Creating a Live Action Comic

Before we started Fun Home, we were focusing on the Donald Duck comics, more specifically the Vacation Time comic by Carl Barks. We focused in detail about how the panels were laid out and drawn, studying the sight lines of characters and the strange proportions of some of the objects within the panel. To try and get us to better engage with this topic, our Professor instructed us to take a page of the comic and try to recreate it through photographs. Personally, the Disney aspect aside, comic books aren’t often realistic in any sense of the word. Super heroes and supernatural themes normally dominate the comic book isles, and the last time I checked I don’t think that the majority of people that I know can shoot laser beams out of their eyes or survive the zombie apocalypse. So when our Professor said that we had to recreate a comic, and in this case a comic where all the characters are ducks, I was a little confused at first. In the comic realm, the laws of our reality can easily broken since comics are usually works of fiction (though there are some comics based of real events).

This little project turned out to be a more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be. My group almost didn’t finish taking our photos in time for class to end because we were laughing so hard. It was bit of a challenge to recreate a few of the panels, such as a panel that was clearly supposed to illustrate motion as well as the panel where Donald appears to have the deer on his shoulders. Since you can’t really photograph motion lines, we had to frame the picture of where the camera that Donald is holding is grabbed from his hands. We had to time the picture just right, literally having the person playing the bear grabbing the phone and pulling it away from the person playing Donald over and over again until we got what we considered a decent photo.

The cropping of the photos to fit it into the provided panels was also a bit of a challenge. When drawing a comic panel, unless you are intentionally aiming to break through the gutters around the panel, artists know exactly how much space that they have to work with and alter their drawings to fit within the provided space. When we were taking pictures however, we didn’t really have that dictated space. We had much more physical space around us when taking the photos and often posed a little too far away or stood a little too close to the camera. Trying to make these photos fit into the small panel space involved a lot of cropping and skewing of the photo itself.

I think this project actually worked really well due to the fact that the characters we were supposed to be portraying weren’t actually humans. If we were given panels of the characters from Watchmen where the characters are dressed normally and simply standing around, I think the point of this project would have been lost a little. Having humans mimic other humans doing boring actions doesn’t really seem to illustrate the struggle of being able to connect reality to the comic world.