Archive for ‘Experimental Comics’

Works for Me. Does it Work for You?

Here’s a great short comic about drinking by Montreal-based cartoonist Vincent Giard. Lots of other terrific short subjects can be found in the BD Section of his site.

Giard uses simple animated gifs to get his effects. I sometimes get misquoted as saying that adding animation to comics somehow instantly disqualifies them as comics at all (in fact, I read it as recently as two days ago). Not true.

While I do think that fully-animated monstrosities like the Watchmen Motion Comic stretch the term to the breaking point, I’ve seen examples of looping animation that work going all the way back to some of the earliest Magic Inkwell strips (#23, for example) by Cat Garza.

The best way I’ve come up with to explain it is that looping animation (and sound, for that matter) still communicate a static span of time. If panel 2 clearly comes after panel 1 and before panel 3, it still feels like comics, even if panel 2 is a short loop of some sort.

The point isn’t whether or not we want to give it a particular label or not, but whether a given comic works as storytelling. Does it feel whole? Can we lose ourselves in the reality of the strip? And in this case, I’d say yes.

What do you think?

[via Randy Oest]

London’s Hypercomics Home

If you love creative, cutting edge comics and can be in London anytime from today until September 26, don’t miss the Hypercomics exhibit The Shapes of Comics to Come at the Pump House Gallery in London’s Battersea Park. It sounds (and looks) like a fascinating, site-specific exploration of comics’ outer boundaries. Admission is Free.

Curated by “The Man at the Crossroads” himself, Paul Gravett, and featuring the prodigious brains of artists like Dave McKean and Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, this is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

(And one that I’ll miss, dammit, so somebody take lots of pictures if you can!)

The exhibit is part of the Comica Festival. I stopped by and caught a bit of last year’s and had a great time. Check out their main site for more details on upcoming events.

Now That’s an Experimental Comic

You know you’re entering strange territory when the first line in the “About” paragraph is an Apollinaire quote.

For that matter, you know you’re in strange territory when the artist in question is veteran DIY avante garde comics artist Warren Craghead.

From the Download page at Diffusion.uk:

A Sort of Autobiography is a possible story of Warren Craghead’s life projected both back to his birth in 1970 and forward to his death in 2060. Each decade of his life is represented by a storycube as a rough self-portrait. Drawn in various styles and encoded in different ways, the cubes tell a story of transformations – of mark-making, of physical appearance and of a life seen through drawing.

Via Matthew Brady who has some smart observations on the project.

Want to Make a 3D Comic?

Matthew Bogart writes with news of a simple 3D comic he made the old fashioned way: two frames which viewers can merge by crossing their eyes.

Not everyone can see the effect, but when I was a kid I loved making 3D pictures this way using colored pencils and small-grid graph paper, so this made me smile.

These days, the most efficient way to get this effect might be using layers in a program like Photoshop or Illustrator, but anyone, using even the simplest tools, can pull this same trick with a little planning.

Anyone else want to try?

Time and Again by Jacques Khouri

Here’s an elegant variation on some spatial ideas that’ll be familiar to regular readers (at least the theory nerds among you).

I liked it a lot. You might too.

Thanks to Rachelle for the pointer.

Friday Odds and Ends

Here’s a cool idea: Rene Engström and Rasmus Gran have a long distance relationship and have decided to chronicle it in parallel diary comics (I would say it’s a unique idea, but I’ve actually seen at least one other!).

From the site:

“Every Tuesday, since the 16th of March, Rasmus Gran and myself have documented our lives in the form of autobiographical comic strips. We have quite the buffer now so we feel pretty good about finally launching the comic. Our hopes are to give a little glimpse into the lives of a modern family spread out over the Swedish landscape, from downtown Östersund to Möllevången in Malmö. Sometimes we do things together but a large part of the time we have to live our lives apart.”

In other news, my host in Barcelona, David Macho Gomez, is launching Spanish comics site spanishinq.com.

For those of you who enjoyed Choose Your Own Carl (back in the Jurassic era), here’s another crossword-style comic.

And finally, on the work front, I’ve now finished the second rough draft of my graphic novel (working title The Sculptor). Next step: Beginning many months of finished art (and probably going back to make some more changes to the roughs, but that’s to be expected.) Wish me luck!

The Pacific is a Big Ocean

Shintaro Kago is a Manga artist you’re unlikely to see at your local Borders or Barnes and Noble anytime soon, but boy, what I wouldn’t give for a collection of his work in English. Some of the craziest experimental comics since Art Spiegelman’s early comics in Arcade (later collected in Breakdowns).

An anthology or two have included short pieces, but because of the pornographic nature of a lot of the images, we’re stuck plowing through scanlation sites to see this master at work.

Rather than point to specific sites, I’ll just encourage you to browse Kago’s various scattered images and click on whatever looks cool, but do search for Kago’s brilliant “Abstraction” (NSFW!) for a real mind-bender.

Here’s an interview with the guy. And if you want to ask the Interwubs to translate it for you, Kago has a blog.

Dreams and Memes

Shaenon Garrity has a dream in Slow Wave this week. Good excuse to link again to this delightful, long-running archive of reader-submitted dreams, drawn by Jesse Reklaw.

Meanwhile, here’s an embryonic meme that might catch on (if it can escape the Livejournal tarpits): Jason Turner’s Page 100 Project, now picked up by Rebecca Dart and others.

Is it Comics?: An Interesting Fence-Sitter

Got this in the mail last night:

My name is Ira Marcks. I am a cartoonist from NY who recently collaborated with Jake Lodwick (founder of Vimeo) on an experimental illustration/animation project.

It’s sort of like a 45 minute music video with one sliding frame. But it’s also like a graphic novel told in a single, 50 foot long panel.

I settled on the term ‘Illustrative Score’ to describe the project and it’s method.

Check out Ira and Jake’s stimulating results here (and Ira’s personal site here).

And when you’re done, I’d be curious to hear your reactions to the old “Is it Comics?” question. Not a technical debate comparing it to this or that definition (though I’m sure those will come up), just gut reactions. Does this feel like comics to you?

I’m curious, because I’m totally on the fence!

Anyway, cool stuff regardless of what we call it.

Friday Odds and Ends

Okay one more cool music video (via Lori M) playing with one of my favorite topics (as seen in UC chapter 5).

Nawlz returns with “Season 2: Real Werld Information Breakdown.”

Bravest Kid in America. (Imagine going to school the next morning? She did it.)

Also note sidebar: Italy in April, London in May, and South Bend in 12 days. And when not traveling: 11 hours a day, 7 days a week on the book—and loving it.

Back to work!