Interactive Comic Book:
'The Boy Who Reluctantly Saved The World'

Theory

According to Scott Mc Cloud in his book ‘Understanding Comics’; ‘We assume as readers that we will know what order to read panels in, but the business of arranging those panels is actually quite complex, so complex in fact, that even seasoned pros will sometimes blow it.’ (McCloud, , p.86) In this interactive comic book, I have chosen to make it not too detailed as I want to explore the audiences’ engagement by the use of their imagination BETWEEN panels. Mc Cloud discusses about Panels; ‘Whatever the mysteries WITHIN each panel, it’s the power of closure BETWEEN panels that I find the most interesting.’ ‘We already know that a comic asks the mind to work as a sort of IN BETWEENER—filling in the gaps between panels as an animator might.’ (Mc Cloud, 1993, p.88)

Mc Cloud (2005) in his talk for TED, provided an example of his work on an iPAD, this idea that you can swipe through a comic book panel by panel, therefore allowing each panel to become more attentive than an ordinary standard comic book would. In a normal comic book, you are presented with far too many panels at the one time, therefore giving your eyes a chance to look ahead and spoil the story for themselves.


With the iPAD, Mc Cloud discussed the use of "Infinite Canvas" which as you can see from the image, is like a long banner in a sense, which has existed through centuries, dating back to the Egyptians and their Heiroglyphics

References

Mc Cloud, Scott (1993) Understanding Comics New York: Kitchen Sink Press.

Practice

photo-one

As you can see from the diagram above, there are two ways of viewing a comic book digitally on a tablet. There is a digital comic that displays a whole page of a comic, so you can zoom in and read the panels if you bring the page into the screen. Personally, I think this is a bad idea, as you can easily mistake going on the wrong panel, therefore, not only finding out what happens ahead, but also, disrupt the narrative flow of the comic book.

Although this interactive comic book idea, has been created, I have chosen to adopt it further by looking at animated elements within the panels. Not too much animation, otherwise that would defeat the purpose of comics, but just enough to keep the attention of the reader drawn to the story. I want to stay true to the style values of comic books.

The reason why I have chosen to animate elements within panels of the comic book is to add a little bit of spice and help draw the audience in and also, with the importance of artwork, if a moving element catches the person’s eye, they will, in my opinion look at the picture more closely for any other forms of movement. They will have to pay close attention to the picture and that way, the artwork may have more attention. This is something that I am intrigued to find out at the end of this process. The idea of swishing through panels on a tablet, will give the reader the feeling that he/she has ownership of this comic. This will add in with the imaginations of the reader when they are between panels, therefore most of this project will be controlled by the viewer, but they are still interacting with the path and the narrative that I have presented.

Outcome


Mc Cloud, in his talk for TED, explains how animated comics is '...such a Mc Luhan mistake to make.' He seems to suggest that Comics have a sense of time in their still images and the fact that you would be playing animated panels inside your comic book, on a loop, it takes you away from the continuity of that comic book. in a sense I do agree, but I don't think that comic books should completely shy away from animated panels. As I said earlier, having completely animated panels in the comic book would completely make the comic book lose it's aura. However, if there were just small elements that were animated, but it was still mostly a still piece of artwork, then I believe that it can work out that way.

Looking at the outcome project, you can see a bit of a jump between scenes, readers would probably want to know, how they, for example, landed and where etc. However, the point of this is to test the viewer if they are engaging with the story. Are they imagining the mysteries between the panels, which would be great, yet it may lead them to going off tangent and the next thing they know, they’re thinking about something else that is not related to the story. However, having said that, it may also allow them to create their own version of the story while still sticking to the main storyline. It personalises the story. I want to show that audiences can engage more into narratives through their own interpretation of the narrative.

Unfortunately, not only due to the size of the narrative and the time that I had, I was unable to fully complete this project, mainly due to the reason that the software was not taking anymore memory, therefore i had to just upload the 1st part of the story.


© Animacrazed | Nicholas Sebastian Tracey