*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 decided to go in a different direction this week for my digital story review. I was inspired by last week’s L&K chapter and the concept of remixing in digital sorties. While looking around for examples of remixes in comics I came across a movement called motion comics, these digital videos uploaded to YouTube are created by users by taking copies of individual panels from the graphic novel and displaying them on the screen then adding a soundtrack of voice actors reading the dialogue and cinematic sound effects and music, even more sophisticated motion comics will take static images from the panels and animate the to give the comic a more cinematic feel. I found many of these motion comics and chose to review a price by Nuff Said Fred – remixing the Image comic Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I will be using the critique criteria of story, presentation and performance, and Project planning for my review.
Saga is a wonderful science fiction story and an awesome piece to remix as a motion comic. The plot centers around Alana and Marko, members of two different alien races that are locked in a bloody feud, after a chance encounter they fall in love and have a child. The comic follows Alana, Marko and their baby, Hazel, as they attempt to flee from both sides of the conflict. Saga was a great choice for source material because it already has a captivating story and the remix is able to use that plot as a foundation to present the narrative in a fundamentally different way.
Presentation and Performance
The choice of sound effects, music and voice actors for this motion comic were well done. The music conveys mood without being overbearing and the sound effects are minimalist, thus making them effective in times they are used. The voice actors’ performances were clear and well rehearsed and gave each static image of the characters a layer of personality. I feel that the emotions were occasionally flat and that the voice actors did not always convey the true nature of the character reactions or statements.
the preparation of this piece involved scanning or filming the pages or individual panels of the Saga comic. Most of the motion comics I have seen keep the dialogue bubbles as part of the images that viewers see, Nuff Said Fred decided to remove the bubbles, the work is done in a way to try to hide where the bubbles were but the cover up was not perfect and there are distorted sections were the dialogue bubbles have been photo-shopped out. These distorted sections do not detract from the story and is a style choice made by the author, which works because of the amazing installations that become the only focus for the viewer’s eyes. The author has also chosen to not animate the static images in this video. Other example of motion comics have varying degrees of animated images, I feel that not having animation makes the work of the voice actors more important because they become solely responsible to create a new perspective through which to view the source material, and that Nuff Said Fred’s actors were successful in creating that perspective in this remix.
I would suggest checking out this Saga motion comic because it is well done and a great introduction to the Saga narrative.