There is, once again, hope for a relationship between myself and eLit thanks to Hobo Lobo of Hamelin by Stevan Živadinović. This comic boasts intriguing imagery, rich language, a classically relevant story line, as well as mechanics that allow the reader to see a 3-D world on a 2-D screen. I was captivated from the very first panel.
Not only is the imagery in Hobo Lobo of Hamelin intriguing, but it is dynamic as well. The art style is newsy, the color purposeful. It starts off mysterious at first, with yellows and pinks that give the audience a glimpse about what kind of town this is. The color then jumps to mostly greens and then blues in the rising action of the story, signifying the carefree life of Hobo Lobo. However, the blue abruptly changes to red in the 3rd strip, after Hobo Lobo had led all the rats to their death. As the story progresses, the mayor can be seen with an increasing amount of red splatter on his body and face.
The language in this story was rich and varied. The opening line was, “Once upon a time, in an age long forgotten because it was somewhat boring and contrived, there was this picturesque hamlet full of God-fearing wholesome people.” The author intrigues his readers with a statement that this was a time that was “boring and contrived” in a place that was “picturesque.” It’s almost as if he’s enticing his readers to keep reading to find out where is the conflict that they know is coming. And in another part of the story, the reader finds basic language such as, “You see, they had all these coked-up rats running around the place, freaking everybody out.” This is more the language that an audience would expect to see from a comic. However, the author continually bouncing back and forth between language forms, with precise timing to emphasize the tone in all the right places.
Hobo Lobo in Hamelin has a story line that is relateable to countless stories before it. We have heard the story time and again of the “nice guy” being taken advantage of by the “bad guy.” However, the story works because it is still relevant. Millions of people around the world break their backs for pennies while those higher up the ladder take the credit and make millions for it. CEOs make more money than they could ever spend while the average retail employee has to work two, three, four, or more jobs just to make ends meet. Reading a story about the same thing happening to someone else brings us comfort that we’re not the only ones, while also hopefully having a happy ending to look forward to… (ahem MR. ŽIVADINOVIĆ) .
Another aspect of this story that makes such an old rhetoric so relateable is the mechanics of the story. This is absolutely my favorite aspect, as well as what makes it eLit. The author manages to create a 3-D effect on a 2-D platform using layers, similar to what you would see on a Broadway stage. The back layers scroll across the screen the slowest, and the front layers the fastest, in order to give the impression that the reader is traveling on a journey with Hobo Lobo. The basic color platform is used in such a way to help the story progress; very basic at first, then more varied later on. Even the sound effects are presented in a scrolling manor. On slide 3, at the beginning of the slide only nighttime sound effects can be heard. Then as you scroll to the right, a playful harmonica increases in volume, leading the rats on a playful march to the unknown. Abruptly, the music changes, as well as the color, to a low church bell and steady low bassoon(?) note, signifying the death of the rats. The scrolling is not the only motion in this piece, however. Most of the slides boast small “slideshows” or single object that have movement. This sparse movement, outside the general side-scrolling, is always used intently in order to emphasize certain objects or feelings. In the first slide, the only object to show movement is the magical crystal ball. At the end of the second slide, Hobo Lobo wipes his hand off on his coat after shaking hands with the mayor. At the end of the third slide, there is a lot of movement which, when paired with the low musical tones, creates a feeling of foreboding for the reader.
This piece of eLit leaves me with only one question… when is the author going to finish?!