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Spank Everest
05-03-2010, 10:06 PM
What are people's thoughts on comics told in the first person perspective/narrative?

I’ve just had a writer/illustrator give me his first draft script for a comic he’s adapted from a short novel he wrote. It’s all from the narrator’s eyes. I’ll be honest, I’m not loving the idea. There’s a few moments where it totally lends itself to that style, but the rest of it just seems….fine. Not bad, just….alright. Got me wondering if there are many other comics out there COMPLETELY in that style.

NeverWanderer
05-03-2010, 10:14 PM
I know Bendis used it to great effect in one chapter of Jinx, and I believe Darwin Cooke did it for the first few pages of The Hunter, so it can definitely be done well, but I don't see it working for an entire ogn-length comic. I mean... not unless the story is written SPECIFICALLY to be told from the first person, where the experience and story would suffer without it.

I dunno. I'm a never-say-never kinda guy, but I'd be extremely skeptical of it working in any sort o extended fashion.

Joe Kalicki
05-03-2010, 10:16 PM
It's all about second person. Makes me think I'm reading about me.

NeverWanderer
05-03-2010, 10:18 PM
It's all about second person. Makes me think I'm reading about me.

Actually, that's kind of interesting... in a comic format, first person and second person sort of become the same thing. The perspective of the protagonist becomes the perspective of the reader through the very nature of the medium.

Joe Kalicki
05-03-2010, 10:19 PM
I actually think first person is usually just pretty lazy writing.

Spank Everest
05-03-2010, 10:20 PM
I know Bendis used it to great effect in one chapter of Jinx, and I believe Darwin Cooke did it for the first few pages of The Hunter, so it can definitely be done well, but I don't see it working for an entire ogn-length comic. I mean... not unless the story is written SPECIFICALLY to be told from the first person, where the experience and story would suffer without it.

I dunno. I'm a never-say-never kinda guy, but I'd be extremely skeptical of it working in any sort o extended fashion.

Yeah, the fact that there are some strong moments with it sorta makes me think he should use it for those moments and keep the rest as per usual.

To be honest, if he wasn't an illustrator himself I think I may have shot it down in flames before even looking at it.

NeverWanderer
05-03-2010, 10:30 PM
I actually think first person is usually just pretty lazy writing.

It can certainly be easier than third person for some people, but I don't know that I'd call it lazy. If someone isn't that good with 3rd person, but can tell a good story through 1st person, isn't the quality of the story what matters? Not the ease with which they told it?

I've even found reading first person can be more engaging than third, because from the very beginning, you're thrown into the mind of the protagonist; something which could take a chapter or more to achieve in third person.


Yeah, the fact that there are some strong moments with it sorta makes me think he should use it for those moments and keep the rest as per usual.

To be honest, if he wasn't an illustrator himself I think I may have shot it down in flames before even looking at it.

I imagine it could work great for action or suspense sequences, but would get lost underneath dialogue or narrative captions.

Have you brought your questions to the guy already? Maybe he'd be able to sketch out how he sees it in his head -- maybe he sees something there you don't yet?

Donal DeLay
05-03-2010, 10:36 PM
I believe Darwin Cooke did it for the first few pages of The Hunter.

Nope. We're only seeing through Parker's eyes for like, a page. When he looks at himself in the mirror. The first few pages we don't see Parker's face, but it's not through a first person perspective any more than the rest of the story is.

NeverWanderer
05-03-2010, 10:49 PM
Nope. We're only seeing through Parker's eyes for like, a page. When he looks at himself in the mirror. The first few pages we don't see Parker's face, but it's not through a first person perspective any more than the rest of the story is.

Ah! Well, there you go. I was only recalling from that preview they posted up just before the book came out.

Spank Everest
05-03-2010, 10:51 PM
It can certainly be easier than third person for some people, but I don't know that I'd call it lazy. If someone isn't that good with 3rd person, but can tell a good story through 1st person, isn't the quality of the story what matters? Not the ease with which they told it?

I've even found reading first person can be more engaging than third, because from the very beginning, you're thrown into the mind of the protagonist; something which could take a chapter or more to achieve in third person.



I imagine it could work great for action or suspense sequences, but would get lost underneath dialogue or narrative captions.

Have you brought your questions to the guy already? Maybe he'd be able to sketch out how he sees it in his head -- maybe he sees something there you don't yet?

Nah, I was gonna speak to him tonight. Thought I'd gauge some of you folk for any examples that I could potentially show him for what works & what doesn't.

NeverWanderer
05-03-2010, 10:59 PM
Nah, I was gonna speak to him tonight. Thought I'd gauge some of you folk for any examples that I could potentially show him for what works & what doesn't.

Ah. Well, then, yeah, the best (and apparently only) example I know of is the first person street chase in Jinx. And that was an absolutely mind-blowing piece of comic-making. Still floors me to this day.

Donal DeLay
05-03-2010, 11:20 PM
Ah! Well, there you go. I was only recalling from that preview they posted up just before the book came out.

There are a couple FP POV panels, but not a lot.

Fygar
05-03-2010, 11:49 PM
Isn't an entire chapter of FROM HELL in first person? It might even be the opening chapter. I remember it working in that example, but we're talking about master's of the craft. I'm not saying the two of you aren't capable, just that it'd be pretty damn difficult to pull off.

Cradleman
05-04-2010, 12:07 AM
Although first person works really well in mystery novels, i don't see it going over too well in comics, especially not for an extended period of time. The reason it can work in a novel is that prose allows a lot of thoughts to flow, letting the reader experience everything with the main character. In comics the words are very limited and thus the impact is extremely reduced. just imo.

Greygor
05-04-2010, 01:03 AM
I'm pretty sure the iZombie preview (Chris Roberson & Michael Allred) I saw in Joe the Barbarian was narrated from the the first person perspective. It seemed to suit what was being told.

dmh3000
05-04-2010, 02:42 AM
I think it's all right, but you lose a lot of story telling and foreshadowing potential when you can't see the main character's expressions and what's happening behind him and behind the scenes.

James Patrick
05-04-2010, 04:40 AM
First, second, or third person doesn't dictate the quality of the writing. It's the writer. FIrst person is not stronger, weaker, more ambitious or lazier than any other form. Most comics aren't first person in the same sense that books are anyway. The POV and scenes shift perspective even with first person narration. Multiple characters sometimes have narration in a singel issue. Ther's so much overlap it's really a mix most of the time.

Spank Everest
05-04-2010, 04:51 AM
Isn't an entire chapter of FROM HELL in first person? It might even be the opening chapter. I remember it working in that example, but we're talking about master's of the craft. I'm not saying the two of you aren't capable, just that it'd be pretty damn difficult to pull off.

FROM HELL! Of course. Thanks!

And yeah, no offense taken - we're hardly masters of the craft. We're hardly apprentices of the craft. I'd say we're more of a backyard operation of the craft.