Monday, June 22, 2009

ZX Page 3: Evolutionary Determinism

As per usual, read past pages leading up to the new for momentum.

As I post page 3, I have drawn up to page 8. It goes well. I will make a post about the process that I'm keeping to while I make my first seriously long-running comic, but it'll be some time from now.

Strangely I don't feel I have as much to say about these pages right now as I used to about my older pages, mainly because there hasn't passed enough time since the moment of creation and of presentation. These are hot out of the oven as it were, and I'm as excited as I am optimistic. Nervous too.

What is and what seems to be, disambiguation (perhaps) as the Mondays pass us by.



Martijn said...

Oh my, those last two panels made me laugh out loud. The drama is all too perfectly conveyed in the slowed pace and in how you drew the guy's face.

I like these :)

Lou said...

Oh my, the story so far is making me engaged! Look forward to more, as they are quite funny! The mood change in the last few panels was indeed great, and the holograms are an interesting element, not to mention also funny! Thank you for these postings! Can not wait for more story!

Helm said...

Thank you, yes I want to engage you!

Martijn if you don't mind a clarification: you thought the last couple of frames were laugh-out-loud funny? Can you go into a bit of detail why?

Catch The Soap said...

My heart beats for a vintage amp too. I love this new story man.

Panos said...

horrible dilemma:

on one hand, I don't want to continue reading since I would prefer to read it as a whole. On the other hand, this is very good and I can say that reading both the comic and your observations/thoughts below is too enjoyable to quit. Argh.

Anyway, this is great work. Great drawing (except in the sixth panel, the one where ZX makes a bold statement, that panel does seem a little sloppy), and great storytelling, which is very important in my book.

I especially like the fact that you never explained the calculations with which ZX acts/thinks/"feels". I sincerely hope that you can maintain this through the story, since robot feelings can be very tricky to handle.

Looking forward to the next one (or not,I can't decide, graarh brain freeze)!!

Helm said...

First of all, thank you for your kind words, Pano. Have we met? If so, where?

Storytelling is the vital concern here, not for it to be drawn too flashy or for the sequences to be distracting with smart tricks. I spend most of the time thinking how the page flows and about timing. Comics are a brittle medium and when they're broken a lot of people don't realize they are, they just revert to experiencing them not as comics, but as a series of disjointed images. They don't realize why they aren't enjoying the narrative, even though they might think the drawings are good and the story itself is good. The gel that holds everything together in comics is the subjective perception of time and how the artist handles it. A comic first and foremost must have good tempo and sequential interest, the rest is secondary. Yes, even the 'great story' one might have had in mind and his great characters and great plot twists. All these come after.

I realize these are the things people that do not draw as well as others say to rationalize their faults as draftsmen... so be it. There's still truth in that. I never wanted to become a painter or an illustrator.

Also tangentially, I remember talking with a Greek comic artist of great repute (and deservedly so, I'd say) about 5 years ago when I was still an unknown in the Greek comics field and we were discussing this or that (I think it was Andrea Pazienza's work) and he said he hated it and put it as an ultimatum "you don't switch styles in the middle of the story/page". I remember how much I disagreed with that finality then but I couldn't exactly put it to words why (besides that I adore Pazienza's work, personally). His argumentation rested on that style-switching pulls the viewer out of the story and makes them remember they're reading a comic, which was bad, in his opinion.

Let's look at these pages now, years later, and note how often I switch rendering styles (almost from panel to panel, actually) and how little - if at all - it impairs the reader's engagement with the story.

There is an unexplored level in making comics in that area, between style and rendering and storytelling, that not a lot of comic artists have delved into. Most like to find their own style and keep to it for all their time as an artist, fearing both the challenges of communicating the charges of a style switch and possibly how unmarketable a comic is when it doesn't have a stable 'look'. Hopefully nowadays where people are making comics for various other reasons besides selling them to publishers, we'll see more experimentation with altering the viewer perception of the physical on a panel-by-panel basis.

Hum that panel seems sloppy? Probably the most meticulously made panel of the page, heh. Is it the lack of horizontal lines to cement a ground plane that throw you?

I probably would read it each weak if wasn't making it (begrudgingly), and then I'd read it again when it came out as a whole (with more enjoyment). I feel for you, I can't deal with these snippets of a full story either usually. This is why I suggest people reread from the top every time a new page comes along (and also because I think the work merits this sort of zen-like repetition and the subconscious familiarization that comes from it).

But I can't just press the 'make my comic' button and upload the whole thing in an evening, sadly.

ZX will be explained somewhat by when this story is over. The crux of it all will remain inside the questions best left unanswered, though. Closure and alienation in equal amounts.

Solar said...

Lovin' it.

Support your use of varying style wholeheartedly.

My poor german served me well in enjoying the 2nd and 3rd frames.

No closure from me either, just continually whetted anticipation.

Bring on the next week :)