From Panel One

From Panel One
On this episode we uncover what makes comics such an effective storytelling tool. Going beyond super heroes and capes, what makes a panelled page stand apart from just the written word.

Comics hold a special place in our heart here, so this week we want to take you on a bit of an adventure into how far reaching they can be. From Dream gods to a Brazilian Obituary writer, we look out how comics can be so malleable. Comic book creators span multiple storytelling styles to bring to life worlds that sometimes can only exist in comics.


Transcript

Ollie: [00:00:00] When was the last time you read a comic. And when I say comic, I mean a proper paper issue that you pick up and flip through the pages to read. I'll be honest for me. It's been a while comics come and go in my life, but some of the most important moments in me learning about storytelling, who've come from comic books and the people involved in them.

[00:00:22] It's a medium that does things that no others can. The is held in the pages in juror and inspire each generation to tell their own stories through writing art and atmosphere. Comics like animation are often misunderstood about what mean makes them such a great storytelling tool, animation and film is not a Zamara it's waived telling stories in ways you wouldn't otherwise be able to do in live action comics.

[00:00:45] On the other hand, also not as entre. Yes. Superheros and satirical tunes have their place, but there's so much more to the worlds within comics. Associating pictures with words is nothing new. But like adding sound to film, it adds a whole new dimension to the stories you were building on this episode.

[00:01:03] We're going to go between the panels to find out what makes comics so special. This is Pathfinder a show about storytelling.

[00:01:16] Neil Gaiman: [00:01:16] Um, there are things that you can do in comics that I miss in prose. And at this point in time, having won as many awards for writing pros as one. I still miss them. I still go. I wish you could do this thing. There's no equivalent in provosts of a silent comics panel. One of the joys in comics for me is.

[00:01:37] Able to write the sequence of panels and have somebody to just not say anything for a panel. And they're thinking, and nothing's being said, and nothing's happening, but you're looking at them and you

[00:01:50] Music: [00:01:50] can't do that.

[00:01:54] Neil Gaiman: [00:01:54] Pro is you can't just say Fred said nothing because you're saying something, um, you weren't giving the reader that moment of perfect stillness to try and figure out for themselves.

[00:02:03] What's happening

[00:02:07] Ollie: [00:02:07] whenever I'm speaking about comics with someone who maybe hasn't had the chance to read one in a while, I point out that Neil Gaiman, a person who you might know from writing books, TV series, and movies got most of his grounding from rice,

[00:02:23] Siri Sandman, which recently is being adapted in all kinds of ways, was a bit of a generational cornerstone for some people, the story which follows the dream Lord Morpheus. It was an accessible look into mythology philosophy and literature in scale Sandman wouldn't make sense when it was created as anything other than a comic it's ambition.

[00:02:42] And plain of storytelling is massive. And this is where we're going to start. Comic books are a cheap, medium. This doesn't mean the creating them is easy to do, but in comparison to shooting a film or designing a video game, The creation process has a much lower bar to entry. It means that where other formats may struggle to keep their head above water, the writers and artists behind comics can keep going.

[00:03:05] It's that persistence that has made comics so enduring. As soon as I bring up comments, your mind probably goes towards the giant superhero movies that dominate our screen hero. Yeah.

[00:03:14] Music: [00:03:14] If we can't protect the earth damn shirt with engine.

[00:03:20] Ollie: [00:03:20] Very same superheroes had a very different role when they were created, other than fighting off into galactic monsters.

[00:03:26] They were pushing people to protect their own lives. During war, just as the ancient Greeks held up gods to be something that they learned from whether it was their strength, misunderstanding, and abuse of their power or meddling in human affairs, the gods taught our ancestors how the world worked in their eyes, but more importantly, how to understand their day-to-day struggles.

[00:03:45] So when the world went to war, we did the same thing. Writers and artists like Stanley Joel Schuster, Jerry Siegel, Joe Simon, and Jack Kirby picked up the pins to create new gods for new time

[00:04:00] superheroes, isle ways, an aspirational, exaggerated version of ourselves. They have powers. We could only dream of. So when the world is at war and other stories are hard to tell when theaters can't stay open, cinema is being bombed. The humble comic Berg could still tell big stories within the confines of their relatively small pages.

[00:04:21] It's because of this accessibility to creation that stories get told in comics that otherwise never could. When I was a teenager for a brief time, I worked as a comic book shop in London. There was something special about it that I've never experienced in any other, setting the staff at the comic book shop or wanted to tell stories instead of mindlessly watching the latest video on YouTube, or just grabbing a sad sandwich over your lunch break, these people made things.

[00:04:47] You'd have a break from the till walk downstairs into the staff room and everyone there had broken out their creation implement of choice for some, it was writing for others. It was painting. This was an environment of storytellers who knew they wanted to make something and they were figuring out how to do it.

[00:05:03] Like every creative format. Not everyone makes this in comics, but at least trying to make one gives you the right tool set to make any story in any other medium. Well, you need to create a comic is some paper and a pen or pencil writing. A comic is much like writing a screenplay, penciling and layout are the backbone of storyboard artists and animators learning to tell a story between a set of panels creates a set of restraints, but also creates opportunities to show people the worlds in your head in a way that writing just couldn't do justice to.

[00:05:41] Music: [00:05:41] day

[00:05:41] Ollie: [00:05:41] trip. There is a comment by Fabio moon and Gabriel bar. It follows the child of a world famous writer. The child now grown up, spends his life writing other people's a bit juries. And much like every writer, dreams of becoming a successful author himself, the writer's big problem. He spends his days writing the ends of other people's lives when he feels like his life hasn't even started.

[00:06:04] They refer as a story about what matters in life and understanding the importance in the moments that pass you by. The writer constantly questions, which moment that his life might start and whether he would notice when it had, whether that be meeting the goal of his dreams, his first kiss, or even when his first son was born, the comic is very different to what you might expect.

[00:06:24] When you walk into a comic book, shop gone to the tights and capes. Instead the pages of this book tell a much smaller story. That's incredibly personal to its creators. What makes the comic even more interesting is that while the stories themes are universal to everyone, it's told from a Brazilian perspective, with major influences from Brazil's language and literature and culture, the main character's name is actually Bryce is in Brazil.

[00:06:51] Fall and moon grew up in Brazil. Opportunities afforded to them. Aren't the same as they are to people who grow up in London, Los Angeles, or New York, they needed a way of telling their story to reach people completely out of their reach. They turned to comics

[00:07:06] Clip: [00:07:06] Daytripper by Fabio moon and Gabriel

[00:07:09] Music: [00:07:09] Bach

[00:07:14] Ollie: [00:07:14] Daytripper would go on to win an Eisner awards, the best limited series. It's highly regarded as one of the best stories told in comics. And frankly is a great story that you should read today. It tackles a lot of what makes us us, but told from a perspective you might not normally experience, which leads me to my favorite thing about comics, experiencing things you might not normally experience at the start of this episode.

[00:07:37] I mentioned that comics come in and out of my life at various points. I read comics when I need them. When I need to make sense of something or immediately escape to another world. Or the one thing we've all done become someone else become something else. And all this talking about comics, it would be a mistake not to look at why superheroes are so enduring and why in a world of so many stories, we constantly turned to heroes that at one stage or another, we've all dressed up as or imagined we were Superman takes the human power fantasy to the extreme.

[00:08:10] He can fly and has super strength and one very specific weakness. Superman's greatest strength though. Isn't his powers. It's the hope he offers to the people around him is that even with infinite power on a planet, that isn't his, he still strives to do the right thing. He gets it wrong a lot. But the best Superman stories are him struggling with this ordeal and how he brings things round to protect, not just the people close to him, but anyone he can, Superman has changed a lot since he was created.

[00:08:42] His red on the pants came, went and were brought back again. Don't ask it's a long story for another day, but every generation Superman gets a new lick of paint for the world. He exists in. He's being characterized as a dangerous immigrant and a terrorist to a war hero, depending on the writer who steps up to the plate of Superman story changes, which leads me to how comic stories work instead of describing things to you, they show you if a picture is worth a thousand words.

[00:09:10] Each superhero is built of a thousand voices reading superheroes. Isn't being in a world with characters on its pages. It's being the characters more so than any other medium comics puts you in the shoes of the characters. In the story, even though you don't have their powers or abilities, you can rationalize how it feels.

[00:09:30] And it's for this reason that certain characters are so enduring. Every time a new writer comes in, they create a new way to wear the suit of the superhero, a new way for use to interact with that world. My Batman is different from your Batman, but they are the same character throughout the years. So many different writers have taken their own approach to the Cape Crusader.

[00:09:51] Sometimes he's a master detective. Sometimes he's more of an action hero. Sometimes the stories aren't even about Batman. They're about the city. He exists in Gotham. Most of all, though, his stories are a mirror. Batman has the most interesting villains because the stories of Batman hold up a mirror to ourselves and the villain disappears is everything that's wrong with society at that point in time is very different from characters in a movie, you can watch a film from before your time and experience different things from your dad.

[00:10:19] For example. But with a comic book story, your knowledge of the character built from the way you experienced them. When you did define your relationship with the most recent Spiderman film into the spider verse does this in a perfect way. The film introduces the notion of a multi-verse a series of worlds, interconnected that all have their own.

[00:10:40] Spider-Man the most important one is miles Morales introduced in the comics by Brian Michael Bendis years earlier miles is an Afro-Latino teenager. Who gained his powers at a very similar time as to when Peter Parker did at high school to me and many other people older than me, Peter Parker is Spiderman.

[00:10:59] To every child that has their first experience as Spiderman in this film miles Morales is this vitamin the film's mantra. Anyone can wear the mask perfectly sums up why comics are such a critical and diverse storytelling method. The act of putting on a character and walking a mile in their shoes.

[00:11:16] Isn't always what we want to do, but sometimes it's what we need to do to break ourselves out of a rut or understand the stage of life we're at through someone else's eyes. Yes, comic books are intimate, but what they do better than any other medium is that they are empathetic. They're not just empathetic to one perspective.

[00:11:35] They offer up a route for any story to be told big, small, colorful, or black and white. And for a brief moment can give you a bit of quiet in a very busy world. In another world, very different

[00:11:48] Music: [00:11:48] from your own.

[00:12:00] Ollie: [00:12:00]  The show about storytelling.