Sunday, November 30, 2008
More ZX romantic adventures! Page 1 out of 4.
I made this for the 'Free Your Line' fanzine, for its third - and best, in my opinion - issue. It was done in very late 06, in fact around new years eve if memory serves. Ptoing was around, as were other friends, I was visiting Germany I think. God, how can my memory of things be so much like an old man's?
If you note something different about this comic, something vibrant and rich in hue, that's Ptoing's fault. He did the colors. I really like them, most people seem to too.
As I had 4 pages to tell a story that could possibly be told in a single page like those of the newspaper, and as a sort of cleansing from that sort of format, I took it very slow here, mostly establishing setting and mood, letting smaller things do the talking than my usual verbose narrator who is sadly a necessity if you want to tell a story with a lot of plot in very small space. Therefore the pacing is very deliberately slow. Note how I use the right wall in the first panel as space to place a story title and such, luxuries one doesn't usually enjoy in single-page format due to space. The eye traverses lazily through the opening shot, playfully diverted by the separate-perspective point cobblestone. A vague sense of futurist Europe somewhere (in fact half-way inspired by Stockholm and Thesaloniki). I never understood why the near future needs to be all SUPERPIPES AND FLYING CARS... well, the flying cars I can understand, what I don't see is why when the 'FUTURE' is here, everything old is to be immediately discarded. So I didn't. This comic might take place in the future sometime but I still left in streetlights and free press vending machines and the tired stones of an 'old city center'.
Furthermore, as before, I do not treat the abilities a robot very much like a robot... somewhat half-way. He has an internal clock... but he has to roll up his sleeve to know what time it is, heh. I like that middle space between magical realism and just flat out nonsensicalness. I'll get Ptoing at the end of the comic to talk about his color choices and such. Let's look at the black and white one as well:
First of all I made the mistake of inking this on hard bristol board (because that is what I took with me in Germany. I am really ghetto as far as tools and means go, as I've mentioned before). So all the lines I've put down are with generally bigger tipped markers than I enjoy just so I didn't get lots of break up. It turned out to befit the color a lot more than my usual more flimsy lines.
Note on panel 3 and 4 how I use guiding arrows to help the reader along. Most experimental comic artists would scoff at such'medium breaking immersion' tricks as naive but I kinda like comics going 'hi, we're comics! :D' a little sometimes, if they're kind about it. I could have used some other visual clue as to how to read such a panel configuration (usually with word balloons or the actual things in the panels being drawn in such a way as to visually flow up and then downwards) but I had to juggle a few other considerations that kept me from this. Namely, I wanted the fast motion. I wanted the first two panels to appear to take a considerable amount of time between them but then when he checks the time to see if his date is late (she is, by 8 minutes) I wanted the action to be abrupt. This works by keeping the art in the repeated panel pretty much the same (eye discards same information and just reads the different parts, much faster than the whole scene changing. Combine this effect with small panels and you can have a comic where the reader feels compelled to read 3 panels a second). So the pacing is sloooow and then an abrupt peak, and then again slow on the fifth panel (low shot always seems to take more time than eye-level because the reader has to visualize the pan that got the 'camera' that low, and how it'll also take some time to reposition. We think spatially, like ground animals) and the last two panels are again, fast after that bit of hesitation. These are pretty much cinematography tricks, but hey, comics are a smart medium and should take whatever becomes them from elsewhere without having delusions of being anything they're not. Vague line there but I'll pretend I'm safe from making 'movie comics' for now.
I'll post the next page in 3 days or so. Take the intermediate time to praise Ptoing for his wonderful coloring work.