Idea Transplant: Cyanotype Comics

Nov 17, 2014 / The Twelve Mysteries / storytelling

man overlooking city of giant buildings
Cover of Cyanotype Comic. 1st attempt at a Cyanotype comic by repurposing existing prints

“If we don’t die, where do we go?”

“Home. We go home.” He said.

A blog reader sent me a link to this NPR news article and said, “you might want to write about this.” In this news article, a woman born without a uterus gave birth to a healthy baby after getting a uterus transplant.

The idea of transplanting a uterus came to Dr. Mats Bransstrom from an earlier patient whose uterus had been removed during cancer treatment. She wanted to have a baby but would be unable to as she no longer had a uterus.

“But isn’t it possible to transplant a uterus?” the woman asked. “My mother or older sister could give me a uterus.”

“This patient is mad,” Brannstrom recalls thinking according to the NPR news article. However, that exchange got Brannstrom thinking later, and he set out to explore the idea of a uterus transplant.

A number of things come out of this news article.

Inspiration Comes from Unexpected Sources

Inspiration can come from anywhere especially people who are not in your field. People might inadvertently give you ideas, much like what happened with this doctor and his patient.

It is important to read widely and not just focus on your medium or area. Look at paintings, look at literature, look at poems. And then transplant them. Transplanting things from different disciplines to create something new is a fascinating avenue to think about. There are many examples of how artists have done this. Picasso’s cubist paintings are transplants of ideas he found in African sculpture for example.

Comics to Cyanotype

I’m taking my advice on this. I recently finished taking a free Coursera course on comic books and graphic novels given by Professor William Kuskin from the University of Colorado Boulder. Comic books and graphic novels are separate mediums from photography. One characteristic of comics is that it retells a story in many different ways. For instance, how many versions of Batman and Spider-Man have we seen in the past couple of years? A lot. Ideas of rebirth and beginning again are at the heart of comics, and in many ways that is what I want to do with A Million Suns—retell the story in many ways.

The capstone project for the course was to produce a comic book (the cover is shown above). I decided to experiment and remix some of the images from A Million Suns. This comic book is my version of an idea transplant. I never read comic books growing up so I find them so fascinating. There is so much to discover.

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