Diegetic Panelization comic for Melt-Thology 26 – 18 October 2016

Diegetic Panelization - 18 October 2016, pen on paper about 5"x8"

Diegetic Panelization – 18 October 2016, pen on paper about 5″x8″

Apologies for not posting here lately. I’ve been working mostly in my sketchbook, currently about to finish book #73. I post some sketches at Instagram.

For about a year, my neighbor friend Federico and I have been participating in a monthly comics jam called Melt-Thology which takes place from 7-9:30pm on the third Tuesday of every month at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood. Basically folks show up, quickly draw a 1-page comic, pay $3, and the next month you receive the printed comic with all those comics pages.

I want to explain my comic a bit. Annotate it, if you will.

The title “Diegetic Panelization” I stole from a YouTube video that explains an Alan Moore comic book. The video was created by someone who goes by the name of AllyourbasicGerrard – who I credited (but, oops, spelled the name incorrectly – one r shy of correct.) Diegesis is a fun concept to think about… as I understand it, it means narrative stuff that the reader/viewer can see/hear/experience, but that the people in the narrative don’t. Stuff like the musical score of a movie, or the panel borders of a comic. Characters who interact with diegetic elements are said to have diegetic awareness… which is somewhat like breaking the fourth wall. In this comic, the characters have diegetic awareness – they grab the gutter, wrap word balloons around their arms. (Unfortunately when I do this too much, it just looks like they’re standing behind a four-pane window… so I would need to break a few fewer rules to make it look more comicsy.)

I also credited Henrik Drescher, an artist/illustrator who I have been into for a couple of decades. I enjoy reading his kids books to my 3-year-old. The style of the figures slightly resembles Drescher’s work… though not all that much on second look.

Harvey Kurtzman panels from 1948 Hey Look!

Harvey Kurtzman panels from 1948 Hey Look!

I credited Harvey Kurtzman, too. He was a brilliant comics artist/writer who employed some tricks where characters sometimes will reach across one panel into another.

I should have credited Scott McCloud, the comics artist/writer whose meta comic Understanding Comics got me thinking about the comics rules that I am playing with in this comic. I was happy to see that McCloud re-tweeted someone who tweeted my comic.

Lastly, after I did this, I noticed a couple more unconscious influences… or perhaps I am just seeing too much depth in my own stuff:

One is the sort of Gothic couple – from the Arnolfini Portrait or American Gothic. The couple in my comic is a sort of fallen version of those.

A Harvey Kurtzman flop ending from a 1946 Hey Look strip

A Harvey Kurtzman flop ending from a 1946 Hey Look strip

Second is what I would call a flop ending. Often, in comic humor from Kurtzman to Peanuts to Mad to a zillion other places I think, the gag ends with a character flopping over (with feet up) in humorous disbelief. The man in my comic, especially with his foot in the air, echoes some of these flop endings.

 

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