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glych
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Joined: 25 Jun 2001
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Location: So' Cal, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2001 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Story: (skip if you don't care)

It's strange, when you get over 80 cartoonists together who get along in the same room, weird things happen. At comic con this past month, we did just that. You see- I am one of the keenspace crowd (*gasp*), as were 60 others and 20 keenspotters at con. We all went out to dinner, and took over the redfish....litterally. and this strange thing materialized....

The 1st idea:

For lack of a better term, it's called a comic jam. The comic jam is a comic done one panel at a time by one artist at a time to continue telling a story until a conclusion is reached....one we had going for all four days of the con, and might still be going for all I know...

This our first invention. (none of which are scanned in at this time, but I'll link you to them as soon as they're up and if you're interested to see how these turned out...rather interesting actually)

The second invention is the "back jam". Basically, starting from the end, and working your way to the beginning...we have ourselves 5 pages to do this with about 2X2 inch square panels... A very strange comic to read from beginning to end..not because it's hard to read, but because of trying to place plot devices before the'ye implimented while still keeping a forward flow is rather dificult. Also, this comic is not yet scanned..the same rules apply, I'll post the link if you're interested.

And as for the third invention, this is the one I'm personally proud of. The Panel Jam. We had a fairly small sketchbook you could easily flip over. So the rules: Draw a sinlge panel with nothing more to go off of than the panel before yours. No story, no talking about what panel you did, no clue whatsoever except for the single drawing before your own. This is scanned in, and it's link is here:
http://braven.keenspace.com/paneljam/panel01.html

click on "next panel" to view the next...blah blah blah...

Questions? Comments? Ideas?

We jokingly called these party games for the cartoonist, but personally I think it's along the same line as the 24 hour comic....it's getting something accomplished with limited resources.

-glych

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ragtag
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Joined: 22 Jul 2001
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Location: Norway

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2001 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loved the single panel comic thing. It flows in a weird way, and was quite entertaining to read. It's a little like what we used to do when I was a kid, with drawing a character. One drew the head and then folded over the paper, so the next one only saw the neck, he then drew the torso and so on down to the shoes.

The second idea is very much like a game in theatre sports. It's one where you improvise a little play in reverse. Not talking backwards, just reverse the order of the events. It's difficult as hell, but part of the fun of it is seeing the actors strain to make it work. Then once you get to the begining of the story, you play it forward again to the end. Sometimes to make it easier for the actors the host/teacher will pose the actors for the end scene in some way so that it's clear what's happening (i.e. actor a just murdered actor b and actor c was a witness).

Thanx for sharing those inventions, and I hope you'll be posting the other ones online soon too.

Ragnar
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Greg Stephens
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Joined: 14 Apr 2001
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2001 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting use of a certain surprise guest-star near the end of that one!

Yeah- let us know when the others are posted.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2001 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the "everyone draws a bit without seeing the rest" is an oldie but a goodie, but I think the panel jam is more interesting on one level: it draws on the natural subdivision of comics into panels--there's a natural division in the work already.

In other media--like everybody doing part of a drawing, the divisions have to be arbitrary, and you can end up with different "amounts of content" from each contributor.

I wonder what would happen if more structure was added, like a rule "at least one character from the previous panel must appear in the new one".
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2001 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about this variation:

Everybody draws a panel (possibly featuring the same character) at the same time, then later decides in what order those panels appear.

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glych
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Joined: 25 Jun 2001
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2001 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HHmmm....I'll post a link to this thread off of my site, and inquire who'd want to join in.

-glych

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Tragic Lad
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Joined: 21 Jun 2001
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2001 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a bar in Toronto where a whole mess o' cartoonists gather once a month to do a jam like this.



I've always known these jams to be 'dinner comics' as it would invariably be at a restraunt after/during a comics con that this sort of thing would spring up. My favourite was at a chinese restraunt in Montreal. There, the tables had paper table cloths and we were seated at a large round table. The jam started simultaneously at opposite ends of the table, with each person doing a panel and then passing the pen to the right. The trick was to have it match up so that the story was not only never-ending, but that you could start with any panel on the table.



Great fun.

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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2001 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That round-table jam sounds pretty cool.

There have also been comic-jams by mail. A notable one between Dave Sim and Chester Brown was reprinted in the Cerebus World Tour Book.

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Zane314
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2001 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the things I found most interesting about the paneljam was that it flows differently depending on what transitions the authors use. To use a point McCloud talked about, you can either have a moment to moment transition with the same characters and setting, or action to action, setting to setting, etc (I'm not actually looking at his book at the moment so forgive me if I get these mixed up). In this particular panel jam, excluding the first panel, for a long time the "focus" remains on the same "object" of sorts, but it gets so twisted out of shape that even the person that drew panel 3 didn't recognize what was going on when she came back to draw panel 11. It was still the same "flow", but it had changed by then.

This, to me, is more interesting than the changes visible later on- where the paneljam cuts back to a crowd scene, leaving the next artist with no view of the character to work with, and the panel after that, where a completely new character is introduced for the response of the question, with no retention of the identity of the character asking the question.

And now I've gotten way too overanalytical. But anyway. I think it might be interesting to try another one of these where people are restricted to having the same "setting" or "character" as the previous panels, but they are allowed to deform them as much as they wish. Like the mouse gradually turning into a pair of shoes would be acceptable, but abandoning them completely for some other idea wouldn't be.

I'm also interested in seeing if a variant of Reinventing Comics could be done in paneljam form- an analysis of comic jams done as a comic jam, perhaps?

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