Right now I’m drunk. So I can’t write about the final part of Jung’s Archetypes. Mainly because I don’t want to and can’t make myself.
So instead, I’d like to talk about flashbacks, and methods of depicting them in comics.
A flashback, of course, is a virtual bracket in storytelling: the current timeline stops, the current action stops, and we’re taken to a point in the past, to watch and experience something else.
A story’s timeline and progression should be respected as much as a train at full speed is: it can’t, shouldn’t and won’t be stopped with impunity. So if you do decide to stop it, it should be for a damn good reason.
A reason so sensational, so pivotal, so vital to the story, one that has to be experienced rather than told, that its sheer emotional and narrative impact will be enough to make your audience forget that you stopped their story’s train speed.
Therefore, flashbacks can be a double-edged sword- they can be powerful story telling devices, but they can also be the bane of a comic, breaking up the time and sequencing to the point where the audience is lost or just loses interest.
In my opinion, the proper way to do a flashback is to incorporate it in the current story in such a fashion that it adds to the current timeline as well as inform the audience about experiences or events of the past.
For example, a character experiences the flashback in the form of a panic attack, in a social context that creates reactions from other characters and advances the story or their interactions in some manner.
Or, a character experiences a nightmare that relays the flashback but also in a ‘tint’ or manner that also signals to the audience what that flashback’s experience means to the character in question.
Or, the character experiences the flashback in the form of a memory being triggered by some sort of stimulus, like a smell or a sound or even a piece of dialogue, thus linking the character’s imminent reactions and offering context that otherwise the audience wouldn’t be able to infer or be privy to.
Visually, the way I’ve found to work for comics, is to simply choose a different color coding or linework style specifically for the flashback segment. Whether it be sepia tones in a full colour comic, desaturated colouring in a more saturated color scheme, shading/non-shading in a comic that normally employs the opposite method, all it takes for the flashback to be immediately interpreted as such is a consistent break, or deviance, from the comic’s normal format.
If I weren’t inebriated I would be more conscientious and provide examples to all of the above.
But I am, so I hope you get to contribute yours in the comments.
Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, June 3, 2017
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