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Fortunato
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2002 1:32 pm    Post subject: Whether "Robots love to dance" is Comics Reply with quote

I think a fairly strong case can be made that "Robots" is indeed a comic by Scott's definition, as it is indeed a string of "Juxtaposed pictoral or other images in deliberate sequence" even if perhaps all the transitions are subject-subject. but besides that, the inclusion of the "this comic is degrading" robot gives it a unified feel.

Don't get me wrong, I still think that uninformed bob is the best so far, but I think it would be a mistake to discount an oddball like "Robots love to dance" as not being comics.

Anybody want to argue with me? I would love to hear a strong case for the other side.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2002 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think that anyone is going to argue with that logic. Scott Adams would probably call you a 'hairy reasoner' whether you are indeed hairy or not.
Good job!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2002 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
I don't think that anyone is going to argue with that logic.


Except Neil Gaiman
Seriously, I do quite agree that RLTD is comics. In fact, when I was first reading it, I merely thought it was being told from the first-person perspective of a robot looking around the room at his dancing robot friends (I mean, doesn't the weird 'beam' style trail just scream "robot eyes panning" to you?).

(btw, personal opinion: Is it 'wrong' to take an improv comic you have previosly done and 'polish' it? Or does that defeat the purpose of improvisation?)
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2002 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:


(btw, personal opinion: Is it 'wrong' to take an improv comic you have previosly done and 'polish' it? Or does that defeat the purpose of improvisation?)


I don't see how it could be wrong. The idea, I think, is that you're mostly producing kinda funny throwaways, in an attempt to experiment with ideas and methods that you haven't used before. This is done in throwaways because that means that if the experiement goes badly, then you haven't screwed up a serious project with it. But the overall goal is to increase your ability to produce good comics. However, when doing improvs, it's inevitable that a creator with real talent will succeed in producing a comic that shows a lot of potential in itself, rather than just as a practice. If expanding or revising this comic will make it into a stronger piece, then it makes perfect sense to do so. After all, if the goal is to improve your ability to make good comics, then refusal to take a potentially good comic and make it actually good is just silly.

Of course, I believe that everything is revisable until it's in print. Of course, I'm very much a believer in looking through my old work (and when I say this, I'm referring primarily to my poetry and fiction -- I'm fairly new to writing comics), looking for inspiration. Even pieces from a far back as high school. In fact, just the other day, I started outlining a comic script based on an unfinished narrative poem I had been working on my freshman year of college (1994 -- damn, that was much longer ago than I realized). The poem never worked, but I always liked the idea behind it, and never gave up on it. Now I've finally found the way to get it right -- by switching my medium. As a comic, I have no doubt that it will come out exactly as I want it, and I'm really excited about it. But it's only possible because I'm open to using any past effort as the foundation for serious work.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2002 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of my main reasons for thinking it's not comics is that it's animated. I'm of the mind that comics should be purely static sequential images, and I thought that was a point made in Scott's books when he was commenting upon some of the early forays into online comics and their tendency to use animation and the like. (Although maybe I'm remembering his point wrong.)

I've heard Warren Ellis having a similiar opinion, in that if it moves, it ain't comics.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2002 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, the animation question. How much before it ain't comics? How about this test- If you can substitute any one frame of the animation for the panel that it represents and the comic still functions narratively, can't it be a comic? (Just one thought- not gospel.)

Honestly- and Warren Ellis should be smart enough to admit this- The only reason that comics haven't had even limited animation before now is because it's darn hard to do using only paper and ink.

I'm of the opinion that too much animation turns a comic into something different, but limited animation can be intruduced while keeping the work firmly in the realm of comics.
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Penner Theologius Pott
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2002 1:38 pm    Post subject: Hmm... Reply with quote

What about John Barber's work? He's a writer of online comics (some of which are on ModernTales.com) who primarily relies on static panels, but animates the transitions between them.
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Fortunato
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2002 12:40 am    Post subject: odd. Reply with quote

Quote:
Ah, the animation question. How much before it ain't comics? How about this test- If you can substitute any one frame of the animation for the panel that it represents and the comic still functions narratively, can't it be a comic? (Just one thought- not gospel.)


Funny. when I phrased the question, I hadn't even considered the fact that the robots were dancing, although, in hindsight, it is a serious part of the whole concern as to whether this is comics or not. But, consider a flipbook, or scott's thoughts on film in "understanding comics"

Quote:
but, before it's projected film could be a really really slow comic


Since I loaned out my copy of Understanding Comics (the kitchen sink version, YES!) I couldn't tell you what page it's on. I think you're right greg, that it would remain comics if any of the animations aren't critical to the story. In this case, the title makes no sense without the animations, so that could be a strong case against RLTD as comics. But, by no means is this the end of the debate! The reason that I saw as being RLTD's primary flaw was the fact that it went from robot to robot without making any attempt to tell a story or communicate a point, but, they do have a unifying style and there's still the problem of the robot with text.

other thoughts?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2002 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would argue that it is comics, comics using subject-to-subject transitions while substituting animation for moment-to-moment or action-to-action transitions. It still uses juxtaposition for something, and that's good enough for me.

But that's not why I posted.

I was re-reading "Robots Love to Dance" yesterday at work, so I sent a copy of the link to my roommate, Paul. Paul read it, laughed hysterically, then had an idea. You see, Paul and his friend Gary are engaged in a strategy game called VGA Planets, in which Paul is playing as a robot race against aliens controlled by Gary. Paul forwarded the link to Gary, along with one line of text: "This is what we're fighting for."

The right to dance, baby. It's what will ultimately cause the machines to rebel against us all.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2002 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greg Stephens wrote:
Honestly- and Warren Ellis should be smart enough to admit this- The only reason that comics haven't had even limited animation before now is because it's darn hard to do using only paper and ink.


Ellis is more of a purist than I am, but, to be fair, what he specifically said was, "Because, as far as I'm concerned, as soon as it starts singing and dancing and animating and turning the pages itself, it ain't a comic anymore." I think his point was not that any animation is a bad idea (in fact, he came right out an commended Abby's Menagerie in the same essay for using looping animation to deliver the dialogue in paced sequence), but simply that if the animation is the focus of your craft, you've gotten away from the essence of comics. To that degree, I agree with him, and in that same essay he also discussed multiple fully-animated "Webcomics" and didn't deny them that moniker, even if he did state his belief that they weren't comics in the traditional sense.
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MSUSpar10
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2002 9:05 am    Post subject: My eyes are opened Reply with quote

Max Leibman wrote:

The right to dance, baby. It's what will ultimately cause the machines to rebel against us all.


I never thaught of it before, but now it's obvious.

"Robots Love to Dance" is a retelling of the classic '80s/80s/'80's/80's movie, "Footloose".
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2002 11:53 am    Post subject: Re: My eyes are opened Reply with quote

MSUSpar10 wrote:
'80s/80s/'80's/80's
Boo. Pick one and be proud of it.
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2002 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Max Leibman wrote:
Ellis is more of a purist than I am, but, to be fair, what he specifically said was....


You're right, in the linked to article he's saying similar things to what many of us have said. I knew he was smart enough to have something useful to say. I just hadn't bothered to look it up.

Still, I can't resist pointing out that there's a very fine line (sometimes none at all!) between "purist" and "fuddy-duddy." Sometimes love of a thing is more strongly tied to what first attracted you to that thing than the thing itself. This is something that webcomics have to struggle against when people say things like, "webcomics just don't have that cheap paper smell of real comics." It's all opinion, so it's not wrong, but it is unbelievably common.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2002 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greg Stephens wrote:
Still, I can't resist pointing out that there's a very fine line (sometimes none at all!) between "purist" and "fuddy-duddy." Sometimes love of a thing is more strongly tied to what first attracted you to that thing than the thing itself.


Very true. Another parallel within the comic field might be comic fans who are interested solely in superheroes -- I doubt many of them were attracted by the medium itself so much as the content, and those that persist in the belief that superhero comics are the end-all, be-all of the medium are in love less with that medium and more with the superhero.

The same concept might explain the disasterous ends of the two longest romantic relationships in my life, but that's a topic for a very different kind of board.

Um, what were we talking about?
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2002 3:35 pm    Post subject: Whether "Robots Love to Dance" is Comics Reply with quote

Oh, surely it's comics, if nothing else because of the limits of the movement. Otherwise, you could say the Alex Ross cover for Superman that had Clark changing to Superman and zooming off---depending on how you look at the cover, the angle, like those cards we used to have as kids---wouldn't be comics. (The first issue where he came back from the new uniform to the old one.) That has movement, depending on the angle at which you look at the cover. But it is limited and looped movement---just as the robots dancing are limited and looped movements.
(I have to hide that issue at home, BTW....one of my sons is autistic, and he would have no compunction about tearing that cover off to look at it better.)---Al
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2002 4:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Whether "Robots Love to Dance" is Comics Reply with quote

alschroeder wrote:
...the Alex Ross cover for Superman that had Clark changing to Superman and zooming off---depending on how you look at the cover, the angle, like those cards we used to have as kids...


Lenticular Animation, they call that.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2002 3:52 pm    Post subject: Boundary lines? Reply with quote

In the modern age, though, isn't it a merely academic distinction? It seems a waste of time for those stuck on the borders if they must continually debate over their classification.

I mean, if modern installations of refuse, intentional meaninglessness (Neo-Dadaism), etc., are considered true art through their conceptual value, why crush the baby forms of animated comics by denying them the advocacy given to more definite comics?

Not, of course, that anyone's doing that here. No one is. It's just... I mean, my favorite indy art so far was done on Flash and Shockwave. And it was sometimes billed as comics.

Just some thoughts. Not big ones.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2002 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We question if a comic is still a comic if animation is added. So I will add some food for thought ...

Is radio still radio if you add moving pictures?

Is theater still theater if you film it and distribute it?

Is my vegetarian lental soup still vegetarian if you add ham to it?

Alschroeder spoke of his Superman comic that had a Lenticular Animation. Although that wasn't a comic, that was the cover to a comic. Otherwise all of those cards with some baseball guy swinging the bat would have to be called comics.

Is there a distintion between animation and comics? I think so. However I can not say that you can not use one to enhance the other. If one panel in the comic was animated and other just plain static images, I would say the product is still a comic in whole. But the panel itself is not comics. When Animated Aligator came up with the sound track for Maxx comics, the experance of sound and art was comics. It was cool. But the tape the soundtrack came on was not comics. Movies may be considered comics when it is on the film waiting to be projected, although when you have a flash or shockwave animation, it is juxiposed by ONLY time.

At least this is my opinion.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2002 9:37 pm    Post subject: here's to a great debate! Reply with quote

thank you everyone for making my first post such a success!

but seriously, after losttoy's post, I got to thinkin about answers to his questions, and the answers are, in order, no, yes, no. the first two are subjective, I suppose, but the third is an unfair comparison. the third

Quote:
Is my vegetarian lental soup still vegetarian if you add ham to it?


is a question of definition. by definition, veggie lentil soup is soup without meat. to add meat to it is to negate the definition, and negate its status as vegetarian. since the questions regarding art have such fluid defintions b their very nature, the question of what makes comics comics is much more up in the air than what makes my lentil soup lentil soup. Scott defines comics as a string of images, and that's what he seems to think is the most important aspect, the juxtaposition of images. not whether the images are still oranimated (that gives me a great idea for a modern art project! a string of tvs playing looped videos that are meant to be looked at in sequence! think of it!) So, I say, as long as the comic has a string of juxtaposed pictoral images, then it qualifies as comics. that's my two cents.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2002 8:07 am    Post subject: Mmmmmmmm Reply with quote

Soup and ham, gaaaaaaahlahhh <--- Homer sound *drool*
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2002 8:52 am    Post subject: Polishing Improv Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:

(btw, personal opinion: Is it 'wrong' to take an improv comic you have previosly done and 'polish' it? Or does that defeat the purpose of improvisation?)


Actually that is the foundation of the Second City Comedy Troupe. All of the sketches they perform today are based on improvs that they liked and played with.

Improv is like brainstorming. List as many ideas as you can without pausing. Next time you get stuck on something, pull out the list and evaluate it.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2002 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The lentil soup question was not really serious as the other two ... I was trying to be silly

Although I am a bit suprised on how Fortunato said that theater would still be theater if it was filmed. It is two seperate mediums. Die Hard with a Vengeance is not theater ... but of course now thinking about it, I have seen PBS's Cat's on tape and that was theater AND film. Hmm.

- Dave[/u]
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2002 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

losttoy wrote:
Although I am a bit suprised on how Fortunato said that theater would still be theater if it was filmed. It is two seperate mediums.



There's a big difference between a film that was written for the screen, and a film that's just a video tape of a live performance. The latter is written, performed, and produced with all the sensibilities of a live theatre event. The fact that it's being filmed is secondary. It's just a film of a live theatre event. Is it still theatre? I really want to say yes. But then I think of concert albums. You can buy a CD that is a recording of a live musical event. But would you call that CD a concert? Never. But there's still a definite distinction made between a concert album and a studio album. It's almost like it doesn't properly belong to either medium, and just becomes a sort of novelty. I think the same is true of the filmed theatre event. It's definitely not a movie -- it doesn't use any filmaking techniques in its production. But it's not really theatre either, since it lacks the immediacy of actually being in a theatre with the performers.

For what it's worth, I love live theatre. And I love movies. But I can't stand to watch filmed theatre. It just doesn't make use of the best advantages of either medium.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2002 4:09 am    Post subject: RLTD Reply with quote

I think that Robots Love to Dance is very similar to the portrayal of two dots in Understanding Comics. If you choose to see the robots as a progression through time(like a robot looking around or a conveyor belt of robots going by or different robots taking center stage) then it has more comic-like attributes. If you see each of the panels as being its own animal, which the robot with the sign seems to dispel, then it definately isn't comics. However, the animation certainly makes it a mixed medium. I couldn't call it fully a comic. I couldn't call it fully something else. It makes me think of a book with its fifth chapter on DVD. It's not a DVD, and it's not a book. It needs a better specified name.
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