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Watch Your Tone!

Banes at 12:00AM, Nov. 26, 2015
tags: Banes Tone

this picture is only somewhat related to tone…but it has a costumed baby!

In my early days doing the Quackcast with Ozoneocean, we spent some time talking about story genres. I remember how we ignored whether something was a comedy, drama, or horror, because those aren't stories, but tones.
Other than our yearly October immersions into horror, I don't think we've ever touched on tone since that early 'Cast.

Tone is sort of the “emotional territory” that a story, series, or scene lives in. This is important stuff, because knowing what a scene or story feels like is what's going to matter to readers and audiences.
Actually, I find that most of the comics I read on the Duck, if not all of them, are pretty solid, tone wise. People seem to know what they're doing. It's probably an instinctive thing much of the time; I know it usually is for me.

Starting off right is pretty important. The first few pages of a comic sets the stage for the characters and setting, but also for the tone.

If the comic is a bleak, depressing drama, that should be set up in the opening sequence. If it's a fun, comedic adventure, ditto. The opening sequence of Back to the Future was perfect for that film. Ditto the emo, music-obsessed coming of age High Fidelity. Raiders of the Lost Ark did it great, as did JAWS and Halloween.

Of course, the opening scene doesn't mean an entire series needs to feel the same; X-Men Days of Future Past starts out much more grimly than it ends - but there is a gravity to the whole thing because of that bleak opening, and it ties into the theme. After a disturbing opening scene, Unforgiven becomes quite comedic when we first meet the hero. Then it gets quite dark by the end.

But those tonal shifts have to be made carefully, to avoid mood whiplash!

I remember spending a long time working out how I should start my first Typical Strange animation. Starting the comic a couple years after took some effort, too, though not as much since I knew the characters and had a feel for the tone by then. I kept it dryly comedic, with some movie talk, which is pretty much the tone of the entire series. It gets a little goofy here and a little melancholy there, but overall it's a fairly specific emotional landscape.

Do you think about tone? What is the tone of your comic? Like I said, I find the comic creators here are quite good at having a consistent tone.




cdmalcolm1 at 8:00AM, Nov. 26, 2015

I love drawing and writing action but The tone I tend to use is semi realist from life it self. At times I give the whiplash effect to the reader on quick whit comedy and snap back into my standard tone during talking parts. Even thought I'm into doing super heroes, I do love drama, conflicts and conflict of interest. I do make sure that there is always a twist, or a catch followed by drama. Don't get me wrong. My comics are mostly action based with these elements added. Kind of like the tv series, Once Upon A Time. If you know the show you kind of get what type of creative storytelling I not only love to watch but like to create based on those standards for my comic. I am trying to bring that to Heroes Alliance,(a comic here on the Duck), but through My comic SolarCell, (that is also here on the Duck).

usedbooks at 6:53AM, Nov. 26, 2015

I think that's a great image for tone. (And a lesson about fonts.) Tone is actually my most important element for selecting entertainment. I have no taste for the dark or super-serious. It is hard to make decisions on books or series because the synopsis is entirely unrelated to tone (anime is the worst at this). In TV/movies, the actors can be good indicators.

KimLuster at 6:22AM, Nov. 26, 2015

Another fantastic subject...! Yes, it's something I'm aware of. I've injected touches of comedy and romance in my story, but I try not to sway too far to the basic tone (which is rather dark). . What's funny is you can tell when someone has muddled with a tone. The second Superman movie with Christopher Reeves (the Donner cut) was a good bit darker, but a new director (Lester) took over and injected slap-stick comedy. When I was a little kid I thought it funny, but now I cringe..!

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