Sunday, September 6, 2009

refutations

just finished an interview about wonder woman... anyway, it occurred to me that there are a few misconception about my story that i'd like to clear up:

1) the coloring in the stories has become clearer after the first few issues. that may be because the printers made some adjustments on their end, but the fact is that the colors actually evolve in the story itself. the first part (pages 1-4) was intentionally oversaturated, especially the acid coloring in page 1. this was to emphasize how surreal our world would seem to an unprepared young amazon. (there was also quite a bit of off-register lines, duplications etc.) the colors for part 2 (5-8) are much more muted, as WW adjusts to our world. (of course, 5 and 8 also take place in the snow.) the colors for part 3 are much brighter, although somewhat less trippy than part 1.

2) i stated that i originally envisioned a 52-page story for WC. that is true, but that was a different story than this one, and by the time i started even the rough outline of the "seven stars" story (november 2008) i was perfectly aware that i would be telling a 12-page story. it is likely that i might have done slightly fewer panels if i was trying to spread something out over 52 issues, but i had ALWAYS envisioned each distinct adventure being a single page, with perhaps a few more "epic" stories taking 2 installments. (even in the final version, where pages 9-12 are a single "scene", each page features a distinct challenge and resolution. that is, the page structure would have been the same either way -- the 52-page story would have just had a LOT more story (dr psycho's ectoplasmic assassins and the invisible jet, for starters). in my annotations, i'll probably go into more detail about the specific reasons for creating such densely structured chapters, but compressing a longer story was never part of it.

3) several people have this intriguing but bizarre and completely mistaken belief that each WW page has a hidden structure. the idea is that each page is divided into 4 strips , and that each strip is further subdivided into 4 blocs of panels, secretly making 16 "pages" per installment, or 190+ pages of super-epic story. apparently, this was my way of sneaking a million pages into the project, and by the way, totally proves that i didn't understand the assignment and i'm inherently immoral or whatever. yikes.
it is generally true that, for the sake of writing convenience, most pages were divided into 4 strips as i broke down the story. (for example, page two: 1) WW wakes up at the bottom of a japanese lake 2) she surfaces and meets some faeries, and agrees to rescue their temple from a gang 3) she spies on the gang in the temple, led by dr poison 4) the gang ambushes her but she wakes up.) it is also true that within each page there is a visual hierarchy of main and supporting images, visual clusters etc. any artist who isn't a moron would do the same thing, especially on a page with this much visual information to organize. i do the same thing with my classics comics, and those average only 3 panels per page — it's just common sense. BUT (again, going to that not-a-moron point) i spent an exhaustive amount of time and energy devising pages that only work in a single format — the newspaper, one page/installment at a time format. my pages cannot be shrunken down. nor can many of them be altered; many of them would be difficult to split (pages 2, 3, 8, 11 ), others (pages 4, 7, 10, 13) would be impossible.*

as a more general comment, people may or my not like what i have done, they may think that it is good or bad, but the idea that i didn't know how to use the format because i pushed it to its limits is farcical. and not in a cool bertie wooster way, either.

...and i guess i should include a picture, just because:



*there are also technical reasons why even the more conventionally laid out pages don't fit the theory, but i'm sleepy. or hungry.

7 comments:

brian koschak said...

it's one of the very few modern comics that has inspired me. maybe it pushed the limits too far, but i'd rather see an experiment fail than to see a status quo story succeed.

i love it

you have my total respect with this story. i had never heard of you before. kudos

Fabian said...

I understand the story perfectly well, not confused at all so as my point of view i think is a success.
As for color being clearer than your original, maybe at the printer they decide to do this because when colors are too saturated sometimes they end up a little messy because of the type of paper, but i think it looks perfect.
Have an amazing week. :)

Rashad said...

Dude I think your wonder woman is the best of the strips and totally saw what u were doing with the colors. and i'm thankful you maximized the space given to you, it's the one strip that makes me feel like i'm getting a full story. i'm also happy you're giving us your version of wonder woman. everyone else is pretty much staying close to current continuity wherein you took the chance to update the character. honestly it's definitely one the best versions of wonder woman ever.

once again this fellow artist appreciates all that you're doing.

sorry the rest of the comic world isn't catching on.

Tom said...

page... 13?

Son of Baldwin said...

Hey Ben,

We're talking about your strip over at the new CBR WONDER WOMAN board. Come join the fun!

http://forums.comicbookresources.com/showthread.php?t=285302

Best,
Bobby

Jang-chub Ozer said...

New to your work but I gotta say that your stuff is freakin' awesome!

ben c said...

i'm sorry! i really meant to respond earlier...

brian - thanks! there were many legitimate reasons for people to not like my story (and some pretty dumb ones, too), but sometimes you (by which i mean me) just have to learn by doing something batshit crazy.
although honestly, most of the more "experimental" bits of this story were form following function; once i had taped out a certain premise, i had to do certain things to try and make it work. as a person i'm pretty laid back, but as an artist i'm ruthless. so i had no intention of doing things just because they were the "right" way to do them, but i wasn't trying to be clever, either.
if i was doing another WC story, or another WW story, i'd do something completely different, but i don't regret a single thing i did with WC (although there are many things that i think did not work; oddly they are mostly different from what everyone else disliked).
funnily enough, if you ever read "dare detectives" or my classics adaptations, you'll see both how characteristic and how bizarrely different WCWW was from them.

jeez i'm mouthy.

anyway, thanks again! maybe next time there will be a giant alien inv-- wait, what?

fabian - thank you, too! i think being able to read my strip is some sort of genetic thing, the way some people get seasick and others don't. i definitely pushed the colors, probably too far. but then, i always have the habit of worrying about tiny details in coloring, backgrounds or plot bits that no one else really cares about, so i'm forcing myself to be much more bare-bones next time around.

rashad - thanks! although i think flash is the best. (shh.) i'll be honest, i knew i was going pretty far with the panels, but i was shocked when i saw all the other pages and realized how far out there i was. i think that was the only point where i wondered if i had made a mistake. not least because drawing 100+ panels a page is pretty exhausting. but then i had a nap and a coffee roll and went back to drawing.
i think it makes sense that people largely stayed close to the more popular versions of the characters, because those versions work. although most people seemed to gloss over the significant changes to adam strange -- probably because no one really knows/cares about him, plus paul pose = awesome. but WW has a really weird history, and while she's my second favorite superhero, i just don't feel her various post-crisis incarnations. frankly, i loved the more general take on her nina jaffe did for our childrens books*, with a lot of clutter stripped down. that was a big influence on what i did, although as some people have noticed, in the end i really just did a streamlined and somewhat more "realistic" (god, what a retarded word to use in comics) treatment of the original WW.

*for example, ares'smotivation was brilliantly simple and believable; he grew up in the shadow of the wars between the gods and the titans, where all the other immortals got their glory. he just wants a new apocalypse so he can have his bit of fun, too.

tom- oh, you caught that, didja? even when i make mistakes i am being tricky.

hi bobby (4.0 right?) -- it's probably too late, but i should post on that thread. i just always have bad timing! also, some people feel constrained when i post on threads like that. oh well.

jang-chub ozer - thank you i'd like to say it's all universally brilliant, but...