academic Art Assay Comics and Graphic Novels

My Exploratory Journey or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love my Ph.D. (Part Ten)

This is the tenth log entry of my ‘exploratory journey’. I’m developing a practice-based Ph.D. thesis in Media Arts titled “Transmedia Storytelling and Speculative Worldbuilding: Graphic Literature and Cinematographic Strategies in the Construction of a Transmedial Franchise”. The practical component will focus on building a transmedia franchise based on an original storyworld titled “Chronicles of Time and Space” and creating an adequate transmedia model for Portuguese creations. The thesis itself will try to answer the following research question: what are the most appropriate strategies to develop a transmedia model based on a speculative fiction storyworld?

This article will focus on the digital footprint my doctoral project has across the Internet. When building a speculative fiction transmedia franchise, and trying to create a transmedia model adequate for Portuguese creators, it is inevitable to build a network. The digital footprint across multiple platforms is symptomatic of how projects and digital natives roam the virtual world nowadays. The storyworld of the “Chronicles of Time and Space” needs this prolific multiplication of platforms to disseminate content and divulge the team’s work across the world. To accelerate the dissemination, the official website (the network’s hub) is being translated into several languages (English, French, Mandarin, and Portuguese).

The infographic (above) shows the digital footprint of the project by dividing the online presence into three main areas: research, webcomics, and social media. The official website, the hub, is at the center of the network; orbiting at different distances are several websites and platforms. Their distance to the hub is related to their importance to the project. Some are more important than others, but they all contribute to the project as an all.

The nearest knot in the network is Facebook because it functions as a kind of the second hub; this is because of the project’s page and the several pages and groups I use to divulge the project and everything connected to it. Below, I share a list of the pages and groups in comics, webcomics, and speculative fiction where I promote my team’s project and inform people of what we are doing.

The section titled ‘social media’ also integrates other services and platforms such as Instagram and YouTube. On the Instagram page, people can have access to concept art, promotion images, and small animations produced in TikTok with the static images produced by the illustrator of the project. On the YouTube channel, people can watch the book trailer, which is available on other platforms. More videos will be made available, such as interviews and videos showing the production of the many pages of “Chronicles of Time and Space – Uluru”. On Reddit and Discord, some of the same images and information are being published. On the Central Comics website, a Portuguese specialized site on comics and pop culture, two articles about the project were published. The articles made use of information available on the official website such as the poster, a few sample pages, information about the team, and the booktrailer. 

The section titled ‘webcomics’ is composed of the platforms Flowfo, Tapas, and Webtoon, which were the selected websites dedicated to webcomics where the first volume of the graphic novel “Chronicles of Time and Space – Uluru” will be published. The built-in audience allows the project to be read by many people around the world. The sci-fi story about the eponymous character Uluru will debut in December but a few pages with information about the project have been published on these digital comics platforms.

The section titled ‘research’ combines articles such as this one published on The Portuguese Portal of Science Fiction and Fantasy, interviews with several national and international comics authors published on the H-alt comics magazine, and two academic papers about videogames and the new myths of speculative fiction published on the journals Ação Midiática, and International Journal of Film and Media Arts. These articles, interviews, and papers will be paramount for the development of the project and the writing of the thesis; all these texts are available on the official Facebook page of the project.


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