Friday, April 10, 2009

Three Things Worth A Look

1. Something that frustrates/puzzles me about digital comics is how formally unimaginative many of them are. So many webcomics adhere to traditional print methods and dimensions: black line art with flat color laid out in panels like a newspaper strip or the pages of a comic book. It's the Web! You're not limited by 100-year-old print technology! Go wild!

(I'm guilty of the charge myself, of course. Mom's Cancer was a webcomic done as a very traditional print comic for two reasons: I enjoy the medium of ink-on-paper, and I hoped it would be published one day. And I'm sure many webcomics creators feel the same.)

Some artists try to jazz up their webcomics with flash animation, which rarely works for me. First, it's usually an unnecessary distraction that contributes nothing to the story. Second, it makes their comics into cartoons, which is a different thing. I think that a big reason people enjoy comics is that their brains have to fill in gaps of time, motion, and meaning; it's a mini-mental workout. Reading is active, watching is passive.

What I'm looking for is the growth of digital comics as a unique medium with a language independent of print comics or animated cartoons--an experience that works the brain in a way they don't. Which is a long introduction to the piece below, which I think is a step in the right direction: (Edited to add: I see this comic doesn't really get imbedded, just linked, so that clicking on it will take you to another website. Also, there's some bad language.)

about DIGITAL COMICS by ~Balak01 on deviantART

2. I blog. I don't Facebook, MySpace, Second Life, or Twitter. My life isn't that interesting, neither is yours, and we should both be too busy actually living our lives to set up imaginary parallel lives or offer constant color commentaries on them. My joke is that I'm always looking for new, innovative, exciting, socially interactive web-based ways for people to leave me alone. I realize that makes me unusual these days.

With that in mind, the video below, about the new social network application "Flutter" for people lacking the attention span for Twitter, hit a home run with me:

3. It's no secret that animators in later Disney cartoons often raided the vaults to re-use the breakdowns of earlier masters. I think Disney itself has shown in some of its "How To" featurettes how a bit of action or comedic business from one movie might be repurposed for a later one. The video below compiles several examples, some of which I knew of and others that only became blindingly obvious to me once they were pointed out.

I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with this practice (although it is pretty damning of "Robin Hood"). If a Disney artist in 1940 figured out a great way animate a bit, why re-invent the wheel? I also think some examples in recent years, like the "Beauty and the Beast" waltz lifted from "Sleeping Beauty," were meant as deliberate homages. Mostly I just enjoyed this:

None of these is the fun thing I hinted at in my last post. That hasn't happened yet.

Happy Easter/Passover/Just Another April Weekend, everyone.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Ah, you saved me the trouble of posting that extraordinary bit on digital comics on my own blog! Good thing we fluttered about it first.

And I'm not a big believer in the "homage" theory, when the homage occurs in an otherwise formulaic flick. Disney's artists have been on autopilot for a couple of decades now. It would be one thing to lift the raindrop sequences from Bambi for a rain scene in a totally different animated film, but when you are using stock character shots to illustrate a "new" set of stock characters, it's not just the animation that is being traced instead of created.