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Links: experimental comics

Comics has a rich and eclectic tradition of formal experimentation. Following are a few links to examples of experimental comics from around the world. If you are a teacher or student you can extrapolate all kinds of activities to help you make and understand comics—of course, if you are familiar with Matt’s work you know that this formalist, experimental approach already permeates this blog and our books well!

  • Oubapo-America is a website put together by Matt, Tom Hart, and Jason Little to introduce anglophone comics fans to the French group Oubapo, the Workshop for Potential Comics, of which Matt is the US correspondent. The site has explanations of the history and practice of constraint-based comics (for example, a comic where each panel can only show an extreme close-up of a hand) as well as numerous examples of constraints and their solutions.

an abstract comic by Grant Thomas (using Oubapian constraints) from the Abstract Comics blog

  • The Abstract Comics blog accompanies the very interesting eponymous anthology edited by Andrei Molotiu. The book is fascinating in the way it mines a mostly-overlooked juncture of comics and abstraction. The blog continues in the same line, with regular updates of new pages. Any number of the comics here can serve as the springboard for new work or discussions about the language of comics
  • Scott McCloud is a one-man idea factory, constantly questioning and pushing at the boundaries of our medium. His website has numerous examples of his experimental webcomics as well as descriptions of two of his influential comics inventions, the 24-hour comic and 5-card Nancy, both discussed and adapated in DWWP.

Experimental comics are international and there is lots of material available in foreign languages (remember incidentally that with their combination of text and image, comics are a great tool for teaching languages):

an acrostic comic by Etienne Lécroart

  • Oubapo member Etienne Lécroart has examples of his formidable comics experiments on his website. (in French)
  • The inspiration and mentor-group of Oubapo is Oulipo, Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle. The site posts a “constraint of the month”, a great source for writing and cartooning challenges. (in French)
  • Tahipo: Taller de Historieta Potencial is a Spanish-language blog inviting South American cartoonists to contribute to monthly constraints. Many of these are based on the work of Oubapo and Oulipo but they have also made their own contributions, such as the very challenging “Around the world in 10 panels” constraint. (in Spanish)

an early iteration of Revista Beleléu's "domino" comic

  • The Brazilian Revista Beleléu features an on-going jam comic in the form of an ever-expanding domino game (meanwhile, two American cartoonists have done something similar, likening it to a crossword puzzle). (in Portuguese)

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