Graphic Novel as Webcomic?

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Graphic Novel as Webcomic?

Postby LauraSeabrook on Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:57 am

An idea that came up a week ago was changing how I'll be doing two graphic novels for my Masters in Fine Art. One graphic novel is autobiographical and includes five trips I've taken in my life (showing how things have changed in my life over a period of time). The other is an examination of the process of Gender Transition and the issues that surround it, done in a detached and semi academic manor (with a style inspired by the Scott McCloud graphic novels on comic).

    At the moment the scheme has been: script them, then draw them, and present the final result in printed form at the end of studies (along with my research paper and exhibition based on the work).

    The revised idea is: script them; draw them; upload them as instalments in webcomic format, get reader feedback (and make revisions if need be); and then present the final webcomic version instead of the printed version (along with my research paper and exhibition based on the work).
I rather like the idea of making a webcomic version first, because I already have production skills in that area, and it would integrate it into what I do anyway. Also, it would be something I could show people as a work in progress. Now I fully intend to publish both graphic novels in paper version after the masters is completed (in fact the whole point of the Masters is to get them done). But this brings up issues surrounding them being presented as web comics in the first place. The firs of which is, making sure that one format does not detract from the other, and that I'm not doubling up on work. One solution I think is is produce each webcomic page as a 1/2 landscape part of a full portrait print page:

Image

This is a scheme similar to that used in Asterix and Tin Tin albums, where the originals appeared as 1/2 pages in magazine before being collected in albums. Of course that will only work with panel grids that are even numbered horizontally. Otherwise I may as well just do a full print page per web page. Cutting and pasting two pages into one is a process I'm doing with webcomics that first appeared in Stuff Happens, and are now being reprinted in Seconds. It's very easy to do.

The original artwork is going to be hand drawn in black and white mostly, then converted to vector in Illustrator and probably coloured there. I've been exploring the techniques to do this most of this year. My last artwork, Cutting Edge, was done this way. The net advantage of doing that is better colour control for printing, and rescaling the artwork.

The other issue is access. The biographical work is fairly person and that won't need too much feedback. However the examination of gender transition needs to be accurate, at least as far as our current understanding goes. Some of that will need to be medical, political, academic, and practical. It would work better if I had an audience that could give me feedback as I go, and help correct blunders and gaffs that may come about. I'd want constructive feedback rather than potential flame wars. I'd also rather not have the whole thing open unrestricted to the public until it was properly published. The issue then becomes where to host the webcomic version, so that I can have those controls in place?
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Re: Graphic Novel as Webcomic?

Postby AndreiB on Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:07 pm

Wait, so like Gender transition as in a Woman becomes a Man or vice versa?

It's not comics, but Tom Cho is a contemporary Australian author who writes about his own gender transition. He even had an ABC special that was really enlightening/entertaining. That could really help with how to handle the subject matter.

On the topic of less conventional panel progression on webcomics, Platinum Grit handled it really nicely and Scott McCloud has some great examples on his blog.
Writer and illustrator of Dead by Thirty.
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Re: Graphic Novel as Webcomic?

Postby LauraSeabrook on Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:55 pm

Well it's not how to handle the personal side that I'll have difficulty with. Cho's book sounds brilliant, but it seems very much to be about a personal journey. I have no problems with that, but I suspect my personal journey covers different territory. I already know how to handle that graphic novel. The other one, taking a more impersonal and perhaps practical approach, is the graphic novel I'd want feed back on.

Theories abut gender, transgender, and queer stuff are changing all the time. I have a particular angle on things but I also wanted to give fair coverage to alternate points of view. There is actually too much literature out there on the topic, some of it contradictory. The feedback I'd want would about omissions, glaring errors (hopefully I won't make any) and gaffs.

My Research Question (which I have to address) is this:

    Terrifyingly Normal
    Can the contemporary use of comics, graphic novels
    and narratives bridge the gap of misunderstanding
    between the mainstream and minorities, and in particular queer minorities?
...and I'll be doing a fair amount of research on that as well, so the pressure involved might mean I slip up.

Actually I do like McCloud's experiments, but stuff like infinite canvas can't easily be translated to paper, though I have seen an interesting comic that involved alternate story lines and tiome travel that did it well. However, that comic was totally dominated by its format, and the point of the graphic novels is the content first and foremost.

Platinum Grit might be promising. I rediscovered that recently, and the separating of panels to pages works really well there.
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Re: Graphic Novel as Webcomic?

Postby AndreiB on Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:25 pm

This should be pretty interesting reading for your project too:

Wandering Son
Wandering Son amazon reviews
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Re: Graphic Novel as Webcomic?

Postby LauraSeabrook on Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:12 pm

THanks - looks very interesting.
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Re: Graphic Novel as Webcomic?

Postby J Marc on Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:37 pm

Blogger allows you to filter who you want to see and comment on its blogspot pages, and if you know a little html you can muck round with the format to allow you to fit whatever dimension image you want. Later on you can change it easily to allow more people to see it. Its stats are pretty decent, too. Best of all it's free!
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