Monday, August 20, 2007

Charles Hatfield's Constraints to Us (p. 1 and 2)

This morning, we got constraints from our comics-scholar colleague and friend Charles Hatfield. (He's the author of Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature, for sure one of the best critical books about graphic novels.)

Here are his obstructions to us, the ones that will shape the first two weeks of our new project:

1. All the world’s a stage: The sequence in these two pages must include onlookers to the main action – that is, an audience, whether seen or implied – so as to involve, if only implicitly, the idea of spectatorship. (The audience may be us, addressed directly, or it may be secondary characters within the diegesis, but, either way, we should become aware of audience.)

2. They have their exits and their entrances: The sequence must involve dialogue and interaction among multiple characters, with at least one character making an entrance during the sequence and at least one character making an exit.

3. The ages of man: Characters of several distinctly different ages, spanning from early childhood to old age, must be present in the sequence.

4. A Corrigan: One page of the sequence (which, again, is to feature dialogue and interaction among multiple characters) should be composed so that the faces of all the characters except the protagonist are obscured from view. That is, the images should be drawn/designed in such a way as to hide from sight the expressions of every character except that character you designate as the “main” character.

5. A Reverse Corrigan: In the opposite page of the sequence, the face of the protagonist, and only that of the protagonist, must be obscured from view. That is, the images should be composed so as to hide the “main” character’s expressions from sight, while revealing every other character’s expression.

I have to revise one thing slightly about Charles's first three obstructions: it's our intention that in each set of two pages (one drawn by each of us), the first page will "claim" three of the five obstructions, and the second will tackle the two that the first page didn't handle. So: we'll have onlookers, entrances, exits, and the seven ages of man in this two-page sequence, but it's possible that each of those things will appear in only one of the two pages.

I'm going first, and I've already had some ideas about how to satisfy the constraints. Believe it or not, I've already changed my mind at least once about which three I'll use. I have a week to finish this page, so I'm going to try to bang out some thumbnails (and post them) as soon as possible. You'll hear more from me soon.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Well done, Charles! Thanks for these excellent and challenging constraints.

Good luck, Isaac!