Structurant Comics Collective

An Experimental Comics Studio

Mechanism.

This is an outline of how our site will be working for the coming few weeks and revisions will be made as we learn how to do this better.

Discourse:

Anyone of us is allowed to begin a discussion. Due to lack of a distinct vernacular for how we talk about comics both rhetorically and in regards to technique we will sometimes employ terms from different  established fields such as film theory and critical theories in general.

When we wish to discuss a topic we will post an origin point, an article written by us that outlines what we wish to discuss and providing examples on that which we are referencing.We will post this initial article for the public to comment and speak on as well as a duplicate only visible by members of Structurant, in those comments we will discuss over a period of two weeks. Upon end of that discussion, the editors as at Structurant will compile that discussion and make it public with images.

Sometimes, during these discussions a member or two will begin to formulate a new idea, something in reference to our discussion. An experiment.

Experiments:

Any of us is able to post experiments, we will once again have a dual layer post where people can react to the experiment, as well as the other members of Structurant and upon end of our critique and discussion of a particular experiment we will have a composite post of said experiment, outlining it’s intentions and whether it worked or not. This lays the groundwork for others to do it better. We want you out there to expand on what we’re doing and make it work where we couldn’t. We want better comics.

Critical works: We will occasionally post critical explications of particular works that we admire or hate.

Interviews: Occasionally we will put out transcripts of interviews with specific creatives on craft and the medium .

Promotion: We will be announcing new members and introducing them as we go, and promoting the works of our members. While we are a venture to expand and perpetuate the dialogue within and around the medium we are also all creatives who freelance and would like you to look at our things and sometimes even purchase them.

The quality of this venture is intended to evolve our material and the work we make obviously informs what we have to give in discourse. So it is our hope that you support us in both aspects of this venture. When we produce Theorist Threats Volume 1 in the spring you will be seeing the culmination of the first phase of what Structurant is, on both fronts.

And a final word on our authority:

Opensource educational and academic spaces are important. In many universities conversations are stagnated by experts. People who by no means are unintelligent or under informed as to their specific fields but by asserting that authority, marginalize the masses. I believe in design for designers and design for those who are trying to interact individually with an interface and in this same way we, at Structurant, believe in our ability to speak on the mechanisms and nuances of a field as neither expert or mere readers.

Readers are anything but mere, comics are a communicative medium and if my storytelling doesn’t communicate with them then I have failed. Experts are experts by virtue of experience and in that way I will always posit that there are endless droves of folks who know more than any of us at Structurant do. In it is their work we take pride and herald their experimentation and skill. We are not the only people trying new things, we are young and brash and simply trying something.

We are trying to create a free space for conversation and experimenting where people of all levels of experience with the medium feel comfortable to contribute. Our authority exists in the work we make and we are subject or infinite scrutiny. Give it to us. We need it in order to move forward.

If you are making things and think Structurant may be something you’d be interested in, let us know at absolomgrundy(at)gmail(dot)com

-X

Announcing Four New Members of Structurant.

The past week has been really great as far as response to the collective has gone.

I’m here to proudly announce that Structurant has recently added Spencer Hawkes, Mark Luetke, Bizhan Khodabandeh, as well as Alexis Cooke to our ever evolving project and roster.

These folks are all artists of varying backgrounds and styles whose voices and experimentation will only enrich our efforts in rhetoric and in making cool comics for you cats to read.

Spencer’s work can be found: www.cargocollective.com/spencerhawkesillustration

Mark’s: http://luetkemj.com/

Bizhan’s:http://www.mendedarrow.com

and the work of Alexis: http://alexiscooke.tumblr.com/

On top of that the work of Skuds Mckinley and Brett Marcus Cook can be found: http://skudsink.com/ and here: http://www.animatedtrigger.com/ respectively.

Await more news from Kevin and I. Our first talk will be under way shortly and we may have more member announcements soon.

Stand by.

-Xylon and Kevin

Welcome to Structurant.

So, Comics, as a medium, is older than film. As I sit and applaud the efforts of Shane Carruth, Nicolas Winding Refn, Alfonso Cuaron and impatiently await Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac I have to keep conscious that my peers in several mediums consider this thing I do, this comics thing, a foray into low art that I’ll eventually outgrow if I have serious artistic vision. Fuck that noise.

I’ve spent five years drawing less and less poorly daily. I draw as well as I can for one reason: to understand what my scripts are asking of other people. I am a writer first and foremost and my understanding of design and draftsmanship is for the benefit of my stories. Most of me stories I won’t be illustrating myself in the long run. Neil Gaiman famously has spoken on what a comic script is and can be. It is a letter to a friend, stage directions, abstract prose, plot summary, intense blueprint and tangential anecdote all at once. I need personally to be able to understand what my scripts ask of the skills of others. I spend a lot of time with everything that follows “Page One. Panel One.”. I have the words permanently scrawled across my flesh in case I ever become lost. I know where to start.

But see the problem is, this medium is older than film and is explored with one hundredth of  the production capital, hours of labour, and critical theory that our aforementioned younger sequential cousin demands on the regular. Dudes get paid to spend 12 hours a day figuring out how to push the limits of depth of field, wipes, lens flare, single cuts, and mise en scene. Dudes in comics get paid to make deadlines. That is not to say innovation has been nowhere in sight but instead that the demands of the industry and the audience don’t necessitate it from us.

I’ve worked in comic shops since before I was of legal age for labour. I’ve drawn them and gone to conventions just as long. I see a lot of brilliant things on the shelf and at conventions and online, shit that pushes me and my brain and my hands. Some of it is made by my friends. But also I see a shit ton of comics that read like movie scripts. This exists because the production cost in comics, our overhead, is tremendously low. And our turnaround as hype-machine for Hollywood potential is uncanny. Comics as product are a decent investment, but as a medium, only gets pushed whenever creators are so inclined to do so. What we’d like to do here at Structurant is necessitate experimentation and progress from our peers, engender a demand for it from our audience, and make sure that critical theory is firmly entrenched in our medium ten years from now.

Each member of Structurant is a freelancer. We have our own projects, and we are not a publishing house or a company. We are acquaintances and friends that make vastly different material with similar lines of questioning in mind. We are here to throw things at the wall and see what sticks. We are here to do research. Each of us will be given a platform to post some of our ideas on advances being made or to be made, whether they be in the realm of content or technique. We will be giving tutorials and posting experimental projects. We will also be posting conversations among two or more of us on the medium and ideas for moving further. Every post is an open invitation to you. Your ideas and critique are welcome. We will be working on projects together and separately and hopefully improving each other as we go. Reviews of certain works may appear as well as guest talks from people we are friends with but have too much going on to push in the same way as us or on the same scale. This site over the next few weeks will both post introductions to our members as well as provide a place to buy individual wares and become aware of our works, both previous and current.

We are based out of Richmond, VA. However are members reside nationally and are entrenched in their own local scenes and happenings. We intend to push our medium in both virtue of content as well as rhetorical aspects that have never been explored in the depths we are attempting to. We will be establishing a lot of things about comics in our posts, establishing rules, where we understand the parameters to generally lie so as to interrogate each premise of why certain things allegedly can’t be done and hopefully more than anything: try these things rather than just talk about them. In that way our feed of information will be heavily image based and very much centered around the execution of things. This will sometimes run like many of the popular sketch blog groups on the internet but instead of drawing characters by challenge we will be executing techniques by challenge and finding the new parameters for our medium. this is if anything, a journal of our progress and failures

Our first order of business is simply establishing a smooth channel of theory and discourse on our site and provide a place to become aware of us and in the near term our first collection of limited edition prints as well as information on the first volume of our studio anthology will become available. Let’s build something.

-Xylon Otterburn

Founder of Structurant.

Structurant is: Brett Marcus Cook, Derick “Skuds” Mckinley Jones, Kevin Moun and Xylon Otterburn

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