October 16, 2008

Pages 4,5

Posted in Matei & Budi project at 1:03 pm by budiwi

Matei, here’s more stuff. Catching up.huff.puff.



  1. budiwi said,

    Matei, Titus.
    As I work on the pages, I start to ask myself a couple of things:
    1. I grew up w/ superhero comics and I noticed those traces in my drawings. I currently have a love/hate relationship w/ superheroes. A dilemma-I think they’re naive(unrealistic) but its fantastical nature is no doubt a powerful communication vehicle. I am struggling to almost forget this genre – what do you both think? Does the superhero genre the culprit behind the perception that comics cannot be a serious/sophisticated art form?

    2. Comics is a literary medium that is conveniently cinematic. Comics is made up of words and pictures (Right now, I’m trying to break it down into words and lines/textures.)I guess calling it a graphic novel makes more sense if it is so, instead of seeing it as a movie storyboard. How do you think we should push this? Do you agree in the first place?


  2. budiwi said,

    Another observation: Comics seem to be dominated by a set of visual vocabulary that’s based on icons. Meaning, to abstract pictorial information into concise shapes, lines. This ‘icon’ approach creates what I call the ‘cartoon effect’. It maybe that comics illustration has its roots in drawing(figure/ground) rather than painting(surface).

    What’d be some of your thoughts on this subject?

  3. omulan said,

    … deep stuff man… i think comics looks a bit like paintings in churches, but there are many styles…

  4. titusillu said,

    Hey Budi,
    thanks for sharing all thouse quite fundamental thoughts. It is a rather academic discussion though, and (at least for me) almost impossible to give a clear answer… BUT since I love this kind of stuff I will try to comment on your mails 🙂

    We had the discussion before about where we come from and what are our influences (comic and graphic wise). And so I was just thinking about one thing: WHAT are the narrative comic roots in your country you grew up with? That might be very important to find out what actually your point of view is…

    Since for me when I grew older, I started to read these avorementioned “graphic novels”. Also, the european “comic szene” (brutally generalizing almost a whole continent) was not influenced by superhero comics only, but also by a wide selection of themes and styles for all ages… coming from France/ Belgium, but also from England, Italy and even Spain and the Netherlands and (in my case) Germany. This relates to the third part of your thoughts the way I understand it: by growing up with all differnt kinds of viewing patterns, from the US american to the franco belgium one, I never really had the feeling of a “Cartoon Effect” (but If I got that wrong please let me know).

    But as an interesting anecdote: just recently in a workshop I showed some of the advanced new graphic novels to some school girls that are 100% obsessed by japanese manga… and they really had a problem to read them!!! Can you believe? In the end they were quite surprised that there is “another” possibility of storytelling with pictures that actually works too… so of course your reception is defined by your viewing patterns, right!?!

    As for the second part of your thoughts, I have never been a big fan of boxes. “This is a graphis novel, and this is not. Aha? Ok!” You want to call it a graphic novel, well thats fine with me. Does it affect the work on the collaboration for you? Or do you think it is useful to give it a name? You can do that no problem with me. A comic can be almost everything, yes I have even read storyboards that actually worked “like” a comic. The question for me is rather “for whom was it made?”. A storyboard is made for the director the producer and the cameraman. So, most often it is a tool to work with. A comic that is made for a reading audience targets “the consumer” directly (please forgive me the word consumer, just cant comme up with another one that suits).

    What counts and what is important to you and the reader likewise is if you manage to communicate with the reader, and give him informations that you want him to read. Does that bring us any further, digging deep into comic theory? I know (was it you Budi?) you dont drink bber, but this is certainly a discussion we should continu in Kyoto, where we can hang on to those thoughts 🙂 Best,

  5. budiwi said,

    Thanks, Matei and Titus for your valuable thoughts. I hear that in Europe (esp. in France where comics is recognized as the 9th art) comics is accepted to be a legitimate art form. In Singapore and generally in Asia outside of Japan, comics is branded to be a low form, slap-stick, comedic type of entertainment, catchy-yes but pls don’t take those cartoons seriously they say.

    This is my primary motivation in asking those questions. Our local comics culture is not varied enough (maybe shop owners don’t make money by bringing in niche books) and those that are popular are the ‘pop’ type, just like TV. I’m not against pop culture but I’m deeply attracted to the humanistic attributes of literature,film,art and design and wish to see more of such elements in comics form.

    It’s hard to determine our root narrative as we’re a 43 year old, multi-racial society and import almost everything found in our culture but I’d say that Singaporean comics readers gravitate a lot towards Hong Kong, Taiwanese and Manga. American stuff boomed in the 90s but it’s over.

    Yeah, so I’d like to find some alternative visual signatures/relationships that can contribute yet another facet in the comics culture. I am definitely not a drinker but hey, green tea is fine by me 🙂

  6. Faezal said,

    Hi people…

    This is really deep stuff, and I don’t mind sharing it with all of you over drinking session in Kyoto. This could go on and on… great!

    I will go with Budi with the japanese green tea.


  7. budiwi said,

    Hi Faezal, welcome to the party 🙂 Looking forward to you joining us in our ‘drinking sessions’ haha.

  8. titusillu said,

    Hey Faezal, Budi and Matei,
    yes welcome to our discussion. I would like to point out that I really like beer (cause i am german?) BUT I am not an alcoholic, haha, ok!? So please dont assume I am a wino. I heard of people who can get high on green tea :-).

    For our discussion: its very interesting to hear where the roots of graphic narration is coming from in each different country… thats partly a reason why we ask everybody to do a little research on this topic and maybe even bring some examples of books with him. Graphic narration is a fundamental tool of communication and has ever been… just think of carved stones in tempels that tell stories of gods and countries… so if you break it down, there might be early roots??? … so, maybe thats also an interesting aspect to look at… does your own culture influence the way you do comics? Of course it does. Its interesting to work out HOW and in what way… Its great to learn so much from you guys about your countries… because, aside from the usual clichees, I have to admit that my knowledge about many of your countries is not very deep (which is a shame I have to admit, but hey we are changing it right now) AND, Budi, hopefully we are making a tiny little difference for you and by that, tiny things may change slowly… very best guys: TITUS

  9. budiwi said,

    Thanks Titus. Can you bring along some of those ‘advanced’ graphic novels you mentioned in your earlier post? I am really curious! If comics originated from America, would it be fair to say that it’s where the root narrative is? Whenever I hear comics artists talk, they would cite the same ppl: Eisner, Kirby, Grutzman, etc. Is this the same in Germany?

    The ancient drawings on the walls may hint at the way we understand stories through pictures but I have a feeling that the ‘rules’ we use today in understanding comics books are very much American based, defined by a handful of very influential creators.

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