All posts by Sara

Brainstrips/Blog 4

Brainstrips is an interesting take on an old concept. In fact, it’s a few old concepts mashed together in an intriguing way. The textual elements of the comic are thought-provoking, in the way that philosophical questions are. For example, even on the cover, the man in the army uniform says, “So this is how you found the Meaning of Life…?” Then girl replies, “I’m sorry, but Richard has the right answers for me!” However, philosophical questions are not necessarily meant to have “right” and “wrong” answers, so where does her response come from? Are Mr. Suit’s answers simply what she wants to hear? Has no one ever told this woman that a healthy debate is good for the heart? (JK, I am not a doctor).

Another textual element that I really enjoyed was the the lines in “Is Color Real?” One character seems to now know that he is in a comic, and the other two are aware. The first character says, “I sense a blackness all around us…” Then the other two point out that it’s the black border on the page of the comic. The first mate point’s out that the captain’s left hand is “breaking the frame.” The comic declares, “Suddenly, a shift in foreground perspective!” as a too-big bird passes by the boat, the oblivious character not realizing that it’s in the foreground. The very last quote is a cute sentiment about thinking outside the box, obviously referring to the panels of the comic.

I honestly was not very fond of the visual effects in the first part of the comic. The shaking of the speech bubbles felt… cheep. That movement did not need to be there in order to advance or enhance the story. It was as if the comic was screaming, “Look, I’m eLit, I promise!” The flashing lights on the boat were cute, but it was a very small part of what the comic was actually about. The sound was essentially just background noise that I muted after the first two panels. I am honestly not even sure if I missed anything in the 2nd and 3rd parts of the comic because I forgot to turn it back on again.

The theme of Brainstrips was consistent thoughout, discussing philosophical questions that aren’t really meant to be answered. If I had more time I would go through the comic a number of times and see if different answers effects the outcome of the quiz, but I have a suspicion that it’s all the same.

Overall I enjoyed this piece of eLit, but mostly for the content and quality of pictures. For me, I probably would have enjoyed it no more and no less if it had been a comic in a physical comic book.

Hobo Lobo of Hamelin/Blog 3

There is, once again, hope for a relationship between myself and eLit thanks to Hobo Lobo of Hamelin by Stevan Živadinović. This comic boasts intriguing imagery, rich language, a classically relevant story line, as well as mechanics that allow the reader to see a 3-D world on a 2-D screen. I was captivated from the very first panel.

Not only is the imagery in Hobo Lobo of Hamelin intriguing, but it is dynamic as well. The art style is newsy, the color purposeful. It starts off mysterious at first, with yellows and pinks that give the audience a glimpse about what kind of town this is. The color then jumps to mostly greens and then blues in the rising action of the story, signifying the carefree life of Hobo Lobo. However, the blue abruptly changes to red in the 3rd strip, after Hobo Lobo had led all the rats to their death. As the story progresses, the mayor can be seen with an increasing amount of red splatter on his body and face.

The language in this story was rich and varied. The opening line was, “Once upon a time, in an age long forgotten because it was somewhat boring and contrived, there was this picturesque hamlet full of God-fearing wholesome people.” The author intrigues his readers with a statement that this was a time that was “boring and contrived” in a place that was “picturesque.” It’s almost as if he’s enticing his readers to keep reading to find out where is the conflict that they know is coming. And in another part of the story, the reader finds basic language such as, “You see, they had all these coked-up rats running around the place, freaking everybody out.” This is more the language that an audience would expect to see from a comic. However, the author continually bouncing back and forth between language forms, with precise timing to emphasize the tone in all the right places.

Hobo Lobo in Hamelin has a story line that is relateable to countless stories before it. We have heard the story time and again of the “nice guy” being taken advantage of by the “bad guy.” However, the story works because it is still relevant. Millions of people around the world break their backs for pennies while those higher up the ladder take the credit and make millions for it. CEOs make more money than they could ever spend while the average retail employee has to work two, three, four, or more jobs just to make ends meet. Reading a story about the same thing happening to someone else brings us comfort that we’re not the only ones, while also hopefully having a happy ending to look forward to… (ahem MR. ŽIVADINOVIĆ) .

Another aspect of this story that makes such an old rhetoric so relateable is the mechanics of the story. This is absolutely my favorite aspect, as well as what makes it eLit. The author manages to create a 3-D effect on a 2-D platform using layers, similar to what you would see on a Broadway stage. The back layers scroll across the screen the slowest, and the front layers the fastest, in order to give the impression that the reader is traveling on a journey with Hobo Lobo. The basic color platform is used in such a way to help the story progress; very basic at first, then more varied later on. Even the sound effects are presented in a scrolling manor. On slide 3, at the beginning of the slide only nighttime sound effects can be heard. Then as you scroll to the right, a playful harmonica increases in volume, leading the rats on a playful march to the unknown. Abruptly, the music changes, as well as the color, to a low church bell and steady low bassoon(?) note, signifying the death of the rats. The scrolling is not the only motion in this piece, however. Most of the slides boast small “slideshows” or single object that have movement. This sparse movement, outside the general side-scrolling, is always used intently in order to emphasize certain objects or feelings. In the first slide, the only object to show movement is the magical crystal ball. At the end of the second slide, Hobo Lobo wipes his hand off on his coat after shaking hands with the mayor. At the end of the third slide, there is a lot of movement which, when paired with the low musical tones, creates a feeling of foreboding for the reader.

This piece of eLit leaves me with only one question… when is the author going to finish?!

Bots/Blog 2

I feel like I am honestly having a hard time connecting with electronic literature. It probably doesn’t help that I am not a big fan of classic literature in the first place. With that being said, I chose to focus on the “Bots” collection, because I am not familiar with Mayakovsky. However, even the Bots collection the pieces leave me confused and flustered. I have explored all of the bots posted in this collection, one by one. I find myself totally confused. I think I understand the concept that a computer program uses some sort of algorithm to generate random posts. And sometimes they come together into something that is amusing. Call me a party pooper, but I just didn’t get it.

Funnily enough, the only bot that I somewhat connected to was the “How 2 sext” bot. The description says, “it plays on describing intimate messages between partners in often un-sexual language.” One says, “You quickly manage peer pressure while i stay focused on my studies.” Does this mean the author believes his/her peer quickly gives in to peer pressure while they manage to stay away from it and focus on their studies? My brain may just be too literal for this. I definitely need to stay late tonight and speak to my professor…

Twelve Blue

To be very honest, Twelve Blue and certain forms of elit initially strike me as… uncomfortable. In Twelve Blue, there are a great number of characters and plots that are all happening simultaneously. The story starts with a girl who falls for a carny, then jumps to “September’s Embers never ending” from the perspective of a girl who is on her way to school. Next is Samantha, who wants to plan a tea party and invite a girl who’s boyfriend drown in a creek. This type of storytelling is so confusing for me. I have difficulty keeping up with all of the story lines and characters, and sadly I lose my focus.

The interesting part of all of this is that when I was younger, some of my favorite books were the Goosebumps: Choose Your Own Adventure books. One page told you to skip to another page, and then go back to another page. However, when I was reading the Goosebumps books I would frequently peek at what was about to happen in both storylines, and choose which one I liked better. Also, most of the time I would go back and read all of the storylines.

The difference with Twelve Blue is that the electronic format gives so much more room for alternate characters and endings. At this point, to me, it becomes overwhelming. however, I am intrigued by this type of storytelling, and I want to learn more about it. I will definitely be reading more of these stories in the future.