One group member: 9 PM, Thursday, May 7 A high-quality PDF copy of the contents page and intro, and your individual story in the dropbox on Sakai. Each group member: 9 PM, Thursday, May 7 A high-quality PDF copy of your individual story in the dropbox on Sakai. And there was something I wanted to say about this comic last week but didn't: Animator Tatsuyuki Tanaka's (non-animated) Fifth Dimension. Ilya and Sarah present on Edward Tufte and how (to what extent) his ideas about information aesthetics apply to comics in general and, perhaps, to the final project in particular. And: Animator Tatsuyuki Tanaka's (non-animated) Fifth Dimension (translation at Pink Tentacle).
One-page story synopsis (printed), including introductory paragraph that explains relation of your story to the anthology's theme. Panel-by-panel script (printed) or thumbnails (photocopy or printed scan) for at least first two pages of story. Character designs for the anthology's host and for at least two main characters (human, animal, alien, supernatural, metaphysical, or inanimate). This exercise is based (strongly) on Kevin Huizenga's idea and also on a related recommendation by Irena. Working on paper, make a Fight or Run comic of at least seven panels in which your character, by whatever means, defeats your partner's character (or, if you're in a group of three, your partners' characters). Marjane Satrapi wins the Alph'Art Prize at the 2001 Angoulême International Comics Festival. Alison Bechdel reviews Jane Vandenburgh's A Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century (NY Times).
Update: As discussed in class, the due date for this project has been moved back by a week. Abel & Madden have a fair amount to say on these subjects in this week's and next week's readings. Jennifer Camper's review of Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis 2 (scroll down for the review).And here is a review of Camper's review.
Tell a comics story in five or more pages using words, pictures, graphic devices, page design, etc. Story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end that follow or modify in some clear way a basic narrative arc.
The story should have at least three different characters and at least one instance of conflict that get resolved or at least promises to get resolved by the story's end. Work solo, collaboratively, or in a small group (each member responsible for five pages of story). The second Deitch and Brown comics present two very different narratives about execution (one criminal, one military). For this exercise, let us refer to the excerpt from Matt Madden's Exercises in Style on Sakai. Alan Moore and Rick Veitch, Greyshirt story: "How Things Work Out" (Tomorrow Stories #2, 1999).
From Chatman we get the distinction between story and (narrative) discourse, and from Goodman the related distinction between the order of the told and the order of the telling. Jessica Abel and Matt Madden's concept of the traditional narrative arc, which we'll get to next week, combines a certain variety of story with a certain form of plot.
Another interesting feature of the diary comics is the varying degrees of context offered for the details or events shown (via exposition in caption boxes, visual information in the panel, expository dialogue, or longer narrative sequences). Analyze the narrative arc into its main story elements (protagonist, spark, obstacles, etc.). Pratt, "Narration in Comics" (on Sakai, in the Theory & Crititicism folder of the resources section). Also, take another look at Dash Shaw's fascinating "Cartooning Symbolia", this time with the distinction between story and narrative discourse, between what is told and how it is told, in mind. Using the basic plot skeleton as a template make a new story, changing details (but not the general plot structure) as much as you like. Wolk also argues that for many comics: "The cartoonist's image-world is a metaphorical representation of our own" (134). Last week, using your diary comics, we looked at how we can analyze a comics narrative into a sequence of different panel-to-panel transitions.
Bizarre, the debut comic strip by Yoshiharu Tsuge, reprinted in Tsuge Yoshiharu Early Work Anthology, vol. In the first example: notice Segar's plot and narration decisions, the use of delay and shifts of focus in telling the story. In the last example, notice how Cole balances a scene dominated by Dr Volt's thin blue outfit in the upper left against a second scene dominated by Woozy Wink's dotted, much fuller green outfit in lower right. Zombie Comics as Cultural Critique (I think): Chester Brown, "To Live with Culture" (apparently refers to an ad campaign in Toronto). Again, you'll put the full comic together in class using Adobe InDesign or a similar program.

Where do subjective and objective shifts backwards in time (perceived-to-remembered and present-to-past respectively) fit in to this breakdown?
With transition still in mind, let's take a look at Alex Toth's Case of the Curious Classic.
Compare your lists for each of the diary comics and, for each, settle on a definitive list. Working in groups of three on the Mac grands, complete the jumble comics exercise described on pages 46-47 of the Abel & Madden textbook. For this exercise we'll use the beautiful Sunday Comics Sections from the Times-Picayune, June 25, 1939 (via the hard work and kindness of ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive).
When you've finished, save your comic jumble twice: (1) as an editable PDF, Tiff, or PSD and (2) as a compressed PDF. As with this example, your comic must have some kind of plot, including at least one significant event. Also as with the Murray and Brown example, each participant will draw the panels in which he or she asks or answers a question.
For instance, you might discuss drawing or comics, or something you both liked or disliked in your distant childhood. Second, the comic should tell a minimal story, including at least one significant event (as in panels 8 & 9 of the Murray-Brown strip). Each participant is responsible for (1) at least six panels and (2) a splash panel of at least one third of a page containing an image, the comic's title, and credits. For this comic, you'll need to scan your work (if not drawn on a computer) and bring scanned versions of your work to the next class.
For advice on scanning drawings, see the PRINT section by Jordan Crane in A Guide to Reproduction (PDF). Three panels from a "conversation" between James Kochalka and Craig Thompson can be found in this interview with Chris Staros of Top Shelf. Also take a look at the excerpt from Art Spiegelman's Maus (Brunetti 149), in which Spiegelman interviews his father, a holocaust survivor.
Nelson Goodman, "The Telling and the Told" "Twisted Tales" (on Sakai, under Resources, in the new Theory & Criticism folder). Select a comics page or sequence of at least six panels that is either in Brunetti or available for reading online (you could put the page online yourself; however, this should not be a page of your own work). Next, using either a script or thumbnails with explanatory captions, develop three re-tellings of the original sequence using different transtion types to narrate the same events. Note that beyond the optional use of thumbnails, no redrawing of the sequence is required for this assignment. Complexity: How much the work does, how much content and technique it, how many different pieces it brings together, given what it can.
Creativity: The degree to which the work does clever, surprising, adventurous things with the requirements of the assignment and the resources of comics and narrative. Completeness: The degree to which your work satisfies the basic requirements of the assignment. Here we'll take a look at some examples to get a better sense of some aspects of what I mean by clarity or legibility.
Related: Patrick Montero, Interview with Scott McCloud, artist behind Google Chrome comic (Daily News). Today's first group activity is Pahl Hluchan's "Wrong Planet" activity, described in the Abel & Madden textbook on page 31.
Our second group activity is an exercise suggested by Austin Kleon's "The Power of Captions: Words Added to Pictures". Among other things, we'll use this caption-writing activity for some preliminary practice with Photoshop.
For each image, come up with two VERY different captions or labels that (optimally) change how we would see these images in two very different, even opposing ways. From last week: Sarah McIntyre, "Dear David Lasky" (this is a letter but it has diary aspects). Working by hand or using a graphics program (or some combination of these), make ("keep") a diary comic for the next two weeks.
Your comic should cover at least eleven different days, using at least 24 panels, on at least four pages. In light of today's discussion: Pick and try to maintain a single narration technique throughout the (short) diary.
Try to use some of the basic comics conventions (motion lines, sound effects, thought balloons, expressive or irregular panel borders, etc.) that you began to experiment with in the pictureless comic.
Lay out your own pages or select and print panel-layout templates from a program like Comic Life or one of the online template suppliers. In chapter two of Understanding Comics, McCloud describes the continuum of icons, from the more realistic to the more purely iconic.
Note: As an alternative to lining up your copied heads, your can number them from 1 to 8, with one being the most realistic and 8 the most iconic.

Over the next few weeks, you'll present short (five-minute or so) summaries of the critical and theoretical readings, beginning with Understanding Comics, chap. Find or create your own examples to illustrate the author's ideas (to supplement his or her own examples in the reading). Again: The first presentation group will prepare and present a five-minute summary of McCloud's Understanding Comics, chap. They'll be supplemented richly by a large number of online and scanned comics and a few handouts. Comics as information = approach comics in general as an evolving body of techniques for storing and communicating information, very often narrative information. Another example: Sarah McIntyre, "Dear David Lasky" (one that points to its informational character). Comics (or cartooning) as interpretation, an idea put forward by Douglas Wolk in his book Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean, parts of which we'll be reading shortly. Here is an example of some things that can happen in (as) a graphic narrative: Untitled story by Yves Chaland. After reviewing the syllabus, requirements, policies, etc., we'll examine some examples of comics.
Look at the Sacco excerpt with the Pictureless Comic assignment in mind Notice how much work is being done by the non-figurative elements (panel shape, caption box angle and position, motion lines, emanata, music symbols, etc.).
In the Ware comic, somewhat by contrast, consider how the pictures, which do not fit cleanly or even logically with the words, nonetheless work to extend their meaning.
All five comics actively use narration, with a first-person narrator (or reporter) visually present, verbally self-referred to, or strongly implied. Note that, despite the absence of figures and scenery, your comic does not have to be set in the dark, or a snow storm, or a blinding light, or represent the subjective experience of a blind narrator. Your a physical copy of your pictureless comic (printed, photocopied, or handmade) is due at the start of the next class (Jan.
If scanning your work, 300px should be fine for color or grayscale; but use at least 600px for black-and-white (no grays) line art.
Each group member must upload a PDF copy of his or her own section to Sakai and leave a printed copy for me in either (1) my mailbox in Murray Hall or (2) under my office door in Loree (room 010) by the due dates listed below.
We'll start with some examplese of pre-comics pictorial narrative, evolving into comics narrative. Let's look at some of the pre-history and evolution of (narrative) comics page composition. It can be a genre story (crime, horror, weird romance, superhero, western, political thriller, etc.). The panels do not have to reproduce the images but might borrow a detail, a character, a setting, a color scheme, or the composition.
As an alternative: you can develop a plot collaboratively in class, then each make (and modify) your own version of the story.
Instead, adapt the plot structure of the transformed narrative from class into a new six-page story of your own. We can further analyze a narrative, graphic or otherwise, into three parts: story narration, and plot.
Wolk argues that comics don't simply reflect or record or report on the world in straightforward way, but "interpret" (or subjectively distort) the world in particular ways – through the style of the cartoonist (how the world is shown) as much as through the representational content (what parts or versions of the world are shown). This idea applies both to the content represented in a comic story or graphic narrative and to the form itself. Consider the similarities and differences between them, and note the contrast with Mat Brinkman's wordless "Oaf" (Brunetti 73-76). While you might want to vary panel size, layout, or borders as part of your comic, here is a 9-panel grid (.pdf) to help you get started.
Save the scan as a TIFF file and upload as such or as a PDF to Scribd and to the Sakai dropbox. If your pages are going to have fewer panels, aim for more pages and disucss your layout ideas with me.
Bring a physical copy for the instructor (and, if you want, one for your group to look at). The narrative can be fairly straightforward or it can verge on (but should not succumb to) the virtually nonsensical.
600-800 dpi recommended for line art, smaller for color.Save each PANEL (not page) as a separate TIFF file.

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