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When was the last time a comic surprised you? Really surprised you?

If you're using a javascript enabled modern browser, give this link a click and scroll down to read:

http://comic.naver.com/webtoon/detail.nhn?titleId=350217&no=20&weekday=tue

Neat trick, hunh?

This is one of those interesting cases where the insertion of motion (or the illusion of it by hijacking the scrollbar) doesn't automatically tear at the fabric of the medium. It still feels like comics, because that static juxtaposition is maintained (a bit like comics that use looped motion, one of which I wrote about on my site last year: http://scottmccloud.com/2010/08/24/why-it-works/).

Hope others will give it a try. Adding the ingredient of reader presence to the mix could open up a lot of interesting possibilities, especially for genres like horror which thrive on keeping the reader at least partially in the dark.

[via reader Noah Easterly, reddit, and others]
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82 comments
 
Certainly woke me up when I first looked at it.
 
Okay. I'm awake now. Very nicely done. :)
 
The visual was cool - I did not listen for the sound (have headphones plugged in which are not on my head)
 
That actually scared the pants off of me. I'm sort of glad you didn't warn me, aside from "surprising".
 
Ohhh that's pretty clever, noted in my "Way to mindfuck with people" Book ^^
 
Saw this this A.M. on Fark - you need to have sound to get the full chilling effect.
Anyone got a translation of the story?
 
Wow, fantastic effect when it works! Unfortunately, it didn't work for me the first time. I was using Chromium and scrolling with the mouse wheel. Firefox with scroll bar or PgDn worked.
 
I still have goose bumps aswell as clients waiting for stuff - I told them I had to go meet other people or something :D
 
Loved the effect! My girlfriend found it incredibly creepy and loved it as well. Now I just need to get it translated to enjoy the story. :)
 
Oh, just, oh, my holy cow. Very cool, but now I'm gonna need to get a contractor to fix the Danny shaped hole I just made in the ceiling.
 
Great - all my extra underwear is at home...
 
wat

That said, it's just a jump scare. Cool but kinda lame and it only really works once.
Rashn
 
OMGG! it got me!!... mm.. it's Korean right?
 
That was unexpected and really cool. I really like the scrolling effect, kind of reminds me of Hobo Lobo of Hamlin: http://hobolobo.net/ except Hobo scrolls horizontally.
 
I scrolled back through to get another look at what had happened; to me delight the static frames were sitting there for me to study in terms of motion what each had to lend to the motion of that scene. It all happened so fast that the 'animation' didn't detract from the pacing my mind was giving to the story. Rather, it sucked me further in because, as I studied the detail of the feet, their placement, and blurred brick, I was jarred into the scene much the way the character was.

This an entirely new concept to me and totally unlike 'motion comics'. I'm a fan of subtlety in effects and this really hit the mark for me. Thanks for the experience.
 
YEARGH! Okay, that was pretty cool.
 
I couldn't see it as Java or movie... But the frames were beautiful. Loved the way frames focused on a hand or a foot and the perspective sucks one in.
Read your book Understanding Comics and fell in love with manga but am afraid don't know where to start... Recs?
Thanks in advance. L
 
+Liat Churley Where to start with Manga? Eeek. Too big a question, I'm afraid. Anyone want to suggest some great manga for Liat?
 
+Liat Churley I'm in the same boat re: Manga. A friend recommended The Push Man and Other Stories by Yoshihiro Tatsumi and Ode to Kirihito by Osamu Tezuka. I enjoyed both but connected more with The Push Man.
 
Yuki Fujisawa's Metro Survive
Motoro Mase's Ikigami: the Ultimate Limit
Yoshihiro Tatsumi's A Drifting Life (also a brief history of manga. Nice how that works, huh?)
Jiro Taniguchi's A Distant Neighborhood
 
Katsuhiro Otomo's "Akira" is a science fiction classic and not as long as some other manga (only six volumes), and I also enjoy the Lovecraftian horror comic "Uzumaki" ("Spiral into Horror") by Junji Ito. If you like really really long series, then there's the samurai classic "Lone Wolf and Cub" by Koike and Kojima. I've been starting to read more of Osamu Tezuko, one of the big pillars of the mediums, and recently finished "MW," his hypnotically terrifying horror thriller.

Two series that I've read that have really really blown me away have been "With the Light" by Keiko Toibe and "20th Century Boys" by Naoki Urasawa. The first is a many volume series about a mother raising an autistic child, the second is a science fiction-conspiracy thriller about a group of men who must content against a terrorist millennial-cult who have based their iconography and plan on stories the group of men had created as children. No manga that I've read have as strongly captured the elements that Scott describes in "Understanding Comics" as these two: the masking effect, the use of mature and unusual themes, the frequent use of moment-to-moment and aspect-to-aspect transitions.... Both of these mangas, especially "20th Century Boys," have really changed how I write my own comics.
 
Thanks Brad and Chet. I grew up on Mad Mag but when I read Scott McCloud's book it really helped understand the art a little (or add more questions). The manga is interesting. To see how a moment in time is captured.
Thanks for the recs!
 
Asked one of my Korean friends to translate this comic for me last night at 3am (the witching hour!) because we were both scared shitless from reading it. Enjoy!



1. this is just a comic rendition of countless eye witness accounts.
2. It must've been around 11:20 PM. i was heading home after a long and exhausting day at school
3. for some reason, there weren't that many people outside that night. it's a large neighborhood, so there' usually someone even at night
4. anyways, i kept trudging on with my eyes glued to the floor, getting a bit scared
5. when all of a sudden i saw a long stretch of shadow coming towards me, but i swear there weren't anyone in front of me
6. so i looked up to see...
7. a woman walking ahead, but there was something strange about that woman
8. it seemed like she was having a hard time walking, like she was disabled or something.
9. she was walking really slowly, so the distance between us got short pretty quickly. when i got closer, i was able to see her more clearly
10. she was wearing a pair of dirty pajamas.. and it seemed like all her joints were dislocated. her hair was sticking out everywhere even
11. i thought it was really weird, so i stopped in my track
12. i felt like i shouldn't get any closer, and i didn't have the guts to walk past her either
13. there's a saying if you're really scared, you can't even scream. it's true. i was so scared, i literally froze on the spot
14. "WHERE'S MY BABY?"
15. when she asked that, all kinds of thought popped into my head
16. sigh i still don't know why i decided to do what i did. it still scares me when i think back on it
17. gulp i pointed to the farthest point from me and said...
18. "it's.. it's over there"
19. i just wanted the woman to be as far away from me as possible
20. the woman stumbled towards where i pointed to...
21. and soon she disappeared from my sight
22. i decided to get out of the neighborhood because i didn't want to run into her again
23. i couldn't even think straight. i just needed to get back to somewhere more populated
24. at that moment.....
25. "MY BABY'S NOT HEREEEEEEE!!!!!!!"
26. i could hear her despair from far away
27. i don't remember anything else from that night. a neighbor found me unconscious and brought me back to my house
28. year 2007, at seoul bongchun-dong apartment complex 33 year old mrs. Cho threw herself off the building and died immediately
29. her extramarital affairs led to divorce from her husband, and she lost custody of her 2 year old daughter. they said she committed
suicide due to the stemming depression from the incident
30. ever since then, the residents of that apartment complex have seen the ghost of mrs. cho walking around on several occasions
31. they said the sight of her mangled body, walking around barefoot, was a immensely frightening
-the end-
 
...one of the themes Scott touched on in Understanding Comics, briefly, is the tension between formalism and realism in art. Manga, being from a different culture, with different aesthetics, can give you insight on how these concepts affect narrative.
 
Also if anyone here is interested in reading horror manga, Junji Itou is one of the greatest horror manga artists. Start with some of these you can read online (firefox with adblock recommended):
my favorite: uzumaki: http://www.mangareader.net/1358/uzumaki.html
http://www.mangareader.net/1109/tomie.html
http://www.mangareader.net/gyo
http://www.mangareader.net/mimis-ghost-stories
http://www.mangareader.net/ito-junjis-cat-diary
http://www.mangareader.net/1108/flesh-coloured-horror.html
http://www.mangareader.net/black-paradox

With some googling you can probably find more of his works. "The Enigma of Amigara Fault" is creative and frightening, but I can't find a link for it =(
 
Yes, surprising, but I don't like these extensions to the comic. It's too much animation for me. I prefer the classic approach with surprises within the story.
 
Wow, that's great! Way to make use of what a comic on the internet allows for.
 
I thought it was interesting. Not a replacement of the comic medium to be sure but another avenue to pursue for the particular projects that it suits. I felt the nausea right along with the character as he was trying to make it through the night. To me, that is powerfully evoking and has tremendous merit and value. But I have to state that the motion is something that can be tolerated on the eyes for only so long before it gets too unseemly and then the entire story may not get read at all. In short, it is a great tool for storytelling but must be used wisely.
 
+Michael Scharff - those are my feelings, exactly, about stream of consciousness narratives in books! I can tolerate Norman Spinrad and Faulker, but Pynchon and Joyce kinda lose me..
 
Hah that was weird because I saw the last animation as a gif on Tumblr earlier but still didn't put two and two together while reading the comic. I like it a lot, it's a nice dimension to a horror comic.
 
Well, now I know what I sound like when I am reacting out of sheer, animal terror. Which is good, I guess.
 
Crap on a stick! Thank a lot Korea! shudder
 
I gotta say I was really scared to finish the comic:/
 
+azhar ahmad
What a great idea!
Anyone else want to make a video of their friends/family reacting to the strip?
 
That made me have a mini heart attack.
 
Nope, not gonna fall for this one again.
 
Thanks for scaring me with a comic. I never thought that would EVER happen.
 
KEWL.... Heart attack in the morning. works better than my regular cup of joe!
 
omfg that was mean! crap im gonna have to walk home in the dark tonight too!
 
Wow, did not expect the first one at all. Very cool effect for a comic.
 
I no longer need to buy a purgative: That scare killed my worms... +__+
Cayen S
 
this reminds me of the old infinite canvas days. There is still a lot of potential in what you could do there even for comedy
 
@ein- You didn't give the translation for the text at the top! I got:

Warning
This mystery-horror comic featured in the summer to (????) includes a number of shocking scenes.
Pregnant women, the elderly, and those of fragile heart refrain from using, please.

(title)Pongch’ŏn-dong Ghost

Can you ask your friend for the meaning of the one word Google wouldn't translate for me?
 
I watched this at work yesterday and I threw my headphones off and nearly shut down my computer - it was a funny response! It actually did surprise me!
 
Holy crap! That startled me even though we were warned. I think the clicking noise frightened me the most.
Cayen S
 
I didn't evn get the noises the first time...both of them are really good
 
A friend posted this, I had the sound up and couldn't go on!!

BTW, you are frickin awesome!
 
OMG! I actually jumped at my desk. Scared me half to death.
 
Yikes! It took the addition of animation, but that is the only example of a comic that has ever done more than gross/creep me out.
 
Very cleverly done. Given how it works too, it nicely highlights the subtle difference between comics and animation. And, perhaps more thoughtfully, between being in control and not being in control.
 
Agreed. o_o
Comics are supposed to follow my reading's speed.
 
Oook...it had been a while since I got this heart-pounding feeling...its impressive what an animated comic can do even with such a simple effect and without the need of really complicated art...
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