Quite simply, one masterpiece inspired by another! As clever, thought-provoking, funny, and occasionally damn right eccentric as is Queneau's book, this is essential reading - or should that be viewing? . A near perfect example of an educational tool disguised as entertainment, this is in no way constrained by beginning, middle and end but is full of Borgesian/M C Escher infinities. But mostly it's just fun!
Author Matt Madden credits Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style as the inspiration for this collection of ninety-nine variations on the same story in one-page comic strip form. Madden presents an initial comic he calls "Template" that depicts a man working at his desk, then walking downstairs to look in the refrigerator. He then presents redrawings of this story that emphasize particular points of view, themes, artistic styles or styles of specific artists, and so on.
Some of my favorite "versions" of the story:
"Voyeur" presents each panel from a perspective outside one of the windows.
"Reframing" tells the story entirely with hands and punctuation marks.
"What Happens When the Ice Truck Comes to Hogan's Alley" pays tribute to Richard Outcault.
"A Lifetime to Get to the Refrigerator" ages the main character as he progresses through the panels.
"Actor's Studio II" has the story's character exaggerate the relevant emotion in each panel.
The story variations are interesting and clever. This book can be read for entertainment or as a stimulus for developing a less constrained writing style. It's also fun to pass around the office.
got this book after reading it for research. truly amazing, in the simplest way you can imagine. it is a must have for anything that involves a story. all this book is, is a series of the exatcly same story told in dozens of different ways. it came in really handy for a uni film project. i cannot recomend it enough. the writing is poor, for a reason- it shows how you can retell any story to make it more interesting. again, this book is a must have for any form of storytelling!
A comic book that ranges across a largely redundant exercise in style. A man gets up from his desk, closing his laptop and walks into his living room. There is a spiral staircase through which he hears his girlfriend calling to ask the time. He responds with the time - 1:15. He crosses to the kitchen, goes in and opens the fridge door. He stands there for a moment, unable to remember what he came into the kitchen for.
That's the whole story, and Matt Madden ranges through 99 other ways of telling the same story. Many of them are drawn with wonderful inspiration - my favourite being the Krazy & Ignatz version Esk Her Size end Style (exercise in style) - five all too brief panels during which Krazy Kat gets his customary brick to the head - cue heart floating above him - there is nothing he loves more, but then along comes the jailer to put his `sweetheart' mouse in jail. If you haven't seen the original Krazy & Ignatz comics (by George Herriman), it won't compute. As a play on the business of style it is beautifully redolent of the original comics which only became popular after he stopped drawing them. Furthermore, this version of the story has very little in common with the original.
It's all down to Raymond Queneau (b.1903, d.1973), an intellectual who founded the Ouvroir de litterature potentielle (otherwise known as Oulipo). One of Queneau's most influential works is Exercises In Style, which tells the simple story of a man who sees the same stranger twice in one day. It tells that short story in 99 different ways, demonstrating the tremendous variety of styles in which storytelling can take place. This book is Matt Madden's graphical story adaptation of the book's concept. It works well in some contexts, especially the Underground Comix version, which cleverly reworks the story as that of a hippy, but it doesn't quite have the punch of the written versions, which used rhetorical tricks and terms such as metaphor, negatives, anagrams, Alexandrines, comedy, philosophy, etc. Madden has to work within the comic book ouevre, which has far fewer tropes that can be worked as different styles, and was, anyway linguistically based.