I’m very happy to announce the launch of “Timeframing: The Art of Comics on Screens,” a new website that explores what comics have to teach us about creative communication in the age of screen media. Through a combination of articles, videos, and short original works, and through the support of an ongoing Patreon campaign, I’ll be plumbing the depths of digital comics to surface their quirks, their promise, and their pitfalls as the medium continues to mature.
I’m kicking off the site with the release of a YouTube video (embedded below) called “Space Into Game, Time Into Book: What Comics and Screens Do Together,” adapted from a talk I gave at City University of Hong Kong as part of the at the Roundtable on New Technologies and the Future of the Humanities. A text-and-media version of the talk can also be found at the site, which was created using a free platform called Scalar that I’ve been helping develop over the last several years at The Alliance For Networking Visual Culture.
Here’s a clip demonstrating the Flex-based tool I’ve built to help create the physics-driven curves which shape the imagery of The Knotted Line, a forthcoming project directed by artist Evan Bissell. The Knotted Line consists of an enormous horizontal painting depicting 75 key moments in the history of labor, education, and incarceration in the United States from 1495 to 2025. The piece is simultaneously a new media art project and an educational tool, with related curriculum planned at the middle, high school, and college levels.
It’s been a long time in coming, but I’m very happy to announce the official launch of Precision Targets, a collaboration with scholar Caren Kaplan that uses a hybrid comic/essay format to explore the militarization of everyday life through technologies like GPS. Precision Targets places the user inside a cube containing six parallel stories told through interactive comic panels that are married to threads of commentary by Kaplan.
Precision Targets was my first collaboration with illustrator Ezra Claytan Daniels, and my first experiment with digital comics. Each story consists of four panels which can be browsed by rotating a cube. Individual panels (some of which contain animation and interactivity) can be entered and navigated with the mouse. Every panel has associated commentary by Kaplan which can be expanded by clicking “more”. Clicking “more” again further expands the commentary to a full-screen view for more in-depth reading, making it possible for users to switch between visual, textual, or hybrid reading modes at will. (Be sure to try adjusting the window size; the piece will adapt to whatever aspect ratio you like.)
One element of the project that can be easily missed is the Index, a force-directed SpringGraph visualization of the image and textual elements that make up the piece (you can access this feature by clicking “Menu” and then “Index"). You’ll see the individual graphic elements that make up each panel linked together in an interactive network diagram—to my knowledge, the first time a visualization like this has been applied to the individual layers of comic book panels (feel free to correct me if I’m in error).
This project was conceived before the current “motion comics” trend, so I’m very curious what people will think of the approach, which takes a different tack than most works labeled as such.
Moderated by Freewaves founder Anne Bray, the Digital Studies Symposium at USC (open and free to the public on Thursday evenings) has been hosting weekly conversations between pairs of digital designers about the myriad, ever more swiftly flowing currents of the digital humanities. Anne was kind enough to invite my Vectors collaborator Craig Dietrich and myself down to the Zemeckis Center to speak on February 11th, and video of the talk has been posted to Vimeo (see below). There’s also a video archive of all the prior speakers on the DSS site.
Here’s a list of links to works cited in my recent talk “Storytelling in the Age of Divided Screens” at Gallaudet University.
I’m very happy to announce the launch of “Timeframing: The Art of Comics on Screens,” a new website that explores what comics have to teach us about creative communication in the age of screen media.
To celebrate the launch of Upgrade Soul, here’s a screen shot of an eleven year old prototype I made that sets artwork from Will Eisner’s “The Treasure of Avenue ‘C’” (a story from New York: The Big City) in two dynamically resizable panels.
The last couple of months have seen an uptick in published commentary on Strange Rain, much of it owing to notice the app received at this year’s Modern Language Association conference in Seattle.
Dialogue bubbles huddle together in the Unity authoring environment like backstage theatre performers awaiting their chance to shine in the forthcoming iOS and Android release Upgrade Soul, from Opertoon.