Monday, March 03, 2008

No Man Left Behind

While I've been attending Full Sail I've found myself completely immersed in video game culture. Almost everybody at this school is obsessed with video games, and since most of these folk want to work in the video game industry after graduation, I suppose that it makes sense.

I enjoy video games as well. However as I meander through more and more games it's become apparent to me that I rarely ever actually finish a game. I can only think of maybe five off hand where I've seen the final credits roll by.

Most of the games I play I enjoy - it's not a matter of them being good or bad. It's just that sometimes I have to put away the games of childhood to embrace my other more important... responsibilities.



Yesterday on the blog I mentioned an "upcoming web-comic related project" that I was excited about. Recently a forum over at HalfPixel.com prompted me and the guys of Enliv Comics to discuss the importance of comic writing versus comic art. With sites such as XKCD and Dinosaur comics (literally the same clip art every single week) enjoying incredible popularity, one starts to wonder if the art is even a major factor when it comes to comic strips.

If I only spent an hour throwing together some panels instead of my fairly standard four, resulting in lessened artistic quality but containing the same gags, would my comics be as effective?

Well we decided to challenge ourselves over the next couple of weeks by participating in something we're calling Sight vs. Write (Clever, I know. Thanks Lance!).

On March 10th the Enliv crew and I are going to post comics that contain absolutely no words whatsoever. On March 17th, we're going to be posting comics in which the visual element of each panel is nothing more than two pairs of eyes in a completely dark place (Scooby-Doo style), but with as many words as we'd like.

The point? Just to see which is more difficult. To challenge ourselves a little. Is it harder to make a comic funny without words? Or without pictures.

Anyway, stay tuned to find out. What do y'all think? Is the textual writing more important to conveying the joke? Or the art? Drop a comment and let me know what your mind is a cookin'.

Thanks to Andy and Megan for helping shore up this week's comic idea.

Oh, and look at that. Still Monday. Looks like my banner doesn't lie after all.

23 comments:

Ross said...

I think the visual vs contextual importance depends heavily on what kind of joke is going on.

I can't imagine that great artwork would add much to the depth of XKCD or certain PBF comics, because the jokes are often witty or clever enough to stand on their own merit.

Your blog on the other hand is somewhat inbetween the two. This week's comic would be fine as long as the artwork was descriptive enough to decipher who the video game characters were. However, since you're often drawing cartoons and video games the visual element is a very important part of the nostalgia, so your comics wouldn't work as well with stick figures.

In my opinion there are fewer great comics where the artwork really pushes it over the top. Calvin and Hobbes comes to mind, as does Peanuts, just because the characters became so iconic.

Take a more mediocre comic like Marmaduke, the jokes probably wouldn't fly with stick figures, so good drawing is needed to improve the comic overall.

I fell like your strip as a whole has yet to fall in to a specific category. Sometimes the extra effort put into the artwork sells your comic, other times it's the concept.

Ross said...

Also, why is this tagged Guitar Hero and not one of the many games you actually referenced?

D Wheezy said...

Link is holding a Guitar Hero controller, and I was too tired / lazy to add tags for the other games. Guitar Hero was already a tag I had used in the past, so I just clicked it to add the tag.

I tend to agree with your assessment of comic art - it seems like great art tends to bolster weaker comics as opposed to really sell the comic as a whole. Take the Sunday comics, for example - the serial comics that have a continuing story line tend to have great art, but the concepts / story themselves I personally find uninteresting, so the entire comic fails in my mind.

Dilbert, on the other hand, while it has fairly horrible artwork, manages to be funny, and so the comic is a success. I feel like the writing is the most important aspect, as I can think of many comics that stand on the merit of their writing but very few that have great art but bad writing and are still successful.

Ben said...

http://www.badgerherald.com/comics/?album=better&img=286

these are some of my favorite comics and its just these three sitting on a couch most the time.

it really all depends on the kind of comic you are tyring to draw. your comic always deals with different characters doing different things. like ross mentioned about your comic today, if you didnt draw out toad and the guy from halflife some people may not of known who they are.

even if people dont like your drawings in your comics its good practice for whatever it is you are going to do when your done with school part 2.

enliv comics said...

wow, great discussion guys.

the way i've been thinking about this is a question of what do you consider yourself? an artist or a writer? because if you're an artist, then you'd rely on the art as the main attraction and the writing to help it over the top. likewise, if you're a writer, then you'll rely on funny writing and just hope the art helps.

ross, that's cool you mentioned calvin and hobbes, and charlie brown. i often think of them and think, hey, great artwork AND great writing. somehow those strips invoke a sense of emotion from the reader. whether it's the art or the writing, it's the emotion i think that eventually makes it iconic.

D Wheezy said...

What if you consider yourself a cartoonist? What are you supposed to do then?

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Ben said...

i fucking hate jason. hes a douche.

Ross said...

I looked back at this today and thought, wow, 12 comments. Looks like it's time to bring back CAPTCHA.

D Wheezy said...

Jason man, this is some sort of scam website for filling out surveys or something.

I thought you were making money with this whole thing... and I told you that I have no interest in that. Stop linking them, not cool.

Tom Selleck said...

I will take a side and say that the content is more important, but well done, appropriate art is crucial. BTW, I love the ending in this one. You should have drawn me in that tub with you, like last weekend.

D Wheezy said...

Ha ha ha ha... Tom I have no ... ha ha ... idea what you're ... talking... about. Really. Honestly no idea. Ha.

enliv comics said...

...i never get invited to the tub... (sniff sniff)

Alaina said...

The text book for the freshman English composition class that I teach is called "Reading and Writing in a Visual Age" and all of the assignments are based on 'visual' texts. And I'm not supposed to be introducing any literature into the class. So, it's been difficult teaching students to write without any text to base it on. Anyways, can't wait for the textual and visual comics. And maybe I can bring them into class and have my students discuss (which I've already done with an earlier comic, by the way - they loved it!)

D Wheezy said...

Really? Wow. Which comic?

And what other "authors" have you used in your class? You think I can use this to get a tenured position somewhere?

emily marie said...

As an avid reader of your comics and not being an artist whatsoever I just wanted to mention that Wheezy, the facial expressions you portray with your fine artistic skills often greatly contribute to my laughing out loud. haha.

Double M said...

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Anonymous said...

LAWL at the comic! That about says it, too...cept with work. :O
Also, the animations were damn reminiscent of like, the...what, mid 90's? Silly stuff, man. GL~
-Matt M.-

James said...

Lol, good stuff man, that mario quote is hilarious.