February 27, 2017

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Graphic Nonfiction: Warner and Goldstein Animate Mars Talk

Andy Warner is one of my favorite creators working in the nonfiction comics field, as long-time Panel Patter readers now.

Sophie Goldstein is one of the best at creating comics that use animation to tell their story.

Together, working at the ever amazing Nib, the two put together an awesome article on the plans to go to Mars, expressing both optimism and caution. As usual, it's extremely well researched, with quotes from people who work within the field and details on attempts to simulate what it might be like to be on a 500 day trip to the red planet.

Here's a snippet, but again, to see the full effect, you need to go and read the whole thing:


What makes this particular article stand out for me so much is the way in which Warner and Goldstein use the animation to insert jokes into the otherwise serious narrative, like having "Martians" say "There goes the neighborhood" or having various spaceships trash talk each other.

Perhaps the best use of the animation, however, is when we get a serious talk about just how bad the psychological impacts of long-term space travel might be. Using the same basic figures in space suits, Warner and Goldstein show visually what's being discussed in the text, slowing progressing from happy figures to ones that aren't doing well, complete with variations on the same themes that started the series of images. It's absolutely brilliant, but that's no surprise, coming from Goldstein.

I've always said I wanted to be a volunteer on a Mars expedition, but when you see it in stark terms like this, that enthusiasm starts waning. If, like me, you think space is the place, make sure you stop by The Nib's site and read this pair's great work together. Warner and Goldstein's full comic is here.