Friday, March 02, 2018

Reader's Diary #1749- Pab Sungenis: I Can Has Empire?

Moving along in my exploration of photocomics, I'm also able to overlap with my study of webcomics thanks to Pab Sungenis and I Can Has Empire? the 2nd printed collection of his The New Adventures of Queen Victoria series which first appeared online.

Getting a bit of the negative out of the way first, this publication by Lulu is of very poor quality. The images and font are too small and often blurry which is frustratingly distracting.

That said, I did enjoy Pab Sungenis's work more than my more recent look at Joey Comeau and Emily Horne's Anatomy of Melancholy. Besides being just funnier, it felt more like an actual comic (versus captioned pictures). Also, the gutters of Sungenis' strip were real and had the usual comic implications.

The New Adventures of Queen Victoria still doesn't, unfortunately, much lift the reputation of photocomics as being a bit lazier, less work than drawn comics. To be fair, Pab Sungenis does put some work in. He writes the speech balloons and chooses old stock images of Queen Victoria and other historical figures to pose. Sometimes he even draws on expressions. Still, it's a far cry away from my idea to have people pose, carefully choose settings, select appropriate lighting, etc.I think a good photocomic can be just as much work if not more than a drawn one.

As a side note, I once again found myself thinking of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. He does a chapter on the somewhat counter-intuitive role of simple cartooning. I believe his theory goes that we're often more able to relate to, see ourselves in, simpler cartoon faces than more realistically drawn ones, the ones we tend to see as others, as characters. It will be interesting to reflect upon this as I read more photocomics. It doesn't get much more realistic looking than a photo! This would also suggest that photocomics would work better from some stories than others.

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