Ulysses "Seen":Adapting Joyce to Comics
-We've completed four chapters of the novel already and have made them available for free through our website
and through The James Joyce Centre in Dublin .
If you heard of this, or seen some of it already, you can help us by telling your friends.
-We also bound the first two of those chapters into a rather ground-breaking iPad app that aids new readers of the novel. If you've got an iPad (or know someone who does) you can help us by purchasing it here .
-With eight years left until the 100th anniversary of the novel's publication, we're working extra hard to complete the remaining 14 chapters of the novel. That means a full-time commitment from all the folks on our team. If you'd like to help us reach that goal, to see a full comicbook adaptation in time for the novel's centennial, you'll find a whole list of ways that you can help support our hard work in the "wish list" section of this website. The financial support we receive here will allow us to complete the work we've begun and, hopefully, bring Joyce's work to a whole new audience.
Thanks to all of you,
-cartoonist on ULYSSES "SEEN"
-What does it take to change the flowing and often enigmatic language of Joyce's novel into a clear set of images readable as a comicbook? Well, quite a heck of a lot of research for starters.
It usually starts with some good conversations between myself and other Joyceheads. We try to get inside the logic of an individual chapter, talk about it's style, controversy and the various teaching moments to be found there. We even talk about how we might stretch the digital comic medium we're using in new ways consistent with Joyce's inventiveness. Often there's some Guinness involved in these early conversations, to be sure.
But, as any cartoonist will tell you, storyboarding is the really hard, really vital nuts-and-bolts of our artform. Drawing is the full costumed performance everyone sees in a comic, but storyboarding is the magic of staging and translating a story or idea into the visual world.
Mostly this is done on my own and apart from Josh or the other guys. I don't know of any way to do that differently. It's the time when it is my job as a storyteller to describe what Joyce might be saying to someone who's never encountered his tricks before. My time tell you what I know in the most reverent and (hopefully) entertaining way I can devise. And, with a subject like ULYSSES, I don't go about that lightly. There's a lot more hours spent with a book in hand than with a pencil.
Supporting any part of this portion of the wish list lets me take time away from other jobs to focus on the hours/days/weeks of research and translation storyboarding requires. But this is also an appeal to those of you who are familiar with cartoon art to recognize that, yeah, this is "where the magic happens". That it is in the sketch, in the framing of an idea into something visual, and in the pure storytelling moment of arranging things on a page that comics is all about.
Thanks for helping me do more of that,
-One of the things that makes this project so unique is that its NOT just an adaptation of the novel into comics. That would be hard enough. But what we try to do is use the window of comics to help readers find about all the mysteries and references within Joyce's work; in short, we teach readers the novel one comicbook page at a time.
Opening the Readers' Guide on any page gives our audience an entry point to the world of Joyce, Irish literature, history, the city of Dublin and the context of modernism. Since the Readers' Guide is web-based and has an interactive comment forum, it serves as a virtual classroom uniting both new and long-time fans of the novel who can share their own theories and questions. In some ways it is a richer tapestry for explaining Joyce than any one adaptation or ten week course could ever be.
We've been very lucky so far to work with Joycean scholars like Mike Barsanti and Janine Utell on forming this part of the project. Now we'd like to use our contacts throughout the Joyce community to bring a different viewpoint to each chapter of the Readers' Guide, bringing in historians, professors and specialists he can offer their own unique take on the novel's complexities. And, since being a "Joycean specialist" is a fairly rarefied position, we'd like to pay them.
Your financial support of this portion of the wish list helps us pay for some of the best scholarship possible for each chapter of the Readers' Guide. It makes it possible for our readers to be exposed to some of the smartest people I've ever met and, quite frankly, means there will be a whole bunch of those smart people telling me if I'm doing it wrong. That seems pretty darned important right there.
The amount listed here is just the very base of what we'd like to think that level of scholarship is worth on a free website. Any amount you can donate will be specifically allocated to making that happen one page and one chapter at a time.
-Ah, the bare necessities! Certainly you can see why having a place to work on a project of this magnitude is pretty important. Most of the video shown above on this page was shot at my studio, just down the street from the brand new Barnes Museum here in Philadelphia. Despite it's ideal (and increasingly swanky) location it's really quite small and unassuming. We've a couple of computer monitors in the place for looking over artwork, but it's basically a no-tech, old-fashioned barren artroom; no internet connection, no phone, three drawing tables and small cooler for beers. Again, the very bare necessities.
I've had the studio here now just a little longer than I've been working on this project and, much like the rest of my life, Joyce has pretty much taken it over. I can't imagine us working anywhere else so convenient and affordable. But despite his taking over the space, Mr Joyce hasn't really been doing much to pay the rent. Your support in whole or in part to this portion of the wish list goes a long way toward keeping the project moving forward and keeping me, Josh and Mr Joyce off the streets.
Going to Dublin or to Utrecht for research is one thing, but this is the place I go to every day to draw. Your donation of $13 to this category of the wish list buys us another day of ULYSSES "SEEN".
-One of the first items on our wish list is support for attending the annual James Joyce Conference that will held this year in Utrecht. I was in Heidelberg last year kicking off their first Bloomsday ever and missed the more local event in Charleston, NC. But our project was the subject of a few academic papers delivered there (and thank you all for those kindly mentions).
As more of the adaptation is completed we're proud to hear how more and more instructors have been using it as a way to ease new readers into the deeper waters of Joyce's text. With your support in helping us present at the International Symposium we can get a chance to interact with Joyce scholars and teachers from all over the world on how to make the adaptation and platform better. We get the chance to learn more about this continually puzzling novel and we can bring more of those answers to a new audience through our work.
So, basically, if you can help bring us to Utrecht it helps us bring Joyce's novel to you and many others.