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From the ashes…

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I decided to draw the arc of one of my favourite movies, Iron Man, in a Vonnegut-inspired graphic representation. It’s not so much an arc as it is a series of bipolar swings, which pretty much reflects the main character, Tony Stark, and his chaotic life—not too different than the life of the actor who plays him, Robert Downey Jr. This was a fun way to analyze stories; in Iron Man, a hard-drinking genius-billionaire-playboy (philanthropist!) gets blown half to hell in the Middle East while doing a weapons demonstration on behalf of his company. Funny story, he’s blown up by one of his own designs, fired off by terrorist enemies. He’s taken into captivity, wounded and hooked up to a car battery that’s trying to be a pacemaker. Being the genius that he is, he basically creates a nuclear reactor to keep his heart running out of a pile of junk—in the comic, but sadly not the movie, one of the resources he digs through for parts is a washing machine of all things. He escapes—of course, but even after getting out of captivity, things aren’t all cake and sunshine. It turns out someone sicced those terrorists on him deliberately and he decides to take up the good fight as a superhero. Cue the dramatic music and jaw-dropping fight sequences—and of course, at the end, he gets the girl and saves the day. Champagne all around! Except, Tony, maybe you should work on that drinking problem next.

iron man


Here’s a pretty cool example of what I think of when I think “digital story.” It’s sort of a video game, in that you have control over actions that the character can perform, but they’re extremely limited. It’s not really a game—there’s no points, no winning, and no way to stray from the pre-determined path that the author has drawn. In this instance, the creator is trying to illustrate life as experienced by someone suffering from depression; this kind of story could be told in linear text, but by allowing the reader to become a participant, the tale allows for much more immersion and perhaps, a better understanding of the author’s message.

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