#MeanwhileHereComics #การ์ตูนที่นี่ Challenge 2/2

As an assignment for the “Visual Media Studies” course (GenEd course offered by the Faculty of Communications ArtsChulalongkorn University, Thailand), students from various faculties and departments (Architecture, Communication Design, Psychology, Engineering, Literature…) were asked to explore the concept of “windows on time in a single place” developed by American cartoonist Richard McGuire with his two stories titled “Here” (1989 in the pages of RAW, and 2014 as an extended graphic novel). The complete groundbreaking graphic narrative can be read on this post: “Here” by Richard McGuire.

Here are some of the results, tackling topics such as Thai political turmoil, adoption, Black Lives Matter, but also time travel, family ties and… cats. Many more results from the CommArts students are also posted on this page.

PS: click on the comics pages for higher resolution.


Comics by June (Malisa), student at CommDe Y3.
Comics by Nat, student at INDA (Archi) Y3.
Comics by Nattamon, student at INDA (Archi) Y2.
Comics by Palmy (Thanita), student at JIPP (Psycho) Y2.
Comics by Kaohom (Nannapat), student at INDA (Archi) Y2.
Comics by Prim, student at CommDe Y3.
Comics by Levi, student at INDA (Archi) Y2.
Comics by Khem, student at INDA (Archi) Y3.
Comics by Pang and Tawan, students at CommDe Y3. Page 1/2.
Comics by Pang and Tawan, students at CommDe Y3. Page 2/2.
Comics by Nina (Namida), student at INDA (Archi) Y2.
Comics by Grace & Win, students at CommDe Y3. Page 1/2.
Comics by Grace & Win, students at CommDe Y3. Page 2/2.

Non-Fiction Comics Composition Course [part 2/2]

After several preparatory assignments [see dedicated post for details], CommArts students from the Creative Writing: Non-Fiction Comics Composition course [Chulalongkorn University, Thailand] were asked to produce their final assignment: an autobiographic comics. As mentioned in the previous post, the two main challenges were to compose a short comics without prior art training, and to write an autobiographic narrative in a country where the autobiographical genre is almost absent from local literature (and comics) as it is seen as ill-mannered in Thai culture to talk about oneself, and as shortcomings or mishaps are not to be disclosed in a context where [to save (i.e. preserve)] the face or self-image is essential. Their final and individual comics projects weren’t limited in size, length or technique; each student had to pick the best fitted format to convey his/her autobiographic narrative. The stories were composed over a period of one month, instead of two due to the pandemic outbreak. Individual comment sessions were held weekly via the Zoom platform.

Here are some of the resulting graphic narratives! More coming soon!

[All artworks are reprinted with the consent of the students, and remain their property. Some nicknames have been changed at student’s request].


Autobiographic comics by student B. (with some help from her sister).


Autobiographic (GIF) comics by exchange student Alex


Autobiographic comics by student Smile

Page 8/8 of student Smile’s autobiographic comics.


Autobiographic GIF comics by student May


Autobiographic comics by student Por (with some help from Peera Tayanukorn)

Student Por’s autobiographic comics. Click on pic to enlarge.

Autobiographic comics by student Pranang (a handheld game console format containing a long comics strip that can be scrolled manually and with a main character -Pranang’s alter ego- which can be moved up and down).


Autobiographic comics by student Jay

Page 4/4 of Jay’s autobiographic comics.

Autobiographic comics by student G.


Autobiographic comics by student Pin

Page 3/3 of student Pin’s autobiographic comics.

Autobiographic graphic narrative by student Paint


Autobiographic comics by student Plai

Student Plai’s autobiographic comics. Click on pic to enlarge.

Pages from exchange student Meg Hoogendam’s digital comics book on HSP


Autobiographic comics by student Eve

Click on pic to enlarge.
Click on pic to enlarge.

Autobiographic comics by student Rika


Autobiographic comics by student Frongki


Autobiographic comics by student Pop


Autobiographic comics by student Namfon


Autobiographic comics by student Pecky


MORE COMING SOON…

PS: I’m so proud of you all ! #ProudAjarnNicolas

Non-Fiction Comics Composition Course [part 1/2]

As of January 2020, undergraduated students at the International Programme in Communication Management [Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University] are able to choose between two Comics Composition sections as part of their Creative Writing curriculum: experimental/fiction comics composition and non-fiction comics composition. The latter is a new 16-week [3 credits] section open to 30 students without any drawing/art training. I’m introducing in this post the preparatory assignments of the “non-fiction comics” section, meant to facilitate the composition of the semester final project; a short autobiographic comics. The two main challenges were to compose a short comics without prior art training, and to write an autobiographic narrative in a country where the autobiographical genre is almost absent from local literature (and comics) as it is seen as ill-mannered in Thai culture to talk about oneself, and as shortcomings or mishaps are not to be disclosed in a context where [to save (i.e. preserve)] the face or self-image is essential. However, in a globalizing world and because of the “international” nature of the programme and of the students’ education [often in international schools], I considered these challenges worth facing.

The class was composed of 34 students [29 female students and 5 male students], and included 6 exchange students from abroad. All artworks are reprinted with the consent of the students, and remain their property.


ALL-SEMESTER ASSIGNMENT: GRAPHIC DIARY

On the first week of class, students were asked to acquire a notebook and draw an entry related to their daily life every day and over the complete 16-week semester. The goal was to help the students to familiarize themselves with the act of drawing and the observation of their surroundings and inner thoughts and feelings. Progress was checked in the classroom every two weeks, then online when the Faculty closed its doors due to the pandemic. At times, the graphic diaries revealed the frustration, the angst and sometimes the isolation experimented by the students during the lockdown.

Pages from student Paint’s graphic diary. In January 2020, before the spread of the Covid pandemic, face masks were already worn due to the high level of PM 2.5 air pollution.
Page from student Eve’s graphic diary. On February 3, French cartoonist Freddy Nadolny Poustochkine was our guest to talk autobiography, comics, time/space and memory, and show us pages from his own notebooks.

WEEK 01 ASSIGNMENT: SELF-PORTRAIT

After a first short lecture introducing non-fiction comics [autobiography, confessional comics, graphic medecine and comics journalism; with examples from Julie Doucet, Wimmen’s Comix, Robert Crumb, Joe Matt, Yoshiharu Tsuge, Neeske Alexander, Jennifer Hayden and Joe Sacco), students were asked to draw their self-portrait “in situation” in a Chas Addams’ cartoon from which the upper part had been blanked out.

Left: Noisy Neighbor by Charles Addams, The New Yorker, circa 1950. Right: edited version provided to the students.​
Self-portrait by student Gam.

WEEK 02 ASSIGNMENT: 10 MEMORIES

Students were asked to write down 10 memories, 10 crucial moments -positive or negative- that still impact/haunt/enlight their lives up to this day. I discussed individually with each student to know which memory he/she is eager and confortable adapting into a comics narrative [narrative/graphic potential]. Two memories are sometimes related [theme/period/figures] and were selected to be merged into one narrative. This list/thematic approach comes from Tom Hart‘s guide The Art of the Graphic Memoir (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2018). Numerous references and resources were borrowed from his useful book.


WEEK 03 LECTURE: CHARLOTTE SALOMON

We explored, among others, the work of German artist Charlotte Salomon and her series of nearly 800 goauches Life? Or Theatre? produced between 1940 and 1942.


WEEK 03 ASSIGNMENT: TEXT SUBSTITUTION

Each student was asked to develop -at home and in written form- his/her selected memory over an A4 page. In class, we analyzed Chris Ware’s short comics I Guess [click on link for full story] in which the written text [the sensitive memories of a child] is imposed -seemingly arbritrarily- in the captions and speech/thought balloons of a six-page Golden-Age-style superhero adventure. However, beyond the “disjunctive form of verbal/visual interplay”, some words or sentences seem to echo drawn elements and to form a braiding of motifs; Chris Ware plays here with the fact that comics readers are drawn to look for meaning in the interaction of the pictorial and the linguistic.

After the analysis of I Guess, students were asked to compose a graphic narrative using the same concept by simply imposing the text of their ‘selected and extended memory’ [A4 page] in the emptied captions and speech balloons from three pages of French cartoonist Xavier Mussat’s autobiographic comics Sainte Famille. The latter book was selected as Xavier Mussat extensively plays with visual metaphors and allegories and because these could become generative of unexpected and accidental resonances with my students’ written memories.

Page 1/3 of student G’s autobiographic text laid down over Xavier Mussat’s comics pages.
Page 2/3 of student G’s autobiographic text laid down over Xavier Mussat’s comics pages.
Page 3/3 of student G’s autobiographic text laid down over Xavier Mussat’s comics pages.
Page 1/3 of student Dear’s autobiographic text laid down over Xavier Mussat’s comics pages.
Page 2/3 of student Dear’s autobiographic text laid down over Xavier Mussat’s comics pages.
Page 3/3 of student Dear’s autobiographic text laid down over Xavier Mussat’s comics pages.

WEEK 04 ASSIGNMENT: DIFFERENT TONE

In order to further explore the memory selected by each student, I asked them rewrite their text but as if written by their younger self -in a personal diary- at the age they were when the chosen event took place. The text was to be written on black and white photocopies of some pages from French-Canadian cartoonist Julie Delporte‘s pencil-color and organic diary Journal (Koyama Press, 2013).


The following pages show student G’s memories [to be compared with her version on Xavier Mussat’s pages above], written down as a personal diary, along with Julie Delporte’s drawings on which G added watercolor.

Text and watercolor by student G over drawings by Julie Delporte’s Journal.

The objective of the “text substitution” and “different tone” assignments is to lead the students -without prior art training- to get a sense of the graphic potential of their stories as a comics narrative, to consider the use of visual metaphors, allegories and motifs, as well as the narrative use of color and ‘voices’, and to trigger new and unexpected (and maybe forgotten) elements to feed their narrative through additional layers.


WEEK 05 ASSIGNMENT: WAIT! STOP, YOUNGER VERSION OF ME!

Now that students have been drawing in their daily graphic diary for a few weeks, and that they have played with their written texts in relation to pictures through various substitutions, they were asked to draw their first comics (in the classroom). The assignment is to draw a comics over 4 pages with imposed regular grids, and with an imposed speech balloon (containing the sentence: “Wait! Stop, younger version of me!”) in the third panel of the first page. The balloon was borrowed from American cartoonist Jess Fink’ sci-fi graphic memoir We Can Fix It! (Top Shelf, 2013) where the author goes back in time with a time machine to warn her younger self of -and thus try to avoid- mistakes she made in her past. Students were asked to write such a meeting with their younger selves.



Student Paint meets her younger self, pages 1 and 2 (out of 4).
Student Paint meets her younger self, pages 3 and 4 (out of 4).

Student Por meets her younger self, pages 1 and 2 (out of 4).
Student Por meets her younger self, pages 3 and 4 (out of 4).

“Like how does something happen, and… how does it reverberate through time? And that act of memory is important, and comics are great for memory. Like even when you have a short comic, like a three-panel comic, you’ve got a past, a present and a future as soon as you look at those three boxes. And that allows you to reflect and compare times.”

Art Spiegelman, in: Conan, N. (2011). MetaMaus: The Story Behind Spiegelman’s Classic; radio interview, Oct 5.

WEEK 05 LECTURE: COMICS, TIME AND SPACE

We explored the interplay of Time, Space and Memory in comics narratives by Richard McGuire, Lilli Carré, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons & Rick Veitch, Frank Miller, Kevin Huizenga, Chris Ware, Art Spiegelman, Matt Madden, Nick Sousanis and Kiriko Nananan.


WEEK 05 – SPECIAL GUEST: FREDDY NADOLNY POUSTOCHKINE

On February 03, we were honoured to welcome French cartoonist Freddy Nadolny Poustochkine as a guest. We talked time, space, the fabric/material of memory and comics art in his creative process from his autobiographical comics La chair des pommes (ego comme x) to his Cambodia-set La colline empoisonnée  (Futuropolis) and his ongoing project; and of the seminal importance of (his) sketchbooks. More pictures on this dedicated post.

Guest talk with French cartoonist Freddy Nadolny Poustochkine, here discussing the importance of his sketchbooks in his creative process.

WEEK 06 ASSIGNMENT: THE MEMORY TREE

Based on works by Chris Ware and ideas borrowed from the previous lecture and Freddy’s talk, students were asked to map their memory on an A3 page, adding photographs of themselves, of related places and characters, and of artworks (posters, paintings, quotes…) echoing the emotions they experienced during the ‘life-changing’ event they will tell in comics form as their final project.

A lifetime: example of non-linear storytelling by Chris Ware.
Assignment brief.

Student Frongki’s memory tree.

WEEK 07: ORAL PRESENTATIONS ON NON-FICTION COMICS

Students were asked to form 10 groups and to read and discuss 10 challenging non-fiction graphic novels [and zines] by introducing their classmates to remarkable features (technique, narrative voice, topic, layouts..). The oral presentations were held online, due the Covid outbreak. The books I proposed them to tackle were: Les Têtards (and zines) by Pascal Matthey and Badaboom Twist (and other zines) by David Libens, Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi, Sunny by Taiyo Matsumoto, Becoming Unbecoming by Una, Piero by Edmond Baudoin, Daddy’s Girl by Debbie Drechler, Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle, Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow and The End by Anders Nilsen, and Rosalie Lightning by Tom Hart. Diversity of topics, techniques, origins informed my selection to provide students with a large array of references and approaches.


WEEK 08 [MIDTERM] LECTURE: COMICS ESSAY COMPOSITION

The composition of comics essays in small groups was originally considered as an assignment during the semester. Sadly, due the Covid outbreak, group projects were canceled at midterm. As we weren’t yet aware of that fact, one early lecture was dedicated on [non-fiction] comics essay composition; I explained the process of creating a comics essay based on a two-pager I wrote for a special issue of KaiHuaRoh magazine with art by Ployjaploen “Bamie” Paopanlerd. I went through the various stages of composition, from the first idea [informed by numeorus influences] to thumbnailing and other schaffoldings leading to a clear non-linear narrative (with much help from the artist).


WEEK 08 [MIDTERM]: COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS

As for examples, a useful reference was Rob Stolzer‘s students work from his Graphic Narration class.


After reading the students ‘memory trees’, I suggested to each student various approaches, comics references or motifs/connections worth exploring before adapting his/her selected memory into a comics narrative.




WEEKS 09 TO 16: INDIVIDUAL [ONLINE] CONSULTING AND FINAL RESULTS

The autobiographic comics composed by the students will be published in an upcoming post! [Their final and individual comics projects weren’t limited in size, length or technique; each student had to pick the best fitted format to convey his/her autobiographic narrative]. More soon!

Because it’s sweet… Thanks mademoiselle Plai!

Thai Black Lives Matter: “Maniq not Sakai” knowledge comics

As part of the “Thai Culture for Communication: Graphic Narratives” course, fresh.wo.men at the International Program of the Faculty of Communications Arts (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand) were asked to compose a knowledge comics on the usually-derogatory representation of the indigenous Maniq ethnic group in Thai culture. Known asNgo Paa’ in Thai (and sometimes referred to as Negritos or Sakai), the MAniq people live in the forests of Southern Thailand and were essentiliazed as a dark-skinned traditional folktale figure. The following graphic narrative -composed by students Tiara, Prim, Name and Praewah- offers an interesting insight on this Thai population, and on the cultural biases and unfair treatments they suffered, as well as a message of understanding and hope. Because #BlackLivesMatter in Thailand too.


A portrait of Kanang, a Maniq orphan welcomed by King Chulalongkorn at the court in the early 20th century.

“During the period that Kanang lived with King Chulalongkorn, he was generally considered as the King’s adopted son (Duangjan 1988). At the court, Kanang was taught how to dance and play the part of the Negrito in the Sangthong play, and he became the regular actor of this role in performances before the king’s guests. The sensational moment in the drama is when Prince Sangthong takes off his ‘ugly’ Negrito mask to reveal his beautiful noble self. The audience was shocked to see that under the mask was a real live Ngo Paa.” ​Nathan Porath [“Developing indigenous communities into Sakai in South Thailand and Riau (Indonesia)”, 2003]


Ongoing Research: Jamnong Rodari [จำนงค์ รอดอริ], the forgotten Siamese comics master

00 Jamnong Rodari
“Raden Lundai” [ระเด่นลันได] tier by Siamese artist Jamnong Rodari [จำนงค์ รอดอริ] , c. late 1932

Kingdom of Siam, 1932. If the pre-1960s Thai Comics production is a lost continent, some artists -such as Prayoon Chanyawongse, Sawas Jutharop or Hem Vejakorn– are well-known from local aficionados. To the best of my knowledge and in the literature I’ve been able to access over the past 5 years, only two lines are mentioning Jamnong Rodari (จำนงค์ รอดอริ; brother of best-known illustrator Fuen Rodari), hailed as one of the greatest cartoonists of the 1930s. Not much more on his art; I only saw a fragment of a comics strip at the National Library of Thailand, and two series of beautiful book illustrations. So I was thrilled to get my hands on a collection of comic strips cut from 1932 Siamese newspapers [miraculously unearthed in an attic], and discover his stunning long-form comics which are said to have influenced prominent cartoonists of the late 1930s. Here are two excerpts. First is the upper-tier of his 48(?)-page comics adaptation of then-famous play Raden Lundai; or the Pauper Prince (ระเด่นลันได; a parody of the classic “Inao” play), with additional captions in Klon-16 versification below the panels, probably from late 1932 [there’s an ad for Chaplin’s 1931 City Lights at the back, and American films were usually screened in Siam one year after the US release]. Character design and gestures might be informed by the traditional Nang Talung (หนังตะลุง) shadow puppetry [as was suggested to me by my kick-@ssistant Bird]. Second excerpt [which I edited as I wanted to show the three-panel dance sequence which is allocated over two tiers in the original] is even more interesting as it unveils an example of realist-art long-form comics seven years before Hem Vejakorn’s Sri Thanonchai. Also unusual; the story is set in contemporary Siam -and is a “migrant” narrative- under the title KatunNaiBoPhachoenChok (การ์ตูนนายโบ้เผชิญโชค; The Comics of Mr. Bo who seeks his fortune [in Bangkok]). Drawn in late 1932 [as the newspaper banner was not cut from the first comics installment]. It appears that these two comic strips series -with two different styles and genres- were drawn by Jamnong Rodari in late 1932 or early 1933.

One question is left unanswered. Why was Jamnong Rodari forgotten from Thai Comics History while being hailed as “one of the greatest Siamese cartoonists.” I would venture that, unlike contemporary artists such as Sawas Jutharop and slightly later Prayoon Chanyawongse, Jamnong Rodari didn’t collect his serialized stories in comic book format. Sawas and Prayoon’s comic strips collections are known, and might have helped their names and works to be remembered in the following decades. No trace, so far, of any collected works of Jamnong. Might be a lead. [EDIT: a collection of Raden Lundai was recently sold on internet, so at least one collection of newspaper strips in comic book format was released]. Nicolas Verstappen

PS: These are not my favorite excerpts from the series; the most stunning pieces will come later, in another format [if current COVID-crisis doesn’t shatter this research project].

00 Jamnong Rodari 2
“KatunNaiBoPhachoenChok” [การ์ตูนนายโบ้เผชิญโชค] edited tier by Siamese artist Jamnong Rodari [จำนงค์ รอดอริ] , late 1932. Two opium traffickers want to take revenge on Mr. Bo who lost their opium load by accident. As Mr. Bo is in a dance club, they approach him by dancing together but Mr. Bo is saved by the club dancer in a bold move.

“Prayoon Chanyawongse’s Cartoon Likay: Amalgamating Likay Theatrical Form and Comics into a Unique Thai Genre” Scholarly Paper

Figure 1 (New)
Inaugural strip of the Cartoon Likay adaptation of Chanthakorop by Thai cartoonist Prayoon Chanyawongse, published in late 1938 in the newspaper Suphapburut. Reproduced from the 1940 collection Katun Likay Rueang Chanthakorop Phak 1, Samnak Ngan Nai Metta, Bangkok. Illustration provided to the author by Soodrak Chanyavongs. © Prayoon Chanyawongse Foundation.

On June 1, 2018, The Comics Grid published my first open-access scholarly paper dedicated to a lost chapter in the History of Comics Art; the creation in 1938 -and 30-year development- of the Cartoon Likay signature comics genre by Thai Comics master khun Prayoon Chanyawongse.

Paper abstract: “By launching in 1938 a series of adaptations of folktales in comics form, Thai cartoonist Prayoon Chanyawongse established the Cartoon Likay genre which places the reader as a member of an audience attending a Likay performance. The local theatrical form frames his graphic narratives where scenes of a play performed on a stage continuously alternate with sequences taking place in the vast realms of epics set in the Ayutthaya period. By introducing key Likay conventions such as recurring humorous interruptions and asides, Chanyawongse could effectively address contemporary social issues and political topics within traditional folktales. This paper explores several Cartoon Likay narratives in the context of the Likay theatrical form and the local folktale repertoire to discuss the nature and development of Chanyawongse’s signature comics genre.”

If I had to compare Prayoon’s Cartoon Likay comics to a better-known comics, it would be to René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo‘s Franco-Belgian series The Adventures of Asterix for their shared humor centered on puns, caricatures, anachronisms and modern-day allusions in period adventurous tales. If Cartoon Likay predates Asterix for about 20 years and if Prayoon’s social & political criticism and aesthetic of disruption (through fascinating fourth-wall breaks yet to be fully explored) are more apparent, Prayoon Chanyawongse and René Goscinny do share a love of language, of often-disregarded ‘common folks’, and such a playful & witty (and kindred) spirit. So much more is to say about the Cartoon Likay comics genre (and about the “Lost Continent” of Thai Comics), as a complete exploration of sophisticated Likay rhymes and play of words is yet to be undertaken, not to mention the dozens of other folktales adapted in comics form by Prayoon Chanyawongse.


My thanks go to The Comics Grid, and the Research Funding  Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to my former and wonderful research assistants mesdemoiselles Tanchanok Ruendhawil & Suttiarpa Koomkrong for their invaluable help and commitment, to Dr. Sukanya Sompiboon for introducing me to Likay, to p’Soodrak Chanyavongs for her time and insights, and to my better-half. My thanks also go to Colin Cheney & Dr. Jirayudh Sinthuphan for suggestions to the content of this paper.

Nicolas Verstappen

Full paper is available in open access on this page of The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship.

Figure copyright 02
The twenty-fifth strip of the Cartoon Likay adaptation of Chanthakorop by Thai cartoonist Prayoon Chanyawongse, published in the late 1938 in the newspaper Suphapburut. Reproduced from Sooklek/Prayoon Chanyawongse (Chanyavongs and Chanyavongse, 2015). © Prayoon Chanyawongse Foundation.

#LetMeSeeYourEyes text substitution constrained comics exercise

 #LetMeSeeYourEyes; substituting the dialogue of a comics/manga page with imposed lines excerpted from Norwegian cartoonist Jason‘s Why Are You Doing This? (Fantagraphics, 2005; Editions Carabas, 2004, for original French version).

BLURB!

“Great idea for an exercise (the source is impeccable, of course!). The examples work really well, and the Peanuts page shows how this principle can be expanded on and could even be used for a book-length work made up of quotes, borrowed page layouts, mash-ups, etc.” Matt Madden (February 17, 2018), cartoonist and teacher best known for his book 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style (Penguin), as well as a member of Oubapo (Workshop for Potential Comics), and later a French knight in the Order of Arts and Letters.

January 2018. The sixty-two (3rd and 4th year) students in the Creative Writing for Printed Matter course (sections 10 and 11; “Graphic Writing”) at the International Program (BA) in Communication Management (Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok , Thailand) were provided with a series of imposed lines excerpted from Jason’s comics Why Are You Doing This?: “So… Did you do it? / Sorry? / Was it you who killed that man earlier today? / No. No, it wasn’t. / Let me see your eyes. / All right. Follow me.” After being shown an example (Tintin in Tibet; see below) and as a home assignment, students were given one week to find a comics/manga page in which the dialogue might fit -with the least possible alteration- by substitution.

“The function of relay is less common (at least as far as the fixed image is concerned); it can be seen particularly in cartoons and comic strips. Here text (most often a snatch of dialogue) and image stand in a complementary relationship; the words, in the same way as the images, are fragments of a more general syntagm [sequence of linguistic units] and the unity of the message is realized at a higher level, that of the story, the anecdote, the diegesis […].” Roland Barthes, Rhetoric of the Image (translation S. Heath), in: Image, Music, Text, 1977.

Goals of this warm-up exercise; production of new comics pages by students without any particular artistic training; browsing of dozens of comics pages, and development of the  “image reading” skill by focusing students’ attention on visual motifs in pictures and sequences; development of multimodal literacy through the combination/confrontation of visual (drawings), aural (speech, tone), linguistic (delivery of both “written and spoken” text), gestural (facial expressions/body language/postures) and spatial (spatialisation of text & sequences of adjacent panels) modes; exploration of text/image relationship (anchorage/relay); to stress out the importance of eye contact in drama.

Inspired by a constrained comics page from American cartoonist Matt Madden‘s 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style (2005). And from Will Eisner‘s illustration of “facial postures with a parallel set of statements” (in Comics and Sequential Art). See below.

99 ways template and different image
Left: original template. Right: text from original template, but different images. From Matt Madden’s 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style (2005)”.

EISNER facial expressions
“Expressive anatomy” in Will Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Art, page 110. Poorhouse Press, 1985. ©1985 Will Eisner.

 “[Comics] doesn’t blend the visual and the verbal – or use one simply to illustrate the other – but is rather prone to present the two non-synchronously; a reader of comics not only fills in the gaps between panels but also works with the often disjunctive back-and-forth of reading and looking for meaning.” Hillary Chute, “Comics as Literature? Reading Graphic Narrative”, in: PMLA, 123(2), 2008


WAYDT original
Page from Jason’s comics Why Are You Doing This? (Fantagraphics, 2005). Imposed lines for the exercise were excerpted from panels 6 to 12.

tibet subst original
Example provided to the students: original (half-) page of Tintin in Tibet by Hergé; before text substitution.

tibet subst Jason
Example provided to the students: (half-) page of Tintin in Tibet by Hergé after text substitution (by yours truly) of the imposed lines excerpted from Jason’s Why Are You Doing This?.

Commenting on  Gunther Kress’s Multimodality, Jacobs notes that linguistic, visual, audio, gestural, and spatial elements combine in comics narratives and that, “[taken] together, these elements form a multimodal system of meaning making.” (“More than Words: Comics as a Means of Teaching Multiple Literacies”, in: The English Journal, 96(3), 2007.


1. Text substitutions by CommArts students; without any order/speech balloon alteration (except for an additional ellipsis, or “…”, in a couple of pages)

00 SHERLOCK subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Mint (Sirivadee) in a page from the manga adaptation (Titan Comics) by mangaka Jay of the TV series Sherlock.

Sherlock Original
Original page (before text substitution).

00 POKEMON subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Golf (Sorasak) in a page from the manga Pokémon Adventures v.34 (VIZ Media) by mangaka Hidenori Kusaka (script) and Satoshi Yamamoto (art).

POKEMON Original
Original page (before text substitution).

00 ZITS subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Ben in a Zits comic strip by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman.

ZITS original
Original page (before text substitution).

00 CONAN subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Prim in a page from the manga Case Closed (or Detective Conan; VIZ Media) by mangaka Gosho Aoyama.

CONAN original
Original page (before text substitution).

00 DISNEY subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Erin in a page from the Disney fan comic, or doujinshi, Disney High School (featuring Rapunzel and Quasimodo as siblings) by Morloth88.

MODEL DISNEY
Original page.

00 UZUMAKI
Text substitution by CommArts student WIN in a page from the manga Uzumaki (VIZ Media) by mangaka Junji Ito.

UZUMAKI original
Original page (before text substitution).

00 ONE PIECE subst
Text substitution by CommArts (Taiwanese exchange) student Edd in a page from the manga One Piece (VIZ Media) by mangaka Eiichiro Oda.

One piece original
Scanlated page (before text substitution).

00 SIMPSON Subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Plawan in a page from the comics series Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror (Bongo Comics).

Simpson Original
Original page (before text substitution).

00 Batman bernet
Text substitution by CommArts student Yaiyaa (Creative Writing, 2016) in a page from the comics Batman: Blackout (“1940’s Catwoman”, DC Comics, 2000) by Howard Chaykin (script) and Jordi Bernet (pencils).

Original Batman bernet
Original page (before text substitution).

00 Cyanide.jpg
Text substitution by CommArts student Mark in a strip from the webcomic Cyanide and Happiness (written and illustrated by Rob Den Bleyker, Kris Wilson, Dave McElfatrick and formerly Matt Melvin).

MODEL Cyanide
Original strip (before text substitution).


2. Text substitutions by CommArts students; respecting the order of the imposed lines but not their strict succession (distribution of the imposed lines before and after text  retained from the original comics page). 

00 SNOOPY Subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Por in a Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. Retaining the two original speech ballons “Right” in panels 9 and 10.

Snoopy Original
Original page (before text substitution).

00 BONBONZAKA KOUKOU
Text substitution by CommArts student Sean in a page from the manga Bonbonzaka Koukou Engekibu (1992) by mangaka Takahashi Yutaka. Retaining the two original speech ballons “Damn” and “Da…” in panel 3.

MODEL BONBONZAKA KOUKOU
Original scanlation (before text substitution).

00 Mickey
Text substitution by a CommArts student (Graphic Writing, 2015) in a page from Mickey Mouse and the World to Come: The Sinking of Illusitania (Boom! Kids, 2010) by Andrea Castellan (aka Casty). Retaining various two original speech balloons.

Mickey Original
Original page (before text substitution).

00 Wotaku ni Koi ha Muzukashii subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Nymph in a page from the manga Wotaku ni Koi ha Muzukashii (It’s Difficult to Love an Otaku) by mangaka Fujita. Retaining various speech ballons, and adding an ellipsis (“…”).

Wotaku ni Koi ha Muzukashii original
Original scanlation (before text substitution).

00 CEREAL
Text substitution by CommArts student Pat in a page from the webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal by Zach WeinersmithRetaining various speech ballons.

Original Cereal copy
Original strip (before text substitution).

Was it you, comics
Text substitution by CommArts student Boss in a page from the comics Immortal Iron First issue 16 (Marvel Comics) by Matt Fraction (writer) and David Aja (penciller). Retaining the original speech ballon “Noooooo” in panel 4.

Was it you, comics
Original page (before text substitution).

00 KINDAICHI subst 2
Text substitution by CommArts student Poon K. in a page from the manga The Kindaichi Case Files (Tokyopop) by mangaka Yōzaburō Kanari and Seimaru Amagi (writers) and Fumiya Satō (art). Retaining the original speech ballon “I’m amazed by your work” in panel 4.

KINDAICHI original
Original page (before text substitution).

00 Grumpy Cat
Text substitution by CommArts student Tip in a page from GRUMPY CAT AND POKEY (Dynamite; writers Ben Fisher, Derek Fridolfs, Ilias Kyriazi; and artists Ken Haeser, Ilias Kyriazis, Steve Uy). Retaining various speech balloons, and with additional ellipsis (“…”).

Original Grumpy Cat
Original page (before text substitution).

00 Superman
Text substitution by CommArts student Mos (Creative Writing, 2016) in a page from Superman #14 (The Invention Thief, DC Comics, 1942), by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, and Leo Nowak. Retaining various original speech balloons.

Original Superman
Original page (before text substitution).

00 NARUTO subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Mon in a page from the manga Naruto (VIE Media) by mangaka Masashi Kishimoto. Retaining the original sound effect “SHWUUU” in panel 5.

NARUTO Original
Original scanlation (before text substitution).

00 TinTin and Alph-Art
Text substitution by CommArts student Mo (Creative Writing, 2016) in a page from Tintin and Alph-Art, inked and colorized by Yves Rodier based on (unfinished) pencilled page by Hergé. Retaining the original speech balloon (“?”) in panel 6.

Original TinTin -24- TinTin and Alph-Art - 01
Original scanlation (before text substitution).

00 QUEST subst
Text substitution by CommArts student TG in a page from Edmund Finney’s Quest to Find the Meaning of Life – Volume 2 (EQ Comics) by Dan Long. Retaining various original speech balloons.

Original Quest
Original strip (before text substitution).


 

3. Text substitutions by CommArts students; without order alteration, but with additional bubbles.

 

00 cat vs human
Text substitution by CommArts student Note in a page from Cat versus Human by Surovec Yasmine. Retaining various original speech balloons, and with additional bubbles.

Original cat vs human
Original page (before text substitution).

00 SAPHIE
Text substitution by CommArts student Pitchii in a page from the webcomics Saphie the One Eyed Cat by Joho. Retaining various onomatopoeiae, and with additional bubbles.

MODEL SAPHIE
Click on the page to reach the original webcomics.

 

#UltraVioletChallenge constrained comics exercise; turning an abstract comics into a figurative one.

#UltraVioletChallenge: “Making Sense of Signs (and Fragments)” in-class creative assignment (“Intro Comm” & “Visual Media Studies” courses developed by the Faculty of Communication Arts; Semiotics chapter); create a figurative comics based on an imposed abstract comics (duration: 90′). Based on a constrained comics exercise used at Pierre Feuille Ciseaux international comics residency-lab.

BLURB!

“Brilliant – thanks for sharing!” Nick Sousanis (January 16, 2018; commenting the page by Fern, Lukpearr, Oom & Bank), assistant professor of Humanities & Liberal Studies at San Francisco State University. He received his doctorate in education at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2014, where he wrote and drew his dissertation entirely in comic book form. Titled Unflattening, it argues for the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning, and was published by Harvard University Press in 2015.

Imposed abstract comics page #UltraVioletChallenge
Imposed abstract comics page #UltraVioletChallenge

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Students from the Faculties/Departments of Architecture (INDA), Communication Design (CommDe), Language & Culture (BALAC), and Engineering (ISE) creating their #UltraViolet comics. August 23, 2018. Visual Media Studies course, INDA, Chulalonglorn University.  

SOME RESULTING NARRATIVES:

Absract 01 Fern Lukpear Oom Bank
#UltraVioletChallenge final page by Fern, Lukpearr, Oom & Bank, fresh.wo.men students at CommDe, Chulalongkorn University.

05 Arty Pin Darnis
#UltraVioletChallenge final page by Arty, Pin & Darnis, junior students at CommDe, Chulalongkorn University.

01 Pim Fa Pat
#UltraVioletChallenge final page by Pin, Fa & Pat, sophomore students at INDA, Chulalongkorn University.

03 Gap Yong
#UltraVioletChallenge final page by Gap & Yong, junior students at CommDe, Chulalongkorn University.

04 Iced Deedee Fern Jam
#UltraVioletChallenge final page by Iced, Deedee, Fern & Jam, junior students at INDA, Chulalongkorn University.

02 Uang New Wee
#UltraVioletChallenge final page by New, Uang and Wee, junior students at CommDe, Chulalongkorn University.

20180918_213302
Students from the Faculties/Departments of Architecture (INDA), Communication Design (CommDe), Language & Culture (BALAC), and Engineering (ISE) creating their #UltraViolet comics. August 23, 2018. Visual Media Studies course, INDA, Chulalonglorn University.  

BELOW: #UltraVioletChallenge final page by Thai cartoonist Supachai Jack Jirakoup

UltraViolet Supachai
#UltraVioletChallenge final page by Thai cartoonist Supachai Jack Jirakoup

“When Manga, Franco-Belgian and American Comics Collide; Or the Genesis of Thai Alternative Comics”; a lecture at Gakushuin University, Tokyo (Dec. 2016).

During our 5-day field trip in Tokyo with coordinator P’Pum and 17 students of the Faculty of Communication Arts (International Program, Chulalongkorn University), we were welcomed by the prestigious Gakushuin University (Tokyo, Japan) to hold a lecture on the History of Thai Comics.

Suttichart

The lecture at Gakushuin University (Tokyo) was titled “When Manga, Franco-Belgian and American Comics Collide; Or the Genesis of Thai Alternative Comics.” It focused on presenting why I consider that the composite style of Thai pioneering alternative cartoonist Suttichart Sarapaiwanich on the series “Joe the Sea-Cret agent” is concurrently at the crossroads of American, Japanese and Franco-Belgian comics traditions and yet a remarkable artistic expression of ‘Thainess’ (and of the globalized and eclectic modern Thai way-of-life in the aftermath of the Tom Yum Goong crisis).

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Following Professor Natsume Fusanosuke-sensei to a beautiful building of the prestigious Gakushuin University, Tokyo.

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“Konban-wa. Gakushuin Daigaku no minasama, Fusanosuke Natsume-sensei, Shiina Yukari-san, soshite Kensuke Noda-san, konkai no event o kaisai site kudasari. Watashi, Pum-san to Thai no gakusei nittote, totemo kouei na koto desu. Arigato gozaimasu”. My heartfelt thanks again to Gakushuin University for the warm welcome, to Natsume-sensei for the invitation, to Yukari-san for translating my messy sentences, and to Yukari-san & Kensuke-san for the organization! It’s been a wonderful evening!
And Arigato gozaimasu Watanabe Kanako-san for the text in Japanese! ありがとうございました! Photo by P’Pum.

Note 000
Presenting the work of highly influential Thai cartoonist Eakasit Thairaat. Photo by Note.

Note 005
So tired… Can’t understand Natsume-sensei questions anymore… Sumimasen!!! Photo by Note.

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Delicious buffet organized by Gakushuin University after the lecture for all our CommArts students and attending audience. And honor, again, to be invited, to meet and to discuss with Natsume-sensei! ありがとうございました! KANPAÏ! Photo by P’Pum.

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ありがとうございました! KANPAÏ!

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Deeply honored to meet and discuss with Ono Kosei-sensei, a leading authority in Manga, Comics and Film criticism! ありがとうございました

“Female Voices in Comics Art: Sharing Perspectives from Thailand, Spain, Japan and the U.S.A.” Round Table

FEMALE VOICES IN COMICS ART DEF copy

The round table “Female Voices in Comics Art: Sharing Perspectives from Thailand, Spain, Japan and the U.S.A.” was held on Friday, March 10, at the BACC (Bangkok Art and Culture Center) during the HeForShe Arts Week Bangkok (UN Women for Asia and the Pacific) in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain in Bangkok (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación de España). It was a rich, meaningful and cheerful talk with an amazing panel composed of Thai artist Tunlaya Dunn, Thai-American artist Kathy MacLeod, Spanish artist Carla Berrocal (also curator of the PRESENTES exhibition, and my Thai colleague & Manga scholar Aj. Mashima Tojirakarn (PhD. candidate, University of Kyoto). I’ve been honoured to act as the moderator of this round table (thank you again Kathy for suggesting my name). The discussion focused on comics and women, and most interestingly, on gender equality in the industry, as well as on the rise of female voices in Thai Comics, and on the rich history of Spanish comics by female cartoonists (PRESENTES exhibition). I would like to extend my warmest thanks to HeForShe Arts Week Bangkok’s curators Alejandro Hita & David Fernández for the organization of this whole week, and specific event, as well as Embassy of Spain in Bangkok’s representatives Maria Salcedo Ortiz (Deputy Head of Mission) & Joan Vicens Mestre for their invaluable participation to the event, and partners Chulalongkorn University & BACC. Thank you Carla, Kathy, Tunlaya & Mashima for the great talk! ขอบคุณมากนะครับ Pathumporn Tik Thongking for the wonderful pics!

Aj. Nicolas Verstappen

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The “Here Comes Trouble” Dream Team! From right to left: my Thai colleague & Manga scholar Aj. Mashima Tojirakarn (PhD. candidate, University of Kyoto), Thai designer and cartoonist Tunlaya Dunn,Thai-American illustrator and cartoonist Kathy MacLeod, Spanish cartoonist and illustrator Carla Berrocal, HeForShe Arts Week BKK’s co-curator Alejandro Hita (UN Women), Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Spain in Bangkok Maria Salcedo Ortis, and yours truly.
Photo credits: UN Women/Pathumporn Tik Thongking

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Presenting the guests of the “Female Voices in Comics Art” round table; Carla Berrocal, Kathy MacLeod, Tunlaya Dunn & Mashima Tojirakarn.
Photo credits: UN Women/Pathumporn Tik Thongking

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Illustrator and cartoonist Kathy MacLeod discussing with the other guests of the “Female Voices in Comics Art” round table; Carla Berrocal, Tunlaya Dunn & Mashima Tojirakarn. Photo credits: UN Women/Pathumporn Tik Thongking

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Women voices in the comics industry around the world. Thai female cartoonists Tongkarn, Vic-Mon & Chingching Krittiemmek confronting “Seng” Songwit Seakitikul (in his graphic novel “Almost All of Us”, Fullstop Books, and ขอบคุณมากนะครับ Birdme for the translation) in Thailand; the “Collectif des créatrices de bande dessinée contre le sexisme” (Female Comics Creators Against Sexism) in France and abroad; and “Autoras de Cómic” in Spain.
Photo credits: UN Women/Pathumporn Tik Thongking

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My Thai colleague & Manga scholar Aj. Mashima Tojirakarn (University of Kyoto) discussing with the other guests of the “Female Voices in Comics Art” round table; Carla Berrocal, Tunlaya Dunn & Kathy MacLeod.
Photo credits: UN Women/Pathumporn Tik Thongking

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Rich, meaningful and cheerful talk withthe guests of the “Female Voices in Comics Art” round table; Carla Berrocal (talking), Kathy MacLeod, Tunlaya Dunn & Mashima Tojirakarn.
Photo credits: UN Women/Pathumporn Tik Thongking

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As a conclusion of the “Female Voices in Comics Art” round table, the presentation of a remarkable short comics (related to the topic of “violence against women”) composed for my course by Ms. Arty Nicharee (Entryh), a promising first-year student of the International Program in Communication Design (Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University).
Photo credits: UN Women/Pathumporn Tik Thongking

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As a conclusion of the “Female Voices in Comics Art” round table, the presentation of a remarkable short comics (related to the topic of “violence against women”) composed for my course by Ms. Arty Nicharee (Entryh), a promising first-year student of the International Program in Communication Design (Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University).
Photo credits: UN Women/Pathumporn Tik Thongking