some notes in response to this article by hilary chute at POETRY magazine. behind a cut, because it’s fairly long.
Lots of interesting thoughts. This one struck a chord:
people read comics in hardcopy. people read comics in pdf form, or through the comixology app on their phone or tablet. on comixology, you can read panel-by-panel. you can look at a double-page spread, appreciate how it all fits in together, then zoom in to each part separately so that you don’t miss any of the details. people read single panels that other people post on tumblr because they’ve got a funny joke in.
Because a) it reminded me of the “poptimist”/pseudo-ethnographic/obviously-goes-back-way-further-than-either-of-these-but-I’m-ignorant idea that the interesting part of a thing is its use not its envisioned use.
(UX research is tech poptimism!) (or something)
But b) especially the last bit about how Tumblr breaks down comics into sequences, kind of reclaiming the gag panel or the short-form comic strip from within the longer work. I’d been thinking about this but more from a creative perspective, playing into writing styles as a development of comics “momentism" (& movie momentism). But I had it backwards: Tumblr panel culture - gif culture in general maybe - is momentism as a reading style nestling within other reading styles, and currently racing way ahead of any creators’ attempts to pander to it.
Lots of isms in this reblog, sorry.
yeah! well that’s the thing - writing about something as it is intended to be read often misses the point, because once something’s out there, it’s out there. there’s no use ignoring reading practices and what readers actually do.
YEAH, and i wanted to talk also about how people will post like a page or two up from a longer comic that doesn’t necessarily stand alone but will show one particular character doing something, or the like. or how a tumblr blog will like - focus on appearances from one particular character (like clint barton) through time, showing various things he’s done, various panels or pages he appears on. and it’s supplemental - it’s assumed that you are reading comics about clint barton. but it also becomes a stand-in for the longer comics the panels are taken from, because it’s meant to fill in a history to help people understand a comic that is currently ongoing. so tumblr kind of creates new comics from old comics.
thanks for the reblog, and yeah i totally see what you mean about reclaiming the gag panel - i like how this happens particularly with old comics, where some antiquated phrase is particularly funny, or where something happens that seems amusing completely without context (particularly thinking of the things collected here).