Friday, May 30, 2014

Welcome to the new Pax Avalon website!

Thanks for dropping by!  Odds are you found us either by reading the Pax Avalon graphic novels, attended one of our "Ethics in Comics" panels, or stopped by our booth at your local comic con.  We're glad you did.  This site is a gathering place for challenging ideas about how people interact with each other and the impact of the art they create and share.

We begin with some terminology to help us understand one another.

Art is the expression of experience. We have all had experiences, but some of those are more significant than others (tweeting about the sandwich you ate at lunch is not necessarily worth sharing... but that depends on just how much that chicken salad filling is changing your life).  We put these experiences out there for others to absorb, consider, and possibly relate to through many different artistic means - the more excellent your skill level, the most enticing and clear the experience transfer is.

These transfers impact the reader/watcher/listener - positively, if they are engaging your art through a lens of critical thinking and self-awareness, and perhaps more negatively if they have turned off their brains in order to escape from their life into art.  Escapism is a powerful force in modern culture and one of the easiest ways to let someone else alter your perceptions without your really even knowing about it.  We are, it seems, the gatekeepers of our own minds.

So, to further facilitate these conversations, we've identified some questions that help us to evaluate the art we digest.  People will answer these questions differently and this creates a sort-of ethical matrix that defines how you think about things at this stage of your own development.  These are not right answer/wrong answer questions - they are markers to understand how you think.  Recognizing and remembering these markers will help you realize how the art -- and therefore the experience -- that you are sharing fits with how you already think.  Where does it challenge, affirm, push, or even offend you?  Understanding ourselves is the beginning of meaningful dialogue, including the ability to respectfully disagree with others... and our society absolutely CAN NOT function with that ability.

We invite you to come and engage in these conversations and considerations with us.

Monday, May 5, 2014

What is Pax Avalon?

Pax Avalon is rough Latin for "the peace of Avalon." (Avalon City is the fictional world where Julianna Embry and her ACSO teammates live.) It comes from the ancient ideal of Pax Romana: the peaceful existence offered by Rome to the territories it conquered with the sword. That was the idea anyway... the Roman Empire rarely knew any kind of peace. 

The problem lay in the belief that their strong armies were somehow liberating people from the terrible existence they had been living before they had the privilege of kissing the feet of Rome. After all, the conquerers' culture brought so many new opportunities and fringe benefits... who wouldn't want to be a part of such a civilized world? Surely now that these conquered peoples were under the protection of the mighty Roman eagle, they would embrace their new fate. They didn't, of course, and rebellion was constant in the Roman territories. It seems you just can't force people to live in peace... They have to choose it for themselves. 

In a sense, this sums up Julianna Embry's own quest for peace in Avalon City. She herself knows peace and has come to experience it as a daily reality, but she rejects the notion that the sword (or any other weapon, for that matter) is the way to bring it to others. While there are many heroes who seek their own versions of peace (Pax Gotham or Pax Metropolis, for example), their means and methods tend to run the same way: be stronger and tougher than your enemies and you get to mould the world into what you want. Julianna does not follow suit. She represents a person actively living out peace -- a lifestyle example that compels people to consider living their own lives differently. If ancient Rome has taught us nothing else, we should remember that peace without freedom is no peace at all.