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23 January 2005 @ 07:56 pm
Webcomic Constraints Challenge #2: Still Life  
A new entry in my ongoing series of formal challenges to webcomic creators. I hope it'll get more of a response than my previous challenge (which is still in effect! I'm not abandoning it!).
We're used to stories starting at point A and ending at point B. That's the traditional way of structuring a narrative timeline: begin when the story kicks into gear and keep going forward until it reaches the end (only occasionally taking detours into the past for flashbacks). Some works are more creative in their manipulation of time, starting somewhere other than the beginning and jumping around in time until they reach a conclusion that may or may not be the "end", e.g. Pulp Fiction and Memento. But what if the tale doesn't cover the story's timeline? Can you tell an entire story in a single moment?

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
Write and draw a comic with a coherent narrative, in which every panel is the same point in time.
I'll give artists some slack, due to the vagaries of in-panel time (see the chapter on time in Understanding Comics for why)—panel durations don't have to exactly match, but no panel can follow another chronologically.
Current Mood: mischievousmischievous
russgoulo on January 24th, 2005 04:08 am (UTC)
Cool. That is a far more artistically interesting idea to me than the chess puzzle comic... I will actually ponder this one.
gwalla: lon chaneygwalla on January 24th, 2005 04:40 am (UTC)
Ha! I knew if I name-dropped Memento, I'd hook you in!
Justin Grahamstr1 on January 24th, 2005 07:08 am (UTC)
I'd just as soon rather avoid anything resembling a Simultaneousness II. :P
gwallagwalla on January 24th, 2005 07:23 am (UTC)

This would just be a single comic, not a huge story arc.
Fade M.: hungryfadethecat on January 24th, 2005 04:50 pm (UTC)
Man. That sounds like a fun challenge. Pity I don't have a webcomic and can't draw...
Vorn the Unspeakableunspeakablevorn on January 24th, 2005 05:13 pm (UTC)
gwallagwalla on January 24th, 2005 07:01 pm (UTC)
Ah, cool! He does say those are "seconds apart", but that's basically what I'm talking about. However, it doesn't really tell a story; it just says "here's some stuff that all happened really close together.
(Anonymous) on January 27th, 2005 08:58 pm (UTC)

I was wondering if you read my story "Amy's Double Life," which just wrapped up in Picture Story Theatre. It's not exactly what you're describing here, but I think it relates. While time does flow over the course of the whole story, each individual strip represents a single moment, with Amy's life at her father's house contrasted against her life at her mother's house -- though somewhat metaphorically, since there's really only one Amy. Time passes between strips, rather than within them.

Alexander D.
gwalla: lon chaneygwalla on January 28th, 2005 02:12 am (UTC)
Ah, I missed that! I admit I'm not exactly a regular reader of PST. I'll check it out!