25 May 2009

Single-Sheet Comics

From the Stumptown Trade Review's article and podcast, I learned about Kenan Rubenstein's single-sheet "oubliette" comics.

That word seems to be the artist's own coinage for this Fibonaccian form. It's a comic on a single sheet of paper, 8x11 in the US, folded four times. Each unfolding produces a surface twice as large as the one before, providing space for the next panels. The pages thus double in size, allowing the panels to grow as well, and the final panel can be as large as the full sheet.

Rubenstein notes that Jon Chad's Whaletowne unfolds (both physically and narratively) much the same way as his oubliettes.

While looking to see if other artists are working in this form, perhaps calling it by other names, I found Mimi's instructions for a different type of single-sheet comic, using folding and cutting. In this case, the pages are all the same size and shape.

And of course in Andrew Clements's Lunch Money, the kids make comics by folding, cutting, and stapling single sheets of paper into the traditional codex form. Richard Bryan has pictures of that format. But I like the elegance and Rubenstein's folding.

(The same Stumptown Trade Review podcast ends with an interview with Bone creator Jeff Smith.)


Sam said...

Now you're really talking my language!
I've done many of the simple 1-sheet, 4-pagers in my time. i find it a great way to start actually. You fold up a sheet, draw a title page, which inspires you to put real work into the inside 2 pages so that they set up the glorious page 4.

I've also used the "Mimi" technique you have here which I got from an origami/papercraft book many moons ago. It's little small and a little flaky, but so darn clever.

The oubilette seems to have great potential... sort of a Where the Wilds Things Are-esque expanding of the canvas.

J. L. Bell said...

I've tried a couple of these "oubliettes," and they're fun. They're also short, of course, which limits the scope of the stories you can tell on them. But like a lot of literary or artistic forms built around limitations, what seems like a hurdle eventually becomes a platform that can produce a stronger message.