parallelogram to come back and kick Square's butt. Or will he take out his revenge on the circle?

I think Square might be Parallelogram's brother or cousin or something. After all, a sqaure is a parallelogram. Hmmmm....the plot thickens.

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Post by Muskratt »

This really reminds me of demian5. This one MI can be understood by anyone, or at least anyone with an eye ready to anthropomorphize geometric figures. It's got that hip pictographic dialogue down, though I think demian has slightly more endearing characters :wink:

-the Ratt

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Post by Christopher Lundgren »

The first time I looked at it I only saw the first four panels, so it was rather enigmatic. Once I saw more, though, it was perfectly clear. I feel bad for red parallelogram. If Scott's in a good mood by the end, I think maybe his revenge will be that he finds another, even more attractive shape and lives happily ever after. Otherwise I think things might get a little ugly. I wonder what a square's blood looks like... :-?

On another note, that's got to be the first geometric porn I've ever seen. Man, that green circle is HOT! No wonder everybody's after her.

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Post by Scott McCloud »

I wonder what a square's blood looks like...
Probably much like the circle's. See today's entry, just posted.

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Post by MSUSpar10 »

Ouch. Spousal abuse.
Now, I'm really confused about geometric genetics. Circles, ovals and rectangles.
"I'm here to do some card tricks and fall way short on the yardstick of your love."

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Post by IMNNML »

With no explicit gender information given I would be willing to bet that Scott intends and we are all reading the circle as the female. I wonder if shape alone would suffice to communicate gender.

Just thinking: What else might be tipping our interpretation?

1 Who is the subject and who is the object of the propositions.
2 Who is "on top"
3 Nature of the complaints
4 Who strikes the first blow

I wonder how many of these cues could be reversed before a different interpretation would predominate.

I love these "heiroglyphic" comics ("When I Was King" is another brilliant example.) They put in relief all sorts of questions about how we interpret "reality" and language. I hardly care about details of plot or "character." Just the thrill of reading an alternate language tickles me.

Another thought: Does anyone out there know about how comics have been used as research tools?

DeForgeo

Post by DeForgeo »

Eep. Geometry voilence.

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Post by losttoy »

Okay, as the comic was updated it got clearer. Seeing all 31 panels tells a story begining middle and end. The first use of the pictoral language was not understandable until you see it being used again. It reads perfectly now. However, the story is still vauge. What happened between panel 30 and 31? Did the circle die right there (and red parallelogram die on panel 8), or did the blue square's violence lead circle to see that parallelogram was a better choice, then after healing, they found each other again, married, and years later die old together?

While I agree that some art should leave room for interpretation. However, when one is telling a story you should not leave it too open or else you fail to communicate your message. Is that not the purpose of comics, to communicate the idea. Although there is a clear cut story of various shapes in their turbulant life's, I failed to understand what was the meaning to it was.

I am not trying to say that every story has to be deap and meaningful. I enjoyed Interesting Jeff, Inertia Man, Man Eating Shoes and others, for their meaning was clear and simple. They was cute stories/gags meant for one's amusement. With The Parallelogram's Revenge, there was some serious issues being protrayed. Romance, sex, violence, finacial concerns, death, and life were some of the characters in this play, but it is unclear on what McCloud's intentions and views are on these subjects. In my eyes, this improv comic failed. (Not trying to judge you Scott, I still love you and enjoy every one of your stories (except this one). Perhaps an addition is need to clearify the story.)

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Post by Josiah Rowe »

IMNNML wrote:With no explicit gender information given I would be willing to bet that Scott intends and we are all reading the circle as the female. I wonder if shape alone would suffice to communicate gender.

Just thinking: What else might be tipping our interpretation?

1 Who is the subject and who is the object of the propositions.
2 Who is "on top"
3 Nature of the complaints
4 Who strikes the first blow?
I think the height of the parallelogram and the body language as "he" leans over the circle were the first gender clues.

I disagree with losttoy -- I didn't find this story unclear or overly ambiguous. Sad, poignant, yes. But unclear, no.

I suppose the ending is open to multiple interpretations -- but when I read it, it seemed clear that the circle died of her injuries, and her last thought was how much better off she would have been with the parallelogram. And, in an ironic twist, she was buried next to him anyway, just as he had suggested in his initial proposal.

I don't think that the cause of the parallelogram's death is clearly stated in the story -- perhaps he killed himself out of despair, perhaps he merely died of natural causes.

As for the "meaning" of the story: I felt like it was about the emotional tone, the promise and betrayal of love, and the ironic viccisitudes (sp?) of fate. There's a certain O. Henry quality to the finished story that I quite like. It may not be as pat as "Meadow of the Damned", but it's not too vague for me. Still, I suppose it's a matter of taste.

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The parallelogram's revenge

Post by Nathan Phillips »

I don't see any revenge taken. This is a classical tale of the one that got away. The circle passed up the parallelogram who truly cared for it, and so the circle eventually suffered spousal abuse and death as a result of not realizing who really cared for it. I don't think that the parallelogram would get any joy from this ending. This isn't a Rorschach test. It seems very clear.

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Post by Alexander D. »

Josiah Rowe wrote: I the ending is open to multiple interpretations -- but when I read it, it seemed clear that the circle died of her injuries, and her last thought was how much better off she would have been with the parallelogram. And, in an ironic twist, she was buried next to him anyway, just as he had suggested in his initial proposal.
I completely agree -- I didn't find anything ambiguous about the ending. Circle was murdered by square. Granted, there's no immediate panel where the circle lies down with Xs for eyes, but we do go straight from the cirlce lying there bleeding out of a gaping wound to a tombstone -- it's not much of a leap to assume the cirlce died from her immediate injuries.
I don't think that the cause of the parallelogram's death is clearly stated in the story -- perhaps he killed himself out of despair, perhaps he merely died of natural causes.
This was the one part that I found a little hard to follow. Mainly because 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.
As for the "meaning" of the story: I felt like it was about the emotional tone, the promise and betrayal of love, and the ironic viccisitudes (sp?) of fate. There's a certain O. Henry quality to the finished story that I quite like. It may not be as pat as "Meadow of the Damned", but it's not too vague for me.
I agree -- it was a very basic, broadly relevant, and succinct story told in a new way. Most of the story was perfectly clear, even without dialogue, simply because the themes were so familiar.

The one other thing I want to respond to is the poster who commented that what happened in the end wasn't technically revenge. Of course, this is true. On the otherhand, Circle was punnished for her disdain of Parallellogram (I got the impression that she was not gentle in her rejection, though I suppose that's up to interpretation) in a karmically appropriate way. While this doesn't fit the technical definition of revenge, it's not totally incongruous with it either.

I think the really important thing to bear in mind here is that Scott isn't writing a story and then thinking of a perfect title for it. He's starting with a title provided by other people, and then writing whatever story it inspires him to write. Up until now, the ideas inspired by the titles happened to have fit perfectly with the orginial titles. I think it's fair, however, to assume that his muse will occaisionally draw him in a direction that diverges from the original concept that inspired him.

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Whoa...

Post by Penner Theologius Pott »

I totally interpreted this differently than everybody else. See, my first time through - I have no idea why, but in my mind the circle was male. And then, the story was somehow funny - the circle being a jerk, getting smacked, et cetera. When I heard from everyone else that it was female, I went through the story again and was horrified.

NOW - what interests me is what this says about our perception of gender stereotypes (or, unfortunately, about my own :( ) - that I would read a male being struck by a female as humorous and that I would read a female being struck by a male as abusive. Okay, maybe what I'm really horrified by is what this says about myself, but I'm curious if anyone else feels this way - if reading through the story and juxtaposing the gender of the characters affects your reading of the story at all. Anyone?

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