Integration Photo Comic review

What Did I Learn? Integration


This week’s review is on Integration, a photo comic written by Katherine Holt, image work by Nicholas Dishington with assistance by Scott Murray and modeling by Heather Pandora. Some folks may dispute use of the term comic when dealing with photos but it’s a sequential progression of still images that tell a story – that’s my working definition, so it’s a comic for the purposes of this discussion.

The story is very introspective. An unnamed young woman is targeted for experimentation and kidnapped. An experimental device is implanted and she begins to show unusual symptoms and actions. It’s a very short and somewhat tragic comic.

There is no dialogue although there is some narration handled in a couple of different ways. The first is the notes that the woman’s captors have which describe events and the woman’s actions in a technical, typed manner. Next to some of those are hand scrawled notes which show the reactions of the captors.

The second part of the narration is accomplished by the – whatcha call’em? Those four hash marks or tics that you make and then cross them off to count by fives? Anyway, you can see from the number of marks that she is captive for a long, long while. Adding to these are her expressions, body language and the scratchy nature of the lines and it really communicates quite a lot of story.

Another thing I noticed had to do with panel borders. They are often created by blurred borders or electronic graphics and the effect is very striking. It fits the story that the ordeal the woman is going through is like a blur of days. Because there is normally no gutter space between panels, your brain has to connect one panel to the other without that safe area in between. I’m not sure that it would be quite as easy to pull off with traditional comic media.

There is probably a difference in my reading of Integration and someone from across the pond due to cultural differences. There may be symbolism I missed out on and I say that because the story seems to build nicely but then plateaus. I was expecting more a bang to the ending but I understand that some European stories have endings much like this (if I can generalize in such a boorish fashion.)

Details about the shooting process are available on the Integration Website, if that’s something you’d like to explore.

What Did I Learn?

I am genuinely interested in different kinds of stories. Tragedy, comedy, two act structures, three act, constantly escalating action or suspense, gentle slopes with sharp dropoffs… they are tools in the storytellers tool chest and can be used to accomplish different things. We can read over Integration and work in some different story types into our work.

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