#VforVersion(s): alteration of foreign language text in a transformative constrained comics exercise

#VforVersion(s); alteration of imposed comics pages in foreign language -to the participants- (German edition of British creators Alan Moore and David Lloyd‘s V for Vendetta, and original edition of French cartoonist Lewis Trondheim‘s Psychanalyse) by partial deletion with white-out liquid of textual elements -such as sentences, words, letters or letter parts- to form a new text in English language which would be consistent with the unaltered pictorial sequence.

V02 copy
Fig 1. A. – Tier from the 1988 American color collected edition of V for Vendetta by DC Comics/Vertigo (original text). B. – Tier from the 2003 German edition of V for Vendetta (V wie Vendetta) by Speed Comics, with black and white pages as serialized in the 1982 original British edition. C. – Same tier of the German edition but with partial alteration (elements of the text are whited out) by Thai student Mon to form English words and sentences. D. – Same tier as before but with Mon’s selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Credits: V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (art) with colors by Steve Whitaker, Siobhan Doods and David Lloyd.

1. Introduction

April 2018. The 62 students of the Creative Writing for Printed Matter course (sections 10 and 11; “Graphic Writing”) at the International Program (BA) in Communication Management (Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok , Thailand) were provided with a series of imposed comics pages excerpted from the 2003 German edition of V for Vendetta (1 to 3 pages depending on section), of the 1996 edition of Lewis Trondheim‘s Psychanalyse (2 consecutive pages in French language), and of the American edition of the ongoing manga series Sunny by Japanese cartoonist Taiyō Matsumoto (2 consecutive pages).

“Ajarn [teacher], where do you find all the ideas you torture us with every week?”

Student Gam during the in-class assignment. Answer: Oupus series, OuBapo FB page, and my tortuous mind.

Winsor McCay Melissa Eddings Mancuso.jpg
A remarkable example of white-out text alteration by Melissa Eddings Mancuso for Matt Madden’s online course about constraints for The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In a comic strip from the series Dream of the Rarebit Fiend (launched in 1904) by Silas (aka Winsor McCay), Melissa “looked for names of body parts in the original dialogue and then simply whited out the other letters,” providing us with instant poetry.

Under a “transformative constraint (which alter existing works)” students -in teams of 2 to 5 participants- were asked to do a partial alteration of the written texts, by erasing/covering with white-out liquid some textual element in order to form new sentences which would be consistent with the unaltered pictorial sequence. Additionally, students had to compose English (words and) sentences by respecting the order of appearance of the selected letters (or groups of letters). The most painstaking -if not painful- aspect of the exercise was related to the pages in German and French languages, two foreign languages that participating Thai and exchange students do not speak. If text alteration constraints aren’t new in Literature or Comics Art (see Lettrism, Tom Phillips, blackout poetry, cut-up techniqueTNT en Amérique by Jochen Gerner [Fig 2], OuBaPo), the use of texts written in a language not spoken by the participant(s) seems to me less usual (as far as I know). The inability to understand the content of the foreign text and the constraint to propose an altered text in a mastered language (here English) are indeed quite a radical restrictions.

Text 04.jpg
Students Pat and Nymph whiting out fragments of text from imposed pages of Taiyō Matsumoto’s Sunny and Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s V for Vendetta to create new narratives.

Even if German, French and English languages share the same Roman script (with sometimes additional letters) and if they share numerous cognates (or words with a common etymological origin) as neighboring Indo-European languages, these cognates have taken different forms (such as “colleague” in English, “collègue” in French and “Kollege” in German). Unable to use cognates (or false cognates or false friends) unless sharing identical spellings, participants are thus forced to compose English words (and sentences) with smallest units of writings like graphemes or syllables (or digraphs or larger groups of successive letters). In the first illustration (Fig 1), student Mon was forced to the radical alteration of the German sentence “Den Zorn, der Feuer vom Himmel regnen liess.“(Fig 1B; That Wrath which did rain fire from the Heavens) to compose the English clause “No lie” (Fig 1 C, D). Participants also came to appreciate (sigh) the different ratios of vowels and consonants, as well as the different frequencies of letters and syllables, in German, French and English languages… Students noted the low frequency of the vowel ⟨o⟩ in German (2.594%) compared to French (5.796%) and English (7.507%). Consequently, the newly formed English sentences tended to be quite short. Using V’s theatrical tirades (and Alan Moore’s verbose writing) was truly convenient in this regard. Let’s note here that the high frequency of the vowel ⟨e⟩ and ⟨d⟩, ⟨o⟩, ⟨t⟩) in French language will be put to good use by students Por and Jean in their hilarious story “DOT” altering pages of Lewis Trondheim’s Psychanalyse (see Fig 5). Accidentally and to the delight of the French speakers, the two students ended their narrative on an English-French false friend word (and within the purest Lewis Trondheim tradition). Quite a revealing slip of the pen, would have said Freud and Lacan.

Text 07
Students Belle, Fame and Prim whiting out fragments of text from imposed pages of Lewis Trondheim’s Psychanalyse, Taiyō Matsumoto’s Sunny and Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s V for Vendetta to create new narratives.

The two main objectives of this exercise under radical restriction were: first, to prevent the participants from relying to much on familiar words and clauses that could be used without much alteration; second: to ensure that the altered text would be a complete creation with a new set of meanings, not influenced by the original content of the written text (as its meaning isn’t understood by the participants who don’t speak the language in which it is written) but mostly by their own interpretation of the visual sequences they are imposed with. The accompanying visual sequence is an additional productive constraint which led to the selection of possible themes and story-lines. The alteration of the comics pages excerpted from Lewis Trondheim’s Psychanalyse -a proto-OuBaPian comics itself using the constraint of iconic iteration applied to only two different panels (see below)- was in this respect less productive; the minimal visual “context” complicated the selection of a theme or concept (within the allocated time). However, it led to the brilliant “DOT” story by students Por and Jean (see Fig 5). The challenge was, as I said, painstaking -if not painful at times (sorry, kiddos!)- but the resulting pages were worth the effort, filled with comics poetry -if not Poetic Justice- and concert tickets for AC/DC (see Fig 20)…

Additional comments on the constraints:

  • The choice of V for Vendetta pages was made for several reasons: first, as a nod to the Master Class held two years ago during this course by V for Vendetta‘s co-creator and artist David Lloyd; second, the pleasure to enjoy his starck chiaroscuro technique with masterful use of negative spaces, third; to make the use of Alan Moore’s verbose script in the process of extended deletion of text; fourth, because the graphic novel V for Vendetta is sadly as relevant now than it was then, moreover in current Thai context.
  • Time limit for the in-class assignment was 3 hours for section 10’s teams (with all three V for Vendetta pages to be altered) and 2 hours for section 11’s teams (with only one V for Vendetta page to be altered).
  • As mentioned earlier, many letters are not as frequent in German or in French as in English. To alleviate their suffering, students were allowed to tamper with some letterforms but only by reduction (deletion/erasing). The leg of ⟨K⟩ could be white out to form a ⟨Y⟩; same goes for ⟨R⟩ turned into a ⟨P⟩ (or even a ⟨D⟩). The diagonal stroke of ⟨Z⟩ was turned in a typographical slash (to form the slash in AC/DC). ⟨E⟩ could become ⟨I⟩ or ⟨L⟩ or ⟨F⟩; ⟨N⟩ turned into ⟨V⟩; or “NV” into ⟨W⟩ with erasure of the first stroke and some stretch of closure. Digraphs could be transformed into punctuation marks, such as “TR” into an ellipsis (“…”).
TNT en Amérique
Fig 2. Left: page from Tintin en Amérique (Tintin in America) by Hergé. Right: radical reduction (with only fragments of the original text remaining) of the Tintin page by Jochen Gerner for TNT en Amérique“.

“The main interest for me of the comic strip is the infinite possible links between text and image : a system of representation continually confronting , in a kind of alchemy, text and picture . This is the field I endeavour to explore on my own or with OuBaPo (Ouvroir de Bande dessinée Potentielle).
The idea ‘TNT en Amérique’ sprang from these remarks with OuBaPo, from exercises, experiments. I try to find new reading perspectives. I dismantle a given material to make something else of it.” Jochen Gerner (source).

  • The use of logograms was also allowed. With ⟨N’⟩ for “and”, ⟨C⟩ for “see”, ⟨U⟩ for “you”, ⟨R⟩ for “are”, etc. Usage of slang was permitted too. The slang shortnening “Da” for “the” was accepted as well as “De” for “the” as it remained consistent with the accent of a German character (see Fig 3: A.B. Frost‘s comics, #VforVomans!).
  • Lewis Trondheim’s handwriting in Psychanalyse tended to complicate the browsing of the text to find usable graphemes and words. However, some ambiguous handwritten letterforms were put at good use with some ⟨O⟩ used as ⟨D⟩ (or conversely), ⟨U⟩ as ⟨V⟩, or ⟨L⟩ as ⟨C⟩.
  • WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE [sic]. We do apologize for the use of graphic language in the resulting pages, but the high frequency of the letters ⟨F⟩, ⟨U⟩, ⟨K⟩, ⟨C⟩ or ⟨B⟩, ⟨I⟩, ⟨T⟩, ⟨H⟩ in German language led to the formation of some English swear words; that’s explanation I’ve decided to provide anyway… And yes, “underwear” was spelled “underware” (see Fig 22), because it’s how I pronounce it with my French accent, I guess… #PoeticLicense #PardonMyFrench #Sic
AB Frost 1
Fig 3. #VforVomans! American cartoonist A. B. Frost’s first comic: a German attempts to pronounce English-language “th” phoneme. “De man, dis horse, dose vomans!” In: Harper’s News Monthly, December 1879.

2. Results for Psychanalyse

Note on Psychanalyse. In the pages of his minicomic series ACCI H3319 self-published between 1988 and 1990, then-debuting French cartoonist Lewis Trondheim produced comic strips and single-page comics narratives relying only on the repetition of a photocopied single panel or a highly limited set of different panels. For instance, in the series of strips collected under the title Psychanalyse [Psychoanalysis] (by Le Lézard Noir, and later by L’Association), each comics page is built only with 4 different panels -but duplicated and arranged following the constraint of “iconic iteration”- presenting, in close-up, the minimalist depiction of a patient discussing with his psychiatrist (kept off-panel). Our transformative constrained exercise is thus applied to comics pages built themselves on proto-OuBaPian productive constraints.

Psy 00
Fig 4. CLICK ON THE PIC TO ENLARGE. Two imposed consecutive pages (in French language) of Lewis Trondheim’s Psychanalyse.
Psy Jean Por Ping
Fig 5. CLICK ON THE PIC TO ENLARGE. Same pages of Lewis Trondheim’s Psychanalyse but with partial alteration (elements of the text are whited out) by Thai students Por and Jean to form English words and sentences. Their “DOT” comics, accidentally and to the delight of the French speakers, ends on an English-French false friend word (and within the purest Lewis Trondheim tradition). “Bite” usually defines the “use the teeth to cut into something” in English, but can be a (vulgar) synonym of “penis” in French language. Quite a revealing slip of the pen, would say Freud and Lacan.
Psy ERIN.jpg
Fig 6. CLICK ON THE PIC TO ENLARGE. Same pages of Lewis Trondheim’s Psychanalyse but with partial alteration (elements of the text are whited out) by Thai students Erin, Misha, PingPing, Tanya and PunPun to form English words and sentences.

3. Results for V for Vendetta (excerpt 1)

V01
Fig 7. Page from the 1988 American color collected edition of V for Vendetta by DC Comics/Vertigo (original text). V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (art) with colors by Steve Whitaker, Siobhan Doods and David Lloyd. Compilation ©2005 DC Comics.
V00
Fig 8. Same page but from the 2003 German collected edition of V for Vendetta (V wie Vendetta) by Speed Comics, with black and white pages as serialized in the 1982 original British edition. V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.
V Mon 01
Fig 9. Same page of the German edition of V for Vendetta but with partial alteration (elements of the text are whited out) by Thai student Mon (and his teammates Tap, Ik, Golf and X) to form English words and sentences.
V MON DEF
Fig 10. Same altered V for Vendetta page from the German edition but with Mon’s selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Based on V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.
V NYMPH DEF
Fig 11. Same V for Vendetta page from the German edition, altered by Thai student Nymph (and her teammate Pat). With selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Based on V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.
V VICKY DEF
Fig 12. Same V for Vendetta page from the German edition, altered by Thai student Vicky (with exchange student Marin). With selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Based on V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.
V TONG DEF
Fig 13. Same V for Vendetta page from the German edition, altered by Thai students Tong, French Fries, Grace and Pim. With selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Based on V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.
V NOINAE DEF
Fig 14. Same V for Vendetta page from the German edition, altered by Thai students Noinae, Paan and Boss. With selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Based on V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.

NOTE: more resulting altered pages of this first excerpt are displayed at the end of this post.


4. Results for V for Vendetta (excerpt 2)

V11
Fig 15. Page from the 1988 American color collected edition of V for Vendetta by DC Comics/Vertigo (original text). V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (art) with colors by Steve Whitaker, Siobhan Doods and David Lloyd. Compilation ©2005 DC Comics.
V10
Fig 16. Same page but from the 2003 German collected edition of V for Vendetta (V wie Vendetta) by Speed Comics, with black and white pages as serialized in the 1982 original British edition. V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.
V2 NYMPH DEF
fig 18. Same V for Vendetta page from the German edition, altered by Thai student Nymph (and her teammate Pat). With selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Based on V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.
V2 POON DEF
Fig 19. Same V for Vendetta page from the German edition, altered by Thai students Poon (P), Poon (K) and Win. With selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Based on V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.
V2 FRENCH FRIES DEF
Fig 20. Same V for Vendetta page from the German edition, altered by Thai student French Fries (and her teammates Tong, Grace and Pim). With selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Based on V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.

“[V trying to get tickets for] an AC/DC concert: believable. Convincing scenario is essential in any storytelling…”

David Lloyd, V for Vendetta co-creator and artist, commenting on the previous page altered by student French Fries.

V2 MON DEF
Fig 21. Same V for Vendetta page from the German edition, altered by Thai student Mon (and his teammates Tap, Ik, Golf and X). With selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Based on V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.
V2 NOINAE DEF
Fig 22. Same V for Vendetta page from the German edition, altered by Thai students Noinae, Paan and Boss. With selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Based on V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.

 

5. Results for V for Vendetta (excerpt 3)

V12
Fig 23. Page from the 1988 American color collected edition of V for Vendetta by DC Comics/Vertigo (original text). V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (art) with colors by Steve Whitaker, Siobhan Doods and David Lloyd. Compilation ©2005 DC Comics.
V13 .jpg
Fig 24. Same page but from the 2003 German collected edition of V for Vendetta (V wie Vendetta) by Speed Comics, with black and white pages as serialized in the 1982 original British edition. V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.
V3 DEF
Fig 25. Same V for Vendetta page from the German edition, altered by Thai students Poon (P), Poon (K) and Win. With selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Based on V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.

 

V3 MON DEF.jpg
Fig 26. Same V for Vendetta page from the German edition, altered by Thai student Mon (and his teammates Tap, Ik, Golf and X). With selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Based on V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.

6. Results for Sunny

Sun 01
Fig 27. Two successive pages excerpted from the manga series Sunny (volume 2) by Taiyō Matsumoto. ©2013 Matsumoto/Viz Media
Sun 05 POON
Fig 28. Same Sunny pages, with text alteration by Thai students Poon (P), Poon (K) and Win. Based onSunny (volume 2) by Taiyō Matsumoto. ©2013 Matsumoto/Viz Media
Sun 03 FAME
Fig 29. Same Sunny pages, with text alteration by Thai students Fame, Belle, Lukkaew and Prim. Based on Sunny (volume 2) by Taiyō Matsumoto. ©2013 Matsumoto/Viz Media
Sun 02 EERNG
Fig 30. Same Sunny pages, with text alteration by Thai students Misha, Erin, PingPing, Tanya and PunPun. Based on Sunny (volume 2) by Taiyō Matsumoto. ©2013 Matsumoto/Viz Media
Sun 04 GAM
Fig 31. Same Sunny pages, with text alteration by Thai students Gam, Mint (Si), Tip and Golf. Based on Sunny (volume 2) by Taiyō Matsumoto. ©2013 Matsumoto/Viz Media

“When Por told me her concept, I said: ‘Por, this is an idea to get us a F’.”

Student Jean about the following altered narrative; a bold move indeed…

Sun 04 POR
Fig 32. Same Sunny pages (here starting with left page), with (bold) text alteration by Thai students Por and Jean. Based on Sunny (volume 2) by Taiyō Matsumoto. ©2013 Matsumoto/Viz Media

7. More altered pages (“V”)

V ART 00 DEF
Fig 33. V for Vendetta page from the German edition (see original above), altered by Thai students Art, Mark, Junior and Book. With selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Based on V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.
V ERIN DEF
Fig 34. V for Vendetta page from the German edition (see original above), altered by Thai students Erin, Misha, PunPun, Earn, Tanya and PingPing. With selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Based on V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.
V GAM DEF
Fig 35. V for Vendetta page from the German edition (see original above), altered by Thai students Gam, Mint (Si), Tip and Golf. With selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Based on V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.
V PRIM DEF.jpg
Fig 36. V for Vendetta page from the German edition (see original above), altered by Thai students Lukkaew, Prim, Fame and Belle. With selected letters and words reassembled for ease of reading. Based on V for Vendetta, co-created by Alan Moore (script) and David Lloyd (artist), DC Comics/Vertigo.

“I’m gonna die. I’m gonna die. This is too complicated, Ajarn [teacher]. I’m gonna die.”

Student Noinae during the in-class assignment.

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#LetMeSeeYourEyes text substitution constrained comics exercise

 #LetMeSeeYourEyes; substituting the dialogue of a comics/manga page with imposed lines excerpted from Norwegian cartoonist Jason‘s Why Are You Doing This? (Fantagraphics, 2005; Editions Carabas, 2004, for original French version).

BLURB!

“Great idea for an exercise (the source is impeccable, of course!). The examples work really well, and the Peanuts page shows how this principle can be expanded on and could even be used for a book-length work made up of quotes, borrowed page layouts, mash-ups, etc.” Matt Madden (February 17, 2018), cartoonist and teacher best known for his book 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style (Penguin), as well as a member of Oubapo (Workshop for Potential Comics), and later a French knight in the Order of Arts and Letters.

January 2018. The sixty-two (3rd and 4th year) students in the Creative Writing for Printed Matter course (sections 10 and 11; “Graphic Writing”) at the International Program (BA) in Communication Management (Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok , Thailand) were provided with a series of imposed lines excerpted from Jason’s comics Why Are You Doing This?: “So… Did you do it? / Sorry? / Was it you who killed that man earlier today? / No. No, it wasn’t. / Let me see your eyes. / All right. Follow me.” After being shown an example (Tintin in Tibet; see below) and as a home assignment, students were given one week to find a comics/manga page in which the dialogue might fit -with the least possible alteration- by substitution.

“The function of relay is less common (at least as far as the fixed image is concerned); it can be seen particularly in cartoons and comic strips. Here text (most often a snatch of dialogue) and image stand in a complementary relationship; the words, in the same way as the images, are fragments of a more general syntagm [sequence of linguistic units] and the unity of the message is realized at a higher level, that of the story, the anecdote, the diegesis […].” Roland Barthes, Rhetoric of the Image (translation S. Heath), in: Image, Music, Text, 1977.

Goals of this warm-up exercise; production of new comics pages by students without any particular artistic training; browsing of dozens of comics pages, and development of the  “image reading” skill by focusing students’ attention on visual motifs in pictures and sequences; development of multimodal literacy through the combination/confrontation of visual (drawings), aural (speech, tone), linguistic (delivery of both “written and spoken” text), gestural (facial expressions/body language/postures) and spatial (spatialisation of text & sequences of adjacent panels) modes; exploration of text/image relationship (anchorage/relay); to stress out the importance of eye contact in drama.

Inspired by a constrained comics page from American cartoonist Matt Madden‘s 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style (2005). And from Will Eisner‘s illustration of “facial postures with a parallel set of statements” (in Comics and Sequential Art). See below.

99 ways template and different image
Left: original template. Right: text from original template, but different images. From Matt Madden’s 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style (2005)”.
EISNER facial expressions
“Expressive anatomy” in Will Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Art, page 110. Poorhouse Press, 1985. ©1985 Will Eisner.

 “[Comics] doesn’t blend the visual and the verbal – or use one simply to illustrate the other – but is rather prone to present the two non-synchronously; a reader of comics not only fills in the gaps between panels but also works with the often disjunctive back-and-forth of reading and looking for meaning.” Hillary Chute, “Comics as Literature? Reading Graphic Narrative”, in: PMLA, 123(2), 2008


WAYDT original
Page from Jason’s comics Why Are You Doing This? (Fantagraphics, 2005). Imposed lines for the exercise were excerpted from panels 6 to 12.
tibet subst original
Example provided to the students: original (half-) page of Tintin in Tibet by Hergé; before text substitution.
tibet subst Jason
Example provided to the students: (half-) page of Tintin in Tibet by Hergé after text substitution (by yours truly) of the imposed lines excerpted from Jason’s Why Are You Doing This?.

Commenting on  Gunther Kress’s Multimodality, Jacobs notes that linguistic, visual, audio, gestural, and spatial elements combine in comics narratives and that, “[taken] together, these elements form a multimodal system of meaning making.” (“More than Words: Comics as a Means of Teaching Multiple Literacies”, in: The English Journal, 96(3), 2007.


1. Text substitutions by CommArts students; without any order/speech balloon alteration (except for an additional ellipsis, or “…”, in a couple of pages)

00 SHERLOCK subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Mint (Sirivadee) in a page from the manga adaptation (Titan Comics) by mangaka Jay of the TV series Sherlock.
Sherlock Original
Original page (before text substitution).
00 POKEMON subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Golf (Sorasak) in a page from the manga Pokémon Adventures v.34 (VIZ Media) by mangaka Hidenori Kusaka (script) and Satoshi Yamamoto (art).
POKEMON Original
Original page (before text substitution).
00 ZITS subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Ben in a Zits comic strip by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman.
ZITS original
Original page (before text substitution).
00 CONAN subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Prim in a page from the manga Case Closed (or Detective Conan; VIZ Media) by mangaka Gosho Aoyama.
CONAN original
Original page (before text substitution).
00 DISNEY subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Erin in a page from the Disney fan comic, or doujinshi, Disney High School (featuring Rapunzel and Quasimodo as siblings) by Morloth88.
MODEL DISNEY
Original page.
00 UZUMAKI
Text substitution by CommArts student WIN in a page from the manga Uzumaki (VIZ Media) by mangaka Junji Ito.
UZUMAKI original
Original page (before text substitution).
00 ONE PIECE subst
Text substitution by CommArts (Taiwanese exchange) student Edd in a page from the manga One Piece (VIZ Media) by mangaka Eiichiro Oda.
One piece original
Scanlated page (before text substitution).
00 SIMPSON Subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Plawan in a page from the comics series Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror (Bongo Comics).
Simpson Original
Original page (before text substitution).
00 Batman bernet
Text substitution by CommArts student Yaiyaa (Creative Writing, 2016) in a page from the comics Batman: Blackout (“1940’s Catwoman”, DC Comics, 2000) by Howard Chaykin (script) and Jordi Bernet (pencils).
Original Batman bernet
Original page (before text substitution).
00 Cyanide.jpg
Text substitution by CommArts student Mark in a strip from the webcomic Cyanide and Happiness (written and illustrated by Rob Den Bleyker, Kris Wilson, Dave McElfatrick and formerly Matt Melvin).
MODEL Cyanide
Original strip (before text substitution).

2. Text substitutions by CommArts students; respecting the order of the imposed lines but not their strict succession (distribution of the imposed lines before and after text  retained from the original comics page). 

00 SNOOPY Subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Por in a Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. Retaining the two original speech ballons “Right” in panels 9 and 10.
Snoopy Original
Original page (before text substitution).
00 BONBONZAKA KOUKOU
Text substitution by CommArts student Sean in a page from the manga Bonbonzaka Koukou Engekibu (1992) by mangaka Takahashi Yutaka. Retaining the two original speech ballons “Damn” and “Da…” in panel 3.
MODEL BONBONZAKA KOUKOU
Original scanlation (before text substitution).
00 Mickey
Text substitution by a CommArts student (Graphic Writing, 2015) in a page from Mickey Mouse and the World to Come: The Sinking of Illusitania (Boom! Kids, 2010) by Andrea Castellan (aka Casty). Retaining various two original speech balloons.
Mickey Original
Original page (before text substitution).
00 Wotaku ni Koi ha Muzukashii subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Nymph in a page from the manga Wotaku ni Koi ha Muzukashii (It’s Difficult to Love an Otaku) by mangaka Fujita. Retaining various speech ballons, and adding an ellipsis (“…”).
Wotaku ni Koi ha Muzukashii original
Original scanlation (before text substitution).
00 CEREAL
Text substitution by CommArts student Pat in a page from the webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal by Zach WeinersmithRetaining various speech ballons.
Original Cereal copy
Original strip (before text substitution).
Was it you, comics
Text substitution by CommArts student Boss in a page from the comics Immortal Iron First issue 16 (Marvel Comics) by Matt Fraction (writer) and David Aja (penciller). Retaining the original speech ballon “Noooooo” in panel 4.
Was it you, comics
Original page (before text substitution).
00 KINDAICHI subst 2
Text substitution by CommArts student Poon K. in a page from the manga The Kindaichi Case Files (Tokyopop) by mangaka Yōzaburō Kanari and Seimaru Amagi (writers) and Fumiya Satō (art). Retaining the original speech ballon “I’m amazed by your work” in panel 4.
KINDAICHI original
Original page (before text substitution).
00 Grumpy Cat
Text substitution by CommArts student Tip in a page from GRUMPY CAT AND POKEY (Dynamite; writers Ben Fisher, Derek Fridolfs, Ilias Kyriazi; and artists Ken Haeser, Ilias Kyriazis, Steve Uy). Retaining various speech balloons, and with additional ellipsis (“…”).
Original Grumpy Cat
Original page (before text substitution).
00 Superman
Text substitution by CommArts student Mos (Creative Writing, 2016) in a page from Superman #14 (The Invention Thief, DC Comics, 1942), by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, and Leo Nowak. Retaining various original speech balloons.
Original Superman
Original page (before text substitution).
00 NARUTO subst
Text substitution by CommArts student Mon in a page from the manga Naruto (VIE Media) by mangaka Masashi Kishimoto. Retaining the original sound effect “SHWUUU” in panel 5.
NARUTO Original
Original scanlation (before text substitution).
00 TinTin and Alph-Art
Text substitution by CommArts student Mo (Creative Writing, 2016) in a page from Tintin and Alph-Art, inked and colorized by Yves Rodier based on (unfinished) pencilled page by Hergé. Retaining the original speech balloon (“?”) in panel 6.
Original TinTin -24- TinTin and Alph-Art - 01
Original scanlation (before text substitution).
00 QUEST subst
Text substitution by CommArts student TG in a page from Edmund Finney’s Quest to Find the Meaning of Life – Volume 2 (EQ Comics) by Dan Long. Retaining various original speech balloons.
Original Quest
Original strip (before text substitution).

 

3. Text substitutions by CommArts students; without order alteration, but with additional bubbles.

 

00 cat vs human
Text substitution by CommArts student Note in a page from Cat versus Human by Surovec Yasmine. Retaining various original speech balloons, and with additional bubbles.
Original cat vs human
Original page (before text substitution).
00 SAPHIE
Text substitution by CommArts student Pitchii in a page from the webcomics Saphie the One Eyed Cat by Joho. Retaining various onomatopoeiae, and with additional bubbles.
MODEL SAPHIE
Click on the page to reach the original webcomics.

 

“Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course (Jan-Apr 2017)

The “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course (Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand) has three main goals:

1) select, summarize and partly translate 9 Thai alternative comics, and contact a foreign publisher to get them signed abroad.

2) Publish, promote and distribute our own zine gathering the constrained comics composed by former “Graphic Writing” CommArts students.

3) Organize an exhibition of the “Traumics” (Comics on Trauma) composed by CommArts & CommDe (Program in Communication Design, Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University) students.

OFF3
First special guest: khun Peataya Werasakwong, CEO of Kai3 (a brand of tee-shirts whose designs are extended into zines, and an indie comics publishing house), and author of the graphic novel “Pandism: Virus Panda.” ขอบคุณมากๆครับ khun Peataya!
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Second special guest: Belgian cartoonist & illustrator Ephameron for an afternoon of Comics Art Appreciation (with comments and tips). Students from the International Program in Communication Design (CommDe, Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University) presented their Traumics (or “Comics on Trauma”) in front of Ephameron and my CommArts students in order to select the trauma-related graphic narratives to be displayed in the exhibition. Bedankt Eva! ขอบคุณมากๆครับ CommDe for inviting Eva in the first place! This project was partly inspired by the literary educational comics produced by the award-winning non-profit (and our partner) PositiveNegatives.
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Ephameron giving comments and advices to a team of CommDe students presenting their Traumics (or “Comics on Trauma”).
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Third special guest (or rather host): Spanish cartoonist, curator & illustrator Carla Berrocal offered us a private tour of the PRESENTES comics exhibition (Spanish Female Cartoonists of Yesterday and of Today). Discussion on the challenges (selecting pages, copyright issues, pairing different artists by themes or motifs…) offered by a Comics Art exhibition. Gracias Carla, Autoras de Cómic, and Maria & Joan from the Embassy of Spain in Bangkok. Thank you HeForShe Arts Week Bangkok, UN Women Asia and Pacific, and BACC (Bangkok Art Cultural Center)!
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Writing the editorial content of our “Bang Bang You’re Dead” constrained comics zine, inspired by the OuBaPian experimental comics by Lewis Trondheim & Jean-Christophe Menu. Trying to explain, as clearly and shortly as possible, the multimodal challenges faced by CommArts students while composing their graphic narratives (using “iconic iteration” with limited sets of panels drawn by European cartoonists Pierre Alary, Sacha Goerg & Joseph Falzon specially for our “Graphic Writing” course).
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Masterclass on “Animated Film Festivals and Markets” with Geraldine Baché, head of Animation du Monde (MIFA-Annecy) at the RENDEZ-VOUS FRANCO-THAÏ DE L’ANIMATION (Embassy of France in Thailand, in collaboration with the World Film Festival of Bangkok, Mahidol University International College, SF Cinema and TK Park). Photograph by ‘Rendez-Vous Franco-Thaï de l’Animation.’
OFF2
Thai films selected at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. During the masterclass on “Animated Film Festivals and Markets” with Geraldine Baché, head of Animation du Monde (MIFA-Annecy) at the RENDEZ-VOUS FRANCO-THAÏ DE L’ANIMATION (Embassy of France in Thailand, in collaboration with the World Film Festival of Bangkok, Mahidol University International College, SF Cinema and TK Park).
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Our fourth special guest; Ms. Pimpicha Utsahajit, Executive Director of Banlue Publications & CommArts alumnus, hold a talk on leading multi-platform content provider Banlue Group, with Banlue Sarn (humour comics magazines “Kai Hua Roh” and “Maha Sanook”), Vithita Animation, Salmon Books (publisher of alternative comics among others), digital platform MiniMore, Salmon House (production house of motion contents), Banlue Books, trendy free magazine Giraffe, or The MATTER and Pixniq among many other innovative content platforms! ขอบคุณมากๆครับ Ms. Pimpicha for the inspiring lecture and case studies (character development & licensing), and sharing with us your experience and expertise in so many fields!
Zine 02
Making Small Press the CommArts way; a Taylorist approach. For reasons beyond their will, my 20 students had only 3 hours -including their zine-making formation- to produce the 300 copies of the inaugural issue of our Constrained & Collaborative Comics Zine Series “Bang Bang You’re Dead!“. Challenge almost met with 281 issues produced, whilst avoiding too many flawed copies and finger losses…
Bang FB
The inaugural issue of the comics zine series “Bang Bang You’re Dead!” edited & published by the students of the “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course, and collecting the experimental, thrilling & collaborative works of 8 CommArts students with European cartoonists Pierre Alary, Sacha Goerg & Joseph Falzon, under a cover by Thai cartoonist Note Piruck and with a free ‘Phi Krasue’ postcard by French cartoonist Tamia Baudouin (only for the first printing)! Limited to 300 copies, the zine will be distributed worldwide thanks to our French partner L’Association ChiFouMi! Our thanks are also due to khun Satya @Rabbit4Print, and Thai cartoonist Tunlaya Dunn for the logo design & inspiration!
A word from the editorial team: “As evoked in its title, the ‘Bang Bang You’re Dead!’ zine invokes the playful yet serious aspects of constrained comics composition. Based on sets of speechless comics panels drawn especially for their Graphic Writing course by European cartoonists, 34 Thai senior students of the four-year program in Strategic Communication Management at the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand), duplicated, reframed, and combined the imposed drawings -with addition of textual elements- to create imaginative stories of their own. Without any particular drawing formation and facing the numerous and overlapping challenges posed by comics composition, our Faculty seniors were able to overcome the constraint of iconic iteration by thinking out of the box, using their creativity to cross formal, modal, cultural, and national borders.”
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Field trip with the editorial & production team of the inaugural issue the EuroThai Comics Zine “Bang Bang You’re Dead!” at the Bangkok International Book Fair (Queen Sirikit National Convention Center). The zine was on sale at the booth of the Thai indie comics publishing house Kai3. ขอบคุณครับ khun Peataya. Followed by a visit of the booths of publishers who collaborated on our projects (Salmon Books, Typhoon Studio & LET’S Comic). ขอบคุณครับ!
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Copies of the inaugural issue of our EuroThai Experimental Comics Zine Series “Bang Bang You’re Dead!” have safely arrived in Belgium. The zines are now available at the comics bookstore Multi BD in Brussels.
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The inaugural issue of our EuroThai Experimental Comics Zine Series “Bang Bang You’re Dead!” is now available at the comics bookstore Multi BD in Brussels, Belgium.
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Second objective of the “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course: to promote contemporary Thai Comix abroad. 8 teams of students. 8 Thai comics profiles (with summary, chapters translated into English, author bio, and pros & cons of each book to fit the French market and a specific publisher’s catalogue). 8 Thailand/France Skype sessions with Serge Ewenczyk, founder of the French independent comics publishing house Çà et Là. Proud of my students who did a tremendous and critical work there! Merci Serge pour ta disponibilité et ta marque d’intérêt! ขอบคุณมากครับ to the Thai editors for the complementary copies! Now, let’s all cross our fingers and see what the Future holds for Thai Comics! (On the picture: Serge Ewenczyk & the “Loser Rainbow (by Puck)” Team). 
Poster Traumics DEF
The exhibition “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” displayed 18 short Trauma-related comics narratives all composed by students in the Faculty of Communication Arts, the Communication Design Program (Faculty of Architecture) and other Departments at Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand). From refugee stories to household accidents, from domestic violence to genocides (Congo, Shoah, Khmer Rouges), being fictional, autobiographic or based on victim testimonies, these narratives intend to raise awareness on social and human rights issues. Inspired by the literary educational comics produced by the award-winning non-profit -and our partner- PositiveNegatives, this project also highlights the ability of Comics Art -as a medium of fragments- to visually reveal how the minds of the victims were broken into pieces. As mentioned in the introduction to the Call for Papers for the conference Traumics: Comics Narratives of Trauma, comics -“with their syntax of panels, gutters, and pages and their use of the evocative power of image in conjunction with the precise communication of text- (…) are uniquely suited to delivering narratives of trauma.”
The opening night was held on the 5th of May 2017 from 5pm until 7pm at the first floor of the Faculty of Communication Arts (Chulalongkorn University), in the presence of our guest of honour Songsin Tiewsomboon, author of famous graphic novels such as “Nine Lives” and the series “Beansprout and Firehead” & “Bobby Swingers.”
The exhibition “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” was organized and curated by the students of the “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course, Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand).
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Last project for the students of the “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course; to mount the exhibition “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” displaying 18 Trauma-related comics narratives composed by students at Chulalongkorn University.
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“Framing – Unframing – Reframing”, or mounting the exhibition “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” displaying 18 Trauma-related comics narratives composed by students at Chulalongkorn University.
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Opening of the “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” in the presence of our guest of honour Songsin Tiewsomboon, author of famous graphic novels such as “Nine Lives” and the series “Beansprout and Firehead” & “Bobby Swingers”, of graphic designer Ms. View, and of Thai alternative comics pioneer Suttichart Sarapaiwanich (“Joe the Sea-Cret Agent”).
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With polyptych, iconic iteration, bleed, braiding, narrative use of colours, parallel timelines, palindrome-like/mirror device, loop format, and other experimental features, or being straightforward visual narratives, the 18 Trauma-related short comics composed by students at Chulalongkorn University make full use of the hybrid art form to depict the victims’ shattered and alienated minds (and bodies), in order to raise awareness on social and human rights issues (from refugee stories to household accidents, from social conformity to domestic violence or genocides; being fictional, autobiographic or based on victim testimonies). I couldn’t be prouder by the meaningful work produced by Chulalongkorn University students from various Faculties; most of them being 1st year Thai students (and with a team of European exchange students), some of them without any prior artistic formation, and creating there their first ever comics. I only wish we could have displayed more of the dozens of Traumics created over the past two years. So many were equally deserving to be shown, and they will at some point, when I find the time, over here. To all, your works being displayed or not, artists or exhibition curators from the Mngt Comm Crea Inno course, for your talent and hard work, ขอบคุณมากนะครับ! Aj. Nicolas Verstappen
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Well-deserved rest after 4 intensive months of work! ;^)

“Nailed”, a Silent Graphic Narrative by a Student of the ‘Imaginative Communication’ Course (Nov. 2016)

“Nailed” is a silent graphic narrative by Thai student Rattanakorn (Mim) for the IMGT COMM course (2800217), November 2016. In response to a video (see below) where a young child is the victim of a cruel joke perpetrated by adults, her comics captures how the child’s inner world is shattered by the traumatic psychological abuse and how it will affect his late life.

Description of the Imaginative Communication course: “Methods of conversing emotions, feelings, ideas, values, beliefs and meaning of life through the languages of the imaginative world in the form of poetry, music and songs, literature, drama, film or other creative works of Thai and foreign artists; relationship between science and art of communications; media design for imaginative works; analysis of images and narratives.” This semester’s theme: “Psychic Trauma; To Say the Unutterable”Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University.

mim-101
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mim-102
Page 2/4
mim-103
Page 3/4
mim-104
Page 4/4

“The Wave”, a Graphic Narrative by Students of the ‘Imaginative Communication’ Course (Nov. 2016)

“The Wave” is a graphic narrative (on the themes of psychological fright, phobia and school bullying) by Thai students Jinwara (Sugar) and Rattanakorn (Mim) for the IMGT COMM course (2800217), November 2016.

Description of the Imaginative Communication course: “Methods of conversing emotions, feelings, ideas, values, beliefs and meaning of life through the languages of the imaginative world in the form of poetry, music and songs, literature, drama, film or other creative works of Thai and foreign artists; relationship between science and art of communications; media design for imaginative works; analysis of images and narratives.” This semester’s theme: “Psychic Trauma; To Say the Unutterable”Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University.

A clever use of potentialities and features of the comics form (layout, composition, design, text/image relationship, iconic solidarity, iconic iteration…) to serve the content.

wave-01
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wave-02
Page 2/4
wave-03
Page 3/4
wave-04
Page 4/4

Reproduced with the authors’ permission. All rights remain to the authors.

“YVES – My Life as a Refugee”, a Graphic Narrative by Chalit & June (April 2016)


A graphic narrative (on the topic of ‘War Trauma’ and/or ‘War Refugees’) by Thai students Chalit Ratapana (Faculty of Communication Arts; adaptation/script) and June (Pareploy Maneerut; Faculty of Political Science; art) – based on the true story of Yves -a Congolese refugee who survived ethnic cleansing- (Sanctuary Australia Foundation) – as an assignment for my Imaginative Communication course (2800217), April 2016.

Update: The Sanctuary Australia Foundation, which offered a safe haven to Yves, has decided to publish the 4-page comics alongside Yves’ original testimony. I guess the Foundation saw -as I did- how Chalit and June were able to capture and to express -skillfully, with power and sensitivity- the plight of an individual and how, at the same time, they grasped and shared the tragic fate experienced by too many. Crossing the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Australia, Belgium and Thailand, crossing comics panel borders, so many boundaries were physically and symbolically overcome… I’m proud of you Chalit & June and I hope your graphic narrative will participate in “engaging audiences in conflicts and displacement crises that seem remote (…), especially when there appear to be no means of relating to the people in the stories” (to quote PositiveNegatives founder Benjamin Dix, see Comic as Art, Education and Advocacy). Thank you Chalit, June and Mark Hallam (from the Sanctuary Australia Foundation). And thank you, Yves, for your painful yet indispensable testimony. Best regards. Nicolas V.

Yves Sanctuary
Screenshot of the Sanctuary Australia Foundation webpage with Chalit & June’s graphic narrative alongside Yves’s original testimony.

Description of the Imaginative Communication course: “Methods of conversing emotions, feelings, ideas, values, beliefs and meaning of life through the languages of the imaginative world in the form of poetry, music and songs, literature, drama, film or other creative works of Thai and foreign artists; relationship between science and art of communications; media design for imaginative works; analysis of images and narratives.” This year’s theme: “Crossing Borders”. Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University.

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yves-02
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yves-04
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“Life Beyond Limitation”, a Graphic Narrative by Titirat (April 2016)


A graphic narrative (on the topic of ‘Crossing Borders’) by Thai student Titirat Sengsakdi – based on the true story of Caroline Casey – for her final individual project in IMGT COMM (2800217), April 2016.

Description of the Imaginative Communication course: “Methods of conversing emotions, feelings, ideas, values, beliefs and meaning of life through the languages of the imaginative world in the form of poetry, music and songs, literature, drama, film or other creative works of Thai and foreign artists; relationship between science and art of communications; media design for imaginative works; analysis of images and narratives.” This year’s theme: “Crossing Borders”. Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University.

Titirat A
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Titirat B
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Titirat C1
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Titirat C2
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Titirat C
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Titirat D
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Titirat E
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Titirat F
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Titirat G
PAGE 8/8

Below: some preliminary layouts and final pages with interesting composition/aesthetic choices.

Titirat I
Preliminary layout and final version of page 7/8
Titirat J
Preliminary layout and final version of page 8/8
Titirat H
Detail of page 6/8

Reproduced with the author’s permission. All rights remain to the author.