Monday, February 27, 2006

Pacing is key

One thing that continues to hold me back from trying to do a comic of my own is the idea of visual pacing.

The development of preferred format of Korean webcomics though really intrigues me. Mostly because it's a meeting of old and new styles. The vertical 3-4 panels was one of the more common comic formats to grace newspapers. While special long-run types of comics eventually got their own page-like format, the short vertical is still a classic used today.

The traditional format actually works in the favor of the online reader with its natural compatibility with scrolling up and down. Less awkward than scrolling left to right, and so the artist doesn't feel like they can't create vast arcs. This creates an odd combination of uniformity while taking advantage of the Web medium through coloring and varied panel sizes means great creative license.

For example, the very first episode of Yang Yung-soon's "1001" (a fantasy based on Arabian Nights) manages to capture a nightmare all through one continous strip of the same size. Yet the reader doesn't feel bored after a long scroll through panel sizing and spacing.

(above excerpt from Yang Yung-soon's "1001")

Text also plays an important part. While you can create an obvious pause by spacing panels apart, how do you keep a pause from becoming a full stop? The staggering of text as the sultan breaths hard in the above example keeps is one example of how it's done.

One particular comic I've had an immense amount of awe in watching develop is Kang Do-ha's "The Great Catsby". A slightly tragic story about being young, having to grow up, expectations and ambitions, of course love, and in a way the sort of futility of it all in the face of how human relations and society really works, the artist impressed me with how much his artwork advanced. While this one has run its course, he currently is doing "Pinwheel Boy's Dream", which is a little Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's "The Little Prince" -esque.

In one of my favorite episodes absolutely nothing happens, yet he's able to convey a movie-like movement of time and space.

(above excerpt from Kang Do-ha's "The Great Catsby")

He also likes to use a lot of modern objects as metaphor. Road signs, bread, the slow demolition of the (anti)hero's old crumbling neighborhood with it's winding passages as construction goes on nearby for an obnoxious high-rise apartment town called of all things "Provencal." A lot of times it got a bit too much for me, but it did mean a great deal of interestingly drawn panels.


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