Monday, 23 January 2012

The Twenty Three : Number None : Lure

The Twenty Three is a website i'm setting up to contain extras, extended scenes, b-sides, outtakes and brand new stories from the Tales of the Hollow Earth universe. It will all be material that adds to the story, but some of which i'm discarding from the printed comic in order to concentrate on the main plotline.

The Twenty Three : Number None : Lure

Lure, for example, introduces elements of Gudrun Black's character that would be useful to a reader of issue 3, so it's getting reprinted here, as well as in a coloured version in the next edition of issue 1.

It originally appeared in Daniel Clifford's A4 Adventure Arena. Daniel provided input on pacing and storytelling and made this a much tighter story, and I'm greatful for this and his permission to reprint.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Comics: words + pictures where time = space

So, last night I did a presentation for Design Interest under the title "Comics: words + pictures where time = space", the aim of which was to talk around some of the issues of time and space in comics. The evening was excellent - good bunch of people and I had excellent fellow speakers, Rose Mockford (@mydesignmade) and Liz Douthwaite. Vicki Teinaki's take on the evening can be seen here.

Comics Time as in how long a comic takes to produce and read, as well as noting that time is in the hands of the reader.

How can the creator control both the perception of time in the story, as well as the time it takes to read - in order to properly pace a joke, for example?

Here's what I talked about, in brief, but in roughly the same order...


  • Steve Bell - Political Cartoons are usually single panels, since the story is happening elsewhere. A single panel is still read from left to right, though and is not read as a single moment in time. 
  • Jack Comics - Provided the example of images colliding and suggesting stories.
  • Penny Arcade - An example of the standard format three panel web strip, and referenced Jimmy Carr's definition of a Joke as two stories colliding. Again, most of the story is not in the strip but in the archives and newsposts.
  • Scott McCloud - Understanding Comics - is of course, essential reading.
  • Calvin and Hobbes - Provided several example of the standard format four panel newspaper strip (a complete story being told in four panels.) as well as larger format illustrations of good pacing.
  • Tim Stout - Provided the Calvin and Hobbes example of a three act structure ready made exactly as I'd planned already, but with a better example.

Comics in Time and Space

This section focused on the accessibility and availability of comics and why and when this would make for good documentation, dissemination and education.

The Axis of Empathy

The Big Triangle was invented by Scott McCloud, minimalism on the horizontal axis, abstraction on the vertical.

Photo from
In my examples (pictured), I had, moving up from reality towards abstraction...

Moving back from abstraction towards minimalism and empathy...

And in the middle I had...

Subsequent slides contained examples of charicature used in horror and dark tales from...

Time and Space in Comics

There was a lot of cross over between these examples, but broadly, I showed:

Comics using the full bleed to show that the edge of the page connects to bigger things:

Comics using a grid (and colours) to suggest (and then subvert) monotony and inevitability:

Subverted to devastating effect in:

Comics using full width panels to show an indeterminate, but lengthy, timescale:
Recommended Reading:

  • but most of all, for the best showcase of what's happening now in comics: 2000AD
  • and also, meet up with the Paper Jam Comics Collective on Thursday evenings in Newcastle's Travelling Man store. Follow @paperjamcc on twitter.