Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Search for Renown

A new Repiphany! strip: The Search for Renown

Full Sized Image Here.
(Please hit the link - Last week I made it to the top #300 of #13,000 on my host's website!)

It's fascinating to watch this comic evolve as time goes by. Looking back its clear - at least for me - where my big influences lie... how strips like Calvin and Hobbes, Penny Arcade, and xkcd have shaped my own particular brand of panel humor. My work is my own, obviously, and on my best day I am nowhere NEAR the genius of people like Bill Watterson, but it is interesting to see how, consciously or unconsciously, I've tried to adopt things I've liked about these strips into my own endeavor.

One influence I've definitely noticed is the way that I've shaped punchlines. At least in newspaper comics, multi-panel strips usually follow a basic formula. Each panel essentially serves as a build up to the final image wherein the joke is told, and aren't necessarily funny in and of themselves.

Online you'll often see something very different. Penny Arcade strips, for example, often follow a very different comic structure. Most of the time the strip just flows like a funny conversation between two people, (Which in fact it is - take a listen to their podcast and you'll see this is exactly how it the strip gets written!)and each panel is a joke in and of itself. So the final image ends up not being the place where THE joke of the strip is told, but an especially silly or crazy panel that ends off the strip.

Anyway, I've often caught myself following the latter structure. Today's strip, perhaps not so much, but check out #18 on nanotech and you'll see what I mean. I can also see myself trying to capture what's funny about xkcd or touching about Calvin and Hobbes. Success is not always mine, but it is the journey, after all, and not the destination that must provide satisfaction. It's good to learn from heroes.

And one of these days, I'm going to have to figure out the main characters name.



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