Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Web Comics vs. Jimmy Corrigan [Graded Blog]

Ok, I probably should mention now that I spend a lot of time viewing web comics. Some of my favorites include VG Cats, SNAFU, Grim Tales From Down Below and FreeX IRL. I'm also a big fan of Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes. These comics tend to follow the general comic layout of left-to-right and top-to-bottom. Jimmy Corrigan, on the other hand, is different. Within the first three pages of Jimmy Corrigan, I discovered that it is different than other comics I've seen.

Most of the comics I've read are relatively short in time. Usually only about a page or two and time passes at a fairly constant rate through all of them. Jimmy Corrigan is different in several ways. For starters, most of the pages in Jimmy Corrigan don't exactly follow a simple left-to-right and top-to-bottom layout. On several occasions I have to read the page from left-to-right and top-to-bottom while still staying on the left half of the page. Eventually I jump to the right side but find myself at the top of the page again. Time itself is also not constant in Jimmy Corrigan. Throughout the story the reader jumps from the "present day" to the past and even fast forwarding through a specific time period. For example, in the reading we had for today (Wednesday), time went from present day to 1893 (roughly), when Jimmy's grandfather was a young boy. Here, time does fast-forward on several occasions. Time is fairly constant through the scene in the World's Fair construction site, but afterwards time is sped up and skips several moments (including the funeral and the school day). Eventually, we jump back to the present day.

Jimmy Corrigan is interesting to go through in that the reader has to be paying attention to each individual frame to follow the story properly. This makes it slow to read compared to other comics I've seen. The web comics I referred to earlier are easier to follow since most of them use the simply left-to-right/top-to-bottom layout. However, the internet does provide some interesting ways of creating comics. Where as Jimmy is restricted to simple paper, web comics can follow links or even be continued in "links" placed in themselves. In the online comics The Right Number by Scott McCloud, the author chose the medium of Flash animation to create his comic. This allowed him to set up the comic like a long tunnel, you pass THROUGH each frame to get to the next one. It's like walking though a tunnel devided by bulkheads and each individual frame of the comics is painted on each bulkhead. The result, thanks to the wonders of Flash, is a fairly compact comic. A comic of this design is easy to follow, since all of the frames are sorted out for the reader, but appearance wise it is an interesting layout. The only problem I see is that a computer without Flash installed will not be able to view the comic, but that is hardly a problem now a days.

Now, a lot of the comics I read on a daily basis are generally only one strip long (hardly a novel), but some, like Bleedman's Grim Tales From Down Below, try to form a complete story, like a graphic novel. Now that I think about it, there is one small similarity between Jimmy Corrigan and Grim Tales (don't know how important this detail is, but I'm just putting it on record). Like Corrigan, Grim Tales is set in both the "present" time as well as the past, though Grim Tales is still a work in progress (I'm keeping up with it as new pages are added).

[Edit]: Am I making any sense?

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

I think you're making sense. Your discussion of Ware does make sense, although it doesn't add much to what we've talked about in class.

Things get more interesting when you cut over to the web comics; I actually think it's unfortunate that you split your attention between Grim Tales and The Right Number, because while you are raising interesting issues about both, you aren't ultimately evaluations or giving a detailed response of either one in relationship to JC. The issues you raise are good, but you don't pursue them. (What does the Flash tunnel do for you as a reader? Is it a good idea or a bad idea? Etc.)