‘Retelling Planet Stories’ Redraws Comics Storytelling
How far can you abstract imagery in comics without distorting the story? That's the question French cartoonist Nicolas Labarre is tackling, redrawing a page from a Golden Age science fiction comic multiple times to explore the connections between image and narrative.Labarre shared the results of his experiment, which he called "Retelling Planet Stories," on his blog, explaining that the idea came following a review of the indie anthology Kramer's Ergot in which Kevin Huizenga had been praised for something similar, although he himself hasn't seen the Huizenga work. Instead, he's attempting to recreate what he imagines Huizenga did based on the review, and doing so using a page from the 1940s comic Planet Comics.
Labarre went on to draw five different versions of the original Planet page, ranging from a straight redrawing to a series of geometric abstractions, while keeping the text on the page the same (albeit translated into his native French); the results of the experiment are as interesting to see what stays the same each time as what changes - Even when the characters change from human to animals, there's still a connection between them and the reader that immediately disappears when faces are hidden by space helmets, for example. It'd be interesting to see someone do a similar experiment for a more modern, more-art-driven comic, just to see what the results looked like. Retelling Avengers Vs. X-Men, anyone...?