I’ve always believed that the comic medium is closer to poetry than it is to straight prose, film or TV. That the juxtaposition of words and images can communicate such complex and abstract ideas while often employing a restrained economy of line to do so. To paraphrase Eisenstein’s theory of montage: Sentence A + Image B = Idea C.
The excellent poet Chrissy Williams (who has a fantastic collection of poetry – The Jam Trap – available to buy from Soaring Penguin here) actually wrote a wonderful article about the similarities between comics and poetry for The Rialto which can be read here.
Chrissy and I were talking the other day about this and decided to try and create a poem comic together. The idea was that Chrissy would write around eight lines of a poem and each line would work as a caption for a comic panel – but to prevent anything I draw from becoming too literal, Chrissy would also write a one word description of each panel which I would attempt to illustrate (nothing too prescriptive – something like the word ‘Hope’ for example). The plan being that by trying to illustrate the word and bringing my own take on the poem to the comic, we would be creating something more than just an illustrated poem – something that stands alone.
Within a few hours, The Heart Horse arrived in my inbox and I excitedly drew this. It was an enjoyable process and a fun experiment so I think we may try to do a few more when we have the free time. I’ve been working so hard on the first issue of Ellipsis lately that it was a welcome break to have a play and not be too worried about the result if it went wrong…