Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Patrick Scullin Publishes Webcomics and Meets Stan Lee

Patrick Scullin will contribute to the Herakles graphic novel a crucial, but secret (for now!) pair of pages. When he's not drawing Herakles or art for his clients or for his Illustration MFA at Cal State Fullerton, he creates the weekly strip of his webcomics for young readers, Super Siblings, which he publishes under his indy production, Banshee Comics. He recently met Stan Lee and shared a long blog post about Lee's Q&A.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Will Eurystheus Hide in Here?

Twice, the sight of Herakles returning from labors with wild beasts so scares Eurystheus, that he commands his powerful cousin to no longer come inside. Instead, Herakles must take his orders outside the wall of Eurystheus' palace. During one of his frights, Eurystheus throws himself in a large vase. Here is Liang Lu's intricate sketch of this object.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Herakles Graphic Novel Plot, Part 3: How Does Hera Think?

Since our version of the Twelve Labors of Hercules centers around the conflict between Hera and Hercules, we projected ourselves in Hera's mind. With every trap she sets, she expects Hercules to die. Yet, he survives every labor and defeats every monster she sends his way, beginning with the two snakes which should have ended his life while still a baby.

For our sequence of labors, we started with the fight against the Nemean Lion. After all, that's where Hercules gets his trademark hide! However, rather than send him next to the greatest monster of all, the Hydra, as is the traditional sequence, we slowly upped the ante, so the reader could experience Hera's growing frustration. After the fifth Labor, Hera is flummoxed and buys time by sending her foe to his oddest labor: ranch cleaning (Augeas' Stables). And the students planning that episode (Nick Collins and Natalie Berger) came up with a surprising, yet beautifully-timed narrative twist.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Throne of the King of Tiryns, Eurystheus

Student and artist, Liang Lu, designed this elegant throne for Eurystheus, the King of Tiryns, who instructs Herakles of his labors.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Herakles Graphic Novel Plot, Part 2: How Do You Make 12 Labors One Story?

How do you tell a story crafted more than 25 centuries ago, told, and retold many times over? For the Twelve Labors of Hercules (or Herakles), you could choose the "safe" route, and find a generally accepted traditional sequence. Such a sequence exists in the version presented by Apollodorus of Athens (ca. 180 - 120 BC). However, the challenge with telling the story of Herakles' 12 Labors is to avoid its episodic nature. It can become a very choppy read, where the only connecting agent is a large muscular guy with a lion's hide on his back. Instead, our version is about one key conflict: a bitterly hurt wife, Hera, who takes out her anger on a naive, yet dutiful (and illegitimate) son, Herakles.

So here's our sequence of the first 6 labors:

1. Confronting the Nemean Lion
2. Expelling the Symphalian Birds
3. Trapping the Erymanthian Boar
4. Catching the Ceryneian Stag
5. Fighting the Hydra of Lerna
6. Cleaning the Stables of Augeas

What's the logic behind this sequence? It's tight and solid. And we'll share it in an upcoming post.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Where Herakles Hears About His Labors

It's at this palace in Tiryns where King Eurystheus instructs his cousin Herakles as to what each new labor entails. (Concept art by Hans Tseng, Niel Culliney, and Madaly Ahmad).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Goya's Caprichos: An Early Case of Sequential Art

Cal State Fullerton is hosting in its Main Gallery until late November an exhibit of Goya's Caprichos. All of the prints from the 1st edition from this series appear in the exhibit. It's a treat for any student of sequential art to see how one of the masters tackled storytelling in sequence, mood, metaphorical and symbolic visual expression, black and white design, and so many more relevant skills for comic artists. The show is opened Tuesdays through Fridays from noon to 4pm, and Saturdays from noon to 2pm. For more information, call (714) 278-7750.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Herakles Graphic Novel Plot: Part 1

How do you tell a story so many people have told over so many centuries?

You read and re-read earlier versions until you inhabit their spirit. And then magic happens. Ideas grow like weeds. With enough treading, the terrain of the text uncovers the story strengths and flaws. That's when you "own" the story. That's when you are ready to move the earth of the myth and landscape a new vision for your readers.

Everyone in class first studied public domain versions of the 12 Labors (see below). Our brainstorming, group discussions, and lectures on story design yielded a new and unique plot for Herakles' journey. Like many versions, ours starts with his birth and youth; however, we planted meaningful details and twists in the early chapters to give our burdened hero more depth and to shape a more connected plot that pays off over the length of the story.

How did we tackle the 12 Labors? That's for an upcoming post. Meanwhile, check out some of our sources:

. Herakles by Mary Elizabeth Burt, Zénaïde Alexeïevna Ragozin
. Greek and Roman Mythology By Jessie May Tatlock (pp. 210-227)
. A New Classical Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography, Mythology and Geography by William Smith, and more
. The Mythology of Greece and Rome by Otto Seemann
. Greek and Roman Mythology by William Sherwood Fox

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Anime News Network Interviews Sequential Art Class Student, Hans Tseng

Last month, Anime News Network ran a long interview of Hans Tseng, creator of the very successful self-published manga, Directions of Destiny. He is a junior at Cal State Fullerton in the BFA in Illustration program, and he is now in our Sequential Art class. For the Herakles graphic novel, he is inking the Herakles' First Labor: the Nemean Lion. Tseng keeps a blog, Slime Mansion, and showcases his art on deviantART.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More Memories from The Getty Villa

We went on a Wednesday, when the museum is only opened to schools and educational groups.

The Getty Villa staff was fantastic! They granted us a room so we could work and go over our story progress and sketches. They lent us audio devices so we could all learn more about the artistic and cultural background of the artifacts that related the most to our Herakles graphic novel project.

Finally, without the general public there (and less people altogether), it was much easier to sketch!