FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   Log inLog in   RegisterRegister
The Origin of the Trail
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Zwol.org Forum Index -> (Web)Comics Theory: ART
Previous: PostThe Implications of Zwol Next: PostOpen Letter to Online Cartoonists  
Author Message
Max Leibman
Consistant Poster


Joined: 15 Apr 2001
Posts: 130
Location: Springfield, Nebraska (USA)

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2001 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey all,

This is a pretty important question for something I'm working on now, so if anybody knows, I would appreciate hearing it.

Where did the "trails," so popular in scrolling comics right now, come from? The earliest trail-based comics I'm aware of were those on Scott McCloud's website, but there may have been earlier ones. Anybody know?

Also, Scott, I know you pass through here from time to time: are you aware of an early user of trails in web comics? If you started it yourself, was there any precendent in other media that gave you the idea?

Thanks to anybody who's gots the 411.

Peace out,

Max Leibman

[ This Message was edited by: Max Leibman on 2001-07-05 11:58 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Max Leibman on 2001-07-05 11:58 ]
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Scott McCloud
The one and only


Joined: 23 May 2001
Posts: 299

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2001 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trails are similar to Arrow-based comics of which I'd seen only Art Spiegelman's comic "A Day at the Circuits" when I started this whole thing. Basically a more extensive use of the old laid-this-out-badly-so-now-you'll-need-this-arrow-to-know-where-to-read-next arrows that showed up from time to time in mainstream comics.

After Jason Shiga published the incredible trail-based labyrinthian mini "Meanwhile" at last year's APE I asked him about it and sent a link to the ICST about trails. He wrote: "I like how trails right now seem like this exotic formalist game, but ultimately your advocation of them is as a narrative device meant to serve the story. I must admit however that I borrowed the directional trails idea from a comic book called 'Waltzing Mice' which I picked up at APE two years ago. The cartoonist's name was Dave Grossman and as far as I know, he's the only other cartoonist to extensively use trails in print." He sent a gif of W.A., which, like Spieg's, is a one pager using arrows.

The only possible predecessors that I know of for the kind of trails I use might be a one-pager by Richard McGuire called "The Thinkers" printed on the last page of Raw vol 2 no. 2 where several pedestrians' thoughts appear in the form of linked panels; and maybe one or two of Ware's convoluted arrangements, although looking over his stuff just now, I didn't come across any.

So yes, there's a bit of precedent, but not much that I know of. All things considered, Porphyria was as close to "spontaneous generation" as anything ever is in art.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
David Gaddis
Forum Member


Joined: 01 Jul 2001
Posts: 6
Location: Ohio! New York! Oakland!

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2001 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm... what about non-comics sources, though? I've seen something like them used in certain kinds of heirarchical diagrams... is there a name for that? Except they tend to branch out more than you could feasibly do with a comic without annoying the hell out of everybody... (I make this statement with the full expectation that someone will immediately come out with such a comic that works beautifully. Destiny likes to make me look like a moron, but at least I can use that to advance the art form a little.)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
rcar
Consistant Poster


Joined: 31 May 2001
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2001 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do a comic in flash where you get to choose the ending. I wathinking, it can be done with the trails. Go this way for one senario or that way for another. Anyone try that yet?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
David Gaddis
Forum Member


Joined: 01 Jul 2001
Posts: 6
Location: Ohio! New York! Oakland!

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2001 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not that I've seen, but flash certainly seems to be useful for interesting transitions between panels, doesn't it?

Just thinking idly... the diagrams I was referring to are of the kind where, say, they're illustrating a corporate power structure, with the shareholders at the top and the departments below, branching out as we go down to different individuals with different duties. That could easily be used for choose-your-path comics, with different branches representing different decisions a protagonist makes, or, in a set narrative, to follow various characters through their day. On the web, I can think of ways to enable easy reading that wouldn't be annoying at all... you could display the whole mad, complicated "map" on one, scroll-down screen, with tiny panels. Then the reader could click on one "choice" in the upper tier to be taken, through an animated blow-up of the panels or just a link, to a screen that features the following set of panels in full, readable comic-size, with dialogue added. This might resemble the kind of thing Scott was doing with Zot. Every further choice could be presented as a new branch leading to one clearly marked panel or graphic that represents a link to another such screen. If the author didn't want to spoil any surprises, the mini-panels on the main page could easily be made to illuminate only after the reader's already been there. Likewise, if you don't want the reader to be able to jump at random into the middle of something, I'm sure there's some way you could only enable the LINKS on the main page once the reader's read the panels leading up to them, and then they'd have the added pleasure of being able to "flip" through it once they're finished. Pretty simple, come to think of it. The most radically new thing about that would be the changes that demands for the narrative, rather than anything formal or computer-based. Personally, the choose-your-own adventure stuff hasn't pushed my buttons so far (watch me proven wrong again) but I AM intrigued by the idea of following one grand narrative through multiple characters. Hmm... ok, that's on my "to do" list, but if somebody does it better first I'll be thrilled to see it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
lylebclarke
Frequent Poster


Joined: 15 Apr 2001
Posts: 59
Location: New Zealand and Denmark

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2001 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen an e-book, trying to sell a marketing course or something, do the 'reveal-links-on-the-header' trick. It intrigued me, so I figured out how they did it.

The site was in frames, and everytime you clicked on a link to go to the next page in the e-book, a new page was loaded in the content frame AND an anchor was loaded in the header frame so that now showing in the frame was the same set of links as before + the one of the new page.

The links were on one page like this
#
##
###
####
#####
######

but at anyone time I could only see one row:
--------
####
--------

It doesn't even need to be that complex, you could do it with one frameset and two html pages, one for content, one for the header, and speckle them both with the appropriate javascript and anchors.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
?platypus
Forum Member


Joined: 02 Jul 2001
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2001 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2001-07-05 14:10, David Gaddis wrote:
Hmmm... what about non-comics sources, though? I've seen something like them used in certain kinds of heirarchical diagrams... is there a name for that?


If your a manigor there org charts, if your
a computer scientist or a mathimatision there
trees (and the linky things are called arcs).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Doc MacDougal
Frequent Poster


Joined: 23 Apr 2001
Posts: 79
Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2001 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

David: You mean like a flow chart?

Doc.

_________________
borealism.com: highbrow pretension by the assload
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
M
Forum Member


Joined: 15 Jun 2001
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2001 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was about to mention flowcharts, but clearly I'm not fast enough.

Other non-comics possiblities for trails:
  • How about those mazes that have pictures embedded in them? In some of those, going through the maze correctly will tell a story or clarify the correct sequence for the pictures.

  • Red Thread Riddles, which I described briefly here. It's not in panels or anything, but it does have a thread that leads readers from picture to picture and page to page. It reminds me a LOT of trails, but it's not the easiest book to find.

--M

[ This Message was edited by: M on 2001-07-06 00:26 ]
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Jack Masters
Consistant Poster


Joined: 04 Jun 2001
Posts: 181

PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2001 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Intriguing topic! My guess is that as diagrams got more and more complex, the arrows stretched out longer and thinner until they became trails.

http://castlezzt.net/relax.png

A nice "halfway" example.

_________________
House of Stairs
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
David Gaddis
Forum Member


Joined: 01 Jul 2001
Posts: 6
Location: Ohio! New York! Oakland!

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2001 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a sample organization chart (thanks platypus) for those who weren't sure what I was talking about:

http://management.about.com/smallbusiness/management/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.nasdr.com/2210.htm

"Oh, yeah! Those!" Pictures always do it better. Anyway... comics applications are pretty obvious, I think, and it's a clear antecedent if not a direct influence for trail-based comics. Now that I think about it, I have seen Scott refer to "image trees" before, which I'm assuming are similar(?), so this is just me being the slow kid in the class.

It seems to me that those Edward Tufte books (Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Visual Explanations, Envisioning Information) that Scott's referenced may be more relevant than ever now that the issue of translating comics to the web is here, and I should probably sit down and read them at last.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Jack Masters
Consistant Poster


Joined: 04 Jun 2001
Posts: 181

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2001 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good books! Here I have constructed a larger organization chart.

http://castlezzt.net/org1.gif

_________________
CastleZZT.net

[ This Message was edited by: Jack Masters on 2001-07-08 00:30 ]
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Scott McCloud
The one and only


Joined: 23 May 2001
Posts: 299

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2001 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Y'know, my Dad was a chief engineer at Raytheon in the 70's and sometimes we'd get these photocopied missile flow charts that we used as scrap paper with chilling boxed labels like "kill" and "assess kill."

Interesting how there's no explicit sequence to these things, but the hierarchies create an implicit sequence.

Yeah, time to crack open TUFTE once more. Flow charts could have easily been a factor in my thinking when I started down this particular "trail."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Zwol.org Forum Index -> (Web)Comics Theory: ART All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group