Tuesday, October 7, 2008

'Nuff Said Month Aftermath

And so it is finished. End of the " 'Nuff Said" month.

Well, uh... what else to say?
(wow, I'm just realizing that one of the effects of this month has been that my blog writing skills have got a little rusty)

(Hmm. A lot rusty, actually)

It has been a fun and interesting diversion. A different way of blogging about Daredevil. I didn't exactly have an idea of what to do with it when I decided to start it. It would've been something on the line of Marvel's 'nuff said month event of february 2002, in which I would've regrouped together some blog entry ideas for which scarce if no text at all was needed, and most of the intended message was told through the pictures and their succession.

Trying to fit the usual monthly updates to series of posts like Preposterous Plot Points and Centrific Feats would've been a bit of a challange, but luckily I already had in mind the right idea for a "silent" Preposterous Plot Point (after all, when you have a splash page of a fattened DD in a tiny motorbike wearing a clownesque Kendo outfit, there's not really much to say to point out it is preposterous), and a centrific feat that needed no comments was not hard to find at all.
In the end, not all of the entries have been merely of the "pics sans text" type, but all of them, in a way or another, were related to silence or to situations where words were not needed.

I must admit that one of the reasons why I decided to start this 30 days spanning event was my desire to emulate a blogger much appreciated by me: Dave Campbell of the now defunct Dave's Longbox comic book blog (fans of that blog have maybe noticed how I try to imitate his style of blogging, sometimes). In that blog, Dave used to have themed events quite often, even if his used to be themed weeks (the relevant content week, the Kobra week, the Star Trek week, the nostalgia week...), not months. Knowing that I'm barely able to post something once per week, however, I was almost forced to make it a month-long event, so that I could fit enough entries in it without altering the usual pace too much.
In this sense, the results have been much satisfactory, seeing as how this has been my most prolific month in terms of number of posts.

I know I'm getting tediously cocky, so I'll cut the self-referring and get on to some reflections.

First off, it's not by chance that all of the contents have been extracted from the DD of the 2ks. And, certainly, it would've been impossible to make a 'nuff said month of the silver/bronze age DD, seeing as how there was never a moment of quietness in those days! Really, even when there was nothing to say, the writer just couldn't help putting a caption saying "you'll all agree that this panel doesn't need comments!" or "look at the masterful work of "gentleman" Gene in this sequence, true believer!".
It doesn't surprise me that most of the inspiration for entries came especially from the Bendis-Maleev run. That duo knew all too well how to tell a story through visuals rather than words. Bendis, particularly, was very good at scripting textless scenes, always making sure that all the ingredients were there to craft a scene that could astonish and impress the reader (as can be seen in the script sample put in appendix to issue #23 of vol.II, which is the issue the panels accompanying this entry are from).
While Bendis certainly had limits that I would never dream of denying, in his tenure as writer of Daredevil he has been a very good scenographer, capable like few other writers to pull awesome scenes out of the top hat, such as the one described here.

Another thing I noticed is how powerful images are to deliver a message. It is particularly true in a book like the modern day Daredevil, where introspection plays a very relevant role. And certainly, it must be said that sometimes adding words to a scene that doesn't need them simply "ruins the magic". Sometimes, a writer can really give more to the reader, in terms of emotions, if he refrains to explicitate what the character is thinking with a succession of invasive caption boxes, and just let the artist's skill and the reader's imagination do the job.

By adding an unnecessary caption, the reader is confined to the role of mere spectator, whereas, with just the right sequence of images you can instead capture him and involve him directly, and on a deeper level, in the story. About this, Brubaker and Rucka and the last entry of the month come to mind. How fantastic was it to see DD disable the crooked FBIs with no captions interrupting the flow of the action, and that would've made it all look like a sort of recap of what was actually happening? Also, how wonderful it was, in that last panel, ending silently, but with a protagonist finally smiling after so much sufferings?

There's a little downside to all of this, however. It, lies in the fact that, when there isn't enough text, the risk that the images fail to deliver the right message is always present. Sometimes there are concepts that just need to be made explicit. More than one person, for example, was perplexed that I said "I miss Bendis" in one of these entries. If it weren't for the fact that the plan was to reduce textual commentary to minimum, I would've specified that a certain kind of moments, a certain way of surprising the reader with an awesome scene coming out of the blue was the reason why I thought Bendis was to be missed. I thought that the sequence posted could've explained that completely, but apparently it didn't, and my comment was interpreted by many as an apology of Bendis' faults. Too bad. I guess you can't win them all.
Anyway, also because of that, in some of the future entries I'm going to expand on several of the themes that have been only slightly touched during this month.

And with this rather prolix reflection, the otherwise silent "'Nuff said month" concludes.

Aw, it's just not like me to end like that, is it?

There. That's more like it. ;)


Christine said...

Very nicely put, Francesco! You sure have a way with words - and without them. ;)

dmstarz said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog. Great to get the heads up on your terrific blog.

Re: Nuff Said. In general, I wasn't a big fan of this - if it told me one thing, it's that the word balloons are really important in telling the story.

Francesco said...

Thank you!

You're welcome. You really embarked in colossal undertaking there, and you have my support. ;)

Word baloons are certainly important, however, I personally think that a good writer is one who finds the right balance between telling the story through visual and using baloons/captions.
See ya!