sequenced narrative

Bering & Wells - On the Run 22

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I realized I never put this comic all online, even though I turned it in two weeks ago and I’ve been posting character design work for a while before that.  I photographed it (rather sloppily, sorry) rather than uploading the original files because I think it looks nicer in person, and I wanted to capture that look.

Anyway, yeah!  Sequenced narrative assignment.  The original requirement was 20 panels; I went way overboard.

Please be advised: this film does not ask you to suspend your disbelief so much as demand you stick it in a zero-g environment, grab the nearest stuffed animal, and hang on for the ride.

This done, any viewer with a modicum of appreciation for gorgeous visuals, narrative fight sequences, Channing Tatum’s chest, Sean Bean’s voice, and Mila Kunis beating baddies with a metal pipe, should thoroughly enjoy themselves!

PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT a Hero’s Quest story. It is a Secret Princess story given the same budget, care, and serious love and attention that the tried and tired Hero’s Quest narrative has received for the past fifty years. As such, certain tropes are not so much subverted but jerked like a rug out from underneath you so if you expected lots of macho fight sequences and violence… well, you’ll get that. But you’re also going to get a quiet, almost understated coming-of age/realization of worth story about one woman who gets to go on the magical, terrifying space adventure you always dreamed of as a child—and gets the (half-albino space-wolf-angel) man at the end. And gravity-defying rollerblades.

Bonus points for Eddie Redmayne in black glitter and high collars, and a well-rounded cast with good female and non-white representation. Also really cool spaceships. Everything a girl could want!

Basically, if you come in willing to be entertained, enchanted, and transported, you’re gonna have a great time. If you want something grim/dark with brooding man-centric angst, try something else.

—  My Amazon Instant Video review for Jupiter Ascending, now available for pre-order. Go ahead, treat yourself.

You know I’ve been thinking about something I see on tumblr sometimes.  Every now and then I’ll see some form of art, whether it be drawn or written, and it will have a sad ending.  More times than not, I’ll scroll down and someone will have added on to it, continuing the narrative or sequence and giving it a happy ending. 

While I admit I’ve enjoyed some of these, I’ve started to wonder if that isn’t disrespectful to the original artist.  Not intentionally of course, but they created a piece that obviously meant something to them and communicated some idea or emotion near and dear to them.  And that necessitated a less than ideal conclusion.  By adding onto it with often the exact opposite message, the continuation is essentially disregarding the original artist’s ideas and effort through the use of its own form. 

Though I cannot speak for the adders, I would guess that their intention is something along the lines of feeling something for the character(s), and wanting to see things end better for them.  It may also be that they hope, through their efforts to comfort the original artist and profess that whatever it may be that inspired their depressing work will get better, or isn’t so bad as it seemed.  Intended or not, it’s essentially telling the original artist and those with similar views that things are not that way.  They’re sunnier than that.  Things are better or things will get better. 

It’s not for me to definitively say the world is a good or bad place, and that things will get better or worse.  My point is that yes, it could be seen as comforting, but it might just as easily be read as patronizing.  Maybe some get permission from the original artists to do so.  That’s entirely a horse of a different color.  I’m only lampshading unsolicited additions. 

It might be argued that it’s not different than fanart or fanfiction, but I disagree.  Assuming that we’re speaking of art with original characters and situations, there’s not a definitive version in the public consciousness.  Most people have probably never seen these characters before, and it’s their first experience.  Maybe that first experience is only the original piece.  Maybe it’s the original, plus a sunnier addition.  Maybe they see the addition later.  I have no numbers to support this, but from my experience, I feel like I see more sad posts with happy additions than sad posts by themselves.  If my experience is a common one, then the art+sunny addition become more popular than the original artworks themselves.  So now that art, in the mind of the public, becomes inextricably tied to the original art, whose original message becomes negated and lost, thanks to the more palatable positive add-on. 

That’s why there’s an ocean of difference between fanfiction in which Romeo and Juliet somehow make it out of their mutual suicide alive and well, or frolic for all eternity as lovey-dovey ghosts, and altering the message of posted artwork on tumblr or wherever else you find it.  Everyone knows that Romeo and Juliet are dead, and that’s not going to change.  Much more malleable is thought about new, unestablished artwork. 

It’s how I imagine George Bernard Shaw felt about the way people changed Pygmalion’s ending through adaptation, and Henry James about the completely alternate reading of The Turn of the Screw, which today is viewed with equal validity to his intended meaning. 

I’m not saying never add your own spin onto things.  I guess in the end, my argument is for discussing it with the artist before doing so, and then only doing it with their approval.  Out of respect.  It may be that this has been the case in all the examples I’ve observed, and I just don’t know it. 

tl;dr - I think it’s important to discuss adding onto the work of artists online with the artist, and then only doing so with their blessing, because altering the message of their work might be seen as disrespectful.