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Artist of the month Oct ’12

Alan Moore

How many of these characters can you name?

DC Comics Alan Moore Stories
We’re still struggling with the scuba diver’s name…

 The chances are you’ve seen most of them many a time in a wide variety of media. Some of us even grew up watching Adam West fighting a myriad of baddies while holding a cat or Lynda Carter’s proneness to spin until her clothes exploded into new ones. These and many more characters have survived through decades of ups and downs in their popularity, mostly because of the talent shown by the people behind their stories, particularly when reinvention and innovation are called for.

One of these people is Alan Moore, an English comics writer who during the 80s and 90s helped redefine the way stories are told and the treatment the characters in the medium get. He focused on giving those stories a depth that was mostly lacking in the comic book industry by filling his narrative with multiple layers of meaning and imagery. Although his works partially spawned the term ‘graphic novel’, he himself isn’t too keen on it.

Just to give you an example of the extent of his influence in modern media, here’s someone I think many of you will recognise:

The Joker
2008’s most ubiquitous Halloween costume.

Heath Ledger’s Joker is unanimously acclaimed as the best characterisation of the madman to this day. The inspiration?

Largely, ‘The Killing Joke‘, Alan Moore’s recap of the Joker’s origins. But what about Mr. Moore’s own origins? Here’s what the internet has to say about it:

“Alan Moore was born November 18, 1953 in Northampton, England, an industrial town between London and Birmingham. The oldest son of brewery worker Ernest Moore and printer Sylvia Doreen, Moore’s childhood and youth were influenced by the poverty of his family and their environment (as well as the eccentricities of his highly religious and superstitious grandmother). He was expelled from a conservative secondary school and was not accepted at any other school. In 1971, Moore was unemployed, with no job qualifications whatsoever.”

He then worked for several magazines as a writer and cartoonist, finally deciding to concentrate on his writing. During the late seventies and early eighties, Moore successfully contributed to several publications, prominently Warrior magazine. It was at this time that he started working on a story about a masked crusader fighting for freedom and the right to self-dermination in a fascist version of Britain. Such story would become a milestone in the comics industry for it’s complexity and variety of storylines as well as its detailed narrative and stylistic merit.

More than 20 years later, a film adaptation of V for Vendetta would swipe the box office and the Guy Fawkes mask would become a symbol of the people’s voice in several contexts, sometimes not completely free of irony.

Partial Transcript

Or check out the previous ones

Brave New World – Week 3

After all, everyone belongs to everyone else.

Sex is closely tied to violence in Brave New World as the two extremes of passion. In this futuristic, controlled environment, promiscuity is the law and emotional attachment is illegal. Sex is no longer used for procreation but rather for distraction and pacification. The act has been dehumanized and made devoid of passion, treated casually and publicly rather than as a personal matter. Because of this norm, no space of time ever passes between a desire and the consummation of that desire.” Source

Read a chapter-by-chapter summary of the treatment of sexuality in Brave New World. 

What do you think?

Would this kind of ‘free loving’ improve our social environment?

Brave New World – Week 2

The principle of mass production at last applied to biology. Chapter 1

“Throughout Brave New World, the citizens of the World State substitute the name of Henry Ford, the early twentieth-century industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company, wherever people in our own world would say Lord” (i.e., Christ). This demonstrates that even at the level of casual conversation and habit, religion has been replaced by reverence for technology—specifically the efficient, mechanized factory production of goods that Henry Ford pioneered.” Source

What do you think?

Should the cloning of humans be allowed?

Artist of the month Sep ’12

Artist of the month Goldfrapp

Alison Goldfrapp

The musical duo Goldfrapp is one of the most influential groups in the English electronic scene of the last decade.

Their style is constantly evolving and ranges from the ambient sound of early albums to a more electro/dance approach in the later ones, adding elements from
many other styles such as synthpop, folk and glam rock.

Allison Goldfrapp started her career as a musician and performer while attending fine art school at Middlesex University in north London. In 1994, while still in college, Goldfrapp recorded vocals for electronic band Orbital’s third album ‘Snivilisation’, doing the same one year later for trip-hop artist Tricky for the song ‘Pumpkin’ from his debut album ‘Maxinquaye’.

These collaborations were followed by several others through the late 90’s. At that moment she started penning her own compositions which eventually reached composer Will Gregory. After being introduced to each other, they found many things in common regarding their musical tastes and approach. Shortly after Goldfrapp became a duo, delivering their first album in 2000.

Since then, Goldfrapp has released five studio albums and one compilation record. Their first album ‘Felt Mountain’ was very well received by critics and opened the road for the duo. Their next album ‘Black Cherry‘, which came out in 2003 with a more upbeat vibe, brought to life classics such as ‘Twist’ and its memorable video: