Here are links to the projects in Antoinette LaFarge’s spring 2010 Graphic Novel course at UC Irvine. The students started by choosing a myth or folktale of another culture and then updated it in some way. The had just 8 weeks to take their original novellas from concept through writing and artwork to print and web publication. Note that these sites were not designed from scratch as webcomics, but are intended instead as a way of bringing the pages of the printed books to an online audience.
Kelly Mayfield: ||
“Mayfield takes us into a virus-ridden world and compels us to interact with the story itself and take part in a fascinating investigation into murder, terrorism, and mutants. Giving the reader encoded secrets to solve, she provides multiple perspectives into her darkly captivating tale. This brainteaser is guaranteed to twist your psyche.” —Tote Oro
Trent Stassi: Echo and Narcissus
“Trent Stassi’s Echo and Narcissus puts a fresh spin on the classic myth, turning it into a tragic tale of two brothers, America’s favorite pastime, and a father’s death. Stassi’s black-and-white drawings and storytelling style are deceptively simple but keep the reader engaged from start to finish. Anyone who’s had a brush with sibling rivalry will find this stark novella a must-read.” —Vic Sage
Joann Hockersmith: Whitmoor Family Album
“Some tales remain untold. Stories of strange discovery, monstrous creatures, and fantastic adventure. A grandfather reveals his, a tale he cannot afford to forget. Creating worlds within worlds within worlds, Hockersmith takes comic books to the brink. She harnesses photography, drawing, and painting to create a sensual visual masterpiece. The Whitmoor Family Album is an incredible saga of discovery, of both the fantastic and of what’s underneath your very nose.”—M.T. Wayne
Sharon Whelchel: not your average Thursday
“Damek’s Thursday is off to a bad start—he has woken up to find his beloved sword missing, and a threatening ransom note from his worst enemy. Now, in order to defend his lover and regain his prized weapon, he’ll have to endure skimpy dresses, facials, and of course, high-octane sword fights. The vibrant brush work and hand-drawn bubbles work to propel the art and story right off the page. Pick up this nonstop action-comedy to find out if Damek succeeds in getting his sword back!” —celebistar
Tiffany Yung: Rockwell
“This crime drama is inspired by the myth of Medusa and centers on a big city detective, a hopeful cynic troubled by the scourges of the world who searches out suspects and brings them to justice. His next case: to find a murderer and bring her down. Tiffany Yung crafts this story with an intriguing and mostly interior narrative masterfully balanced by austere visuals, creating suspense that draws us through to the very end.” —Melody McLarian, Editor, Reader’s Online Digest
Hakon Bachman: Distraction
“This novel follows a tragic hero struggling with his present life of disillusionment when confronted with the heartbreaking reality of lost love. Bachman’s lucid combination of a comical friend and an elusive lover creates a modern juxtaposition of lived experience with sheer fantasy. His meticulous pen work and neutral tones convey both the hero’s unhappy past and his (apparently) hopeless future. Take a peek into the life of a man whose journey has just begun.” —S.C.
Jay Mandell: Bast
“Jeanne-Marie (Jay) Mandell’s graphic novel Bast is a lively revival of an Egyptian myth of loyalty, devotion, and courage. Rendered with an almost childlike aesthetic reminiscent of Edward Gorey, the story is anything but childish. Mandell’s sophisticated layouts offer both eccentric perspectives and startling story jumps, which together keep the reader on her toes. This is a highly stylized rendition of a classic Egyptian myth that engages from start to finish.”—B. A.
Brianna Ang: Cupid and Psyche
“Brianna Ang’s graphic novel retells the magical Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche, but with a twist. Mysteriously dragged into an alternate world, Psyche falls in love with Cupid at first sight. Yet in order to prove her love to the gods, she must gain their favor by completing a series of seemingly impossible tasks. Ang’s visual style combines painting and photography to tell this story in a manner that is both stark and strangely sensual. The lovely pastoral scenes, archaic setting, and the use of modern media bring to life this classic story.”—J. M.
Katherine Gu: Heroes of Ortygia
“Gu’s virtual epic brings the fierce warrior twins Artemis and Apollo to battle against the darkest and vilest of beasts. However, betrayal taints their relationship, sentencing the pair to disaster. Unable to overlook such treachery, brother and sister are left with only one path: divine retribution. Gu’s austere palette and expressive ink-and-chalk drawings focus us on the critical elements of the siblings’ mission. Revenge has never been so satisfying.” —A.C.
Kayu Chen: Shipwreck on Serpent Isle
“Prepare to be thrown into a world of nonstop action, uproarious characters, and swashbuckling adventure! Loosely based on an Egyptian myth, Shipwreck on Serpent Isle is an extraordinary tale packed with hilarious plot twists, mystical princesses, and cowardly heroes portrayed in vibrant illustration. Highly recommended for the bathroom reader! You will need to wipe that drool off of your face after twenty pages of jaw-dropping edge-of-your-[toilet]seat entertainment and pee-your-pants humor.” —M. Osom.
Sawanya Chulapatrcheevin: The Story of Orion and Diana
“The Story of Orion and Diana by Sawanya Chulapatrcheevin is an expressive retelling of the ancient Greek myth. The updated story takes place in the Prohibition Era as a crime drama marked by intrigue, sensuality, and violence. Chulapatrcheevin’s intense storytelling, fluid drawings and glowing colors bring the drama vibrantly to life. As the suspenseful story unfolds, the drawings become looser and more vivid, taking the reader to a breathtaking world that is a unique hybrid of classical Greece and 1923 America.” —P.P.
Sami Cho: The Undiscovered Life Worth Remembering
“In Sami Cho’s lively and memorable tale, an office drone shipwrecked on an island comes to grips with his life through a series of unexpected encounters with a tiger guide and an old sage. Cho’s strong, hard-edged graphics and comic sensibility combine to create a deeply satisfying adventure.” —George Winsor
Alicja Chrena: The Golden Scarf
“Based on a Slavic myth, The Golden Scarf by Alicja Chrena is a wondrous tale of a family that make their living as a traveling musical troupe. Merill, a strong and opinionated girl, loses a job for the family but then meets a strange man from the past who helps her and her family regain respect from the town of Budona. This uplifting graphic novel is drawn in a style reminiscent of 18th century techniques, with smooth, expressive lines and warm but vibrant colors. It is a brilliant and beautiful work exuding vitality in every line.” —K.G.
Alexi Elconin: Much Ado About Love
“Alexandra Elconin’s Much Ado About Love is a whimsical mix of drama and comedy that leads us through the tale of Pan’s unrequited love. When Hermes deviously pranks Pan, the tension of the friendly betrayal and Pan’s determination to overcome his obstacles draws us into the complex narrative. The colorful, loose watercolor style carries us along with the unfolding story and reminds us—it’s much to do about love.” —Heather Marys
Pamela Pearson: Arion
“Pamela Pearson’s engaging tale brings us Arion, a talented musician who has succumbed to fame and fortune and must find his way back to redemption after being lost at sea. Pearson uses a highly idiosyncratic collage technique in which botanical motifs counterpoint cutouts and drawings to
create a visual tension that reflects Arion’s own moral struggle. Pearson’s layouts challenge graphic novel conventions of confining the image in small panels, creating expansive spaces that allow the artist to
fully express her vision.” —S.C.
Jessica Chung: Tale of Royalty
“Jessica Chung’s graphic novel, Tale of Royalty, is a thrilling story about love lost, sibling rivalry, and terrible retribution. The plot revolves around two princesses and a prince who must marry one of them. This brings tension into the family as one princess tries to keep the other away from her new husband. The drawing style pays homage to the simplified silhouettes of children’s drawings, reminding the reader of beloved childhood stories. It is a beautiful retelling of an ancient Egyptian myth, sure to tug at the heartstrings of all who read it.” —S. Clemens
Nate Little: Pizza Adventure: Delivery Quest
“Pizza Adventure: Delivery Quest is a story of redemption in which one man, one moped, and an unlimited amount of pizzas will take you on a unforgettable journey. We follow Elliot Hunter, a pizza delivery boy with a troubled past, now humbled by his menial job. Through his misadventures while delivering pizzas, he must discover what it means to truly live.” —Guy Gardner
Grant Taylor: There & Back Again
“A story of family relationships, love, and nostalgia, “There & Back Again” is structured as a dream that teaches the main character more than he asked for. He learns about the value of family, the tension between the corporate world and personal life, and also the regrets of the past. Drawn in a minimal style featuring red, blue, and black outlines, the story unsettles us by frequently switching perspectives between close-ups and long shots.” —Stan Lee