Signifikat

About "signifikat"
Abt_Nihil at 3:29AM, Aug. 28, 2007
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>> what is “signifikat”?

signifikat is primarily an outlet for ideas which I couldn't work into my longest (and still) running comic A.D 1997, but which I still didn't want to just float around randomly. It also indicates where I am RIGHT ABOUT NOW, I try to keep it fresh and not plan that meticulously in advance, so I'm open to new ideas. It'll be much more “anything goes” than A.D 1997.

>> the roots of signifikat

The overall storyline which holds these ideas together is loosely based an an idea for a comic which I considered before starting A.D 1997 (around the year 2000). So in a way A.D 1997 and signifikat share the same roots. For A.D 1997, most of the actual plot of said idea was abandoned, but its somehow close in spirit (- and also, the things you consider are important for what's developed in the end, even if nothing that's been considered gets to be realized). For signifikat I used the original plot as a jumping-board for the several plotlines which were then developed from scratch.

>> signifikat's structure

signifikat will be divided into chapters, and the chapters will form books. There will be a prologue and an epilogue serving as bookends. Although the chapters will feature separate plotlines at first - which are NOT intercut (during individual chapters at least), but told one after the other - they should be read consecutively and make sense when the plotlines (including that of the prologue) converge into one. If you don't believe that this sort of storytelling can work you should probably read Grant Morrison's epic “Seven Soldiers of Victory”. It may sound confusing at first, but I'll make sure that it'll all make sense (and be a good read) in the end.

>> what is the title's significance?

The term signifikat basically refers to the material part of a symbol. A symbol is constituted of a material part (like a letter on paper or a screen, or something vibrating on a certain frequency and making the sound that correlates to that letter), an immaterial “meaning” and the relationship between the material and immaterial parts. So while A.D 1997 is about consciousness, signifikat is about meaning.

More info coming soon.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:24AM
Abt_Nihil at 10:35AM, Nov. 25, 2009
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Some thoughts on writing signifikat

When looking at the latest page (ch. 5 pg. 8), I can't help but think about how strange these characters are, yet how much they resonate with the things I've been trying hard to express… which just adds to the weirdness of it all. The comic's settings and characters are quite surreal, and yet…

I think that no matter how much you invest in planning your stories, whether plot points will come to you consciously or subconsciously, making stories always consist of giving up control to a certain point - then regaining that control once again when weaving together the whole thing. But at a certain point, having given up control, you'll be surprised at what it has evolved into. Or, well, at least I am.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:24AM
Abt_Nihil at 12:08PM, Jan. 27, 2010
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Some thoughts about ch. 5 page 13

Talking about dissolution, and showing it, also refers to this current state of tying up the story. While I'm trying to weave together several threads, I am faced with decisions about which threads to explicitly follow/depict. I'm usually telling several things at once (one plot usually says something about another). So if plots about characters A and B can be told at the same time, the question still remains: Should I tell it, say, from A's POV or from B's? Since there isn't so much an inner logic as a rationale of efficiency at work here, I'm faced with this “dissolution”. (This may not be 100% understandable yet, but I'll probably comment on this aspect again when chapter 6 is completed.) And signifikat is always self-reflective, so of course it has to be about dissolution at the same time.

The pencils pretty closely reflect my actual pencils before inking, but I added a bit more contrast than I usually would, just so everything would be recognizable.

As for Ed's comment on having no idea what looking for Sunhra will lead him to: As the writer, I'm his superior in that aspect. But just like him, I'm wondering about his motivation - he's no more transparent to me than I am to myself (not surprisingly, I guess). So I guess he would feel that a decision would be forced on him - he must leave his home, he must leave the cowgirl, he must quit his job, but while he can pretty easily decide on what not to do, deciding on what to do seems impossible. So he does the first thing that seems reasonable to him - look for Sunhra - and figure out whether that was a good idea later.

And all of that gives me a good chance to go into my personal view about decisions, options, choice, fate, destiny. I think “the myth of the individual” is what all of my comics are about, but I actually didn't expect signifikat to be the first place to explicitly reflect that. Bombshell is about the myth of the heroic individual, the myth that an individual can make a change - like all superhero comics (but most superhero comics reinforce this myth rather than reflecting it, and that's why I think I can add something interesting to the average superhero clichee). That's also why politics and the UN come into play, as a springboard for reflections about whether or not the individual can change something. It's true that individuals are often at least catalysts for change, but of course no single individual can do much without others. A.D 1997, on the other hand, is about the myth of the individual as constructed by a corporation; a corporation which decides the fate of the people it more or less “rules”. Yet it makes the people believe they are individuals - for marketing purposes, mostly.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:24AM
JustNoPoint at 4:44AM, Jan. 28, 2010
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So AD 1997 is about the USA in 2010? XD

I can relate (I'm sure most artists/writers can) to this dissolution. All the planning, and time tables, and everything doesn't hold when it's time for EVERYTHING to begin weaving together. Not if you truly allowed characters to take their own course as well. Sometimes when I have story A&B happening at the same time I tell them in their own “issues”. With normal comic book style mentality I make these comics 2 in 1 flip books. I remember seeing one of these as a child and was enthralled by it =D
Though it kinda loses that punch when I put the entire Chapter together in Graphic Novel form and/or online since I have to choose which one should come 1st in the sequence.

At times when that's not an option (most of the time), I try to weigh the pros and cons of each story. Which POV indeed? Sometimes it just comes down to deciding which character this story is REALLY about at the time. At the end you want everyone to shine. But somebody generally needs the focus point. Of course, there's always an exception to the rules :3
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:24AM
Abt_Nihil at 3:08AM, Jan. 29, 2010
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Yep, flip books are fun!

For me, it's also an issue of motivating myself. I don't just wanna go through the motions when drawing the book. signifikat has been an extremely spontaneous comic up to now, and I want to preserve that spirit, even though I have to plan it more thoroughly now.

Just telling the story as it happens might bore me immensely.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:24AM

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