Why Comics in Arts One: The Power of Visuals
(posted on behalf of Candy, whose blog isn’t working)
To be honest, I never had a thing for comics. For my taste, I’d rather experience a story and it’s world through the words of a book, or a full hour and a half of a visual movie. Comic books sat in between, and it’s not until the end of the year that we are instructed to read ( read or watch? Or both?) the Watchmen. After studying hidden motifs in books and the media interpretations in the form of films, I thought the only way to feel impacted, truly hit in the face with the message, was by powerful words and paragraphs or an ending in a film that changed all too dramatically. After reading the Watchmen, I found a new way to be hit in the face with a message. The Watchmen uses risky illustrations to tell a story in a powerful way, even if it means throwing the hidden messages directly into the reader’s faces. Illustration coupled with powerful words creates a different aspect for the readers to connect with the story. For example, the characters of the Watchman are introduced and given short anecdotes of their past during the busy present. Readers are introduced the characters only as they are in the present, and the narrator gives us hint that we should know them too. When the characters experience flashbacks, the illustrator draws them so that their faces and even their current place of physical positioning mirrors the time frame. We observe that the person’s being- almost his outline- is the same in each frame, but the time and the scrap of events floating behind the scene is completely different. These illustrations create a powerful emotional impact, both for the readers and the character itself. The slowness of the frames, and the redrawing, stretching and zooming in and out of the scenes gives readers to explore beyond the limits of the grid. The visuals add to interpretations and the attraction that the dramatic scenes deserve. The repetition of the many phrases, most of which become a recurring theme some chapters, underly different meanings as they reside on each frame ( each having a different image or connotation). This is another way in which the comic’s forwardness adds a further impacts on motifs and interpretations.
Discuss the motif of the happy face badge with the splatter of blood.
Discuss the forwardness yet secretive nature of the illustrations in Watchmen. Ex: The “ Who’s watching the watchmen” appearing sometimes on the walls of buildings.