Each week I take one (and only one) panel from each of ten randomly selected comic books and try to forge some sort of coherent narrative from them. This time I’ve found myself (somewhat to my surprise) in the middle of a full-blown morality play, despite being given comics featuring Superman’s debut, a search for missing soldiers in Viet Nam, and some of the funkiest, wildest stuff I’ve seen in a “Judge Dredd” issue.
With that, we’re off!
I now leverage the power of having my own blog to force you, the unwitting reader, to pay attention to my latest ideas for comic books which I will never actually publish! This reminds me of something I read by a popular author who kept getting people deluging him with book ideas. They would always tell him “I did the hard part in coming up with the idea, all you have to do is write it!” But the ideas are the easy part, as evidenced by the masses of people who keep thrusting them on him. The hard part is actually sitting down and cranking out the product, fleshing out the characters, making the action real, revising and revising and revising until you actually have something people can read.
That’s the hard part.
Having said that, I now will do the easy part and just throw my ideas out there, secure in the knowledge that I am too lazy to actually get them done.
I had a major setback last week with the “Facemaker” project. I had the basic code all written and more than half of the artwork in when I decided to try the much-coveted “Save as JPG” feature. In order to get that to work, I had to upgrade from ActionScript 2 to ActionScript 3. Which then broke literally everything else. I had to start completely over, and re-write the program basically from the ground up while simultaneously trying to teach myself the new version of ActionScript.
The good news is, that all only took a week and I was able to save all of the artwork. As of today I have 95% of the functionality back and working in ActionScript 3, including “Save as JPG”. The last missing piece is only halfway done, and that’s the AS3-based custom color component. I have a working grid in place so you can select a color, but still need to get that color applied to the desired object. It took me all day today so far just to figure out how to move the color gradient where I wanted it to be. Good times.
In any event, it’s mostly back to a working state and tomorrow I plan on picking up where I left off with adding the rest of the content and items. I’ve just gotten word that there are going to be two major new custom versions to do, one to make custom skateboard designs and the other that’s specific to the items in an upcoming game. Those are both projects for UGO advertising clients, and take precedence over any other development, so I’m going to try and cram in as much work on the Facemaker stuff as I can before those hit. At that point I’ll release what I’ve got for early beta testing if it’s in a working state.
Rick and I have completed his winning prize for Caption Contest 15, “Emissary”. The description Rick sent me was:
[T]his is a future alternate reality version of a hero I created. His right hand is a conduit for a destructive form of energy. The use of this energy corrupts his mind and body each time he uses it. In his heroic version he avoids using it at all costs. In this version, tragedy has driven him to give in to it and become the Emissary. I see him in flight with an arrogant pose, looking down on the world or just above a crowd of people. I kind of had the final version of “Micheal” from the Korvac Saga in The Avenger in mind when creating him if that helps.
He attached a HeroMachine image he’d created:
For this week’s installment of onomontoPOWia, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at an actual published comic page with sound effects, and then without. “Showcase ’93”, issue 9 (©DC Comics) features a fight in a convention hall between Peacekeeper and some thugs from Viper (or maybe some other snake-themed group, it’s hard to keep them all straight). Here it is as published, with sound effects intact:
And here it is with the sound effects removed via Photoshop:
You still get what’s going on, but removing the element of sound (even if that sound is nothing more than additional lines and colors of ink on paper just like the character illustrations) greatly diminishes the impact of the action. In part this has to do with how our minds process comics panels.
Sound exists only in time. It is inherently dynamic, unable to exist as a static phenomenon. And yet comics are inherently static, still images on a printed page existing as-is regardless of how much (if any) time passes around them. Combining those two diametrically opposed elements greatly enhances comics’ ability to trick our minds into believing that we are watching action, that what appears on the page is unfolding in time.
OnomontoPOWia is not unique in this ability, of course, but I believe it is one of the most powerful due to the unique nature of sound. When you see “THWAP!” you can’t help but imagine you are hearing it out loud, carrying the images associated with it forward as well. Like a movie without a soundtrack, the medium of comics can still be effective without onomontoPOWia, but it’s a much different experience.
My friend Dave and I went to see “The Incredible Hulk” yesterday and phone-conferenced in our other buddy John for a post-film geek-o-rama roundtable discussion. After the jump I’ll post my review.