Antinomies of pure reason in the Bullpen Bulletins

Review later tonight. In the meantime, it’s wonkarama time:

You can guess from my email address, on the right, that I’m a big fan of the idea of parallax…well, all right, maybe Professor Marc Singer can guess that, at least, and the rest of you are scratching your head. In any case, I was stunned–stunned I tell you–to read this essay by Roger Whitson over at ImageTexT, which explores William Blake and Alan Moore through the lens of parallax.

What caught my eye, however, wasn’t Whitson’s discussion of parallax (which, BTW, has nothing to do with this guy, more’s the pity). It was his discussion of Immanuel Kant’s transcendental unity of apperception.

Now, everybody knows that the Kantian categorical imperative was a big influence on Moore’s use of the nine-panel grid, although there is some scholarly debate about whether this influence comes directly from Kant or is mediated through post-Kantian idealists like Schelling and Fichte.*

But it does my heart glad to see broader discussion of Kantian themes in funnybooks. The critical revolution starts here! My contribution to this revolution is an upcoming series of posts, based on my dissertation, called “Face front, true believers: antinomies of pure reason in the Bullpen Bulletins.”

Part one explores the construct of the synthetic a priori, as expressed in Stan Lee’s use of the word “excelsior!”.

Part two postulates that Lee’s depiction of the Marvel Bullpen was intended as a representation of the unrepresentable noumenal realm (=x), the Ding-an-sich that lay behind the phenomenal realm of four-coloured superheroics.

Part three argues that the Mighty Marvel Method is an alternative solution to the paralogisms of pure reason, in many ways preferable to Kant’s transcendental idealism.

So tune in next time, for a discussion of the synthetic unity of the apperception of the manifold in the Galactus saga. Until then, make mine Immanuel!

* To see the influence of the categorical imperative, consider what it would be to will a page without nine-panels. Such a will would contradict itself, and so pure reason legislates itself to will only nine-panel pages.

PS: Yeah, I’m kidding. Come back later for more reviews.

PPS: No slam really meant on Whitson. I’m in no position to ridicule other critics for pretension!


One Response to “Antinomies of pure reason in the Bullpen Bulletins”

  1. Roger Whitson Says:

    Actually, I think I was attracted to Parallax because of Hal Jordon….in much the same way that many medieval historians because historians because they watched Ivanhoe while still children…or something.

    So, I don’t talk about the (ex but now current)Green Lantern in my essay, but he sure is haunting it.

    Most of my stuff on Parallax comes via Kojin Karatani and Zizek both of whom would be really interesting to bring into a discussion of panel layout vis a vis Kant’s categories of intuition (if you can still argue that they are ‘intuition’)

    I just like saying it…parallax, parallax, parallax

    Thanks for the kind note in your blog. It is good to hear that people are actually reading my essay…

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