*THIS POST BELONGS TO A COLLECTION OF CRITIQUES OF DIGITAL COMICS AND RELATED MATERIAL, CREATED FOR A MASTER LEVER COURSE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO DENVER.
I have been searching out new digital comics to critique and determine if they are genuine digital comics, rather than traditional comics delivered digitally, by employing some questions and standards I developed here. I found quite a few but they did not work for my purpose. They were ether to similar to the digital comics I have recently reviewed or where not worth the time to critique them. As I dug deeper into I found a talk from Mark Waid, who is an award winning comic writer, discussing his vision for truly digital comics at the 2013 O’Reilly Media’s Tools of Change for Publishing Conference.
Early on in my inquiry into digital comics I reviewed award winning writer/artist Scott McCloud’s TED talk on the same subject. I have become enamored with McCloud’s work around comics and how to re-imagine them for the digital environment, and was excited to find another prominent figure in the traditional comic publishing championing digital comics. So I eagerly decided to focus my discussion this week on Waid’s talk, have decided on three criteria to for my critique:
- Content understanding
- Originality, voice, creativity
Waid and McCloud’s visions for the future of digital comics are similar, both speakers agreed that the over use or relying on animation and sound/music would fundamentally change comics into Flash cartoons. These visions, however, are fundamentally different in the way comic are presented in the digital environment. I discuss McCloud’s concept of the infinite canvas here, Waid sees digital comics existing on digital pages where the static images and panels change without extensive scrolling in the digital plan. The comic panels fade in and out or have new static images layered on top of existing images to creating feelings of depth and motion. Waids comics tell stories in a fundamentally different way than traditional comics or even digital comics employing the infinite canvas concept.
As a successful and award winning contributor to the comic book industry Waid has first hand knowledge of how the traditional comic book industry work and insight into how comics should adapt to the digital environment. His laid back comfortable delivery appropriately conveys his confidence in discussing the topic. Waid illustrates his points about the evolution of digital comics using examples he created. He is able to describe the ways digital elements are used to fundamentally alter the way the story is told. His knowledge supports a convincing argument about the nature of authentic digital comics.
Originality, voice, creativity
I was surprised to see that this talk was 20+ minutes, which seemed long for a talk of this sort and was initially turned off by the lack of digital medial to break up the somewhat monotonous nature of being lectured at BUT when Ward started sharing his creations the comics spoke for themselves. Waid’s vision of the digital page is very original but simple. The page itself changes like a digital slide show, with panels appearing and disappearing the motion is eye catching and drawing the reader’s attention to new scenes. The unique way these drawings appear and disappear draws the reader’s eye to new content but still empowers the readers to see the larger scene, similar to a traditional comic but completely different and awesome.
I am so excited to check out more of Waid’s digital work, and I know you are too, and we are lucky that Ward, and his collaborators, have created Thrillbent comics! They look great,and I am excited to be critiquing samples in the next few weeks.