Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Making Of Judenhass

Judenhass (2008)
Art by Dave Sim
(Click Image To Enlarge)
(ComicsComics, 3 February 2011)
Lou Copeland, who did the "tech" side of Judenhass, forwarded me a printed out copy of this article, which I found interesting enough to violate my acquiesced-to pariah status... since the genesis of Judenhass was structural along the lines of what Mr. McCulloch is discussing in his article, originating late in the Cerebus storyline with what I would describe as "Excerpt narrative". The idea being that you have a master drawing of some intricacy and detail from which you excerpt images. If you excerpt the images in (there's really no language for this yet) "sequential adjacency" from left to right across the master drawing, you effectively are doing a "pan shot". The extent of the overlap determines the "speed" of the pan shot.

The subject matter - the Shoah - came late in the proceedings. I was looking for a subject which lent itself to this sort of "master drawing"; "excerpt narrative"; "sequential adjacency" approach, but the original idea was: how few master drawings would you need to do in order to produce a satisfying "read"? The fewer the master drawings, the more time could be devoted to each one and the greater the level of photographic detail that could be applied to each image.

Close-ups presented an obvious problem because if you just enlarge an image past, say 120% then the density of the lines became incompatible with the adjacent images. This increased the number of master drawings. Any enlargement at 150% or larger need to be traced off and re-inked at the appropriate density. Or enlarged as a photocopy with the then "too thick" lines whites out and replaced with lines of an appropriate density.

I experimented with the structure again with the mini comic Lost Kisses #11, using a half dozen or so master drawings to create 40 or so individual panels.

The biggest drawback is the computer time involved which is why I don't use it as much on glamourpuss as I originally intended. The process of cutting and pasting the individual panels, fitting them within panel borders, making all the panel gutters the same width... well that was Lou's part of it, so he can address the subject better than I can. If Judenhass was selling thousands of copies a month and I could pay Lou for all his time and work then I could start thinking of projects with similar structure. In a way it's unfortunate that I picked a subject that just rubs the comic book public the wrong way which has led to a "baby with the bathwater" loss of the structure which I think is a valuable tool and pretty close to what Mr. McCulloch is talking about here - cinema on paper, a kind of strange wedding of film, comics and animation.

I just want to write and draw, not run a sweat shop which is what I think would be involved to optimize the structure: a team of cut-and-paste guys able to do, say, 15 to 20 panels each a day on computer from thumbnail storyboards, with computer lettering and scripts which which indicated successive percentages of enlargement and reduction, pan shot measurements to establish durations and speed, backgrounds and figures dealt with separately and then integrated. I think you could definitely do a plausible Bernie Krigstein or Jim Steranko narrative that would LOOK drawn (because it would be drawn, just mechanically composed into pages) and, depending on how good your team was you could maybe do five or six pages a day, every panel of which would look like the master artist drew them. Because he or she would have.

1 comment:

Tony Dunlop said...

See, this is why the world needs Dave Sim to keep making comics. He is so not out of ideas...