Sweet sweet revenge. We are obsessed with it. This stems from our inherent sense that there must be some sort of justice in this world. What better form than that met out by dubious heroes and benevolent baddies. The irony of course is while we may root for the vengeful protagonist, we almost always acknowledge that something is not quite right about the scenario. Ultimately the vengeance begets tragedy, from Hamlet to Moby Dick. At best a lot of people die, at worst everyone does--though at least the former makes good fodder for sequels. Yet we can't help but love our anti-heroes doing whatever it takes to make things right, even if neither we nor they know how to make such vigilante justice into a lasting solution. Such tales, despite their repetition, are evidence of one thing for sure: revenge is inspiring.
Soldiers are duty bound to protect their masters and honor. As such they're the center of many revenge stories. In my mind, it is impossible to think of the vengeful soldier without thinking of the Japanese samurai, the paragon of the honorable warrior. One of my favorite graphic series is Lone Wolf and Cub, the story of a samurai with his young child on the run for a crime he didn't commit. Their goal: to avenge his wife and the disgrace heaped upon his son's now tarnished family name. Its rich story is perfectly matched with its fantastic art, reminiscent of Japanese block prints. Likewise, the evocative works of Rola Chang speak of traditional sumi-e ink wash painting with a modern twist. Many of her works depict the samurai in action, honor within his grasp.
Today our reprisals match our equally petty grievances. In my case I'm glad to say I've completely cut the cord and now get all my media from the web, with much of it originating there as well. Finally--reparations for all those hours spent mindlessly consuming pointless ads or channel surfing for something, anything, of interest. Now I can watch what I want when I want. I have networks of channels and feeds that are intelligently offering me new things to try based on past experience. Even ads, now targeted, are more bearable. Revolver, a site that delivers a curated collection of web videos, is another new celebration of our TV independence. The slick design belies the bloody retribution Revolver and it's ilk have wrecked upon the traditional media landscape, much to our collective pleasure as audience.
While literature seems to relish a bitter revenge story, film is overly biased towards happy endings for its murderous protagonists. Kill Bill, Taken, The Bourne Identity; the list goes on with each silver screen story ending with at least a glimmer of hope. The revenge drama is an old tale, yet no matter how often it's repeated it never ceases to consume our imagination. The story of Tarboy below is no exception. Though it's animation may be simple, the voice acting, music and perfect timing make this short an epic for the ages.
The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin from our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.