Digital Storytelling

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Comic book news: survival tales (part 3)

By Digital Storytelling November 17, 2009

[Part 1 of this series looked at the turn toward individuals telling true stories via comics, while Part 2 illustrated how comics began to use a subjective vantage point to record history.] [caption id="attachment_1098" align="alignleft" width="239" caption="Le Photographe, Tome 3/Dupuis"][/caption] Emmanuel Guibert’s and Didier Lefèvre’s Le Photographe moves the field of nonfiction comics toward narrative journalism by revealing the documentary potential of graphic storytelling. Guibert recounts the journey of a photographer (Lefèvre) who records the work of a Medecins Sans Frontières mission in northeastern Afghanistan in 1986. Released in France between 2003 and 2006, the three volumes span 260 pages and follow Lefèvre from Pakistan to Afghanistan and back. Though its achievements are similar to those of Joe Sacco’s Palestine and Safe Area Gorazde (discussed in Part 2 of this series), Le Photographe unfolds in radically different form. The series’ most striking aspect is the unusual combination of documentary photography (Lefèvre's original work) and highly stylized drawings. Read more » Read more

Comic book news: Joe Sacco draws on history (part 2)

By Digital Storytelling November 13, 2009

Part 2 of a look at graphic narrative journalism [Part 1 discussed how “comics journalism” rose from the underground and independent comics scene to combine conventions of the traditional comic book with telling personal, true stories.] The 1990s “indie” comics scene saw two trends. One reflected an almost neurotic drive to get away from the power fantasies of superhero stories. Using a careless graphic style that emphasized the pathologically normal, authors told stories from the point of view of a “defeatist,” in the words of comics artist Joe Sacco. On the other hand, this was the era in which American non-superhero comics also started engaging with topics bigger than the middle-class suburbs of their creators. Inspiration came from the sudden acceptance of comics in the wake of Art Spiegelman's 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Maus, which also built a bridge between the artistic language of the European bande dessinée and its comparatively low-brow American cousin. Bringing these two trends together, the first issue of Joe Sacco's Palestine came out in 1993, followed by nine original single comic book issues. Trained as a journalist, Sacco tells the story of the two months he spent in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between 1991 and 1992. Read the full story » Read more

Confessions of a podcaster

By Digital Storytelling October 20, 2009

Long-form, narrative radio—that’s the kind of radio many of us dreamed of doing when we started in the business, before so much of it, for reasons both economic and stylistic, became four and a half minute chunks of airtime filled with cribbed wire copy and bad phone tape. Both the great radio and the mediocre get turned, often auto-magically, into mp3 files. Those files are then shoved up on a server somewhere for you to download to your PodBerry or whatever. And this, they will tell you, is podcasting. Or maybe they'll be a little more truthful and call it "time-shifted" radio. I sometimes call it "recycled" radio. Don't get me wrong. Recycling is good for the audio planet. It's great that you can stuff hours of potentially quality stuff onto a minuscule machine, encase it in a sweat-proof nano-sheath, and then listen to Diane Rehm while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. (Remember, the p-o-d in podcasting stands for "Portable On Demand.") But that's it? Seriously? That's all we are going to do with this amazing new medium for engaging unsuspecting audiences in unexpected ways? Read more » Read more