But I also love comics and the invention and the humor and the whimsy and the visual appeal that comics provide. Some of my favorite strips are Peanuts by Charles Schulz, Krazy Kat by George, and Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay.
My passions for these type of stories and comic strips have led me to create Welcome, Welcome, Welcome.
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome is an Adventure Story in the Form of Illustrated Scroll
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome is my contribution to the journey story genre. It is part of the tradition of journey tales that goes back all the way to the Epic of Gilgamesh and Homer's Odyssey.
But Welcome is anything but traditional. It is an experiment of form and format. It is a fusion of the old and the new. It is an illustrated children's adventure story in the form of a scroll, a comic scroll as opposed to a comic book.
I use this format to tell a story about a group of children who enter what seems to be an amusement park. But is it really? Soon after entering, the children realize that what they have entered is neither amusing nor a park. As they struggle through and try to get out of this strange environment, the children encounter a number of strange creatures.
These creatures include a salty, vindictive giant fly with a stinger the size of a rapier, a team of aliens with unquenchable thirst for basketball, two mermaid beauties looking for a husband, talking mushrooms, and a land shark that has a snake for a tongue.
And then there is the beautifully menacing, unpredictable and temperamental landscape...
A Fantastic Journey with Allusions to Classic Stories
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome embraces the classics. It is an original story but it contains many allusions to the great adventure journey stories from the past. In it, you will find echoes of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Twenty-thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth and The First Men in the Moon. This tapestry of allusions is visual and it is visually woven through artwork that flows like a river along the length of this long scroll.
A Story of Exploration Where the Reader Also Becomes the Explorer
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome is a children's story about the joy of exploration that takes the reader/viewer along for the ride with the characters. The story makes the reader the explorer by visually presenting a fantastic land full of surprising details that will enchant both young and not-so-young readers.
The format of the scroll becomes an essential part of that enchantment. I think I can safely say that you have never experienced a story like this before. You have never read/viewed an illustrated story in the form of a long scroll where the illustrations blend into each other like two different color inks in a bottle. And this is what makes Welcome, Welcome, Welcome a masterpiece of form and function.
The long scroll becomes both a time-line of events, like a rope with knots throughout its length (the knots being the adventures), and a road on which the characters and the readers take their journey.
A Children's Story in Three Formats
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome is created on a scroll, a very long scroll. But in bringing this story to you, it is unfortunately not feasible to print it as a physical scroll. The technology to print it exists but the cost makes publishing this story as a physical scroll impractical. For example, Taschen printed a scroll, The Esther Scroll, that is 256 inches long. It sells for just under $700. Welcome is 1440 inches (120 feet) long.
Fortunately, there are three great ways of bringing you this work. One way is through digital technology, an e-book or in this case, an e-scroll. Another way is as a book with elongated proportions, 12 inches by 7 inches. The third way is as a series of postcards. Yes, an illustrated children's story in the form of postcards. Key images from the scroll will be presented on the front while characters' messages to their parents and friends will be presented on the back. Thus the narrative of the story will be given through first person accounts of the characters through their written meassages.
The three different formats offer readers slightly different experiences of the story. The e-scroll and the book read like a little like a comic strip but without distinctly delineated panels. While the e-scroll preserves the flow of the art and is the closest to the original, the book breaks the scroll into rhythmic self-contained compositions . Both the e-scroll and the book show the complete artwork.
The postcard format is the most different because in it the dialogue balloons are eliminated while the character narratives are added.The postcards tell the story from multiple viewpoints (like Akira Kurosawa's film Rashomon which is based on the experimental short story “In the Grove” by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa). Each card shows key visual points from the scroll on the front and has a character's message on the back. The back of the card also has a dated "postal stamp" that allows readers to identify the order of events. (Although reading the postcards out of order, or trying to put the postcards in order without looking at the stamps can also be fun.)
For More Information
If you would like more information about this children's story, please contact the artist. Images are available at http://www.konokopia.com