(Cross posted by Danny on I’ve Only Been Wrong Twice)

I have to admit that I left the Graphalogia session a bit early because, no offense to the talented artists leading the session, the whole thing was a bit mundane. They did bring up a point which I thought was worth hearing, especially at a writing conference, with Michael Chabon, to a graphic designer.

It is easy, especially for millennials, how revolutionary media forms are when they are first brought into existence. No where is this more apparent than the advent of the comic strip, comic book and graphic novel. Where word an image where carefully and “appropriately” placed on their own parts of the page, only to occasionally interact when the typography demanded a more nuanced or ornate treatment, comic books were some of the early examples of image and word existing with, around and in support of one another.

Graphic Novelists Jon J Muth and Kevin Huizenga took this fairly obvious but little thought formula and added to it the existence and permeation of the frame: the little black box that most comics employ to guide the reader through movement, space and time. Their point was to show that very few forms enjoy the sort of segmentation, while maintaining a medium’s freedom, that artists can use to guide, manipulate, and in the end engage the viewer just as an author wants.

With as much as this medium has to offer, I can only imagine that it is ripe for what Michael Chabon spoke about this morning concerning convention: that one must build, must start, from these little pieces of existing culture (whether that is your community and your medium), and then change what ever of that is standing in your way to creation, determined solely, and appropriately, by how your brain is wired.


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