Animation is related to the word anima which has been used to describe movement, soul and life. However, that name, like the word “comics” (for sequential graphical narratives) seems to be only colloquial or even romantic of what the medium actually is like. ‘Movie’ might be closer to a real description.

We are often told in “behind the scenes” movies that we are watching how a special effect is “given life” or how we are “transported to another world” — a kind of Frankensteinian necromancing language dressed in sequins and wearing perfume. However, I am under no illusions that animation is more than representation and interpretation, even when drawn from a combination of technical processes — organic or otherwise. As a cartoonist making movies, and who invites the reader to feel communicated to through changing images, I would still staunchly defend our right to watch all movies critically, to be wary of anything suggesting that simulation is a replacement for life, and for us to give distinct credit to the original designer — nature — before and above the lowly artist mimicking mental monkey movements of the world it observes. This would seem doubly so (at least) for any attempted depictions of the acts of Gods.

To me, making movies is distinctly and categorically unlike what I think making an imagined scenario more real would be like to a true deity, though that seems to be robbing the art form of special powers to some people pretending that it’s more than an art form (deluded by the big bucks and big crowds movies and computerized puppetry can draw, perhaps). From any world view that recognizes such things, though, divine acts must surely be understood as potentially separate from and inaccessible by mediums of entertainment, even as it’s an activity of living beings that might be considered — in general — to have some kind of animating spark from a higher power. Perhaps in our over-entertained world, this is why so many people have elected to reject most spiritual matters, except a kind of awed thrill for celebrity of Hollywood, which has for decades boasted of being masters of “magic” — of having special talents that make them feel giddy — or Goddy. Maybe persistence of a claim they are capable but unwilling to test for themselves is the only thing that most have the emotional energy to believe in. (Not to insert here: speculations about why cultures make so many comparisons between Gods and human farmers.)

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A screengrab of some process for the opening animation to Act I, which takes place in the story prior to Chapter 1.

The first opening movie for Lor’Avvu (as I have plans to make one for the close of each chapter to introduce the next) depicts scenes of violence, miraculous acts, adult vibrancy, and mature ideas and language. I have no idea how it will be interpreted by its audience or if that audience includes you. If you are used to Walt Disney productions, this movie might not be for you. If you are not an adult, or if you don’t have childlike wonderings about the universe that are unsatisfied by simple ideas of magic, or if you cannot relate to strong depictions of unfairness (i.e.; the human theme of violence), maybe this movie isn’t for you. I thought I ought to warn people here that I don’t pretend to know what’s really going on in the heavens, and I don’t know how to fully feel about the images I felt it important to the story to depict, but neither do I see myself as some kind of perfect channel for divine information, and I don’t think the story will make the creators involved rich with U.S. petrodollars or any other international terrorism-backed currency. But I do hope it tells the story I mean to tell, and well. If not, at least there is the comic strip and that’s not the subject of this post.