Friday, 6 March 2015

Believed Behavior Season One: Poetry, Experiments & Distribution Methods

Onward to the future
What is Believed Behaviour? It's a multimedia comics experience. A collection of short form comics printed on newsprint as well as an online web platform to read the comics the way you want. Once you buy Believed Behavior, you get a copy of the physical object and have access to the full issue online. You can grasp at the ephemeral aspect of the comics in two ways that are completely disposable, newsprint and data. And somehow, this isn't a bad thing. I'll get into this later.
The comics contained don't appear to be tied to any themes, but they are connected by their page structure and an apparent desire and intent to experiment with the panel while maintaining a rigid structure. 12 panels per page, 2 pages per comic, that is all a artist gets. The results are varied and very interesting. We first get Floriculture by Krystal Difronzo, who illustrates her tale with wonderful colours and gruesome details. The majestic life of the flora contrasts brilliantly with the failures of the flesh. Difronzo creates a wonderfully eerie experience as the poetry reminds us that even nature decays with each season. 

We move on to another short comic by Edie Fake in which a demon tries to get into a faceless protagonist's house through the window. We only see the window as a demon teases and slowly infiltrate the house. Each panel acts as a window over time. It's a pretty clever use of the rigid panel structure to do something new. 

The final comic by Andy Burkholder explores a protagonis`s state of mind. It uses an extremely slow action, a water droplet from the condensation of an AC unit falling down on a man's head, and uses it to explore mental health issues (Autism I think). The character's thinking about writing an email to Rose, and uses narration boxes in overdrive to reflect his train of thought. He is constantly forming incomplete sentences and beginning anew with more information before finishing up. It becomes so large that the narration box overwhelms and take up more than half a panel at times. 

This first collection from Believed Behavior is interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Above all else, I liked how they experimented with the distribution process. You can get a surprisingly long preview online and you unlock the full comics of the issue once you buy the book, you also get a newsprint of the comics. Both of the mediums used, newsprint and data, are unreliable and ephemeral. The newspaper pages are flimsy and likely to be destroyed, while the website and data are just as likely to disappear for a variety of reasons. Beyond this elusive longevity, there is something really refreshing about Believed Behavior. Perhaps it is its innovative online platform or it may be that it embraces the disposable aspect of physical comics, which was for a long time a staple of comics themselves. I would recommend it to anyone interested in looking at an experiment in webcomics and publishing. This is a look at possible alternative models in publishing.

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