mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Rao is dead. (36)

Kandors by Mike Kelley, edited by Rafael Jablonka.

Last Son of Krypton!
His last memory of home
echoes, small voices.

Maybe you aren't familiar with the Bottle City of Kandor. Kandor is a tiny little piece of the Superman puzzle-- an entire city of Kryptonians, shrunk to miniature size by Brainiac, who was collecting representative pieces of the universe, before he destroys it. Got it? Superman of course wins the day-- there is always a way-- & takes the bottled city home to the Fortress of Solitude. He can't quite figure out how to restore the people to full size, but he's always working on it. What is this book? LA artist Mike Kelley-- maybe you've seen his stitched together dolls-- made a whole bunch of different Bottle Cities of Kandor, inspired by the fact that there has never been a standardized representation. Sounds pretty neat, right? It is pretty neat! The Kandor that I called "Donner Kandor" & Mister Kelley calls "Kandor 17" is one of my absolute favorites-- towering crystal spires & sci-fi console base (35-37). "Kandor 3" also has a lot of oomph to it-- the granularity of the sculpture makes it look something like the ruins of Kandor, a city after some microscopic apocalypse (9-11). Reading about the production-- building those giant bell jars was not easy!-- was very fascinating, as was Kelley's original plans for internet involvement, an aspect that never came together. Kelley admits to not being "invested in the Superman mythos," which is a shame, but rather approached the topic from a sort of retro-futurist perspective, which is a noble goal (53). This is a gorgeous product, & if I had one complaint, it is that I wish that the transformed comic panels had their origins cited. For someone who isn't a fan, Mike Kelley really "gets" the visual aspects; these really are just stunning.

Tags: books, comics, haiku, kelley

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