Creative Writing

Han, Ju Hui Judy. 2008. Missionary (comics). Aether: The Journal of Media Geography, 41-66.

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24-page comics version of my PhD dissertation.
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  “M  ”        -        in  consecutive hours. Scott McCloudof  Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics fame created the  -hour challengein  , and the first  Hour Comics Day was held in  .  e concept is simple. Allparticipants are required to start without any preliminary writings or drawings, andfinish all writing, drawing, inking, and lettering within  hours.  e clock does notpause for sleep or food, both of which are optional during the event.I participated in the  Hour Comics Day in  at a comic book store inVancouver, Canada, joining over  ,  others in  locations in  countries. I have beena lifelong fan of comics and since I wanted to experiment with new forms of academicpresentation, comics naturally appealed to me as an accessible media for readers inside andoutside the academia. Of course, visual representations like illustrations, maps, charts,and diagrams are already important aspects of academic publications. But I did notwant to use drawings simply to illustrate the writing—I wanted to play with successiveimages and their productive co-existence with words. In a way, my interest in comicshad less to do with drawing as it did with visual storytelling. Like maps, comics simplifya complex three-dimensional reality into a more manageable version. Especially in thefirst-person, anecdotal narrative structure used by artists like Joe Sacco and MarjaneSatrapi, comics can produce a provocative blend of intimate self-reflexivity and incisivesocial criticism. Some of the most compelling and poignant stories I encountered as achild growing up in South Korea were comics. My dissertation project on evangelicalmissions, especially the ethnographical research, certainly has elements both unsettlingand heartbreaking—sentiments that I struggle to capture in academic writing.   e  -hour challenge is designed to encourage spontaneity and productivity. Iwent in with a few reference photos and research notes, and spent the first  minutesoutlining the story in broad strokes and allocating pages for each section. After that, itwas all free-style writing and drawing, making decisions panel by panel, page by page. If   41 Aether Vol.  ,  –  , June  © Copyright   Missionary  J  H  J  H    I had more than  hours, I would have drawn fewer talking heads and more dialoguesand landscapes.  en again, had it not been for the intense time constraint, I wouldhave also spent several months planning and writing, drawing and re-drawing, not tomention procrastinating and hesitating about the project. In the end, I have gainedmore clarity about the overall project—no doubt facilitated by the adrenaline rush of time pressure and sleep deprivation. N  I have made small revisions in Photoshop after the  -hour event, including minortypographic corrections and background coloring.      43     44   45
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