Cross media and the impact on comics publication
The national French comics centre in Angoulême (Cité internationale de la bande dessinée et de l’image) organised in July (5-7, 2010) a summer school about cross-media and the impact on comics publication (Trans-média, cross-média, média global: de l’album singulier aux écrans multiples). Benoît Berthou of the university of Paris 13 stated that while people are gradually reading less books, they are spending more time in front of a screen (in France the average is about 12 hours a week). For him it’s clear that it won’t be books that will be at the focus of cross-media but games. Books or comics about those games do only exist, because they help to sell the game even better. For example Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell is in fact a creation of Ubisoft and the The Splinter Cell novels are written under the pseudonym David Michaels by different authors. The cost for the development of game is about 5 million euro and involves about 100 people – which is quite different from the production of a book. He also referred to the sales figures of Blizzard Entertainment, the firm that launched World of Warcraft, with its 3,28 billion euro it surpasses the sales figures of the complete French book industry (about 2,8 billion euro).
How the digital revolution will affect the book industry is yet not clear. Today there are multiple standards, formats, platforms, business models. Before Apple’s iPad the existing reading tablets (Iliad, Kindle) only had a screen which could display some shades of grey and were consequently not ideal for reading comics or illustrated books. So the coming of new full-colour e-readers may open many possibilities and various firms have jumped on the band wagon. In France this lead to a firm reaction of the comics artists: their syndicate GABD (Groupement des Auteurs de Bande Dessinée) launched in March a petition (Appel du numérique) on Facebook. Today already more than 1.300 people signed this letter denouncing that the publishers had started making their work digitally available without consulting with the authors. The comics artists demand therefore a general regulation between publishers and authors.
Moreover the role of the comics artist will be quite different in cross-media productions. He or she won’t be any longer the sole creator but rather the executer of a concept formed by someone else. More and more other specialists will be involved in the production of digital comics or picture books, because it goes much further than a simple scan. A firm as Tekneo presents on his platform MComics animated comics, whereby they give a rhythm to presentation of a sequence, let the ‘camera’ move about the drawings, and add a score. The result can be viewed on smartphones and other digital e-readers. (Also in the Dutch language similar projects exist: the firm Levende Boeken produces animated versions of existing picture books).
At the summer school also Thomas Cadène presented his project of a drawn soap: Les autres gens. since March it offers on a daily basis a new episode of a continuing story, written by Cadène and drawn by various artists. A subscription to this ‘BéDénovela’ costs less than 3 euro per month. But as many other digital projects in the French region, this project too is yet not profitable, but everyone hopes that one day it will be.
Call for papers
For researchers working on (aspects of) narrativity:
2011 Narrative Conference (St. Louis, Missouri, USA; sponsored by Washington University in St. Louis and the International Society for the Study of Narrative)
The 2011 Narrative Conference is sponsored by Washington University in St. Louis and the International Society for the Study of Narrative and will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, April 7-10, 2011. The Narrative Conference is an interdisciplinary forum addressing all dimensions of narrative theory and practice. We welcome proposals for papers and panels on all aspects of narrative in any genre, period, discipline, language, and medium. Deadline for receipt of proposals: October 30, 2010.
Proposals for individual papers:
Please provide the title and a 300-word abstract of the paper you are proposing; your name, institutional affiliation, and email address; and a brief statement (no more than 100 words) about your work and your publications.
Proposals for panels:
Please provide a 700-word (maximum) description of the topic of the panel and of each panelist’s contribution; the title of the panel and the titles of the individual papers; and for each participant the name, institutional affiliation, email address, and a brief statement (no more than 100 words) about the person’s work and publications.
Please send proposals by email in PDF, Word, or WordPerfect to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information please contact Emma Kafalenos at email@example.com or Erin McGlothlin at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://narrative.wustl.edu. For a flyer of this Call for Papers, please go to: http://narrative.wustl.edu/media/Flyer_final-6-25.pdf.