27 May 2006

sing page1web
sing page2web
sing page3web
sing page4web
sing page5web

This is something of an experiment. My intention is to tell various stories of a mythical hero in comic form. The stories have come through various mediations to reach me and via me, to reach here. Originally they were songs passed on as part of an oral tradition going back (possibly - probably?) several millennia. These songs were written down in the nineteenth century then creatively edited together into a single narrative over thousands of lines and dozens of songs/poems. Both the oral songs and the edited literary version were not in English and so they had to be translated before I could read them and begin the process of turning them into a comic.

The comic above is from the first song (or 'canto' in my translation). The main gist of the opening canto is the story of creation and the birth (like an 'origins of...' story in superhero comics) of the mythic hero that my comic is to be concerned with. Before it gets into the meat of the creation story there's a kind of general introduction to the whole thing and that's the bit of it that I've posted above.

The 'experiment' bit is to do with the absence of words. I worry that much of my comic-y efforts consist of a piece of text and a picture that both say the same thing and I've ben trying to address and steer away from this - flights was, in part, one such experimental attempt to change this. So, as the comic above was taken from a song about singing a song that tells a story, I decided to do away with words altogether to tell this part of the story. The decision was also partly motivated by my desire to avoid breaching the translator's copyright or attempting my own translation (especially when my translator is deep in essays and too busy to assist). After this (and depending on feedback and the way I feel about it in time, this) it will be wordy but for now it's silent and I want to know how you feel about that. Can you unwind a narrative from the pictures on their own? Do you need some words to make sense of it?

I'm being vague on purpose about the source of it all because I don't want you to google it and fill your head with preconceptions that colour and clutter your feedback. I'll explain more and post a version with words for comparison when I find time over the next few weks. Until then, please let me know what you think, even if just whether you did/didn't enjoy this.


kiki [hei] said...

I feel this one is very impressive and interesting.~! I think you are very talented~
The one that has 4 house and one image inside makes me feel pretty thrilling.~

Natalie said...

Dem, I love it even if I can't work out what the words might be. But that's ok because it can get people thinking and imagining their own versions. Your drawings for this, and the previous ones on this page, are terrific. BTW, I answered you about lino-printing, did you get it? My mail wasn't working for a while but is fine now.

Dick said...

This is excellent stuff, Dem. It's a real new direction you've taken. These pictures & the narrative that they represent have the majesty & mystery of dream. Following the sequence I have a powerful sense of when, as a child on holiday, I used to read, or half read, comics in French so that each time the story was slightly different.

I look forward to seeing this direction developed when you're on broadband.

Dem said...

Hello welcome and thanks Kiki and sorry it's taken me so long to say thank you for leaving a comment - things will pick up here in the next few weeks but until then, please be patient!

Natalie, Dick, thanks as ever for your support! I'll post more of this when I'm properly moved in and broadbanded up in (hopefully) about a fortnight.