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#240640 - 04/05/99 12:03 PM Online Comics and Unified Language
Joe Zabel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 2546
Loc: Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
I'd like to talk about online comics in terms of the 'unified language' idea introduced by McCloud in UNDERSTANDING COMICS.

In UC, McCloud refers to the idea in terms of the need to have the text and pictures in a comic be processed in a similar way, so that the reader isn't making too much of a transition from one to the other. The goal is to create a smooth, unobtrusive flow to the comics reading experience.

McCloud links this up with the use of iconic images, which I don't agree with. But how should the idea be applied to online comics?

For example, if a comics story is portrayed in static images, and then one of the images contains animation, will this transition distract the reader from the story?

If the screen erupts with sound, will it shatter the trancelike state in which we read the text and images?

If the reader encounters an interactive forked path, or is asked to enter text, will this underscore the artificiality of the story experience?

Now, I realize that the appeal of novelty makes it difficult for us to judge online effects-- they're just too new.

Also, there are negative side-effects to them that are a result of the primitive state of the technology. The load-time of animation is annoying. The audio quality of most PCs is attrocious. The mouse and keyboard are awkward tools for interacting. All of these things will improve dramatically with time.

But are there fundamental structural problems with online comics (aside from the issue of a definition of the form) that we ought to be concerned with?


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Joe Zabel
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Joe Zabel

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#240641 - 04/05/99 03:31 PM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
cayetano Offline
Member

Registered: 03/29/99
Posts: 334
Loc: la frontera
yes! i was hoping someone would bring this sort of thing up.

that's one thing i'm really, really concerned with in my work, joe. how do the technological gadgits help/hinder the reader/viewer's experience?

as far as i can tell, i've thought the innovations to be a help rather than a hinderance. i've tried to experiment with a different "innovation" within every other strip on my site. some work and some don't. however, i'm beginning to see how their application in a longer narrative can be successful. more jarring than the switch from a static image to a moving one seems to be just the stacatto load of a screen as one is scrolling...scott actually pointed this out to me once. it's really annoying and definitely detracts from the reading experience. i've also found sound to be more annoying than helpful, although i've tried to find a way to make it work successfully. since the music tends to end when one goes to the next "page", the reload can really be trying on the viewer. ditto for popup windows... however, i think a nicely recorded MIDI file (this is also a key...how good/cheesy is the music file) could serve as the opening music for a longer narrative if it's on the "front" page.

i really like the innovations the web gives us, especially now that comics have to compete with so many other media... people like shiny things, bright colors, and little sounds.

[img]http://www.panam.edu/dept/art/archive/montbutt.gif[/img]
inkwell

[This message has been edited by cayetano (edited 04-05-99).]
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cayetano "cat" garza jr.
oh, you're that magic inkwell guy!
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#240642 - 04/05/99 06:13 PM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
bcbailey Offline
Member

Registered: 03/30/99
Posts: 47
Adding sound, animation, and other multimedia to online comics can be tricky business. There is a fine line where such a thing can either be super cool or excessively gaudy. Does it affect the 'unified language' of comics? I'm not quite sure, it's a little too early to tell.

I plan to include sound on one of the pages in the next installment of 'Huzzy', and I had to think about it for a while. It's true that if it's too distracting it can take away from the flow of the comic. But I think that I've included it in a subtle way. It fits the atmosphere of the story and even enhances it (it should be up by this Friday, check it out and judge for yourself).

Part of the deal with this new media is that cartoonists will have to go through the trial and error phase of how to use this stuff.

It's a little bit like the first days of comics when cartoonists were still figuring things out. They made speech balloons transparent, they didn't know what order to put them in, and their text was much too large for their balloons (seems like poor McCay never figured this one out). Their first attempts at panel to panel continuity were crude, and in learning how to layout a page they often had to label panels with roman numerals just to make sense of them.

Since we're not dealing with the fundamental language of comics here, I don't think the troubleshooting stage of online comics will be quite as rough as that. But the artists of online comics will have to go through a similar phase that artists in all new media go thorugh. How to use things like sound, when it should be used, should it be used at all, how it affects the 'unified language' of comics all will be figured out by trial and error.

B.C. Bailey
www.huzzy.com

[This message has been edited by bcbailey (edited 04-05-99).]

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#240643 - 04/07/99 03:14 PM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
Joe Zabel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 2546
Loc: Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
Some ideas on making online innovations work in the unified language of comics.

* Use them at points where they will be least likely to interrupt the flow-- especially at the beginning and the end.

* Use them in familiar ways. I can't think of a good example for this, but by principle, if we're accustomed to seeing animation in a particular way, we'll accept it more easily.

* Use them in meaningful ways; animation will draw the eye towards the detail being animated; it should be an important detail, and the motion should be meaningful to the story. Showing a family with a dog, and having animation showing the dog's tail wag is probably going to look arbitrary and distracting. Showing a roman emperor watching a gladiatorial match, and using animation to show him turning thumbs down is going to 'fit' much better.

* Develop a flow for the effect; for example, in a longer story, having a bit of animation at the end of each scene will work better than sprinkling it at random throughout. I'm thinking of the marvelous film ORLANDO, in which Tildy Swanson makes eye contact with the audience at the end of every sequence. It's a distracting device at first, but you come to expect it very quickly, and afterwards, a sequence doesn't seem complete until she glances briefly at the camera.

* Create an environment where the effects are expected. Make sure there are effects on the home page, and early in the sequence.



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Joe Zabel
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Joe Zabel

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#240644 - 04/07/99 11:43 PM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
MarkBadger Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/25/98
Posts: 22
Joe,
One thing we have to shut up about is load time. With Flash (and its streaming capabilities)if the viewer is waiting for your comic to load it just shows what a moroon you are. Actually with Flash the question is why the heck are we waiting for all these web pages to load. part of the designers job is to break the information into chunks that can stream within the current standards. Doing anything else is like drawing on the backside of your paper and expecting the audience to see it. Load time is dead as an excuse.

Mark Badger

my latest cartoon

http://heismanmemorialtrophy.com/jwheisman.html

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#240645 - 04/08/99 12:42 AM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
bcbailey Offline
Member

Registered: 03/30/99
Posts: 47
All well thought out points Joe! Let me see if I can find anything to complain about. [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

* Use them at points where they will be least likely to interrupt the flow-- especially at the beginning and the end.

I think I pretty much agree with this one, even though I'm not sure if we should make any hard and fast rules such as this until we have enough examples that show what works and what doesn't.

* Use them in familiar ways. I can't think of a good example for this, but by principle, if we're accustomed to seeing animation in a particular way, we'll accept it more easily.

I'm not 100% sure what you mean, but I think that if there would be a 'particular way' of incorporating animation and such, it would probably stifle originality. Myself, I would like to see everyone use this stuff in individual and different ways. I believe that's where the art and creativity comes in.

* Use them in meaningful ways; animation will draw the eye towards the detail being animated; it should be an important detail, and the motion should be meaningful to the story. Showing a family with a dog, and having animation showing the dog's tail wag is probably going to look arbitrary and distracting. Showing a roman emperor watching a gladiatorial match, and using animation to show him turning thumbs down is going to 'fit' much better.

This one I totally agree with! Don't stick animation or sound somewhere just for the heck of it. It should serve a purpose. Three examples I can think of would qualify: 1: Serving a role in a story, like in your roman emperor example. 2: Coinciding with a concept. For example, in some of cayetano's strips the music and animation are integral to the entire concept of the strip. 3: Atmosphere. If the story was a mystery in an old mansion, there could be a various background sounds (thunderstorms, creaky doors, sound of footsteps before a stabbing) to add to the atmosphere. This might seem corny to some, but I think it could add an extra dimension to storytelling.

* Develop a flow for the effect; for example, in a longer story, having a bit of animation at the end of each scene will work better than sprinkling it at random throughout.

I agree. I think more subtle use of the media would be better than overdoing it, so it wouldn't mess with the 'unified language' too much.

* Create an environment where the effects are expected. Make sure there are effects on the home page, and early in the sequence.

I disagree with this one, but then I'm just a lover of the element of surprise. Say if the above hypothetical murder mystery story decided to just add sound and a little animation to the last chapter when things were coming to a climax. I think that this would add to the suspense and surprise of any developments in the storyline. I think that this technology can be put to better use when it is used in clever and UNEXPECTED ways. It could add surprise to anything from a shocking dramatic development to a sight gag.

That's all for now. Joe, when I get a little extra time I'll put up my own 'online comic manifesto' so you can let me have it [img]/resources/ubb/wink.gif[/img]

B.C. Bailey
www.huzzy.com

[This message has been edited by bcbailey (edited 04-08-99).]

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#240646 - 04/08/99 12:58 AM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
Ben Adams Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/98
Posts: 483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Err...I waited about 5 minutes for my browser to find http://heismanmemorialtrophy.com/jwheisman.html. It couldn't. Is this URL the right one?

I know that Steve Conley uses Flash, but I'm not aware of where you get the software. More information would be much appreciated.

Actually, I'm running across many, many sites by extremely talented people like Steve Lieber, Craig Taillefer, and Tara Tallan that have pages that are painfully slow to download. (Apparently, they aren't aware of Flash either.) Awhile back, I posted a message expressing my opinion that I'd rather see all the story pages of a multi-page strip in ONE browser window than have to wait between pages.

I have the Online Comics page of my website set up so that the reader can DOWNLOAD .zip files containing all the pages of a very long story. I, personally, am willing to wait 10 minutes to download a movie trailer from the web that I really want to see, so this seemed like one way to deal with these kinds of problems.

When I was looking at Steve Lieber's page earlier today, I used the "Open In New Window" mouse command so that all five (six?) pages of his preview were downloading at once. Then I read through it all after I got all the pages.

I DO really like the way the ASTOUNDING SPACE THRILLS strips load, and I'd like to redo the pages on my website so that they download like this.

So I'm really dying to get the correct URL for the latest Badger strip!! What is it?!?

By the way, Mark, I love a lot of the work you've done with Gerry Jones.

-------
Ben Adams
www.mediawarpcomics.com
_________________________
Ben Adams has led an interesting life. He writes about it in his blog and in his autobiographical webcomic, MISFIT\'S JOURNEY .

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#240647 - 04/08/99 11:45 AM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
MarkBadger Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/25/98
Posts: 22
Ben,
it is indeed,

http://heismanmemorialtrophy.com/jwheisman.html

whatever the problem is, server, web stuff who knows, it just loaded fine for me. Flash is by Macromedia, who do Director Dreamweaver and other tools. It's designed for working on the web. it does all the drawing in vectors so files are mighty compressed. Heisman is a ten to fifteen pg story that comes in at 700k with animations. Most figures are from 2 to 10k, animation only hits the processor time. It is pretty much for now the web tool for cartoonists.

Mark badger

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#240648 - 04/08/99 12:22 PM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
Joe Zabel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 2546
Loc: Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
Mark--

I looked at the website you listed-- pretty cool, and it did load fast!

I think you may have misunderstood what I was getting at when I mentioned load time in the initial thread. I wasn't complaining about load time; I was trying to set the issue aside, saying that the problem would be solved eventually by new technology.

What I'm trying to focus on are the artistic problems to be solved AFTER the technical problems are dealt with.

BC: You make a good point about using an effect as a surprise, instead of setting the reader up to expect an effect. The points I was making were just various ideas I've picked up from other art forms that may or may not be applicable to online comics effects.

By the way, I wanted to respond to a remark on the 'breaking away' thread; I think it was Justin who said, to paraphrase, that when he asks for Coke he wants Coke, and that when he asks for comics he wants comics, i. e. traditional comics without animation.

I agree that its frustrating to be shopping for one thing and end up getting something you don't want. I'm wary of buying a printed comic book sight unseen, because sometimes the publishers give you illustrated stories instead.

But I think in the near future the effects in online comics will become so all-pervasive that the average online reader will think that a 'coke', that is, an online comic, is a comic that has effects. Unenhanced comics will be considered something else.

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Joe Zabel
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Joe Zabel

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#240649 - 04/08/99 06:13 PM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
savage Offline
Member

Registered: 11/24/98
Posts: 1007
Loc: Minneapolis,MN USA
Joe said,"But I think in the near future the effects in online comics will become so all-pervasive that the average online reader will think that a 'coke', that is, an online comic, is a comic that has effects. Unenhanced comics will be considered something else."

If that's true I think its a damn shame...from a historical point of view. And probably a corruption of an artform I respect.

What was so hard about calling multimedia "Multimedia" or interactive "interactive"?






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Justin Savage
President/Editor/Web-bozo
Sabre's Edge
www.sabresedge.com
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Justin Savage
President/Editor/Web-bozo
www.sabresedge.com

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#240650 - 04/08/99 08:22 PM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
Ben Adams Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/98
Posts: 483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Mark,

Thanks for the info. (I was able to pull up the site today, and it looked great.) I found the Macromedia website without much of a problem.

For all interested parties, the software is, unfortunately, expensive ($269), but they do give you a free 30-day trial period to play with it. (Go to http://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/trial/for more info.)

I, personally, am very interested in finding ways to captivate people who AREN'T hardcore comics fans with my work over the Internet and totally understand how a slow download could turn off a potential reader. I can see how this package could be a great help. Thanks again.

(Just in case anyone is wondering, I do hope to have a "tribal marketing update" posted to COMICON.com very shortly. Some fairly encouraging things are happening with me.)

I hope to have more of my online comics related thoughts posted soon. I've just been so, so busy.

------------
Ben Adams
http://www.mediawarpcomics.com
_________________________
Ben Adams has led an interesting life. He writes about it in his blog and in his autobiographical webcomic, MISFIT\'S JOURNEY .

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#240651 - 04/09/99 09:10 AM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
Don Markstein Offline
Member

Registered: 11/24/98
Posts: 1202
Loc: Earth
Surprise vs. preparation is always a balancing act. When you pull that amazing plot twist out at the last minute, you want some foundation for it in what has gone before, so nobody thinks you've just made it up on the spot and thrown it in because you didn't have anything better -- but not so much foundation that the reader expects it.

I guess it's probably the same with multimedia effects. Of course, this is a question everyone will have to answer for himself, but it seems to me, you'd probably want some grounding, at least a hint that this is one of the tools available for the story, and not suddenly change the rules near the end.

Just my two cents.

Quack, Don
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Today in Toons
Every Day's an Anniversary

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#240652 - 04/09/99 10:42 AM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
MarkBadger Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/25/98
Posts: 22
Joe,
Load time as an excuse, a complaint or a whine is dead, but as an artistic issue it so hot, I don't know where to begin. Load time is like the paper you draw on, the ink you use the paper printed on the ink the printers use, it's one of the vehicles that gets your thoughts to the reader. If your actually doing online comics, not reformatting print, it is the first fundamental question one has to ask. Its about the pause that a reader has before the story starts. How much do you want him to wait as he turns the page? How much detail is in your drawing and what is it neccessary for. Will a straight line work instead of a curve? One curve instead of two? Thats all a balance between load time, one of the materials you're working with, and artistic intent. Controlling load time is one of my main thoughts these days.

Mark Badger

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#240653 - 04/09/99 12:33 PM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
Joe Zabel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 2546
Loc: Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
Mark-- Thanks for the very interesting comment! A couple of things--

You referred to 'doing online comics, not reformatting print.' I have to say I'm not comfortable with making a big deal out of this distinction. The choice should always be in the hands of the artist, not some critic who's making arbitrary distinctions.
There are folks who say if it's got animation, it's not comics. I don't agree with them. There are also apparently folks who say if you aren't using all the new bells and whistles, its not online comics. I'd have to disagree with them as well. The artists know best. Lets all get out of their way and let them do their job.

Your comments on load time are especially interesting, and I absolutely agree with them. Since 'real' load time will become negligible in the near future, maybe what you're referring to should be called 'pause time.'

Pause time is an important tool in coordinating various effects. For example, if you begin the strip presentation with a piece of audio, you might not want the first panel to appear until after it finishes. Hence a pause is needed.

The tricky part is determining how much the momentum of browsing the comic should be controlled by the artist, and how much of it should be left to the reader. In print comics, we use splash pages, white space, and a number of other devices to suggest to the reader to pause-- but the choice is ultimately the reader's.

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Joe Zabel
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Joe Zabel

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#240654 - 04/09/99 01:09 PM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
bcbailey Offline
Member

Registered: 03/30/99
Posts: 47
Cool, Mark. I just checked out the football cartoon and it was excellent (this is coming from someone who can't stand football). Great design!

I'm not too educated on the Flash deal, but I can definitely see where the advantage is when it comes to download time. One of my favorite animated cartoons on the web at www.spumco.com uses Flash, and I'm always impressed by the download time.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Flash a vector tool? That's great for a certain kind of design, but not for those who want more painterly effects. Therefore it can't be used for all comics on the web.

When I first put up my comic, I was unlearned in the ways of the web, and my images loaded painfully slow. Fortunately a fellow cartoonist let me know and gave me some valuable tips for compressing images. For better download time, I've shrunk my images as small as possible without compromising the quality. I've also split my seperate panels into little GIFs instead of having one big hunky GIF. This makes the pages load faster, or give the impression that they're loading faster. It keeps the reader alert, instead of making them bored by having just one long page load.

There's ways to improve the load time problem considerably, it just takes reading a little on the subject and a bit of cleverness.

B.C. Bailey
www.huzzy.com

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#240655 - 04/09/99 02:12 PM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
Jeff Zugale Offline
Member

Registered: 12/06/98
Posts: 1806
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Hi all, I have a copy of Flash 2 (not the latest version) and I'm having a lot of fun with it. To respond to BC's question:

Quote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Flash a vector tool? That's great for a certain kind of design, but not for those who want more painterly effects. Therefore it can't be used for all comics on the web.


AU CONTRAIRE mon frére! While the art in Flash is vector-based, it HANDLES like a paint program. It's WAY easy to draw in, has a pressure sensitive brush (great with a tablet), and a GREAT feature of doing BUCKET FILLS into areas that AREN'T COMPLETELY CLOSED OFF. I wish Photoshop would do that. Heh! Here is an example of what you can draw in Flash (sorry it's so horribly sexist):

[img]http://www.pagancity.com/images/flashbabe1.jpg[/img]

This took me about 10 minutes. Note that Flash uses Layers like Illustrator, so you can do a pencil layout, then ink and paint over it. It's such a great tool. I'm going to do the MFH online spinoff with it. Eventually.

Quote:
I'm not too educated on the Flash deal, but I can definitely see where the advantage is when it comes to download time. One of my favorite animated cartoons on the web at www.spumco.com uses Flash, and I'm always impressed by the download time.


Get educated my friend! It's worth every penny to get your hands on Flash.

The Spumco site is something I've mentioned before as a great use of Flash -- and this touches on Joe Z's concept of "pause time." The beginning of each of these Spumco cartoons is a fairly long, film-cartoon style opening credits sequence. I was getting a little annoyed by it, until I realized that it's there to make "pause time" to let the fairly complex remainder of each cartoon download more fully! The opening sequence itself is not very complex, and obviously doesn't take long to download. However, WHILE it plays (about a minute) the REST of the cartoon is still streaming in in the background. Very clever. The latest cartoon even includes a little game at the beginning -- while you're frantically trying to stick the duck up Jimmy's butt, it's downloading.

So, this is a good example of the use of "pause time" to make a complex animation stream more smoothly. Heh. That crafty Kricfalusi. [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

BTW, make sure you try to find the Easter Egg that's in the last one, guys. It's cool.


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Jeff Zugale
Pagan City Comics
www.pagancity.com

[This message has been edited by Jeff Zugale (edited 04-09-99).]
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Jeff Zugale www.jeffzugale.com/
My "Just A Bit Off..." webcomic

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#240656 - 04/09/99 10:17 PM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
bcbailey Offline
Member

Registered: 03/30/99
Posts: 47
OH YEAH! Not a bad use of Flash if I do say so myself Jeff....Been studying those Spumco style babes I see, maybe a bit TOO much. You had me doing one of those Tex Avery style double takes. Next time make her a brunette though. [img]/resources/ubb/wink.gif[/img]

Anyway, I see that Flash is capable of alot artistically, I wasn't arguing that. But bucket fills to unclosed areas is one thing..I was alluding to the more natural media tools like in Metacreation's Painter or effects like in Photoshop.

I definitely see the advantage if you're doing your standard line art with coloring though. The work is very nice and loads super fast. The animation possibilites are great. Even though Painter is my top program right now, I sure wouldn't mind giving Flash a try one day. It's capabilities are very attractive.

As far as load time though, I think that a little down the line everything on the web will load at those top notch speeds. Then Flash would be obsolete.

B.C. Bailey
www.huzzy.com



[This message has been edited by bcbailey (edited 04-09-99).]

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#240657 - 04/10/99 09:31 AM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
Ben Adams Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/98
Posts: 483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
This post is sort of a response to what Justin Savage has been talking about.

I, personally, am not bothered at all if my favorite alternative cartoonists ABANDON the traditional comics form and flat out move to online animation along the lines of what Spumco delivers. I make no secret of the fact that I am a huge fan of Rob Walton's RAGMOP. Rob's day job is in cartoon animation. If Rob decided he could do online RAGMOP cartoons, I would not be any less inclined to support them.

What bothers me most about the current comics market is that there are so many creators that are not finding the audience they deserve. If alternative comics creators find that online animation does a better job of captivating a audience, I think they should switch to online animation. I'm less concerned with what you call it than I am with whether you are exciting and engaging people with it.

Actually, since minicomics (AKA minicomix AKA newave comix) is a term that came to be associated with the grassroots/homegrown/idiosyncratic comics that people like Matt Feazell do, perhaps there should be a term for grassroots/homegrown animation as well. I don't think, at this point, that it's particularly easy for the average joe to do online animation, but that could change.

------
Ben Adams
www.mediawarpcomics.com
_________________________
Ben Adams has led an interesting life. He writes about it in his blog and in his autobiographical webcomic, MISFIT\'S JOURNEY .

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#240658 - 04/10/99 02:29 PM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
bcbailey Offline
Member

Registered: 03/30/99
Posts: 47
Ben said:
I, personally, am not bothered at all if my favorite alternative cartoonists ABANDON the traditional comics form and flat out move to online animation along the lines of what Spumco delivers.


Ben, I think the standard comics form of sequential panels should stay in tact. I think it's a great form of storytelling in it's own right. If they all just did animation like Spumco, then they would just be rehashing what animated cartoons have been doing for a century. Instead they can explore the newly found possibilities of using animation in juxtaposed images.

Here's a good example of what animation can be to online comics with this comic by cayetano : http://www.panam.edu/dept/art/archive/strip39.html

Leave the standard animated cartoons for the ones who want to do traditional animation. Comic artists have a whole new planet to explore!

We're all emphasizing the use of animation and sound in web comics, but I think that they're just a small part of a very big picture. There are countless possibilities besides those two in web comics. They may be a bit more subtle and not as outwardly exciting, but every bit as groundbreaking.

One is the limitless possibilities in layout! Comic books have a page count and a boring standard size, while modern comic strips are a ridiculous postage stamp size. It's the fad now for comic strip artists to praise those 'bygone days when Herriman and McCay had a full Sunday page'. Well, if your doing comics for the web, you have that size times a million (including scrolling of course- not having all of the image within your browser- which some may say has it's advantages and others it's disadvantages). And your page count is pretty much the size your web host gives you! Not to mention that you can design inventive ways to read comics: diagonal, zig zagged, what have you (see Scott McCloud's intro comic at http://www.scottmccloud.com/welcome/message.html for a great example!).

I never realized the importance of all this until I started my web comic. I can make one page of my story 16 panels long if I want and use a little single panel the next (pretty impractical to do in a comic book).

One might say ''Big deal, so you can make a comic the size of a movie poster or radically change layout from page to page.'' IT IS A BIG DEAL! These are possibilties that are either wildly impractical or just plain impossible in print!

I'm not downplaying the role of animation and sound in web comics, I'm just saying that the layout possibilties are a big, exciting factor in the way we will read and create them!

B.C. Bailey
www.huzzy.com


[This message has been edited by bcbailey (edited 04-10-99).]

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#240659 - 04/10/99 03:02 PM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
Ben Adams Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/98
Posts: 483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
I'm certainly not suggesting that the traditional comic artform is dead or should be dead.

I think a lot of the tradeoffs between comics and animation have to do with economics. Like I said before, it's really rough for the average joe to do what John Kricfalusi is doing with Spumco. HOWEVER, he may very well be able to make some .MIDI sound files and do some very basic .GIF animation to enhance his comics.

What I'm trying to say is that even if good comics creators become animators (or even filmmakers), I will not become any less interested in their work (provided they are good at the medium they use).

Traditional comics certainly aren't dead, but neither is animation.

-------
Ben Adams
www.mediawarpcomics.com
_________________________
Ben Adams has led an interesting life. He writes about it in his blog and in his autobiographical webcomic, MISFIT\'S JOURNEY .

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#240660 - 04/11/99 12:33 AM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
MarkBadger Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/25/98
Posts: 22
Joe,
As probably the guy who's worked on the most online comics at this point in time. Having been a geek for Marvels cyber comics for over two years. Most of them were just reformatted print comics in the sense their pencillers/writers had no knowledge of the medium. So I was coming in and chopping them up trying to make them work online.

I've done it with my own work, the Fenyman story at Lemon Custard. Done for print, when I broke down the pages I found out how much I storytell with a page as a unit, that the final panel will often determine how much of the middle page is designed/plotted. Not having that I edited out a lot of stuff.

With online thinking you have to define your structure more clearly because you don't have that page break to work around. Scenes have to become ended within the work.

Print and online are two different mediums,(but related). Finding out the relationship is an ongoing process. Which is why I'm babbling away here.



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#240661 - 04/11/99 07:45 AM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
Joe Zabel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 2546
Loc: Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
Mark--

I think I understand better what you mean by 'reformatted print.' When a comic designed for printing as a comic book is posted onlline, the result is awkward in a number of ways-- size, the pace of the story, etc. It's a lot like what happened when the first comic books were printed-- they were newspaper comic strips pasted up on comics pages.

Actually the size issue is puzzling to me, because quite a few online comics designed by really competent people nevertheless require all sorts of awkward scrolling in order to see the whole thing.

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Joe Zabel
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#240662 - 04/12/99 05:07 PM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
savage Offline
Member

Registered: 11/24/98
Posts: 1007
Loc: Minneapolis,MN USA
Ben, I'm not saying people shouldn't animate or use sound in thier work. I'm saying that when they do it is not a comic. It becomes some hybrid or "multimedia " piece.

However, the exercises mentioned above involving scrolling or laying out for the web are comics.

I'll look at work I enjoy if it has animation in it as well...but I won't call it a traditional comic. If you want to use "cybercomic", "multimedia", or whatever else. I'm just bitching about terminology. [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

If people want to do animation to find their audience or whatever, then they should at least call it that.




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Justin Savage
President/Editor/Web-bozo
Sabre's Edge
www.sabresedge.com
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#240663 - 04/12/99 09:55 PM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
Joe Zabel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 2546
Loc: Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
Justin--

Not meaning to plug my own previous thread that is sinking, neglected, into the Comicon.com sunset below, but I suggested a kind of extension to the definition of comics in the 'Multimedia Comics' thread below. The distinction is that I include in the definition print comics like Mad Magazine and Acme Novelty Library as well as online comics and a lot of other online phenomena. Check it out!

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Joe Zabel
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#240664 - 04/15/99 09:09 AM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
cayetano Offline
Member

Registered: 03/29/99
Posts: 334
Loc: la frontera
the funny thing about that is-

that's where the debate about "what is comics" comes in again!

as long as it includes TIME=SPACE or sequence, it's comics. so the stuff online, the stuff on paper, it's COMICS. there doesn't need to be any more distinction than that. figuring out if it's "comics" or a single panel/animated film is more important when dealing with online comics. mark's football strip really teeters on the edge of being strictly animation except for the frames where he has multiple "panels".

i've been itching to get my hands on a copy of flash for just this reason... to experiment with it and find out if it's a viable way to make "comics".

just an opinion, of course! [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img]
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oh, you're that magic inkwell guy!
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#240665 - 04/16/99 08:54 PM Re: Online Comics and Unified Language
bcbailey Offline
Member

Registered: 03/30/99
Posts: 47
Yes cayetano, you make a good point in bringing up the time/space aspect of comics. While it may be great cartooning, what most of these guys are doing with flash is not comics, they're animated cartoons!

Of course, some argue against the whole time/space definition of comics, granting the term to any work that utilizes the iconography and language associated with comics. But so far those who have come up with definitions besides McCloud's 'temporal map' theory have been too vague for my tastes. Yeah, I know I probably made these points in one of the many earlier McCloud related threads, but I think they're applicable here as well.

Justin Savage also made a good point in his earlier post. If cartoonists wish to express themselves via animation, that's great. Animation is another artform filled with endless possibilities. But don't try to call it comics!

BUT, as a sidenote, online comics can certainly use animation and still be comics. Just as long as the time/space definition applies.

B.C. Bailey
www.huzzy.com

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