“Adjacent Panels” part 1/2; parallel Comics Open Studios led by Belgian cartoonist Ephameron and American cartoonist Anders Nilsen, with students in Communication Design, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.

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Belgian cartoonist Ephameron’s Graphic Narrative Open Studio at CommDe, Thailand
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American cartoonist Anders Nilsen’s Comics Open Studio at CommDe, Thailand

On May 14-17 2018, some 40 students at the International Program in Communication Design (CommDe, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand) attended in two groups to 4-day parallel “Open Studios” led by Belgian cartoonist and illustrator Ephameron (aka Eva Cardon) and American cartoonist and illustrator Anders Nilsen.

〈Anders Nilsen wrote his own account of the 4-day “Chulalongkorn Comics Workshop Phantasmagoria” on this blog post.〉

“It was a remarkable experience in about a hundred different ways, but in particular the students were amazing.” Anders Nilsen (blog post here)

The current post presents the two first days of the Open Studios, and a second post will soon display pics from the last two days of workshop. Students were able to experience two completely different approaches in comics composition during these Open Studios, as Ephameron focused on capturing the essence of a short story and its breakdown and visual adaptation in comics form while Anders Nilsen explored “non-standard” panel layouts and constrained comics exercises (inspired by OuBaPian experiments from the Pierre Feuille Ciseaux international comics residency-laboratory) in order to generate unexpected characters and plots. I do apologize here for the far too invasive presence of my noisy camera, and thank all participants for the patience and understanding. Nicolas

Here are the presentations of Ephameron and Anders Nilsen’s Open Studios by the CommDe program which invited the two artists and hosted the event.

L’image contient peut-être : dessin

Eva Cardon leads CommDe Open Studio on Graphic Narrative. In this open studio on Graphic Narrative each student chooses one of the short stories from American author Raymond Carver collections What We Talk About When We Talk About Love and Cathedral and turns it into a graphic narrative that explores the limits of comics, and experiments with storytelling techniques. Eva works under the pseudonym Ephameron and is based in Flanders. She publishes and exhibits internationally.”

L’image contient peut-être : dessin et texte

Anders Nilsen leads CommDe Open Studio ‘Where Do Your Ideas Come From: A Comics Workshop.’ Anders will lead students to explore their own creativity in developing characters and narratives. Anders Nilsen is the award-winning artist and author of nine books of comics and visual narrative including Big Questions, Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow, The End and Tongues. His work has appeared in the New York Times, The Chicago Reader, Medium, Kramer’s Ergot and elsewhere. His comics have been translated into numerous languages and his artwork has been shown internationally. He lives in Portland, Oregon.”


DAY 1: MONDAY, MAY 14

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Getting acquainted: Anders Nilsen and student Winnie.

DAY 1 in Ephameron’s Open Studio. Part 01: story-boarding of a Raymond Carver’s short story. The Belgian artist introduced the life and works of Raymond Carver and proposes a warm-up exercise. All students had to break down an imposed short story Why don’t you dance? (from Raymond Carver’s collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Love) into a storyboard of 10 illustrations.

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Ephameron introduces the life and works of Raymond Carver.
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Student Noey and her comrades go through the imposed Raymond Carver’s short story Why don’t you dance?.
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Student Darnis, Pin, Cherry and their comrades go through the imposed Raymond Carver’s short story Why don’t you dance?.
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Student Sharon breaks down Raymond Carver’s short story Why don’t you dance? in a 10-panel storyboard.
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Ephameron goes through all the Why don’t you dance? storyboards produced by her students.
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Ephameron provides comment on all the 10-panel storyboards during the first collective review.

DAY 1 in Anders Nilsen’s Open Studio. Part 01: the Comics Loop. Meanwhile in the classroom below, the American cartoonist proposes a first exercise to generate imaginative character designs. Each student randomly draws a name card on which a stock character is named (“beggar child”, “drug dealer”, “elephant”, etc.). Each student is then asked to divide an A4 page in four panels and is given a few minutes to create the character design of his/her assigned character in the first panel. When done, students are given a few more minutes to come up with completely different interpretation and graphic rendition of their assigned character, in order to avoid the obvious/common portrayal they might have provided in the first panel. When the second panel is completed, students must redraw their character in the two last panels but in graphic styles different from their personal style in order to leave their confort zone.

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Student Arty considers her “beggar child” character.

When done, the same exercise is repeated but with name cards of objects, then name cards of settings/sceneries. All character/object/setting designs are then separated and taped to a wall. Each student must then designates his/her 3 favorite character designs, then objects, then settings.

After voting, the three favorite character designs, objects and settings are brought together.

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The three selected characters (therianthropic duck, faceless millipedes-cat and hybrid elephant) after selection by the students, and editorial intervention by Anders and yours truly as two initially picked characters were too similar. As a substitution, the faceless millipedes-cat was imposed for its poetic, graphic and narrative potential.
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Board with the selected character designs; and with picked settings and objects before editorial discussion, intervention and substitution.

As the three selected objects (like the fish can or the anthropomorphic chair) could be turned into characters and would be redundant with the initially selected characters, Anders and I decided to substitute them for a meteorite (which could also be used as a setting), a “bone trapped in a crystal”. The “top of a building” setting was discarded in favor a snow globe, being an object and holding a potential setting. The 9 definitive elements were then used as references, and limitations to maintain coherence, for a collective comics composition assignment -in the form of an exquisite corpse– based on the constrained exercise La Boucle/The Loop developed by the ChiFouMi Association. This exercise had been already implemented at the Faculty of Communication Arts in 2015 with 17 participants, whether professional Thai cartoonists or enthusiasts (more info on this dedicated post). Here is the “protocol” of the constrained exercise. Let’s note here that the story remains “wordless” to facilitate the development of the narrative, as the presence of dialogues might complicate the action of linking the first and last panels together.

Step one: defining 9 elements (3 characters/ 3 objects/ 3 settings). See above.

Step two: each student draws a 6-panel regular grid on an A4 page. Every student must start the action of his/her story in the sixth (and last) panel using one or several of the 9 imposed elements. When done, he/she gives his/her page to the artist on his/her left. Time limit: 15′.

Step three: in the first panel of the page he/she got from his/her seatmate, the artist must continue the action he/she started on the previous page. Time limit: 15′.

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Student Kade reaches the end of the third step as she draws her second panel, using the therianthropic duck character and the “pound with lotus” setting turned into a “desert island”, in the top left panel of a page she received from her seatmate.

Step four: all pages, with only the first panel filled by an artist and the sixth panel filled by another artist, are gathered together. Each student randomly draws a number and -following order of the numbers- can select a page on which he/she will have to fill the four remaining panels (or panels 2 to 5), and link panels 1 and 6 into a somehow coherent narrative.

  Step five: each student must now fill the four empty panels (or panels 2 to 5) on the page he/she picked, and link panels 1 and 6 (each drawn by another student) into a somehow coherent narrative.

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Student Uang connects the imposed first panel (with faceless millipedes-cat drawn by a classmate) and last panel (with hybrid-elephant heads turned into meteorite drawn by another classmate) by filling panels 2 to 5 to form a somehow coherent narrative.

 The Final Story: As presented by the Association ChiFouMi, “the story that is made through all these joints makes an infinite loop, where all the elements that were produced before gives some kind of common road where each author can intend its own singularities and its own imagination, while following a protocol nearly invisible.”

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When the Loop is completed, pages are reassembled in correct order, and Anders Nilsen goes through the final story with the students explaining their often imaginative and exhilarating narrative twists. Here: student Kade explains her plot. Incidentally, this commented and collective reading of the resulting comics evokes the tradition of orally commented 30-meter-long graphic narrative scrolls (know as Bun Phra Wet) in North-Eastern Thailand and Laos.

It is interesting to note that a series of recurring motifs appeared throughout the narrative, without any consultation among the students. If “transformations” are obviously to be expected in order to link two disparate panels together, the frequency of “transformations by digestion” was here quite remarkable. Recurring motifs include ingestion, swallowing, vomiting, excretion (maybe in connection with the importance of food in Thai culture, or with gluttonous Brahmin Chuchok whose belly would burst in the Vessantara Jataka, or Krasue spirit with their internal organs hanging down from the neck?), and some related scatological elements, to which -and quite logically in a Buddhist culture- the recurring lotus flower raising from mud would balance. Karmic retribution, and Inception-like worlds inside worlds, were quite present too. The resulting comics was wild, and hilarious at times, as the following pictures show.

The PDF of the complete loop is downloadable on this link: CommDe Comics Loop.

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Page from the Comics Loop, with panel 1 by a first student, panel 6 by a second student, and panels 2 to 5 completed by a third student. Full story in PDF below.
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Page from the Comics Loop, with panel 1 by a first student, panel 6 by a second student, and panels 2 to 5 completed by a third student. Full story in PDF below.
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Page from the Comics Loop, with panel 1 by a first student, panel 6 by a second student, and panels 2 to 5 completed by a third student. Full story in PDF below.
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Page from the Comics Loop, with panel 1 by a first student, panel 6 by a second student, and panels 2 to 5 completed by a third student. Full story in PDF below.

The PDF of the complete loop is downloadable on this link: CommDe Comics Loop.


  DAY 1 in Anders Nilsen’s Open Studio. Part 02: the comics “scrabble/domino”. Anders Nilsen proposed another exercise to which the students were invited to participate whenever they wanted during the 4-day Open Studio. The American artist scattered some illustrations on different walls and asked the students to add new illustrations after, before, above or below his own in order to generate strips, and narratives which would slowly spread across the walls.

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Anders Nilsen taped his inaugural illustration on the wall and explains the “scrabble/domino” assignment.
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Exactly 2 minutes later, the collaborative strip already takes a… digestive/flatulent turn.
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Collective & improvised “scrabble/domino” comics, by Anders Nilsen and his students.
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Collaborative improvised comics; using characters generated earlier, Anders Nilsen and the students added panels to the strip throughout the day. Never without some cooking.

DAY 1 in Ephameron’s Open Studio. Part 02: figure drawing. Meanwhile Belgian artist Ephameron lets her students release some steam, after a challenging and focused day of short story analysis and story-boarding, by proposing a “figure drawing” session. Each student was invited to draw one of his/her classmates, respecting proportions and attitudes, and exploring various facial expressions.


DAY 2 in Ephameron’s Open Studio. Part 01: comics adaptation of various Raymond Carver’s short stories. At the end of previous day, Ephameron provided each of her students with a different short story written by American author Raymond Carver and mainly taken from the collections What We Talk About When We Talk About Love and Cathedral. Each student has the three remaining days to adapt his/her assigned short story into a comics.

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Students Mim (left) and Sharon (right) with Ephameron.
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Focused. From left to right: students Plye, Lukpear, Fern and Bank.
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Student Fai storyboarding a short story by Raymond Carver.
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Student Lukpear breaks down Raymond Carver’s short story The Calm into a 10-panel storyboard for Ephameron’s Graphic Narrative Open Studio.

DAY 2 in Anders Nilsen’s Open Studio. Part 01: Taming the Beast. As the Comics Loop resulted in a wilder-than-expected exhilarating narrative, the American cartoonist decided to go for an additional exercise in order to “tame the Beast” and channel the energy.

Anders Nilsen presented the students with Daniel Clowes‘ comics page “What Is the Most Important Invention of the 20th Century?” published on October 1989 in the first issue of his comics series EightballThe page is a visual adaptation of “the work of David Greenberger, who asked questions of nursing home residents and transcribed their answers in his zine The Duplex Planet.” Other Duplex Planet-inspired comics -with each story’s title is the question Greenberger asked, e.g., “Where Do Wiseguys Come From?”- appeared in Eightball #2 to 4, and 6 (see below for pics).

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Anders Nilsen presents Daniel Clowes’ “What Is the Most Important Invention of the 20th Century?” (October 1989).
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Daniel Clowes’ “What Is the Most Important Invention of the 20th Century?” published on October 1989 in the first issue of his comics series EightballThe page is a visual adaptation of “the work of David Greenberger, who asked questions of nursing home residents and transcribed their answers in his zine The Duplex Planet.”
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Title panel is left blank (for now). Imposed (and previously discarded) characters 1 to 5 have each to occupy their assigned panel, and explain what they witnessed during the “Event” of the Comics Loop. Students can then choose between characters 6 and 6′, who participated in the “Event”, to fill the final panel. When art is done, students add the imposed title “What Happened?”.

Here are some results from the “What Happened? – Clowes/Greenberger” assignment by the students.

What Winnie 05
“What Happened?” constrained comics by student Winnie.
What Bamie 01
“What Happened?” constrained comics by student Bamie.
What Arty 02
“What Happened?” constrained comics by student Arty.
What Rit 04
“What Happened?” constrained comics by student Rit.
What Punn 06
“What Happened?” constrained comics by student Punn.
What Wee 07
“What Happened?” constrained comics by student Wee.
What Kade 03
“What Happened?” constrained comics by student Kade.

And an extra constrained comics assignment:


DAY 2 in Anders Nilsen’s Open Studio. Part 02: Finding Anders Nilsen.  The American cartoonist did a short presentation of his journey as an artist, with the various defining steps and realizations mapping out his career path, such as stressing the importance of his sketchbooks in all aspects of his numerous projects. Some 25 of his books (from zines to graphic novels or collaborative productions) were on display in the classroom for the students to consult.

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Finding Anders Nilsen: some 25 books -from Anders’ early zines to latest graphic novels, sketchbook facsimile, coloring book or ChiFouMi collective projects- were available for consultation.

DAY 2 in Anders Nilsen’s Open Studio. Part 03: “I Almost Died!” assignment.  After a lot of fun, students were asked to work on a more dramatic and/or intimate (or humorous if preferred) 8-panel comics page starring two characters. The first character would talk about a time that they almost died. The other character only speaks once, to ask a question. Seven panels show the two characters, and one panel (selected by the student) shows something else.

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Getting serious, or trying. Anders Nilsen and student Kade discovering the “I Almost Died!” constrained comics.
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“I Almost Died!” constrained comics by student Kade.
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“I Almost Died!” constrained comics by student Bamie.
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“I Almost Died!” constrained comics by student Rit.
Almost Died Arty 01
“I Almost Died!” constrained comics by student Arty.
Almost Died Punn 02
“I Almost Died!” constrained comics by student Punn
Almost Died Wee 04
“I Almost Died!” constrained comics by student Wee
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“I Almost Died!” constrained comics by student Tonkla

DAY 2 in Ephameron’s Open Studio. Part 02: comics adaptation of various Raymond Carver’s short stories. Students pursue their comics adaptations of assigned short story written by American author Raymond Carver and mainly taken from the collections What We Talk About When We Talk About Love and Cathedral.

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Ephameron and student Lukpear discuss the breakdown of Raymond Carver’s short story The Calm.
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Student Oom at work on the page breakdown of the Raymond Carver’s short story she was assigned: Tell the Woman We’re Going.

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After an exhausting second day, students Sam and Kade need a well-deserved rest…

PART 2/2 COMING SOON…


 

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#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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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)

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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.
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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.
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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.

“Marsupilami and the Black Panther” tribute comics by CommDe students

On the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of Friendship between Belgium and Thailand, and to explore the ability of comics to tackle social and political issues with much effectiveness and immediacy, 8 students at the International Program in Communication Design (CommDe, Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand) were asked to create 2-page comics starring the Marsupilami -an imaginary animal created by Belgian cartoonist André Franquin (for Belgian publishing house Dupuis in 1952)- and addressing the recent story of a construction company mogul charged with six poaching-related crimes (including the killing of a black Indochinese leopard/panther) in a Thai Wildlife Sanctuary. High-resolution pages are displayed at the end of this post, after an introduction to the historical context and the guest-lecture on André Franquin.

Marsu vivi 2
Poster of an angry Marsupilami for the “Geneva League Against Vivisection”. By André Franquin (1970s).

1. Historical context

radio_04-9291f
Left: cover of The Secret Chronicles of Thungyai (1973). Right: illustration of a “gaur lying dead under the Thai flag” by Prayoon Chanyawongse in The Secret Chronicles of Thungyai (1973).

The Secret Chronicles of Thungyai [Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary] (in Thai: บันทึกลับจากทุ่งใหญ่) is a journal published in 1973 by a group of students against elephant hunting (and other animal poaching) in Thailand in the aftermath of the crash of a military helicopter in the Thung Yai forest revealing an illegal hunting party of senior military officers, businessmen, family members, and a filmstar. The ‘zine’ documented “the ecological value of the area as well as the incident” (The Nation, 2018), and was accompanied by satirical illustrations from various influential cartoonists (with an introduction, and two illustrations, by the “King of Thai Cartoon” Prayoon Chanyawongse; see figure above). 200,000 copies of the student journal were sold in 2 weeks (Eawsakul, 2015), fuelling nationwide public outrage. “In a time of great political unrest the incident became a focus for the prevailing discontent with the military rule” and “a rallying cry for the pro-democracy movement” (Seub/Stewart-Cox 1990:34), triggering public protest and demonstrations. “The protests were suppressed on October 14, with scores of killed, followed by a great number of students fleeing to the forest to join communist groups” (The Nation, 2018). The bloody crackdown ultimately led to the fall of the Thanom-Prapas regime. “The area finally was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1974 under a new democratic government” (Buergin, 2001).

44 years later (on February 5, 2018) in the same Wildlife Sanctuary, construction company mogul Premchai Karnasuta -the 63-year-old president of Italian-Thai Development- and three other men were charged with six poaching-related crimes after they were caught with “two rifles, a double-barrelled shotgun, various bullets, the body of a Kalij pheasant, a muntiacini deer carcass, a skinned and salted black leopard and a black panther skull”. (Thaitrakulpanich, Khaosod English, 2018a). “Investigators examining Premchai’s camp site found cooking equipment they believe the rotund CEO used to consume the animal. The black leopard, commonly called a black panther in Asia and considered a vulnerable species, was killed by gunfire” (Thaitrakulpanich, Khaosod English, 2018b). Mr Premchai and other suspects still deny the charges against them, which include illegal hunting and possessing firearms in a sanctuary.” A ranger and his coworkers have told police that the powerful construction magnate they arrested on suspicion of poaching a rare black panther tried to bribe them” (Thaitrakulpanich, Khaosod English, 2018c). “The case has sparked a fierce outcry from environmental groups, celebrities and the public in general” (Bangkok Post, 2018). “As people following the case have shown dissatisfaction with the slow pace of the investigation, many have expressed their feelings regarding the case, and the hunting of endangered big cats in general, in many ways.” A campaign calling for the prosecution of a construction tycoon over “his alleged killing of a black leopard and other protected animals has expanded, with people expressing their grief and anger in essays, poems, paintings and, in the latest development, street art” (Chimprabha, The Nation, 2018). It was just about time to address the issue in #ArtOfThePanther comics form…

(Note: sources at the end of this post).

“The first mural apparently was the work of a Facebook user known as ‘Headache Stencil’, who painted a picture of a black leopard’s head accompanied by a symbol of a mute button on a wall on Sukhumvit Road. The symbolism was described as urging the public not to remain silent regarding the case” (Marisa Chimprabha, The Nation).

Lecture 01

2. “From Harvey Kurtzman to André Franquin” guest lecture

On Wedneday February 7, I had the pleasure to be invited to hold a guest lecture for ajarn Oat Montien’s Visual Narrative course at the International Program in Communication Design (CommDe, Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University). My topic was the evolution of Comics Art from American cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman (1924-1993), with complete analyses of his classic short comics BIG ‘IF’! (Frontline Combat #5, March 1952) and 3-DIMENSIONS! (art by Wally Wood, MAD #12, June 1954), to Belgian cartoonist André Franquin‘s (1924-1997) creations such as Gaston Lagaffe and the Marsupilami, and Les Idées Noires (Die Laughing, soon in English by Fantagraphics).

The lecture also included an analysis of the comics masterpiece Master Race by (Al Feldstein &) Bernie Krigstein (Impact #1, EC Comics, April 1955), and a presentation of the seminal role of French comics writer René Goscinny (The Adventures of Asterix) and Belgian cartoonist Jijé (figurehead of the Marcinelle School, author of seminal semi-realistic comics series Jerry Spring and mentor of André Franquin, Smurfs‘creator Peyo, or Jean Giraud/Moebius) in the development of humour, realism, and more adult content in Franco-Belgian comics (influenced partly by American cartoonists such as Harvey Kurtzman and Milton Caniff).

Jijé Hem Vejakorn
Both unfairly lacking international recognition, Belgian comics creator Jijé (Joseph Gillain, 1914-1980) and Thai cartoonist Hem Vejakorn (เหม เวชกร, 1904-1969) were probably the most influential comics artists in their respective countries in the 1950s. Is it in the Franco-Belgian or the Thai comics fields, they introduced a seminal and groundbreaking semi-realistic drawing style, adapted the lives of spiritual and historical figures (Jesus/Emmanuel or Baden Powell for Jijé and King Razadarit or Buddha for Hem Vejakorn), influenced and taught the following generation of comics and animation masters (Morris, André Franquin, Will or Jean Giraud/Mœbius for Jijé or Payut Ngaokrachang and others for Hem Vejakorn)… among other similarities. “The Horseman and The Mahout” (or “Khwanchang” in Thailand), another pending project…

Belgian cartoonist Hergé, creator of the Adventures of Tintin, stated: “Franquin is a great artist. Next to him, I’m only a mediocre pen-pusher”. Fantagraphics’ Kim Thompson agreed with Tintin’s creator, writing that “in terms of ultra-classic greatness, Hergé has that abstract line but Franquin has something else. He created the most complete, the most alive, the most absolute cartooniness in comics history” (source: The Comics Journal).

On 31 January 1952, the first appearance of the Marsupilami in the adventure of Spirou et les Héritiers (Spirou and the Heirs) in the weekly Spirou magazine marked a generation of readers. The myth did not need decades to settle permanently (MarsuPro). The original Marsupilami was found from the jungle of Palombia, a fictitious South American country, by adventurous journalists Spirou and Fantasio and their squirrel Spip. The marsupial was taken to Belgium, where he was shortly kept in a zoo (Comic Vine). The Marsupilami will later accompany Spirou and Fantasio in many adventures, before returning to Palombia and have adventures of its own. The Spirou et Fantasio album Le nid des Marsupilamis (1956) is mostly concerned with female reporter Seccotine‘s documentary-within-the-comic about the life of a family of Marsupilamis still living in the wild in Palombia. Marsupilamis have a long, strong, flexible, prehensile tail, used for almost any task. They are able to use their tail as a weapon, by tightening the end into a fist and the remainder of the tail into a spring-like spiral for maximal force (see figure above). Marsupilamis must regularly defend themselves against poacher Bring M. Backalive and his associates…

For those interested, comic books of Spirou and Fantasio (with the Marsupilami) and Marsupilami adventures are available in English from Cinebook.


 3. Presenting 1940s-1970s issues of Spirou magazine

After the lecture, CommDe students had the opportunity to flip through a collection of 1940s-1970s classic and rare issues of the Franco-Belgian Spirou magazine (with Spirou/Marsupilami pages by André Franquin, Jerry Spring pages by Jijé, Johan and Peewit pages by Smurfs creator Peyo, etc.), and issues of the Spirou magazine mythic supplement Le Trombone Illustré. I would like to thank warmly Philippe Capart, owner of the bookstore La Crypte Tonique in Brussels, who helped me to select and acquire the issues of this invaluable collection used for my comics courses in Thailand.

MM01
CommDe students flipping through 1940s-1970s issues of the Spirou magazine (with some Spirou/Marsupilami stories, Jijé’s Jerry Pring pages, and Le Trombone Illustré supplement).

Students were given one week to develop the layouts of their Marsupilami and the Black Panther two-page comics. During the following lesson, ajarn Oat Montien -with the assistance of yours truly- gave comment and advice on the comics layouts (see figures below).

Marsupilami
Work-in-progress page of “Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Entryh (FB: Entryh) (page 1/2). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis). Final version near the end of this post.
Marsupilami
Work-in-progress page of “Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Entryh (FB: Entryh) (page 2/2). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis). Final version near the end of this post.

4. “Marsupilami and the Black Panther” tribute comics

One week after presenting their layouts, the 8 students of the Visual Narrative courses submitted the final version of their comics! Enjoy!

Marsupilami Darnis 1
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Darnis (FB: Especialist) (page 1/2). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis).
Marsupilami Darnis 2bis
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Darnis (FB: Especialist) (page 2/2). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis).

Zam 01
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Zam (FB: Angus) (page 1/2). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis). Note: the present story confers to the Marsupilami the ability to “force through the dimensional barrier into our world” like Popeye’s Eugene the Jeep, the supernatural animal that André Franquin loved as a kid. See figure above.
Zam 02
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Zam (FB: Angus) (page 2/2). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis). Note: the present story confers to the Marsupilami the ability to “force through the dimensional barrier into our world” like Popeye’s Eugene the Jeep, the supernatural animal that André Franquin loved as a kid. See figure above.

??
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Korean student Seung Yeon (page 1/2). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis).
??
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Korean student Seung Yeon (page 2/2). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis).

comic
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Beam (double spread). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis). Note: in the actual events, the rangers didn’t take the bribe.
comic
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Beam (page 1/2). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis).
comic
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Beam (page 2/2). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis). Note: in the actual events, the rangers didn’t take the bribe.
Marsu Pear 01
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Pear (page 1/2). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis).
Marsu Pear 02
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Pear (page 2/2). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis).
Jao 01
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Jao (page 1/2). Printed on multiple layers of tracing papers, with appropriation of art by Batem (from “Marsupilami: The Marsupilami’s Tail” and “Marsupilami: Bamboo Baby Blues”, Franquin/Batem/Greg, Cinebook, 2017). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis).
Jao 02
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Jao (page 2/2). Printed on multiple layers of tracing papers, with appropriation of art by Batem (from “Marsupilami: The Marsupilami’s Tail” and “Marsupilami: Bamboo Baby Blues”, Franquin/Batem/Greg, Cinebook, 2017). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis).
PROUD Marsu-01
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Proud (page 1/2). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis).
PROUD Marsu-02
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Proud (page 2/2). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis).
Marsupilami
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Entryh (FB: Entryh) (page 1/2). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis).
Marsupilami
“Marsupilami and the Black Leopard” tribute comics by Thai student Entryh (FB: Entryh) (page 2/2). Based on the Marsupilami character created by André Franquin (©Marsu/Dupuis).

Marsu vivisection 3
Original artwork of an angry Marsupilami for a poster of the “Geneva League Against Vivisection”. By André Franquin (1970s).

Sources

Bangkok Post (2018, March 7). Black leopard soup confirmed in poaching case. Bangkok Post.

Buergin, R. (2001). Contested Heritages: Disputes on People, Forests, and a World Heritage Site in Globalizing Thailand, SEFUT Working Paper No. 9, University of Freiburg, p.5.

Chimprabha, M. (2018, March 8). Art breathes life into black leopard campaign – despite repeated attempts at suppression. The Nation.

Eawsakul, T. (2015), Cartoon Thai Tai Laew (catalogue expo, “การ์ตูนไทยตายแล้ว”, “Is Thai Cartoon Dead?”). Bangkok: PUBAT, The Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand, n.p.

Seub N., Stewart-Cox, B. (1990). Nomination of the Thung Yai – Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary to be a U.N.E.S.C.O. World Heritage Site. Bangkok: Royal Forest Department.

Thaitrakulpanich, A. (2018a, Feb 6). Italian-Thai President Charged with Poaching Wild Animals. Khaosod English.

Thaitrakulpanich, A. (2018b, Feb 8). Rangers: Premchai ate the Leopard in a Soup. Khaosod English.

Thaitrakulpanich, A. (2018c, Feb 8). Forest Ranger: Poacher Premchai Offered Bribe. Khaosod English.

The Nation (2018, Feb 7). Hunting arrests recall events leading to 1973 uprising crisis. The Nation.

 

#BiggerQuestions constrained comics exercise; weaving scattered wordless panels into a graphic narrative.

#BiggerQuestions: in-class creative assignment (Intro Comm course developed by the Faculty of Communication Arts; Interpersonal Communication chapter); weaving 7 scattered wordless panels (taken from Anders Nilsen‘s Big Questions) into a 2-page graphic narrative.

BLURB!

“Great exercise!” Matt Madden (February 9, 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.

“More good stuff from [Bangkok], thanks for sharing!” Nick Sousanis (February 9, 2018), assistant professor of Humanities & Liberal Studies at San Francisco State University. He received his doctorate in education at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2014, where he wrote and drew his dissertation entirely in comic book form. Titled Unflattening, it argues for the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning, and was published by Harvard University Press in 2015.

January 2018. Fifty (1st year) Thai students at the International Program in Communication Design (CommDe, Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University) received 2 pages displaying 7 scattered panels (with erased text) taken from various pages of the graphic novel Big Questions by American cartoonist Anders Nilsen. Within 90 minutes, they had to produce additional panels (if necessary) -and add dialogues- in order to bridge the imposed panels and weave a cohesive and convincing graphic narrative. Following brief comments provided on their comprehensive layouts, students finalized the artwork at home. See below for 20+ of their #BiggerQuestions constrained comics.

Inspired by on a constrained comics exercise used at Pierre Feuille Ciseaux international comics residency-lab.

BQ 01 02 ref
Pages from Anders Nilsen‘s Big Questions (Drawn & Quarterly, 2011).
BQ 01 02
The 2 imposed pages -with scattered panels and blanked-out dialogues- taken from Anders Nilsen‘s Big Questions (Drawn & Quarterly, 2011).

20180108_233504[1]
CommDe student bridging the gaps between Anders Nilsen‘s panels.


Click on the 2-pagers below for larger size.

01 PLYE
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student PLYE
YOSHIYUKI 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student YOSHIYUKI
BYRD 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student BYRD
02 PT
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student PT
SASINAN 01 02 def
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student SASINAN (PING)
CHICHI 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student CHICHI
OOM 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student OOM
AOM P 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student AOM (P.)
TAT 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student TAT
PHURICH 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student PHURICH
SHARON 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student SHARON
BASK 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student BASK
EVE 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student EVE
NENE 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student NENE
AOM T 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student AOM (T.)
FAHSAI 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student FAHSAI
LUKPEAR 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student LUKPEAR
SUNNY 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student SUNNY
PLOY 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student PLOY
MIM 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student MIM
KARIN 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student KARIN
MICK 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student MICK
PEACHY 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student PEACHY
KRIS 01 02
“Bigger Questions” constrained comics by (1st year) CommDe student KRIS

Guests at Filipino Canadian Cartoonist Lorina Mapa’s Comics Workshop

Filipino Canadian cartoonist Lorina Mapa, author of the graphic memoir Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos, and Me, was a guest at the Bangkok Edge Festival 2018, with the participation of the Embassy of Canada to Thailand. On Saturday 20, the artist gave an delightful and interesting public talk on her work, and held a comics workshop on Sunday 21. The Embassy of Canada to Thailand opened extra seats for my students (CommDe & CommArts, Chulalongkorn University) who wished to take part in the (fully booked) workshop (KhopKhunMakKhrap khun Noppawan!)
My warmest thanks to Lorina Mapa, the Bangkok Egde Festival, and the Embassy of Canada to Thailand!

20180121_212708[1]
Lorina Mapa’s public talk. Bangkok Edge Festival, January 20, 2018.
023
After Lorina Mapa’s talk on her graphic memoir, a Thai monk asked the artist a few questions. The first one was on how her drawn memories related to, and maybe enhanced, the vividness of her actual memories. An interesting question, as I sense more and more that the Buddhist notion of “sati” (“mindfulness”) and graphic memoirs might have a lot in common, being both “recollections in praesentia”… A question to further explore… Bangkok Edge Festival, January 20, 2018.

20180121_212253[1]
Mise en abyme. CommDe sophomore student Pin (foreground) reads Filipino Canadian cartoonist Lorina Mapa’s graphic memoir “Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos, and Me”. Meanwhile, Lorina Mapa (background) reads the comics zine Bang Bang You’re Dead gathering collaborative stories by CommArts Thai students and European cartoonists… Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.
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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; comics composition. Art by CommDe ajarn Oat Montien (foreground), and CommDe sophomore student Pin drawing (background). Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.
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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; comics composition. Art by CommDe sophomore student MedFai. Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.
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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; depicting emotions. From left to right; CommDe ajarn Oat Montien, Lorina Mapa (background), and CommDe sophomore students Pin and MedFai. Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.
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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; depicting emotions. Sketches by CommDe ajarn Oat Montien. Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.
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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; comics composition. CommDe sophomore students Pin (center) and MedFai (right). Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.
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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; depicting emotions. Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.

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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018. (Photo credits: ©2018 Bangkok Edge)
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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018. (Photo credits: ©2018 Bangkok Edge)
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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018. (Photo credits: ©2018 Bangkok Edge)

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Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop; comics art appreciation. Lorina Mapa comments on CommDe sophomore student Pin’s comics pages. Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.
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Happy bunch after Lorina Mapa’s comics workshop. From left to right; yours truly, CommDe ajarn Oat Montien, Lorina Mapa, CommDe sophomore students Pin and MedFai. Bangkok Edge Festival, January 21, 2018.
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Thank you, Lorina!

David Lloyd & the Painted Smile: public talk, retrospective exhibition, masterclass, workshop, portfolio reviews and press day at Chulalongkorn University

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V for Vendetta co-creator and artist David Lloyd, special guest of our Faculty (Faculty of Communication Arts), Chulalongkorn University, for a public talk, a retrospective exhibition, a masterclass, a workshop and portfolio reviews. The workshop and portfolio reviews have their own dedicated post over here. Press interviews (tv, radio, magazine, newspaper) conducted with David Lloyd during his visit in Thailand are gathered at the end of this article.

During the public talk held at the Faculty of Communication Arts on March 23, 2016, David Lloyd discussed the creation of the essential graphic novel V for Vendetta, its movie adaptation, the designing and popularity of the iconic Guy Fawkes/V/Anonymous mask, the historical launch of the “British Invasion”, the developing field of webcomics, and the composition of profound, engaged and sophisticated narratives in Comics Art.

In the early 80s, English artist David Lloyd created and designed the character of V and his now famous Guy Fawkes mask (known lately as the “Anonymous mask”). Inviting the promising writer Alan Moore to join his comics project, David Lloyd required from his collaborator to avoid any thought balloons or voice over emanating from the masked freedom fighter. The constraint, remarkable and innovative at the time in the field, strengthened the ambiguity and complexity of the inner motivations and turmoil of V as he spreads terror amongst the leaders of a corrupted and fascist government in a dystopian England evoking George Orwell’s 1984. First conceived with a stark and impressing black-and-white chiaroscuro and serialized between 1982 and 1985 in the English magazine Warrior, the sophisticated narrative drew the attention of major publishers on the other side of the Atlantic.

V for Vendetta, and David Lloyd as an artist and a liaison representative, participated to the groundbreaking “British Invasion” of American comics which led to the creation of the high-quality Vertigo imprint by DC Comics and to the publication of major graphic novels such as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen. Working with Grant Morrison on John Constantine: Hellblazer, with Garth Ennis on War Stories or with Jamie Delano on the outstanding tales Nightraven and The Horrorist, David Lloyd never ceased to explore the complexity of the human psyche without ever compromising his own artistic and political integrity. Regarded by the critics as an essential graphic novel, V for Vendetta experienced a new wave of popularity through its 2006 movie adaptation produced by the Wachowski brothers (now sisters) and starring Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving. The Guy Fawkes mask became an anti-establishment and anti-authoritarian symbol in protests around the world, from the Occupy Wall Street movement to the Arab Spring revolutionary wave. Through its appropriation and extended use by the ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous, it is now one of the most important revolutionary icons in recent decades with more than 100,000 official copies of the masks being sold annually. Using the gained popularity of his creation to promote the works of other (and often debuting) cartoonists, David Lloyd launched in 2012 the online comics anthology Aces Weekly, one of the first attempts of the kind in the developing field of webcomics.


On March 28, 2016, David  hold a masterclass with the students of the Creative Writing (28003216 – Graphic Writing) course. He discussed comics art and visual storytelling and provided individual comments on the graphic narratives produced by the students.


Press interviews (tv, radio, magazine, newspaper) done with David Lloyd during his visit in Thailand.

TELEVISION:

The first of the two-part interview with David Lloyd for Thai channel Voice TV is available (in Thai) over here. The second of the two-part TV interview (in Thai) with David Lloyd focuses on the comics artform, on the banning of sound effects in V for Vendetta and on digital comics (David Lloyd being the publisher of the Aces Weekly digital comics anthology). Report shot in front of the retrospective exhibition dedicated to David’s career, right after his public talk at the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University.

MAGAZINE: 

Interview with David Lloyd conducted by khun Pim-On for the magazine a day bulletin #407 (at the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University). Available (in Thai) over here.

NEWSPAPER:

Interview with David Lloyd and four-page “cover story” by Richard S. Ehrlich for the Bangkok Post weekly cultural supplement Brunch (April 3-9, 2016). Available (in English) on this page.

RADIO:

Podcast of the interview (in English w/ Thai translation) with David Lloyd by three famous Thai cartoonists (Suttichart Sarapaiwanich, Eakasit Thairaat and Songsin Tiewsomboon) for RadioMANGA. Available over here!

Podcast of the interview (in English) with David Lloyd by Colin Cheney & Donald Quist for Poet in Bangkok. “In this eighth episode (Episode #8: A Very Small Irony), Colin and Donald speak with acclaimed comics artist David Lloyd, co-creator and illustrator of V for Vendetta. David discusses his working class upbringing and how American culture fed his development as an artist. He gives insight into some of his earlier collaborations with Alan Moore and other writers. David also shares his impressions of Bangkok and provides his perspective on the use of his V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes mask by Thai protesters”. Available over there!


I would like to extend my sincere thanks to David Lloyd for honoring our Faculty with his visit, to Assistant Professor Dr. Duang-Kamol Chartprasert, Dean of the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Dr. Jirayudh Sinthuphan, Communication Management Program chairperson, and all the CommArts staff for their support. I would like to express my thanks to Bird, Look-in, Lookme, Looksorn, Narada, Big, Vi, Bomb, Nic Dunlop and Colin Cheney for their valuable assistance. Aj. Nicolas Verstappen

Workshop with “V for Vendetta” co-creator David Lloyd (March 24, 2016)

Special guest of the Faculty of Communication Arts (Chulalongkorn University) for a public talk and a retrospective exhibition, V for Vendetta co-creator and artist David Lloyd also hold a workshop (pictures above) and a portfolio review (pictures below) on March 24, 2016. The events were open to students and professional cartoonists & illustrators.