Why Tumblr's next Storyboard post should be a comic.
Graphics journalism is exactly what it sounds like - words and images united with journalistic process. It’s an emerging form of visual storytelling, and with its rich visual culture, Tumblr (and specifically, Storyboard - Tumblr’s home for original feature content) is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the medium as it slowly becomes mainstream.
Tumblr could do for comics journalism what it’s already done for the animated gif.
Let’s back up a bit.
“As someone who reads comics, watches art film and listens to metal, I'm in a unique position to be driven totally insane by neophytes dipping their toes into the things I'm into and having the nerve-the gall!-to call themselves "fans." I spend a significant amount of time researching the things I'm into and going on excavation digs to find hidden gems in the various forms of art that I love, and so when someone says they're a huge Batman fan after only having seen the Nolan movies, or when someone says they're really into "indie" movies when the only non-blockbusters they've ever seen are a smattering of Wes Anderson films and Juno, or when somebody tries to claim membership to the Metal Club by holding up a Disturbed album as identification, my gut reaction is to get a little irritated, maybe even to retort with a catty putdown. After all, I'm the one who's spent hours, years, of my life plunging the depths of the things I've loved. I've earned the right to call myself a "fan"-how dare you exercise the same privilege after such nominal involvement in that which you purport to love? And then, once that initial wash of indignation has subsided, I climb down off my high horse. I keep in mind that there are people out there who can name every title that the Buscema brothers have ever worked on, down to the issue numbers; I remember that there are film buffs out there that would laugh in my face if I told them that I had never seen a film by Bela Tarr; I consider all the black metal kids with their fathomless collections of demo tapes culled from all over the world and reflect that I will never in my life match their dedication. Fandom is a curious thing: You can't seem to claim membership if you don't try to kick someone else off the docket, and a lot of the time, if you're to believe your peers, your credentials don't seem to be as sound as you think they are, especially if you're a woman or a teenager. Everyone is going to have to take part in a Beta-Male Headbutting Championship over the things they love at some point, but for those two groups it can practically be a given before entering a conversation.”—I wrote this article for Comics Bulletin. Like everyone else in the world I was inspired to write something about Tony Harris’ absurd outburst on Facebook. I do think that elitism has a tendency to be kind of inherent in any subculture but you fight against that, for God’s sake, you don’t revel in it.
Our latest project: Human trafficking in India & Nepal
Following in the tradition of Borderland: Seven Stories as told by victims of human trafficking, my next major project will focus on visual storytelling to address the plight of victims of human trafficking in India and Nepal. Why those countries in particular? Because approximately 12,000 children are trafficked across the Indian/Nepalese border each year. Because Nepal is ranked the fourth poorest country in the world, giving traffickers ample opportunities to exploit. And because it is in remote areas, often where literacy rates are low, where the same traffickers are able to thrive as a result of poor communication between villages and a lack of awareness of the threat.
I plan to use the visual storytelling techniques of comics to educate, communicate and help raise awareness of this terrible endemic. My ultimate goal is to publish a graphic novel featuring interviews with victims, their families, NGO workers, the authorities - anyone who has been touched by trafficking - to give them a chance to tell their stories in a way that is easy to understand and share. But to do that I need your support. Use the widget below to support this trip and please share/tweet/embed it on your site to help get the word out. Together we can do our part to eradicate this barbaric form of modern-day slavery.