Keep an eye on The Comics Grid in the next few weeks for the forthcoming article Playing Together: Analyzing Jazz Improvisation to Improve the Multiframe, co-authored by Zach Powers and myself. For this special topics issue of the journal, we look to the works of Sonny Rollins and Joshua Redman to consider how comics page layouts, or the multiframe, might be informed by an understanding of jazz improvisational techniques. While we’re drawing from contemporary scholarly analysis of comics, the intent of this article was not to build a purely theoretical framework, but to propose a mode for analysis that might actually be used by practicing comics artists.
In the meantime, I have a piece on the crowdfunding platform Patreon under review for ARLIS/NA Multimedia and Technology Reviews, and a guest post for the ARLIS/NA Art & Design School Libraries Division blog on the topic of usability/user experience design, design thinking, and art school libraries. More to come!
I’ve been thinking about the issues related to webcomics/digital comics and preservation for a while now, everything from the cartoonist’s personal archiving mechanisms to long-term issues with access and preservation. Traditional comics might start and end their “active” lives as print-based media, but what about everything else that doesn’t fall within this (ever-narrowing) scope? In proposing a project to research the archival habits of digital artists – specifically, cartoonists producing web-based comics – I’ve fallen down a bit of a research rabbit hole that’s offering many, many questions, but no answers yet.
This blog will serve to collect some of my thoughts and research notes through the process and the first steps of investigation, potentially touching on these topics:
- Why is this material important to save? (do we really still have to prove why comics are a valid thing and worthy of long-term consideration and study?)
- What concerns do cartoonists and illustrators who work in digital media have about the long-term use/access of their work? What are their current practices?
- What values do the creators ascribe to their work? How does that affect or impact their preservation decisions?
- Is there social “preservation” WRT fans saving and archiving work? Are there other actions/behaviors that aren’t explicitly a preservation activity but that support continued access?
etc etc etc.
In the meantime, I’m interviewing and surveying a few cartoonists to kick things off, and will be presenting those preliminary findings at the ARLIS/NA-VRA joint conference this March in Seattle. More on that soon!