Stripping an idea bare

By paul — 

So, the end of the first week, and I’m making progress with the nuts and bolts of my horoscope generator. The next step will be to design some images to populate the code.. and I think that it is this step that will then begin to dictate the coding requirements.

In the meantime, my mind has drifted back to thoughts of the narrative project my fellow students are undertaking back home. Over the last month, I have been thinking about the possibility of a randomly-generated visual narrative (that’s a comic, in popular English!). I was reminded of this while looking at Henning Wagenbreth’s website.. his strips are very geometrical, with an almost modular look to them, as though one might be able to move the panels around with the mouse. Well, you can’t, but it made me start thinking about this idea again. So I did some research.. the first (I’m sure there are a few) comic strip generator I found is here. In truth, it’s rubbish. Politely sidestepping aesthetic concerns, the strips are simply nonsensical - they are too random. This seems to be the result of an over-zealous random-text-generator, so the disappointing results are not really surprising. However, aside from this, it is actually somewhat successful in narrative terms, due to the limit of three frames.. a beginning, a middle, and an end - nice and simple! We can have random parameters, but we need to add our own constraints I think. I found an interesting blog about generative comics, here .. the author also feels that a truly random extended narrative is a big problem. But I think that a three (or four panel) news-strip-style comic generator would be very possible in NodeBox.. an interesting idea that I would like to pursue. And, truth be told, most of the comics I read these days are barely intelligible anyway.. so perhaps a comics-generator that produces strips in a Fort Thunder/Paper Rad/Picture Box stylee would be pretty easy after all!

Henning Wagenbreth

Matthew Thurber

Paper Rad