Thursday, November 1, 2007

Comics.. idk, i can't be clever right now - Graded Blog

As you guys might have picked up, I am a typical girl but a geek at heart (as well as some other things but not the place to talk about). I will admit, when I was younger, not only did I read the classic newspaper comics but I also read superhero comic books including Superman and Batman (I was Poison Ivy for Halloween, lol). In spite of all the comics I read when I was younger, I am still having slight trouble reading Jimmy Corrigan. I never knew that comics could be made any other way besides the cliché types of comics (standard size box, read left to right, top to bottom). I find myself constantly rereading a page in Jimmy Corrigan because I read it the cliché way when I was suppose to be reading it in different directions. Thus, I am constantly spending more time figuring out how I am suppose to read each page than the time I actually spend reading it. Of course, those pages that only have one picture on them are pretty easy to understand, which leads into my next point. Not all the pictures in Jimmy Corrigan are the same shape and/or size. These aspects of the comic also slow me down, especially the smaller 1 by 1 text boxes (my eyes find it hard to adjust from large boxes to the small boxes).

To be honest, I didn’t know there were comics specifically made fore the internet. While searching through the link that Dr. Johns provided, I found that internet comics had a wide range of variety to them (apparently, so do pen and paper comics). Even though there were quite a few that I still laugh at when I ‘read’ them (Robots Love to Dance, Flap those Flagella Like you Mean It – both found in the morning improve), one that stood out was Meadow of the Damned ( This comic strip is actually 3 separate comics that are a continuum of one another. As I was reading it, I found the comic to not only be funny, but very easy to read since the comic itself was very close to the formula of a typical comic – you read from left to right and all the text boxes are relatively the same size (excluding part three). The internet allows the comic to actually be a comic ‘strip’ – you just keep scrolling around the screen, never having to go to the second line because the paper isn’t long enough. I also find it interesting that you can’t see what happens next. Instead you must scroll till the end of the part your reading and then click a link that will take you to the next part. If all three parts are on one page, and say only showing five boxes per a line, the reader would easily be able to jump down to the ending and see what happens next and/or in the end. The third part has a particular uniqueness to the comic. The internet allows for the inclusion of special background effects as well as animation. Once I opened up the page, the background not only set the mood for the final part but also captivated me to the screen. This can sometimes be seen in Jimmy Corrigan, (ie the background of the theater setting (something like pg 54)), but not to the same degree since pen and paper cannot show quick time movement animation (unless you are looking at a flip book, but that’s a different subject).


Tim said...

(I'm going to preface this by saying that yours was the first I read, it is quite possible that my comment will apply to a numerous amount of the posts, but I can't say yet.)

Alright, Em. First off, mad props for being able to admit you read comics. Not that it's embarrassing, I just don't think I know a single girl that has ever admitted it. Anyways, coming from the same position as you... being used to reading tradition styled comics... I, too, had some difficulty starting off with Corrigan. In my opinion, Ware made it pretty flat out apparent that reading this comic was going to be a feat. After starring at his cat/mouse single frame page for about thirty minutes when we were first assigned the book I said to myself, "Oh shit... this won't be a walk in the park."

After a while though, I personally feel that I have learned Ware's techniques and am able to read the text in a somewhat timely fashion. But, that is something I wanted to comment on. (Again, I have only read yours so far so I don't know if someone else has addressed this) So, you touched on the fact that Ware went against the tradition techniques of comic making, but you didn't say anything. It would have been interesting to see what reasons you thought Ware did it. He's OCD right? So maybe he does it because it makes everything fit perfectly on one page. Or does he do it deliberately to draw our attention to certain aspects of the storyline? Those are the only reasons I have come up with... it'd be interesting to see if anyone else came up with any particularly odd ideas.

As for Meadow of the Damned... I tried to read the whole thing but it is ten in the morning and my brain is barely at the level where I can watch television let alone read something as taxing as a comic strip. Ha. But, it looks interesting and when I get a chance I definitely am going to check it out!

Holy long comment, Batman. Anyways, I enjoyed reading your post...

Adam Johns said...

It would be interesting to compare your response to the web comic to Charie's response (which is more focused on JC itself), to work at greater length with the ups and downs of web comics.

Amusingly, I can give a critique of Meadow of the Damned (which I was really enjoying...) the third screen with the background somehow managed to lock up my computer! So one negative of web comics, of course, is that your hardware and software need to be configured properly, which seems like a more trivial problem than it is...

I liked the discussion of how the reader can't see ahead. Of course, we could scroll to the end and then click on "next," but it's not the same as just flipping a page, and I can't imagine many people will do it. I would have liked to hear more about whether this is a good thing or a bad thing at the end of the day, that the reader is more restricted, in a way, by the purity of the "strip."

Good post, Poison Ivy.