Friday News: Bob Dylan: Nobel Laureate, unread classics, uses of comics
Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize for Literature makes all kinds of sense – So the first USian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in more than 20 years (Toni Morrison in 1993 was the last) is Bob Dylan rather than Philip Roth, as many had expected. How this will fuel the debates over what the Swedish Academy thinks about American literature should be less interesting than thinking about why Dylan won and what it means for a songwriter to win what is possibly the most prestigious literary prize in the world. Like this analysis of Dylan’s win:
It is the songs upon which this prize rests. Songs with words that are meant to be heard not just read; heard as part of a package and delivered in a rhythm, a pattern. Doesn’t that make them something other than literature? The song, the singing and the words are all the poetry: the message and the messenger.
Dylan’s ability to weave lyrical tapestries thick with allusion and illusion, or to be as intoxicating as one of his great influences, Baudelaire, is astonishing. . . .
Those who came in his wake – or still bob in his wake, given he has shown no signs of stopping – have copied, referred to, reacted against and sometimes bested him. But none has been able to find a way to do all that for as long and to keep finding new ways to surprise themselves as much as us. – Sydney Morning Herald
The Classic Books You Haven’t Read – So what “classic” haven’t you read and do you feel bad for not having read it?
Nearly everyone who considers themselves well-read, or just desires to be, has a book, or several, that haunts them—the classic they haven’t read.
Some take that one book on vacation, a seemingly surefire way of plowing through, and never crack the cover. Others keep an ever-lengthening list of books they feel they must read, or never forget the one they lied about completing in high school, or lied about at a cocktail party last week. – Wall Street Journal
Dark Horse Comics pens tsunami warning book for kids – This strikes me as a brilliant response to emergency preparation and management, and a way for comic book creators to perhaps diversify their revenue streams (this volume was the result of a grant from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration). Also, it’s appropriate for kids and adults.
“About four years ago we were looking to create a publication to reach out to the younger domographic,” [sic] [Oregon Office of Emergency Management Program Coordinator Althea] Rizzo said, and Dark Horse was tapped to bring the message about the dangers of earthquakes to young people. That comic book, “Without Warning,” published about two years ago, was quickly snapped up.
And now “Without Warning: Tsunami” has been released and is available online. The 16-page comic book tells the story of a mother-daughter camping trip on the Oregon coast. The duo is forced to make life-saving choices and help others in danger when an earthquake and resulting tsunami strike. – Oregon Live
The Perfect Marriage: Einstein and…Comics? – Not surprising, but cool nonetheless.
Albert Einstein has appeared in various comic books throughout the span of comic book history. Einstein’s first appearance in comic book lore came in DC Comics’ Superman #55, which published in 1948 featuring a two-page biography of Einstein titled “The Boy Who Wasn’t Too Bright.” Einstein’s next appearance in a comic book came in Marvel’s Amazing Adventures #5 in 1961, which only had a very brief cameo of Einstein but only as a flashback.
Later DC and Marvel comic book issues would feature Einstein in more prominent cameo roles. Perhaps the most iconic are DC Comics Presents #69, where Einstein is held captive by Nazis with Clark Kent and creates a formula that “helps” Clark Kent obtain superhuman abilities, and Superman #416 “The Einstein Connection,” in which Lex Luthor mimics Einstein’s life on Einstein’s birthday; Superman later figures out that Lex Luthor does this because he admires Einstein. Historically, Einstein has been featured in more DC Comics stories than Marvel. Nevertheless, Einstein has a very rich history in the comic book universe. – Scientific American