We now present part 2 of the online chat between Cayetano "Cat" Garza Jr, Scott McCloud, Demian5, and Patrick Farley. This chat took place Saturday, March 29, 2003. (Read part one of the chat here.)
Cat Garza is the creator of several webcomics including: Welcome to Whimville, Magic Inkwell Comic Strip Theatre, and Cuentos de la Frontera. Scott McCloud is the author of Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics. Demian5 is the creator of the webcomic classic, When I Am King, and Patrick Farley is the creator of webcomics such as Apocamon, The Spiders, and The Guy I Almost Was.
patrick_farley: i have this theory, if you'll indulge me…
patrick_farley: the idea is that *fire* was one of the first human art media
scott_mccloud: i'll buy that
patrick_farley: humans domesticated fire not because of heat and cooking, and utility, etc…
patrick_farley: but because they liked to watch it.
patrick_farley: the other stuff was anciliary.
patrick_farley: so, flashing forward to the modern day
catgarza: i know i like watching a campfire…
patrick_farley: television and film and cartoon is our modern version of watching fire.
scott_mccloud: and computers
demian5: cold fire
catgarza: interesting theory
catgarza: digital fire
patrick_farley: this sorta ties in with what you were saying, Cat, about animation being a bigger attention grab than static comics
catgarza: made up of tiny little lights
catgarza: ah, i see…
catgarza: yeah print comics and print in general was the vessel for so long…
catgarza: and it's draw is strong..
scott_mccloud: we're certainly programmed to focus on motion
catgarza: but the web is immediate and will be even more immediate and accesible…
scott_mccloud: motion = might be food
catgarza: i just don't know anymore… probably better not to get distracted thinking about it too much…
demian5: what about books?
demian5: what about silent art?
scott_mccloud: books = the memory killer
scott_mccloud: now we don't have to keep it in our heads
scott_mccloud: every new technology kills something
catgarza: like when the resistance in FARENHEIHT 451 had to each memorize a book…
catgarza: what if the net goes down somehow…
scott_mccloud: one dystopia that hasn't come true…. yet
demian5: i mean literature, it will survive…
demian5: without glowing lights
catgarza: just after we've transferred all our collected human knowledge onto it?
patrick_farley: i'm of the opinion that the digital world is going to be the great fusion reactor of all the media
scott_mccloud: Fusion AND fission
scott_mccloud: convergence flows both ways
catgarza: but it's even more unstable than physical books
catgarza: to some degree..
catgarza: what if we don't have the power to run computers…
patrick_farley: i think literature will evolve and mutate in this century, but it will look more like glistening grafitti and illuminated manuscript
catgarza: or the right media/programs/etc.
patrick_farley: because it will be digitized, on e-paper or somesuch thing.
scott_mccloud: that's why we need to store more on our local drives
scott_mccloud: real permanence can't be centralized
catgarza: real permanence doesn't exist, i think…
scott_mccloud: party pooper
demian5: there will always be a market for "calmer" stuff…
demian5: stuff [that] doesn't glow and crash,…
scott_mccloud: variety of media
catgarza: what about compatibility later?
patrick_farley: are you guys familiar with "Leap Pads" and "Leap Books" ?
scott_mccloud: do tell
patrick_farley: they' re interactive books for kids.
scott_mccloud: what device?
patrick_farley: it's a paper book with a light pen and a computer chip in the book's binding
patrick_farley: you can read the book, click anywhere on the page, and the book speaks to you.
catgarza: can you get em at a regular bookstore?
scott_mccloud: THAT'S spooky
patrick_farley: no, you buy them at toy stores
scott_mccloud: i like it
catgarza: like Barnes and Noble (shudder… corporate run bookstores.. gah)?
catgarza: very cool
demian5: me too
patrick_farley: my 3-year-old friend, Sophie, removed the light pen and tried it on ordinary books
patrick_farley: she was disappointed that "Ping" didn't have interactivity.
scott_mccloud: my kids (aged 7 and 9) are going to take to this stuff like fish to water
patrick_farley: or Cat in the Hat…. or any of her other books.
catgarza: and more kids will as time goes on
catgarza: and then we'll all be relics
scott_mccloud: we're the immigrants to digital media. They're the true natives. The kids
patrick_farley: so this is why i think "webcomics" will become mainstream…
scott_mccloud: And they'll encounter comics with fresh eyes
demian5: are they encountering comics?
scott_mccloud: They'll become mainstream when they appeal to basic human needs and desires
catgarza: scott's kids are.. but they live with a comic artist
demian5: i see
scott_mccloud: my kids see comics, but i don't push them on em
catgarza: kids love comics anyway
scott_mccloud: Sky loves Ranma, dug Akiko
catgarza: well, i did…
demian5: me too!
patrick_farley: comics have a supernatural appeal to the human eye that other media don't have.
scott_mccloud: Winter loves Miyazaki films
scott_mccloud: not so much comics
demian5: I've seen all the tv episodes…
scott_mccloud: i've seen a couple
patrick_farley: i should say, comics and cartoons…. if we're making the distinction…
scott_mccloud: Never underestimate the manga crowd
scott_mccloud: a lot of good storytelling
scott_mccloud: Jen Wang
catgarza: and great visual style
demian5: and a lot of crap
catgarza: and pacing
scott_mccloud: sorting thru the crap is easier and easier
patrick_farley: that's the secret of manga, though
catgarza: but there's a lot of crap everywhere…
scott_mccloud: i say bring it on!
patrick_farley: even crap, in manga or anime, becomes something supernatural and superluminous
scott_mccloud: i'll find the good stuff
catgarza: i'm getting more and more interested in the horror genre again…
catgarza: my first love besides comics…
scott_mccloud: horror is best when you can't always seee the next panel
patrick_farley: that's funny, cat… i'm getting more interested in dystopian cyberpunk again.
demian5: i just loved the dragonball shows because of that..
scott_mccloud: i want to do a horror online comic…
patrick_farley: must be the times we live in
demian5: ..so much fantastic crap
scott_mccloud: where the panels turn corners
catgarza: heh.. exactly
catgarza: and just a GOOD horror story
catgarza: none of the I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER SCREAM crap..
scott_mccloud: good STORIES of any sort
catgarza: something well written and intriguing
catgarza: and SCARY
patrick_farley: but i wonder, just to play devil's advocate here…
patrick_farley: can you really SCARE an audience with a digital comic?
catgarza: zombies are ok, though lol
scott_mccloud: if you can arrange it so that there is genuine surprise
patrick_farley: i wonder often exactly what range of emotion you can play to, when your audience is a solitary person sitting comfortably in front of a computer.
scott_mccloud: and restricted audience control
demian5: help, it's a digital comic!
scott_mccloud: it can be done
demian5: could work..
catgarza: audience control's gonna be an increasing problem, i think
scott_mccloud: we decide how much
catgarza: i get worried when [people] tell me their kids like my stuff…
scott_mccloud: how little
patrick_farley: haha cat
catgarza: i don't want some elementary school kid reading my blog…
scott_mccloud: kids would like fancy froglin
patrick_farley: cat, i only *wish* there'd been an Internet when i was a kid
scott_mccloud: me too
catgarza: me too, patrick…
patrick_farley: i would have read every goddam blog i could click my mouse on
demian5: kids like my dog as well
catgarza: but i'd probably be even more screwed up than i already am 😉
catgarza: it's just too damn easy to get ANYTHING you want through the web…
patrick_farley: speaking of kids… do you know i keep getting CHURCHES asking to download Apocamon to share with their children?
catgarza: but i'm not one that believes in restricting anything…
scott_mccloud: yeah, my kids wanted to read all of When I Am King
scott_mccloud: told em they'd have to wait a bit…
patrick_farley: what kind of a FLAG do you have to wave to let people know you're doing SATIRE?
demian5: so how old will they have to be?
scott_mccloud: pretty sophisticated kid, but…
scott_mccloud: my kids… hmmm
scott_mccloud: 13, 14
scott_mccloud: maybe younger
catgarza: you're gonna have some real headaches soon, scott… lol
patrick_farley: this is an issue with my own family.
scott_mccloud: ohhh yeah
catgarza: when they become teenagers…
demian5: and then you're ready to answer interesting questions?
patrick_farley: i have numerous nieces and nephews who know i do comics and want to see my stuff
scott_mccloud: ivy's told em about sex already
patrick_farley: but my siblings (their parents) won't let them.
catgarza: really, scott?
scott_mccloud: i mean WE told them. *ahem*
catgarza: i didn't get "the talk" till i was in high school…
catgarza: and even then.. it was pretty watered down…
patrick_farley: YOU SEE? THIS IS WHY THE INTERNET IS GOOD!
catgarza: and i'd already had a sex ed class in junior high…
catgarza: right patrick…
catgarza: i'd have downloaded WAY too much internet porn…
catgarza: thanks, but i'm kinda glad i'm an immigrant to the digital frontier…
scott_mccloud: True free communication is as close to an absolute good as technology can provide
catgarza: well, folks
catgarza: i gotta jet…
scott_mccloud: It's been a pleasure all.
patrick_farley: it's always a pleasure
catgarza: we should do this more often 🙂
scott_mccloud: Take care.
demian5: it is
catgarza: later guys! 🙂
Heh, when Patrick Farley asked “Can you really SCARE an audience with a digital comic?” I tried to remember what I was reading the last time I felt like I had to peek at the screen from a distance before I had the nerve to click to the next page… And I realized it had been a comic by Partick Farley, his night terrors one. You can get more scary out of knowing (or at least strongly suspecting) what’s about to happen than from being truly surprised.
i’ll agree with you on the diversity of genre found in comics from japan, even if the visual style may seem a bit formulaic or rigidly monostylistic to the casual viewer…
we definitely need more comics about all kinds of things on the web.
I’m not sure that its really form that stops webcomics from making the mainstream or really impacting people, its genre. One extra thing about manga is that their is manga generated for practically ALL groups.
Don’t mean to sound offensive, but most webcomics reach the same genre it was meant for in the 80s, teens.
I’m thinking of doing something just different or something that would appeal to a different audience, like Scott Mccloud’s chess webcomic did to some chess fans.
In conclusion, I think its good to look into new ways to utilize the web for making comics, but its possibly more important to share your interests, or make a fiction or non-fiction comic about your interests.
I agree with you too on the part of the same-looking style in Japanese comics. I try to do as much art styles as possible.
Its kinda odd.
In Japan, they have more diverse ideas/stories, yet in the West, they have more diverse form/art styles. It would be really cool if we could take the best of both worlds.
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