Tuesday, January 27, 2009


This is the comic I made for this year's festival. I don't know how big the screens you guys are using so it might be that the text is difficult to read, or you have to pan around horizontally... I really hope not. This is a byproduct of the format I used for this page. I uh, I printed this on A1 size (84x59cm). Keep in mind most comics are printed A4 or smaller. Sadly I didn't take a picture of it in the show as I 1) don't carry a photographic camera with me and 2) don't hang around my exhibit due to shame that I'm still trying to eradicate.

Also I guess this would be needed so you get both the macro and the micro view of the piece as the people in the show did. Pay attention to overarching elements in this thumbnail, they help with understanding the comic.

And yes, about understanding the comic. Hm, this is my most recent work and it's riding on this wave of post-analysis I've been indulging in lots on this blog so everything and I mean everything in this comic is calculated to support a thesis on instinct, determinism, id/superego clash etc etc the things we've been discussing here for the last 5 months. As such I have a very lucid idea about what I've done but not so much if I've accomplished it in the eyes of other readers. Now I could preempt you and tell you what it's about and so on but I'd rather if you'd feel compelled to read it carefully and make up your own mind. I just say these things to urge you to trust me that it's not just a 'whacky' collection of events, it will reward patient and exploratory readings.

On the technical level this page is an exploration of the digital way to make comics, as it was made at 1200 dpi in A3 size (that's a lot of pixels) completely in Manga Studio 3 Ex within the course of 13 days or so, about 3-4 hours of work a day. The work I'd otherwise put into 4-5 pages of comics went into this single page. The reason I went this way was because I wanted to make a comic that felt like a plot of a whole 2 hour movie in a single page. Sorta like a trailer. Condensed storytelling. I wanted to see if it was possible. It is. Successful? You tell me. Just keep in mind that there could be like, heh, 10 pages of comics between each panel.

The theme of the show was the number '13' (and obviously, bad luck). The format of the comic uses 13 panels, and the top part of the page as far as layout goes is the exact 180 degree rotation of the bottom part. The theme is very vaguely bad-luck-ish but that's as far as I tried to stick to it. I don't think '13' makes for good stories, personally, so I decided to veer off-path just as much as I needed to tell a good story. I am content with this to the degree that while I was preparing it on a piece of paper I brainstormed a lot of little quirks and ideas I wanted to put in it and after I was done I counted and realized about 80% of them made it in and not in a disruptive way. It felt 'right' to put that sort of effort in a single piece of art.

There are some bits of text here that do not translate very well. There is a 'gag' in the naming of the characters (especially the name of the father) which is also pertinent to the storyline but you'd have to have done some sort of Hellenistic studies I guess to get it. I'll just spoil that little bit because most of you have not read about ancient Greek drama theater. All the characters in this comic are named after marginally related characters in ancient Greek dramatic theater. All that is, besides the father figure. To draw a useful parallel to Shakespearian drama: imagine this comic where everybody's named stuff like Tristian and Benvolio and Martius but there's one dude inexplicably named Burt. Completely outside of the drama paradigm. I wonder why... hmm.

There's also a few other plays on words that do not translate, but nothing that spoils the story, I think. It's just a shame you heathens can't read Greek.

Also, here's the variation page that was put up right next to the main page. It reads "Variation for Impatient Readers". It's a joke about how people really just skim over the text in the comics presented in these festivals. On that panel that I didn't have a clean background to leave I just threw in an upside-down Manos Antaras as his severe stare seemed to fit the stark emptiness.

There is a surrealist painter involved in the original comic. First one to note in the comments who he is and how he's exploited cruelly by me, gets my admiration. Obviously, besides this, I welcome all communication and well-meaning critique as this is very new and it would be very applicable for me right now to better my art.


Evan A said...

this maybe?

Helm said...

Congratulations! You have my admiration!

Earweed said...

Absolutely amazing work!
Very pleased to admire this fine work at Vavel Festival as also the edited one!

My deepest congratulations comrade!

schizoid said...

So,the Technodrama.
First of all,the art is amazing.I don't think i have to say more about that.

About the story.I can see why you played with time like that,and it actually works.The reader sees the parts that are shown,and fills in the parts that are missing.I would have loved to see this exact story in 30 or more pages,but it is also enjoyable in one single page.

Now,about the symbolism.Hmmm.
I think i get some of the id/superego symbolism-the guy wants something he can't have/id-kills his father/superego.About the robot on the other hand,I have to ask: is it the symbolic robot that is a pre-programmed machine and works only for a specific function,or is it the symbolic robot that is all reason/logic,capable of independent thought even though it has no feelings/emotions?
I'm asking because the robot is revealed after the murder of the lover,which to me means that the id has prevailed.But,as i see it,the id means no logic-just want/emotion.If the robot means pure logic,then i need (no,I demand) an explanation.

Now,I must confess that I have not read a single book on these subjects,and my opinions are either formed after reading a wiki-article or just straight from my head.So,i could be wrong about any of the things above.


Helm said...

is it the symbolic robot that is a pre-programmed machine and works only for a specific function,or is it the symbolic robot that is all reason/logic,capable of independent thought even though it has no feelings/emotions?

The former. I've used robots extensively as allegories for human beings. The most interesting part of them for me is their deterministic nature. The robot cannot be programmed to achieve free will, though it can be programmed to *think* it has. Much like you can code this:

20 GOTO 10

So yes, the moment he realizes there's nothing he can do and he succumbs to the fulfillment of his base desires, he is made a robot. Just as his sister has her determined role in this technodrama, as we see she's a robot too. "I'm a robot, she's a human, no relation" oh you were wrong, Chrisippos. You're all playing your predefined roles in this tragedy.

schizoid said...

Yep,it makes perfect sense.It's just that i personally think of robots as the logical,reasonable,and emotionally dead part of humanity.This kind of robot has a deterministic nature but it is one governed by reason alone and not some specific lines of code.
A very interesting comics page and really filled with meaning and symbolism.


Helm said...

Thank you. And thank you also Earweed (another Thanos amongst us!) for your words, they mean a lot to me.