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Transmedia and Comics – Notes


  • Storytelling using different medias and each of them having their own element contribute to the understanding of a story.
  • Transmedia creates entry points by being presented in different media formats. This is what makes the story world more immersive.
  • Multi-platform storytelling; cross-platform storytelling; transmedia narrative.
  • Desire of audience can be used as innovation for complicated narratives allowing participation and sharing.
  • Stories have and are contents of our lives.
  • Narratives are played out in different media as they are invented and used by different societies.
  • Orally, songs, painted images, sculpture, written text, printed page, photographs, film, games etc.
  • Ulysses, odyssey.

Media Specifity

  • Media specifity – The Medium is the Message (Marshall McLuhan)


  • “Pictorial narratives or expositions in which words usually contribute to the meaning of the pictures and vice versa.”
  • Panels/frames.
  • A characters thoughts or conversation with another character is recognised through individual speech bubbles/balloons.
  • The story is sequenced in panels to guide the reader’s eyes.
  • Sequential art – type of graphic storytelling.
  • Forms cannot be merely imported; it has to be adapted to the new media and cannot be called a duplicate of the old media. New identity! New ways to perceive a story.
  • http://www2.gsu.edu/~jougms/Maxx.htm

Comic History

  • 1845 – Modern comic books grew from comic strips. Comic strips were always humorous thus, the word “comic”.
  • 1845 – “The Yellow Kid” was a short narrative with just a few panels. Also one of the first strips to use speech balloons.
  • 1930s – Publishers printed hundreds of different strips featuring still-famous characters – Dick Tracy, Popeye and Little Orphan Annie. I remember watching the cartoon series of Popeye the Sailor Man when I was younger; this means it was a different media form of the same story.
  • 1933 – These short comic strips were reprinted on tabloid-sized pages by Eastern Colour Printing. This means publication was a smaller size than newspapers of the time. Eastern Colour capitalised on its momentum by selling comic books.
  • 1935 – DC Comics printed the first comic book filled with new material instead of comic strip reprints – this was “New Fun” Comics No. 1. The sixth issue on “New Fun” introduced the character Superman.
  • 1938 – Superman debuted in “Action Comics No. 1.” First superhero comic book.
  • 1937 – DC Comics published its “Detective Comics”. This publication introduced Batman.
  • Superhero-themed comic books were enormously popular during WWII. Non-hero characters were also popular – Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
  • Superheroes lost their grip on the public imagination when the war ended. Comic publishers introduced more subjects such as science fiction, drama, animal, Western, crime and horror in their comics to enlarge readership.
  • 1954 – Psychiatrist and author Fredric Wertham published a book – Seduction of the Innocence. This gave horror comics in particular a bad name as they were being help responsible for adolescent depravity and misbehaviour.
  • Self censoring Comics Code Authority (CCA) was created by publishers to set standards for comic content. This was to make sure that comics would stay within limits and ensure the safety of the industry. Whitewashed comics for non-offensive, politically correct and non-threatening to children and institutions of that time. Due to this mainstream comics were losing their audience.
  • 1960s – Independent publishers and authors unbound by CCA rules featured every sort of subject that mainstream comics could not – sex, drugs, politics and both visual and written obscenities of every kind. These were underground comics were called commix and they featured “Fritz the Cat,” “Trashman” and “Wonder Wart-Hog.”
  • Made more sophisticated (unburdened with sales quotas and censorship) – literary writing styles matched with equally advanced artwork.
  • 1970s and 1980s – longer form comics became popular and were called graphic novels. Contained complicated subjects like morality and philosophy; these introduced conflicted characters, imperfect superheroes.
  • 1986 – Key year for “Watchmen”, “Maus” and “The Dark Knight Returns”.
  • DC Comics (Warner Bros) and Marvel (Sony) were best sellers in U.S. and are best source of transmedia characters.
  • Japan saw a similar rise in comic art. After WWII Japanese fell in love with comics and began producing manga.Managa is more popular in Japan and comics are in U.S. Manga creators target books to a variety of audiences – cyoung children, teens and adults.

European Comic History

  • Humorous adventure vein – Tintin and Asterix.
  • Wordless books were very influenctial.
  • Frans Masereel’s ‘the Passionate Journey’ and ‘the Sun’ are key.
  • Famous artists of the Franco-Belgian comics started during WW2 when American comics were banned.
  • André Franquin and Peyo started in, and Willy Vandersteen, Jacques Martin and Albert Uderzo all worked for Bravo.
  • 1960s – Ninth art designation stems from the cartoonist Morris’s articles about the history of comics. Morris (Maurice De Bevere) a Belgian cartoonist who created Lucky Luke.
  • 1940s – Many of his characters were based on famous actors such as Jack Palance, Gary Cooper and W. C. Fields.
  • 1984 – Hannah-Barbera made a series of 52 cartoons of Lucky Luke.
  • 1990 – 52 more cartoons were made and three live actions movies.
  • Video games based on series were made for PlayStation 1 and Game Boy Colour.
  • Lucky Luke – currently best selling European comics series ever – 300 million copies sold in 30+ languages.
  • Moebius – European comic book key figure. The Long Tomorrow prototype for Blade Runner.
  • His design appeared in Tron, Alien and The Abyss.
  • Kurosawa was producing The Airtitght garage but that was shelved afta he passed away. It was meant to be animated by the same people who did Akira.


  • Created by French writer Marcel Allain (1885-1970) and Pierre Souvestre (1874-1914) in 1911.
  • 1911-1913 – Duo wrote 32 Fantamos novels – several adapted to the screen in a series of equally successful movies between 1913 and 1914.
  • Fantamos is a good example of Adaptation Expansio

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