Art, Criticism & Creating Comics  > Creating Comics

99 Ways To Tell A Story

99 Ways To Tell A Story back

Matt Madden


Page 45 Review by Stephen


This is going to be one of the most extraordinary, refreshing, provocative and hilarious books you're going to read this year (if, of course, you read it). And it's not even a comedy!

The idea is simple, the execution anything but: Matt Madden tells a simple story on a single page. Then he does it again, and again, and again, but from different perspectives, in different styles, and in different media. And some of the styles you'll recognise.

Here's the basic template: a man (who we later learn is Matt) at a laptop gets up and walks to the fridge, whilst from upstairs someone asks, "What time is it?" ("It's 1:15." "Thanks."), after which he opens the fridge and wonders, "What the hell was I looking for, anyway?!"

Okay, got that? The next time Matt himself narrates the episode as a recent event, straight to camera; another time it's from the perspective of whoever's upstairs (turns out to be a young woman called Julie); yet another time it's all a voyeur can discern whilst looking through the house window; and later the event and its representation is critiqued by a lecturer! Matt also depicts it in the style of a political cartoon, a photo-comic, a romance, an infinite loop, a newly discovered fragment of the Bayeux Tapestry (has to be seen to be believed), a page from THE YELLOW KID, A Charles Atlas advertisement (you know the one - the wimp getting the sand kicked in his face), a series of eight separate adverts for products and services, and indeed a map!!! I never saw the map coming.

Guaranteed to make you think about comics' construction, the possibilities of communication, and Matt Madden's genius. It's the sort of thing Scott McCloud might do, as executed by Alan Moore.

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