Comic Reflection

Charley Howe

Digital Writing

October, 2011

Comic Challenge Reflection


When we were first assigned this challenge to create our own comic, I was very frightened and had no idea where I would take this or where I would end up.  To make it worse, I was given free-range to pick my topic and make it as long or as short as I wanted, make it funny or serious, and I had to pick which programs I wanted to use.  I have never gotten into comics, nor did I know much about them until we started this chapter in class.  When the day came to actually start brainstorming, nothing came to mind.  I researched multiple topics that I could dig deeper on and possible convey through my comic with my own spin.  I was nervous at the thought of having to create my own story line, let alone try and make it funny, so I resorted to a place that had its own stories: the news.

I wanted to settle on a story that was interesting, something that could be perceived in many ways, and most importantly, something that most people know about, or can even relate to.  I decided to turn to Occupy Wall St.  The past few weeks I have been following the protest and watched as it spread all over the country.  Seeing people I know even get involved made me think that there was a story behind this that I could relay through a comic.

For my first comic, I took a step back and realized what these protesters were really doing.  While I am not disagreeing with their message, nor do I necessarily support it, I perceived the whole motive of the protest to be slightly contradictory.   They are marching Wall St. in anger of corporate greed while they show up to protest one way or another supporting these same companies.  They are wearing the companies’ clothes, using iphones, taking pictures with $800 cameras, carrying nice bags, and they are all complaining about not having money.  I thought this view was essential to portray first.

The second comic was a little harder to decide what to do.  Through watching videos and looking at pictures, I noticed that this protest was going on all over the world and every age, race, and background all coming together at once.  I settled with using an older protester and a young protester and telling a story of how the generations have changed.  To me, it was important to incorporate the use of technology, style of living, and the fact that celebrities are now showing up to protest against Wall St., while many of them are extremely overpaid.  Through both of these, it seemed to me that some protesters don’t even know the full reason they are there, so I made that clear as well.

When it came down to making the comics, I originally thought of just using pictures, which I believed would help send a stronger message.  But when I had to find the exact picture I was looking for to use in each column, I got caught.  I started on “Comic Life” but needed some sort of cartoon characters to incorporate, which this program didn’t offer.  I made my way over to “Pixton” where it was only cartoon comics, but those themselves wouldn’t have worked either.  I had to decide how I was going to combine them and came down with ‘screen-shotting’ the cartoon characters I chose to use then pasting them into comic life.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make it one big collage, or if I should use rows.  I almost combined the two for each comic and made some pictures bigger than others, used a large picture as the background for one of them, and used speaking bubbles instead of statement boxes.  This showed which pictures I wanted to make more important and the ones that had pictures allowed the reader to see them more clearly.  I found this method very useful for both comics.  I was able to use multiple columns, with different shapes and my own format, and came out with the exact comics I was envisioning in my mind.

For both of the comics, the words and images I used were important in reflecting one another in order to send the reader the message I was trying to portray.  By using speech bubbles in both comics, this allowed me to write the comic in a form that would help the reader connect and relate to the story.  By using actual pictures from the protest, the reader can see first hand what my comic is talking about.

I thought about McClouds definitions of the different types of comics that can be created during this whole process and found myself using a few of them.  At first, I thought using mainly word-specific would be the most useful and help make the most sense, but when I was not able to find all the images I specifically wanted, I got stuck.  When I began to use the cartoon characters, I resorted to the opposite, word-specific.  Although, there was one part of my main comic where picture specific came very much in use.  At the end, I showed a large picture of protesters all wearing nice clothes, using fancy cameras, and pointed all these out with just simple words throughout the picture.  Since the words were short, and the picture was clear, the reader could see exactly what I was trying to show.  Looking back at my comics, I seem to have used inter-dependant most of the time, as both words and images were extremely important when it came down to expressing the story.

The reason for making my comics about the protest and doing it with my view in mind was to relay a different side that not many people are thinking about to the audience.  This causes them to take a step back, as I did, and see what I am seeing.  I thought it was important for the audience to be able to understand my comic, therefore, making it about something as global as this, my message could get across more easily.

Looking back on my comics, it seemed important to me to make the comics interesting to the reader. I tried to make it appealing to most people, but that can often be hard to fully accomplish.    As I have never really been into comics, nor fully understood them, I wanted to catch the audience’s eye.  Using actual pictures in addition to cartoon characters appealed to me, so I believed that my audience would think so as well.  Using speech bubbles and these characters as actual people that were “present” at the protest and even making one involved, allowed both of the comics to seem more real.  Instead of just telling a story or summarizing what was going on, I tried to make the comics tell the full thing in only a few words and with clear and complimenting pictures.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. clinthicum
    Dec 14, 2011 @ 02:04:13

    You comic is awesome! I like that it has an actual message, and a complexity that many comics fail to achieve. It’s also very aesthetically pleasing. I like how you incorporate the different generation’s takes on Occupy Wall St. I also see the hypocrisy in the movement, which you address in the first comic. Great job!


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