How does our definition stack up to theirs?

Hypercomics on Wikipedia.

(It does have this interesting link to a great example of hypercomics according to their definition)

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Who watches The watchmen this crap?

The Watchmen is poised to be the biggest comic book movie yet, and the advertising is in full tilt, most notably in this week’s Entertainment Weekly magazine, which is a mag known to be very comics friendly, for it’s regular reviews of new comics, news on creators etc.

This week EW have exclusive rights to advertising The Watchmen Motion comics, which are available through iTunes. So is the headline here: “major film studio, major comics publisher, major digital media supplier and major magazine ALL work together on putting out a hypercomic”?

Uh no. No it’s not.

The first problem is, well it’s not a comic. Or even a hypercomic. It’s a comic who’s artwork has been broken up into tiny chunks and animated, it’s been dissected and pulled out of focus or pushed far into the background. sections of drawings are dragged along the picture plane, to facilitate animation. Pieces of hair are magic wanded out and made to sway in the wind. Broken glass which, in the source material, hang in the air as if caught in a photograph are animated to exit the frame, pink slivers smoothly expanding out of the scene and taking all the energy with them.

So if it’s not a comic, or hypercomic, then maybe at least it’s an animation? Well, in the sense of a dictionary definition yes, it moves. But even here it fails, due to it’s source material. Each scene, cut apart and stitched back together with movement only serve to remind you that it was re-purposed material. You want to pause the thing, to see how well it was drawn. You want to take time out of the temporal mandate that animation serves and pour over the drawings. You want exactly the kind of freedom that visual narratives alone can provide.

In making it an animation they’ve served to make you wish you were reading a comic.

It also suffers all of the usual pains you would expect, a brooding soundtrack with celery-crunching foley sounds, word bubbles with tails that follow the character around the scene, voice actors that read exactly what you’re already taking the time to read, except for when they forget words.

All in all the headline should most likely be,  “Major comics publisher and friends take enjoyable and brilliant comic book and ruin it using frankenstein’s methods: Will soon expect you to pay for it”

and you missed it…

Tried out the UStream earlier today, with some drawing and some photochopping. Not sure if it worked right. Nobody was there to watch anyway.

Still gotta put it all together in IC but I should have a comic soon.

HyperSketch

Hyper Comic

Drew this while testing out the Hypercomics Webcast thingy. Still thinking through how to make hypercomics work for me with my pen on paper techniques.

And Penguin’s got Steve covered

Steve wrote in the comments over here:

This feels a lot like google maps, that would make for a fascinating interface for a global comic

Well Penguin Book’s We Tell Stories Has got your back my man, here’s a story told through Google maps. Not a comic per se, but you could certainly argue that it’s composed with words and pictures.

Actually all of those Penguin stories are worthy of a bigger write up here, it seems… (At least we found plenty to talk about when they first came out!)

An Incomplete Manifesto

Just the raving madness of a man who can’t sleep because of all the ideas in his head. I’ll type this up sometime tomorrow. Until then, enjoy my handwriting! 🙂

Hypercomics: An Incomplete Manifesto

1. Hypercomics will never take itself too seriously and become pretentious and snobby.

2. The very nature of making comics, sequential art or visual language- whatever term you choose to use- is labor intensive.  Therefore, why waste time making comics that will be universally loved and accepted by a mass audience?

Instead, Hypercomics will make work that matters to the artists and both content and form will follow the interests of the artists.

3. Definitions are to be tested, tweaked, refined and even proven wrong.

Just because Scott McCloud says it is so, does not make it so.  It just so happens that Scott is a nice guy who is rooting for artists to innovate with the medium.  He writes well and in great volume, but just because he is the only intellectual mind wring eloquently about comics, does not mean that his theories should not be turned on their proverbial heads and smashed into new theories.

4. Webcomics do not need to be confined to grids or “pages” as in print comics.

True, the web is a great place to distribute comics that work just as well in print, but the web is also a place where comics can be published that would be impossible to to print and still be legible due to their shear sprawl and scale.

Circular comics should be tried (see 5 Ways to Love a Cockroach)

McCloud’s “The Right Number” is another example of the web’s potential influence on comics.

Hypercomics shall seek to try every alley of presentation that the web has to offer.

Defining Hypercomics

So should we try to come up with some kind of working definition for Hypercomics?  I’m not quite sure what one is.

I think the definition should be fluid at this point, but I just want something to hold on to while I try to develop new work.