Development in progress

photo-07-12-2016-12-09-28-1

Development on paper:

  • Using time as a contributing factor, due to the amount of attention creators take to carefully use time in their work.
  • Using different decades of comics to help emphasis this disconect with time. Different era’s having a completely different style. (Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, Modern Age)
  • Both Scott McCloud and Marshall McLuhan’s references to the time taking place between panels, “to kill a man off panel, is to condem him to an eternal death”.
  • Having One or two predefined panels, drawing attention to this disconect with time and to imply that the random order has meaning.
  • Setting up seperate databases to coincide with different size panels?
  • What shape should the button be?
  • Should it have an arbatrary aspect, or completely obvious in meaning?
  • Should it connect to the projects nature as a comic, or the use of time?
  • Lev Manovich’s Database Narrative theories coming into play, “database and narrative are natural enemies. Competing for the same territory of human culture, each claims an exclusive right to make meaning out of the world.” [Manovich.5]

photo-07-12-2016-12-14-40

Displaying a final project:

  • Eisner’s theory of the ‘Meta Panel’ taking form in the shape of the monitor, rather than a page. “the panels will be part of what Eisner called the “meta-panel”, in which the whole page is a panel into which the other panels have been inserted.” [Kamen.2015]
  • How will the button be positioned?
  • Further away may intrigue the user to seek out what has been triggered, but will also cause the audience to have to break imersion to attempt to read the panels.
  • Next to the screen gives the user a direct corrolation to the artifact, but may cause some disoriantation, meaning they may have to keep stepping backwards and forwards just to interacte, and then see the artifact.
  • If possitioned on a plinth, possitioning will have to be given a great amount of focus and attention as to not obstruct the artifact or be confused with another display.
  • Kamen, M. (2015) Alan Moore: ‘Electricomics’ is groundbreaking, but print is still superior. co.uk. [Online] 29th September. Available from:  http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-09/29/electricomics-alan-moore-interview [Last Accessed: 07/12/16]
  • Manovich, L. (1999) Database as a symbolic Form. Millennium Film Journal No.34 http://courses.ischool.berkeley.edu/i290-1/s04/readings/manovich_database.pdf [Last Accessed: 07/12/2016]
Advertisements

A Roundtable on Lost Girls. Hosted by P. Sandifier – Critical Analysis [Practice]

The nature and subject matter of Alan Moore’s Lost Girls [Moore, Gebbie.2006] is one that as a society, we shy away from discussing due to its sometimes uncomfortable, and deeply personal nature. ImageSext: A Roundtable on Lost Girls, attempts to break that silence by bringing together four different perspective on the book as a whole, in Sandifier’s own words “the single most important thing to do with Lost Girls [is] to talk about it” [Sandifier.2007:1] and that “talking about Lost Girls is like talking about sex: you’re never quite done.” [Sandifier.2007:10]

The discussions introduction explores previous attempts at discussing similar subject matters including the work of Linda Williams, such as Hard Core [Williams.1999], Tijuana Bibles, and Omaha the Cat Dancer [Waller, Worley. 1978 – 2006], providing a framework for the length and depth of the following discussion, as well as a template for some of the comparisons that will later be made. Rightfully so, the introduction also attempts to define pornography before beginning to dissect Lost Girls, castigating the “I know it when I see it” [Sandifier.2007:8] attitude. That the low opinion and hush tones Pornography is spoken with, is simply a result of a “fumbling inadequacy of talking about sex” [Sandifier.2009:9]. It is stated towards the end of Sandifier’s introduction, that each of the participates had read each other’s work, before submitting their final contribution, with participates referencing their colleagues at certain intervals. This inter communication between participants, helps to strengthen the notion that works such as Lost Girls, and even subjects such as pornography and sex should be openly discussed.

Kenneth Kidd’s Down the Rabbit Hole [Kidd.2007], the first of the accompanied essays, takes a more psychological approach when discussing Lost Girls. Choosing to discuss the Freudian implications of Lost Girls core appropriations, that of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland [Carroll.1865], Peter Pan [Barrie.1911], and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz [Baum.1900], particularly the paedophilic implications and accusations towards both Carroll and Barrie. Relating the pop culture position all three works hold in the public consciousness, and the multiple incarnations of each. Kidd quotes Booker when stating that “In the first discourse, Carroll is a sainted innocent, his books are joyous nonsense and Alice is his muse. In the other, Carroll is a paedophile, his books are dark allegories, and Alice is his obsession” [Kidd.2007:1], also mentioning artefacts and collectives, such as the child pornographer ring The Wonderland Club, to demonstrate that Moore and Gebbie are by no means the first to imply sexual undertones and content within these children’s stories. Kidd states that Moore and Gebbie’s interpretation is not a corruption of the original characters, but to allow them to become adults in themselves, “They rework key elements and themes to clever, often poignant effect, especially the shared preoccupation with innocence, desire and the problem of growing up” [Kidd.2007:2]. This is shown as a stark contrast to previous pornographic parodies, such as adult films and before mentioned Tijuana Bibles, believing that “Lost Girls succeeds not because it deviates from the originals but because it is perversely faithful to them” [Kidd.2007:2]. Kidd relates this to a term used in a colleagues article, Chris Eklund’s Magical Realism of the Fuck [Eklund.2007].

When discussing the three leads, Kidd describes Alice as “psychologically wounded yet sexually empowered” [Kidd.2007:4], referring to the portrayal of Alice’s molestation at the hands of Carroll, but here position as the ringleader in the books proceedings, initiating acts of sex and encouraging their storytelling. Moore paints Alice as someone who is affected by her past, even stating to have recently gotten out of an institution, but not one defined by them, her painful origin with the subject does not hold her back from enjoying it now. Notably, Kidd focuses much more heavily on the character of Alice, rather than Wendy or Dorothy.

Kidd attempts to explain the reasoning for using Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and The Wizard of Oz specifically. Kidd notes all three books place in the public consciousness, the idea that “Peter Pan, Alice, and Dorothy now also serve as poster children for queer theory” [Kidd.2007:8], and the time in which the books were written. Referencing Collins essay, History, Pornography and Lost Girls [Collins.2007], referring to them as “both Victorian and modern in its overall pornographic nature” [Collins.2007:1].

  • Barrie, J. (1911) Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. Hodder & Stoughton. London.
  • Baum, L. (1900) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. George M. Hill Company. Chicago.
  • Booker, W. (2005) Lewis Carroll in Popular Culture. New York.
  • Carroll, L. (1865) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. London
  • Collins, M. (2007) History, Pornography and Lost Girls. [Online] ImageText Interdisciplinary Comics Studies. Available from: http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/archives/v3_3/lost_girls/collins.shtml [Last Accessed: 26/11/2016]
  • Eklund, C. (2007) A Magical Realism of the Fuck. [Online] ImageText Interdisciplinary Comics Studies. Available From: http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/archives/v3_3/lost_girls/eklund.shtml [Last Accessed: 24/11/2016]
  • Kidd, K. (2007) Down the Rabbit Hole. [Online] ImageText Interdisciplinary Comic Studies. Available From: http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/archives/v3_3/lost_girls/kidd.shtml [Last Accessed: 24/11/2016]
  • Moore, A. & Gebbie, M. (2006) Lost Girls. Top Shelf Productions. Georgia.
  • Sandifier, P. (2007) ImageSexT: A Roundtable on Lost Girls. [Online] ImageTexT Interdisciplinary Comics Studies. Available from: http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/archives/v3_3/lost_girls/ [Last Accessed: 24/11/2016]
  • Waller, R. & Worley, R. (1978 – 2006) Omaha The Cat Dancer. Kitchen Sink. Wisconsin.
  • Williams, L. (1989) Hard Core: Power, Pleasure and the “Frenzy of the Visible”. University of California Press. California.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the future of comics publishing by R. Murray

“In order to be with Ramona, Scott Pilgrim has to defeat her seven evil exes in elaborately staged battles that draw liberally on a vocabulary familiar to gamers – an economy where skills, resources and tenacity are embodied in material objects such as swords, gold coins and levels, and without this awareness, understanding of the comic is notionally incomplete. However, it is crucial to emphasize that this understanding is not at the level of narrative, but rather at that of narrative form.” [Murray, 2012: 3]

“With the advent of the Internet, many comics creators have chosen to reveal their artistic process online, often blogging about their method in detail, and communicating with their readers regarding creative decisions made, thus creating an epitextual archive. However, these communications do not, at least directly, implicate any financial consequences. Accordingly, if the material that O’Malley put up before and during the lifespan of Scott Pilgrim in the form of blogposts, sketches and photographs could be considered epitextual, what are the commercial implications of such material?” [Murray, 2012:7]

“Publishers base marketing decisions on assumptions that are informed by segmenting the market in order to recognize the appropriate demographic for the book they are trying to sell. Fourth Estate recognized that Scott Pilgrim’s readers, given the books’ allegiance to video game culture, would be digitally savvy, and thus creating an app seemed like a perfect opportunity to cater to its potential readership. The decision to develop an app for the book was a revolutionary one for an independent comic, and was covered widely in the book trade, technology and comics press. The first volume was to be released for the iPhone and iPad in May 2010, with each volume being released thereafter, building up to the release of the sixth volume and the film in August. Robot Media worked in conjunction to create the app, which contained original new artwork, social networking tools for fans, and enhanced features such as vibrations and sound effects that were triggered during fight scenes in the book.” [Murray, 2012: 11-12]

“Readers have complained about how reading digital versions can often diminish the quality of colour and detail that can be found on printed high – quality paper, and that comics intended for one medium often fails in another.” [Murray, 2012: 12]

“Robot Media chose to tackle this by reinterpreting the physical boundaries of the printed page onto what comics pioneer and scholar Scott McCloud has called a theoretically infinite (digital) canvas (2009) – using the device as a window to view the panels, which transition kinetically.” [Murray, 2012:12]

“Marvel, home to the X-Men and Spiderman, bounced back from its bankruptcy in 1997 on the strength of its reinvention as an intellectual property holding company, but still has to develop a sound digital strategy that will not alienate older readers yet will still attract new readers. Their much – vaunted ‘motion comics’ confused consumers by treading a fine line between animation and static sequential art, and were considered over-priced compared to print comics.” [Murray, 2012:16]

  • Murray, R. (2012) Scott Pilgrim vs. the future of comics publishing. Studies in Comics 3.1 (2012): 129 – 142.

Generative Art Project – Collecting A Database

screenshot-149To run a test of this idea, I needed a small database to use as a basis. With this in mind, I needed the images to be of a similar dimension. It took a few attempts to find an issue or story that had a set of panels that would work. In the end, I used the introduction arc from the original scans of Miracleman (originally named Marvelman), by Alan Moore and Alan Davis. The opening arc is set out very differently from the rest of the story, as it is meant to mimic comics of the Golden Age (1930s – late 40s).

Comics for Film, Games, and Animation. Using Comics to Construct your Transmedia Story World by Tylor Weaver

518k7sxclvl-_sx373_bo1204203200_While specified in its core subject, Comics for Film, Games, and Animation is a well thought out and paced piece of research. The book goes into great detail to chronicle both the history of comics and their relationship with other media, the latter half uses a series of franchise examples to make their point about what makes a good transmedia story, or what can ruin the attended impact. Weaver uses a mixture of history, interviews and critical analysis to make his points, and when addressing more complex franchises, he provides colour coded diagrams to make his point more clear.Weaver’s work has come in handy before, providing a useful basis for my undergraduate dissertation.

 

Weaver, T. (2013) Comics For Film, Games, and Animation. Using Comics to Construct your Transmedia Story World. Focus Press. Burlington.

Scott McCloud at TED

Scott talks a lot about vision, in both the physical sense and our visions for the future in regards to the arts, media, technology and comics. “Learn from Everyone, Follow no one, Watch for Patterns, Work like Hell.” Thinking about a scientific mind in an artistic field, attempting to make something and understand something at the same time. In regards to comics, despite them being a purely visual medium, they attempt to replicate all five senses. Something that innovation in the digital age could bridge the gap with in later years (e.g. Motion comics, interactive comics). The talk also goes through a history of visual narratives in print, from hieroglyphics, and tapestries, to modern day comics and digital comics. As well as talking about McLuhan-esc mistakes when transferring comics from print to screen, as they are attempting to recreate a previous medium in a new one, ignoring what the new medium can do. This talk borrows heavily from McCloud’s previous books Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics.

I find this talk useful as it shows McCloud openly discussing and elaborating on his theories in a more open fashion, providing examples for each point he makes and going through the work with him to better understand his point. Since my focus is geared towards media theory in the realm of Comics, TV, Film, literature, and theatre, this elaboration of McCloud’s thoughts is interesting to behold.

Making it Real Project [Part One]

6screenshot-78Previous experiences with 3D modelling software was largely restricted to Maya, despite Sketch Up’s straight forward and user friendly design, this actually made the software fairly difficult to get to grips with, as commands were note completely mapped to keyboard controls, and an increased difficulty in regards to making a curved surface. Previous methods had largely involved sculpting in a similar fashion to physical sculpting, taking a flat surface and manipulating the shape with curves to create the desired effect. I found working with curves in Sketch Up to me quite the hassle, as manipulating them to the desired length and curvature became increasingly frustrating.screenshot-80

Originally, I had planned to recreate something small and simple, thinking that by going off an existing object, it would be easier to plot out where lines and curves would need to be, and how best to build it up. I chose to recreate Superman’s emblem as a flat shield, using the design featured in Tomasi and Gleason’s current Superman run. With the continuing evolution of the emblem in the last 78 years plus else-world variations, it was better to screenshot-82pick a specific reference image as a basis, luckily, the first issue of the new run contained a full page spread of the symbol.

With the design in hand and an understanding of the tools, I set to work to create a replica. The problems I was facing in regards to crafting curves, became overly apparent when attempting to recreate the iconic ‘S’. After multiple attempts, and a stubborn attitude inscreenshot-83 regards to what I wanted to build, I experimented with attempting to create it with straight lines. The end result was heavily reminiscent of pixel art, the early limitations of computer graphics, and the resurgence of the style to invoke the retro aesthetics and ‘digital nostalgia’.

screenshot-84

  • Tomasi, P. & Gleason, P. (2016). Superman #1: Son of Superman – Part One. DC Comics: Burbank.

Reinventing Comics by Scott McCloud. Some Notes:

While the book is a little dated, reading it in 2016, its core theories and principles are incredibly relevant when looking at comics in the digital age. It is interesting to see that digital comics haven’t evolved that far since the writing of this book. More reading is required, and more notes need to be made. Added note, look at some for the books McCloud uses as examples.

  • “To understand comics we need to separate form from content – and see with clear eyes how other eras have used this same idea to beautiful ends – and what a limited palette of tools and ideas our own era has used.” [2000:1]. The history of comics needs to be taken into account when looking at their current state. (Looking at the ‘dead’ medium to understand the ‘Undead’.)
  • “The heart of comics lies in the space between the panels – where the reader’s imagination makes still pictures come alive.” [2000:1] Marshall McLuhan and the space between panels, time. “In relying on visual sequence, comic’s substitutes space for time.” [2000:2]
  • “Like other media, comics is merely a simple idea – in search of complex applications – yet comics remain relegated to non-art status by conventional wisdom. A status some try to combat (although some in the community relish it).” [2000:3] Greenberg, Dominant media theory?
  • “Comics professionals don’t always agree on their long-term goals for the art for, or for the industry, but there was some common ground at least.” [2000:10] Art vs. Business, plus societal position.
  • “It hasn’t often paid to ne a pioneer in comics, and some of our greatest innovators laboured in obscurity for years, though the mainstream usually sits up and takes notice eventually.” [2000:18]
  • “Today, the moving image – both through movies and television – accounts for the lion’s share of such windows. Comics, like other minority forms, are vital to diversifying our perceptions of our world. The best way to understand the nature of our environment is to return to it from as many vantage points as possible – triangulating its shape from without.” [2000:19] Using art to examine and shape our view of the world and society. – Gesamtkunstwerk?
  • “I think the challenge for comics in the 21st century is not to move ‘forward’ as so many would have it. The challenge is to grow outward.” [2000:22]
  • “Slick white paper and a square binding are no guarantee of literary merit, and great ideas can as easily be scrawled on cocktail napkins – but in moving from periodical to book, an implicit claim of permanent worth was being made – a claim that had to be justified.” [2000:29]
  • “Periodicals have traditionally carried with them the connotation of disposability; of temporary worth – while books brought the promise of something more.” [2000:29] That the presentation of a media can denote its perceived worth. – Marshall McLuhan, ‘The Medium is the Message.’
  • “For the direct approach comics artists may choose to depict their worlds at a nearly photographic level of detail using traditional media, computer graphics or actual photos.” [2000:35] Mixing media to provide greater depth of clarity in meaning.
  • “Fiction and non-fiction bleed into one another easily in comics. The first time ‘Maus’ hit the New York Times Best Seller list it was mistakenly listed as ‘fiction’ and one look at its protagonists show why.” [2000:40]
  • “Naturally, a sensibility of ink drawing will always be relevant to works reproduced in ink – and even art destined for the screen can benefit from the study of old masters – but to choose computers as one’s primary art making tool is to choose an almost superhuman palette of options – and to devote it to merely imitating their predecessors is a bit like hunting rabbits with a battleship.” [2000:141]
  • “As of 2000, a more than a decade of ‘being useful’ has produced a select class of digital experts – and many younger artists now see acquiring computers as the first rung on the ladder to power. For others, though; particularly veteran artists of earlier generation; the fast pace of change can be unsettling – and the prospect of the comics industry converting entirely to computers can lead to severe alienation. After decades of mastering the technologies of pen, brush and mechanical reproduction, the advent of computers can only mean one thing to these artists: Personal Obsolescence.” [2000:142]
  • “Thanks to the mighty ‘undo’ and the ability to save intermediate versions – pursuing one option never has to exclude others. The digital canvas offers a malleable world with limitless opportunities for revision and expansion. Computers replace an armada of physical media with a single work environment, but by doing so expand the palette of visual results greatly; and that palette grows larger by the day – and once again the tool that makes it all possible isn’t something you can put in a steel case – or on a plastic disk inside a cardboard box – or in a half-inch-wide strip of glowing pixelated icons on a glass screen. The tool is the idea that art as information is intrinsically limitless – and the case and the disk and the screen are just the first shapes the idea chose to take.” [2000:148]
  • “Computer artists are a greedy lot. They want to have it all and they know they’ll get it if they wait long enough. The often cited trade-off between the power of computing and the spontaneity of pen and ink is only a temporary condition. Advances in both software and hardware will return spontaneously to many artists within the decade.” [2000:151]
  • “Cheap, popular graphics tools have been around only a little more than a decade! That means nearly anyone making art on computers is an immigrant to this new world.” [2000:151] Digital Immigrant vs. Digital Native. – Marc Prensky.

Books to read:

  • ‘A Contract with God’ by Will Eisner
  • ‘The Spirit’ by Will Eisner
  • ‘Maus: A Survivor’s Tale’ by Art Spiegelman
  • ‘It’s a good life if you don’t weaken’ by Seth

Digital Comics: Infinite Canvas meets Infinite Time.

The idea of a comic book would most likely bring to mind the image of dog eared magazine, decorated in the garb of colourful superhero action, such as Superman or Spider-man, or comical animal strips, including the likes of Garfield, found in your everyday newspaper, due to the image that the mainstream media has perpetuated. With this image in mind, the general public can view the comic book medium as a playground tailored for children and the immature, a notion once shared by the creators themselves [Howe. 2012], this can put off some creators, as they “have a very limited audience and little chance of seeing any returns for their efforts” [Shedd. 2005:05]. The advent and ease of access of the World Wide Web, allows for creators to share their own comics with a wide audience without the fear of distribution costs, the freedom of genre, and complete creative control over their work. With that freedom in mind and the implementation of web only features, such as HTML and Flash, the medium itself could be played with and experimented upon, creating interactive experiences and motion sequences.

However, the creation of motion and interactive comics, according to Scott McCloud, could fall into the same trap as the traditional printed medium, using the screen in the same manner as a standard page. Unlike a sheet of paper, which has defined dimensions and can be ripped and ruined, a screen can be viewed as a window, an infinite space. “The goal is to use the infinite nature of the web to the advantage of the medium, rather than be constrained by panels and pages” [Booker, 2014:1825]. The expansion of a comic beyond its original dimensions, allows for a creator to experiment with what we traditionally see as a comic, and take “advantage of the medium to a much higher degree” [Shedd, 2005:09], using the added space and flexibility to complement the story being told.

The implementation of an infinite X and Y axis can add a sense of time to the work, as information is being revelled to the audience in a controlled setting. A practice McCloud refers to as “gradualism – slowly gaining information by slowly scrolling through an image or sequence of images” [McCloud, 2007]. This practice can, theoretically, expand on an idea of Marshall McLuhan, and the notion of time between panels. That the space in between comic book panels is infinite and can only be determined by what comes before and after. “The viewer, or reader, is compelled to participate in completing and interpreting the few hints provided by the bounding lines” [McLuhan, 1964:174]. An idea also expounded upon by McCloud, with the example of an off panel death, “To kill a man between Panels is to condemn him to a thousand deaths” [McCloud, 1993:68].

  • Blake, C. (2013) The digital evolution: from infinite canvas to infinite comics. [Online] Comic Book Resources. Available from: http://www.cbr.com/the-digital-evolution-from-infinite-canvas-to-infinite-comics/ [Last accessed: 28/09/2016]
  • Booker, M. (2014) Comics through Time. A History of Icons, Idols and Ideas. Greenwood
  • Howe, S. (2012) Marvel Comics. The Untold Story. Harper Collins, New York.
  • McCloud, S. (1993) Understanding Comics. Harper Collins, New York.
  • McCloud, S. (2007) Reinventing Comics. Harper Collins, New York.
  • McLuhan, M. (1964) Understanding Media. Routledge, Oxon.
  • Shedd, A. (2005) No Borders, No Limits: The Infinite Canvas as a Storytelling Tool in Online Comics. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Idaho.