eyewig said: You once told about best storytellers in western comics and put Julia Gfrörer on the list. Right after that i checked out your text about the autor and then read "Black is the color". This comic gave me a lot of emotions, but really small amount of coherence of its points, what i thought is the difference between told story and things that any "non-sequential" artform could bring. So is storytelling really important there and was it special for you for some reasons?(sorrey for my english)
I wrote about Gfrörer’s work in much greater depth here:
As for Black is the Color, I didn’t find it very hard to understand. It’s just a story of a sailor and a mermaid. Sex/death kinda thing. There’s a wonderful sense of timing in it, and I thought the complexity of the mermaid’s life outside of her relationship to the sailor was fun. From a strictly formalistic view, you’re looking at a lot of repititve panels with small characterizing changes, mixed with a really amazing sense of the sea itself. You can almost get sea sick off of some of those pages because of how powerfully you can feel the sea rock. Thinking of that scene where the mermaids watch the boat sink.
As with anything, maybe the same thing is two things when different people are looking at it. I think my review of Palm Ash though is fairly precise in just what exactly I see in her work, so I’d read that.
Hi eyewig. Thanks for your interest in my work, and for reading my book and thinking about it. As to your question above: I think you’re saying that although you responded emotionally to Black is the Color, you didn’t feel that the scenes fit together to move through a clear, unified story arc, and for that reason you don’t understand why it was an example of good storytelling specifically. I’m going to respond assuming I’ve understood your question correctly, but if not please feel free to set me straight.
The truth is that Black is the Color was very deliberately plotted, and I worked to remove any dialogue, character, scene or panel that didn’t do its part. It’s a short book, there’s no room for dead weight. In retrospect I think it could be tighter. But it’s also unconventionally plotted, in the sense that I write not with the intention of relaying a series of incidents (“first this happened, and because of this that happened, whereupon another thing happened”), but of mapping a certain emotional climate or process. So you get a lot of information that doesn’t have much bearing on the material events of the story—indeed, the story itself is kind of a non-starter, someone is sentenced to die and then he does so—but that fleshes out the actual narrative, which is the metaphysical narrative. The events are irrelevant, except in that they allow you to access the emotions.
For example, there’s a scene about two-thirds of the way through the book where Warren is describing his first childhood romance to Eulalia. The scene provides nothing that is materially useful to the reader. Perhaps since it was a homosexual relationship it confirms that Warren’s feelings for Zevulon at the beginning of the book were romantic, but that information doesn’t really move the story forward. Instead, the scene exists to exemplify the nature of Warren and Eulalia’s relationship, where their intimacy is based on his vulnerability more than hers: she refuses to respond to his self-revelation in kind. His memory is also a mirror for what’s going on between them here and now, because it alludes to the need, on a lonely voyage, for physical closeness with someone. A sexual relationship, with or without love, addresses a valid and urgent emotional demand, and this is a theme that reoccurs throughout the book.
At any rate, of course I don’t expect you or anyone to think as deeply about my book as I do above. It probably isn’t necessary to consider these things in order to enjoy reading it—hell, it might be better not to. And moreover, this is a type of narrative that not everyone enjoys. Most negative reviews of my comics have accurately criticized them for being uneventful. Reasonable people can disagree about what constitutes good storytelling.