In this episode, Rob and Don sit down with comic artist and director of Marvel’s Avengers Assemble animated series Tim Eldred to discuss his career in the comic book industry and how it led him into the world of animation. Along the way, they discuss Tim’s advice for aspiring comic book artists, why getting your work done on time is crucial for a career in the comic book industry, and why the secret to successful media production is to have a really big raft! All this, and a look at Tim’s new project Pitsberg, are waiting for you in this episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.
I don’t usually post links to things like this, but this collection of Harry Potter gag comics really made me laugh this morning, so enjoy!
The necessity of conflict is preached as a kind of dogma by contemporary writers’ workshops and Internet “guides” to writing. A plot without conflict is considered dull; some even go so far as to call it impossible. This has influenced not only fiction, but writing in general—arguably even philosophy. Yet, is there any truth to this belief? Does plot necessarily hinge on conflict? No. Such claims are a product of the West’s insularity. For countless centuries, Chinese and Japanese writers have used a plot structure that does not have conflict “built in”, so to speak. Rather, it relies on exposition and contrast to generate interest. This structure is known as kishōtenketsu.
Kishōtenketsu contains four acts: introduction, development, twist and reconciliation. The basics of the story—characters, setting, etc.—are established in the first act and developed in the second. No major changes occur until the third act, in which a new, often surprising element is introduced. The third act is the core of the plot, and it may be thought of as a kind of structural non sequitur. The fourth act draws a conclusion from the contrast between the first two “straight” acts and the disconnected third, thereby reconciling them into a coherent whole. Kishōtenketsu is probably best known to Westerners as the structure of Japanese yonkoma (four-panel) manga; and, with this in mind, our artist has kindly provided a simple comic to illustrate the concept.
Fascinating idea. Although I wonder if what works for a Kishotenketsu in short comic form works as well for a longer work?
Also, I wonder about the claim that Kishotenketsu are really without conflict. The chaotic element is an element of conflict that is still resolved. Kishotenketsu seem to run like a formula:
A is true. (Panel 1+2)
B is also true.(Panel 3)
This is how A + B (which are in conflict) resolve. (Panel 4)
Is there not still a plot of conflict and resolution there? The only difference is that the result tends to be co-operative rather than a single side achieving victory. It’s not the 3 act structure, but it is still a plot centered around conflict. Therefore, claims of the Kishotenketsu form being without conflict are untrue. At least this is how I see it.
For those who love thrillers with a psychological bent, Liar Game is a unique story along the lines of the manga Death Note. It’s a story about trust, deceit and human nature filled with mind games and twists and turns. I highly recommend checking it out if you have the chance, the creator took a 1.5 year break for his health and has just returned to it, so now is a great time to catch up!
At the start of the manga, the lead protagonist – a scrupulously honest college student named Nao Kanzaki – receives a package containing 100 million yen (about 1 million dollars) and a note that she is now a contestant in the Liar Game Tournament. In this fictional tournament, contestants are encouraged to cheat and lie to obtain other contestants’ money; those who lose have to bear a 100-million-yen debt. When Nao’s first opponent – a trusted friend and teacher – steals her money, she seeks assistance from a con man named Shin’ichi Akiyama. Though they manage to defeat the teacher, Nao and Akiyama decide to buy out his debt and advance through different rounds of the Liar Game Tournament against merciless contestants, while at the same time attempting to free their opponents from debt and to defeat the Liar Game organization from within.
“The Meek is a graphic novel about Angora, an inexperienced young girl who has been sent on a quest to save the world. War looms on the horizon, and at its helm is the Emperor of the North and his hellish adviser. The two countries are overwhelmed with as much terror, crime, disease and revolution as they are with those who wish to create peace. Armed with only her instincts and an unexplainable power, she must experience and judge the world—and decide once and for all if it is truly worth saving.”
A unique and gorgeous Fantasy webcomic that’s just finished its third volume. Go read it!
A friend pointed me towards POWER NAP – the sleep of reason brings forth monsters today, which is a nifty sci-fi webcomic with a nice premise- the lead character is a guy who needs to sleep. The trick is, he lives in a world where (almost) everyone can pop a pill once a day instead of sleeping and live 24-hour lives. He’s allgeric to the pills, so he’s a weird sort of handicapped person in a sleepless world. Oh, and he may or may not literally be going insane trying to keep up with the world around him.
It’s actually pretty funny and entertaining, and blends the odder elements well with the more serious ones. Makes me think of the comic Transmetropolitan in a way.